When Barbarella Buchner broke up with her partner of seven years, she thought that she would never find love again.
But then the 48-year-old realised her soulmates had been standing in front for her the whole time – her two cats.
Barbarella married her two male pet cats called Spider and Lugosi, and they celebrated their 10-year anniversary in January.
She even proved her everlasting devotion to her two feline husbands by getting their initials tattooed on her right leg.
The web designer from Forest Gate, London says: “My two cats are my soul mates. They’re the loves of my life.
“Before when I had a human relationship, he’d come home and we’d argue over something or he’d want to chat when I don’t want to chat.
“Lugosi and Spider are different – I’m definitely happily married to them.
“I’m not alone, I have my cats now. I have no regrets and I don’t care what people say.”
Cat-mad Barbarella has always been an animal lover. Growing up, she always had pet moggies.
She says: “As a child, I was always surrounded by cats – our family always owned at least one or two of them.
“I can’t remember ever not being a cat lover or a lover of animals in general. But cats have always been my favourite.”
However Barbarella was never satisfied with the relationship she had with her family cats – and always wanted some pets to call her very own.
She explains: “Those cats were never my cats. They were adopted by my parents.
“I couldn’t have the relationship I wanted to because I didn’t feed our family cats. My parents fed them.
“I didn’t take them to the vets. My parents took them to the vets. The cats were more of a plaything to me at the time.
“But of course, my parents always taught me from an early age to respect cats and not be nasty to them.”
When Barbarella finally got the chance to adopt her own cats at the age of 34, she took the opportunity very seriously.
She says: “For me, it was like when you know you’re having a baby. Before you have a baby or adopt a child, you look on the internet to learn as much as possible.
“You read lots of books and attend support groups. That’s what I did as well before I adopted my cats.”
In March 2000, Barbarella adopted her 8-month-old tabby cats from an animal shelter in East London.
She says, “It was love at first sight when I laid my eyes on my two boys, Lugosi and Spider. I’ll never forget that day.
“They were rubbing themselves against the mesh and purring. It was all over – I knew I wanted those cats!
“I could tell the feeling of love was mutual judging by their purrs and the way they were brushing their little faces against the inside of their cage.
“These two tabby brothers were coming home with me!”
Barbarella – who now lives in Lanzarote, Spain – has been in a few long-term relationships with men but has never married.
She explains “I never really wanted to get married to any of my human partners and I didn’t know if I had it in me to be a wife.
“Some women are built to clean up after their men. I’m not like that.
“But I never minded being my cats’ servants. I’m not a submissive person but I’ll do anything for Lugosi and Spider.”
Barbarella says Lugosi and Spider were a comfort to her after her most serious relationship with her then-boyfriend broke down.
She says: “My ex was the most important person in my life until things stopped working between us. We ended up sleeping in separate rooms.
“I thought there was more hope for us but in the end, there wasn’t. I felt like he wanted me to be a mother to him.
“It was so painful breaking up with him. I cried for weeks after we split up. But the cats really helped me through the process.
“I would cry into Lugosi’s and Spider’s fur. They were on the sofa with me all the time and I felt calm.
“After my human boyfriend had left, Spider and Lugosi were still there for me, helping me get through the separation anxieties and feelings of sadness.
“I have loved and lived with a couple of partners before but I realised that my love for my fur babies is so much deeper than anything I have felt for a human.”
In 2004, Barbarella decided to make their love official and looked into ways to marry her cats.
She found a website called marryyourpet.com. After being approved by the two women who ran the website and paying a fee, Barbarella tied the knot with Lugosi and Spider in a quickie ceremony on 9 January.
That same year, Barbarella jetted to Lanzarote with her two cats to start married life together.
She says: “When I came across the marryyourpet.com website, I screamed ‘Have my money and send me a certificate of our marriage!’
“Marrying Lugosi and Spider was something I liked to do for myself. It was something I had to do.
“Some people may call me a bigamist for marrying two cats or even call our marriage incest because they’re brothers.
“But I have never been one to care about what people say or think anyway, especially when it has anything to my cats and the unusual relationship I have with them.
“Obviously I don’t have sex with my cats. It’s just pure, spiritual unconditional love on both sides, as simple as that. As long as I’m happy with it, I don’t care.”
To celebrate their three-year anniversary, she got a proud inking to her two tabbies on her right leg.
She says: “I wanted something of Lugosi and Spider on my body somewhere.
“If Lugosi and Spider died, I would never marry another cat. They’re my first cats and no other cat in future can change that.
“If a man ever approaches me, I just tell them straight off ‘Sorry, I’m married to my cats’.”
She says that married life with her moggies is easy.
“As much as my relationship with my ex worked in the first few years, he then became lazy.
“I’d come home and his clothes would be strewn on the living room floor. I was always cleaning up after him.
“My relationship with Lugosi and Spider is different because I accept that they’re cats.
“They can’t take me to the hospital if I’m ill and they can’t make me dinner. They’re my companions”
Barbarella spoils her feline hubbies and admits that she would happily go bankrupt for them.
She says: “I make sure my cats eat better than me. I want them to stay healthy so I’ve put them on a pricey, raw meat diet.
“Due to that, their food is far more expensive than mine. One cat’s meals cost £17 per week. I also mix vitamin powder into their food which retails at £50 per bag.
“I would take out a loan to save my cats or borrow money if they needed an operation. There’s no limit to what I’d do.
“If someone abused my cats, I would do something serious to them. I wouldn’t kill the abuser though because then I would have to go to jail and my cats wouldn’t have me anymore.
“If there was a volcano eruption or a tsunami and I was told to evacuate without cats, I wouldn’t listen. I’d stay behind with Lugosi and Spider.”
But the trio certainly have a hierarchy in their marriage.
She explains: “Lugosi and Spider are twins from the same litter but they are totally different. They’re so unique.
“Lugosi is the boss whilst Spider is the submissive, gentle soul. There’s definitely a pecking order between us all!”
Barbarella is a veritable cat lady and has over 364 cat-themed items – and tributes to Spider and Lugosi – adorning her one-bedroom flat.
Some of her memorabilia includes a “catified” toilet seat and a wardrobe of outfits decorated with pictures of felines.
She adds: “I have a cat-dar for cat stuff. It’s an ongoing thing and I sometimes buy feline-themed things every day.
“I know that altogether I’ve spent thousands of pounds on my cat stuff.”
Barbarella hopes to show the world that her marriage to Lugosi and Spider is a positive partnership.
She explains: “There is nothing perverse or disgusting about my union with my cats.
“Lugosi and Spider have been my constant companions for 14 years, making it the longest relationship I have ever had with anyone.
“It’s like gay or polyamorous marriage. As long as they’re happy, why should anybody criticize them?”