Category Archives: Cats
It is with great delight that I write to tell you Pippy is home from the vet hospital! After scaring us for the better part of a week, she finally started to get better and – together with her new haircut – arrived home.
I suspect she is getting extra pampering at the cat mothership. The thing that amazes me is that after many days of little food, she has returned home and she is still fat! Joking aside, we are all greatly relieved.
Meanwhile, at my place, the girls are getting used to a new routine. Each morning I am throwing the bed covers over my head and resolving to completely ignore Licorice. So far, it appears to be working. I have also removed all loose paper from the bedroom so Saffron can’t chew it.
Lastly, I seem to be winning the war on fleas. I put a new ‘sticky mat’ in My Flea Trap and while I’ve had it out quite a number of times it does not appear to be acquiring many more black dots.
Well actually the point is that you don’t see! The combination of frequent vaccuming, flea treatment on the cats each month and the eco-flea trap appear to be doing the job. I’m sure that it does help that it’s winter. I’m determined not to use flea bomb sprays.
If you have a flea problem and have never tried “My Flea Trap” (not exactly an exciting name), then give it a go. My father didn’t believe me when I told him that it just uses alternating flashing lights and you leave it out overnight and in the morning the fleas have jumped in. That was until I got him one of these snifty things and they took it across to my grandmother’s place which only gets vaccumed when the home care lady comes. Dad returned with a flea trap that looked much more like a lamington than the one on the right. Except lamington’s taste better.
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!
‘You have to turn your phone off, so you don’t get international roaming fees.’ says Andrew.
‘Well, what am I to use for an alarm clock then? Without my phone and Licorice, I’d be lost!’
Hmm… Licorice in the luggage.The first challenge there would be whether she would fit. Licorice has a wider than average girth. That said, she is a cat. If any creature can fit itself into a space that is too small for it’s body, a cat can! Challenge one dismissed.
The second challenge would be convincing her it was a good idea.
Second challenge dispelled. The girls have ‘packed’ themselves.
Third challenge? Customs.
‘Miss, you appear to have some organic matter in your luggage?’
Hmm… cat alarm clock plan fail. Ah, but it would have made a good story for Border Security!
It’s been a week of coming home to just start work again. I’m preparing a 2 hour workshop for a conference – hence the lack of blogging.
In the furry circles it’s business as usual. I think Andrew is needing to negotiate his place in the bed. As I write this, Licorice and Saffron have placed themselves on my overcoat. No wonder when I was at the quilt show last week, one of the stall owners asked me if I had a cat! I looked down at my dress to find evidence of the awesome foursome.
By the royal power invested in us from the planet of Feline, we hereby declare that this armchair is now the property of the species tortoise shell and no human can enter. Bribery in the form of chest and head salutes will be considered momentarily and although we like this ‘patting’ currency, we will still reject all human efforts to take position of said armchair.
In short, it’s ours.
It was almost a disaster. I lost the 55th piece of my fibonacci flower. Some people may have just decided that it had to stay with 54 pieces but I could not. I hunted through sewing bags; down the back of my sewing cupboard, under the sewing machine, on the floor, in the scraps. I was looking for a piece of fabric about 3/4″ wide. Once I stopped looking, I found it.
At the moment, the flower looks a little silly as it is without stem. That piece of gold and orange batik will be reduced once the stem goes on. I tried two methods of ‘needle-turn’ applique for the main pieces. The first I stitched the line on the sewing machine and then clipped and turned under with the iron. The second – the gold one – I used a palette knife and glue stick. This is because I’m not very safe with an iron – or at least my fingers aren’t!
And on a completely unrelated subject, here are the girls, grooming themselves simultaneously. I often think to myself when Cat Protection Society said they were inseparable, they were absolutely right. In this short video they even turn to each other’s name! (Saffron is on left, Licorice on right).
I want to know why it is that a cat attempting to sit in your lap – especially when you don’t want it to – almost always manages to put it’s paw right where your bladder is? (For anyone interested I haven’t had children, my pelvic floor muscles are good so there has been no cat induced accident in this house)
Secondly, I want to know why when you sit on the couch doing nothing, the cat sleeps on the floor. As soon as you pick up a laptop, it’s anti-sharing instinct kicks in and the cat is determined to displace said laptop.
This is what Licorice is doing at this very moment. Now consider this: I am attempting to type this post with an 8 kilo weight on my left hand wrist. I’ll show you. (My right hand is free to use the iphone camera and it’s within my reach).
Those are my fingers emerging from heavy cat. Do you notice the two empty cat beds on the right hand side of the photo. Those would be the beds they are NOT sleeping in, even though I have turned the heater on. If I want them to actually sleep in the beds, then I need to turn the heater off and then they will go close to those beds and look pitifully at me and meow their request for the heater to be turned on.)
Ah relief. Licorice has decided to get off my hand. My wrist thanks her.
Of course, this cat displacement technique is not just unique to the laptop. Any computer is fair game as illustrated by Gesso here, relegating Andrew to one hand typing, unless Andrew wants to risk Gesso slipping off and falling down his legs. Not really a good risk on careful consideration really. We all know how cats use their claws to climb trees.
And while I’m asking questions about my cat’s interpretation of her rights in this household, I have a few more to add.
Why does Saffron so confidently claim ownership of any ‘green’ shopping bag? Is there some title deed written into such bags via cat scent that upon returning home with one, your cat as the right to take immediate possession of it and not return it for 3 days? (Excuse any typos from here, Licorice is back on wrist…. and part of touchpad). The royal cat prerogative exempts her from having to give the bag back for it’s original use. It is as if Green Bags are subject to squatters rights.
And why is it that cats are never interested in fitting themselves into a suitable size box, green bag, cat bed etc. Perhaps the things I have heard about a cat using her whiskers to judge whether it will fit through a space is just bunk. I can assure you that my cats either have ridiculously long whiskers, or when their whiskers sent the alert signal to their brain, they just ignore it. When I bought the cheap cat bed recently (a $5 purchase in a two-dollar shop), I deliberately chose the smallest one I could find because I am so used to my girls turning their noses up at anything which is of reasonable size. And regular readers of my blog will know, what happened then.
I’m not finished yet. I have a few more questions about my cat’s prerogative. I want to know why when it’s really cold and you want the cat to sit in your lap and act as a pseudo-hot water bottle, she just isn’t interested. Crank up the temperature to a Sydney hot day of 30 something degrees and my lap is the most desirable location in the house.
And why is it that I can buy a ‘covered’ litter tray so in theory when the cat kicks the litter around it will hit the ‘roof’ and land in the box, that I still seem to have a trail of kitty litter across my bathroom floor. Kitty litter is the cat equivalent of Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs, though I really don’t get why they need them. I would expect if the cat wanted to re-trace her steps she would only need to follow the smell back to the bathroom. Unless of course, I’ve been the obedient cat servant that I’m supposed to be and cleaned the tray within 5 minutes of usage.
And why is it that anytime I want to photograph something, a cat must help by inspecting it at the same time I’m trying to take the photo.
They have an inbuilt instinct which must say ‘quick walk on it now!’ And lastly, why is it that given all the trouble they cause with flea management and cat hair and little nail shards at the floor of the scratching post, that we still love them as much as we do? I’m sure many servants dislike their masters but I will not include cat servants among them. In fact, we humble servants seem to enjoy having a laugh at how much privilege our cats bestow upon themselves. Here’s one example of that that I saw via Facebook recently – it’s had a few million views so I’m sure that it’s done the rounds and you may have seen it. For those who haven’t, I’ve included the sad cat diary below.
Of particular note for me is one of the opening diary entries about cats and keyboards – I think Licorice must have heard that when I played it the first time and she is now just demonstrating the point. With that, I think it is time for me to stop blogging and give her a proper cuddle.
Lately I’ve been stitching more than painting. I’m not convinced that they aren’t the same practice for me but in a different media. I’ve had a few paintings on the go. All very small scale (A3 or smaller) and mostly unclear in their direction. The one above has been floating around on and off as an A3 piece for ages. I had layered Golden Fluid Acrylics in my usual fashion – here using Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Transparent Red Iron Oxide and Phthalo Blue.
The choice of colour combination was extremely scientific. Those particular bottles were almost empty and I wanted to use them up so I could toss the bottles out. (My little unit is very cluttered and while on a practical day I can see that removing 3 small bottles is really not going to do much, at the time it seemed like a good idea).
However it was going nowhere fast.
It’s probably been on the table for the better part of a month. So I did what I often do when an art piece isn’t progressing – I do something drastic! In this case, I got a stanley knife and cut my A3 piece down to A4. From there, after some rummaging in my collage materials, the piece ‘appeared’. I can’t explain how this happens; it just suddenly comes together.
It was almost ‘adjusted’ by Saffron planting her bum on the table. Fortunately, she was about 1 inch from the wet paint. Of course, it’s the only time she has sat on the table in recent history. She rarely leaves the heater. Even when it’s not on she sits next to it in hope! As does her sister… here they are at it again!