Politicians and their pets: Cllr Alys Mumford and her cats Daisy and Henry
Politicians and their pets Councilor Alys Mumford
Pets’ name? Daisy and Henry
Age? About nine years old
How long have you had Daisy and Henry? Three years this August.
Where did you get them? Lothian Cat Rescue – they had been in the shelter for two months and I have no idea why because they are the most lovely and affectionate cats.
As soon as we went into their pen, Daisy ran up, put her paws onto my chest and looked up into my face. It was a done deal. Henry was much more nervous in the shelter, so we were prepared for a few months of coaxing him out, but as soon as he came home, he jumped on the sofa and pretty much hasn’t moved since.
What can they do? They can make anyone feel loved – Daisy by curling up in your lap, and Henry by dribbling all over you as a sign of affection.
What do you love about your cats? I love them both so much. They both love cuddles, with us and with each other, and when I am feeling anxious or stressed they seem to know and stroking them always calms me down.
What special talents do Daisy and Henry have? We’re pretty impressed with their ability to get in and out of our tenement flat into the back green by themselves. And that they come back up when we call them for dinner from our 3rd floor window.
What’s their best trick? Convincing us that they haven’t been fed yet. Despite being brother and sister, Henry is double Daisy’s weight, so we have to be vigilant to make sure he isn’t eating all of her food.
What are their most annoying habits? They both have the unique ability to lie down on a jigsaw puzzle over the exact bit you are working on.
What’s the worst thing they’ve done? Daisy has sent a fair few intelligible messages on zoom chats by walking over the keyboard. But she is such an integral part of video calls now that I think everyone is used to it!
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or pet owner? We are housemates!
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for your pet? When we moved into our flat we had a bookcase build which incorporates a staircase for the cats so they can sit on top of it, and a hidden cupboard for their litter tray. It felt ridiculous at the time, but it is perfect for them, and the idea then appeared on Changing Rooms which led to a flurry of texts from friends letting me know I was a trendsetter.
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory? Constantly trying to tempt Peter, our neighbour’s cat, into our house with a saucer of milk and then claiming “I have no idea how he got in here!” when my parents discovered him.
What was the first pet you ever had? Bramble the hamster. Escapologist extraordinaire - once leading to my mum sitting up all night with a plate of apple slices trying to tempt her out of the walls before I woke up for school the next morning.
What would be your dream pet? Daisy and Henry, obviously. But in an ideal world I would also have dogs and rabbits and they would all get along together. My partner remains unconvinced.
If you could be any animal what would you be? I think a buzzard. The ability to fly would be amazing, and buzzards seem to have a pretty great life – not too flashy that you have to deal with everyone taking your photo, just chilling above the tree tops, occasionally fighting with crows. Ideal.