Famous for our love of animals, the Brits have been busy filling up refuges for unwanted pets for decades. It’s an improvement on drowning or leaving the runt of the litter on the side of the road to be squashed or taken home by some unsuspecting driver who, having felt compelled to give their break pad a good work out, cannot help themselves. We’re full of contradictions.

I’m a fan of the dachshund, but when it comes to sharing my home with animals, I’ve often plumped not just for the short-legged hound but for the baby cries of the Siamese cat. I’ve had five of them.

Having lived without their cries for some years now, I’ve been hankering after a mog. I’ve been searching the ads for unwanted female adult felines and that’s how it came to pass that Bob and Clive moved in. they’re kittens.

They arrived with a free selection of fleas, ticks and worms which is no small achievement for the middle of winter. To add to the intrigue, they came with a packet of cat biscuits, of a type I would consider better suited to cavity wall insulation. They also arrived with a bottle of cat shampoo.

Cats are fastidiously clean. Unless you are compelled to home treat a bad dose of ringworm, there can be no reason to shampoo a cat. It’s a brave person who would attempt to give a cat a shampoo and set, so I popped the shampoo in the bin, along with the cavity wall insulation, before investing in food for growing boys.

After an initial terror that cats who prove resistant to potty training could not expect a long residency, all was going well. A week in the kitchen and Bob and Clive were ready to venture forth to the grand savannas of the hall, stairs and landing. Matters were progressing a pace.

What I had not considered was the invisibility of the mackerel faced tabby against the old Persian rugs that litter my house. An initial choice of floor covering that would not show the dirt left by teenagers, also failed to yield up slumbering cats, who had quickly established the precise location of the heating pipes and were not to be dislodged

As the weeks have passed and Bob and Clive and I have put on weight on our kitten diets, we are progressing to a level of intimacy that everyone who has been looked down on, by a cat, can only dream of. Bob and Clive are now on THE bed. It happened like this: I opened my door and put my cup of tea down on the table, closed the door and got back into bed. This was a maneuverer that took all of five seconds. As I sat back there was the squeak of an unoiled hinged, which is the sound of Clive’s Meow. The fireguard fell over. Then Clive fell out of the chimney and hopped up on my clean white linen and settled in for a well-earned rest.

I’ve blocked up the chimney and have taken to leaving the bedroom door open. I doubt my linen, or my paintwork will ever be the same again.

Those boys are growing in confidence every day and have taken to lying about on the stairs. This will surely end badly for one of us. Collars with bells were made short shrift of and this morning I had a chat with a cousin thinking it was Bob.

The feline soundtrack is what I’ve come to depend on. It’s a cat guzzling urgently as if life depended on it, followed by cries of, “Clive, if you don’t want to die, stop eating the cables.”