Cork family: Our cat gives high fives... and uses the downstairs toilet

Having pets is a family affair, as NICOLA DEPUIS finds out when she catches up with the O’Mahonys to talk to them about life with their rescue dog and cats.
Cork family: Our cat gives high fives... and uses the downstairs toilet

Ronan (13), Jake (10), and Dex (8). The O’ Mahony’s live in Turners Cross with their dog Vala (5) – a collie shepherd cross, and their three cats Jefe - pronounced Hefy (6), Hendricks (4), and Kylo Ren (2).

MEET the O’Mahony family – Ashling and Dave, and their three sons Ronan (13), Jake (10), and Dex (8), who feature in My Pet and Me series.

The O’Mahony’s live in Turners Cross with their dog Vala (5) – a collie shepherd cross, and their three cats Jefe - pronounced Hefy (6), Hendricks (4), and Kylo Ren (2).

“All of our pets, except for Kylo, came from Munster Lost and Found,” says Ashling.

“They’re a great organisation and it’s fantastic that they’re there.”

Ashling and the boys recently sat down to tell me all about their lives with their wonderful pets.

The animals are from rescue centres and have been given a great home by the O'Mahony family.
The animals are from rescue centres and have been given a great home by the O'Mahony family.

So, do your pets make you laugh?

Ashling: Vala is very funny. She’ll pretend that there’s somebody in the back garden and she’ll jump up on the trampoline and bark up into the air. She’ll come back in then looking for a treat, so she just does this to try and get extra treats.

Ronan: When you have a plate of food, she’ll just stare at you, but then when you look at her, she’ll look away and pretend like she’s not looking at you at all.

Jake: And, like, whenever you’re going out on a walk, Vala always starts jumping on you and starts barking because, like, she wants to come… she’s, like, bring me, bring me now!

A feline friend.
A feline friend.

Dex: Whenever our dad comes home from work, Vala always runs up to him and tries to climb him. She gets very excited.

What are your cats like?

Ashling: Jefe is the most mannerly cat I’ve ever met in my life. If I’m cutting chicken, he’ll just sit down by my feet waiting patiently. 

I’ll throw him two bits of chicken and he’ll go back over to his little perch, and he won’t bother me again. Whereas if it was Hendrix and Kylo Ren they’d eat the hand off you because they’re just crazy for food.

Ronan: One of my favourite things about Jefe is how he’ll just jump up into your arms when he wants rubs or cuddles.

When Vala was a pup.
When Vala was a pup.

Ashling: Yeah, you could be standing in the kitchen, and he’ll just jump up on top of your shoulder or on your back without warning. He loves his snuggles. That’s one of the best things about Jefe, he’s the cuddliest cat. 

He’ll put one paw on either side of your neck and hug you, like... it’s very cute.

As for Hendrix - we think he’s down to about two lives. We don’t allow Hendrix to go outside because he doesn’t know how to ‘cat’.

Ronan: Yeah, he struggles to jump onto the counter. Sometimes he’ll, like, jump and then give up half-way. He’ll just walk off and pretend like nothing happened.

Aisling: Once, we found Hendrix in the cupboard where we keep all the cat food. He had eaten a fair amount of food, and obviously went into a food coma because he was conked asleep next to it. So, then we had to put child locks on the cupboard. Kylo Ren - if he thinks he’s in trouble, he’ll get really close to the floor. His belly will be almost touching the floor because he thinks then that you can’t see him.

One of the cats making themselves comfortable.
One of the cats making themselves comfortable.

What has having pets taught you about life?

Ronan: They have taught us to be responsible because we have to feed them and take care of the litter tray. And they’ve also taught us not to leave food unattended. Never leave food unattended!

If you could be a pet animal, what would you be?

Ronan: I would be a cat so I could sit around all day and do nothing and sleep all the time.

Dex: I would be a fish because I could swim around all day, and I could breathe underwater.

Jake: A cat, because then I could climb easily. I’d know very good hiding spots and have night vision. Well, I could see better in the night, and I could just relax all day.

What would be the advantage/disadvantage to being a pet instead of a human?

Ronan: The advantages would be no school, and I could sleep all the time. Disadvantages - I wouldn’t have opposable thumbs and I wouldn’t be able to feed myself or get food for myself... I’d have to wait on my humans.

Getting some hugs.
Getting some hugs.

Jake: Advantage is liking a cuddle. The disadvantages are that I can’t clean up my mess. And I’m very small and I have a tail so, like, it’s hard for people to get around me sometimes. So, if I’m, like, sitting on the stairs, you could accidentally step on my tail.

Dex: Advantage is I could stay in water forever. Disadvantage is I’m tiny, and I only have a few seconds out on land.

Who are your favourite pets from books, TV and movies?

Jake: Hedwig from Harry Potter, Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web, and the woolly mammoth from The Ice Monster by David Walliams.

Dex: So, I would choose Dog Man from the Dog Man books, and Cat Kid, also from the Dog Man books.

Ronan: For me, it would be Jake the Dog from Adventure Time, Jones the cat from Alien, and Marcel the monkey from Friends.

Ashling: One last thing I forgot to mention about Hendricks. We’ve taught him to give us high fives. So, I touch his paw, he puts it out, gives me a high five, and then he gets a rub on the head. It’s very cute. Anyway, that’s one of my favourite things with Hendrix. 

He also taught himself to use the toilet. He doesn’t use the litter tray; he uses the downstairs toilet. It’s very odd.

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