Pawsitive thinking

What is your favourite thing about your pet? Physically, I mean. Not their winning personality, or the fact that they like your company, don’t answer back, gaze at you lovingly and laugh at your jokes. Tails are fun, and surprisingly communicative. You can tell a lot from a tail. Ears too, tell all sorts. Alert, chilled, interested, bored, ready to pounce and maim… Whiskers – meh. Not so much. Just glorified facial hair. For me, it is paws. Cat, dog, mouse, gerbil, all good. Not so keen on hooves. They are paws with toenails, really. But soft, furry paws and pads are the best…

So, what do you love about your pet?

Oh, and in case you haven’t seen this clip… (don’t worry about the title)

Such table manners! Can somebody please just give them a second bowl?!


Who says cats have expressionless faces?


Guilty? Sheepish? Penitent? Or smug? This week my Tree Landscape die was stolen overnight. I cannot find it anywhere, but then again it could be literally anywhere. I have found the other items that went missing at the same time: silver ink pad (under a sofa), eraser (under a chair) and marker pen (bottom of the stairs).  I know who did it. The guilty party is currently draped over my left arm, elbow and knee, so I am typing with one hand, have my leg propped up to support his undercarriage and an aching shoulder from holding it in an uncomfortable (for me, super comfy for him) position. Every now and again his head is turned towards me and up, which means ‘scratch between the ears, please’ and of course I oblige.

But, without the die, there is no Christmas. Bah humbug.


My mum’s cat

This is Poppy. She is beautiful and she has a lovely disposition. Like her owner, really! She is 14 years old. She is tiny in stature and weighs almost nothing. She seems a little frail. She has always had a heart murmur and a ‘dodgy hip’. Because of this, sometimes, when she sits down, especially to wash, she looks like an exhausted contortionist. Everything is in the wrong place, as if she is filled with beans instead of bones. Poppy likes to head-butt, and will stand on her hind legs and grab your hand if she requires attention. She is social and can chat for England. There are no awkward pawses (sorry, I just had to!) when Poppy is in the room.

This week Poppy and my mum had a major life change and have relocated from the house mum has lived in for 50 years to the south coast to live with my sister and her partner.

Apart from all of the usual concerns about such a venture and personal emotions to deal with, my mum was terribly worried about Poppy. The long journey was the first issue, but longer term she stressed about how Poppy would adapt to a new home, having also lived in the same house since we took her and her brother as rescue kittens. Then there was the fact that my sister and her partner already have two felines, both considerably younger, and Poppy has been an ‘only cat’ for a few years now. How would they get along? Would there be hissing and spitting (cats, not family feuding), bodily injury (still cats), would they hide (could be cats or humans), run away (again, cats or humans) or would it (fingers crossed real tight) in time, just work out? Somehow?

Monday was moving day. Imagine all the usual stresses and practicalities of a move to deal with rather than me having to type them; we all know what it is like. And anyway, this is about Poppy! She spent the first night in my mum’s new bedroom and the following morning she stepped out and explored a bit. She ate, drank, christened the litter tray (in every manner) and then explored some more, without cajoling or an escort. Poppy just got on with it. She has adapted, in astonishing time. Today she and Sossage (another rescue cat) have made friends enough to lie on a rug in the sun together. The princess in the high tower (Sandi, cat number 3) is yet to be won over but it’s early days.

Aren’t animals amazing? They give us so much. I know we look after them, pay the vet bills and open the tuna tin, but they reward us much more. By adapting so well, and being so completely just plain super, my mum’s cat has lifted a worry and helped to make a major transition so very much easier. I would like to give Poppy a round of applaws!!!

P.S. I will also be reading this to Riley, my cat, who spent the best part of a week in the wardrobe when we had to stay at my mum’s for a while last year. He has much to learn!


Today is…Cat-urday?

I recently told a friend that at some point in the future I hoped to have a dog. Her immediate question was ‘what will you call it?’ This took me by surprise a bit – most people ask ‘what sort?’ I realised that I usually name my pets after meeting them – sometimes within a few hours, more often it has taken me days to come up with something I like and that I think fits their personality or behaviour. The only time I didn’t do this was with Riley (the current cat) who was briefly called Pumpkin.

The reasons for this are/were many:

It is a term of endearment I sometimes use

It was Autumn, not much after Halloween when I first met him

He was sort of orange (ginger) in places

I call the end of the work day ‘pumpkin time’, as in make like a pumpkin and get the heck out of Dodge (to mix Cinderella with the wild west…)

 But after having him for a couple of days I went off the idea. It was too cute a name for a cat clearly full of mischief. I needed something a bit more cool, more edgy. Ideas, suggestions, rejections and eventually Riley was settled on. And it really suits him.

Back to my friend. I also know she had her dog’s name picked out ages before she actually got him. But it really suits him too though. So which is it? Does the personality dictate the name or does the name dictate the personality?

What are the best names for pets you have heard? How did you decide on yours?

With pets on my mind I made a couple of really quick and simple cards using Serif CraftArtist and Born to Shop Pets digikit.

Royal Cat

morning cat

Photos are a bit gloomy because it looks like the end of days outside at the moment.

A not-quite photobombing cat…

I was trying to take a picture of a clean and simple card I had made, but the cat had other ideas. As I sat there with camera in hand he positioned himself on the photo plinth (OK, box in the window) and behaved like a total diva: twisting, rolling, upside down and downside up, barely still for a moment, pawing at the lens, watching a non-existent bird and, finally, flumping out, but with eyes directly at camera. What a pro!

So, ladies and gents, here is Riley making a bid for fame:

All quickly snapped, he was moving so fast! The card will have to wait for its 15 minutes. The paws have claws!

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.