Born in Co Down in 1977, Paula Matthews is a children’s author, playwright and theatre director. She had her first children’s ebook, Inky Dinky Dooky Doo, published by Our Story Ireland in 2014 and since then she has served for one year as the resident children’s author for Newtownabbey In Touch magazine. Paula founded Marginal Theatre and wrote the play Echoes, for which she received a SIAP Award from the Arts Council Northern Ireland.
Paula edits The Launchpad Journal, which showcases new writing for children in Northern Ireland/Ireland. She also oversees The Little Launchpad, publishing children’s creative writing. Paula is the NI liaison for the Society of children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. She is an organiser of the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, and works in the field of shared reading with children and adults involved in the criminal justice system.
She has been widely published in NI journals and is a Lapwing poet. Paula has completed mentorships with Moyra Donaldson via LitNet NI and Jo Egan via the Arts Council. She is passionate about democratising the arts and enabling marginalised people to make their own contribution to the creative arena.
Mrs Wilcox looked out the window and heaved a very big sigh. It was raining like crazy, the sort of rain that bounces off the pavement and makes the bottom of your trousers get wet. It was the sort of morning when people are much happier indoors, with dry feet and no need for big, wet, rustling raincoats. Cats are even happier to stay inside when the rain is that heavy. Most people would agree that cats absolutely; totally and utterly hate getting wet. Even more than people do. They hide indoors when the rain falls and don’t come out until it has been over for a long time. I once knew a cat who made herself completely flat and crawled on her belly under a dressing table when bad weather came. A friend of mine saw a cat climbing into the wardrobe when it was raining and it didn’t come back out for hours.
“O, boy,” said Mrs Wilcox, dreading the morning ahead.
Kitty was going to the vet. Kitty was a young cat who had just come to live with the Wilcox family. She was beautiful, with a lovely, long black and white coat, big green eyes and a little pink nose. Mrs Wilcox loved Kitty, but she was worried about her. Over the past few weeks, Kitty’s tummy had gotten bigger and bigger and when she walked she swayed from side to side. Mrs Wilcox had begun to think that Kitty was going to have kittens very soon.
“Here, Kitty,” said Mrs Wilcox, but there was no sign of the cat.
“Kitty! Kitty!” she called upstairs and downstairs, but Kitty did not come.
Mrs Wilcox phoned her son,
“Did you let the cat out this morning before you got the bus?”
“No, Mum, she’s in the house somewhere.”
“Time to bring out the big guns, then,” said Mrs Wilcox as she hung up the phone.
Mrs Wilcox was a very clever woman and it was very hard to trick her. She went into the kitchen, got some bacon from the fridge and put it on the grill. Five minutes later, she heard a meow.
“Kitty,” she said, “here’s your breakfast.”
Mrs Wilcox put some bacon in the cat carrier. Kitty had never seen it before and jumped right in.
“Gotcha!” said Mrs Wilcox, and closed the door.
They went outside and walked to the bus stop with Kitty meowing loudly.
“I know it’s not nice, but you must go to the vet.”
On the bus, Kitty meowed very loudly indeed.
“Shh, Kitty. You are making a scene.”
At last they got to the vets. Kitty hissed at a puppy in the waiting room,
“I’m so sorry. She doesn’t like the vet’s.”
The vet was calling them. They went into the surgery and Kitty growled. The vet put her hand in the carrier to try to lift Kitty, and she scratched it.
“I’m so sorry! I think she is stressed.”
In the end, the vet got Kitty out with a hiss. Mrs Wilcox explained that she thought there might be kittens on the way.
“I have news for you Mrs Wilcox,“ said the vet, “Kitty is a boy.”
“O, my word! I’m sorry for wasting your time.”
“These things happen, it’s hard to tell,” said the vet, “What a handsome cat.”
When Mrs Wilcox got home, she phoned her sister to tell her all about it.
“He’s not pregnant at all, he’s just fat!” said Mrs Wilcox.
“That’s all that bacon you feed him,” her sister said.
That afternoon, Mrs Wilcox went to the shops like she always did. This time, she bought some chicken.