Midway through 2021 we moved into our spacious new home, just around the corner from our tiny old one. Finally, we had space to breathe, space for the kids to play, and space for a pet—something we’d wanted for a long time.

Finding a suitable cat was harder than we expected. We wanted to adopt a rescue cat, but many of the ones we met were too old or grumpy, or they had health problems. After a long interview process over many weeks, we finally found a suitable candidate.

This one was a chatty black domestic shorthair, aged about 6 months. She’s generally quite friendly, unless you’re a spider or centipede. In that case, she’s a cold-blooded killer with a heart of stone (and soft furry paws).

We named her Pumpkin (or Kabocha). Perhaps you can guess why. For a start, she’s all black, like a witch’s cat. But it also happened that we met and adopted her on 31 October—Halloween. What could be more Halloweeny than pumpkin?

Having a pet around the house has been fun for everyone, apart from when Pumpkin leaves us a fragrant little brown present in her litter box. We look forward to the day she can do her business outside.

Like all cats, Pumpkin is extra-friendly at feeding time, rubbing up against your leg and mewling hopefully. Up to now, her diet has consisted of dried cat food, some cat snacks, and the occasional insect that she’s hunted down.

Next month, she’ll be allowed to venture outside the house. We’re hoping she’ll focus her hunting energies on the odd visiting rodent rather than the native birds in our garden.