Freelance colleagues

AKA an excuse to talk about cats. 

One of my favourite things about working from home is getting to spend more time with our hilarious little brood of cats. If you're not a cat person, this post probably sounds like nonsense, so do feel free to skip it! 

With four cats, all of whom came to us separately, the dynamics really do play out like a workplace a lot of the time. They all have very different personalities (as well as theme songs and a complete array of nicknames) so of course, I felt it was time for us to have an employee of the week sign.

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I was going to go with the more traditional employee of the month, but two of the three I line manage have no conception of time so it seemed like it would be impossible to incentivise them monthly. Of course we then needed personnel cards for the board. With some photo jiggery pokery in Illustrator I turned some of my favourite photos of them into portraits that properly capture their individual personalities.

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Their expressions say so much! But it's time for proper introductions. If you follow me on Twitter (@nickyadkins) or Instagram (same) you'll have come across these little floofers before.

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Mina is a three-legged physicist, originally from London. Her missing leg happened before we got her as an RSPCA adoption. Being an active tripod, she has grown her tail into a counterweight to help her balance at speed. Though she has no feeling in it (and regularly attacks it) it's the strongest cat tail I've ever known. She is, without doubt, the politest, kindest little cat I've ever met in my entire life. If she'd like something she'll mew just once or twice, and if you say no will stop nagging. She does it with a look that is so sad that your heart breaks, but she does it. Her favourite things are scratches on the side of her neck that she can't scratch herself, nose kisses, strings and moths. 

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This hilarious little shite is Stella. I genuinely think that she's a psychopath, or has some sort of mental link missing, because she is a total dick. She's the one who pushed three-legged Mina out of an upstairs window. She breaks into other people's houses, steals things, eats anything sticky, and likes nothing less than to ambush you in the dark and attack your knees. She's also the most clingy of all our cats and will go to great lengths to be with you. She sleeps on my legs at night, and during the day will sit with me in the craft room while I sew (though I have to take pins away from her, she like to steal them) and is photographed here in the bed I had to make her on the studio table to stop  her sleeping on whatever I'm painting. It's a washing up bowl with a cushion stuffed in it.  She'll ask for affection but just can't take it without also biting. Her love is a violent love and we love her for it. 

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We went to meet this one in her foster home, as she didn't cope well with being in a rescue centre. We didn't see her, because she was hiding. The first time we saw her was when she was bundled into a cat carry basket for us to take her home. For weeks she hid. My wife spent many hours lying on the floor of whatever room she was in, demonstrating that humans aren't scary. Three years on and she's a cuddly idiot who sleeps in my wife's arms with her head on the pillow, purring away like a truck. The chattiest of the four, she'll merrily squeak away at you for hours. She's not smart, bless her, and freaks out if you're wearing a coat but has now mustered the bravery to not run away as the food comes out of the packet. 

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And this is Jet. She's not listed as an employee because she is the Queen who rules us all. I adopted her 15 years ago when she was a terribly shy shadow of a cat who hid under a bed for six months, coming out only for slightly aggressive cuddle time until the unknown harms of her past were forgotten enough that she could start a new life with me. Now 22.5 years old, she is officially the oldest cat registered at the vet and though she has some complex medical problems now is still insistent about attention, food, and the need lie in the sun all day. She's been going down hill for a long while now and it feels as though she's rapidly reaching the end. Each day we assess whether she has had joy, and when she no longer does we'll be calling the vet to help her along to the next stage. 

The last 15 years have been very difficult at times, and I'm so glad that she was with me through them, and that she's spent the recent years with two adoring humans pandering to her every wish in a house that is cosy, safe, and has the perfect garden for sunbathing. The garden is currently strung with sheets that we've pegged up in an effort to keep her in the shade during this heatwave, but the warmth does her arthritis good and she's enjoying the long hot days. I'm grateful to be working from home in her final days so that I can do her bidding.

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But here it is, the inaugural Employee of the Week award! It goes to Mina, for being attentive, adorable, and for showing great respect to the Queen as she sprawls on the lawn. It nearly went to Stella but then she stood in my wet paint and bit my arm when I tried to shoo her off it. Dickhead.