Titch and Patch were two nice kittens stolen from a farm behind the house.
The conquest of the Keyes Boys III
One day, from the hole in the hedge, through which 'the one-eyed Reilly' used to prowl, came two frisky little kittens. The word spread like wild fire and in no time, all the lads were peering through peep-holes in the shed. Fresh from our failed encounters with 'the one-eyed Reilly', we proceeded with extreme caution and stealth. Barely audible whispers and sign language were the order of the day. Corned beef was procured and tossed gingerly towards the part of the garden where the kittens were moving. They spotted it and gobbled it up but there was no need for subterfuge. These cats were clueless. They came right up to the back door of the shed and at the first sign of the 'hunters', they miaowed loudly to attract attention. Ever so timidly, we broke cover. The cats stayed put, in fact, they came right up us. Mick stretched out a hand towards the first kitten, fully expecting to see nothing but a tail disappearing though the hedge. But no, the first contact was made. Mick stroked the kitten's head. I moved towards the other cat. In no time at all, we were holding two cats in our arms and our delight was only surpassed by theirs as they both purred loudly.
Over the next while, we continued to make contact with the kittens. In time, the 'authorities' were persuaded that it was in the best interest of all parties to grant assylum status to the kittens. For their part, the kittens offered no resistance to the move indoors and very quickly settled in.
One of the kittens was snow white all over and I don't know why we didn't call her snowball, but we didn't, we called her 'Titch'. Perhaps we called her 'Titch' because it rhymed with her sister's name 'Patch'. 'Patch' was so called because part of her markings featured a patch of black fur sweeping down over her left eye. They were very good natured creatures and loved to play with us, each other and any toy that came their way.
A year or more later Patch grew to be somewhat larger than Titch and it was explained to us that she was about to have a litter of kittens. Then one night in the base of a wardrobe the kittens were born. Reflecting the election of a pope at that time, it was announced "Habemus Pussycat!". Titch, the aunt, pitched in and helped out with the mothering, washing and grooming the new arrivals as if they were her own. Unfortunately, there was not to be a happy ending to this particular cat story. As the quota of house cats had been exceeded, sadly, the kittens had to go. A local man, thereafter called 'Pierrepoint' carried out the execution and for his grim duties, he received a 'pint-per-head', the going rate at the time.
Alone in the house (Patch, that is)
Further sadness ensued when the gorgeous Titch developed a tumour. She was genuinely brave, but in the end she succumbed to the illness and passed away. Again those experienced as alterboys led the proceedings as another corpse was interred in the seeminigly ever-expanding cat cemetry at the top of the garden.
Patch adorned the rug in front of the fireplace for a long while after.