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  • Writer's pictureJon Bolitho-Jones

Introducing Mario and Luigi - My Descent into Mad Catdadism


Hello,


I return again to talk about a very exciting new topic, and one you’ve probably guessed upon by the title. Yes Beth and I are now the parents/owners of two fluffy children. To go with our house we have a pair of charming cats who can’t fail but put a smile on our faces. They’ve also made me a mad, doting cat dad. But more on their antics in a bit.


I am not completely unfamiliar with cats. Indeed when I was little the Bolitho-Jones family had one themselves called Charlotte. She was a sweet, kind, and gentle puddie who I only really knew in her later life. My parents actually had another cat called Blodwin who was eventually rehomed with one of my mum’s patients. She was thereby referred to as “Blodwin's Mum”. They are both long gone. Blodwin had a particularly interesting end – he was run over by a milk float…


When Beth suggested the idea of getting some of our own in the future I was hesitant at first. But then I spent 2021 living with the Pearn family and Pigeon and Milton. I soon went from “I’m not sure if I’ll be comfortable with cats” to “We are getting cats now, and I will make them cakes and celebrate their birthdays!” Quite a dramatic shift really. After settling into our new home finally in 2022 we decided to finally get a pair of puddies. Beth went to Carla Lane animal shelter with her mum and sister one Friday to see Mario and Luigi. After receiving a large number of missed calls and a voice message it was soon clear that she was very excited. She also sent me this video. There was no going back!



So there we have Mario and Luigi. An adorable pair of 1 year old cats who love food and each other. We’re pretty sure they’re fond of us two. Mario is actually snuggling up to me as I write this. Anyway lets have a photo and a proper introduction.




Mario is a fluffy boy and the one with the white fur on his face and the confused expression. Luigi is the longer boy, with his face being mostly black save for the small flecks at the bottom. This picture is from one of their first days meeting me. They were a nervous pair (particularly Luigi) and they spent most of that first day hiding. Mario, the more gregarious and confident fella managed to make it out more and hid behind the recycling bin. It’s transparent so he still had a good view of the room. Luigi though felt more comfortable in his carry case and hid there. This picture was taken when Mario decided to join him for cuddles and company.


But why Mario and Luigi? Yes it is a very geeky reference. If you’re not sure where the name combo comes from then I recommend you have a quick look at the Nintendo catalogue. You’d be correct in thinking that these seem like the sort of nerdy names I would pick. Indeed Luigi is my go to Smash Brothers character. Thing is neither Beth nor I chose them. They came with them. I guess if I were to provide them with Mario related names they’d end up with ones much odder, say Birdo, Shy Guy, or Bowser Jnr. I also spent some time going through Old Testament names – Samson is a perfect feline name!

Anyway you probably want to see more pictures. Well you’re in luck, I have taken a lot! A big part of being a mad cat dad. So let me tell you a bit more about of each of them and provide you with a collection of pictures for your enjoyment. Here goes!




This is Mario. He is a very friendly little guy. In fact he's really friendly, almost fearless, and always likes to say hello to new people, ready for strokes, scratches, and hugs. In fact as I write this he’s curled up next to me giving me a cuddle. I’m his favourite, and when I’m not around he’s known to play up, and will even dash to the front door to say hello when I get home. Those are my legs by the way...




He likes to play a lot too, and is always finding some new game. His favourite toys include a cheap cat tunnel we got him, and a green Amazon gift bag left over from our wedding presents. He loves charging into it and will even let you carry him around in it. If Luigi finds him in though he attacks and poor little Mario is pretty much helpless. Here he is leaping gracefullly into the aforementioned tunnel...



As you can see he loves to play. A very energetic little guy. But be warned he can get over excited, and those claws of his are sharp. It’s rare for him to actually scratch you and he doesn’t mean any harm, but yeah just be careful. Lara received two scratches in one play session. He loves his attention and having people around. He’ll purr loudly when he has the company. It’s very hard to ignore. He’s a very happy guy. Even when he destroys my Lego displays and decides a Warhammer miniature looks interesting. In fact his favourite target is my model of the worm from the film Labyrinth. He just wants to destroy him…



Mario also really likes his food. And I mean really likes it. He’s a proper scavenger and if there’s a chance to grab a new snack he’ll take it. I have to kick him out of the kitchen when I prepare meals otherwise he’ll go into a frenzy, prowling the work tops for any morsel he can steal. So yeah along with being a friendly, playful chap, he can be a cheeky devil. We’re doing our best to train him out of these bad habits. To stay away when human food is around.






Talking of food here is Luigi.




He really loves his food too. He doesn’t try to steal human food, well not like Mario, but when he gets hold of it there's no getting it off of him. He’ll wolf down his own meals in record breaking time. If it's food he's particularly fond of he'll make a low growling noise. Then, with his own brand of cheekiness, he’ll go over to Mario, who is normally still eating, and fish out hunks of his food from his bowl with deft surgical strikes of his paws. Mario just puts up with it, while Beth and I do our best to shoo him off. We can’t have him stealing too much!




While I’m Mario’s favourite, Beth is Luigi’s favourite. He’s a shy little guy and when it’s just me at home he’ll tend to stay away and hidden, normally under our bed, only appearing for food. He’s a sweet boy too and likes playing, but he’s always happiest when Beth is around. While Mario follows me around, Luigi follows Beth around, emerging once she returns from work, checking on her and cuddling up to her. He’s got to make sure his human is doing well. He’ll come out for strokes and cuddes with me but usually only when Beth is home. Though he remains a shy little cat, hiding away when strangers visit, he is getting better. His confidence is slowly blooming and with that he’s getting his own cheeky turn.



Firstly he likes to chew wires. You’ve got to be careful around him, especially when you’re plugging your phone into charge. He’ll see the thing wiggling from under the bed and decide it’s a new, chewable target. He’s also discovered how tasty the frothy milk from Beth's coffee is, so if he sees her in bed with a mug in reach he’ll approach and try to put his nose in it. He also has a deep fascination with sink plugs. When we first got them we realised that our plugs were disappearing but had no idea where they’d gone. That was until one day Luigi produced one from a hidey hole right in front of me, displaying his trophy proudly. Naturally I grabbed and hid it away. We have yet to rediscover the other one - it is still lost. The survivor has been hidden away in a drawer, but every so often I forget to do so. The first cue I get is the sound of him batting it around downstairs. We’re thinking of getting new ones and leaving him with his favourite toy.




Mario and Luigi have been delightful additions to our household. They’re lovable cheeky little guys who love company and playing, either with us or with each other. When food is being prepared they do get grumpy waiting outside the utility room door, but most of the time they cuddle up and groom each other, chirping all the while. They’re pretty much inseparable. When we manage to both get a good lie in on the occasional Sunday they always join us upstairs, and apart from pinching a bit of frothy milk and trying to foist tasty looking wrappers from bins, they are wonderful companions.




Unfortunately I have to once again finish on a sad note. I feel like I always have to in some way. Maybe I have an addiction to self inflicted emotional battery? With Grandpa dying and my dad having a serious health scare, this added extra feels like the icing on top of the turd cake of 2022. Recently the dearly beloved cat Pigeon (from the Pearn famiy house) died after a fight with cancer. He was a big, fluffy character, the size of a mini panther, who liked shellfish, lounging around in soft warm spots, the company of his humans, and hated luggage (as it usually meant someone was going somewhere). He became a furry little friend of mine, especially during our 2021/2022 stay. He will be missed.



As a lovable frog once said in the greatest adaption of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – “Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it.” I’m looking forward to my next big meeting.


With that it's bye for now. I'll be back soon.

Jon





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