Monday, 31 January 2011

Mr Softee Needs Your Help!

Friends, I don't normally feature rescue cats on my blog for a few reasons. Firstly, there are so many of my poor counterparts just waiting for peoples like my human to come along that, if i was to feature them all, that's all the blog would be about. Secondly, it makes the human upset when we write about them, cuz she feels so bad that they're still waiting for a forever home, and she wants to go and get them and take them all in. Thirdly, it makes me feel more than a little guilty for complaining the way I do about the shoddy service in this place, the lack of a constant supply of tuna and stinky goodness, and the fact that the human gets annoyed when I play ping pong with my gajillion and sixteen ping pong balls in the middle of the night. I don't do feelings of guilt very well... I'm a cat, after all.

Every now and then though, a story comes along that I just have to do something about, and this is one of those times. I'd appreciate it if you other readers could either post something about it, or tell friends that you might have in the UK. We found a home for Sparkles, let's do it for Mr Softee!

So, who is he and what is he like? Well, he's a 13-year-young brown spotted Bengal boy, a pure breed as far as me and the human know. He was rescued about six months ago, but sadly, nothing is known about his history. We don't know if he was an indoor or outdoor kind of boy, but the ladypeople who is fostering him would like him to be an indoor only cat. We don't know how well he gets along with other cats. The fosterer would like him to go to a single cat home, but I wonder. If he's a softee, then he may well get along with others. The problem is, nobody can say he does because we just don't know. Now to the most important part; personality. This boy was not called Mr Softee when he was rescued, but the foster ladypeople gave him that name. Why? Because that's exactly what he is. He loves peoples, and he loves with only the strength that a cat can muster! That means he loves biiiiiig!

This boy has no health problems that we've been told about. Bengals are a lovely breed of cat who promise hours of fun to the ones they own. Mr Softee is just waiting to interview his next trainee slaves. Will you be one of them? He's been in rescue for six months now. Apparently nobody wants him because of his age. A lot of peoples say that a cat ages seven years for every one human one. Can you imagine being uprooted from the only home you've ever known at an age of 91? All you want to do is get comfy, stay warm and have a cuddle, yet nobody will offer to be your forever cuddle buddy because you're too old. It's horrible. No wonder Mr Softee is searching for his forever person. Please give him a chance. Older cats can live healthily for years. Why not find out of friend Softee is one of them?

If you think you can offer a home to this lovely boy, please either leave a comment or send my human an email. He is in Woking, Surrey.

Not-So-Sage Sunday: Why Do We Stop?

Hello again to one and all. The first thing I want to do is apologize for the lateness of this posting; Gregg has been out all day, and came back smelling of both cats and dogs, so he's only just now available to act as my secretary. I'm going to let him say a few words himself later on, too, and I promise you that this post will be a good piece shorter than my last.
Fair warning to one and all: what follows is definitely sombre in character, so if discussion of being old and the ending of life bothers you overmuch, I apologize in advance. Next week's entry will be far less depressing, I promise!
I'm a fairly old cat...Gregg says I'm eleven, as I may or may not have said. I mostly have good days, but sometimes I'm a little slow to wake or a little hesitant to jump. It sometimes occurs to me that as days pass, I'll get slower and slower, and one day I'll just...stop. I don't quite know what to make of this, since I've never actually been present when something else stops that way...but it's a little unsettling. I've heard of other animals who have stopped for one reason or other, and get the idea that you don't have to slow down until you simply run can sometimes stop outright, and that's a little more scary. I hope I don't do that anytime soon.
I post today, and on this subject, because I want to understand a little more of what it's all about. Why does it happen? Why can't people and cats and dogs and birds just keep going? Why do we have to even get old? I would've loved to stay a kitten forever, even if getting older means I know things I didn't back then. Better still, if there is no answer to these questions, why does it make us so upset? Why aren't we able to just be happy with what we have and live as long as we can before stopping? I've seen many humans, Gregg among them, who have gotten extremely upset because a person or animal they knew stopped this way. I guess it means that they don't have their friend or mate or companion around anymore, which is sad, but sometimes that sadness confuses me, and it makes me sad too. It's just not something I can fully wrap my head around, and if anyone else has any more information, I'd be glad to hear it.
I said that I never actually saw anyone or anything stop, but that's not quite true. I was in a house where a human stopped, even though I think I was probably asleep at the time. I only found out afterword, and this brings me to Gregg's contribution.
The reason I was out today is that it was my brother's 25th birthday. It was my brother to whom Kara makes reference, an incident that occurred in 2005 when Gary was only nineteen. Our family tries to make a point of getting together and having a little fun on Gary's birthday, even if it only means going to one another's house for a little while or having dinner at a restaurant someplace. It's simple, it's unassuming, it's informal and it's usually full of laughs. Today was spent at my aunt's house, where I ate a lot of food, watched a few movies and mostly just spent the day in my family's assorted company. Not many were there, but I was glad of those who were. That's why I didn't post this morning...I was awakened and told to be ready to be picked up in twenty minutes, which left me precious little time to post on the blog. Today is both a happy and a contemplatively sad day for me, and Kara's musings and questions probably reflect it quite clearly. I'll turn it over to kara to finish.
Gregg may have had fun, but he still came back smelling of other cats that weren't me. Was he petting them and not me? Why didn't he take me with him? Why did he leave me alone? It can make a lady a little jealous, I tell ya. That's all right...he'll probably love the present I left on his kitchen floor. And whether he loves it or not, I'll definitely make myself more than just available for copious quantities of cuddles tonight.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pens and Birdies

Ok, I think my silence has lasted long enough. I didn't write for a few days cuz I wanted to ensure that the poor baby sphynx kitten had as much coverage as possible, and I didn't want to detract from it, but after events this morning, I just had to write. You see, I've got a bit of a problem. I've also got some exciting news, so let's start with that first.

The good news is about pens; not the type peoples use to write with, but the kittening type. The human, of course, has one of these already, but it's not very big and it doesn't have the right kind of opening in the top. It's about three and a half feet long by two and a half wide, and that simply isn't enough room for a mummycat and her growing kittens, if you ask me. It'll be enough when they're tiny and aren't doing much other than cuddling me, but when they start wanting to play, it's gonna be a nightmare.

This pen that we have is designed so that the top comes apart in two halves. You can leave these both closed, both open, or fold one of them back. It's important for a mummycat to have an escape from the kittens. As lovely as they are, we do need time away from them too. But that poses a problem. With the current design, the kittens could potentially follow me out onto the carpet by crawling and climbing up the side of the wire and then falling over the top. If I leave the pen, it's cuz I want a breather from the kittens, and if they follow me, it only means more work for me picking them up and dropping them back inside. Ideally, a kittening pen has a small door in the middle of the top so that I, with my super strong mummycat legs, can jump up and out but the kittens are stuck even if they do manage to climb the wire.

My human was looking at pens on the internet, but they're so, sooooo expensive. The cheapest good one is £400! I just couldn't afford to let her pay that. She doesn't have the moneys, and even if she did, it would mean less foods for me. That wasn't an option. She put an ad up at her work hunt place, asking if anyone could make her up one for super cheap. She got replies back from two peoples who said they could help. One came this morning to look at the current pen, and he even scratched my chin! He smelled strange though, of chicken, but not dead, ready to eat chicken. They had still been alive. He keeps them for their eggs, he says. I wonder if he'd give me one for a pet? At least it'd be fresh meat!

Anyway, my human gave him the spec of what she wanted, and he says he'll go away and cost it up for her. She has the second people coming to look tomorrow. Unless it's very cheap, she won't be buying any pens, thanks to my humungus vet bills that she's still battling with, but if it's manageable, she says she really needs to get it. When we move to Oxford, things will be a whole lot more expensive, you see. They think they're posh up there, and charge accordingly, and as she's taking a pay cut in this new job, it'll be even more difficult. So we'll just have to wait and see the figures that they come back with.

Now to my naughty little problem. Friends, this is another one of those shame moments, I'm afraid. Let me tell you the story from the beginning.

Today was hoover day. The human usually does this on the weekends cuz she has more time to do it all. When I first started owning her, I was so scared of the roary hoover that I used to run and hide every time it came out. Now though, I just walk off out of its way until it's done eating the dirt off the carpet. Because it hoovered up Dogface hair for such a long time, it still stinks of Dogface when it's used, so the human likes to open all the windows and doors for a few minutes to air the place out. In our living room, we have two big French doors which open onto a pretend balcony. I say it's pretend cuz it's basically just a set of pretty railings in front of the doors to stop you walking off the edge. There's nowhere to stand out there or anything.

Anyway, when she opens these doors, I like to go and have a peep outside. She has a screen up so that I can't fall through the railings or escape, but she needn't worry. When I first came here, there was no screen, and even though she was careful, I never went anywhere near those doors. This morning I went for my usual look outside, but, as the human was right by them, I felt brave and actually stayed for a little bit. I was being careful though. I'd take a quick, sneaky look outside, then turn my head round quick as a flash so that all I could see was the living room. I always had the human there so that I could rub my face for reassurance, but every time I looked away, I had the horrible fear that she'd leave me. The breeze in my fur made me keep looking back though. It smelled so, well, interesting.

It was on one of those fertive glances that I spotted it. A bird! A big flappy thing in the sky that made lots of noise! Friends, a war started in me. on the one hand, it was fascinating, so much so in fact that I could hardly take my eyes off it. But on the other, it was a bird and it was flying and the only thing between me and it was this flimsy little screen. I tried to make a dash for it, but my human wasn't having any of it. She knows I take pleasure in sniffing the outside air, and she knows I like to watch the birdies when the doors are safely shut. But it's different then. I can't smell them. I can't really hear them. And there's glass between us. It's safe. It's familiar.

The human scooped me up, plonked me back on the sill in front of the open door, and talked and scritched me like nothing at all had happened. I was a bit confused. Why was she not showing fear? I always associate strokings with good things. Could the birdie be a good thing? I teatered, half poised for flight, half absorbed in what her hands were doing to my chin and yummy tummy. It felt so good, but the risk! And the birdies were so interesting. I had to keep looking back at them, cuz there was now more than one.

the next time I moved, I just stepped off the sill and crept behind the human for a bit, but she coaxed me out with wiggling fingers. Again, I couldn't resist. I know they mean more rubbing, and I really like that. Very, very slowly, I came out. My eyes flicked between the human and the birdies, but I just couldn't help it. She made me follow those fingers back to the sill.

She sat with me a long time there, but I was still a bit nervous. Then she got the idea of picking me up. She held me close to her, stood on the sill and gave me some loving, just as she does when the door is closed. Now I could watch the birdies and only occasionally have to look at her. She couldn't sneak off when she was holding me, after all. I snuggled down for a good watch. I was still feeling uneasy, but they were interesting to look at, and the human was right there for all the comfort I needed. A win win situation, if you ask me!

After a time, the human put me down again on the sill and moved away a bit, but that was too much for me to handle. I cried and cried and begged her to come back to the door with me, but she said that I needed to be brave now and do it on my own. She knew I could do it. She was going to do more hoovering, but I miaowed so pitifully that she relented. "All right, " she said in people talk noise, "I'll sit on the sofa so that you can still see me and watch them. But only for ten minutes!" As soon as she sat down, I ran to her, climbed up on her knee, but then moved right to the end of it and crouched. From here, I could still see the birdies you see.

And that's how we stayed until it was time to have the door closed again. as soon as it was, I was happy to go and sit by the door and watch. But that's my problem, friends. I don't know what to make of birdies when the door is open. I feel a bit ashamed because I'm a cat. Birdies shouldn't scare us. But they're just so unfamiliar. The human doesn't think I ever got to see them from an open window in my old home. It's unsettling now when I'm faced with it. Although I'm an outgoing kind of cat, I've attached deeply enough with this human that I like her to be there when I experience a new situation, and there's another problem. I shouldn't be dependent on such a feeble-minded thing as her. It's not healthy. And yet, I know that she offers safety, warmth, and a love that understands when I'm frightened and supports me through it. I don't know what to do about this. I want to be used to birdies, but without the human around, I don't know how to make myself face them. I want to be less dependent on the human, but again, I don't know how to be. It really does pain me to admit it. I used to chide mummycat for being ascared of everything. She did take it to huge levels, mind you, cuz you could only be scared of my human for about five seconds. That's all the time it takes to realise that she only wants to love you instead of hurting you, but Mummycat could never even master that side of her fear totally. Peoples were always an unknown. She never completely trusted them, even the ones who were nothing but nice to her. I can understand a little better now how hard it is to face a fear.

The human is going to use the old kittening pen to put me in the garden in the summer, to let me have some outside time but without the risk of me getting lost, so I'll need to learn that birdies aren't scary before I do go out. It's such a worry. I mean, whoever heard of a ladycat ascared of birds! It's ridiculous!

So, there you have it. I don't mind sharing my dirty little secrets with you all, cuz friends are sposed to understand your weaknesses too, right? At least, I hope they are!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


This is going to be a very short post just to clear up a few of the comments left in response to yesterday's post and to give some more information. I will allow the human to write the rest of this, as she's the one with all the details. Just means I'll have to smack her down later if she gets any high handed ideas about writing on here a second time!

Human: Ok, to start off with, let me tell you that I'm on a number of forums and groups, and one of those just happened to have a lady in it who knew the breeder of the sphynx personally. From conversations that went on, plus reading of the original thread, here's my informed information/opinion.

The kitten was 16 weeks at the time of travel, not 11 weeks as stated in the original story-writer's words. She was shipped in a climate controlled part of the aircraft, and apparently, this cost even more than it would have done for the owner to get a seat herself on that flight. I don't know why she didn't go herself, but I can make an educated guess. The woman refers to young children in her post, so I suspect it was too difficult for her to get them cared for while she went to collect the kitten. From the level of upset she's experiencing, I doubt this was a decision made on selfishness.

One reader asks if she'd checked breeders closer to home. As I'm sure you folks are aware, distances in the US are immense, and many breeders ship their kittens to their new homes as it's often the only way to get them there. Driving sometimes simply isn't an option. Perhaps there were no breeders closer to this lady's home. Perhaps she wanted a sphynx and no rescues had them. I simply don't know. Perhaps she didn't want a rescue cat because she'd be unsure of its start in life and the issues it would bring with it to the home. none of us were there, so we don't know.

What we do know is this. The kitten was in climate control, and, if she'd been dealt with as she should have been by Delta, temperature would not have been an issue, as she wouldn't have been exposed to it for very long. Airlines have rules about temps animals can travel in, and if they took the kitten on the plane, those rules were obviously satisfied. If it was too cold, again, Delta is to blame for agreeing to fly the kitten. It's the airline. It should know, through experience, the bottom temps an animal can deal with while being flown, and yet, it still accepted the kitten.

The breeder packed the baby up well. She had fleecey blankets, a snugglesack, a heat pad, and even was wearing a little sweater for extra warmth. There's nothing else she could have done to keep her any warmer.

The owner showed up on time to ensure that the kitten would not be forced to wait in the cold, but despite numerous plees that the kitten needed to be brought in from the cold, despite Delta staff being made fully aware of a kitten being on board, they continued to offload normal luggage instead of her carrier. Again, this was Delta's fault, not the breeder's, and certainly not the owner's.

This breeder is not a novice. She has been doing this for a long time and knows what she's doing. If folks do their research, they will see that Delta is responsible for many, many pet deaths every year. Even our own ML had her labrador lost for hours on end by Delta. Luckily, that story had a happy ending, but it is still food for thought.

The story is a tragic one with no easy answers. On the bright side, apparently Delta have already been forced to speak to the press about this particular case, so let's hope they keep the pressure on!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Kitten Dies Needlessly

We interrupt normal proceedings of the Tortureshell variety to bring you some very important and very upsetting news that we found yesterday. We feel that it is important and needs to be spread as wiedly as possible. We'd appreciate it if you made mention on your blogs too. The more publicity this gets, the more chance there is of something being done about it.

Warning, the story below is very upsetting. Please be aware of this before you read further.

This is the tale as written by the people of a kitten who was needlessly killed by neglegence from Delta Airlines. If you want to see a picture of her, I believe Pedda's Blog
has one of her at nine weeks old.

Kitten Dies on Delta Airlines

Hi Everyone, Last night our family experienced the worst tragedy I have ever personally experienced & I wanted to post this hoping to reach as many Sphynx cat owners & breeders as I possibly can.

We purchased an 11 week old Sphynx kitten from a breeder & her flight was scheduled to come in last night at 8:40PM on Delta Flight # 738 into BDL (Hartford). (Climate controlled cargo by Delta Dash)

We arrived at the airport at 8:15pm, camera & 2 kids in hand to pick up our long awaited new arrival. We immediately went to baggage claim where we would pick her up from her long flight from Utah.

When we arrived, we were told to go sit by the conveyors for luggage & that as soon as the plane was unloaded, they would bring our new family member out to us. We waited & waited & at 8:50 I went to the baggage claim & asked for an update. I told the woman that the kitten was a Sphynx & had no hair & that I was beginning to worry since it was only 7 degrees outside. I was told the flight had arrived on time (8:40pm), but to sit back down, that the cargo hold latch was stuck, but they were doing all they could & would bring her out as soon as they could.

I wasn't incredibly alarmed, After all, I paid $290 for her to be in a climate controlled cargo area. I figured she would be fine as long as she wasn't outdoors. At 9:30pm, they brought the carrier out to me & the woman who handed the carrier to me told me I should take her out & that the carrier was very cold. She removed the zip ties & I took the carrier to the floor & opened the door.

The kitten was ICE cold, limp, and unresponsive. I IMMEDIATELY put her into my coat, grabbed my kids by the hands & ran out of the airport to get her into my car & cranked up the heat putting all vents on her as I rubbed her trying to warm her up.

She couldn't lift or control any limbs, her breathing was labored, she had a blank stare in her eyes, and she let out a meow. As if to say help me -- please.

We rushed her to the emergency vet clinic, but to my utter devastation, on the drive, she let out a blood curdling cry & went completely limp as we frantically drove to the vet.

When we arrived, I literally ran in, and gave her to the nurse who whisked her into the back. After 10 minutes, a vet came out & told me that she that she was "DOA" and that there was nothing they could have done to save her. There was nothing I could have done to save her either.

The vet then explained to me that once a plane lands, the cargo compartment depressurizes & there is no longer climate control. She told me that she didn't stand a chance in this freezing weather sitting in the Delta Cargo hold for almost 50 minutes.

I spent the rest of the night last night crying & more or less having a nervous breakdown. She died cold, lonely & scared. Her last hour of life was spent frozen & unable to escape. I am so utterly devastated -- I cannot express to anyone how this feels. I am so sad for her, her little 11 week life lost for no reason. A tragedy that could have been prevented if the airline had valued her little promising life.

Delta didn't have much to say to me last night & I am waiting for the president of cargo to call me today, the bottom line is that they can't bring her back to me or my family, there is nothing they can say or do to make this whole. We don't want a new kitten, we fell in love with HER. She was our new child & there is nothing that can be done to bring her home to us. Snickers lost her life unnecessarily.

I just hope that by reading this, I can save someone else the devastation. If you are buying a kitten & live in a cold climate -- PLEASE RETHINK SHIPMENT WHEN IT IS BELOW 30 degrees. If you are a breeder -- PLEASE RETHINK SHIPMENT if you are shipping to an area below 30 degrees. You can put a kitten in a climate controlled cargo, but if it depressurizes -- IT IS NO LONGER CLIMATE CONTROLLED.

Please please please don't let another kitten die, be patient, let it warm up a bit. As we all know, these hairless creatures are the most loving wonderful animals, but they just don't stand a chance against a cargo area that is utterly freezing with employees who are more concerned with getting luggage to their respective owners. Value life everyone, I have just experienced something I pray no one here has too. Don't let Snickers lost life be in vain, I pray you guys read this & maybe another kittens life won't be lost to the cold & lonely Delta Cargo holds.

If you want to read the original thread that the story was posted on, please click Here

Tips for Flying with Animals

In response to reading this, the human and I thought that we should put together our thoughts on safe travel with a pet in an airline. From the start we'll admit that the human's never put a cat on a plane before, and I can't tell you what it's like cuz I've never travelled that way either. But common sense and a lot of reading have given us the insight for the below points. Bet you can't guess which ones I submitted?


Aircrafts, however climate controlled they are, or pretend to be, still can get pretty cold. A kitten doesn't even begin to regulate its own body temperature until 4-6 weeks old, and it doesn't have total control until about 16 weeks of age. The younger the cat, the more prone to cold it is. Very old cats are also prone to feeling it more, but even a healthy cat can freeze in a short period, especially if it's used to being kept always in a house.

A PTU means that, even if we want to, we can't escape the cold, so it's important to provide us with enough cosy warmth in there. Lots of blankets are a must, and the warmer, the better. We should be able to snuggle right down and bury ourselves in it if we need to so that we're out of all draughts. Snugglesacks, sleeping bags for cats, are also very useful. For hairless cats or short-haired kittens, a sweater will also help, but do be aware that if it doesn't fit snugly, the cat may try and escape and end up tangled in it. If the airline will allow it, it's worthwhile wrapping a heat pack in layers of towel and placing it at one end of the PTU to provide extra warmth.


This is a very important part of any journey. Some airlines suggest that food is removed before flying, but if you ask me, that's just wrong! Only the best, freshest tuna, the most juicey prawns and the total contents of a whole bag of treats will sustain your precious cargo long enough for it to reach the other end. The human says I have to tell you I'm joking so that you know that your cat can survive without it, but I'm not admitting that, even under torture! If I do, it means she'll know that my "I'm starving, feed me or I might just faint right this minute" lost kitten miaow doesn't indicate the dire circumstances it pretends to! The human says that it's fine for a cat to be without food for a few hours, but I don't agree. If you value your cat's sanity, then feed fish and treats. It's the only way!


It's very important that your cat has water at all times. This should be provided in a bowl which attaches to the door of the PTU. This way, it can be refilled easily and won't spill over on top of them. If they are travelling in the height of summer, it might be a good idea to freeze water as ice cubes, as the cat will have fresh, cold water as the ice melts. Here it's also important to note that as well as getting too cold, cats can also over-heat. See my next point. Obviously, if it's winter and very cold, freezing the water isn't going to be such a bright idea.

Too hot to handle?

Temperatures can reach staggering proportions in some parts of the world, and this can be just as dangerous to your companion as cold can. Long-haired cats suffer the most here, unfortunately. When I went to my first show I got too hot, and that was without me being stuck in a stuffy cargo hold or left sitting in the sun for a long time. My human was able to keep me cool with ice and fanning and that sort of thing, but if you're on a plane, you won't have a handy people to cool you down. Suggest to them that they pack an ice-pack wrapped in layers of towel in with you. When you're packing though, whether it's a heat pack or a cold one, you must also make sure that the PTU is big enough to allow the kitten or cat to move away from the pack to equalise body temperature if necessary. This is super important, as without the room to do this, you could be causing the problems you're trying to avoid. Imagine lying on a block of ice for hours. You'd get far too cold!


This is an absolute must, even if you're only in a PTU for a short period of time. It's insensible and frankly insensitive of peoples to think that cats can survive in a PTU or in any area that doesn't have at least a gazillion ping pong balls in it. Sure you might be a bit squashed and pressed for space, but it's worth it to make sure that the ping pong balls make it to their new home safely. The peoples won't leave you behind, so if you have them in with you, they can't leave the balls behind either. A stuffed or rope mousey can also make for good company on the long journey, and when you get tired of conversation, he's fun for bunny-kicking.


Some airlines are more pet friendly than others. Some are dedicated only to animal transport while others treat us as no more than a noisy piece of luggage that needs to be tolerated rather than loved. I don't understand this myself, but they continue to take this attitude. Delta have many reported animal deaths every year, so unless you're flying with your peoples in the cabbin, I'd probably give that one a miss unless you're being transported at a time of the year when the weather is mild and comfortable. If at all possible, I'd make your peoples drive you there rather than flying at all, but I know that isn't always an option.

I hope some of those thoughts will help you if you are ever considering allowing your peoples to fly with you. Keep a close eye on them, friends, and make sure you're put at as little danger as possible! Today my human and I think of the family who didn't get lucky, of the kitten who was really too young to leave her mummycat and go travelling on her very own, and of the breeder who must be feeling the loss more than anyone as she knew the kitten for the longest. Let us hope that nothing like this ever happens again. If this post saves only one life, then we have made a difference. Perhaps the post on your blog will only add to the life saving that we can all accomplish together.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Youtube, at Last!

At last, friends, the human has found it! She played this video to me a few times last week, and although I'm not quite up to Mocha's standards yet, it did give me something to aim for! The human gets the "Oooooo, it's so cute!" face whenever she listens to this.


This video may cause uncontrollable fits of squeeing and other associated side effects in human watchers. All cats are advised to maintain a safe distance whilst it is in progress. Safety is paramount. Impressionable kittens, don't try this at home!

Click here to watch Cafe Mocha Valencia's Purr Meows

Now, I'm off before she catches me for sloppy cuddles!


I couldn't think of a better title for today's post, because it is a bit if a mish-mash of lots of different things. Do you realise that I haven't blogged for almost a week? I do, and boy did I make sure the human did too! I mean, it's one thing her not writing for me for a day or two, but almost a week? It's punishable! That being said though, I suppose I should go a little easy on her. She did have the funeral, after all, and all the travelling and the teaching, and, well, you get the picture. But while she was off doing her stuff, I was doing mine. I'll mish-mash the two and tell you all about it. Let's start with travelling.

I mentioned that we'd be taking a long journey to get to Dogman's house, but I wasn't really prepared for how long it was, nor the human's reaction to it. She'd done a full day at the work hunt, and as I've mentioned before, when this happens, she's super tired when she gets home. she usually has what Bug calls a surprise nap somewhere in the middle of the evening, but of course, she couldn't do that on Wednesday, cuz we had to go on the journey. I don't know if I said that my walking jacket and backpack carrier arrived, but they did, so we had a chance to test them. The human had even put a special pad in the bottom so that if I had to do a peepee again, I wouldn't be embarrassed or upset cuz it would soak it all up. I'll tell you now that I didn't need to use it!

Now, you know my views on PTUs, whether they're super smart backpack ones, or boring old plastic ones. I don't like 'em. In fact, I hate 'em, and I don't keep my thoughts to myself. On the bright side, it does give me the opportunity to perfect some of the more challenging arias around, but the human never seems to appreciate it. Now, I do plan to do a review of the PTU, as does my human, so I won't say too much about it here except that it certainly gets me noticed! I had lots of peoples making those stupid cooing baby talk noises through the windows of the PTU at me as my human took me along the platform to the train. I, of course, sang to them in my loudest, strongest voice, which in turn got more of them staring at me. The human got quite embarrassed by the end, although I really don't know why.

We had to spend four hours on the train, but the human had anticipated this. She knew that if she took me out of the PTU, I would know that song practice had come to an end and I could relax until the next time I had to change trains. Now this is good human training. Why? Cuz she took me out of the PTU and kept me out. She put my walking jacket on me which is also super smart, attached a leash, then let me lounge at my leisure on her knee. Again, peoples seemed very interested in me. They said they'd never seen a ladycat on a train before, and especially not one who sat so good and quiet and who wore a smart jacket. I, of course, showed off to my adoring public, but I didn't let them touch me. I don't like it when hands come out of nowhere to try and stroke my beautiful furs. I mean, can you imagine all the cleaning you have to do to get their people stink out of a long, fluffy coat? It's disgusting!

Now I mentioned that the human was tired, but she took that to new levels on the train. Instead of paying me attention, she leaned back in her seat, fixed my lead round her upper arm so that I couldn't run off (as if I would!), then drifted off to sleep! This had me quite alarmed. It's all very well her having a surprise nap on the sofa at home, but on a train? What if we missed our stop! I knew something had to be done. Accordingly, I went into action. I stood up, stretched, climbed the human's tummy, stood on her chest and began to shout in her face and knead for all I was worth. This caused some peoples to laugh, but I wasn't paying them any attention. The human still didn't wake! I decided that it would be fun to try and get in the neck of her top. It was low already, and my kneading had made it drop a little further. Peoples are sensible in one regard. They don't like other peoples to see their poor, bald, hairless skin, so I knew that if she felt the neckline of the top move, she'd be awake in a flash. I had one and a half front paws in there when she jumped awake, pulled me out and fixed her clothing up again. Hah, victory was mine! As soon as she opened her eyes, I miaowed sweetly, gave her finger a little kissie as a reward, and went on kneading. She was cross, but ended up just laughing and giving me a cuddle. Good human!

When we arrived at the last train station, Dogman and Mark were there to meet us. Mark has a pet name for me that he uses as a joke. He calls me cooking fat, something that the human and Dogman find really funny when Mark explained that it made two kind of different words if you changed the first letters around. Mark pretends he doesn't like cats, but I know this is his way of showing that he really does like me, cuz when he says it, he usually gives me a sneaky cuddle. The human has caught him at it. Plus, he doesn't complain when I get out of the PTU in his car, nor when I sing to him. In fact, he's more sympathetic than the human! Add to this that this washis daddypeople's pretend name for one of their old pet cats that Mark loved very, very much, and I take it as a compliment. it would be bad if he really meant those other words that it makeswhen you change the letters around, but we're certain he doesn't. He just likes the play on words, and the fact that it makes peoples ask why he's calling me cooking fat. I think it's just as good as Dogman's song for me. I got to sit on

Dogman's knee on the drive home, and he and Mark practiced their miaowing for part of the

journey. They thought it was really funny that I kept miaowing back to them, but really, I was

only giving them language lessons. I was teaching them propper pronunciation, you know.

I didn't take long to settle in. I'd only been gone a few weeks, after all. Dogface was there.

I tolerated her, even when she jumped all over the human to say hello. Honestly, she has no

reservations at all, that mutt!

I slept good that night. So did the human, despite her surprise nap. The next day, she left

early in the morning. Dogman had an appointment at the eye hospital which she attended with him

in a professional capacity. Mark came and took them, but they left Dogface behind! When they came

home again, they had warm chicken with them, but they wouldn't let me have any! Shortly after

that, the human gave me a cuddle and explained that she would be leaving me for the night to go

and teach with Dogman in another far away place, and off she went. I didn't mind at all. As I've

said before, I kinda like Mark, and I know he likes me. I played the "attack the people feet

under the covers" game with him when he went to bed... All night long! If his shouting was

anything to go by, he enjoyed it a lot. I also played ping pong in the middle of the night, and

when I visited the litter tray, I came in and sang to him of my doings. Again, his talk noise,

lots of it, sounded as though he liked the fact that I kept waking him up. He was so pleased that

he was still talking about it when the human came back the next day!

She came back without Dogman. He was at his grandad's funeral, and the plan was that the human

would come home and look after Dogface and the little kittenpeoples who are Dogman's nephews, so

that the big ones could all go to the funeral. Well, the little peoples didn't turn up, and

apparently they all went with their mummypeople, so the human used the opportunity to head off

with Mark and finalise the paperwork for her new job. Yes, friends, there was more of it to be

done! They left me behind again... Starting to sense a pattern here, are you?

To take a side tangent for a moment, I heard the human mention last week how cute purr-miaows

are. To illustrate, I'll post a Youtube video, or I will when the human gets home from the work

hunt, as she's not allowed to access Youtube in work. Well, I took this comment of hers to heart,

and while she was gone on Thursday, I got to practicing. When I got hold of her on Friday, i

climbed all over her and purr-miaowed my heart out! I do like to please her from time to time,

mainly cuz i know that it often leads to tuna, but still. It got me extra cuddles, and she

started saying how much I reminded her of Mummycat, who also used to do that. She remarked on how

odd it was, cuz I've only rarely purr-miaowed for her before, but over the weekend, I was doing

it all the time. Well, if you say a thing, you gotta expect me to pick up on it!

Anyway, Saturday they all went off out again, and when the human came back, she was cold and

tired. They said they went out to look at stuff. Nothing really exciting happened that day,

except for something really, really huge! I'll leave it till the end of the post though, cuz it's

real big news, or at least, it is for us.

Yesterday, it was time to go back in the stinky PTU again to get on the train, but this time,

I'd had enough, and boy did I shout! It was so bad that the human actually thought I'd peepeed

again, but of course, I hadn't. I mean, what self-respecting ladycat would peepee in her own PTU? Last time wasn't my fault. I was calling for a mancat, and you gotta peepee more when you're like that. I couldn't help it! I was just sick of being stuffed in that thing! Even when she took me out on the train, I carried on shouting. I made her embarrassed all over again, but you know what? I didn't care! She said it was the longest few hours of her life, and she wishes I had an off button. It did get me plenty of attention though. Because of my smart jacket, one little girl even thought I might be a guide cat, cuz it was kinda like the thing Dogface used to wear when she was a guide dog, only mine was a lot nicer of course. I did settle down eventually, but I still wasn't happy, and I kept letting her know with grumbles from time to time.

We got back pretty late last night. All I wanted to do was eat, and all she wanted to do was sleep, but she had to have a shower and do some washing and make the bed and unpack her suitcase, and even make phone calls. It was Bug's step-dad's birthday yesterday, and it was the birthday of the middle humankitten that lives with Phoebe, so she called them to say hi. She also called Bug, but almost fell asleep on the phone with him. I was helping though. She can't stay awake when I cuddle her tummy, which I was doing last night.

Boy, it's good to be home again! I like travelling, but there's a lot of moving around involved in it, and it becomes a bit tiresome from time to time. The human says I tolerate it well, and so I do. I don't get worried or stressed in new places so long as the human is around, so she feels worse about leaving me behind when she goes places when compared to taking me with her. I'm happy to keep it this way. I like seeing new bits of the world.

But now, on to the big, big news. You remember I mentioned a while back that I would hopefully be having kittens? Well, the human, as you know, calls herself a breeder. However, as we've mentioned, she loves all her cats so much that we are members of the family first and foremost. As her breeding gets more serious though, she knows that other members will be added to our family. Now, she's of the opinion that all those living in a household should like each other and get along, but she also knows that when a mummycat is allowed to keep a kitten with her, they tend to be very exclusive with one another and pretty much ignore others, if they're closely bonded, that is. When you have a bonded group of two cats, it makes it easier for them to shun the rest. But of course, if she is to continue breeding, then some of our kittens will have to stay with us, right? This posed a lot of problems, as she didn't want to create little isolated groups of cats in the house, but what to do?

Well, it just so happens that both Dogman and Dogman's niece and even her mummypeople are all wanting a Persian cat. Isn't that great? Dogman has been thinking about it for some time. He loves me, but he had a real soft spot for mummycat which has never really gone away. He says he's been fighting with himself not to get one, but since I've been staying with him, he says he really misses me when I'm not around. His niece has wanted a Persian for years, as has her mummypeople who she doesn't live with any more. This is excellent news for me, and for the human. For me, cuz my kittens, well three of them at least, are guaranteed to find super duper homes and stay close enough that we can both go visit them if we like.

The human had a conversation with Dogman and the niece and explained the problems she foresaw. Both of them seemed thrilled, and she couldn't work out why until they made it clear. Many peoples believe that an animal must have a litter in order for maturation to be complete. I tend to agree in part myself, cuz I know that I'm missing out on something, something that my mummycat had, and all the others who had kittens had. On the other hand, if there aren't good homes for kittens, then it's irresponsible to bring babies into the world. Anyway, enough on that. So ideally, Dogman and the niece wanted their cats to have at least one litter of kittens before they got their ladygardenectomies. This suited the human just fine, cuz it means that she can have a kitten from one or both of the litters, and bring them into our house. As we won't be mummycat and daughters, it means that they will be treated as any other cat would. Sure we might bond, but it's unlikely to be as close as that of mummycat and daughter, so it still leaves room for the other cats in the house. So the human has agreed that, as long as they will let her have the first litter, she will give them each a kitten, and handle all the hard parts of the breeding herself like the birth, the stud, the mating. It also means that her programme progresses much more quickly. Realistically, if I have kittens this year and even one of them is a keeper, she can be on the third generation of her breeding programme within a year. This allows her to establish her lines very quickly, and to make sure that, not only does she have the best, most healthy and beautiful ladycats for breeding, but that her kittens find really good homes. As we've said before, Dogface couldn't have found a better home with Dogman, and even with me she

has to tell him off for spoiling me too much... He gives me whole tins of tuna, not just portions! I like his niece too. She talks real nice to me and she even brushed me too and gave me good chin tickles. She looks after Dogface sometimes too, and she loves her.

Wow, wasn't that a long post? I told you a lot had happened! I'm sorry that I haven't been round to visit you others. The human says she will try to do it at some point today, but she's still trying to catch up on washing and work hunting, as she did have two days off last week and there's a lot needing doing! I will help her by lying on the keyboard, headbutting her right when she's trying to concentrate, and crawling on her to force her to turn away from the computer. I will also do my impression of a cat statue in repose on top of the clean, cat-hair and wrinkle free ironing. I hope she appreciates my hard work!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Not So Sage Sunday: A Muse About Mews

It's Sunday again, so here I am. I apologize for posting a little later today, but Gregg's been sleeping most of the day...poor thing hasn't been feeling well. He went out last night, came back smelling of something bittersweet, and seems to have been feeling awful ever since. I have no sympathy, as long as it isn't genuine sickness. He seems well enough to post now, though, so here comes the stuff that passes for my wisdom and insight.

Today, I want to talk about something both obvious and strange...namely, mewing. Today's offering is apt to be more musing and thoughtful than wise or insightful, I'm afraid. Some of us - cats and people, I've heard Gregg attempt it sometimes - do it a lot, while others don't. I'd class myself as one of the quiet ones, unless some other cat is trying to pester me or stake out my house as their own of course. Ming, so recently departed, would mew at pretty much anything, including things only he cared about (like towels, doors and the full food bowl). It's something I've always wondered about.

I keep myself fairly quiet when I'm being touched, but am happy to purr to show my appreciation. I've heard that some cats will even mew for a human while they're being stroked or cuddled, and I wonder why this is...don't they feel that their proximity and purr is good enough? I'll also greet new humans with a plaintive meow or two, but Ming was absolutely effusive with certain people (especially Gregg)...quite honestly, that kitten wouldn't shut up! My greeting is to let whoever it is know that I know they're there and that I intend to be friendly. I usually won't rub legs and ankles right away, but prefer to stand near a place underneath which I can hide, such as a couch or table, while the new human or humans get settled. Michael, mentioned in last week's post, was very strange, as I may have said...rubbing ankles, purring, mewing and even hissing for no good reason! I'll also mew for food when Gregg's in the kitchen, whether I have food at hand or not, but I know a lot of cats who do that...we just can't help ourselves sometimes.

What makes me wonder is why more cats aren't like me. Mother cats will talk to kittens, and kittens to their mother, with lots of meows, and when cats want to fight they'll sometimes growl and scream at one another...but otherwise, we don't use these noises with one another. Why is each of us different with humans? What makes one cat very chatty and another nearly silent? What makes one cat greet humans while another will only meow loudly in the kitchen? And what, pray tell, makes a cat make any sound at all besides purring while they're being touched? Humans wouldn't understand even if they could mew like we can - which they can't, though goodness knows they try too hard - so are cats trying too hard to communicate? For that matter, why are humans often pleased to hear cats mew when they don't understand a word? It's just a little sound most of the time, and a good solid purr is much much nicer.

That's a lot of questions, I know, and most of them probably don't have a general answer that will fit them properly. It's just something to ponder on, that's all. It might be another level of the trainable behaviour humans expect of us, I suppose. I know it is to a small extent with me. Because Gregg's eyes don't work, he doesn't always know exactly where I am if I'm lying still; my collar gives me away if I jump, move quickly or shake my head as I often do when stretching. I will often mew very softly - more a mutter than a meow, actually - to let him know I'm lying nearby, whether I'm in the middle of the floor, sprawled on his bed or draped over the back of his comfortable chair. I've learned that it's good if I do this because otherwise I might get kicked, leaned on or, worst of all, sat on! It's happened before, ladies and gentlemen...though usually it's a matter of his backside coming toward me, brushing me and giving me enough time to scamper. He's never actually squished me fully that I can remember, except when he stepped on two of my feet as a kitten. I was younger and sillier then, lying flat in the middle of the kitchen floor, and I guess he had no way of knowing I was there. In any case, a good portion of my vocalizations are at least partially to let Gregg know where I am or, if he seems to know that already, that I'm awake nearby and ready for more petting. Aside from food and greeting, that's about the only mewing I do.

...No, wait a moment. I have to be honest. Off and on for pretty much all of my life, I've tried to talk to things. I try to do it when no one will pay me any mind, but I've probably been found out by now. It happens rarely, but I've tried to converse with everything from the faucet in the bathtub to a plastic bag blowing in a breeze. Oh, and birds...though I fail miserably every time I try to make them understand how much I want to chase them. Do any of you other cats have strange habits regarding the noises you make, and do any of you have any idea why we bother? It's been eleven years and I still can't quite figure myself out.
I think I've rambled quite enough for today. I'm sorry to those who might have expected a more...intelligent entry, but I was having a chat with Gregg's curtains this morning while he tried to sleep and decided I wanted to talk about the commonness - and strangeness - of cats mewing. If any of you have much to say on the subject, feel free to let me know. We all might learn a thing or two.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Short and Sweet

Sorry, folks, but this is going to be a short post as the human, selfish thing that she is, says she's too busy to write for me today. Why, you might ask. Well, allow me to tell you.

It's because we're going on a journey. We're heading up to Dogman's place tomorrow evening cuz the human needs to help him out. he had some important teaching to do at his work hunt place in the evening on Thursday, but what with his grandad and all, he just hasn't had the inclination to prepare anything for the session. It's top level massage stuff which the human knows well cuz she's a physio. For her, there's no preparation needed, really, but she said she'd do it for him so that he didn't have to worry.

Grandad's funeral is on Friday, so she's going to stay up there for that. She says she won't go. She hates hates hates funerals, and would rather just remember them as they were, without having the final closure of the ceremony. So she'll travel back to Dogman's house (the teaching place is a little bit away, so she'll stay over that night, then come back to Dogman's the day after in the morning). That means she can look after Dogman's sister's humankittens when they come home from school, so that Dogman's sister can go to the funeral too. She'll also be looking after Dogface so that Dogman doesn't have to worry about her for those few days.

But there's more, cuz guess what? I'll be coming too! Oh yes I will. The human says she'd rather have me with her for the weekend so that she's not worrying in case I get sick or anything. She says if I liked the cat sitter that she uses, she'd not worry about leaving me, but when that lady comes, I hiss and spit and hide from her, so she wouldn't really be able to check me out to make sure I wasn't sick. Anyway, I like being with the human better, and I know Dogman's house now, so it won't be stressy or anything. Plus, I get to try out my new backpack carrier. It came a few days ago. The human got puppy training pads for the bottom of it cuz it's going to be a long, looooong journey. So if I do have an accident, it doesn't matter. It'll soak up real good. That's a relief for me, cuz that was mighty embarrassing last time!

But that's why she's busy tonight. us ladycats don't travel light, you know. There's litter and foods and a box and more foods and ping pong balls to be packed. There might be some room left for human stuff to go in there too, but just maybe. She's doing all that tonight, plus cleaning my boxes too (I have two in the house) so that they're all nice and fresh for when I come back. nice of her, isn't it? But it means she's running around like crazy tonight trying to get it all done, cuz we leave straight after the work hunt is over tomorrow.

Shoot me for saying it, but I'm kinda looking forward to seeing Dogface again. The house just hasn't been the same without her idiocy. The stupidity highlights my cleverness, so it did have its use. Ah well, I'll have a weekend of it. I will update you when I can.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Supposedly Sage Sunday: Are We Not Cats?

Hello again to one and all, and welcome to another session of insight and rambling hosted by yours truly. It's still fairly early here, and very cold outside, so you must pardon me if what follows seems a little deeper than last week. I've had a lot of time to think in the last while, and what I want to talk with you about today is the behaviour of cats...and more specifically, the way that cats and people seem to be more alike than meets the eye of the casual observer.
Every cat, and every person, is different in some way from every other. I've lived long enough to see that this is true, even when two cats or two people are for some reason trying to do the same thing or seem the same way. I don't think this difference will ever go away entirely, though I suppose I could be wrong about it. And yet, despite the things which make us unique, many of us seem destined to mimic our care-giver's feelings and moods.
Take kittens, for instance. They begin life clinging to their mother and crying whenever human predators get close to them. Eventually, they are taught not to fear humans, after which much handling and purring and stroking are sure to follow. All that attention is undoubtedly wonderful, but most young cats suddenly seem to decide - perhaps willingly, but perhaps without even realizing it - that humans should be emulated and depended upon. Soon they begin to follow the human around, begging for food and interaction while forgetting mostly about hunting and other such things. Give them a little while longer, and they will perform tasks to get what they want - sitting up prettily to receive a treat, for instance - which puts me in mind of one human working for another and doing much the same thing. The human wants the cat to behave a certain way, offers a reward, and elicits the action easily because of it. Cats who think they are training their human have to realize one thing: they may be doing so on some level, but a human's training has a lot more punch to it because they're smarter than we are - perhaps not as smart as they think they are, but just look around you for proof that they're very intelligent creatures - and because they're ultimately the ones who mostly control what and when we eat, and even where we go. Aside from training in this way, most cats who live with people tend eventually to seek affection out. People have wonderfully nice hands, and I can forgive their strange murmurs and babbles and word sounds as long as I'm getting lots of petting. Cats raised on their own don't tend to seek the attention of humans, yet those who live with humans abandon their self-reliant nature and all but beg to be cuddled and stroked. Humans are very social, always talking or touching or interacting in some way, and it comes to me that perhaps cats, seeing this in various ways as they get older, realize that they ought to conform in order to make their stay with the humans easier.
Here's what I'm really getting at, folks. When cats are around humans long enough, I think they almost stop being cats in the truest sense. Their attitudes become noticeably high-handed and smug despite the limitations within which they live; their actions often mimic those of the people with whom they're staying; most telling of all, though, they seem to forget - or at the least, to more or less abandon - some of the essentials of being a cat. Before I go any further, I want to say right here that I'm just as guilty of all of these things as the next cat is, as can probably have been figured out by now. I'm not attacking anyone or talking ill of cats in general; I'm simply musing on the impact humans tend to have over us. In fact, I bet many of you have had similar thoughts, but I've yet to see anyone else admit to it. The way I see it, happiness and comfort are what counts...and if that means a bit of accommodation to suit the situation, go for it.
I mentioned in a post a few days ago a cat named Michael. He's gone now, sadly, but his story is an oddly telling one, and a clear example of what happens when this unconscious training and mimicry goes horribly wrong.
Someone in Gregg's family got a kitten a long long time ago, when Gregg was still young. The person's name is Rob, and he's still very much alive; the kitten's name, at the time, was Muscles. Rob used to go to work every day and leave Muscles at home. This by itself wouldn't have been too bad, but Muscles was desperate for some kind of attention by the time anyone got back to their house, and so he'd climb all over just about anything that moved. He was very friendly but full of fun, as Gregg tells of those kittens who wants to play and be everywhere at once. Rob encouraged this behaviour far far too much, and would make the kitten angry and upset by playing with it long past the point where play was fun. In short order, Muscles began to use his teeth and claws while playing, to the point that Gregg no longer wanted to touch him for fear of being slashed or bitten. Some small time later, Muscles was given to Gregg's grandparents and quickly renamed Michael. He grew to be a huge cat, but unfortunately never recovered from his kittenhood. As time went by, Michael became known for extremely odd behaviour; for instance, he'd greet you when you came to his house by mewing way back in his throat, rubbing against your ankles, then hissing before commencing a purr. You couldn't touch him while in this mood, as he'd hiss and spit at you - and even attempt a bite if you weren't quick - before scampering off to look at you from some higher vantage point. Periodic attacks on Gregg's grandmother eventually led to Michael first losing his front claws, then his fangs, seriously crippling his ability to do damage. Gregg's grandfather claims that Michael eventually got to a point where he'd lay on his chest while he was reading, and I do believe it, but I bet it was years before it came to pass. That cat lived a fairly long life, but eventually died of something Gregg calls cancer.
I tell this story as something of an object lesson. Michael is a fairly rare case, I'm sure, but both people and cats should keep it in mind. When people and cats live together, cats grow more dependent than they otherwise would; whether or not it's -too dependent is a debate I'm not really prepared to sink my teeth into at the moment. Suffice to say that this dependency and behaviour change can be a wonderful thing when you get what you want, but can go dreadfully wrong if you live with humans who don't care much. To all the humans out there who might read this, please remember that your cats, young and crazy and timid and strange as they might be, are trying to adapt to you being a constant part of their lives, and that it's harder for them than for you in most cases. To all the cats who might read this, please remember that your human is smarter than you, but should not be resented (or excessively mimicked in deed or action) simply because of their greater intelligence. Rely on them because you have little choice, but try to retain enough of your independence that you can live without their presence or intervention as much as possible. When cats run away or when humans give us up for adoption for no particular behavioural reason, I bet it's often because all involved had not struck - or could not strike - the necessary balance to live together. It's not hard, you know...not nearly as hard as I make it sound. Just keep your own skills and strengths in mind, avoid being arrogant and focused on how you look - as some people regrettably are - and you'll do just fine.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Saturday Stuff

Well, friends, there isn't really much to tell around here. It's been pretty quiet at casa de Tia... And human, I suppose. It turns out that Dogman just wants to be with his family and have some space this weekend, so although the human's been with him on the phone a lot, she's still up here in the house, feeding me and brushing me and snuggling me as she should. One thing she shouldn't be doing is bathing me though, and unfortunately, that's what happened to me this morning.

She said she thought it was about time I had a bath, that my coat was getting a bit greasy. The nerve of some humans! I mean, do I mention that her clothes smell nastily of detergent and stuff? Do I make a remark about how her tongue is hopelessly inept at cleaning her? Do I reference the fact that a body without fur looks disgusting? No! And yet, she has the tenacity to remark in an off-hand way that I am greasy. Well, if she had as much fur as I do to clean, perhaps she would be too!

So, in the bath I went. I could say a lot about how much I hate that blasted tub, but instead, let's focus on the positives, or rather, the positive. The human uses a baby shampoo on my fur. This has two good points. Firstly it makes my furrs beautiful and soft, and secondly, it doesn't leave too much of an icky smell behind it. The human says it makes me feel beautiful and shiny too, and that it won't irritate my skin.

Speaking of skin irritation, I'm back to scratching again. The human read somewhere that sometimes mites can migrate onto a cat's body. often they itch, but when lab cultures are taken, nothing shows up. She was questioning a while back whether I had ear mites, so now that she's seen me raking at my chin until I'm breaking skin, she's treating me with the nastiest smelling powder I ever did sniff! It hasta go on my skin to kill the horrid mites, but I tell you, I don't like it one bit! If that doesn't clear up my scratching, the human says that the water fountain will have to go. Before, when I was scratching my neck, the human was using plastic bowls for my foods and water. She got rid of them at the same time she put Soft Claws on me, so she's not sure if the bowls and plastic were the cause of the scratching, or whether the fact that it was allowed to heal that saw me all right again. you see, I had to bend forward to eat, which means that my neck might have rubbed the bowl. It's not all that uncommon for a cat to be alergic to plastic. I had a new water fountain that was bought months ago but that we couldn't use thanks to Mr Bug and my human worrying that he'd decide to live in the pump after jumping out of our mouths and into the water, but she gave me it after Dogface went, and ever since then, I've been scratching like mad. This one's a high fountain, so it would actuallly only be my chin touching it when I drink, and that's the only place I'm scratching.

Now, about Soft Claws. Pixal and Samba, we haven't forgotten the fact that you won and that we're sposed to mail you out a package of Soft Claws. There's a problem though. The company aren't being forthcoming with your prize. See, every time someone won, we had to tell the sponsoring company and they would supply the correct size and colour. We wrote to them when you won, but they haven't gotten back in contact with us since. We are still trying though. So sorry about the delay in you getting your prize! The human says some awful words when she looks at her email only to see that they have ignored another one. I can't repeat them. They aren't polite.

Hmmm, let's see, what else? Oh, the singing cat card arrived, except that it doesn't sing. The HGG told us it did, but she got it a little wrong. It's Ok. I'm not cross with her. She's old and has got some memory problems, so it's not uncommon that that happens. However, she still remembers me and how beautiful I am. She actually asked for all the human's photographs of me to be printed and brought at Christmas for her to look at, and I made sure the human bought her a Friends of the CB calendar too so that she could have fun looking at all of you in there, and me of course. Her eyesight's going, so she can't read so good any more, and that's something she used to do a lot. Now she likes looking at pictures a lot more, so the calendar was perfect. She loved it. She told the human all about the different pictures, and one of the blessings of her not having such a good memory is that, next time she picks it up, she always thinks she sees one or two new pictures that she hasn't ever noticed before. She asks the human about me all the time, and although she often forgets my name, she still remembers how much she liked me when she came to see the human way back before I started writing. I was super nice to her. I came and sat on her knee and cuddled her, and I didn't bite or scratch her once, even though when she picked me up it was a little uncomfortable. her left hand isn't so good any more cuz she had something called a stroke. That means that she doesn't hold onto me so good with that one, but has to hold extra tight with the right to stop me from falling back down when she picks me up. I got squirmy, and would try and ask the human to help the HGG instead of her struggling to do it herself, so for the most part it worked well. The HGG is quite squishy too, so makes for a great place to lie. The human thinks the HGG would do well to have a cat of her own for company, but the HGG worries about cleaning litterboxes. It's a pity really, as a quiet, older cat would make such a good companion for her.

But I was talking about cat cards, wasn't I? This one didn't sing, but it said meow and purred. I wasn't interested in the slightest. I knew it wasn't a real cat in there. It sounded way too fake! So, to all of you who were worrying, you can stop now. I have a way better reaction than the card when you rub my tummy. Sure, it might involve claws and teeth if I so decide, but it's still way better.

The human got the first of my vet bills sent back to her last week, and although the insurance covered some of it, there's still a lot left to pay. Hmmmm, wonder if we should go on the run? Nah, forget it, running sounds too much like hard work! Unless it's to chase a ping pong ball. In fact, is that one I see over there? I must go and investigate. It might take me some time...

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Happy and Sad

We have news, friends, but not all of it is good. My human is going to need some more snuggling, it seems. I'll tell you the sad first, then we can brighten a little with happy thoughts. Last night when it was dark outside, Dogman's grandad went to what some of you others called the rainbow bridge. The human knew him very well for years, and although he'd been sick for a long while with something even worse than runny eyes or even a runny bum, although they all expected it to happen, it's still come as a bit of a shock. Poor Dogman, like the human, found out when he was at work, and both have had to carry on their days there despite their grief. Dogman's grandad, even though I didn't know you, I think I would have liked you cuz the human says you were a happy man and a good cuddler. You will be missed by all you left behind. The human says she doesn't want to talk about this any more, and I can't blame her. It's about time she had a break, don't you think? I'm not one to go soft on her, but it just seems like it's been one thing after another after another for the last few months, with hardly time to surface and snatch a breath in between before the next wave comes. I will snuggle her silly tonight and eas her as much as I can.

Now, on to happier things. Thank you all so much for the human's birthday wishes. She saved them all up till the end of the day before she read them, and they gave her a happy face. She got presents too. Her cousin, the biggest humankitten that lives with little Phoebe actually, sent her some super posh chocolate in the post. The thing from the HGG was a bead for her Pandora charm bracelet. We can't work out what it is though, and the HGG can't remember (she has big memory problems), but it's an animal with a long tail that's kinda sitting up. The human thinks it's either a cat or a monkey. Oh, she's now officially considered the crazy cat lady too, or so she thinks. Her auntie, again the one that lives with Phoebe, says she sent her a birthday card with a cat face on it. When you open it and rub the cat's tummy, it even sings! The human says that when peoples search for birthday cards with cats on, it's a sign that you are the CCL. This singing sounds interesting to me though. I wonder if it's a skill I should start working on? Just as well it's only a picture and not a real cat else I'd have to get jealous! I will study its singing ability with great interest when mr postman finally drops it off in the post box.

When the human got home from the work hunt yesterday, there was a message from another friend of hers, not the one who cancelled, asking her if she was doing anything that evening. The friend, hmmmm, let's call her funny lady (cuz she speaks with a funny accent), wanted to know if the human would go out with her, and of course she said yes. I packed her off to do her cleaning in the shower. It's such a shame they don't have the tongue to do it thoroughly and propperly, isn't it? Then she put on the non-fur clothes to cover her body and off she went.

Well, funny lady had surpassed herself! Instead of taking the human out, she took her to her house where she had made the most beautiful meal. There was chicken pie (why didn't I get some!) and delfinoise potatoes whatever they are, and peas in a cream sauce. This was followed by chocolate cake and champagne. This was all freshly home made (well, except for the champagne), and was simply divine. They finished up by giving her a card that they had got their son, who also has broken eyes, to braille for her. He was so excited about the human reading it. He's still quite a small kitten, you see, so it was a big achievement for him to write it.

The human got back late and was quite tired, but she'd had a super day, far better than she expected it would be. But wait, there's more to come.

The human received perhaps the best present yesterday morning by email. It was news, and boy was it big news. You remember Sparkles, the cat with the lonely heart? Well, she's found her forever home! The human is so pleased about this. She felt an incredibly strong connection with Sparkles and would have taken her herself if there wasn't that huge ocean thing in between. As it was, she worked hard to make sure other peoples and cats and dogfaces featured her on their blogs. We even got her mentioned in Ireland! It simply made her day to know that yesterday, on her birthday of all days, Sparkles was adopted. And as if that wasn't coincidence enough, she's going to live with a lady who calls her blog Kat's Kats,. Her brother was adopted by another lady who writes Cat's Cats. How about that for an awesome confluence of events! Was there a reason for the connection the human felt? Well, I can't say, but it's pretty cool anyway. Sparkles, we hope your transport day this weekend goes super smoothly, and that you settle in well. You're going to a house of tims, so it shouldn't take you any time at all to begin your reign as princess supreme. You'll love it!

The human is waiting now only for her Birthday cards to arrive in the post, and to see whether she will go and be with Dogman to help him through his loss. She's told him she'll come, but he isn't sure he wants company, so if we don't blog for a few days, it's cuz the human has ran off to see him. Oh, that chocolate is certainly going to be needed to help get through the latest tough time. Now, where did I store the rest of my sandpaper kisses?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Happy Birthday, Human!

It's finally here, oh yes it is! My human gets a year older today. I don't understand how she gets a year older overnight, but she does, and who am I to argue?

I've been thinking and thinking on what to get her as a present, but I'll admit, I was struggling. I ensure she's good to herself most days, so what do you buy the human who has everything? Ok, she says she wants a yacht, but I don't like the water, so poopooed that idea. A car? Well, she can't drive. A new house in the country with servants, a swimming pool in the garden and a fat bank balance? Well, the place she has in Oxfordshire is small, set near a park, gets puddles in the back garden and has a fat bill balance... Close enough for me.

Still, The Catnip Crew gave me a super idea for a present. They recommended I give her a sand-papery kiss. Now, this is something I give her on a reasonably regular basis, but she does seem to love them so. And when I say she's got everything, she doesn't have a sandpaper kiss, cuz you can't hold them or put them in your pocket, you see. Once they're given, they're gone.

Accordingly, I got her up super early this morning even though she hadn't had much sleep the night before. I crawled up to the top of the bed, snuggled down beside her, and decided that while I was grooming myself, I should include her. I tell you, her hand has never been so clean! She seemed to enjoy it though. Her face got that happy expression on it where the corners of the mouth turn up and stay that way. I think they call it a smile.

I think I might even allow her to give me treats today, just as an extra present. She's had no birthday cards in the post yet, and has no presents to open, but she's remaining cheerful. She was supposed to be going out for dinner tonight, but her friend cancelled on her at the last minute. I consoled her with the fact that sitting in and snuggling with me will be much better fun anyway. After all, her friends wouldn't play catch the mousie with her, so it would be boring! She says some cards will hopefully come today, but despite that, she's had something that's very much brightened up the start to her day. I will say no more for now, but if and when the time is right, I shall reveal a very special present the human got given. It made her do the smiley face again!

In other news, my walking jacket (doesn't that sound so posh?) was put in the post yesterday, so should be here tomorrow. Dogman is also coming up at the weekend, but isn't bringing Dogface. The human asked him to leave her behind, as it's still too hard for her to see her again just at the moment. He's coming to do a late birthday celebration with the human, and get this! He bought her a present, but it was for me! It's a new PTU, but this one is so posh that I might actually refuse to look at it as a PTU. It's a backpack that the human wears and I sit in to survey the world as we walk. It's all soft, so it won't have the nasty hard feel of PTUs, and it won't sway half as mush as we move, given that it's attached to the human and all. If I decide I like the walking jacket, we can even use the two in combinations so that I can go on long walks with the human and whoever happens to be with her at the time. This is something the human has been wanting for a long time, as she really struggles to carry a PTU in one hand and work a dog or a stick with the other. We can't wait to see what it's like!

Oh, we've just remembered, the human does have a present! It's from the HGG who gave her it when she was over at Christmas to take back with her and keep until today. We've also just had word that the HG, who is the HGG's daughter and the human's mummypeople, and the... Oh, what do I call him! He's an HG too, although he's the human grandad, father of my human. Hmmm, I spose I'll have to come up with a name for him when I meet him. Anyway, the pair of them sent the human a really posh slab of chocolate in the post. They say it'll get here on Saturday. Wow, quite a haul there, for me and her both!

I must go now. She's itching to open that present from the HGG. Before I do though,
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear human
Happy birthday tooooooooo yooooooooouuuuuuuuuuu

Tortureshell Tuesday: People Style

It's been a while since I had a tortureshell, and after I've written this, you'll see why I wouldn't mind it being another long while until the next one. Yes, friends, you read that correctly. Perhaps I'm becoming soft with all the holiday spirit still around, but Tortureshells haven't been on my mind for a while! This one isn't even of my doing. It's a people Tortureshell. Allow me to elaborate.

The human has a massive peoples family, and when I say massive, I mean it. on the HGG's side alone, there are 16 cousins of the human, and already 6 second cousins who are all still kittens, with another one on the way! The human great grandad's side is massive too, and one of those peoples on his side has two cats. Good for her, I hear you say, and indeed, I thought so too, until last night.

The human saw a post on the dreaded Facebook that mentioned that the relation was "getting rid of the cats". What? Getting rid of a trainer? It really galls me when peoples think they can do this. Sure, they have thumbs and have control of the stinky goodness, but that doesn't make them lord of all they survey. Perhaps they're of the opinion that they're through with training and don't need us any more, but the least they could do is give us the contracted notice period so that we can find another home, preferably with that old lady down the street who feeds you nice food because she thinks you don't have any other home to go to (mancats, I trust you know what I mean). I mean, it's a pretty poor way for them to show their gratitude for all of our hard work when they simply turf us out onto the street, or, in this case, into PTUs.

The reason for "getting rid" as she called it was because her trainers had decided they were going to do a bit of what I call inappropriate scratching, which is to say, sharpening one's claws on various things: items of furniture, walls, carpets, the occasional bit of soft, yielding human flesh. I fail to see why this causes a problem bearing in mind that usually, we are simply trying to teach the peoples that they wouldn't need to cut their finger nails if they would only scratch as we do. This people didn't get the hint though, and decided enough was enough.

The human got on top of it as soon as she saw the dreaded message of doom and gave the people lots of advice. She even told her about Soft Claws, and offered to give her some spare that we have. The people was going on about how much she loved her cats and how there'd be "tears all round" when they went, but said she'd look into Soft Claws as she "really didn't want to get rid of them". The human went to bed happy that she'd at least saved two cats from going to the Cat's Protection shelter.

Midway through the day today, she saw this message. "My wee cats are gone. Tears all round." um, what? People, what do you think you're doing! The human helped! The human was gobsmacked, and the heart went out of her. She wrote back to the people, saying sharply that she thought she'd said she loved the cats and would look into things, but she's got no answer. It's left her rather upset, and she's not the only one.

The more I've thought about this today, the madder I've gotten. I don't know where peoples get the idea that we are disposable. They allow us into their lives, con us into thinking that they will feed and care for us forever in return for their training, then break all trust and contracts by throwing us out on our ear for the smallest infraction. I think they sometimes forget that we are intelligent and have feelings and might actually care about it. They see us as nothing more than a ball of fluff to be cuddled and manhandled and cooed over, no more than an animated teddy bear that can be put away in a box when you're finished playing with it. Well, guess what? We're not! If I wasn't more secure with my human, this would make me wonder if she'd do the same to me, but when I confronted her with it, she just laughed, tickled my tummy, and assured me that I am the best trainer for her. Sure, she might add a kitten or two to our family, but it doesn't change the fact that that's what we are; a family. And you don't throw your family members out for inappropriate behaviour. You feed them tuna instead! Right, human?

Working on the peoples idea that they choose us rather than the other way around (I know it's not true, but it serves my purposes to pretend so for one paragraph), a pet is for life, not just for Christmas or Birthday or playing with or for the good times. We're in it for better or for worse. When you pick up that cute puppy or kitten in a pet shop or at someone's home, you should be saying your marriage vows to us. Are you ready for a commitment of that magnitude? Are you ready for the till death do us part portion of it? Because, you selfish peoples who think you can just dump a pet when you're done with your toy, we certainly make that commitment. In most cases, we actually mean it too. Sure, we think you're cute, we think you need our help, we think you're fun to play with, but you know what? When that wears off, when the novelty of having you around goes away, the love, the caring still remains. Where's your portion of that? Where di dyour love go, human's relation? It certainly didn't go with those two cats in their PTUs on the way to the shelter.

At least in the UK, we have no kill shelters, but if pets are dumped in the states or Canada, often they end up at horrible places of death. Beth, a rescuer from Canada, does wonderful work with a local shelter that practices euthanasia, saving cats from the twice weekly death day and placing them in foster homes for adoption. She's so passionate about it that she's even started her own rescue.
She also regularly blogs about the horrific conditions she saves cats from
Just think, she wouldn't need to if peoples weren't so thoughtless, selfish and inconsiderate of our wants and needs. Grrrrr!

Ok, rant over now, I promise. Now that I've got it out of my system, I am going to go prepare for the human's Birthday. It's only tomorrow, and I'm excited! The catnip crew gave me a great idea for a present...

Monday, 10 January 2011

Friends, Jackets and Birthdays

Well, how about that for another random title. And I didn't even have to use the word random! Before I explain any of it, I'd like to say a huge thank you to Kara. Wasn't that a great celebrity appearance by her? Some of her ideas might be a little bit, ah, out-dated, particularly her views on young queens, but as she did say herself, she's an old ladycat, and one can't argue with the vast wisdom she possesses. Kara, I know your posting tenure with us will be short, but I think my readers will make the most of it! It was sad news about kitten Ming, even if it wasn't entirely unexpected, according to my human. Apparently, Bug tried and tried and tried, but the baby was just hassling Kara too much, and as she intimated yesterday, it just wasn't worth it any more.

On to lighter stuff though, cuz today isn't the day to be depressed, or so says my human who managed to get a different type of mr bug at work and was sent home. Why is she determined to be cheerful? I'll tell you why. Cuz it's only two more days till her birthday! I asked her if that means she'll stop having the mentality of a kitten, but she only grunted something very, very rude at me and walked off. I don't know what I should do for her special day. I'm thinking maybe a present would be in order. But then, the only things I have to give are hair balls and litterbox presents. Wonder if that will satisfy?

She's strange though. She says that, for her birthday, she's gonna use a little of the money that the HGG gave her to buy me a walking jacket. It sounds really smart, actually, and way, way more comfy than the stupid harnesses she's had on me before. Who knows, for her present, I might even let her put it on me! I might also even go outside!

Just to update you, we haven't forgotten about the videos of me killing the chicken. We're still waiting for Dogman to send them to the human so that she can put them up.

I like to think of myself as a tradition breaker, so, instead of having Friends on Friday, I've decided to have Friends on Monday instead. I'm going to start by featuring a blog that is part written by a stinkin' dogface, and partly by the unfortunate people forced to own her. The people sounds quite nice, actually. I thought it would be nice for some of you to go look at, despite the fact there's a Dogface there, cuz this dogface is a working one, just like the human's was, sept that Tori, the people, is newly qualified with her. I know a lot of you were interested in the human's experiences, but here, you can read about them in more detail. Please drop by, and feel free to leave them a comment!Here's the link

Ok, so if I'm honest, the Dogface isn't all that bad. Working ones rarely are. They also featured Sparkles on their blog, which was super nice of them! Until next time friends, hassle those peoples!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Supposedly Sage Sunday: An Introduction

Hello to all you cool cats out there in the great wide world. I'm told this talking computer box thing will let you hear me meow from just about anywhere...humans and their toys are so weird! Why can't they stick to mice? Well, never mind I guess. The toy is here so I'll use it however I can. If it turns out you actually know what I'm trying to say after all, we'll both be better off.

I'll start by telling you all who I am and what I'm all about. They call me Kara. My human - his name is Gregg, even though Tia calls him Bug - gave me that name when I was a kitten. I don't really know why, but I guess it stuck and I suppose I don't really mind either. Gregg's father sometimes calls me little-wee-babycat even though I'm not a kitten, but he cradles me on my back and rubs my tummy while he's doing it so I usually just dismiss his people-talk in favour of all that stroking. Sometimes he takes me to his house when Gregg goes away for a long time. Anyway, where was I? Yes...more about me. I'm mostly black, with a little white on my feet, my chest and stomach. I've been around the block a few times, as they say; in human years, I'm eleven or so. What this really means is that I'm old enough to grumble and grunt when I jump or get picked up, but young enough to chase whatever I want to chase, even when nothing else can see it. I'm also at that an age where I feel I'm allowed to sleep wherever I want and to make statements by leaving gifts on the floor in Gregg's kitchen or under his bed-couch. He still hasn't figured me out, and I'm always careful not to give him any clues...though I really don't like the scolding so I keep myself from abusing this freedom too often. I've never had kittens, and when I was a lot younger they took me to a vet to give me an operation after which I decided I didn't really care about tomcats after all. No kittens is sort of sad, but it's too late to worry about it now, and if there's one thing I've learned in my long life it's that you make the best of your good things and try to downplay the rest of a cat, it's the best way to live.

People say I'm friendly, but cats would tell you another story...or rather, two in particular would. The first is a guy named Thorley, but he has no further place in my tales except that he used to live in a different house where Gregg used to live...a house that was way up high in a building with a lot of other houses in the same building. The second one was Ming; Gregg tells me that some of you knew Ming because he found out about the computer-box first and decided to use it. I tell you, I've never been happier to see someone leave in my life! Gregg might well have loved that little upstart, but he was way too upbeat for my way of living. I couldn't get half a minute's rest without him trying to play with me or trying to chase me from place to place. It got so I had to spit and yell, and I don't do that half as much as you might expect. If he'd been willing to cuddle with me the same way he cuddled with Gregg, we might've been able to work something out, but all he wanted was play play play, and this girl's too old for that. It took Gregg awhile to realize that something had to be done, even though I made it pretty clear if I do say so myself; Ming came just as it started getting hot outside and left a little after the first snow fell...over five months, Gregg tells me, and they weren't all bad but it definitely would've ended a lot sooner if I'd had my way. In truth, I think Gregg might've realized I was upset but he might've loved Ming too much to let him go when he should have; I'm old and wise enough to forgive him for that, and to make him aware of it. Life's way too short to hold grudges for long, I think. From what I understand, Ming is in a new home and seems very happy there; I'm sad that Gregg, Ming and I couldn't live together, but I'm happy that the kitten found a good place to stay, and happier still to get my peace and quiet back!

If you've come to notice the way I sometimes jump from topic to topic, there's a good reason for that. I don't talk very fast, and while I do think faster than I talk, it's not by much. I've got things to distract me, you see...chin-tickles, a big bowl of kibble not too far away, a soft bed to lie on...and I often talk while between these various pleasures. It's very easy to lose track of what you were saying after a belly-rub so good you can't help but rumble with purring, take it from me. Same goes with may only be little hard bits to crunch on, but they taste like chicken and seafood, and it seems as if there's always more in the bowl! I have no illusions about being a good-looking cat, either; my fur is nice and smooth, my eyes are clean and my teeth are strong, but I'm a little...round. Gregg feeds me a little too often, or so other humans have said. I'm not dead yet though, and I still feel fine most days, so I don't see why good things should come to an end. I don't -want to be fat, you understand, but if being fat is a result of eating lots of tasty food, then fat I shall have to be.

You see what I mean? I set out to tell you a little more about myself and why I decided to write in the first place, and I get distracted by thoughts of pettings and food! It's time I buckled down and got to the point. I'm hoping those of you who are reading are still with me and still interested enough to stick around.
I'm here talking to you because I've come to understand that, during my many years of life, I've learned a lot of things. I won't claim that I'm the wisest of cats, and there are a lot of things I admit I don't know a thing about, but I'm always open-minded and laid-back enough to learn, and I think of myself as practical...none of this useless attitude that punk kittens sometimes get, none of the high-handedness of young queens or the cruelty of younger toms either. What I'm trying to say is that I know quite a lot, I tell it like it is and have decided that if I can help other cats or their humans - even just by making them laugh or smile - I'll try until I can't try anymore. I won't promise to have the solution to all of life's problems, and I can't guarantee that any solution I -do give will work. What I can do, though, is tell you that I have a little to say on just about anything.

Take kittens, for instance. They start out being small and quiet and scared of everything, which is fine with me except for the bit about being scared. The world is big and sometimes confusing but not worth being frightened of if you can help it. I think a kitten's claws and teeth let it stop being afraid of things and somehow teach it that it's okay to harass the older folk. You can't take the teeth or claws away to make them forget either...once they grow in and start getting used for various destructive acts, peacetime is over. Suddenly they're everywhere at once, mewing at things even I can't see, attacking things for no good reason even when they don't move and generally making nuisances of themselves. Some humans tell me I would have made a good mother, but I'm not so sure I could've stood all the mayhem. Kittens must figure that they can do whatever they want because they're kittens. Quite frankly, the change between the kitten afraid of his own shadow and the kitten who wants to play with his own shadow for three days straight while destroying everything nearby is a mystery; aside from the claws and teeth, I can't even come close to understanding it. Was I that way as a kitten? Gregg seems to think not, but he has a way of seeing a little more of what he wants to see when dealing with cats, I's easier for him to forget or downplay the bad in order to remember the good. For now, I'll just quietly take his word for it because I don't remember so well anymore. Anyway, about kittens and their attitudes in general...I just wish they'd calm down a little and stop pestering us oldies! If there's one thing I wish I could tell every kitten to have them listen up, it would be this: There will always be another toy, another thing to chase, more food and more places to don't have to get it all out of your system early, and if you take it easy you'll get tired of the fun a lot later in life. That might sound to some of you like I'm encouraging them to be even crazier in the long run, but all I'm really saying is that if they calm down a little, it's much easier to deal with. They might still be a little crazier when they're big cats than they would've been otherwise, but instead of being almost manic about it when they're younger, I'm hoping (perhaps only wishing) that kittens were only about half as frantic about their need to romp. I can handle a little fun, even at my modestly-advanced age, but too much is too much, by goodness, and I'm not afraid to say so either!

I'm thinking it's time to get some sleep. There's no time better for sleep than the present, after all. I'll be around every Sunday to offer what passes for my sage advice, though I'm not quite sure what Sunday is. I'll have to trust that Gregg knows and will tell me, as I don't like making promises I don't know how to keep. My future posts probably won't be quite so long and rambly, but that's not a promise, it's only really a guess. In the meantime, be good to one another, and remember that while smart cats can get into the food, wise cats know how to do it and not get caught.