Friday 28 January 2011


Austin likes to hold most of his staff briefings either early in the morning or late at night.  If I'm honest, those times are not really convenient for me. I'm either half asleep or half asleep depending on which end of the day it is, so taking down long lists of instructions and listening to endless whinging about low productivity and lack of employee engagement doesn't rock my boat. 

Talking of engagement, I've noticed (and as a cat he is not unique in this) that in the middle of the day, when I'm at my most lively and engaged (ha), he generally doesn't wish to reciprocate. It's like I don't exist.

This is his middle of the day pose
Thinking about his gross domestic product? That would be me, then!
(Ok, this is here because I love the back of his head and watching him "looking" around with his ears. They're like satelite dishes moving around picking up microwave signals :)


bit of executive stress I think, or maybe considering his budgie deficit!

On the other hand this is Austin at his early morning briefing giving one of his lackeys a tongue lashing because of their "inappropriate workplace attire"!
He's definitely engaged now!

Full engagement!
Deep fur massage carried out by lowly flunkey in the time honoured fashion ensures continued amicable management/employee relations. In other words, a little bit of shameless toadying can't do any harm.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

The Meow Factor

There are hundreds (probably thousands) of books, blogs, magazines and pamphlets detailing the many and various ways that cats communicate, both with each other, and also with us - mere bipeds who have the Defective Gene and lost their fur.

Now I know I'm a pigmy in the sphere of cat communication (it wasn't covered in first year linguistics at uni in 1987).  However, I believe that during the last three years I have picked up enough basic cat to more-or-less understand what Austin wants; and he has employed his highly developed superior intellect to penetrate the amorphous mass that passes for a brain in this exceedingly dense human to make sure that I do. He, of course, understands every word I say!

A short glossary of Pidgin Cat as understood by Inferior Human:

Chirrup - greeting when he enters room, and is not ignored by human. This is generally followed by some serious tickling under the chin and murmurings of sweet nothings from both feline and human before discussing the menu for lunch.

Mee NOW! - greeting when he enters room and is (accidentally) ignored by human. This is generally accompanied by a cacophonous crepitation of claws on carpet.

Mee ewe - plaintive call when left outside (accidentally) for one second longer than the specified time.

Yee OWL! - very cross - expletive deleted - when left outside (accidentally) for more than two seconds after the specified time.
meowmeowmeowmeowmeyat! - megamoan of intense displeasure all the way from the next street after being left outside for some considerable time after the specified time, necessitating him to have to fend for himself without a furless two-legged snivelling menial on hand to satisfy his every whim.

So when life's traumas become overwhelming, one needs a moment with one's teddy.

Sunday 9 January 2011

The Austin Imperative

Austin's third anniversary has come and gone.  I don't actually think he even noticed.  His age must be somewhere between 3½ and 4 now.  To say he's settled and feels at home is a bit of an understatement.  He totally rules the roost, except in one area - bedtime sleeping arrangements. The negotiations are still ongoing as to where he lays his not-so-weary head.  Trouble is, as with most cats his awake times are very early morning and very late at night.  This is when, of course, we are well and truly ready for ZZZZ and are shouting for him to "Austin, come, now" at the top of our voices and peering myopically out into the North Wales night, which is "starless and bible black" as all stereotypical welsh nights are!  

If he's not out pillaging the countryside then he's stuck like velcro to my lap and I have to heave myself to my feet and shuffle along with Austin clinging on like a koala on a eucalyptus tree.  Totally bizarre scene!  Whatever way it's done, getting him to bed is a painful experience. But as I've written at great length about all this before I will not burden you any more now, lest you think I'm a tad obsessive!

It has been interesting to see, how, over these three years, Austin has learnt to "work the system" so that he achieves the maximum amount of comfort for the minimum amount of effort - I'm sure there is a universal law about it? Oh I know I think it's "the law of perPETual transmutation of energy".  This is the law that says all pets have the power within them to change the conditions in their lives by harnessing the principle of energy sapping!!  Cats are the masters of this and in addition Austin has been spending a lot of time lately studying "CATegorical Imperative" the seminal work of that famous German ailurophile Immanuel KAnT.

Here are just some of the many imperatives he's adopted - you will see how he employs the law of "diametric contradiction" in many cases:

Every exit door has to be checked with human panting along behind when it's raining.

No internal door must be closed to a cat or severe trauma to the carpet will ensue. 

A cat should not go up the stairs unaccompanied at any time and the accompanying human must be raced up the stairs and thwacked on shoulder through the bannisters.

All food must be picked at disdainfully when human is watching.

A cat must never let on that he knows how to use a cat flap, as it could mean that all the time saved by not running from door to window to window to door would weigh heavy on the human's hands and she could become bored and grumpy.

The cat must always jump onto lap of human to have a long nap at the very moment she decides to get in the car and go shopping.

And finally ......  when the human decides to sit down and write interesting blog post, cat must jump up onto keyboardd aanndf kfkbjdhfihfgoh ujrkjld khf kfgj;phpuoteio.