I have often been asked if there was a real Aubrey. The answer is yes and, like his namesake in the Cat Noir series, he was a rescue cat.
Aubrey was given his name because my partner was reading John Aubrey’s Brief Lives at the time. As Aubrey said to me later, he was grateful not to have been called Brief.
Aubrey was a big male tabby and had been at the rescue centre for months – much longer than any of the other cats – probably because he was neither fluffy nor cute. When we visited the centre, he walked straight up to us, parked himself on my partner’s foot and stared up with his big gold green eyes. Game over. We loved him right here right then.
Aubrey had been taken to the rescue centre by a well-meaning stranger who had found him wandering the streets. However, we suspected we were not his first owners as he appeared to have had certainly been well looked after. From the very beginning, he was loving and affectionate, although it would be true to say that he never missed a food opportunity.
The day we took him home, we showed him the garden. To our horror, he jumped out of my arms and made straight for the fence. He took it in one leap and ran across the fields at the back of our house. We thought we had lost him. Yet… I called his name and he leapt straight back into the garden and towards us!
The idea for the Cat Noir series came about one day when my partner was watching Aubrey strolling about the garden. He turned to me and said, ‘Do you know, that cat always looks as if he’s got a purpose in mind. Like he’s just off to his club. Or he’s got a bit of admin to catch up on.’
Or maybe a crime to solve …