Politicians and their Pets: Russell Findlay and Yoshi
West Scotland Conservative MSP Russell Findlay introduces us to his Siberian cat, Yoshi.
How long have you had him? A year and a half.
Where did you get him? From a breeder, after he had served his purpose of making kittens.
What can he do? I’m a dog person, but Yoshi changed that. He acts like a dog — fetching his paper ball and being engaging and affectionate. He makes weird growling noises. But he retains the feline quality of aloofness and can suddenly turn, drawing blood with his claws. Perfect training for my immersion into Scottish politics.
What do you love about him? He’s supremely beautiful and noble. I just stare at him. He sprawls like a big cloud of fluff with his legs splayed and sometimes sits upright like a wee fat man. His big green eyes are hypnotic. They also radiate contempt — similar to how Nicola Sturgeon looks at Douglas Ross.
What special talents does he have? It’s more one that he doesn’t have. Having spent the beginning of his life in a cage, it took a while for him to learn to be free. This is good news for pigeons because he doesn’t possess standard hunting skills but compensates by growling at them through the window.
What’s his best trick? Being magnificently photogenic. Every day he strikes poses. My camera rolls looks ridiculous, but I’ve NEVER put Yoshi on social media because there are quite enough cat pics online.
What are his most annoying habits? Like me, he gets hangry (angry through hunger). So if dinner’s late, he deploys charm and menace. This includes attempting to trip me at the top of the stairs. I’ve narrowly avoided plunging to my death.
What’s the worst thing he’s done? When you chop meat he reckons he’s due, like a mafia protection racket. I was slicing chicken and he launched himself, taking a chunk out of the drawer. Another time we made a panic-stricken dash to the vet after he swallowed a wine bottle cork. The vet trousered £200 but no cork was recovered. It was later found under the fridge.
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or pet owner? With Yoshi it’s neither, but more transactional. I’m like a needy politician, trying to pander and please. He’s the voter, coldly indifferent unless I’m useful to him.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for your pet? My wife bought a bag of frozen white mice. We defrosted one but it was still pretty solid when we dropped it in front of him. Couple of sniffs, a raised eyebrow, and away he went.
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory? We had a boxer dog called Caesar who was a bit thick and loved doing a runner when out for walks.
What was the first pet you ever had? Caesar, later joined by another boxer called Rosie, who was much smarter than him.
What would be your dream pet? I would love dogs but it’s a big responsibility. The difficulty would be choosing which breed.
If you could be any animal what would you be? A Holyrood pigeon, crapping all over the miserable concrete bunker.