Cats and Dogs and Swankypants

Flea and dog

As regular readers of my blog will know, Flea is living that whole ‘My Life as a Dog’ thing at the moment.

And to be honest, it’s all my own fault.

One day, when Flea was almost four years of age, she asked for a dog. I was distracted, and not really thinking when I mumbled, “Sure. When you’re seven.”

20 months later, Flea can still tell you EXACTLY how many days it is until her seventh birthday when, apparently, she is going to receive a Jack Russell dog called ‘Rascal’ who will sleep in a basket next to Mummy’s bed, and have a green collar and will definitely be a boy dog.

Flea is obsessed with dogs. She has approximately 40 soft toys in her bedroom – and they’re all dogs. When they play ‘Mummies and Daddies’ at school, Flea is the family dog.

And when being examined by doctors, Flea likes to pretend she is at the vet’s, and so will ‘woof’ her way through the consultation. On a daily basis, Flea keeps a tally of how many dogs she has seen out and about – yesterday was 13, which is relatively high because we went to the beach.

I’d sort of lost hope and resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to have to buy a dog in 18 months’ time. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t have high hopes when a PR sent us a review copy of a lovely story book called ‘Swankypants’ about a cat with magical powers, and all his cat friends. It's surreal, but fun.

Except, as it turns out, Swankypants has worked some kind of feline magic on my five-year-old. This week, Flea announced, “I really don’t mind what sort of pet we have, you know, Mummy?”


“Well, a cat is smaller than a dog, so I think really you could get a cat when I am six instead of a dog when I am seven.”

"Sure, I guess."

"Then I would like to have a cat, please, Mummy."

This truly is a seismic shift in our domestic policy, I have to tell you. We’ve had almost two years of daily dog talk. Knowing we might be nearing the end of this phase – well, it was quite a heady feeling.

Until I walked into the dining room today to be greeted by Flea, attempting to lick the inside of her own knee.

“Miaow,” she said. “I am a cat.”


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