Monthly Archives: January 2014

Bobby’s secret life

bobby

This morning, Bobby did not arrive at the door, trilling for his breakfast in his usual happy fashion. I found him in the conservatory huddled in a ball with blood dripping from his ear. He was very traumatised.

He is a big ginger moggy of about 8kg, and normally a very easy-going cat with a wonderful nature. He loves attention, and whilst he is confident and can be a bit ‘playful’ he is never intentionally aggressive with us or the other cats.

When I picked him up and he growled and hissed. I stroked his back and strands of fur lifted from his body. He was very stressed. For a while, he was on my lap, but then I had work to do. I placed him on a buffet by the fire, and after growling and hissing some more, he settled into a sleep. Four hours on, he still hasn’t moved.

The only injury he appears to have is a punctured ear, which has stop bleeding. I hope he is all right. I’ll see what happens over the next few hours.

It makes me wonder what happened. The wound to his ear is from a bite, which makes me think it wasn’t another cat, especially since I live remotely and do not know of any other cats living locally. Was it a badger, a fox, or an American mink? From his behaviour, I believe he has been cornered, possibly for a while and until dawn broke. It has taken a lot out of him.

I’m sure he will be okay. He just needs time to sleep and recover.

His world is very unfamiliar to us. Sometimes I think it would be interesting to witness his adventures, so I could see what animal life reside on my small patch of Lincolnshire; at other times I think I am better off not knowing. Watching his victim take his last breath is not something I could enjoy.

Signing off . . .

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It’s not all about looks . . .

hennicky

Nicky, a hybrid laying hen is the smallest hen I have ever seen, more the size of a bantam, and she arrived with very few feathers, having spent her short life squashed in a barn with hundreds of other birds. Even though she is small, she is by no means feeble. She is a calm bird with strong legs and a determined personality. She is a survivor.

Since she is featherless, she is at the bottom of the pecking order and has no place at the feeding stations in her new home. That is not a deterrent. At first light, Nicky runs to the feeder, moving faster than the others to retrieve a mouthful of food. When the others arrive, she is pecked and forced away. So she runs to a second station. There is no space for her. That’s not a problem. Little Nicky has a solution. She squeezes in between two birds, and using her telescopic neck finds her way to the grain. They notice her and peck her, but she is quick and runs to another station. This continues until her crop is full. What a girl!

Whenever I am in the enclosure, she remains on my heel in a dog-like fashion. When I open the feed bins, she jumps into the bag, always ready, always eager and tenacious. She may just be a bird, but she has a character, and I will miss her when her time comes. But there will be others to take her place. As I enjoy watching her antics I think of Freda from a couple of years ago with similar character traits, or Quasi, my first oven-ready hen that had lived a sad existence in a cage, and did not survive long in my care. She was a character too, and despite her health problems, had been a happy little girl.

Aw, what joys! For some reason, the smallest and the most troubled seem to have the biggest personalities. Maybe there is a reason for that . . .

Using the car as a sick bag

stil0114c

Just before Christmas, a good friend of mine had had a bout of sickness whilst out shopping in a supermarket. Being the type of person she is, she didn’t want to be sick in the store or the car park, but instead chose her car.

When she related this story to me a couple of weeks after the event, I gave her quite a bit of stick, aware it had been nothing serious. I was amused by her choice of location, especially as her husband had to clean it up since she had been too ill to do it herself! Why she not chosen to go to the toilets in the store or found a hedge remains a mystery. Apparently, she hadn’t wanted to leave a mess. She’s such a good girl!

Her story continued to amuse me over the following weeks, and I found myself bringing it up wherever and whenever I could. Until . . .

My dog, Stilton was due his annual booster, and so I had to take him to the vet. He is only one year old, and he suffers from carsickness. Even traveling 4 miles used to be a trial. Once, when he was very small, I sensed what was about to happen so I hung him out of the car window to be sick!!! Before you say it, there weren’t any pedestrians about; we were driving along a country road!

Unfortunately, this trip to the vets was necessary, and at 24kg he is a bit too big to hang out of the window. The vet is located about 7 miles from home. He hadn’t had breakfast, and so hadn’t eaten for 13 hours. I hoped this would prevent a situation from occurring and it did; we arrived without a hitch.

Stilton was in his element. He was so excited, and didn’t stop whining, wagging and licking willing participants for the entire time. It was wonderful to witness. I am so proud of my little boy.

So, we began our journey home, and we arrived in the driveway without a problem. Had he grown out of his carsickness problem? It seemed likely.14 miles puke-free was an achievement!

My eyes glazed. I would be able to take him to the sea to play with the waves. We could go on long walks and watch the horses, sheep and the cattle. We could visit family and he could receive endless attention.

I turned off the engine and a strange smell wafted across my nostrils. I looked over my shoulder. Stilton looked to me with apologetic eyes. His brown liquid sick was over the car seat and the floor. Lovely!

I ask you, couldn’t he have waited ten seconds?

Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband too.

Cat Litter Tray Trials

july

I think from my last cat blog, and my nighttime antics, it was obvious I love cats. At times, though, they do test my devotion to the limit. My latest adventure has been with one of my other little boys, Blake, a four year old black tabby.

Blake loves to drink water. He has been checked out by a vet and doesn’t have kidney problems, diabetes, urinary infections, or anything else. He has a lack of the hormone vasopressin, which regulates the body’s retention of water. It is a manageable condition so long as he always has access to water and a litter tray. He does – problem solved.

About a week or so ago, he decided he doesn’t like to use his tray. He will go anywhere he pleases, behind the sofa, in the corner of the kitchen and on electrical devises being charged. Since he has very dilute urine due to his excessive drinking habits, it’s not always easy to find. I have spent many an hour crawling on my hands and knees, pressing my nose to the carpet and feeling it for wet spots with my fingertips. Does he think this is funny? I tell you, it is not!

One night, my husband had had enough. Since we had successfully house trained our puppy in about 4 weeks using the crate method, we decided to do the same with Blake. He had been outside for a couple of hours by the time bedtime arrived, and was placed inside a cat carrier containing a wodge of newspaper, which is, believe it or not, his preferred sleeping material. The instant the door closed, he sprayed at the back of the cage.

Expletive! Expletive! Expletive!

Hubby decided to teach him a lesson and moved the stack of sprayed paper to the rear so he would have to cope with the smell. This, we thought, would act as a reminder not to do it again. So then, having put some fresh paper inside at the base, we returned him to his bed.

To say he was displeased was an understatement. Using his teeth and claws, he shredded the paper in seconds. Even when his task was complete, he carried on, shaking the bits from side to side in his jaw. He just wouldn’t stop. Maybe seeing our dog at the other side, watching with a bemused look on his face, didn’t help, so we turned the cage around to face the wall so they could not see each other.

Finally, with all his adrenaline depleted, he settled. By the morning, he had forgiven us . . . and he hadn’t wet his bed.

The following night, I assumed hubby was going to do the same. Blake, though, had other ideas and pulled at his heartstrings. Apparently, the little cat was curled up on his sweatshirt and purring, so he left him alone. And guess what? Yes, another puddle on the floor. Grrr!

So what now? I could leave Blake outside for longer – although he has an amazing way of holding it when he wants – or I could keep a constant eye on him. Since I wasn’t able to do either, I decided to return my attention to the tray. I remembered, when he was a kitten he didn’t like standing in the litter. He got over it eventually, but it did make me wonder if his dislike had returned. So, I covered the litter in a sheet of newspaper. It worked. Blake has started to use his tray again!

And guess what . . . he’s now decided he prefers going outside. And they say cats have a sense of superiority . . .

Until next time . . .

My feline friend . . . or foe?

jan

Don’t get me wrong, I love cats. What’s not to like?

Imagine this: You’ve had a stressful day and do not want contact with anyone. You switch the television on and flop onto the sofa. The cat places itself on your lap and rubs its face into your hand. It kneads and purrs, kneads and purrs. It looks up at you. Its expression is filled with love. It’s waited all day for this, for you. You are its world.

They are undoubtedly wonderful creatures, but . . .

Why do I find myself being awoken in the middle of the night by Mr Demanding! The first thing I feel is a gentle claw at my nostrils, my lips, or my eyelids, prising them open. I grumble and shake him away, and bury my head under the covers. But he is so persistent! He seems to know the exact spot of my eyes, despite the sheet, and tries again to get my attention, this time with more gusto. What he doesn’t realise, is that he has it. I just don’t want to play with him, nor do I want to get up and feed him!

Mr Demanding is not to be deterred. He extends his claws, and believe me when I say they are long, strong and sharp, and drags them through my hair and across my scalp.

I stifle a scream so as not to awaken hubby, who, I hasten to add never gets this treatment, and fling back the covers, bolt upright and glare at the cat sat on the bedside cabinet.

He looks at me as though butter wouldn’t melt. His expression is so adoring, and he purrs. I tell you, he purrs! ‘I love you mamma,’ he says, ‘I love you!’

Like the fool I am, I leap out of bed, but I am not going to give him what he wants, I am craftier than that, I am going to put him outside, into the cold, the British winter type of cold, with the wind and rain and the freezing temperatures.

The sight of me heading downstairs turns Mr Demanding’s expression to one of ecstasy. Despite being four years old, he looks like a kitten again, full of joyous expectation and innocence. I snigger at the sight. I know what’s coming.

I head into the kitchen, pretending to go for his food. He doesn’t follow me! He looks at me, gleeful and superior and scampers into another room. I chase after him, my frustrations rising, my patience wearing thin. I want my bed. It’s all right for him, he sleeps all day, undisturbed!

He trots away and looks over his shoulder. ‘Can’t catch me!’

I move faster. So does he, around the furniture and through the rooms, and all the time maintaining his kittenish expressions. I dive onto him. He gets away. I stumble, catching myself as I fall. Unrepeatable words leave my mouth.

I’ve had enough. Muttering under my breath, I go back to bed and bury myself under the covers, properly this time so he can’t get to me. All is quiet. I smile. Mr Demanding has had his bit of fun. I fall asleep, and remain in deep welcome sleep until . . .

He’s back! That butter-wouldn’t-melt cat is back! This time I move swifter, grab him by his neck, and stomp downstairs and throw him outside.

Peace at last. I gaze at hubby, sleeping like a baby. Why does he never get the treatment! Why is it always me!

Tonight Mr Demanding is not staying inside. But there again, maybe he’ll purr and knead, maybe he’ll look at me through those big round eyes, maybe he’ll tell me how much he loves me.

I’m such a sucker!