The Cantona of Cats

As a kid I grew up surrounded by animals. I feel very lucky to have shared my upbringing with two spaniels, Freeway and Midas, a Rottweiler named Billy, a Doberman called Suzy, Bonny and Clyde the cats, Piper the Cairn terrier as well as Pemberton and Francis the ducks. It was basically like Darling Buds of May but in Somerset!

Other than my beloved orange roan spaniel, Freeway, who even now 25 years later I think of every day or so and who used to travel with Dad and I around 60,000 miles a year in the Range Rover looking at land, perhaps the most memorable animal in the family was our Siamese cat, Sinbad.

This beautiful cat had a presence that was quite incredible. He was the Eric Cantona of cats.

Arriving on the pitch in his porcelain white strip with chocolate boots, this cat turned up his tail just as the legendary Manchester United player Eric Cantona turned up his collar and took control of the game.

Sinbad was the master of his field as he swaggered on to his pitch (the kitchen floor) and made his way over to the Aga.

This was one fearless cat who was almost human in nature and who made even our Rottweiler Billy stand aside.

His stunning presence and attitude made other animals, often ten times his size, make way as he headed for a warm pipe or a spot by the Aga!

I often remember waking in to the living room and seeing Billy, Freeway and Suzy lying by the fire only to find Sinbad lying on Billy’s back, gently rising and falling as he breathed in and out deeply after a day roaming the grounds.

Never has a cat had the presence of Sinbad in my experience. An amazing creature who is greatly missed in our family. Perhaps he should have been called Eric!

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