Homesick for Cats: Missing Franny and Pepper all over England

This post is the sixth in our “England 2015”:/news/category/travel/england-2015/ series.

The hardest thing about traveling for our seven-year-old daughter Rosie wasn’t the unfamiliar food or the jet lag or the miles of walking we did every day. It was missing our cats.
Kitties in the flat.
These kitties were already in the flat, looking out the window. “Awwww!”

Animals hold a special place in Rosie’s heart. When reading a story, the death of an animal will cause her much more grief than the death of a human. So when, after tucking Rosie in bed on our third night in England, I heard her weeping, I suspected that she might be grieving the absence of Franny and Pepper.
Pepper and Franny.
Pepper and Franny relax in their native habitat.

Pinky the tiny kitten at lunch.
Pinky, a tiny kitten from the British Museum, quickly became a treasured companion. Here she is enjoying participating in a pre-lunch still life at the Queen’s Larder.

The plush versions of Franny and Pepper.
The plush versions of Franny and Pepper get to know their new tiny kitten friend.

These two cats have captured all of our hearts — my own included. I’ve never been an animal person, even (or perhaps because of) growing up with two yipping toy poodles and an aloof cat. But Jesus has taught me to love these cats — even to the point that one of the first things I worried over once we decided to go to England was: “Who will take care of the cats?” It didn’t seem right to leave them alone for two weeks — both for their sakes and for the good of our house. The solution came when some dear friends kindly agreed to care for our cats in their home while we were away. We were a bit concerned when they adopted Dash the Bunny into their family just a week before the Boyd Cats arrived (especially after their behavior with our beloved fish Pearlio, RIP), but we needn’t have worried — the cats and bunny quickly became fast friends.
Franny and Pepper nap with their bunny friend.
Franny and Pepper napping with their bunny friend.

Our friends graciously sent us pictures of the cats almost daily, knowing how much our girls would miss them. We loved the glimpses of them curled up next to the bunny, or staring out the living room window, or trying to hide out in a bag in order to catch a ride out of the house.
Pepper wants to go to work, too.
“Can I come to work, too?”

Pepper learns about the Union Jack.
Pepper learns about the Union Jack with his cat-cation caregivers.

Franny and Pepper on the porch.
Franny and Pepper scheme to escape through the screen door of our friends’ home.

These snapshots were a balm to Rosie’s tender soul, but tears still needed to be released at various points throughout the trip. Every time we saw a cat — whether a tabby in the window of a London flat, a stray in a city park, or the famous Egyptian cat at the British Museum — we were reminded of our own dear kittens.
With the Egyptian Cat.
Lucy and Rosie connect with the Gayer-Anderson Egyptian Cat at the British Museum.

An English cat pauses in a park.
An English cat pauses in a park. “Take a picture, Daddy!”

At Peter Pan's statue.
The girls release their inner feline while posing next to Peter Pan’s statue in Kensington Garden.

As the trip progressed, we bemoaned how much we would still love to see and do in England. But the promise of reuniting with Franny and Pepper took the sting out of our departure — and when we returned home, there was a joyful celebration indeed.

Read the next post in our “England 2015”:/news/category/travel/england-2015/ series: How to Talk English: Learning to Embrace Britishisms.

2 Replies to “Homesick for Cats: Missing Franny and Pepper all over England”

  1. When we went to Guatemala, there was a kitten there my children adopted (who had been adopted by a previous family in the guesthouse and then had languished for want of small people’s affection)… and she had the same name as our 18-yr old cat who’d died a year ago. That kitten was a balm for my children, too. I love all the photos of your girls in cat poses.

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