One of these days I’m going to pour gravy down Licorice’s ear. Every morning without fail I supply breakfast. I am a loyal subject and feed my 2 furry masters a generous helping. Despite this routine and commitment, Licorice seems to feel that unless she sticks her head over the bowl with great gusto that the food will not land in it. I know the day is coming when gravy will end up in her ear and I don’t really want to explain that to the vet. Perhaps it is this vigorous activity she has each morning that has helped to reduce her substantial girth. The last time the girls both went to the vets there was much cheering when Licorice tipped the scales at only 6 kilos and Saffron at 5.5!
While the girls have been busy losing weight, I’ve been creating a new art quilt for them to distribute their fur on. The first quilt I made is at Andrew’s place. The second I gave to mum for Christmas (last Christmas that is). This quilt is mine. I designed it inspired by Gustav Klimt paintings. I wanted something which suggested a female form but was not pictorial.
While I dabbled in painting fabric for the first quilt I did, this one has had a more concerted effort. It’s been fun making ‘art’ on fabric and then selecting pieces of it to sew into my quilt , together with store bought fabrics.
Above is how it looked last Saturday. I’ve left it with my sewing teacher who is sourcing some woven interfacing to help stiffen the piece before trying to attach to the background. Interfacing or not… I’m expecting there will be a few curse words trying to fit the background into those curves. Still, it will be worth it in the end. A one of kind lap quilt for me to snuggle under… next winter!
Most of the time I would agree that to focus on the ability of people who have a disability is a good thing. Yet, there are times when the disability really has to be acknowledged for the hideous and limiting thing that it is.
Losing more function can be frightening, depressing, soul-destroying, frustrating, not to mention bloody impractical! At the end of several weeks which included all of those things, there ARE some things to be thankful for.
1) I have an amazing partner who despite losing the last remnants of his ‘walking’ and ‘standing’, only managed to lose his sense of humour for a day here and there. Without that wit and comic relief, I’m not sure where we would be right now.
2) We are fortunate to have supportive family, friends and workmates.
3) There are some bloody awesome Norweigans out there who made the molift hoist equipment.
4) It doesn’t matter how stressed you become, the cats still give you cuddles. Sometimes two at a time.
If you have to work on a weekend then this is the way to do it – with cat cuddles!
At first Licorice she was happy to sit next to me. Then she wanted to sit on me. ‘Surely you have a spare box somewhere?’ Andrew says in response to my text pic.
Actually I do!
And would you believe… she fits… sort of… but…
Oh dear. Box stolen. Flaw in plan. I don’t have two spare cardboard boxes.
Never mind mum! We will help you paint instead!
‘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.
I awoke this morning to find someone had washed the air overnight with smoke. All of Sydney is obscured by the haze as if an artist has taken Payne’s grey with a touch of white and airbrushed the entire city. You can smell the smoke everywhere and taste the heat. The weather forecast says 33 degrees. My poor lime tree was baked on the 39 degree day. I forgot to move him. He now looks like an giant tentacled stick insect. His branches are green but the leaves have curled up and mostly dropped. In the hope he may live, I’ve moved him today out of the light. I’ve shut up the blinds to try to stay cool, creating my own little bunker for the day.
I say I awoke to smell smoke, the fact is, I’m surprised I woke at all. I can see the newspaper headlines now: a woman in Sydney’s Inner West has been found dead in her one bedroom apartment. Sheets were found drawn up over her head and her face was cat scratched. A 7 kilo lump of a cat called Licorice still sat upon the corpse still wailing for breakfast.
Honestly, Dr Google said if you want to stop your cat poking you in the face each morning to wake you up, then simply ignore said cat for several weeks. Do not talk to cat, do not push cat away. If need be, pull sheets over head and protect yourself from those kitty claws.
I assure you quite a number of weeks have passed. Licorice shows no sign of giving up. In fact the more I ‘bury’ myself under the sheets, the most she tries to uncover me; as if digging for treasure. Her foraging is characterised by persistence tangled with force. This is Licorice we’re talking about – she doesn’t do dainty. To be fair it’s hard to do dainty when you are 7 kilos and 11 years old.
Meanwhile at Chateau de Andrew, the boys are going to bed performing the Lumberjack song each night… whereby Andrew is the log. They seem to manage to stay on top of his hip / back, no matter how he rolls. Letting them in the bedroom at night was not the previous routine but Gesso seems to be enjoying the ‘protection’. Andrew has become the ‘peace’ between the two of them – quite literally with his body acting as a barrier between them in the bed. That said, all aggressive behaviour from Pickle is completely gone; replaced with an over-enthusiastic sense of play. At first it was a very shaky truce. Gesso remained terrified of the playful ginger ninja. However, things appear to be on the up. I was delighted the other day to hear a report of Pickle chasing Gesso down the hall, only for Gesso to chase him right back. Only time will tell how these two fare. Pickle is almost 3 years old now… surely he has to slow down soon?
‘You might have to explain to your international readers what budgie smugglers are’ says Dad upon me entering the house.
Oh. Oops. Didn’t even think of that.
Then again, I know that my international friends seem exceptionally well read and would probably know what they are anyway. I on the other hand am still occasionally stumped. I had to write to Isobel (of Isobel and Cat fame) recently to ask whether ‘cream crackered’ was a term familiar to her, or whether it was well known. Cockney rhyming slang it turns out. Last week, I learnt about ‘Pinkertons’ on the back of watching Ripper Street. (There are times when wikipedia is really indispensable).
So, back to the budgie smugglers. In case anyone isn’t familiar, it’s a slang term of men’s speedos / swimming costumes and seems to be used often in reference to our now current Prime Minister given his fondness of sport. It takes a man with a good body (think well built surf life guide), to be able to get away with wearing budgie smugglers without looking pathetic. It’s something about the way they droop with water… the swimming costume that is. I refuse to even contemplate Tony’s actual anatomy. Ew. Sick. Now.
So dad reckons I need a glossary of terms for my blog. Really, there’s only a few you need to know to follow the plot. Here they are:
Sometimes people ask me what exactly a Scroobious Pip is, I just reply – ah, that is the question! The story was a childhood favourite, written by one of the two great masters of nonsense – Edward Lear, an epileptic depressive who had a great love of his cat Foss.
My unconventional partner / boyfriend (depending on your preferred terminology). (Andrew associates partner with gay cowboy movies, I associate boyfriend with sounding 14 and temporary). Unconventional? Well, we don’t exactly fit the traditional model. We live separately. I work full time. He doesn’t. He’s domestically competent. I’m domestically challenged (except for light bulbs, I do those). I think the only thing traditional about us is he takes out his own garbage. My mum always taught me that men should do tyres and garbage.
Definition of Andrew? mischievous, Naughty. A 4 year old trapped in a 40-something year old body. An extremely talented artist (if only we could convince him of this) combined with a largely gentle soul. I say largely. He isn’t known for being a placid calm driver – especially if you take a disabled parking spot and you have no disabled parking permit.
The oldest of Andrew’s two cats and the most like him in personality – bloody naughty!
Andrew always said that if he couldn’t have a dog he didn’t want anything. Then after a while he decided a cat would be ok. As long as it was a girl cat. And black, or tabby.
So he adopted a ginger boy who certainly lives up to the tag Ginger Ninja. Andrew wanted a dog… well he’s doing his best to mould Pickle into a dog. Surprisingly, Pickle is mostly complying.
Recently, an ambulance officer referred to Pickle as a ‘caramel cat’. This has earnt him the title of ‘o Caramelle’ (said with a ridiculously corny French accent!)
Named after the white primer used in painting, Gesso has developed his own fondness for paint. While every other cat has stood in the paint just once, Gesso has done it at least three times… if not more.
Gesso is medium haired and deaf.
He makes you work for his affection but strangely we just seem to love him even more for it. When he actually lets me cuddle him for a little while, I feel that I’ve won a great battle / been included among a privileged few.
Gesso is frequently also called ‘the white cat’ (with the emphasis on THE), or squirrel.
And that’s half the fur family…
Licorice and Saffron
I don’t think it’s quite right for me to write about the two separately, for they really don’t separate you see.
That’s Saffron (8) on the top and Licorice (11) on the bottom. Two undeniably fat couch potatoes of cats with an everlasting number of hugs and smooches to give.
Licorice hates the vacuum cleaner. Licorice hasn’t figured out that each morning when I go to the fridge to get the food, she doesn’t need to follow me as I am just coming back with it. (Saff waits patiently in the bathroom). On the whole, Licorice is the gentle giant; except when at the mothership and it’s time to go back in the cat cage.
Saffron on the other hand, is reasonably ok with the vacuum cleaner but scared of all things new. Strangers / Visitors – check under the bed and you’ll find her.
PS: Mothership = home of my mum and dad a.k.a Cat Hotel.
So there you go dad. A glossary. Complete with pictures. Have I forgotten anything?
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!
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.