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Chasing ghosts with the Hobeck Cat

I'm not sure we have properly introduced the wider world to the Hobeck Cat, or, at least the inspiration behind Hobeck's logo being a book reading cat. I feel it is time for me to do that. The Hobeck Cat is a real cat. She's not as orange as the Hobeck Cat though. She's about ten and a half. She's called Aki, which incidentally means autumn in Japanese. She was thus named because of her fur colouring - she is mostly white but she has black and ginger patches and her ginger patches are the exact colours of autumn.

She came to the household when I lived in Shrewsbury. She had been abandoned as a kitten, rescued by a caring soul who sadly was unable to care for himself or a kitten. We took her on. She has always been a feisty beast. She knows no boundaries. She has no sense of discipline. She's an adventurer, particularly when it comes to empty boxes, empty bags and cupboards. She can be, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, a complete pain. She doesn't understand the word no. She thinks the table is fair game. She thinks unattended milk is hers.

About a year ago she became gradually quite unwell. She lost an awful lot of weight over the space of a few months. She spent her waking hours (of which there seemed to be far too many for a cat) either eating or vomiting. She was constantly hungry and she was consistently on the go. She became even more of a pain in fact. We swore about her. We lifted her off the dinner table. We pried bits of our food out of her mouth. We were in despair. Then, we found out what the issue was. It was her thyroid. It was overactive. She had feline hyperthyroidism. Yes, that is a thing.

Since that point, she has cost me an awful lot of money and she is about to cost me another £2,000. She is even more of a pain now. I love her to bits but she has become a money pit. But she's our cat. She's the Hobeck Cat, and we can't imagine life without her.

Recently, through my idle twitter browsing, I came across this book. On the front of this book, there is a cat. The cat on this book, looks just like the Hobeck Cat. I have only just started reading this book and I am absolutely loving it so far: it combines cats, Japan and eccentricity - three things I love. It seemed a wonderful coincidence that the cat on the front of this book was just like the Hobeck Cat. I can imagine Aki, who has a Japanese name, being a cat in this book. She'd love it.

Last night, as I was reading this book, I came across the term 'calico cat' which describes a cat like the one on the front cover and one of Aki's colouring. Curious to know more, I googled the term. Was Aki, the Hobeck Cat, perhaps a little more interesting than I had ever given her credit for (especially when telling her to get off the table for the thirtieth time in one day)? It seems that the answer is yes. She is more interesting than I had ever imagined.

The calico cat, as I can see, is a mostly white cat with black and ginger patches. They are almost always female. In French they are called 'chatte d'Espagne' (female cat of Spain), in Dutch 'lapjeskat' (patches cat) and in Japanese 'tobi mi-ke' (triple fur). However, more interestingly, in German they are called 'Glückskatze' which means lucky cat. Is Aki a lucky cat? No, certainly not in terms of vets bills she isn't. And then I read that Japanese sailors would often take a calico cat on board their ships to ward off ghosts and ship wreaks. Perhaps Aki is a lucky cat after all? Perhaps she will bring Hobeck good luck. Perhaps it is down to her that we've had such a fantastic first few months in terms of how much we both enjoy this work. Also, I firmly believe she sees ghosts. We live in a 18th-century farmhouse and she has been known to suddenly zoom around the room and up the furniture as if spooked by something we cannot see.

She might not be bringing us much in the way of good fortune the amount of visits she has to the local vets but she certainly makes every day interesting. She come to us joyously first thing in the morning (mostly for food but sometimes for love) and she keeps me company as I work (using my laptop as a chin scratching post).

Hobeck wouldn't be quite the same without our mascot, the book reading calico cat, the Hobeck Cat.

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