MEOW & LULU™
Meow was a neighbourhood stray and a daily visitor to Cottontails for a long time before Lulu officially adopted him. Being a bunny person, Lulu didn’t want a cat at first, but Meow wore her down with his love and wonderful personality. Lulu thinks he’s perfect, and they’re now inseparable. Meow is also the inspiration behind a picture book, a board book and his own art show.
Meow ran away from home
and he’s already found a someone to love him.
But from time to time he pops round to say hello
– he likes to keep his options open.
As soon as I’ve made myself comfortable on the sofa
Meow immediately jumps off the top of a cupboard
– where he was taking a nap –
and lands on me like a sack of potatoes.
Meow is Multi-Tasking
Meow is multi-tasking:
he’s eating his sardines
while having his back rubbed.
Meow Loves Slippers
When he leaps through the first floor window
pawing for breakfast at 5 am
Meow likes to make sure I’m coming downstairs.
So instead of skipping down the stairs
heading straight to his food station
he jumps on and off my slippers
tripping me up at every step.
He’s a slippery customer.
Meow’s New Favourite Spot
Meow has a wonderful choice of spots
to enjoy his post-breakfast nap
after waking the whole household up.
He could for example snooze by the French windows
or on his new fleece mat
on the back of the sofa
or even in Topper’s bed (the guest cat).
But of all the places in all the rooms on all the floors
Meow had to sneak on top of Lulu’s best watercolour paper
where he was caught rolling triumphantly!
Now every sheet looks slightly cat-eared
and there are Meow’s pawprints all over.
Meow, Turfed Out at Night
All the neighbours know
that Meow is really good at going round each house
begging for food and love.
But he’s a scratcher and a waker-upper
(and there’s a limit to some people’s love)
so when night falls they show him the door.
And that’s why at 1 or 3 am
Meows paws loudly at Lulu’s bedroom window
– especially if it rains –
and makes straight for her bed
falling asleep on her head.
Meow is Good Value for Money
Of course Meow – who always has his claws out –
causes a lot of damage to furniture and blankets.
Certainly he is messy with food
and jumps on countertops
even when he’s told, “No!”
But for the price of a tin of sardines
and organic roast chicken
this little honey
gives so much love
he is worth every penny.
Lulu thinks that other neighbours
don’t allow Meow to sleep on their bed
which is why from time to time
he can be spotted sneaking upstairs
and rolling triumphantly on her double bed
(even in the daytime).
“Do Not Disturb”
Meow is not available at present:
he’s upstairs napping on Lulu’s bed
while she prepares his sardine dinner.
He needs some “me” time.
Poems written after Lulu officially adopts Meow
On the 1st of November 2016 something magical happened:
Meow became my official pussycat and my little prince.
There may just be two of us but now we are a family.
Meow & the Catflap
From today nobody will be able to say,
“Meow is hopeless with catflaps”
because in the early hours
in the middle of a rainstorm
Meow bravely took the plunge
and whizzed through the catflap
emerging very damp but unharmed into the living room.
Meow very modestly didn’t immediately boast of his success
preferring to dry his bottom by the radiator first
and only then went upstairs to show Lulu he was there!
Lulu thought she was dreaming
or that maybe Meow had come in the door the night before
when she fed Smudge the fox.
But today Meow caught in an afternoon shower
once again used the catflap
while Lulu was washing her hair
and was not available for concierge duties.
Lulu is very sorry she ever thought Meow
might be a teensy bit slow or maybe very spoilt regarding catflaps:
this pussycat is very smart!
and catflaps are easy peasy now
for a pro like Meow
(but he still likes Lulu to get up
and open the door on command most of the time,
so she gets her exercise).
Meow has a big heart:
he does not chase squirrels
and does not fight with other pussycats
even the stray toms
who eat his food and nap on his blanket.
He feels happy and lucky in his new home
and shares the love.
Jump for Love!
If Meow is around
remember he likes to jump in your arms
given half a chance.
Meow and Mouse
Meow is very patient
but there’s a limit to what
any self-respecting pussycat will put up with.
When a mouse boldly pops up from under the floorboards
to snack on the birds’ sunflower seeds
Meow jumps up like a spring
and chases him noisily around the house.
Good luck, little mouse!
Some homes have dogs barking at the postman
but I have Meow guarding the letterbox and the mousehole:
he’s my official guardpuss.
In just a few days
Meow has acquired a selection of toys
that are the envy of all Walthamstow pussycats.
multiple sachets of catnip,
4 catnip balls,
5 catnip mice – one of which Meow destroyed overnight,
6 dangling leopard-print toys with feathers
(all matching the décor)
and 2 scratching posts – one for each floor.
(Meow also has a special box to store his kit.)
Meow has only been my official cat for three and a half weeks
but already he’s earning his keep.
Last night there was a commotion
in the living room and up and down the stairs
and as a result three mice will no longer nibble
on the birds’ sunflower seeds.
And today Meow, true to his name,
MEOWWWWED! by the French windows
to keep a stray cat out of the house.
But when I looked it wasn’t just the stray cat
who was trying to pop in.
Smudge the fox, well known for stealing slippers
(and once even poems)
was cheekily trotting around the living room.
Thanks to Meow’s amazingly loud MEOW!
Smudge trotted back out
dropping my slipper in the middle of the garden.
Just yesterday I was thinking how much Meow
has cost me in three and a half weeks.
Today I think he’s worth his weight in gold!
You’re a hero, Meow!
Meow is Beautiful and Useful
“I never wear hats!” said Lulu
and Meow soon saw to that.
That’s why on winter days
(and even nights)
he can be found snuggled up
on Lulu’s head
hanging on for dear life!
Meow obviously read
that most body heat
is lost through the head
and is making himself useful
as an alternative woolly hat.
Tips for Using a Catflap
Although Meow uses the catflap
when Lulu is not around
he still hasn’t worked out the ins and outs
and that he needs to push his furry head in first.
Instead he paws at the catflap for five minutes
like he did on the French windows.
Then Lulu has to get up
and hold the catflap open for him
to save his pride
(and on the other side she has put
a step covered with a fleece mat
to give Meow a soft landing).
Meow is Twice as Handsome
Some mornings when Meow comes home after a night out
his fur looks super smooth and twice as shiny
so Lulu is wondering
who else is brushing him.
Meow is more like a dog than a cat:
when he rolls with all fours in the air
he gives Lulu one paw
(and sometimes two).
Meow does not like to be left alone:
when Lulu goes out
he follows her to the front door
to demand more love.
Lulu thinks about Meow
when she’s at the theatre
or by the river
wishing they could be together:
they both have separation anxiety.
You would have thought that now he has a catflap
Meow would not wake Lulu up in the early hours.
But the little guy uses the catflap to go out
and when he feels like popping back in
he’d rather paw at Lulu’s bedroom window,
meowing loudly if she’s a bit slow.
Meow in the Workplace
When Meow decides it’s time for some attention
he jumps on Lulu’s sofa
which is her workstation.
Lulu may have gone to the kitchen to make a cup of tea
but when she gets back
Meow is napping right where she was sitting
(and sometimes on top of her paintings).
Please Don’t Take on the Fox, Meow
Smudge the fox likes cat food
and can be very bold
when pawing at the catflap for his breakfast.
But he’s respectful of kitties
and waits patiently for you to finish eating
before wolfing down your food.
So please be nice Meow
don’t growl when he’s around
let him trot down the garden
and even sit on your blanket.
Smudge is just hungry.
Meow’s Christmas Present
Meow didn’t want Lulu to be empty-handed
so he gave her a mouse this Christmas
and left it by her bed.
Lulu worries she’ll find a mouse in her bed one day.
When Lulu goes upstairs
Meow immediately stops eating
and runs up to nudge her a few times
until she returns to the kitchen in a hurry.
Meow only goes back to his dinner
when he’s sure Lulu is behind him
and is patting him on the back.
They’re happy together.
Meow loves to jump on Lulu’s shoulders
to get a back rub.
She feels like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Meow the Explorer
When Meow was a stray he spent the day
bravely jumping over garden fences
fearlessly roaming into people’s houses
and climbing the highest peaks of apple trees.
But since Lulu’s adopted him he’d rather pop into
her cupboards and wardrobe instead:
he’s an indoor explorer.
Meow & Lulu’s New Year’s Eve
Lulu didn’t see the fireworks on New Year’s Eve
because Meow pounced on her chest
as soon as they went off with a bang.
As a result Lulu could not leave the house
and saw in the New Year in a bear hug with Meow.
Meow the Muse
Meow has a very important job
and that is to improve Lulu’s poetry.
So far he has certainly increased the quantity.
Meow’s Eventful Day
Meow loves climbing trees
but today there was an unfortunate incident
involving a flowering cherry.
Here’s how it started:
Lulu was just watering her pots in the front garden
when Meow, who likes to be part of the action
ran up the cherry tree.
But the moment he reached the top
he realised that tall thin branches are not a great foothold.
The treetop explorer meowed and meowed
not afraid to show his more vulnerable side
to the neighbourhood
while Lulu wondered if the Fire Brigade should be called.
Then Lulu took off her dressing robe
– the one Meow loves to sleep on –
and laid it on the hedge
to get Meow to jump on it…
…which he finally did!
Lulu quickly scooped him up
to stop him rolling off the hedge
and Meow is currently enjoying some roast chicken
to get over the shock.
Today there was a computer malfunction in Lulu’s home office:
while she was backing up her files
a meowing feline pounced on her laptop
and pressed the stop button.
Meow Loves Company
Meow may have had a bad experience in his kittenhood
so he likes to have Lulu around
while he eats his food.
Lulu doesn’t have any holiday planned
she won’t be travelling around the world
because Meow likes her to stay at home.
Meow likes to jump on kitchen countertops
and poke his sweet little nose inside coffee cups.
Lulu has to scoop him up and teach him the “No!” command
– it’s work in progress.
First Winter with Meow
Winter is lovely with Meow:
in the frosty garden
sitting together on blankets
warming up in the Winter sunshine.
Meow’s Tail Is the Best
Meow’s tail is swishing and swaying
and dusting Lulu’s furniture.
Meow doesn’t mind if Lulu holds it;
it’s soft and black, Meow flicks it up
and wags it to show he’s happy.
Lulu is worried that Meow’s catflap won’t last much longer
since Smudge the fox and all the neighbourhood squirrels
have been swatting it daily begging for seconds.
They think it’s a fast food shop.
That’s What Catflaps Are for, Meow
Popping outside when you fancy a spin around the garden
popping back in when you need a snack
popping in and out without making Lulu get up
and without waking her up in the middle of the night:
this is what catflaps are for, Meow.
Meow Loves Lulu
Some people say that cats
only love you for the food
but Meow loved Lulu
from the first moment they met
and he jumped into her arms
– long before she made him
delicious fishy snacks!
Meow’s Catnip Mouse
Dangly toys, feathery birds, noisy balls and leopard-print things on a stick
Lulu has bought Meow every toy available from Cat World
but his favourite is the velvet catnip mouse with the cheeky tail
he loves to chew off.
Neighbourhood cats have been spotted sneaking in
to swipe Meow’s toy mouse
and roll around with it on the patio
which is why Lulu has to buy multiples.
When Lulu makes the bed
Meow jumps right in
dashing under the duvet
and pouncing on his catnip mouse.
Lulu thinks even housework
is fun with Meow around.
Bee careful, Meow!
It’s 20th February, the hottest day of the year so far
and while Lulu is sunbathing in the garden
reading Catullus’ poems
Meow is busy chasing another yellow and black fuzzy creature:
a bee, just landed at No 20
to feed on the newly blossomed crocuses.
Meow is running after the little bee
twirling and swatting and flying through the air
but bees can sting so take care little hunter.
Lulu is Lucky
Since adopting Meow Lulu’s life has been great!
She’s feeling so much better
and work is excellent
especially when Meow sits on her lap
and they share a well-earned snack.
She has made some fantastic friends – all cat ladies –
and Cottontails is in newspapers and on the radio.
Every day is a good day with Meow around:
the mice have moved to another home
the living room is cat-friendly and warm
and Meow and Lulu are happy in love.
This small black cat has certainly brought lots of luck!
In the past few days
Lulu has stayed up late
working until midnight
to update Cottontails’ website
and write the Easter Bunny campaign.
But today storm Doris has arrived
and Meow & Lulu are not in a hurry to get up.
They’re having breakfast and playing mouse on the bed
– it feels good to have a lie-in.
Meow Hogs the Duvet
Lulu is freezing:
she can’t get under her duvet.
She made the mistake
of tossing it aside
just for five minutes
while she went to make coffee and eggs
for breakfast in bed.
Meow quickly made himself comfortable
on the fluffy duvet
and fell asleep with his feet in the air.
And that is why when Lulu went back to bed
she couldn’t get under the duvet
and she’s freezing
while Meow is snoring.
(Lulu used to have a lovely fleece dressing robe
but Meow likes to sleep on that too
so she can’t wear it anymore.)
As soon as Lulu picks up her keys to go out
Meow springs up like a rocket
(even if he’s in the middle of a nap)
and follows her outside.
Lulu has to stop to give Meow a cuddle
and persuade him with treats back into the house
but Meow has been tricked before
and shows off in the front garden
sniffing the daffodils and climbing up trees.
Lulu is running late so she slowly walks away
but Meow follows hot on her heels like a little dog!
Whenever Lulu thinks he’s turned back
he dashes ahead of her
going round and round her feet
until she has to pick him up
and carry him home –
but Meow immediately pops back for more.
Yesterday he followed Lulu almost all the way to the park
weaving in and out of parked cars
and worrying Lulu very much
but eventually he made his way back
and when Lulu returned home at 8
Meow was waiting for her
demanding an extra snack.
Meow didn’t let Lulu out of his sight after that
and slept on top of her head.
Lulu wonders if she’ll ever be able to go out again
without feeling bad.
Lulu can’t listen to the radio this morning
because Meow is purring very loudly.
Good Morning, Meow!
There’s nothing sweeter
than waking up in the mornings
and finding Meow asleep on my head
soft, warm, and purry.
Meow is a peaceful cat
and likes all the other cats
– all except one: a bold orange and black striped tortie
who loves pouncing into our garden.
Meow chases this kitty
whenever he dares to visit
and wolf down his food or Johnny’s (the lovable stray).
Now the rival puss has to sit on the neighbours’ shed
or walk along the top of fences
if he fancies a trip around the neighbourhood.
He knows his place.
6 & 13/4/17
Lulu Belongs to Meow
Meow nudges Lulu a lot
and swipes his tail daily all over her
– “You’re his,” say her friends.
6 & 13/4/17
Meow never learnt to pull in his claws when he was small
and scratches wherever he goes
but since Lulu adopted him he’s become sure of her love
and his paws are turning from scratchy to velvety.
6 & 13/4/17
Meow Feels Loved
Meow has become more confident of being loved
he no longer worries too much if Lulu opens the front door
to water the garden
and yesterday he even let Elton the plumber sit on his sofa
while he was having a nap.
He’s happy and loved.
6 & 13/4/17
Meow’s eyelashes are fluttering
and his paws are shaking
chasing butterflies or little birds:
Meow is dreaming.
When Meow is sleeping in Lulu’s arms
and decides it’s time to get up
he stretches one paw right up
as if to give her a hug.
Lulu has ordered in some expensive new food for her little Meow:
single portion fishy dinners
and tins of organic chicken
that look so delicious
they’re probably better than human food.
Now every breakfast and dinner
Meow has a choice
of chicken breast with wild rice
or perhaps tuna with prawns or sardines,
mackerel or salmon
– whatever he fancies –
plus a little Wiltshire ham or cheese from Lulu’s dish.
That is why Smudge the fox and Mrs Fox
Johnny the lovable stray
and all the other neighbourhood cats
are hanging around Meow and Lulu’s garden
hoping for leftovers.
15 & 17/4/17
Meow Lives up to his Name
Meow is a great communicator:
he meows for a dawn breakfast
he meows to call Lulu downstairs
he meows for sardines and roast chicken
he meows for his Dreamies.
He meows to say hello
he meows for love
he meows if the cuddling stops
he meows to show off.
He meows when Lulu goes out
he meows to say, “Welcome back!”
he meows for a back rub
he meows as loudly as he can.
He meows and meows
to be carried around
he meows for this and that
he meows at the cat flap.
He meows when the builder’s around
he meows when he wants to pop out
and two seconds later when he pops back in
he meows when he climbs up the apple tree.
The only time he doesn’t meow
is when he’s in Lulu’s arms
– then he PURRRRRRRRRS!
Meow Lives in the Moment
Meow doesn’t do social media
he’s not on Twitter or Facebook
he doesn’t need to Instagram to know life is good
he would have thousands of followers of course
but he’d rather snuggle up to Lulu
and play with his friends in the real world
– and he hopes you do too.
Meow is a Social Butterfly
Meow is well known in Walthamstow
for popping in to say hello
to the nice people who cared for him
when he was a stray.
And Lulu often hears
about his social calls
and that he makes someone feel good
simply by napping on their sofa
or meowing for a treat or two.
But Lulu can’t help worrying
when he runs across the road
or when a neighbour says he’s seen him
at his cousin’s house two streets away
and hopes and waits
that’s he’ll come back safe.
30/4 & 1/5/17
Meow in the Dark
Meow is all black so sometimes
when he’s sleeping on the sofa in the evenings
Lulu can’t see him!
But as soon as she does she sits
on the small bit of cushion that’s still free
and pets him on the top of the head.
Then Meow immediately rolls over
for a belly rub.
30/4 & 1/5/17
Meow’s Beauty Routine
From this week Meow has some great grooming accessories in his kit:
a wire brush to make his fur smooth
and which he loves so much, he keeps nudging it with his nose
a purple Zoom Groom for that essential daily back rub
and a flea comb just in case.
Meow is delighted with his new beauty routine
and purrs loudly while Lulu brushes him.
30/4 & 1/5/17
6 Months with Meow
Meow celebrated his 6-month anniversary
with lots of cuddles from his new friends Maggie and Manuela
who made him feel really special.
He showed off by jumping on their lap and on their back
purring for England
while Lulu dished out his favourite tuna with prawns
as being the centre of attention can be hungry work!
Meow and Lulu Have Breakfast in Bed
“Everybody should have breakfast in bed,” Lulu says
and Meow totally agrees with that
which is why as soon as she lays her tray on the bedside table
Meow immediately jumps into her lap
begging for love.
Lulu has to twist her back
to eat her Lebanese walnut cakes
without dropping crumbs all over Meow
Meanwhile her coffee is getting cold
and Lulu doesn’t even try to hold
her bowl of watermelon & pomegranate salad
as Meow is cleaning his toes now.
Yes, everyone should have breakfast in bed
especially at weekends
and maybe some days it isn’t as relaxing as Lulu hoped
but she wouldn’t change Meow for the world.
Mindfulness with Meow
Cuddling Meow needs your full attention
as he’ll know if you’re thinking of work or paying bills
while you’re tickling his belly.
And don’t even think about looking at a screen or multi-tasking
Meow would immediately jump up
to remind you he’s No 1.
So when Meow wants to be loved
stop whatever you’re doing
take the time to watch him roll over
making funny shapes and purring for two:
you’ll feel better too.
Mealtimes with Meow
Mealtimes with Meow can be tricky:
for example today Lulu was just sitting in the sunshine at the bottom of the garden
with a plate of refreshing watermelon
when Meow immediately jumped on her lap
and all Lulu could do was to grab a biteful of slurpy melon
between a back rub and a tickling session
taking care not to drip juice on Meow.
By the time she finished she was a little stressed
while Meow was purry and totally relaxed.
7 & 9/5/17
Little Grey Squirrel
There is nothing sadder in Meow & Lulu’s garden
than the heap of almonds and hazelnuts left uneaten since Monday
– the last time the best little squirrel in Walthamstow dropped by.
Little Grey Squirrel was a daily visitor
entertaining Meow and me with his parping and big leaps
he even banged on Meow’s catflap
when he wanted a top-up
and took hazelnuts from my hand.
His cheeky brown nose told us
he buried most of the nuts but I didn’t mind
and gladly stocked up on his favourite hazelnuts.
Little Grey Squirrel would pop into the living room if breakfast was late
or help himself to the birds’ sunflower seeds
hanging upside down from the feeders in the apple tree.
He could be bossy, and defended our garden against two other squirrels
who had to sneak in while he wasn’t looking
but they too have gone
so Lulu and Meow (who is kind to squirrels)
hope others will arrive soon.
7 and 9/5/17
Meow Snores (a Little)
On winter mornings if it’s rainy outside
Meow and Lulu stay in bed until lunchtime
Lulu with her laptop trying to do some work
and Meow sitting on top of it or nudging the keys
if Lulu stops cuddling him.
Lulu can’t write any poetry or check her emails
but she loves their cosy lie-ins
and when Meow falls asleep
she listens to his little breathing noises
while he’s dreaming.
Today the builder painted the flat roof outside Lulu & Meow’s bedroom
and it needed a few hours to dry
Lulu checked the weather forecast and everything was fine
but within an hour or so she looked outside the French doors
and Meow was on the roof begging to be let in
having forgotten all about catflaps and ground floors
and even more cheeky Smudge the fox followed
thinking of food and trying to make eye contact with Lulu.
Now there are foxy paw prints and Meow-shaped prints
all over Lulu’s newly painted roof.
(And the friendly starling who nests under the eaves every year
has dropped some soil and fluff on the roof
so it looks just as dirty as before painting.)
Meow’s Fallen off His Perch
Today Meow was rolling so energetically on Lulu’s lap
that he almost fell off his perch.
Lulu had to grab him in mid-flight
and kiss him on the top of the head
to save his dignity.
Meow’s Rainy Night
Noisy pawing and meowing at my window at 3am
(forgetting to use the catflap)
jumping in with the fur puffed up and wet:
Meow’s Ensuite Kitchenette
Meow likes to have a sleep-in with Lulu on rainy days
napping on her duvet while she’s having breakfast and writing poems.
So Lulu has given him an extra food station
in her ensuite kitchenette.
Now Meow doesn’t need to go downstairs
when he fancies a snack.
Blurb for back cover
MEOW & LULU
A Love Story
Meow is the kind of cat who makes you feel happy and warm inside – and is in need of a home. Lulu is an artist and London explorer who doesn’t want to be tied down with pets. When Meow meets Lulu, it’s the beginning of a wonderful love story and the inspiration behind this little book of poems.