Writer’s four-legged friend becomes star attraction Agony Aunt Petra Boynton from Sussex was on Facebook one evening when she read about a litter of rescue kittens that needed a new home. The post started a chain of events, which led to the mother of the kittens, Melody, featuring in Petra’s latest book. Melody “I took in a rescue cat and slowly but surely she became the star of my blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts and now she’s in my book too – she has become a real superstar,” explains Petra. It all began when a volunteer from Yorkshire Cat Rescue charity posted on Facebook about a cat she was fostering called Melody. She had given birth to a litter of kittens and they would soon need new, loving homes. But the more Petra followed updates on Melody and her litter of kittens, the more she wondered what would happen to her once the kittens had gone. The answer was that Melody would go back to the rehoming centre and be put up for adoption. Instead, Petra decided to offer this mum a permanent home. Petra says: “I travelled to meet Melody; this cat that I’d been following on Facebook and somehow felt I knew already. There was no doubt; she was coming home with me. As soon as she arrived in our house she became my best friend, the children’s hair cleaner-upper, an accomplished snack thief and a wonderful distraction when I was working on the computer!” Melody in Chapter 9: artwork by Sean Longcroft, Petra has spent much of the past year updating her self-help book ‘The Research Companion’ aimed at research professionals and students, and having Melody around has inspired her writing. “She’s always there, purring across my laptop, sleeping by my side, or checking that I’m actually working.” The book’s illustrator Sean Longcroft was told about the family’s interaction with Melody and decided to create a drawing that illustrated the cat’s role in the home. “Since Melody already has lots of fans on social media I felt she deserved pride of place in the book.” “Offering a home to a cat like Melody is one of the best decisions I’ve made. She is a real character and continues to inspire me to get busy typing each day. When I look back at the chain of connections that led me to find her on Facebook, I am so glad we made this accidental friend for life – I just could not imagine our house without Melody in it now.” Sara Atkinson, founder of Yorkshire Rescue, says this isn’t the first time a cat has had a big impact on its new family. “Cats have a remarkable ability to form strong bonds with their owners, even when they have already had and lost a family. They live in the present, adapt to those around them and bring every bit of their personality into each day. Melody is clearly a cat with a big character and hopefully she will inspire other families to adopt some of the many mother cats waiting for a new home once their kittens have all been adopted.” *Artwork by Sean Longcroft, owned by Routledge Publishers.