Politicians and their pets: Anne McLaughlin
The SNP MP for Glasgow North East introduces her cat, Tinkerbell
Pretty sure she’s descended from the Scottish wildcat!
How long have you had her?
Five years – for some reason thought it was a good idea to get her mid 2015 general election campaign!
Where did you get her?
Our friend, the actress Elaine Ellis’ hairdresser’s friend. The guy who had her loved her, but his new GF was raging that he sent Tinkerbell updates to his ex, so she made him choose! He cried as we took her and I did say if he changed his mind within a month, we would give her back. Glad he didn’t and I hope the GF was worth it.
What do you love about her?
She’s the most loving cat I’ve ever known. If you accidentally interrupt her sleep, she’s never grumpy, just gives a wee mew and immediately starts doing that headbutt thing to say hello. Also, she often puts her ‘arms’ up so you can pick her up and give her a hug.
What special talents does she have?
Not sure it’s a talent as such, but she gets us to play ‘chase’ around the house. She puts on a terrified look and bombs it round the house with us in hot pursuit (can’t believe I’m telling you this!). Remember when you played chase as a kid and if you went in your ‘den’, you were immune from being caught? Well, she has dens. She decides when the game’s over by just stopping dead, rolling over and ‘letting’ you stroke her tummy. It’s hilarious.
What is her most annoying habit?
Licking! I don’t mind her licking herself, nice to be clean, but I really don’t think I require the same level of care. Drives me mad, but I have to pretend to like it or she’ll be upset.
What’s the worst thing she’s ever done?
Just the usual cat stuff – whacking you with her paw at 5am so you can get up and play, telling you (with her eyes) that she’s had no dinner and you find out after you give her some that it’s her second helping.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for her?
She’s very timid about going outdoors, but I think it’s good for her, so to try and get her used to it, I used to go out to play with her. I would take my laptop and sit in the back green next to the bin shed just so she wasn’t frightened.
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or a pet owner?
She’s my best buddy.
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory?
My cat Sooty followed my mum to the bus stop one night as she was heading to work night shift. He never did that but must’ve known this night that a gang was going to try to mug her. Sooty made sure they were sorry. They ran for their lives and my mum hung onto her bag.
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
If I lived in THEIR natural habitat, I wouldn’t mind being pals with a monkey. I worked a lot in The Gambia last year and communed with the monkeys a lot – it was life affirming.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
A sloth, I think. There’s not a lot of downtime in my life, so I quite fancy all that sleeping. And the hanging upside down in a tree. That would be a nice change.