How it all started...

Me getting up close to a deer, aged 2

From the earliest age I was drawn to animals. I was born into an animal loving family, we always had pets and I was always bringing them home. The only toys I liked were animal ones. In fact, I used to hate the dolls that looked like proper babies - they gave me the heebie jeebies and I would often throw them to the other side of the room while I played with my My Little Ponies or my Garfield or Pink Panther toy... Or one of the other hundred of animal toys I had!

My favourite animals were cats, hands down! Followed closely by horses and rabbits and dogs. But I really loved them all... My parents would often take me to Featherdale Wildlife Park, the zoo and even the now closed down open range Lion Safari. I never saw animals as being of lesser importance than a person, they used to affect me even more so. I would cry in movies when animals died, but not when the people did. My worst 2 memories as a child was watching the horse sink in the swamp in the Never Ending Story (I screamed and howled with sadness and didn't believe my mum when she said it didn't really happen) and some cartoon movie where a unicorn turned into a human (I was so sad, and again cried, when the unicorn turned into a person!). There were other incidents like this, don't even get me started on when Beauty's beast turned into a man or when Bambi's mum got shot!

Me feeding a goat, aged 2

My first pet was Joey the canary, followed closely by Misty the Persian. Crazy crazy cat she was - didn't like to be held or played with and one day just didn't come home. It never turned me off cats though, like a bad experience with one does to most people. At the age of about 5 after seeing the Disney movie Oliver and Company about a ginger cat, I hounded my mum until we got a ginger cat. Along came my first true love, who I fittingly called Oliver. He was gorgeous. Would always want to cuddle and sit on my lap and play. Such a great cat. We had him for years, until one day he didn't come home. I was about 8 and was DEVASTATED. I cried all night. We never saw him again and I never quite got over it. From then on we had birds, fish, mice and a few different dogs. Asher the German Shepherd, Roxy the Kelpie X and finally Max the Silky Terrier X. There were also other random puppies, and a rabbit, that I would bring home and try to convince my parents to keep in between too.

Oliver the First

Me, aged 13, and Max

We had Max the longest and he was beautiful but I always still wanted a cat. Mum and dad would always put it down to we can't because we have a dog. And being the good daughter I was I accepted it. There were always a lot of cats in my life still, because I seemed to attract them whenever I was walking down a street, and they would come up and say hello by rubbing up against my leg. This still happens to this day, my most recent encounter was when I was standing on the street talking on the phone and I suddenly felt a presence. I turned around to find a black and white cat sitting and looking up at me, no more than 2 meters away. As soon as I said 'hello kitty' in my mushy cat voice he was full of affection and it was endless leg rubs for me and scratches under the chin for him. Joy!

We had Max all throughout my teenage years so when I was 22 and Max was sick and it was time to put him down I just fell apart. I loved him and was so sad. I still feel guilty that I never spent more time with him... After my parents got home from the vet I announced that I was getting a cat. There was no argument this time.

So I started researching and learning EVERYTHING there was to know about cats. After my devastation when Oliver never came home I decided this new kitty would be an indoor cat, only going outside to play on a harness. And the research I was doing indicated this is the best option for cats anyway, who live longer, healthier lives indoors and kill less native wildlife. My best friend De, had told me her Aunty's sister's cat had just had kittens and I could have one in 6 weeks. The preparation began! I bought everything I needed which was so exciting - scratching post, beds, toys, bowls, food etc etc. And started to think of a name. I knew I wanted a male kitten so I thought of names like Paco and Chachi. But nothing really stuck with me. The night before I went to pick him up I still didn't have a name so I started looking at the backs of CDs. I came across a song my my fav Aussie band Jebediah called 'Hey Bosco'. That was the name! Bosco. Picking him up the next day was so exciting and it's been true love ever since. He'll be 6 this year and is still a big kitten at heart. He has an awesome, unique personality and is always entertaining.

Bosco, day 1, 2005

Bosco now, 2011

Bosco has been the catalyst that drove my love for animals deeper - not long after I got him I turned vegetarian and slowly became more and more involved in animal rights and conservation. From volunteering for Animals Australia, donating to organisations like WSPA, Born Free and WWF (to name a few!), starting my own mini-organisation, teaching conservation to my students and signing up to volunteer with wildlife in the motherland of wildlife - Africa, this blog will serve as a reflective journal of my passion for all things animal!