Posted in My Cats

Bond Cats

Another blogger said a couple of times how, when he feels really strongly about something, he can’t bring himself to speak. It reminded me of when I was saying to Mum how Samson was ‘Octopussy’ because he’s my eighth cat. I opened my mouth to add “Sharky was 007” and the words refused to come out! I only meant it for a joke, but when you know those cats so well and are so fond of them — it’s not funny at all. They’re all special to me, but especially 007.

I miss him.

I wonder what Delilah is, though…. the 9th Bond girl, perhaps! Who was she?

Just for fun, I typed ‘ninth Bond girl’ into Google, and it said there was no such thing. It kept mentioning Olga Kurylenko, though, and said she was in something new called The Eagle of the Ninth… also in the Bond film Quantum of Solace (which I’ve not seen yet). I wondered what she looked like and clicked on ‘images’, and found myself faced with ranks of bikini-clad photos. “Oops,” I thought, “I better get off this page as I don’t know what Mum will think!”

I switched to a Wikipedia page about Olga, and there was a mug shot of her there. Her eyes are like Delilah’s, perhaps… all cats have beautiful eyes, but Delilah’s are stunning. She knows it, and does that innocent ‘Puss in Boots’ sort of stare (from Shrek) when she’s trying to make you fall under her spell.

Mum came out from her bath, saw the head shot on the Wikipedia page, and toddled over rapidly. “Who’s that?”

“It’s a Bond girl called Olga — I was wondering who she was. She was in Quantum of Solace.

“Oh,” said Mum. “From where I was standing, I thought it was you!”

Ahhh, mothers. πŸ˜€

Posted in My Cats

Operation Kitty Foiling

Delilah is spending quality time at the vet’s, having her insides rearranged so that she won’t have any accidental kittens. (Thought that sounded more interesting than the usual ‘The Op’!)

I haven’t had a female cat before so to me it’s different and more worrying. I’m used to having boys in for a quick snip, after which they usually recover quite quickly. But here I am being asked if I wanted her cut down the middle or along the side, and I said is there anything that makes one way better than another? And the vet said no… just that if you’re stroking her, you’ll feel the scar on her side, and if you’re showing her, it might make a difference.

I opted for midline.

Before all this, when we were waiting with Delilah’s basket in reception, three very tall people came out of the vet’s surgery… two men and a woman. I sat bolt upright and looked, as the two men and the woman with the pack of loose dogs are very tall, around that height… but I don’t think they were the same people! The next thing I noticed was that they were all crying. They left empty-handed, blinded by their tears.

After years of going to the vet, it’s actually the first time I’ve seen this. It’s one thing that particularly stressed me out when Sharky was ill; I thought maybe I would be the only one to break down in front of strangers. I was worried I might get pretty hysterical, as once I started on that, I couldn’t stop. I find it reassuring that people in general can still do that… though why I think everybody else is ‘allowed’ to do stuff and still be cool, and I’m not… that’s a cast of mind that needs to be addressed!

But the brief encounter reminded me of an observation I made to a boyfriend some time back. I said whenever people cry on TV, whether it’s movies or genuine, that starts me off as well, even if I had been feeling perfectly calm and cheerful up to that point. Naively, I asked if he knew what I meant, and he stared at me with an arched eyebrow (he could do that much too well) and said “no…?”

I don’t know what I expected from someone as dry and yet macho as he was. He probably sized up each situation from a distance and was either sorry or amused at the other person’s tears, or if they affected him anyway, he wasn’t going to admit it! But I seem to cry regardless.

I thought maybe that was just TV, where you at least had some idea of the context of it, but after those people left the vet’s, I started welling up. I ended up leaning over Delilah’s basket, talking to her and pointing out a bag of cat food (rather wickedly, as she hadn’t eaten since her supper the night before). I thought her hunger at the rustling of the bag might distract her from her woes for a minute.

I always thought Siamese cats were terrible yowlers, but Delilah’s wailing began very high and piercing, then settled into a constant, regular chime which reminded me of the tolling of church bells.

Ask not for whom… future kittens, maybe.

EDIT around lunchtime – got an email from the vet. I opened it nervously, and it said: “Just to let you know that Delilah has had her operation and is coming round from her anaesthetic well. She will be able to go home any time after 4pm.”


Posted in Health Issues, My Cats

All Names Bright and Beautiful

Feeling very lethargic – not really in the mood to deal with anything or do anything. Just want to sit under a blanket and read books. I typed ‘combating lethargy’ in Scroogle, and what I got back was an entry for seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Hmm, hadn’t thought of that. When I can give it a name, it makes me think maybe it will come to an end and I’ll be pulling my socks up and getting on with things.

I’m still trying to find suitable names for the kittens. Being me, I’m not satisfied with the first names that come to mindΒ  – Thomas, Felix, Princess or whatever. I thought of Smeagol for the Invisible Sulk, then rejected it because it’s probably Name of Choice for cats round about now, along with Gollum, Galadriel and Frodo.

I ended up looking on Baby Names Country, and at first was very happy with the site. It will show you what certain names mean in other languages as well as the one you chose. You can save all your favourites to a list (without registering), and can even search for names by meaning.

You can rate names – I started to mutter when I found that most ordinary names (ordinary to me) have 4 to 5 stars, whereas names that are just different usually have a rating of 2 stars. People are so boring – there’s no other word for it! I couldn’t understand how they could look up certain names and say “this is not my style,” then get all enthusiastic over Michael and Emily.

I got even more annoyed when the site got slower and slower to use, and eventually my list of favourites (containing 14 names) disappeared. The 15th name I added was the first of a new list. I’m not sure what happened there, but I backed up till I found the old list, took a screenshot, and left the site.

Since then I’ve been musing… there are a few names on my list I like very much, but I can’t make up my mind which I like the best. I keep staring at the kittens and asking myself “is she a Dana? Is he a Kanu? Maybe Chiana or D’Argo?” I won’t be calling them any of those as they’re not on the list, but I’m still trying to figure out what suits them the best.

Sleeping on it – that’s the thing to do. Another excuse to indulge my lethargy.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Life and Family, My Cats, Pet-Minding

Frustrating Conversations

A day or two ago, Mum said “we should start taking down the Christmas decorations bit by bit – it’s easier than taking them all down in one fell swoop.”

I began with the bears on the stairs… a lot of them lost the little sparkling pieces they were holding in their paws. The tinsel draped on mirrors and other surfaces by the stairs came down too, till I had a respectable pile of garlands waiting to be put away.

At tea time I walked Thundercloud. It was freezing but not too bad, till all of a sudden I got this feeling deep in my bones that the temperature had that very second stepped beyond the line of what was acceptable, freeze-wise, and the gathering clouds and general light was just somehow… not good any more. The dog and I were going back home. Now. And we wished we weren’t quite that far away.

When we got back to N’s house, I let Thundercloud rush in for her tea. Mum was coming out, and we walked home together.

A wet snowflake went SPLAT…. intolerable. As a hint to walk faster, I said to Mum “it’s starting to snow.” Her pace didn’t change, and the steadily increasing snowflakes melted and splotched on my glasses. I hate having to view the world through a blurry screen of waterdrops, which was why I wanted to hurry.

A little further along, Mum slowed right down till she had almost stopped, and said “I invited N. to tea. I thought it would be nice to do it now while the house is bright and cheerful with all the decorations.”
“OK, fine,” I said.

(I thought to myself, “couldn’t you have told me that when we were inside, warm, and dry? Why are we slowing down on a freezing, blowy and snowy road to discuss this? And guess who will be replacing all the tinsel that got taken down because you said it would be a good idea to start taking it down now?”)

Since we were walking slowly through the wet snow anyway, I decided to get my own conversational mileage out of it. “When I was walking Thundercloud, I found it was warmer in the woods than on the road.”
Silence while Mum looked off in completely the other direction.
“Did you hear…?”
Looks round innocently – “what?”
“I sai…”, I began, only to be immediately interrupted by a definite nod of her head. “Yes, it’s always colder on the road.” Then she went ahead up the driveway – the conversation was at an end.

Yeah… (shivers).

We finally got inside and looked out, and the slush was belting down in the gathering darkness.

I went upstairs to clear up a few odds and ends, and Sharky came along, stared gauntly at his food bowl, and announced in clear, ringing tones that he was a very sick cat and his supper should have been waiting for him already.

Well, cat, we were standing outside in the snowstorm talking about how cold it was on the road. Somebody has to do it…

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Computer Graphics, Health Issues, Injury and Mishap, My Cats


3D Art

I was about to write this blog post when I noticed a new wallpaper come up on my desktop. I closed the browser window to get a better look. I’m glad I did as it made me sit back and smile – it’s this glorious winter mountain wallpaper from a Caedes member.

Not everybody will like it as much as I do, and I stopped to think about it. I don’t feel the need for every picture to be ‘real’. Real life is so full of soft shades of grey (along with browns, greens and unseen detail) that it seems to me too easy to get lost in it. A 3D scene like this is crisp and vibrant; everything just so, and there’s not much ‘in between’ to get lost in.

It could be that it is clarity, simplicity and a form of realized idealism I yearn, and that is why I like 3D art.

Convalescent Cat

It’s the first day that Sharky’s seemed anything like normal after his trip to some scary hidden grey unknown in the landscape out there. I was apprehensive even before I posted my last post of 2007, announcing confidently that he hadn’t been well but was getting better.

Part of me believes in the concept of gremlins – not gremlins as such, but the feeling that if you say “everything’s fine,” something will happen to make that a lie.

I knew he was still quite ill.

The day after his trip to the vet he looked even more bleary, if possible. I got a bit scared when I went up around teatime to check on him – he was tucked up very tightly, his coat open and staring. I carried him downstairs to sit with us, and gave him tuna to tempt his appetite.

Slowly he perked up.

Today he was looking a lot better but still sleeping a lot. He even popped out through the cat flap to have a look around, but within seconds he was back indoors. He must have felt that freezing edge in the air. They’re talking about snow, and the clouds had a strange pink quality. There was no ice on the ground during the day (it was rainy), but Mum saw hail coming down after it got dark.

Sharky has accepted turkey and Carnation milk, and seems to be past the worst – touch wood.

This morning I was sitting with him on my knee, staring bleakly out of the front window while he gazed bleakly out of the back. Mum chuckled suddenly and said she should take a photo of us moping together.

What I was thinking was that I’ve broken a molar and don’t want to have to go to the dentist to have it taken out, but there’s no alternative. Rrr.

Tooth Pain Versus Ear Pain

I’ve never been as pulverized by toothache as I am by earache. Mum said “just you wait, you’ve not had the real deal yet – a really bad toothache will send pain right up your cheek to your eye.”

I don’t think I’ve had it that bad, but last night I was getting a cold pain up the back of my jawbone to the joint, and along the side of my chin. It woke me up at half past four and I couldn’t get back to sleep. It still doesn’t hurt me like earache, which stabs me to the heart.

Anyway, I was trying to cheer Sharky up by letting him know he wasn’t the only one in misery. I rubbed my cheek and pointed at my teeth, saying ruefully “ooch, something has to be done about this,” and he smirked sympathetically. That cat knows what I’m saying.

I just know when I make an appointment to have my tooth out, that very day we’ll get snow about two feet deep.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Injury and Mishap, My Cats

Sticking Around for 2008

Still Got My Cat

Well, all the blogs are buzzing about what happened in 2007 and what will happen in 2008… I’m just glad that the last day of 2007 isn’t to be remembered for the unexpected demise of Sharky – touch wood! (Remembers the desk is fake beech and scrabbles about with increasing panic till she finds an old-fashioned wooden ruler).

Embarking on 2008 without my feline friend – not to be thought of.

I wrote in Small Contretemps about his adventure… how he disappeared shortly before bedtime and only reappeared around teatime the next day – cool to the touch, thirsty, hungry and smelling of somebody’s outbuilding.

After drinking, eating and sitting on my lap for a while, he curled up on the sofa to sleep – and there he stayed for two days, blinking at us blearily. He got up occasionally for water and a lick of food, but it’s shocking how thin he became in the time!

Trip to Vet

We took him to the vet today. On the whole I felt that Sharky was probably alright, but I sat in the waiting room getting horribly panicky, thinking “Ireallyreallyreallydon’twanttoBEhere!” Then I would catch Sharky’s doubtful “whattayoudragmeherefor?” eye, and smile comfortingly as though it’s all just a pleasant outing and we will be going home for lunch soon. I don’t know why I get so stressed about it but I suppose I’m not the only one. When I got home I looked in the mirror, and I was all pink.

Still, pink is better than grey.

The vet said she couldn’t find anything wrong; even his temperature was normal. She believes he caught a chill from his night spent in somebody’s frosty outbuilding, and is currently on the mend. As one of my cat clients said, “not the greatest weather for adventures methinks.”

When we got home, Mum looked at Sharky in the back seat and said “you old fraud!”

Maybe I worried too much, and all it was ever going to be was a slight cat chill, but I looked on the internet last night and it was going on about pets drinking antifreeze (they are attracted to the stuff) and their kidneys packing up in two to three days. I imagine the same thought crossed the vet’s mind; she asked if he was vomiting.

My answer was ‘no’, thankfully – but these articles do get you worrying. While we’re on the topic, it seems that products made with propylene glycol are safer than antifreeze. Even if you don’t have pets yourself, it’s a good idea to mop up any spills. It’s always worth double-checking your sheds and garages in case someone’s inquisitive kitten has slunk in behind the watering can – especially in very hot weather, very cold weather, and just before going on holiday to Spain for three weeks (or even two days).

Dogs at Vets

My sister said once that whenever she takes her cats to the vet, she suffers an uncontrollable urge to discipline other people’s dogs for them. There are good dogs and good owners, of course, you know you can rely on them, but at times you come across somebody who doesn’t seem to care about anyone else. There was a lady today with a small white terrier on a leash. She walked past us on her way out, with the dog angling towards Sharky… and I thought “surely she’ll pull him back – she’s not even trying to talk to us or anything, so there’s no reason to let her dog step into our cat’s space.” But she didn’t.

I really don’t understand that – it seems so inconsiderate. My impulse was to become the dog’s owner for a second, just to pull back on that trailing leash.

Trying to forget – wait a minute while I take a deep breath…

Photo Finish

I took these photos (see foot of blog post) after our trip to the vet. The door was wide open but Sharky likes cat carriers. He curled up and slept there for about two hours before coming upstairs for food.

He’s does appear to be getting better.

All the best for 2008 to all readers of this blog!

Sharky in CarrierSharky Sleeping

Posted in My Cats, Rants

Small Contretemps

My cat Sharky was missing for up to 18 hours.

He strolls around the neighbourhood, gets himself shut in the cubby hole and sleeps in various different spots in the house, so It wasn’t till teatime that we really started to fret. Mum even went to ask one neighbour if he was shut in her garage, but he wasn’t.

Eventually she came upstairs and said “he’s just come in.”

“Oh,” I said lightly, “did he just stroll in as though nothing had happened and nobody was worried about him?”
“Actually, I think he WAS shut in somewhere,” said Mum. “He went straight to the water bowl and is drinking a lot.”

I went down to where he was still gulping water and patted him. He felt cool and slightly damp to the touch, just as though he had been lightly rained on. He kept drinking.

“Fancy that,” said Mum, in a mock-scolding voice. “He goes straight to the water bowl instead of coming upstairs to tell you he’s home and you needn’t worry any more.”

Finally he came upstairs, drank more water from his own bowl, and demanded food, which he got.

When I picked him up, I thought he smelled strange and sniffed at his fur. Maybe it was tobacco smoke, or a rather musky old perfume. Mum said no, it smelled more like oil to her.

Though I’m not convinced about the tobacco or the perfume, I’m not convinced about the oil either. It’s definitely an alien odour of some sort – he’s been shut in somewhere, possibly sleeping on a heap of sacks – or maybe there aren’t any sack heaps any more and I’ve been reading too many books from an earlier era.

Now that Sharky’s eaten and drunk his fill, and sat on me for a long time, he’s gone over to the sofa (my old sofa from our old home) and has been sleeping there for hours. Mum came up and gave him a hug. I said “he’s definitely quite upset about it, isn’t he?” and Mum said “yes – I don’t think he’ll go off like that again for a while.”

Well, that worked out alright, and I don’t think anybody meant to imprison him.

What worries me the most about cats who go missing is that a large number of the rest of the population don’t seem to know how to return cats to their owners. If a stray cat comes to your door, you don’t just take him in and feel good about it – that’s not the right thing to do.

I recently received the winter edition of a cat club newsletter. There was a story about someone who took a pedigree cat to the vet, saying he wasn’t being accepted by her other cats and she wanted him put down. The vet decided that would be a waste of a nice, not-too-old cat, and pulled strings to get him rehomed by various people she knew were interested in that breed. So far, so good. The person who left him at the vet’s rang up and said she hoped he hadn’t been put down yet, as she had changed her mind, and could she have him back? The answer was no – once the cat had gone to a new home, that was it. He couldn’t be returned. They knew she had taken the cat in as a stray – she hadn’t reported him, hadn’t advertised, hadn’t made any attempt whatsoever to find out who he belonged to.

The pedigree people had details of various missing cats of similar description, and set about tracking down the true owner… and they found her! She had nearly given up all hope of seeing her cat again.

I’m delighted that story had a happy ending, but all the time I read that passage I was fuming. How dare someone just take him in and not try looking for the owner? The ‘rescuer’ even tried to have him put down without raising one little finger in that regard. Some people make the excuse that if a cat is wandering around, the owner can’t have been looking after it properly. If they don’t even know what happened, they’ll never be in a position to judge correctly – and even then their opinion will be subjective.

Very recently a stray kitten turned up here. Sharky brought him in, allowed him to eat his supper, and protected him from the indignation of Cheeky (Mum’s cat). First thing the next morning, Mum whisked the kitten away to the vet’s so that they could scan his microchip. That same day they found the owner and returned the kitten to her. She phoned up to say she was so relieved and glad Mum had taken the cat to be scanned. She has two little girls who were very upset about the kitten’s disappearance, and the kitten’s sibling was missing him! (Gosh, I know, potential for a real mushy sobfest – but I know from bitter experience that it’s really not funny when your pet goes missing). The story was that they had been outside playing with the kittens and called them to go back indoors with them, but Sharky’s fuzzy friend waltzed off to explore the big bad world.

Well, that was another happy ending. It would have been less happy if we’d been the type to keep him when he turned up at our door – those two wee girls could still have been thinking their kitten was dead.

Posted in My Cats

Sharky Affection

Sharky has no idea of his strength, and comes for you like an attacking bullet, though with a purr in his throat and his tail in the air to show it’s just affection. Last night I was working on some web graphics at my computer and he hurtled in from nowhere and crashed into my leg. I got such a fright I yelped and bashed my knee against the desk when I recoiled. He took fright at my reaction and ran out through the cat flap. Nursing my knee, I had to chuckle after him to let him know there were no hard feelings, so he came back in and curled up with Fusspot.

Someone has just said “did he run into you by accident?” but that wasn’t it at all – it was one of his loving head-butts.