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My barmy cat woman days are well over

Good God that Susan Boyle is doing nothing for the image of female cat owners. In the beginning I thought it was funny. I even went on Tom Dunne's Newstalk show to defend the woman and indeed cat lovers everywhere. But now I want to take a step back and disassociate from the mad-cat-woman image.

I worry that, if I had not had my baby, I'd now be fussing about my little feline son instead. I used to be a bit obsessed with my cat. I bought him a bed in New York and carried it all the way home to Dublin. I had him on Ireland AM and on Xpose. He was even pictured in this paper on a few occasions, but then the whole celebrity thing went to his head.

I can't imagine how Susan Boyle's Pebbles is coping with the fame thing, but he's probably shouting for Whiskas' best rather than leftovers from SuBo's dinner. He's probably demanding trips to the beauty parlour right now, even if his owner isn't bothered by that kind of thing.

When I think of my life this time last year, when I spent an unhealthy amount of time taking pictures of my cat, Jagger, I begin to worry. Would I have become Ireland's answer to Susan Boyle (without the talented singing voice of course)?

The scary thing is that I do identify with her a bit. When I was in Holles Street, just after giving birth, I rang home to make sure little Jagger was okay. As soon as I got home I asked, "where is he?" referring to my cat. When I was in hospital, I left the heating on full blast so Jagger wouldn't be cold and I left the lights on so he wouldn't be scared.

Having the baby changed all that. Now, Jagger, bless him, is out in the shed. I gave him a fluffy cream blanket and told him that was his lot from now on. He's happy and well fed and, when it's sunny, we sit out in the garden and keep him company. But I no longer take pictures of Jagger. We don't hang out like we used to and he is no longer the main man in my life.

I object to the people who told me to get rid of the cat when I was pregnant. I can have a cat and a baby but, of course, I'm sensible and would never ever leave them in the same room together.

My baby and Jagger will become good friends. Jagger is great fun and I'm sure Pebbles is great company too, but Susan Boyle is taking things too far. Cats are great company but they're definitely not worth having a breakdown over.


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