One of us has got a new toy

I thought it was me, but now I am not so sure. You know how it is. You get your new toy out and the cat immediately takes possession of the box.

riley-cricut

That is what I thought happened when my Cricut Explore arrived this week, but then I remembered….

The pc (one of the earlier touch screen models) is now a bit old and starting to creak at the seams. When it was box fresh it had us baffled for a while. You would walk into the room and see your taskbar had mysteriously moved to the side of the screen, or been hidden, a different program was now running, or everything was in a font size big enough to be seen from space. For a day or two it looked like it was going to be returned as faulty. Then the culprit was found. Caught in the act.

riley-solitaire

He had a fascination for the thing, and kept batting at the screen with his paws or swooshing it with his tail, causing all sorts of mayhem then wandering off so you had no idea he had done it. It almost became like a scene from ‘Cats and Dogs’.

So maybe he thinks the Cricut is for him, and I am going to be left with the box. I better go stake my claim and make something pretty quick….

 

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Another Caturday Post

Moby

This little furball was my first cat. I had lived with others, but he was the first one that was truly my own. Ferocious, huh?

He was called Moby and he was challenged: he had a twitchy leg from birth, which was resolved but might have meant he would possibly be difficult to home or may not have even been given the chance if I hadn‘t taken him. He became allergic to fleas, or flea poo, but also allergic to the available flea prevention treatments (yep, really), which meant he shed his fur in patches, so his beauty was somewhat impaired. But he was adorable, whatever.

He liked to play with water: a big bowl filled with soapy suds (also liked the bubbles) and a bobbing plastic bottle top or two would keep him amused for ages as a kitten. I have to confess, having realised this, I bought him a set of rubber ducks, which he happily played with….

He was intended to be an indoor cat. I had no experience of this, but had been told it was perfectly reasonable. Within a short time it became clear that, for Moby, it was not acceptable at all, and he needed outdoor access. Given the layout of my home, it didn’t seem it would be possible to do this safely.

Some background here, which you need for later. I lived in the top half of a Victorian house which had been divided in two. For those who don’t know UK architecture, this means large-ish rooms (by UK standards, probably nobody else’s!) and high ceilings (again, probably same caveat!), plus two extra floor levels, making the building overall much taller than a modern house. I had no way to let him out other than onto the street, which I didn’t want to do, and no obvious place for a cat flap.

I started taking him out the front and around the side of the house, through the garden of the downstairs flat and into mine whenever I could. It was OK, but less than ideal. Then one day whilst gardening with him watching, my sister suggested I go inside and call him from the house, which I did. Moby looked up, did the planning and the maths (you can see your cat doing this, right?) and worked out his route from the back garden to the kitchen window. Brilliant! Except I couldn’t leave the window open for him all day, could I? So my wonderful, wonderful dad with his equally wonderful trusty assistant (mum) arrived one weekend with a couple of bits of wood and a bag of tools. When they left I had a rebuilt kitchen window with a one-of-a-kind ‘floating’ cat flap entry. Floating because dad also had to build a landing pad and attach it to the outside wall at the corner to access the cat flap.

(cue Mission Impossible music….)

So, the route was – jump onto wall dividing my garden from my neighbour next door. Follow wall until you come to neighbour’s conservatory. Hop onto this and climb to the top and back. Jump onto neighbour’s roof at the two-storey level and climb to the top and back. Now jump over where the roofs meet (it has upright tiles with a patterned top so is irregular and can‘t just be climbed over) and scramble down a few feet, across a few feet, and hop onto a lower narrow window ledge. Now execute a precise jump onto a 15 x 15” platform which looks like it is floating in mid-air, making sure you don‘t overshoot or you are flying across the garden path, about 40 feet in the air and no hope of a safe landing. Make a sharp left turn and through the cat flap. You are now on the kitchen worktop and know that this is only allowed for entry and exit purposes. No wandering off track or meandering about. Head in a straight line and jump down immediately please. It was pretty impressive, and it worked well and made him a happy cat.

Unfortunately though Moby loved to hunt. So now imagine him scaling the above obstacles to entry with a mouse in his mouth. Umpteen times. The mice were always unharmed, so our mouse-catching skills got pretty good too. Maybe he just thought we needed the training….

One day I nearly lost my sense of humour over his predatory habits. Getting up to go to work I walked into the living room and switched the TV on to check the news. I seemed to have gained an ornament overnight. Eyeing me from the top of the TV was an undamaged very large, very grumpy blackbird. Probably about half the size of Moby. How on earth had he managed that route with that bird in tow?

Have you every tried to catch a blackbird? Or shepherd it off the premises via the window? Oh, and guess what, high ceilings are really, really useful for birds trying to evade ‘capture’…

Have you ever had to tell your boss that the reason you are late for work is that you were trying to catch a blackbird in your living room? It’s a difficult sell, I can tell you!

 

 

Oh Blimey, Riley!

Riley is my cat. He came from a pet shop. I know, I know, I know it should have been a rescue kitty, but I, and others I knew, had been refused by a rescue centre and charity as it was not their policy to home a cat with people who work for a living. Bizarre, really, considering that one of the great things about cats is that they don’t require your attention 24/7. I wasn’t working on an oil rig, for goodness sake, just a local job. And, if you don’t work, how on earth can you afford vets fees?

Aaaaaanyway. It looked like the rescue option was not open to me. It was winter, and for many reasons I badly needed a kitten. I chose him, then had to wait a week ’til he was old enough. During that week I found out that the pet shop had possibly got a reputation for ’dodgy’ pets. I stressed. I already had pet-shop-purchase guilt as it was (Catholic school training, it never leaves you). And now I might have purchased a flawed feline. Don’t get me wrong – flawed was not a problem, but suffering/ailing/life-limited was. I’d had enough of that kind of thing both from pusscats and people in the recent past to just not have to do it again right then. But having chosen him I would take him no matter what. So, a stressy, have-I-done-the right-thing kind of week ensued, followed by a collection day trip to the pet shop in the most miserable mid-November rain.

There he was, in a nice spacious cage with, presumably, other siblings. I hope they were family because they were being way too familiar otherwise. At least three of them were sitting on him, one on top of the other. No casual slumping or leaning on a small amount of body surface like paw on paw, or head on belly, oh no. This was full on one on one on one…like a kitty layer cake. Or the princess and the pea mattresses. Either my boy was smart and keeping nice and cosy, right? Or, was he was the lowest in the pecking order and in imminent danger of crush injury? If the former, how smart and lucky was I?? If the latter, clearly I had arrived just in time. To be honest, I’m still not sure which it was…as I type this he has just sat with his tail immersed in his water bowl and failed to even notice.

Aaaaaanyway, we got him home. His adoptive sister took one look at him, hissed loudly, and took herself off upstairs. She stayed there for EXACTLY one week. Can cats count? And sulk? And count whilst sulking? Such skills! So, she was set up in the lovely Hotel du Chat. En suite facilities (litter tray) and all meals delivered. For A WEEK. Actually she evaluated the situation completely accurately. The boy was gonna plague her, treat her as a plaything and show absolutely no respect for her seniority or generous girth. But they did become friends, eventually.

So the boy settled himself in. He was a little bit wary, obviously, but then had a good explore, found the litter tray so we knew he was trained, and just generally did all the things a kitten does on day one in a new home. He wrecked stuff. But he did it cute.

And so to bed. As the Princess was staying in her upstairs retreat, I decided to spend the night on the sofa to prevent any wee small hours confrontations. The Boy huddled into the corner at my feet. He spent the whole night there, so by morning I was soooooo proud of him, having stayed quiet and good. My feeling of wellbeing was short-lived. Once I was up and about it became clear that he took those wee small hours literally and just wee’d where he was. Ah well, it was an old sofa and he was way too cute to be cross with. Ever!

Riley kitty pics 2

Regarding the pet shop, I do not know if it was the one people had mentioned as having had problems. The shop is several miles away from where I live. In my opinion they seemed to be very responsible. I am not a first-time cat owner and have had previous rescue cats. My kitten had been vet checked, was litter trained, socialised to people and seemed happy and healthy. He is now much older, has had no health problems and is a total delight.

I still firmly support rescue centres and charities and all the fantastic work they do and would always first try to take a rescue pet if I could. But, once on the planet, they all need a home, no matter where or how they started out.