Category Archives: Cat Protection Society
‘I’m looking for a toy to wear Pickle out,’ I said.
Dedicated Cat Protection Staff Member recommends a Catnip Carrot. She promises me that this toy never fails. I order one. I wait. I brought it home and this is the reaction. (For those of you who find it hard to tell my girls apart – I can’t think of why?! – Saffron is first to check out the carrot).
What can I say? At 11 Licorice can still beat the crap out of a catnip carrot. Good call Bronwyn. Excellent advice as always. Let’s hope Pickle likes his just as much.
Finding cat toys that your kitty won’t leave on the floor when they are done can be a challenge. (Abandoned toys + physically disabled person = tripping hazard).
The toy in this video come come with a clip to attach them to the top of a door or other high surface are fantastic. (Same principle as pole toy but you don’t have to hold the end). But last time we had one is died quickly. I now realise why. Pickle chews the elastic rather than the mouse!
Licorice’s habit of ‘poking me awake’ appears to be getting worse. I have tried very hard not to ‘reward’ her, by not getting up until the alarm goes off. Yet it seems like she is getting more persistent. So this morning I consulted Dr Google (as many people do). Hmm… I thought I was ignoring her, but I have sometimes ‘pushed her away’ and that seems like in cat terms that’s a response. As is any talking – even if it’s no. (This morning I’m pretty sure there was a loud ‘no’ when Licorice decided to ‘stroke’ my nose. I’ve checked and there isn’t a big scratch down it but it feels like it!)
Oh dear, I shall have to reaffirm to throw the covers over my head and do absolutely nothing to encourage her.
Meanwhile Saffron was doing her morning routine – paper chewing again! Stupid me had left at piece of paper out in the bedroom.
While it may sound like I’m grumbling, I am still very happy to have them around today. Our family cat Pippy is quite sick at the moment and it’s meant the girls – and boys – have been getting extra cuddles.
Pippy has come down with a mystery illness. The vets are baffled. She is negative for FIV and ‘Feline Leukaemia‘ and it’s not cat flu either – certainly a relief; although FIV seemed very unlikely as Pippy doesn’t get into cat fights. Yet she is still a sick cat, although hopefully has turned the corner. Her temperature is slowly coming down and she is starting to eat again – if she is handfed by the vet nurse mind you! Mum, dad and I went to the vets on Friday afternoon to see her. She is sporting a new haircut – completely shaved underbelly and some off the sides too (I presume that was so they could do the ultrasound). Her eyes are still weeping, she is still snuffly and has developed a bit of a waddle when she walks, but there was a bit of spark. I put her down on the floor and she made a beeline for mum. It was very cute. Since Friday apparently her temperature has dropped a bit. She’s been sick for a week. Clearly a fighter though and I’m more optimistic now that she will pull through this. It was looking a bit grim on Wednesday / Thursday.
Since I’ve already put pics in of 3, I might as well feature the entire fur family. I never know how to answer the question, how many cats do you have? Especially while Chilli was alive. I tend to say 2, or 4, depending on the context.
If you are new to my blog, then here’s the quick version of why that’s a confusing question – I adopted Chilli in 2000. When I moved out of my family home (where Pippy and Poirot also live), I took Chilli with me. However, Chill was a bit of a special needs cat and for her well being went back to live with mum and dad. So I was catless. So in 2009, I adopted Licorice and Saffron (above). My fur family was complete. Then in 2010, I met Andrew (a man, not a cat!). Andrew didn’t have any pets. After swearing that he didn’t want one, he started to warm to my girls. So, with time, we adopted Pickle the ginger ninja and Gesso a deaf white cat. They live with Andrew but if they need to go to the vet etc, then I’m responsible. I guess you could say, it’s a shared custody arrangement! So you see, that’s why it’s hard to answer how many cats I have!
Some cats meow when they want your attention. Saffron has an alternate method, namely scratching at things – particularly hard surfaces or paper.
My couch is perfectly in tact. She doesn’t arch her back and claw the couch – she is a good girl and saves that for the scratching post. However reasons only she will understand, she loves to jump up on the cupboard and at 5:30 in the morning and ‘scratch’ the cupboard top.
Meanwhile, Licorice deploys the more traditional method of waking owners. Each morning, about half an hour before the Saffron scratching begins, Licorice starts the paw in face – walk across pillow – swing your owner and dosey do. But back to my little scratching friend.
So a while ago, I thought – I’ll outsmart you Saff. I acquired some ‘Sticky Paws’ from Cat Protection. Basically long strips of sticky stuff which you can apply to the area they tend to scratch.
I covered 75% of my cupboard top with these strips – all running at an angle.
She stopped scratching the cupboard top…
…and just moved her attention elsewhere!
Again any hard surface, or paper, is the item of choice. I have to show you this morning’s effort.
I didn’t actually realise I still had the packaging. It’s been months since I bought the sticky strips. But Saffron ‘uncovered’ the packaging from somewhere and proceeded to chew bites off the paper (and spit them out) until I found myself well and truly awake!
Whenever this happens, I try very hard NOT to get up at that moment. I don’t want to reinforce her victory. So I set the alarm for a few minutes time and force myself to put up with her destructive behaviour until the alarm goes off. Then I get up to the alarm as if it had nothing to do with her. I do wonder sometimes whether she thinks her scratching makes the alarm go off…????
I had no sooner booted up the computer to write this post about Saffy’s morning antics, when both of them, leapt into my lap where my laptop was about to go.
Typing over the top of cats, can be a challenge!
It seems that laps are for cats and not laptops. At present, we have reached a compromise situation which looks a little like this…
That is Saffron on about 2/3rd of my lap and my laptop perched on the remaining knee. It makes for rocky and uncomfortable typing so this blog post is about to end (and Saff will be victorious).
Actually this is reallly about to end because Licorice has weeviled her way between me and the keyboard and I am now typing over the top of her.
And Saffron is snoring…
If she’d bloody slept past 5:30am, she wouldn’t need a nap now!
Over a year ago I wrote a blog post called “Beauty in Cat Poo“, in which I had a rather long rant about pet-unfriendly rental and strata accommodation.
So it is with happiness that I write 18 months later that the NSW government is calling for submissions asking whether people support a review of the barriers to cat and dog ownership in relation to residential tenancy laws.
I will be submitting my opinion with a resounding yes. I only wish I could tick a double yes, or a yes plus, a yes on steroids, a yes the size of a mammoth! A yes which is big cat sized!
While some may not go as far as to say that pet ownership is a right (I think it should be), I’m sure there are plenty of like-minded people out there who are unaware that the government is even considering the issue. I think it would be terribly sad if the opportunity to make some headway on this issue was lost.
So I’m making as much noise as possible about it. I’ve put it on my facebook. I’ve emailed almost my entire address book, and now I’m blogging about it. (I find myself at this moment wishing I had more friends so I could help make a bigger wave of support).
Here’s a snippet of what got me so hot under the collar 18 months ago:
The invisible rulemakers
…To be honest I often think of the body corporate and strata managers as figments of someone’s imagination. I acknowledge that one frequently hears of the body corporate. However have you ever seen one?
There’s no office with ‘body corporate’ signage. There’s no letterbox.
Forget the invisible man of politics the true mystery of today is the body corporate. Really, think about it… what does a body corporate look like? What makes a body look corporate? Is it the human figure which has been processed, streamlined, structured, and programmed to function off finance rather than more natural fuel?
However I will put aside for a moment the mysterious-ness of the body corporate or the strata management company and move on to the critical question at hand.
Why do these people get to decide whether you have a pet? In some situations, your landlord may be quite happy for your to own a pet, but this body with the corporate look has decided you cannot. Ah, I hear you all cry out… but of course they can decide this. Pets can be messy. True. However so can children and I’ve yet to see a complex advertised as ‘no children allowed’. (I suspect retirement villages are generally without children, although with the age of childbirth creeping ever higher who knows what may happen in the future).
In 2011, with more and more people remaining single, I believe pets should start to have the same rights as children – at least in the home. I get mad when I read on the cat protection society website that a cat was surrendered because of “unfriendly accommodation”.
My home was ‘pet friendly’ when I moved in four years ago… Recently the strata management company issued new strata laws which said only fish and birds (in a cage) were permissable. I checked with the real estate agent regarding a grandfather clause. Surely if you have moved into pet friendly accommodation, they cannot suddenly become unfriendly and expect you to give up your pets? The answer I received was – as much as they knew – it was fine to continue as before. So while that’s good news for Licorice, Saffron and myself, I do feel for anyone new moving in who may be denied the chance to have a pet.
And why did they change their minds? Because some people had some dogs and they were irresponsible owners and the dogs made such a mess of the carpet that it had to be replaced. To this day I’m still puzzled how they went from ‘dog causes mess’ to ‘cat not allowed’.
Such a situation would be aided if the laws were changed as currently proposed. New South Wales would adopt the same laws as the ACT where
“the default position is that pets are allowed, with the onus on the owners corporation to not unreasonably withhold permission.”
Oh, what a delight if that were to occur. Had the strata remained resolute that no pets were allowed, I would have moved back to mum’s place rather than surrender Licorice and Saffron, yet I know that some people don’t have that option up their sleeve. According to Cat Protection NSW, up to 20% of adult cats they take in are victims of pet-unfriendly rental and strata accommodation.
That’s 20% too many.
Please take a few minutes to answer the survey and please, vote yes in question 18.
I thank you all for your support in advance and the kitties thank you too!
I know it’s hard to believe with photos such as the one on the left but sometimes cats are afraid of wheelchairs. Or so the people at Cat Protection Society tell me. It sounds plausible. I’ve seen dogs look timid around Andrew; four-legged friends who won’t get close.
As I’ve said before, Pickle and Gesso have no such issues. Gesso’s latest trick is to climb the back of the wheelchair. If Andrew hasn’t wiggled in to properly, he needs to be careful as Gesso seems to leap into the chair, trying to beat him to it; causing a white furry lump between Andrew and the backrest.
Last night, when Gesso climbed up the chair and was at the back of Andrew’s neck, I immediately reached for my phone.
Don’t take a picture, help me get him off!
As I was determined to get my picture before I performed any rescue, Andrew tried to ‘shake’ him off on his own by leaning forward. This strategy didn’t work. Gesso didn’t move!
So there you have it – Gesso the parrot. (He’ll have a degree in piracy before too long. He already frequently engages in trespassing and petty theft; it’s not too much of a step up.)
Another one of Gesso’s personalities, is Gesso the placid. It’s best described in this video (I apologise for the poor quality). It takes a special kind of cat; a chilled cat; one cool cat to let you hold them upsidedown like a baby. Both Gesso and Pickle like to do this. I’ve tried it on Licorice and Saffron. It doesn’t work for more than 5 seconds.
If you are unable to view the video, try here on the direct link to flickr.
Lastly, I had to share a third aspect of Gesso’s personality. It’s the ‘Kate’ impersonation. (Named after Kate Winslet riding on the front of the titanic). This isn’t the best video as he moves quite a bit in it (often he doesn’t move at all). Nevertheless you get the idea.
So here is Gesso the mobile.
Again, if you have difficulty seeing the video, you can view through flickr directly.
I’m trying to imagine the scene. My partner has set himself up for a relaxing night of painting. He’s squeezed out a little of all the colours he needs onto his palette. He starts to paint.
Who knows how far he got into the painting zone before the 5 month old white kitten decided to leap onto the paint palette.
I think someone must have told Gesso that it’s customary to get your paws wet from time to time. Chilli, Licorice, Saffron and Pickle have all done it before him.
Unlike his brothers and sisters in crime, Gesso chooses a nice muddy earth pigment to squish his paw in. This is good news for the cleaner-upper-er. Previous kitty cats have chosen something high staining like phthalo blue or quin crimson.
So, white paw goes into raw umber. Andrew has to quickly catch him before he leaps off and takes that glob of brown paint with him onto the carpet. Catch him he does. Well done. Perhaps I can get Andrew into a cricket team and he can cover the Silly Point position.
Slippery cat in hand, now what?
I’m trying to picture how he managed to wheel anywhere while still trying to hold on to Gesso. I’m guessing he tried one handed, which is a good way to direct oneself quickly into the wall. Trying to move the wheelchair with one hand reminds me of playing Wii Canoe – frequent side swapping required if you don’t want to go in circles!
Of course it wasn’t that simple. The little white rascal, now proudly sporting one brown paw, escaped. He took off, running the length of the house.
Somewhere in the ensuing moments Andrew got red oil paint on his hands; when he caught the little white devil, he was now a white and red devil.
More laughable than a guy trying to hold on to a cat covered in paint and push a wheelchair is the idea of him giving same cat a bath in the laundry tub! Would pandemonium adequately describe the scene?
It’s like one of those bad jokes:
What’s worse than bathing a cat?
Bathing a cat covered in red oil paint.
Gesso in a pretty shade of pink neckwear.
While part of me wants to have been witness to havoc and lawlessness Gesso imposed on the house for the briefest of moments, the other part is happy to be in my own little unit, with my own furry friends who have never got quite so dirty in paint that they have required more than a sponge-off.
I know that the Cat Protection Society (where Licorice, Saffron, Pickle and Gesso all came from) has an ‘art’ auction annually and gets their residents of the day to do some of the artwork. I think Andrew and I could save them the effort and just collate Gesso’s work through the next year. This is the second time in less than a month that he’s made contact with wet paint. It won’t take long to get an exhibition worth!
It’s only natural to reflect on the year as it comes to a close. So here’s some highlights – and lowlights – of 2011.
It’s hard to believe that Andrew has only had Pickle a year! He arrived in mid-January 2011 and was a playful and bitey kitten.
Now look at him… all grown up!
Then came Gesso! Much smaller than Pickle had ever been and far more sooky from day one.
His deafness has brought a few new challenges. Getting Pickle to steer clear of walksticks and wheelchairs was difficult enough. Gesso has taken ‘challenge’ to a whole new dimension; culminating on Christmas Day when he got too close to Andrew while he was standing and ended up being trod on. He sunk his teeth in to Andrew’s foot in protest. Fortunately, Gesso was unharmed and although left with a nasty bite, Andrew’s foot is healing. I’m hoping that after that experience, Gesso will learn to dodge feet, walking sticks and wheelchairs as well as Pickle does.
My girls, Licorice and Saffron, continued to be good company; for me and for each other:
There were few surprises in the artistic area. I continued my pattern of putting things in paintings and then removing them. (The daschund below first had a skateboard; later replaced by stilts.)
I rediscovered an old canvas and turned it from this:
Andrew started art school (of which I am more than a little jealous). I don’t have many photographs of his work… I wish I had more. Here’s just three from this year:
These two oil paintings are still in progress:
New Sewing projects
Some things never change. Saffron continued her dressmaking assistance into 2011. Her favourite habit is sitting on the fabric one is trying to sew!
I embarked on some heirloom work for a white cotton sateen slip:
and completed a thoroughly indulgent silk slip.
Somehow I quickly forgot how difficult it is working with slippery and lightweight fabrics, for I moved on to this 1940 pattern:
which, as at the time of writing, remains incomplete (needs sleeves, facings and a hem!)
I explored some other parts of Sydney in 2011 and we ventured a little further afield. First to Fitzroy Falls (reasonable disabled access):
then to Mogo Zoo: (access was a bit dodgy due to uneven and steep paths combined with recent rain!)
To Balls Point Reserve in Sydney: (inaccessible!)
Of course, I couldn’t forget the Dubbo trip! (Dubbo Zoo is wonderfully accessible and we had such great experiences photographing countryside on the way there and back).
La Perouse was not new but offered up some beautiful sunsets for us.
Looking back on this, I have to laugh. Below is a cake I made to celebrate receiving news that Andrew would get a new wheelchair.
We received confirmation we would get a chair back in April. Naively, I made this cake in May thinking the chair would arrive any day! We finally took delivery in September!
For anyone wondering why the mm’s on this cake are lime green and orange… well that was the colour choice being debated. The triffid, as I like to call it, brought much needed relief in the form of a more lightweight chair. It also caused a crisis by being too wide to fit through the bathroom door.
Once it became clear that the bathroom door could not be widened, after much drama, it was time to move house! Now I can only be thankful that Andrew has nowhere near as much crap in his place as I do in mine. Even so, packing was not easy. Pickle helped by packing himself in a crate.
Not content with expanding our feline family, my brother and sister-in-law, gave me a niece as well!
A minor little thing that happened this year!
This is one ‘new’ thing 2011 brought that my family could have done without. However, we don’t get to choose these things, so I went about learning what I could about MS and being as supportive as possible.
Well, put like that, it was one hell of a year. Here’s to 2012.
Andrew and I have discussed over a number of months the pros and cons of getting a second cat for pickle. On the ‘cons’ side were space, cat boarding while away and the risk they wouldn’t get on.
Space resolved itself as an issue with the recent move. The place is now certainly large enough for two, with access to the litter trays still off the ground. With the bathroom the way it is, the trays can be emptied from the wheelchair or standing.
With regard to cat boarding, while I think putting saffron and licorice in boarding would stress Saff out no end, both Pickle and Gesso are relaxed enough to cope.
This left the last problem – the risk they wouldn’t get on. Well, I guess that’s a risk anytime you put two cats together. Since Saffron and Licorice were adopted as a pair, it was never a concern. However, this time it was. I’m happy to say that while Pickle is somewhat put out, the signs are encouraging.
Our intention – based on advice from Cat Protection Society – was to get a second cat of a similar age to Pickle and similar personality. Finding another cat who was confident enough to just sit in a chair as it moved across a room was going to be a challenge. For a time, it seemed like it was a challenge too great. We have both been reading the facebook profiles Cat Protection Society put up each week and both been shaking our heads – too old, too shy, wants outdoors, doesn’t like other cats, the list went on.
Finally on Sunday we met Gesso. We were intending to look at a 1 year old female however upon arriving at Cat Protection Society we discovered she was no longer available. There was 1 other option – another 1 year old girl. As we went out to look at her, we passed this little guy.
‘He’s sweet’ says Andrew.
‘Oh, he must be homed with another cat or someone who is home all the time. He’s deaf.’
I’m not sure whether it’s the lack of hearing but he is pretty calm! He was unphased by the wheelchair and happy to be held up, down, upsidedown and sideways.
We had a raft of questions – what if they don’t get on? what about the size difference? what about them being two boys? if he was deaf did any other health problems go with that? As always, the girls at Cat Protection Society were more than happy to answer our questions. Part way through an adult cat leapt out of her cage unexpectedly and hissed upon seeing Gesso. This little white boy was unphased. That was all the proof we needed that he wasn’t going to be super stressed if Pickle was initially grumpy.
As it turns out, naming him was a lot harder than choosing him. The list was long. Early suggestions followed the deaf and ear theme. Cochlea, Shepherd, Drum, Beethoven, Van Gogh and more medical terms like atresia. For a time, Andrew really wanted Jeebus. The Cleaver. Sebastian. Marc Antony. Caesar. We then moved on to anything engine related given this little boy was found filthy and oily (possibly from hiding in an engine). We had sparkplugs, carburetor and castrol… which I quite liked. We then turned to facebook friends and they suggested the typical ‘white’ names – marshmallow, snowdrop and the like. In the end, I started reading websites. I had got up to L and still not found anything fitting when gesso popped into my head. (For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s pronounced jesso and it is a white paint which has been used for centuries as a ground for paintings. It often has quite a chalky look). I think it suits him perfectly.