Conversations to Have With Your New Kitten

1. My Food is My Food

Begging is not cool.  Trying to jump on my lap to get to my plate when I’m eating is not cool.  Jumping on the table is not cool.  Trying to steal the food off my plate is not cool.

Limpid Green Eyes that you clearly learned watching Shrek’s Puss in Boots are not…oh, who am I kidding: my food is your food.

2. Electrical Wires Are Not Play Things

You could get shocked and hurt.  They are dangerous.  Stay away from them.

Note to self: buy new phone charger.

3. My Hand is Not a Chew Toy

I know you like rough-housing.  I’ve watched the Big Cat Diary.  I know it’s all about learning fighting techniques that will keep you alive in the wild.  Not that you’re ever going out into the wild but still, I get the evolutionary psychological motivation here.  But I have skin and you have claws and sharp, very sharp teeth.  Therefore, my hand is not a chew toy.

See also: my ankle is not a chew toy, my toe is not a chew toy, my elbow is not a chew toy, my limbs are not chew toys: I am not a chew toy.

And why are you not playing with the actual chew toy?

4. My Laptop is Not Your Competition

So, I know I spend a LOT of time on it, and I know it spends a LOT of time on my lap but I need it for work.  I use it for writing, for research, for study.  It’s a tool.  But I don’t love it like I love you.

OK, yes, I might stroke it and croon at it a little (it helps it work better) but you’re still number one.  You don’t need to attack it.  Biting is definitely out.  Jumping on it is a no-no.

I love you best.

See also: point two.

5. It’s You!

Yes, you’ve discovered shiny reflective surfaces.  No, the cat looking back at you is not another cat, it’s you!  It’s your reflection!  Yes, YOU!

Seriously.  Stalking yourself is silly.

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Hello, My New Friend

So, I’ve been spending all of the bank holiday with my new cat.  She’s 5 months old and a real cutie-pie.

She’s actually a duplicate markings wise of Sparkles but is incredibly affectionate and vocal like Crackers.  In fact, on a metaphysical level, it’s like the two of them had a daughter to keep me company.

Of course, having not had a kitten for over 15 years, I forgot how much smaller and flexible they are than full grown cats.  The first day I got her, S found the perfect hiding place behind the vent under the oven and I spent a good 4 hours thinking I was going to have to tell the RSPCA that I’d lost her (even though I knew she couldn’t have gotten out of the house).

Luckily, although it’s still her go-to place when she hears something she’s not happy about, she comes out as soon as I ask her to.  And thankfully when she is full grown she won’t fit under there.

My new cat

Early Bird

Yes, I thought I’d get this done and dusted while I remembered to do it.

Health: Again, bare minimum this week to get some energy back.  I think I’m actually accepting that it’s just what I have to do rather than getting depressed that it’s a step back which is good.

Family & Friends: Another Sunday lunch out with family and spent a couple of days with my best friend getting caught up.  So all good.

Psychology: The assignment has been submitted and returned; the comments were fair and so was the mark although it wasn’t as good as I had hoped.  I just now have to do the project.  I have submitted an article to the BPS North West Newsletter and so my psychology publishing career begins!

Coaching business: More networking and I need to get my head around e-books.  I also need to get the next lot of advertising done.

Writing: Bit and pieces but a little disjointed because of resting.

Most fun thing of the week: Going to choose my new cat from the RSPCA!  Just have to complete the home visit and then I can pick her up and bring her home.

Random thought of the week: I had a really good random thought earlier in the week and now I have no idea what that was.  I should write them down in future.

Farewell, my friend

No report this week as there is only one subject I want to talk about: my cat.

There is nothing more wonderful than being owned by a cat.  And they do own you and not the other way around as much as we humans like to delude ourselves. 

I’ve been owned by two cats in my life.  My first cat and I were soulmates of a kind; both smart, independent females who understood each other.  Sparky (or Sparkles to me) was bought for my sister but she was always meant to be my cat.  I was the one who picked her up from the pet shop, carried her home in a box, and watched her torment our dog (she learnt how to sit on command to show him how stupid he was that he never got it) and push him out of his bed every night all through my teenage years.  She was never a demonstrative cat but I always knew she loved me.  She was my anchor through many family ups and downs.  She continued to own me even when I went to university and through all my years of working when I was travelling too much to have her stay with me, because despite living my parents she never owned them the way she owned me.  We did live together her final years; she left me when she was 18 and a half.

Crackers was us that final day and night, staying over.  I still remember how he stood over her, watching and protecting Sparkles in her final hours and how he was a silent comfort to me as Sparkles died. 

He and I, on the other hand, were never meant for each other at all.  He started out life owning my sister and when she couldn’t look after him, he went to live with my parents and quickly designated my mother as his.  He adored her and she adored him.  She was the only one he would let anywhere near him.  The rest of us were not allowed to touch the fur.  

When Mum fell ill and eventually couldn’t look after him, Crackers came to stay with me; indeed, one of the last requests my mother asked of me was to look after him.  It was not an easy arrangement.  I wasn’t owned by him, I was owned by Sparkles who was still alive at that point – and he knew it.  He and Sparkles lived in a state of mutual distrust and grudging respect on Crackers part because she was the Alpha cat.  The night my mother died was the first night Crackers ever willingly came to me, cuddling into the crook of my knees as I tried to sleep.  I’m certain he knew.  And he grieved for a long time after her death. 

Still, immediately after, Crackers stayed with my Dad providing him with an anchor just as Sparkles provided me with one.  It wasn’t until Sparkles had passed away and Dad was spending more and more time in Mauritius and therefore Crackers was staying with me more and more, that Crackers came to live with me.  It was clear that he didn’t own me and didn’t trust me.  He still missed Mum.  I still missed Sparkles.  But he and I worked at it, both of us.  Routines were set; I kept my word in regards to food and time in the garden; I played with his favorite toys with him; and I always came back when I went away.  In return, he began to cuddle up with me in bed; wind around my legs when I fed him and come to me when I called.

When we moved to the new house 3 and a half years ago, Crackers decided it was time.  It was a brand new territory – one that belonged to him and him alone, and so he claimed ownership of it and of me.  And because I was his, I became the object of his total affection.  He would climb on my lap, bump his nose against mine, cuddle into me with loud purrs.  He would sleep right next to me, sometimes on top of me.  He would follow me around the house and complain noisily when I had been away.  And so, I fell in love with him completely and totally; accepted his ownership with joy and giddiness because I was owned by a cat again.  And in that security, he became a much more sociable cat; perhaps he was never eager to let others touch him but he tolerated it, he would talk with his cat sitters and guests, he would sometimes honour visitors with his presence.  When I left my job, he loved that I was home and with him.  He loved his life and he loved me.

He hasn’t been well these last months and it was evident that this week would be his last.  We spent a final day together on Thursday; we cuddled and he slept up next to me for a time in the exact spot where he had slept the night my mother died; the crook of my knees.  I’m certain I felt Sparkles nearby, watching over him as he had watched over her.

Yesterday, I said goodbye to him.  I will miss him hugely.  He and I were never meant for each other but I will always be grateful that we found each other, and that he decided to make me his.

Customer Service for Cats

Well, my essay is done.  At least, there is a draft with words and references which makes some attempt to answer the question.  I will need to go back through and edit it before I submit it but I’m leaving it for a day to simmer (like a good stew).

The cat thankfully has deigned to stay off the laptop today (hence why the draft got completed) but that could be because he got adventurous this morning and rang the Customer Service for my mobile.

He had decided to tell me he was up and hungry and why wasn’t I out of bed and feeding him already.  So after walking all over me and waking me enough so that I dozily stroked his head and told him to wait.  He wandered off to sit on the bedside table.  Now usually I do lock the keypad on the phone for exactly this reason but for some reason I hadn’t last night and as a result his paw must have hit the right button.

So, I’m lying in bed and I’m hearing this tinny voice and thinking “weird, maybe there’s a kid outside or something.”  The cat decides to meow very loudly (presumably complaining to the call centre at how slowly I’m getting up to feed him). 

I tell him sleepily “you can wait ten minutes, sweetie.”  

The tinny voice is still talking (presumably they’re now in fits of laughter in some call centre).

The cat meowed again (possibly saying “see? this is the kind of awful service I have to put up with.”). 

At which point between the cat and the tinny voice I’m thinking I should at least find out the time so I can tell the cat it’s too early and maybe go yell at the tinny voiced people outside.

So I pick up the phone to check the time and the awful realisation of the origin of the tinny voice slowly filters into my sleep-fogged brain. 

Needless to say I hung up pretty damned fast.  So if you were the unfortunate call centre person who received a call from a cat this morning, apologies.

(And yes, I did get up and feed the cat.)

Cats

My cat, C, has just tried to go out into the garden only to find that apart from the path from the back door to the gate everything is snow covered. 

Bless him.  He took forever to determine that he wanted to go out.  One paw got tentatively put on the ground, he sniffed at a lump of snow iced into the mat.  He put another paw tentatively on the ground so his bum was way up in the air, waving hello to me.  He finally got all four paws on cold solid ground outside.  He moved forward.  Stopped at the barrier of white snow.  Sniffed the air to where his usual corner of flowerbed is.  Realised it was too far to jump it.  He walked down the cleared path.  He realised his other little corner of flowerbed was inaccessible due to the inches of snow between the path and it.  He came back.  Jumped onto a tiny patch of cleared pavement right next to the wall which is protected by the overhang from the roof.  Realised he had nowhere to go.  Came back.  Went back down to the gate.  Came back again.  Realised it was fruitless and came inside where he wee’d in his litter tray.

All proving that cats are most sensible.  Don’t even try walking on the white stuff.  Stay inside and get pi**ed. 

Sage advice.