Luisa Cescutti-Butler, Senior Midwifery Lecturer, Part-time PhD student, School of Health and Social Care
I have two cats but only one of them is the subject of this blog. It is ‘Mini Cat’ who takes centre stage and she is a black moggy. Despite myths and folklore surrounding black cats, Mini is nothing but a delight. She is a voracious killer of birds (I don’t like that characteristic), will eat anything and everything and is very friendly and loving towards her human parents. Why am I blogging about her you may ask, and what has she got to do with my doctoral studies?
I recently had time out from work to catch up on important elements of my research (such as transcribing interviews and getting to grips with NVivo) and would spend all day at my laptop in my study. The photos show Mini sitting beside me whilst I am trying to input data onto NVivo, a computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS). Ah ‘cute’ you might be thinking! Not so cute when she walks over the keys trying to gain your attention as it’s now ‘three o’ clock human mommy’ and ‘I want feeding’ – “purr purr”. If I ignore her because I’m in the middle of coding and am concentrating and don’t want to lose momentum, she will find other ways of attracting my attention. Her next tactic is to jump up onto the window-sill which is directly behind the laptop and start knocking things off it! If that doesn’t work, she will jump down and start walking over the laptop again– “purr”, and eventually sit and look at me with her big green eyes and give a little meow! It’s no good now; I give up, go downstairs and feed her and Nutmeg, cat no 1.
On the other hand when Mini’s stomach is full she will often come up to the study, find a comfortable spot and sleep. She keeps me company and I find myself talking aloud to her, there’s nobody else I can share my thoughts with. I am not a sad and mad ‘cat woman’ but my other half is out at work as well. It is said that cats can help with studies, I would love Mini to stop murdering all the delightful birds and instead put those hunting skills to good use, such as helping me to find those elusive themes from all the data I have thus collected, but unfortunately her talents do not extend that far.
She is a nuisance sometimes, demanding my attention either for feeding or stroking but I wouldn’t have it any other way. People always say that cats are aloof but until you have one as a pet you will discover that is not true, they like to be with their owners even if their human mommy is battling with the intricacies of NVivo. However if any other PhD researcher knows of a cat with ‘transcribing skills’ give me a call!!!! I have to end this blog because Mini is hungry, ‘meow, meow’!!!