Tag Archives: cats

Catastrophic mistake

This morning I took Jeremiah to the vet to be spayed.  She must be about 6 months old now as I estimated that she looked like a twelve week kitten when we found her.  I was seriously worried that she might be pregnant already as she appeared to be eating more than usual and had starting peeing on the furniture.  I instructed the vet that, if this was so, she should continue with the operation anyway.  I have no wish for another litter of kittens.

Jeremiah was popped up onto the couch while the vet examined her. 
“She’s got a very full bladder”, she said.  “Oh”  she paused  “and testicles”. 
“What?!” I spluttered. 
“Testicles” repeated the vet.  “She’s got bollocks.”
“But I looked,” I muttered feebly
“Well, in your defence, they’re very high up – easily missed” she said reassuringly. “Shall I whip them off anyway?”
“Oh yes please” I said,  “…and the weeing on the bed?”
“Marking” she said.
“10 out of 10” I said.

Thank goodness we called him Jeremiah and not Violet.
Smog is being much kinder.


Filed under Animals, Life in general

History in danger of repeating itself as yet another black cat arrives on my doorstep

As I was talking to my sister on the ‘phone this afternoon, The Boys came in very excitedly and told me I was needed outside.  I walked down the path towards the church and there, about twelve feet up a hawthorn tree, was a tiny, fluffy, black, mewing kitten, no more than twelve weeks old at a guess.  It was obviously distressed and had been up there some time.  Apparently it had been on the path the day before.  The Boys had tried to tell me but I had been in a foul temper and wasn’t listening.  “What do I look like? The Cats’ Bloody Protection League!” was my measured response.

A stepladder was brought and, standing on one tiptoe, half hanging from an upper, spiky branch, I retrieved it, swearing vilely as the thorns lacerated my sunburned arms and brought it home. It was fed and watered and put in Smog’s old blanket in Smog’s old basket.  Smog spurns her basket now, preferring Boy the Younger’s head.  I am very strict about no animals in bedrooms, but in this, as in many things, I am disregarded.

A note was hastily despatched to the village shop reading “Kitten Found.  Please contact…” and I sincerely hope that I am contacted.  And yet, and yet, I have this sneaking suspicion that no-one is going to call.  She’s a dear little thing and I’m sure someone is missing her terribly. I have forbidden the boys to name her, particularly as Boy the Younger wants to call her Marion and Boy the Elder is hovering between Shadow and Yoshi.  I will not be drawn.


Filed under Animals, Children

Natural Home Remedies: Part 3 -Pets: Cuts & Grazes in cats and dogs

It’s not just humans who can benefit from a more natural approach to health, and medicines from vets can be horrifically expensive.

My cat, as I have mentioned previously, becomes a psychotic killer when exposed to fresh air and the beauty of open fields, reverting to a velvety, snuggling, purring thing of beauty the minute she steps into the hallway.  Last week she came home having clearly been in a fight.  We discussed it.  She brought me a dismembered vole to say sorry.

Cat bites are really horrible and they will usually attempt to bite each other in places that they can’t lick clean, the back of the neck and the topside of the base of the tail being favourite targets. If you suspect your cat of being in a fight, always check it’s tail, as a bite can quickly turn into an abscess which, if left untreated could result in an amputated tail.  Hey presto! One Manx cat you haven’t bargained for.

If your cat has a cut or graze, mix 1 drop of Thyme essential oil with ¼ pint / 150ml of cool, boiled water.  Using clean cotton wool, bathe the area with the thyme water until it looks clean. 

If you can see the beginnings of an abscess apply 1 drop of neat tea tree oil onto it to bring it to a head.  If the cat can reach, it will ingest the oil which will also help the healing process.  Keep doing this daily until it bursts.  When it does, mix 1 drop lavender oil with 1 tablespoon cool boiled water and bathe the area a couple of times a day to keep it clean, bacteria free and to promote healing.

The same remedies apply to dogs, but you will need to increase the quantities:
A cat-sized dog can be treated as above
A medium sized dog eg. Spaniel use 2 drops thyme to ¼ pint / 150ml cool boiled water
A large sized dog eg. German Shepherd use 3 drops thyme to ¼ pint / 150ml cool boiled water
A giant sized dog eg. Great Dane use 4 drops thyme to ¼ pint / 150ml cool boiled water

The area can then be kept clean with the lavender and water as you need it.

Thyme, Tea Tree and Lavender are heavy duty anti bacterial agents and they are also antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal. 
Lavender is a cictrizant (ie. it promotes healing) and it is calming to animals and humans alike.  
Thyme is particularly effective for the treatment of wounds and sores and acts as a stimulant to the immune system
Tea Tree helps to soothe inflammation and is effective at treating shock.

Remember.  If you are in any doubt about your pet’s health, be sensible and consult your vet first.


Filed under Animals, Natural Home Medicines

Sunday Poem 9

Ha!  you thought I’d forgotten the Sunday Poem didn’t you?  But I have been so busy today, and I knew that my piece on Sloes and Rosehips was being pined for by Backwatersman so I decided to do two pieces today, you lucky, lucky things!

Some time ago I offered my loyal luvlies the chance to nominate their favourite poems and I would feature them on the Sunday Poem spot.  Regular contributor ‘Bunty’ has requested this one, and it’s a poem I remember fondly from school. 

I had an English Teacher, Miss Strickland, a lovely if relentlessly pale and tweedie woman, who sadly had the most ghastly stammer and punctuated every other word with ‘er’ and then forcefully accentuated  following words.  This made the reading of er MACAVITY the er Mystery er Cat a er PAINFUL and er PROTRACTED business.  I promise this will be the er last er CAT poem for a while.

Macavity the Mystery Cat by T. S. Eliot

Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw-
For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime–Macavity’s not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime–Macavity’s not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air–
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity’s not there!

Macavity’s a ginger cat, he’s very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly doomed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he’s half asleep, he’s always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square–
But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there!

He’s outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s.
And when the larder’s looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke’s been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair–
Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! Macavity’s not there!

And when the Foreign Office finds a Treaty’s gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair–
But it’s useless to investigate–Macavity’s not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
“It must have been Macavity!”–but he’s a mile away.
You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, or one or two to spare:
And whatever time the deed took place–MACAVITY WASN’T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!


Filed under Poetry, Literature, Music and Art

Sunday Poem 8

After the item on my cat on Thursday, I couldn’t resist putting this one on from the delightful Roger McGough. 

The Cat’s Protection League  by Roger McGough

Midnight.  A knock at the door.
Open it?  Better had.
Three heavy cats, mean and bad.

They offer protection.  I ask, ‘What for?’
The Boss-cat snarls, ‘You know the score.
Listen man and listen good

If you wanna stay in the neighbourhood.
Pay your dues or the toms will call
And wail each night on the backyard wall.

Mangle the flowers, and as for the lawn
A smelly minefield awaits you at dawn.’
These guys meant business without a doubt

Three cans of tuna, I handed them out.
They then disappeared like bats into hell
Those bad, bad cats from the CPL.


Filed under Poetry, Literature, Music and Art

Feline killing machines and how I learned to love one

On Tuesday 10th March this year a thin, manky little coal black cat appeared in our hallway.  She wandered in, looked around the house, miaowing piteously all the while and finally climbed onto my shoulders and drooled gently down my neck.

I am obliged to point out that this is not good for several reasons. Firstly I am asthmatic, secondly I am allergic to cats, thirdly the merest puncture from a cat’s claw has me up in red wheals that itch like billy-oh for a minimum of two hours.  Lastly, but not leastly, I don’t like cats.  I am a renowned cat-hater of this Parish. I am a dog person who likes all dogs indiscriminately and harbours lurking misgivings about my friends and family who keep cats for pleasure. 

She was, however, clearly half starved so I gave her some scraps and a little warm milk which she devoured in seconds. She then curled up on the sofa and went to sleep.  .The next morning she woke up, had more scraps and crapped in Boy the Younger’s bedroom. “Please let us keep her, please, please” wailed The Boys.  “No”, I said firmly, “Her owners are probably missing her dreadfully, we are about to move house, she is clearly not house trained and I don’t like cats”.  This was not deemed to be a reasonable excuse.

I gave her every opportunity to leave, I left doors open and stared at her is a nasty way.   I did all the things one is supposed to do; I asked all the neighbours, I put some posters up and I took her to the vet to see if she had been chipped.  She hadn’t and the vet said that she was little more than a kitten, generally healthy and that it was very common for country cats to snuggle down in the back of horse boxes then wake up 50 miles from home, lost and lonely. “Lost.  And Lonely” crooned the Vet with glittering eyes.  Oh crap.

How prescient. Over the next week, she relentlessly crapped in every corner of the bedroom and began weeing on the beds for good measure.  Still, at least I discovered where the launderette is in Market Harborough and the quilts probably needed freshening up anyway.  I had earmarked the £25 I eventually spent there for other fripperies like food, but cat wee smells like nothing else on earth and it was marginally cheaper than buying new duvets. All the while I was trying to pack up the extensive contents of my house ready to move. Every time I bent down, she would leap at me and sit on my neck while I tried to work, using needle-like claws as crampons on the Helvellyn of my back, my contorted shoulders providing her very own Striding Edge upon which to torment me.

We moved on 1st April.  How apt.  Realising that she was clearly not litter trained, I bought a litter tray which is the most revolting object in existence. (remind me to fill you in on the comparative merits of cat litter brands – I know them all). I made absolutely no attempt to keep Smog (oh – didn’t I mention that we’d named her?) but she resolutely refused to leave and to add insult to injury, she was getting rather fat.  I’ve never owned a cat so the natural assumption was that I was overfeeding her and Smog was put on A Diet. 

The attacks started almost immediately and a few days later, as I was conversing pleasantly with my new neighbour, she said cheerfully “I see your cat’s in the family way!”.  “What?!” I spluttered through a mouthful of truly horrid expletives.  Surely I must have noticed?  Fat tummy, big nipples, huge appetite, sleeping more, reluctance to go out etc etc. No.  I had not noticed.  I have never had a cat. I do not like cats, particularly teenage, runaway, ASBO, pregnant cats.  Her food was reinstated and a moral lecture was administered, with the threat of the Magdalene Laundries left hanging in the air for good measure.

The 26th of April was a Sunday.  For the Wartime Housewife, this means as long a sleep as The Boys will allow, followed by coffee in bed whilst listening to The Archers.  Smog waddled into the room and sat on my shoulder.  She isn’t normally allowed in the bedrooms (not with her record) but I was feeling magnanimous and mellow, so tolerated her warm little body against my ear. 

I don’t know what made me look, but suddenly I turned my head and there was a tiny, soggy, black and white ‘thing’ the size of a hamster, lying on my pillow.   An ejector seat mysteriously appeared in my bed and I ran round the house calling for hot water, soap and towels but by the time the towels appeared, she had already popped out another one.  Another trip to the launderette loomed large.

Over the next two hours, Smog silently presented us with five black and white kittens.  I have never seen an animal give birth and other than the immediate eating of the placental sacks, I was rather envious of the ease and natural-ness with which it all occurred. The news spread like wildfire and I had a constant stream of local children filing through my bedroom, examining the kittens while I sat slightly awkwardly in my pyjamas like a rather dishevelled duchess granting audience in my chamber.

Smog was an excellent mother.  She and the kittens had a house made out of a cardboard box with a blanket in it and all was well.  Until their eyes opened and they started to move.  It became a full time job just trying to keep them all in the house as doors were constantly left open and they wandered out into the lane where they were abducted by the hoards of children surrounding the house at all hours.  She trained them to use the litter tray but it was always full and stinking and horrible.  I loathed them, and at the first opportunity, an advert was drafted, to at least recoup the vast amount of money spent on food, litter and cleaning materials, to say nothing of the increase in the consumption of London Gin.

To cut a long story short, all five kittens were eventually sold.  A friend, with more courage than wisdom suggested that Smog had given me the ‘gift of kittens’ as a thank you for taking her in.  As soon as they were gone, she settled down, stopped needing the litter tray and became her old cuddly self.  She has grown significantly over the last three months, her coat is thick and gleaming, her habits fastidious.  And she’s been spayed, thanks to the Cats Protection League.

But she has turned into a killing machine.  I kick her outside in the morning and bring her in at night (as naturalists implore us to do) but every afternoon, I find at least two mice outside the dining room window, she frequently takes out wood pigeons and has been witnessed murdering large rabbits in the meadow.  If only she’d take the trouble to learn to skin them, it would be a culinary partnership made in heaven and I would love her even more.  She went missing for three days last month (on a serial killing rampage no doubt) and I was nearly sick with anxiety.

Now, as I type, she is draped across my shoulders, purring loudly into my ear and gently clawing my back.  Strangely, I don’t seem to be as allergic any more.

Smog the Killer Cat

Smog the Killer Cat


Filed under Cleaning, Family and Friends, Livestock