We sat down with weather star and Cats Protection ambassador Elizabeth Rizzini to chat cats!
Q) Tell us about your two cats, Louie and Mabel.
A) I got them during lockdown, so they are lockdown kittens. I was in the market for a rescue cat but my children had always wanted kittens and they were quite hard to find, so they were kittens from a friend of mine. I was on a kind of new start in life and had found a new house which has cat flaps already and it wasn’t a flat so it was easy to have the cats around. The children were really excited. They are very different.
Louie is quite small and black and white. He is the more friendly one and is quite floppy! My little girl, who is seven, likes to pick him up and he will let her. Mabel is the black fluffy one — she is beautiful and very pretty. We say that Louie is the ninja and Mabel is the spy because she is very slinky! Sometimes she can be in the room and you won’t see where she is! Louie is a hunter. He will bring me back a lot of catches. I’ve had baby birds (who I’ve tried to nurse back to health), mice, a rat, and frogs. Everytime I’ve got him a collar with a bell he has managed to get it off. Mabel, on the other hand, is always in the house or very close to us.
Q) Do they get on?
A) Yes, they do actually. They sleep together and it is quite sweet. They will cosy up to each other. They don’t really get on with other cats though. Louie has got lots of scars on him as he is the territorial one and will put up a fight. They are both microchipped and neutered so I am not too worried. My partner’s cat is more of a house cat and sometimes I think it would be so much easier having house cats!
Q) How do you reflect on getting cats during lockdown?
A) I understand the concerns people have got about animals that were bought during lockdown. However, it was a new start and a good change. I had always grown up with lots of cats because my mum rescued cats. There was always two or three cats in my mum’s house. My sister and I always said that when we die, we’re going to come back as one of my mum’s cats as they have the best life ever!
Q) Is that part of your childhood where your love of cats comes from?
A) Yes. It all started with this one little cat that was clearly homeless and used to hide in our shed. We put up posters to try to find the owners and eventually got it microchipped. The other cats all came from rescue centres. Although when my parents got married they were given a Siamese cat as a wedding present! He was purebred and the most interesting character. He learned that if he was to sneeze around my dad’s kippers then he would get the kippers! He was called Julius and after that my parents named lots of their cats after Roman emperors.
Q) You’ve done lots of work with Cats Protection and were one of the judges for the National Cat Awards. What was that like as an experience?
A) My cats have really helped me over the recent years and been great companions, so it was lovely to see other people’s stories that came through the competition. There was a young lad who was autistic and almost quite dependent on his cat — that was a lovely story. It’s nice to hear these stories as you see how much your own cats help you in your life. Cats Protection are doing an amazing job rehoming cats which is good for the cats and to be honest, it is good for the humans. As long as the cat can find a good family, it’s a win-win all round. I am always prepared to give up my time for things like Cats Protection because their work is so important. What I really hope — now that lockdown is over, we hope — is that all those animals who were adopted during lockdown are now not suddenly abandoned.
Elizabeth has been a BBC weather presenter for over 10 years since her training at the Met Office. She presents TV and radio weather broadcasts for both national and regional BBC stations, and has also appeared on ‘Newsround’, ‘Googlebox’, and the ‘Antiques Roadshow.’ The glamorous Elizabeth is a massive tennis fan and regularly presents from Wimbledon and also has a special interest in space weather having presented a weekly stargazers forecast on the longest running BBC TV show ‘The Sky at Night’. She recently appeared on the disability documentary 'Being Frank' about her partner, the BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner OBE, who was paralysed by terrorists in 2004. You can find out more about Elizabeth from www.elizabethrizzini.com or follow her on social media: Twitter (@lizzieweather) or Instagram (@elizabethrizzini)