Norwegian Forest cats are not like other cats. They are extremely large – an adult male can weigh as much as 9kg – with muscular bodies, long legs and big paws. They have long, water repellent hair making a large cat look enormous.
That was Wai-wai, although he certainly did not start out at all large. In fact, when he arrived into our lives at two months old, I wondered whether he would survive. We soon discovered that he had a passionate dislike of wet food, preferring crunchy cat biscuits. Once he found his appetite, though, there was no stopping him and he put on weight at a frightening 100g every two weeks.
Wai-wai had the run of our house, striding around like a small lion, and pretty soon we had all fallen under his spell. I felt particularly drawn to him. May be it was because he spent hours sleeping on the window sill while I worked at the computer or stretched out at my feet while I played the piano. Or may be it was because I was inextricably drawn to his soul.
I know that all pet owners are very attached to their animals but I felt extremely close to him, a bond deepened when I was struck by a bout of severe depression three or four years ago.
I was in a dark and hopeless place no-one could understand. I recognised the problem and sought professional help, seeing a psychiatrist once a month. But what about the dark days in between counselling sessions? Wai-wai became my furry psychiatrist, listening to me 24 hours a day and, as strange as it may seem, I felt he truly understood me as I unburdened my innermost thoughts.
I grew so close to him that I felt he had become a son and I would thank Wai-wai for listening to me by telling him I loved him. He would blink his eyes and nod at me, giving me the reassurance that he loved me in return.
I am truly thankful that my depression lifted after about a year but those 12 months had created a tight, indestructible and irreplaceable bond between the two of us.