I have heard it said that a house without a cat is not a home. The Historical House does not have a cat because cats can be absolutely ruinous to historical furnishings. The Last Aristocrat kept cats and they were very, very naughty to ye olde antique sofas. Therefore, I am not allowed to have a cat as long as I am the Lady of the Historical House.
Neither am I allowed dogs because there was once was someone living in the Historical Flat who... Well, the less said about that the better. At any rate, in my dreams a Siamese cat guards the Flat from invaders and a pug snores happily from the wing chair in my dressing room. Also I have my own garden and the houseplants flourish. It seems to me that it is much easier to keep a cat alive than a plant--but I digress.
I helped friends move house over the weekend, and it was terribly jolly. They have three children under six and now a back garden to keep them in. The garden has mint, lavender and dill. The children had grandparents, godparents, an uncle and a god-sibling in attendance. The men drove off to load boxes onto a van, and the women took turns tending to babies, humouring children and carrying the boxes (when they arrived) indoors and upstairs. The men informed each other of how Celtic was doing. It was very lively. I enjoyed it all thoroughly. I wished, not for the first time, that B.A. and I were 15 years younger and such family life joys weren't denied to us. Woe.
Thus, thoughts of such baby substitutes as pets, and as real pets are forbidden, robot pets. Another friend--very fond of cats--recently gave a robot cat to an elderly relation in a nursing home. The elderly relation has dementia, and so thinks it is a real cat. I'm afraid the cat wouldn't fool anyone else. It is definitely a robot--but a lovable robot.
I spent too much time last night searching the internet for a robot cat that really, really looked like a cat. The most lifelike robot pet currently in existence seems to be a baby seal ($8,000), which is used as therapy for the elderly. It has been invented, of course, by the Japanese, and I wonder crossly why they haven't yet come up with a cat version just as good, and priced it at $100, so I can have one. (Here's a link to what they have managed.)
Cat purists will no doubt say that there is no substitute for a real, living cat, and the litter box hassles plus the paw in the face at dawn are worth it. I am sure this is true. However, we can't have a cat and because I can't keep houseplants alive, the flat is devoid of life. What to do? (Please don't suggest cacti, for I have hated the prickly little things for as long as I can remember. Either my mother or my grandmother had some existing in a dish of silica pellets and the whole thing reminded me of death.)