When I last took our cat for his vaccinations, I told the vet how sweet the cat is to my autistic son. The vet looked surprised, and said it was so nice to hear of cats being intuitive, rather than just hearing about dogs responding to their humans’ emotional needs.

This surprised me. I would imagine that children or adults who are easily overwhelmed by sensory stimulation would find dogs, lolloping around, mouth open, barking, being constantly overjoyed at the world, too much.

Our little cat was 3 months or so when we brought him home from Blue Cross, and it was an instant bond. Since the start, our Piccolo comes running when SonOne is upset or having a meltdown or in any way not on an even keel. He comes running to greet us when we arrive home after school, and he represents Home, an anchor, a familiar and safe place to come back to. When we come back from holidays or a day out, Piccolo is what needs to be found straightaway.

He is soft and moves quietly, he miaows occasionally and often this is in response to my son speaking to him. He joins us on the sofa, in his own spot. When he has been  lying in my son’s bed, my son warms his feet in the little area which is still warm. Sometimes he wants to play, sometimes he wants a hug. He often remembers his kittenish habit of lying on my shoulders, even though he is now a bit too big and heavy for my neck to bear.

He takes from us love and attention in gentle but regular doses, but he gives love back in bucketloads.

Long may little Piccolo be here for my son.