She reads to them, watches TV and sleeps with them. Britt Collins on her enduring passion for cats

After my marriage ended three years ago, my husband’s parting words were: “You always loved the cats more than me, anyway.” It would’ve been funny if it weren’t true. Not that he didn’t share my passion for our feline family. And not that I didn’t love him. I did, deeply, though never with the ferocious intensity of the strays I’d rescued. Even as I leave behind those I’ve outgrown or fallen out of love with, the consuming affection I feel for my cats is unbreakable.

Everything I ever wanted in life came from music, books and animals. Raised as an only child by my animal-loving German father with a houseful of strays and convalescing wildlife, I’m sure my love of felines is inherited. My nickname growing up was Mačka, cat in Yugoslavian. I’d disappear for hours in my room, reading and listening to records, with the cats – all 13 of them.

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