Yep I too have been a cat lover since my nan bought me my first kitten when I was a little girl. When I got married the original intention was that he stayed at my parents, but I had to take him with me in the end because he been mine and I was the one who fed and cared for him, my parents said he just used to sit at the end of the drive all day and pine, waiting for me to come come. Blackie was a BIG cat weighing in at over a stone without an ounce of fat on him. People use to say he was like a puma - one workman said he'd never seen a cat so big. Blackie lived to the grand old age of 21.
Over the years Ive had various blacks, b+w's (are tux cats always mental? mine were!) and tabbies. Chaz (a chinchilla persian) was my first pedigree and a 'present' for passing all my banking/FA exams after a few years of hard work whilst also working full time and being a mum. Chaz actually choose me - I'd originally gone to look at a Blue, but the lil white fluff ball followed me around and sat on my knee. The breeder said shed never seen a kitten take such a strong attachement and first visit and would I like the white fluff ball at the same price as the other kitten Id gone to see. That was my introduction to a 'social cat' who formed a very strong bond with me.
Ive always had 2 or 3 cats and even a retreiver whom I used to take for walks and the 3 cats would follow too. I used to to be known as the lady who walked the cats. I'd have Jazz (the dog) on a lead, and then following behind with tails held up whilst we went to the field would be Sam, Chaz and Mouse (always in that order) in a line.
>>> I'm definately not doing the barbaric actof amputation or "declawing"
I am so glad to hear that.. so many Americans used to. Its awful and very cruel.
I used to use normal nail clippers occasionally on Mouse to trim his claws when he got old, but I find if you give an active cat a couple of scratching posts around the home, they will tend to their own needs. You can also get claw covers, which look quite cool. Ive never actually had to use them, but I know someone that does and they are much more humane if you have a cat who claws where he shouldnt.
Its lovely to hear your tales (tails?) from over the pond. Im so glad that everything is going well for you and your new family.. and you also have your own cat family over there now too.