A woman has married her cat in a bid to stop landlords from forcing her to give up the pet.
Deborah Hodge, 49, says she has already been made to rehome three animals over the years by landlords who don’t allow pets in their properties.
Terrified of losing her precious cat India, the mother-of-two has now “legally” married her feline friend.
Decked out in a tuxedo, the single Hodge and her cat were wed April 19 in a civil ceremony presided over by a legally ordained pal.
The 5-year-old India, who was draped in gold lamé for the special day, meowed her way through her vows as Hodge’s friends watched on in a park in southeast London.
Hodge now hopes their commitment will show landlords just how important it is for them to stay together.
“I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I married my cat! I recited vows under the universe that no man will ever tear myself and India apart.
“I set out my intention that I would never be separated from the animal I adore. I can’t be without India. She is truly a sensation; she is so friendly and amazing.
“She is fundamentally the most important thing in my life after my children.
“By marrying India, I need any future landlords to know that we come as a package, and we cannot be separated under any circumstances as she is as important to me as the children.
“I refuse to be parted with her. I’d rather live on the streets than be without her.”
While living in a previous property, Hodge claims she was forced to give up her two huskies, Siri and Starshine, after her landlord threatened her with eviction if she kept them.
Moving to her current home five years ago, she was devastated when her new landlord supposedly instructed her to give up her cat, Jamal, or be evicted.
“It absolutely broke my heart,” she said.
“Your pets become part of your family, and it was just absolutely devastating having to say goodbye to them.”
Desperately missing having a furry friend in her life, Hodge begged to be allowed to have another cat, and after countless emails, her landlord relented.
Black and white cat India joined Hodge and her two children in 2017 and quickly became a beloved member of the family.
After being hit by a car in 2020, poor India lost a leg and now can often be seen perched on Deborah’s shoulder or carried in her arms during trips to the beach.
Sadly, Hodge lost her job as a life coach on March 17 and now fears she could be evicted if she cannot meet her next rent payment, due May 1.
Facing the prospect of trying to find a new home, Hodge decided to marry India in the hopes it would show future landlords that the pair cannot be separated.
Surrounded by friends, Hodge and India wed in a civil ceremony officiated by her friend who is legally ordained for weddings.
Hodge wore a tuxedo while India gave a bow tie, cape, and gold lamé for their special day. The newlyweds celebrated with their wedding guests by having a picnic in the sunshine.
Hodge said: “I’m on my last pennies, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I married my cat!
“I’m terrified of losing India. I can barely leave my house with anxiety over what the future holds, and I’m just desperate not to lose my cat.
“Although some might think it a stupid idea, I wanted to be able to show physically, by holding the ceremony in front of my friends even though they thought I was bonkers that I am very serious.
“I had a group of friends there for the ceremony – they all think I’ve gone batsh*t crazy, but we all had a lovely day. My kids weren’t there on the day, they just think that Mummy has lost the plot!
“I recited vows under the universe that no man will ever tear myself and India apart. I set out my intention that I would never be separated from the animal I adore.
“We lost Siri and Starshine, and then Jamal, and I do not want to lose another beloved pet. I vowed in sickness and in health, in death do us part, and I meant it.
“I don’t believe in organized religion; however, I do have faith. India always came back, even after losing a leg. I am her universe, and that is why I married her.”
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.