Tuesday, 28 December 2010

A fly in the ointment

A fly wandered in and was buzzing about
Nothing I did would make it go out.
I flipped and I flapped and swiped at the air
And found to my horror it was stuck in my hair!

Then along came Austin and jumped up on my lap
He did some shiatsu and nudged down for a nap.
We snored quite contentedly and the time passed away
But the darned fly returned, so we arose for the fray.

It was high up on the curtain so I lifted my hand
Cat was poised down below waiting for something to land.
I struck with such force and the fly was dislodged
But I then fell on Austin who was attempting to dodge.

We thus disentangled ourselves from the floor,
But Austin was smiling as he lifted his paw.
There was the fly looking startled and dead,
So we high-fived and chuckled and went back to bed.

Here is Simon's Cat doing it much more amusingly!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

The Twelve Days of "Cat-Mas" (revisited)

Here is my take on the well-known Christmas song, which I wrote about three years ago and just cos I'm lazy and can't think of anything new, I'm re-posting  ;>)

On the twelfth day of cat-mas Austin gave to me:

12 fleas a jumping
11 scratches bleeding
10 books a tumbling
9 lives a losing
8 poos a stinking
7 bites a throbbing
6 furry cuddles
5 plaintive miaows
4 dirty paws
3 raspy licks
2 furtive looks
and a smashed up vase in the conservatory

Merry Christmas :>)

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow time :>)

I live in the place where it never snows.... until now that is. 

This, as far as I know, is Austin's first experience of the white powdery stuff.  Being a little bit worried that he might be caught in an avalanche of snow falling off the roof, he's had to cross his legs and wait until I found my wellies in the back of the garage so I could accompany him out into our own virtual 3D Christmas card.

Having discovered and de-spidered the ancient green wellies, today was the day when we decided to venture forth. He was absolutely adamant that I should go first - being much more brave and having slightly longer legs! This is the result:

Up until today this was all he would do, safe, warm and ever so slightly superior!

"What's all this then?"

Bit cold for cotton wool?

If you can do it......

 "Where's my legs?  I've been robbed! (up to his .. errr .. armpits)

Ok, that's enough. Bye!

What's that spectre in the bottom right corner? lol

Funnily enough he's so overcome by his bravery he's been tearing round the house ever since like one of those over-excited footballers when they score a goal.  Difficult to get a photo of that, but did manage to catch him when he stopped to say hello to an old friend :)

Oh, and I'm still not sure whether he managed to relieve himself. However, he spent a good couple of minutes underneath the car. 

Have to go, as he wants outside again and I have to be there to hold his paw. Such a wuss-puss!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Little Orphan Kitty!

This beautiful kitten was found abandoned by a river by a softhearted friend of mine who already has umpteen cats and a few dogs too.  She has taken her in, but now the kitten needs a name.  Any ideas? 

I understand that though she fought tooth and nail when first picked up, since being inside the house, she's become my friend's number one fan.  She follows her everywhere.  Awwwww :>)

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Mummy's little helper .....

I realise I've not been posting much, so's here a couple of photos to fill the void until the muse hits me once again (if it ever does!) 

Here is our hero being everso helpful while I was stripping the bed. 

"Oh there you are!"

I was very careful to make sure that ALL the lumps were smoothed out before loading the washing machine and then did a cat count before turning it on.

PS I'm extremely curious to know how the bottom sheet managed to get itself inside the duvet cover in the tumble dryer even though I'd done all the buttons up and only left about six inches open at the bottom? 

Change of subject.  Tigger is now pretending to be Austin by aping his meow at the back door.  It's very clever of him as he knows I don't check identity.  He's in, fed, watered and snoring away in Austin's bed before I've found my specs.  Austin is seeking legal advice.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Austin is Vetted!

I took Austin to the vets yesterday. It was not an experience that either of us are really able to talk about yet.  Good grief! It was only for his annual booster shot. 

I tried to explain.  I even made favourable comparisons with the NHS, saying that at least you could get an appointment when you wanted and weren't likely to come away with the wrong organ removed or MRSA.  The staff even smile and look happy, for crying out loud.

The scene I had in mind was this:

But the actual scene was this:

Austin is now taking steps to ensure he never has to go again:

As for me?

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Oh No!!

I wrote the following on 29th June!  Don't know why I didn't post it?  Maybe it was because it's not finished, or maybe it's because it's just rubbish!  Anyway, I'll post it now just to get it out of draft. 

Austin caught another robin this morning.  This time it was a baby one and it was still alive!  He left it outside my window and jumped up to let me know how clever he was and I let him know how I felt about murder or injury inflicted on those innocents who are just going about their daily business.  We had to be content to disagree and then I had to deal with the aftermath (don't ask :(((! 

Thing was we had a bit of a storm last night!  After seemingly weeks of dry weather, it was a blessing to have the rain, that's for sure.  Normally I would stick my head under the pillow and try to ignore it, but I was aware of the fact that Austin was shut in the conservatory experiencing the full horror of thunder, lightning and torrential rain.  Also my mother appeared to be having a good stomp around upstairs.  So at about 2 a.m. we let him out and made a cuppa.  He went all low slung, like he does, and emitted this spooky mixture of yowl and a growl.  Poor little guy. 

Anyway after about 30 minutes we went back to bed and left him cowering behind a chair.  Big mistake.  It wasn't long before he was ripping up the carpet outside my bedroom door.  Now as I'm not one of those who enjoys being stared at by a cat all night, I wasn't about to allow him on the bed. The reason for this is detailed elsewhere.  So as I wasn't about to go through all that again, I got up and put him back in the conservatory.  Happily the storm had hightailed it off to Prestatyn by this time. 

This morning he was crawling up the door to be let out - legs crossed, the whole bit.  I don't know why he won't use his en suite facilities after all the trouble we took having it installed (well I had to go all the way to Pets R Us on Caernarfon Road for the tray and wood chips!).

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Cat Stats

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but I've had a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  Thing is, apart from life stuff getting in the way, I've been rather diverted by the fact that Blogger have added this dinky new feature called "stats".  It's a wonderful service that allows me to track the traffic to my blog!!!  So now everytime I open blogger, instead of clicking on "new post" I find my click digit wandering over of its own accord to the "stats" tab. It's fascinating, really.  I can see which countries viewers are coming from and which posts they are reading and everything. 

Now although the traffic isn't exactly stacking up to get to me down the information superhighway, there are obviously some stoic and sturdy folk who are fighting their way down the beaten track just to get a glimpse of me and Austin in our quiet little blogosphere backwater. Apparently I'm quite popular in the Ukraine!  There's even "real-time" updating!  Ok, I must try not to get all OCD about checking every minute of every day, as this could lead to a serious case of delusional statopsychosis, a condition which would mean commital to a secure unit.  Wonders if they will have wifi?

Anyway what would happen to Austin?  I suppose he could come too; in a sense he's already committed, poor little guy, being holed up here with two old bats.  To be sure, if it wasn't for the diversion of Tigger the Massive he would be climbing the walls.  What am I saying?  He does climb the walls.

......... sorry just wandered over to stats again.  I can see this is going to be a long and painful process :( 

News of Austin?  Well, sadly he's developed a five-brush-a-day habit; it's getting beyond a joke.  It used to be just once in the evening.  Now every time he sees me he stands on his head, rolls neatly over onto his back, and makes like a giraffe with his neck.

He gets quite peevish if I ignore him to get on with more important things, like filing my nails or watching daytime tv. So I give him his fix and then he falls asleep in my lap - but not before he's carefully administered the requisite number of acupuncture needles in my legs (ouch!). Bless .......

....... Oh, while I've been chatting away here someone from Latvia has dropped by :>)

Monday, 9 August 2010

Weeelllllll ........

...... we had an interesting couple of hours administering the worm pill.

You'd think after three years it wouldn't be such a big deal.  I won't go into the excruciating detail, but there was a good outcome and the evil medicine was eventually swallowed - albeit covered in cat spit and fur. 

All I know is that now one of us can step confidently into the helminth infested world, safe in the knowledge that they are protected from every tape-hook-whip-heart worm and nematode known to man.  Problem is, I don't think it's necessarily going to be the cat? 

Oh and just in case you were worried, the Aged P didn't need to have stitches after all, but she's booked in for six sessions with the trauma therapist starting next month. 

So I would say that on the whole it was a resounding success.

Note to self:  I wonder if they do catnip flavoured ....... ?

Monday, 2 August 2010

A Work of Art!

I have a wonderful view from my window of mountains, water, fields and trees - not to mention the City of Bangor (well best not!) - and in the field right opposite there are the sheep of course. 

Ok, yes, I've mentioned Blackie and her extended family a few times, but today I saw a work of art being created before my eyes.  The farmer came with his sheepdog. This, in itself, is not an unusual occurrence, but as I watched the two of them working together as one, a picture began to form and it became something akin to an artistic performance. The ebb and flow of the sheep as they were undulated across the field like the fluctuating movement of the tide on the shore. They were totally at peace as the beautiful dog calmly but energetically did the farmer's bidding.  Backwards and forwards she ran making sure not one sheep escaped or was allowed to do its own thing apart from the group.

The dog was asked to do a variety of tasks including sitting with the sheep penned in a corner for about 20 minutes, while the farmer decided which to take and which to leave.  When the whole thing was over, the farmer whistled and the dog went to him.  And the sheep?  Well they just went back to munching their lunch totally unconcerned, unfazed and untraumatised - even though half their number were now missing and had no doubt gone to Llangefni abattoir for recycling (ok, not thinking, not thinking!).  The sheep are probably both very stupid and very trusting.  "All we like sheep ...... ......."

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Random Cat Pome

Walking in the garden late
All is calm and quiet.
Then suddenly a whirlwind hits
And Austin's caused a riot!

Crouching low behind the bush
He waits patiently for hours.
When I wander past his lair,
He's hid beneath the flowers.

Two orbs gleaming in the dark;
His eyes are pinned on me;
And as I breathe the night time air,
He thwacks me in the knee.

Bedlam follows, and while I pick
myself up from the ground;
That young rascal disappears
And's nowhere to be found!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Jellicle Gang!

The sight of me running up and down the grass verge in my jogs and slippers tends to worry the neighbours a tad, so I try not to do it unless the moon is full - or is, at the very least, waning gibbous - and there's also an R in the month!  Don't you just love the names of the phases of the moon?  Waxing crescent, waning gibbous, new, full, dark, blue, half, bad ...... ahem!

Well anyway let's get to the point. Austin has
joined a gang!  I've been obsessing since he first came about the (relatively) busy road in front of the house and have told him umpteen times not to even think about crossing it.  Well apart from a couple of occasions when Tigger seduced him, I believe he's kept on the straight and narrow - until recently that is, as I mentioned a couple of blog posts ago.  Ok it's not a hugely busy road, but the cars race up and down - it's fairly straight and boy racers come in all shapes and sizes ....  and genders!  I worry. 

This road, by the way, is actually part of the Anglesey Coastal Path. It's possibly the only coastal path in Britain which offers the possibility of travelling at 70 mph and has even had the odd 30 ton container lorry find it's way there courtesy of a Ukrainian satnav.  It happened this week; I saw (and heard) a huge juggernaut roar by and then waited a few minutes to watch it reverse all the way back again.  Its shadow filled the window; it had nowhere to go.  Last I saw it was trying to back into a three foot hedge!  If he'd accidentally been caught up in its undercarriage, Austin could've ended up in Kiev or Gdansk, or Aberdeen.  Doesn't bear thinking about! 

Anyway, yesterday Austin was spied with his front paws up on the dry stone wall next to the gate opposite, looking into Blackie's Field. Today he was seen sitting the other side of the gate.  He sat there for so long that my curiosity got the better of me and I padded over there in the aforementioned "dissables" to see what the attraction was.  I leaned on the gate and we had a little chat.  We talked about this and that and whether England was likely to get through to the next round - he said it's not likely on present form and anyway he preferred rugby, being Welsh (huh!) and did I know that I was being stared at by a couple of people in shorts and rucksacks? 

I ignored him (and them) and looked up and over further into the field and did a double take (literally)!  There was a black and white cat staring back at me.  I looked a bit further and there was another!!!  What the ...... ?  In fact all three of them were sitting facing the road and formed an equilateral triangle about ten feet apart.  Talk about seeing double; I'd never seen either of the other two before (except one of them COULD have been Two, I suppose).  The sheep were just a little way off taking no notice and munching their lunch to the accompaniment of cacophonous cackling from a couple of jackdaws who'd popped by for a snack.  I also thought I spied Tigger skulking under a bush, who was probably drafting a letter of complaint to the council about the deterioration of the neighbourhood and the influx of eastern Eurocats who take all the jobs and indulge in a lot of thwacking with paws.

So there we have it, the Jellicle Gang are now in town.  I'd better get a message to Big Ginge, soonest. 

On the way back across the road I started to acquaint Austin with the Green Cross Code, but I confused myself and started chuntering on about the Jolly Green Giant. Realising I was on a hiding to nothing, I have now put road safety awareness back on my to-do list along with cat flap orientation and furniture scratching resistance training.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Not so daft!

I kind of understand why cats scratch the furniture; no, I do really! It's something to do with marking territory and sharpening claws. Actually, I've been very remiss about training Austin in this respect, so as he's got older, he's got into very bad habits. As a result, the furniture has acquired a look that's a mixture of shabby chic and derelict sink estate.

Just lately, I've been trying to encourage him to resist the urge to rip up the Parker Knoll, but being the attention seeking, rebellious teenager he is, he does it all the more!  So, before we are reduced to sitting on large piles of kapok and broken springs, I've introduced "Austin calming measures" (note rather neat link to previous post!). 

Picture the scene. It's evening and Austin returns from his twilight forays, eats a mouthful of Felix salmon marinade and heads to the sofa arm.  In a trice I've whipped out a plastic spray container full of water - had to be careful it wasn't the one from the garden with the fertiliser, as I didn't want Austin to wake up the next morning to discover he'd morphed from short haired sleek moggie to long haired shagpile moggie, courtesy of "Miracle-Gro-all-purpose-concentrated-liquid-plant-food"!  His reaction was swift; he took one look and before I'd even had time to pull the trigger he was out the room!  

And this was how it played out for the next day or two.  He'd enter the room, I'd lift my arm (say to pick up a glass or scratch my head) and he'd shoot off in the opposite direction.  So now he wasn't even coming near me :~(  One evening he slunk in and slipped through the curtains into the bay window and all was quiet for about 30 minutes as he sat and surveyed his catdom.  Now normally what would happen is he'd eventually nose his way out, go scratch the armchair and then jump on my lap for the evening ritual of shiatsu and cuddles.  This time though he decided discretion was the better part of valour.  This time the scratch scratch scratch took place behind the curtain as he systematically ripped up the carpet around the edge of the window.  When he finally emerged he gave me such a look of triumph all I could do was fall about laughing! 

Needless to say we have agreed on a truce - with conditions: He scratches when I'm not around and I relegate the spray to the back of the cupboard.  

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Road Rage!

My cat stomps! Oh yes he surely does!  Never heard anything like it; he makes walking across the kitchen sound like a pneumatic drill going full pelt! 

I'm downstairs minding my own business trying to be quiet and reflective and upstairs Austin's deciding he needs some attention. How can it be that he makes such a racket?  All he is doing is walking across the floor, but to me downstairs, it sounds like the builders are in. Stomp, stomp STOMP!  I know what he wants. "Foooood".  It's ridiculous really, he hardly eats enough to keep a flea alive. But he likes to make a fuss just so's he gets a chance to wind in and out my legs and trip me up. 

To my deep consternation, Austin has developed a hankering to cross the road in front of the house.  Now, although it is a 30 mph speed limit, cars race along at 60 or 70!  I really don't want to have to go and scrape him off the road, but don't know, short of locking him up, what to do to stop him going!  He used to be such a scaredy cat, but now, egged on, I believe, by Tigger the Massive and enticed by the green fields and baby lambs opposite, he's finding temptation too much to overcome. 

A couple of times I've caught him sitting in the middle of the road!!  Aaaargh!  I know the council are supposed to be introducing traffic calming measures soon, but am not sure what form this will take? Is some poor lowly council employee going to have to stand at the side of the road with a tranquiliser gun taking pot shots at all passing vehicles?  I need to know, because if the training isn't top notch they might miss the target and hit something with legs!  It's all a bit of a worry!

Sunday, 28 March 2010


We found this bee several days ago on the primula. I have to say it was looking a bit weary and bedraggled. As it is just outside the conservatory window, we kept an eye on it to see how it fared. The following day it had fallen out and was lying in the earth. That was it, we thought.  It was old and sick; its time had come! 

This morning the sun was shining and birds were singing and Bertie the Bee had somehow mustered up all his strength to climb back on the flower.  He can teach us a great deal about life, I reckon!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Tigger the Massive!

Here is Tigger-or-whatever-he's-called sleeping in Austin's bed.  He is getting fat.  Austin is about half his size and they must be about the same age!  Hope folk don't think we're starving him!! 

There is no doubt that Tigger-or-whatever-he's-called is a bon vivant and a bit of a gourmand to boot. From these photos he's a part time buddha as well!  Austin?  Well he was sulking on the chair by the door and declined to have his photo taken.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A Little Whine .....

After all this time (nearly 2½ years) I still can't understand one aspect of Austin's behaviour - actually there's more than one, as detailed elsewhere, but this one really causes me a bit of a flummox!  First of all we need to remember the somewhat confusing layout of the house: 

"There are three doors to the outside and the downstairs is upstairs and the upstairs is downstairs and the back garden is upstairs and the front garden is downstairs. The back door is at the side, the conservatory is upstairs behind the kitchen and the front door is, rather surprisingly, at the front"  

When I let "his nibs" in from the garden downstairs through the back door (which is at the side), he will not, I repeat NOT, leave my side to go upstairs on his own!  This amazes me as "upstairs" is where his food and all his other catly requirements are!  Nope, instead he attaches himself like velcro to my leg, meowing in a most petulant and whiny manner, until I head for the stairs. 

Being a tad contrary and a bit of a tease, sometimes I'll make for the stairs as if intent on ascending, but then veer off at the last minute humming distractedly and detour to the study or front door (which is at the front).  By the time he's cottoned on, he's more-or-less at the top and looking a bit foolish with his head stuck between the bannisters and front near-side paw poised, ready for the ritual "thwacking of the innocent passer-by".  He can hear me sniggering around the corner and comes down again to have another moan. 

Meanwhile I've made it to the bathroom and am mixing the cement and preparing the creams and powders necessary to carry out running repairs in the form of rendering and grouting on my phiz.  Austin sits on my foot and apes me. 

In this fashion we continue for some time in companionable silence, which is only broken by the sound of a cat abluting and a human being plastered!  When finally we both make it upstairs, I have to make amends by standing very close to him while he eats his fishy bits, keeping a sharp look out for thieves, marauders and Tiggers.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Applied Mathematics!

Now I realise I'm a bit OCD about giving Austin his flea gunk and worm pill, but one needs to prepare for this kind of confrontation.  I've gone on about the process at great length before, so won't go down that route again - well not too far!  However, the planets were once again in alignment and I had to do both at the same time(ish).  I've not had too much problem with the pill bit before, funnily enough; it's always been the flea potion that's caused such pain and discomfort (mostly mine)!  So this time we thought we'd do the pill first to ease us in gently.  Big mistake!  

This time it took several pairs of plastic gloves, one bottle of TCP, several plasters and twenty-four hours before the offending tablet was finally despatched down the correct orifice.  By then it had been pre-sucked, acquiring a thick coating of cat saliva plus black fur and beige shag pile.  I suppose it's all my fault as I'd lent him a book all about a cat, called Lucky, who belonged to a hypothetical physisist called Schrödinger.  Austin obviously now believes I wish him ill and has started a course in quantum mechanics and a torture diary. Talk about overreacting!. 

No amount of me calling "here kitty kitty," in a soft seductive voice will bring him out from behind the large-chair-in-the-corner-by-the-radiator.  Normally he'd be winding himself around my legs tripping me up and impeding my progress to the fridge, cupboard, sink or wherever!  And he growls!!! Oh yes he does; from the safety of his hidey-hole he becomes the King of the Jungle.  It's quite a terrifying sound coming from such a small creature.  So while he's morphing into Mufasa, all I can do is weakly squeak the refrain from Hakuna Matata and wait patiently until starvation, bladder urgency or a "wave function collapse" draws him out. 

While I'm waiting, I whip out my compass, protractor and slide rule to determine the correct angle for administering the pill.  I've realised, after all the failed attempts it is vital that the angle of trajectory is correct, so the point of firing and the point of swallowing have to be plotted to within 0.001/100th of a degree.  I consult my copy of Euclid's Elements (courtesy of Ruislip Library, date due for return Dec 1975) to obtain the most exact measurements possible. 
I believe I am now prepared, so I leave the vicinity of the cat.  Austin eventually emerges. I stop breathing.  He becomes "low-slung" cat and skulks round the side of the room. He sticks his head out the door.  Ha! Got him! Executing a perfect a pincer movement, I pounce from behind, while elderly mother smiles at him menacingly as she bears down from the front. Working as one, we scoop him up, wrench open his jaw, angle the pill (47.1768 °) and "fire".  The optimal circumference of the gape also has to be gauged and is crucial to a successful outcome.  Being the altruistic and thoughtful person I am I've calculated the following equation for those who would like replicate my thesis and apply in their own situation. 

(∑pf) + (φps) x 47.1768 ÷ ∃!v + ∫at x πr²

So now you know!  When it came to the formula for flea gunk application to the back of the neck, the equation was much more simple. 

Broken ampule + parted fur = job done

Schrödinger could have made it a lot easier on himself, hypothetically!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

For those who have pets ......


The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door:

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It Is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:

(1) They live here. You don't.
(2) If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.
(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
(4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:
(1) eat less,
(2) don't ask for money all the time,
(3) are easier to train,
(4) normally come when called,
(5) never ask to drive the car,
(6) don't hang out with drug-using people;
(7) don't smoke or drink,
(8) don't want to wear your clothes,
(9) don't have to buy the latest fashions,
(10) don't need a gazillion dollars for college and ..
(11) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children ...

Monday, 25 January 2010

Austin's new best friend!

I couldn't quite believe it, but not having noticed this little fella for weeks nestled amongst the ornaments, yesterday Austin suddenly perked up and started poking and nudging, with his eyes all big and excited.  Is it a love affair or does he see a rival here?  There's no knowing really, except he's very gentle with it!