Yesterday visited Big Sister… she has some kittens. I didn’t take camera, so have no photos, but she had a naughty little Tortie who pricked my legs all over with a wicked little fork, so I put a hand down to stop her. Instead of stopping, she managed to scratch one of my fingers on the top and at the same time stab it under the nail, so I let out an awful yelp. We’re used to cats and kittens, so it’s not as though we screech every time we get nipped or clawed!
Pulled my hand away and the finger was already dripping blood from under the nail. Kitten wasn’t fazed, though… no intention of running! The more you object and wriggle and tell her to stop, the more she attacks. Looked across the room at an older cat who was watching all this, grinning wryly, as though to say “welcome to my world.”
Tortie kitten already has owners booked, and I asked “do they know what they’re letting themselves in for?”
“I suppose so,” said Mum. “She has a wicked little face.”
Wicked? It’s pure innocence… wide, astonished eyes.
She followed me upstairs where I was trying out Big Sister’s new computer, and Mum came in and said “she’s decided she’s yours.”
Not a chance! Anyway, Delilah would have something to say about that.
When I came home I left the computer off as I was fatigued. I thought nothing of it at the time, thinking “I’ve been out; I’m tired!” but wondered next morning when, before I even opened my eyes, I was feeling dizzy. Wonder if that kitten stuck me with a little bug! Or maybe it’s the tooth infection, though it appears to be behaving right now.
One bit of good news though…. it was nice, hot, dry and gusty: a good drying day at last!
For no clear reason, the song in my head has changed to Here Comes the Sun.
Little darling, it seems the ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
It’s both sunny and icy, and Delilah (kitten) is unsure of the wisdom of venturing outdoors – I’d say she had perfect sense. However, I feel as though I’m cast in the role of singing “little darling”…
A little while back I said there was something particularly sweet about Delilah – Mum said the girl at the vet was saying how lovely she was. I said they wouldn’t have said that about Samson, and Mum laughed at the thought. Samson is all round-eyed tom… young, gangling, cautious and shy, but definitely a (neutered) tom.
There’s something motherly about Delilah, though still a kitten with sharp claws – an oxymoron, almost. (I’m starting to lose all faith in the existence of oxymorons, but that’s for another blog post). Delilah’s not sure about going outside, but Samson let himself out before I was quite ready… just like Sharky did. He seemed to be getting on fine, and didn’t run off anywhere, so I relaxed. Watching them milling about at suppertime, I said to Mum “it occurred to me I shouldn’t worry about them running away – it’s more likely we will never get rid of them!”
Later that night when it got dark, we were watching TV. I glimpsed Samson moving stealthily in the darkness of the hall. A couple of times his eyes turned towards us, shining like lamps. It put me in mind of Sharky disappearing one night quite soon after we got here. We didn’t know if he knew his way back, and left the doors open till he finally came back. It got chilly and we put our coats on. On that occasion, Sharky had moved about in the hall just the same way, flashing his eyes.
During a commercial break, I left the room and came upon Delilah, sitting in the middle of the hallway. “Delilah says her boyfriend is missing,” I said. I didn’t look round to see if he was there or not, and hadn’t known he had left the house… but I knew what Delilah was saying.
“No, he’s not – he’s right there!” said Mum, pointing at his bed.
“Oh,” I said, mentally kicking myself for reading something into the body language of cats that hadn’t been there, but when we reached Samson’s bed, we found it empty.
We did the leaving-doors-open-wearing-coats thing. He was gone till the early hours of the morning, and Delilah was very worried and upset. Every time we took a walk around outside, she peeked out as well, and stared into the dark with sorrowful eyes.
I took her to watch the film with me – it was Jewel of the Nile. The girl in the film was imprisoned by her mortal enemy, who told her “your man is dead.” She gasped in shock and said “no, he’s not! He wouldn’t die without telling me!” We looked at Delilah, and smiled.
Now, every time Samson comes back from somewhere, Delilah grabs him round the neck and says “come here, I have to check that you’re all in one piece.” Mum complained once that Delilah wouldn’t let her out the front door… she parked herself in front of it and scowled.
We were discussing where Samson went to that night, as we thought maybe something happened to make him think twice about going out the next day. “He can’t tell us,” shrugged Mum.
“If anybody could tell us, it would be Delilah,” I said, and we giggled at the thought. That girl makes her feelings known. Wouldn’t you be glad to have her in your corner?
Have any of you dreamed about the character in this picture? Last night that was my misfortune.
His name is The Blob, and he has sinister intent.
I’m not sure what his intent is, exactly, and don’t particularly want to know. He’s a paranormal manifestation of some type, about the same size as a cat, and he lounges around sizing up his prey before going in for the kill.
I don’t remember much about the dream, but he was sitting on a shelf of books, looking at me. The rest of the dream is a vague jumble of deserted warehouses, a man who was helping me corner The Blob (had we become stalkers of the stalker?) and possibly even a panic room of some description. I’ve a feeling that the depressing university was somehow involved as well, but only as some form of distant backdrop.
There was another bit of my dream that doesn’t seem to be connected, but has the same dark overtones. I wasn’t me any more… I was a boy of about 9 or 10. My mother and sister were in Germany, and I was living with my father in a single attic room in Paris.
All our worldly possessions were in the room. One stormy night we were watching the news on our tiny black and white TV, the old kind with a little round set-top aerial. They said there might be some bad floods during the night. My father said we better be careful – these floods were so bad they might reach us in our attic.
We turned out the light and slept – I was at the far end of the room from the door (there wasn’t a hatch… probably this attic was divided up into rooms, and the hatch was somewhere else). My father’s bed wasn’t far away, but it was nearer the door. I was worried about all our books and stuff, but there wasn’t a lot we could do.
In the very early hours of the morning when I woke, I wondered if anything was different. I felt warm, dry and comfortable enough, but decided it might be wiser to look before leaping out of bed like I normally did. That was just as well, as the flood had come in during the night and was all round the bed, though it was particularly bad nearer the door.
I’m not sure that The Blob didn’t surface at this point… when I sat up and looked around at the flood waters, The Blob was there too, sitting on the books and blinking at me. I had to wade past him to get dressed.
I could remember so clearly what The Blob looked like that I decided to illustrate him…. and the flood as well. I didn’t start till it was nearly time to go to bed again (after I write this) and when Mum suddenly came up behind me and startled me (I didn’t hear her coming), I jumped nervously and shrieked. She peered suspiciously at The Blob, who was well advanced with his green glow and scary yellow eyes.
“The Blob… I dreamed about him last night.”
“Well that’s your fault.” (A hint I was sitting up too late making weird and wonderful pictures on the computer).
“He looks familiar,” she added, thoughtfully.
That made me laugh, because I had exactly the same thought only that morning when I was thinking about it.
Her cat Cheeky. Typical. Probably the kittens have been having this dream as well… Samson chases her as much as she chases him, but Delilah is quite scared of her. I’m sure the kittens have little games together when Samson slinks after Delilah in a certain sinister way… “I’m the big bad Cheeky and I’m coming after you!” Delilah runs off in a panicky flurry.
Anyway, I’ve introduced you to the stuff of our nightmares. Now you can dream about him too.
Yesterday morning when I woke too early, I thought I might fall asleep again if I tried a little meditation.
I’m unused to talking about any such thing, and have to keep fighting off the urge to say ‘medication’. Meditation would be more relaxing if they called it something else. Anyway…
It’s difficult ‘meditating’ when the kittens have woken up and are thrashing around playfully, but I closed my eyes anyway, attempting to visualize something pleasant. The other day I read about a mother who took up meditation with her little girl; they would sit together and fall asleep. When they closed their eyes, the girl liked to think of her cat. So do I. When I’m trying to come up with a pleasant image, I always end up filling my mind’s eye with Sharky. He stares at me with his clear green eyes and blinks contentedly, and that dark stripy tail wraps itself round his feet.
Feeling guilty, I’ve tried to think about the kittens instead, but in my thoughts they fix me with their devouring gaze, giving rise to the unsettling feeling they’re about to thunder over my feet with their claws. That doesn’t make me relax. So I summoned up a beautiful sparkling blue-green wave. It was tight and rolling, rearing up higher and higher – the pit of my stomach dropped away when I imagined the wave swallowing me up along with forests, villages and towns.
I shifted my thoughts to the nature photos on the Caedes desktop wallpaper site. I thought of sunlight arrowing down between tall green trees… beautiful. Static, though; no real depth. I needed something that moved.
Said hello to Sharky again and buzzed past… thinking there must be other images out there I could hold in my mind. Finally I had it – winter snow in Edinburgh. Not just any snow, it has to be early 1980s snow. You would get up in the morning for school, and look out into the blackness, and it was whirling down. Through the back window it disappeared again into more darkness, falling behind the rose bushes and apple tree, but when you looked out the front window, the sky seemed lighter and the snowflakes flew into the hedge.
Normally I hated having to face school early on a cold dark morning, but heavy snow often meant we got to stay at home. That makes it a positive memory rather than a negative one.
In my mind’s eye I tried to be part of that scene, looking out of the window at the hypnotic motion of the snow. A distant pair of headlights appeared at the far corner of the vision, startling me. Headlights? Where did they come from? I didn’t ask for headlights. But they would have been there… cars and buses creeping cautiously through the slush, window wipers beating, leaving plenty of room for each other.
Funny how those headlights beamed out of my memory all by themselves.
The kittens gradually stopped pummelling the lights out of each other, and in my mind the snow spiralled down against a dark grey backdrop… now lashing with fragile fury; now drifting implacably. Next thing I knew, the sun was high and Delilah was curled against my neck, chewing my thumb.
Samson was hanging about yesterday, wondering why I wasn’t giving him any meat for his lunch. I stopped doing that when I realized Delilah had the squits. We thought it might be better if we gave them more dry food during the day, followed by meat for supper and a treat at bedtime.
Samson doesn’t like the new plan.
Normally he hangs around when he’s hungry, occasionally tugging at my skirt or patting my leg, blinking up charmingly. I told him he had cat kibble in his bowl, then ignored him.
All of a sudden there was a pain in my leg as something leapt up without ceremony, digging claws through the thin material of my slacks. He was off balance and started to teeter backwards, digging in his claws. I couldn’t get my hands free to support him, as they were trapped under him and I didn’t want to throw him off balance even more.
Finally he toppled off, and ran away because I was howling.
Looking at the puncture marks in my leg, it could have been worse. There are no raking scratches, and I think he did his best not to hurt me too much – another cat would have made much more of a mess.
Today I have a jersey draped across my lap, just in case. Usually I had a rug there for the same purpose, but was forgetting.
It was his turn to be hurt early this afternoon. He was playing with Delilah, and the next time I looked at him, one eye was closed. I went up to talk to him and he still didn’t open it, but I saw a slight line of red on his eyebrow, quite close to his eye – definitely a scratch.
After lunch I went to talk to him again, and he cracked his eye open slightly – a short while later he was walking around with both eyes open; seems to be alright. I gave him meat for lunch just to cheer him up and take his mind off it.
It was a nice bright sunny day but it’s clouding over now. I’m glad we walked Thundercloud early while the sun was out.
Mum said “they’re getting quite cheeky.”
I said “what do you mean they’re getting quite cheeky? They’ve been cheeky for some time!”
I’d been telling her about how her Cheeky stole my printer (slept on it when it was normally Delilah’s spot), and so Delilah sat at my feet pretending to be a small footstool.
Meanwhile Samson was playing with the bathroom taps again, sometimes putting his head under the flow of water and shaking it about.
When I came downstairs, Delilah raced down just in front of my feet and happily stropped her claws on the cat tree post – I was pleased about that! It’s a welcome change from carpets and seat cushions.
Last night the two kittens began an energetic game of Hunt the Lumps Under the Downie while I was attempting to sleep, and finally, as I continued to ignore them, Delilah raced up the bed and bounced gleefully on my stomach. They also stole the beautiful beaded handbag of one of my artist bears (the white feather ended up rather bedraggled), then nabbed the Bungee Jumping Kiwi fridge magnet and tortured it till I snatched it back again.
“It’s mostly Delilah,” said Mum. “I’ve never seen kittens that bad.” (We’ve had a multitude!)
“I think it’s because we’ve got two of them together,” I said. “For a while I kept saying things to them like ‘where’s your brother/sister?’ and then it occurred to me they probably don’t see each other as brother and sister. There’s no reason why they should, as they aren’t. I wonder how they see each other? Playmates? Boyfriend and girlfriend?”
“Probably,” said Mum – “haven’t you seen them holding each other’s paws?”
Not yet – they’re too busy bouncing on me.
I’ve just had a moment of déjà vu, except that’s not quite the right term. The kitten on my lap yawned happily in my face, and I received a distracting gust of cat breath.
Sharky did that all the time, and I’m not talking about when he was ill. Like other sufferers of failing kidneys, his breath was the dark, foul gape of Cerberus. In previous years, when he was well, he was forever yawning suddenly in my face. Like Delilah this very minute, Sharky would be snoozing quietly on my knee, then lift his face towards mine, stretching out a paw, going “eeeeeuuuuuuurrrrrghhhhhh!”
Both kittens run towards me now – it wasn’t till they starting doing so that I felt we were getting back to a normal life. Well… nearly normal. Did I mention the car keys? And the watch, and Mum’s headphones?
The adorable pair tip up wastepaper baskets and strew the rubbish everywhere, so now all rubbish has to go straight to the main rubbish points – no bunging stuff casually in the nearest bin.
They steal wet washing off the radiators, dragging them around on the carpet.
They leave clear bits of plastic on the top stair, watching interestedly to see if anyone slips.
They collect a heap of treasures in the corner of the landing outside my bedroom door. As well as cat toys, there are discarded shop receipts, toilet rolls, shredded toilet paper, used foil pouches with toothmarks, a bungee jumping kiwi fridge magnet, pens, dead leaves, living leaves from houseplants, paper airplanes, the odd disgruntled teddy bear… even books for when they get bored and there’s nothing else to do.
I had to close my bedroom door to keep the wet washing and the bungee jumping kiwi safe, and the sweet babes sit outside and pull up the carpet so that it will trip me when I come out in the morning.
They stole one of my pop socks… it was already laddered so I let them keep it. When I was going out to walk the dog, I disappeared into my room to find a pair of socks. There was a gentle knock, and a paw pushed my laddered pop sock under the door.
This morning we were playing ping-pong. I dropped something very small beside the door, and a paw snaked under the door and took it away. Then it pushed it back. I flicked it out… and back it came. We could have played that game all day, but we had to go out shopping.
Sometimes both paws wriggle under the door together, straining forward up to the shoulder as though the kitten is trying to squeeze his whole body into the room. It wouldn’t surprise me if he succeeded.
When I was walking down the stairs in bare feet, Samson suddenly attacked and left a bleeding scratch on my toe. I knew if I put my socks and shoes on and walked around town without treating it, the scratch would get irritated and sore. I had to put a sticking plaster on. Grumble stared disbelievingly as though to say “you needed a dressing for that??”
An old china table lamp was pushed off a table onto a decorative plant pot below. The lamp survived but the plant pot was chipped in two places (actually the lamp was dropped on it twice before we learned). The old lampshade unstuck itself from its wire frame and became unusable.
Mum rolled her eyes and said “why did we think this was a GOOD idea??”
Today a lady came to the house and paid me for guinea-pig-sitting. I put the money on my desk and carried on typing on the computer. After a little while, there was a rustling, and when I looked round, Delilah was having a good look at the ten pound note. “What’s this? Very interesting. I like the crisp noise it makes.”
I retrieved the tenner hurriedly, then tried to get my pound coin back, but Delilah sat down on it very firmly.
I suppose it teaches us less slovenly habits and not to do daft things like leave the toilet lid up. Samson loves water so much that he gets into the toilet bowl to dabble. It’s not that he’s thirsty – they have a big bowl of fresh water. He just loves the way water looks, sounds and feels. He says it’s utterly magical, and comes thundering into the bathroom to watch the bath water draining away.
Life is not quite back to normal, then… but we’ll get there, one day at a time.
Cheeky will do well to be wary of Samson. He is fond of his food, growing very fast, and already weighs a cat ton. Sharky and Thor (my Orientals) were not lightweights (and weren’t overweight either) but this male LaPerm is a shocker. It’s like lifting a small hairy sumo wrestler with the looks of a pale squirrel.
Earlier today he came downstairs and reclined on a furry rug Mum had just put down – it was drenched in sunshine. He was watching Grumble eating placidly from a food bowl. Molly, a very plump cat, was sitting not far away, also watching.
“United by their stomachs,” I said.
“Samson likes eating food and watching food,” agreed Mum. She caught his eye, and asked “why did you have us all thinking you were so shy?”
“Hah!” laughed Samson, and rubbed his head on the rug.
I began Brother Odd by Dean Koontz at lunchtime yesterday, and was completely hooked from page 3 onwards… didn’t put it down till I finished it in the early hours of the next morning. I’d meant to write a letter and didn’t need the distraction – still, we can’t always predict these things! Brother Odd is quite an unusual book to me, though it seems there are other ‘Odd’ books by the same writer; I’ll have to look them out.
I have a headache again, I’m not sure where it comes from.
Delilah strained her paw a couple of nights ago and left poor Samson to bat toy mice around by himself for a while.
Cheeky is the adult cat who is chasing the kittens, but today she came prowling in here, looking menacingly under things… “here kitty, kitty, where ARE you?”… and she didn’t notice one of the ‘kittens’, quite a large tomcatty Samson, was treading on her heels. When she caught a whisper of something, and glanced behind, she got such a shock that she spat violently and galloped off with Samson pelting delightedly behind.
He looked so pleased with himself, whereas Cheeky was anything but. Perhaps Delilah’s opting out made him all bored, full of himself and ready for new adventures. Talking of which, I can see exactly how Delilah would have hurt herself – undeterred by her sore paw, she flung herself across the gap between the back of the sofa and a shelf. She slammed into the shelf and slid to the floor.
While moving my blog, I discovered it’s full of stories about my older cats, especially Sharky. Mostly I avoid talking about the cats too much, as I worry that it’s dull – but it made me happy to reread the posts about isolated moments I might otherwise have forgotten.
Here’s one from a night ago… Mum came up about 21:00 (unexpectedly) with some coffee for me, then toddled off. Samson came yawning and stretching from wherever he had been resting, and looked in his empty dish, then stared from it to Mum’s disappearing back. He couldn’t believe she hadn’t brought him refreshments as well.
I think he’s quite enjoying himself – he’s gone from being a terrified Invisible Sulk to an accepted and respected member of our group – no longer just hanging around in the background of a large crowd of kittens.
I discovered to my delight that it’s back-to-back Red Dwarf with subtitles on TV… goes on till nearly 3 in the morning, so I’m recording some for later. I wondered if I’d ‘grown out’ of it but was yelling with laughter the way I always used to, so it seems not.
Smoke me a kipper – I’ll be back for breakfast.
Delilah is frequently chased rather hissily by Cheeky, who seems to like Samson (because he’s a boy?) but goes after Delilah every chance she gets. Samson just sits and watches.
It makes me quite annoyed with the pair of them.
We don’t want to leave the poor kitten being chased around all night while we sleep, so we’ve taken to shutting Cheeky and the other older cats in the back of the house, allowing the kittens to roam the front and upstairs.
The past few nights, there has been a worrying trend. Mum has her bedtime bath, then appears outside my door and says “I’ll leave you to shut the cats up.”
Tonight I asked “why? She’s YOUR cat!” (pointing at Cheeky, who was perched, vulture-like, on the bannister beside Mum).
“And she’s YOUR cat,” said Mum, pointing a finger past me at Delilah, who was relaxing on the printer near me.
I said “it’s just that Cheeky is less likely to scratch you… she gets a bit ‘pfft!!’ about being moved against her will.”
Just then, the subject of our discussions stepped onto Mum’s shoulder, wrapping herself lovingly round her neck. Mum had no option but to take her downstairs.
I turned, grinning triumphantly, to find Delilah regarding me with some surprise… “what was all THAT about, then?”
Just a slight cat spat…