The Not So Secret Life Of Milly and Mr Penny

Grafton, NSW Every November, the treelined streets of the Jacaranda City come out in veils of purple blossoms. The event is such a spectacle that a festival is held in its honour. Although we passed through at the end of the month, shortly after the height of the lilac bloom, the streets were still littered with purple rain. But this isn’t a story about Jacarandas! It’s the story of two cats.

Milly and Mr Penny

We arrived outside the home of Milly and Mr Penny and were greeted by their human, Brooke. Willow was still fast asleep under the blankets in the back of the van. I pealed them away so Brooke could meet her. Willow shook off her nap and stretched her legs out before greeting her with nose boops. “She’s so little!” exclaimed, Brooke. Willow loves to meet new people, as long as they are quiet!

A welcoming Milly

We left Willow to continue her morning nap and headed to the house. From behind the door I heard a very deep meow which I guessed came from Mr Penny. But no! It was Milly, ready and waiting to say hi. “She’s a sniffer, she sniffs everyone!” Brooke informed me. And this occasion was no exception, with an inquisitive Milly taking to task as soon as I knelt down by her. It must be required protocol for all new guests. Meanwhile, a bashful Mr Penny, with eyes like saucers, slinks past us through the hallway. She was right, they are big cats compared to Willow! There must be something in the water in Grafton. Milly leads us to her food bowl while Brooke and I chat. After she has finished eating, Milly proceeds to make the motions of burying her food- which was quite amusing to see!

Penny, Mr Penny?

It’s fair to say that Milly and Mr Penny have very different personalities. Milly is adventurous and outgoing, while Mr Penny is quite the reserved character. They were both adopted in 2015 at 8 weeks of age from a local family who foster cats. Though it was Milly’s sister they first spotted in a facebook post which led her to make a visit. But when Brooke arrived, Milly made it very clear that it was her that was to be adopted that day. “It was Milly’s ears that got me.” Soon after, she returned to the foster house on the search for a black cat to complete her little family. There she spotted little girl cat Penny. A couple of months later, Brooke had her suspicions that she may not actually be a girl! After a visit to the vet and an unfortunate amount of paperwork to get her microchip details in order, Penny became Mr Penny. “I wanted to change his name to Henry, but he already knew his name, but it’s a good story in the end.”

Walk outside

Brooke put Milly in her harness and we took her outside. Milly waited on the step for a smooch before going down the steps. She wore the harness confidently as she explored the area around the porch, smelling flowers and eating the grass. “As soon as she sees the camera, she will look away!” Brooke warns me. Penny doesn’t need the harness as he will just sit and eat the grass. But Milly needs to be on leash to stop her running off. And also to protect the dog! “She will attack the dog. He is terrified of her!”

Backyard Visitor

Brooke told me of a day when Penny kept jumping up and looking out the lounge room window. He would become skittish then run away. This went on for a few hours with Penny staring out the window with his tail puffed up. Brooke thought it to be quite odd, and soon enough looked out the window for herself. Perched up the tree was a very large diamond python. The snake must have ventured up the tree to check a nest for eggs. It always pays to listen to our cats, so it seems!

Not so secret

Back inside, Penny was hiding behind the TV cabinet. He slinked out and settled under the Christmas tree. “Penny is the sweetest cat in the whole universe, he’s obsessed with me.” Brooke told me. Brooke struggled with the fact that visitors don’t get to see him for who he really is. But I could tell the bond between the two was immense.  Penny likes to play a game where he will search the house for his toys and will bring them to Brooke as gifts by the end of the day. Though, to be chosen by a cat is the sweetest gift of all. Brooke shares the cat’s lives on their instagram page with followers from around the world. And although I wasn’t accepted into his inner circle on this day, I feel that we do get to see the real Mr Penny and his secret life through the heartwarming pics that Brooke posts.

Best Cats

As we wrap up our visit, I admire the decorations on the Christmas Tree. “They used to snuggle when they were kittens.” Sometimes Brooke will catch them sleeping on the same bed. “They’ll clean each other but then it will turn into a play fight.” Before we say goodbye we get some snaps of Milly and Willow together.

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You can catch up on the daily lives of Milly and Mr Penny on their instagram.
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