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Politicians and their pets: Stewart Stevenson and his Burmese cats

Politicians and their pets: Stewart Stevenson and his Burmese cats

The SNP MSP for Banff and Buchan introduces Donald Ruraidh and Madelaine

Pets’ names?
Donald Ruraidh and Madelaine, but they also have posh pedigree names which are Waggish Officer Ollie and Karakorum Madelaine.

Breed?
Donald is a Red Burmese and Madelaine a Chocolate Burmese.

Age?
Donald is 13 and Madelaine is seven.

How long have you had them?
He joined us when was eight months old and she was two and a half. Both had previous history which meant we were second-choice homes.

Where did you get them?
Donald came from Whitburn and Madelaine from Kirkcaldy.

What do you love about them?
All Burmese cats have soft, slightly oily coats because they only have one layer of fur. Many blind people in particular love to stroke them and so do we. But their big personality and intelligent conversation means you are always drawn in by them.

What special talents do they have?
Both are ferocious hunters. In his younger days, Donald would leap into the air to catch a passing pigeon. Madelaine brings home voles, mice, and a regular stream of rabbits, some of which are nearly the same weight as she is.

Their big personality and intelligent conversation means you are always drawn in by them.

What are their most annoying habits?
They have a fundamentally different view of the time days start. As Jay Heinrichs makes clear in his book How to Argue with a Cat, and I paraphrase his 126 pages, if you can persuade a cat ... you can persuade anyone.

What’s the worst thing they’ve ever done?
My wife and I bear scars from claws carelessly unsheathed and used to aid take-off from sitting on our chests. We merely exclaim "oh dear" on such occasions.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for them?
The care and attention paid to their menus far exceeds consideration of what we might eat.

Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or a pet owner?
Neither. They are in charge. No ifs, no buts, no debate.

What’s your first pet or animal-related memory?
My parents had a Scottie dog which would leap out and nip the ankles of patients who came to surgeries, which were held in the front room of the house. He was soon replaced by Ginger, a large red lady cat.

If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
Cats it is and I guess always would be. They are as independent as I want to be but as friendly as they should be.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
Defo has to be a cat. I can sleep when I want, I would always get out of or into the house when I dictate, I would eat when I want.

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