The Scarlet Setter

Dear Orlando,

I’m probably going to sound like a grumpy old lady in this letter, but I’m facing a bit of a situation and need your help. 

I’m a seventy-nine-year-old Red Setter, and I share my home with the obligatory humans and a cat called Betsy. I rather like her, and she is a pretty thing too. We’ve shared a home for years, but she keeps getting pregnant! 

I’m furious at the humans for not getting her ‘seen to’. I know what this means in the dog world as I remember my op very well. I had several litters of puppies and then I went to the V-E-T and wore the cone of shame and was a bit sore afterwards. Betsy has had far more litters than me though, and they just keep coming!

I’m still very active for my age, and certainly remember my boisterous years very fondly, but I like a quieter life now and the impending arrival of mewling kittens clambering all over me and keeping me awake is making me very nervous. None of the kittens stay for very long, so calm is eventually restored, but those few interim weeks are absolute bloody chaos.

I don’t want to be unsupportive towards Betsy, but I want to enjoy my retirement. Help!

Aged 79, Denbighshire

Dear Scarlet,

Oh dear. My good lady, I do feel for you very much, but I am a cat, and struggle to find fault with the arrival of more cats in the world. Betsy sounds as though she is doing sterling work on that front, and she is to be commended for her contributions.

That said, it sounds as though your humans are capitalising somewhat on your breeds and have been pimping you both out to make money from breeding expensive, desirable puppies and kittens. Humans are very weak when it comes to this sort of thing, and it causes us all sorts of problems, but they never listen to us. Greedy buggers.

I’ll reassure you somewhat by saying that it sounds as though Betsy is nearing the end of her breeding time, and she may well find herself at the V-E-T not long after the kittens head off to new homes. You can then be an excellent friend to her while she recovers.

In the meantime, I suggest you find yourself a quiet, preferred spot in the house to tuck yourself away in, far from the action when it happens. Bother your humans for extra walks to get out and about, and make sure you play along when they take photos of you near the kittens. After all, everyone LOVES kittens (and if they don’t, what the hell is wrong with them?) and the internet loves cat and dog photos, so you’ll get extra treats.

Play this to your advantage Scarlet, and then sit back and enjoy the praise!

Yours Purrfully,

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