ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
My cat's normal feeding routine is this. When I get up and go downstairs in the morning, she gets wet food. More wet food is given last thing at night. Dry food gets filled up as and when. When I come home from work, she gets some cat milk. She does appear to have quite a good sense of time when it comes to the cat milk, at least, since if it's a weekend and I'm in all day, she rouses herself from sleep and goes to stand by her milk bowl at my usual home time, and is seldom more than 10 minutes out.

This morning I got up at 4. Clearly it was time for breakfast. "Meow! Meow! Starving! It's hoooouuuuurs since I last ate!" shouted the cat. I ignored her, and went out for May morning dancing.

At 7.30, I got back in again. Since it was now more or less her usual breakfast time, I gave her some breakfast. Nope, said the cat. Not interested. So I made myself a cup of tea and went upstairs. She followed me, wailing. "Why? Why? Why are you treating me so cruelly?" she shouted. I told her that I'd given her food. I took her downstairs and showed it to her, but still the wailing went on. Finally, I realised that in Honeycat world, I had just got in - clearly from work - so it was time for cat milk. I gave her some, and all was well in her world. She drank it happily, and went to bed. She still didn't eat her breakfast, though.

I went back to bed, and got up at 11. "Waaah!" wailed the cat. "Breakfast! You've just got up! Give me breakfast! Why aren't you giving me breakfast?" "Um, because I've already given it to you?" I suggested. "Because it's right there in front of you?." "Nope, I see no breakfast," said the cat, so I picked up the bowl, put it on the working surface, waited a few seconds, and put it down again. "Oh, thank you! Thank you!" she shouted. "You've given me breakfast!" and happily ate it.

ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
My cat was terrified of the strong winds the night before last. Although they did sound as if they were hitting the house like a herd of charging aurochs (aurochses?), I doubt they were as strong as the many storms we had last winter, that scattered our fence panels like dominos. But for some reason, she was terrified. She spent part of the night trying to snuggle under my chin, and then rest cowering in a wardrobe. When she finally emerged in the morning, it was step by cautious step, peering around desperately to make sure that the monster was gone. Even yesterday evening, she was freaking out at every tiny noise. At one point, I stood up, revealing a remote control that had been half-buried between couch cushions, and she recoiled, and stared at it in horror as if it were a deadly serpent.

"Terrified of the strong winds," I say. But even as I say it, I am reading a novel about sinister supernatural things happening to disbelieving people in the English countryside. If a character in such a novel had a cat who suddenly behaved as if the world outside their window was a world of dread and fear, and said, "oh, how funny. Honey's terrified of the wind," the reader would be shouting at them for their stupidity, and urging them to listen to the wisdom of the kitty cat and not venture outside!.

If I were a character in one of those novels, I doubt I'd make it to page 43.


Oct. 2nd, 2014 09:39 am
ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
I've just dropped the cat off at the Vee Eee Tee for dental treatment, which is done under general anaesthetic, because would you want to play around with a cat's teeth when it's conscious? Vickythevet has been agitating for her to have it for a while, but it got delayed until the hyperthyroidism was stabilised. She was given the go ahead 3 weeks ago, but first Vickythevet was away for a week, and then my car suffered its bump, and I was reluctant to book Honey in, lest it prove that we were carless that day. As time ticked on, I'd pretty much decided to wait until we came back from adventuring in Outer Space in mid-October, but Honey has been quite obviously an unhappy cat these last few weeks, so I've decided to go ahead. Obviously, I hope there was no complications, full stop, but I'm especially aware that I'm going away in 8 days, so I particularly hope that she bounces back fast. According to Vickythevet, most cats are back to normal within a couple of days, and their owners frequently express themselves amazed at the improvement in their cat's demeanour. But we'll see...

Normal cat

Jul. 7th, 2014 04:45 pm
ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
My cat had a blood test on Friday, and I've just had the result. After a month of little pink pills, she has gone from a count of 189 squargs (okay, the unit is probably not the squarg, but I've got to call it something) where "normal" is defined as between about 10 and 50, to a count of 28 squargs. Yay! I could tell that she was doing better, because she's stopped going to the toilet in the house, eats less, and has rediscovered the joys of outside, but I didn't dare hope that the dosage would be correct first time. I was fearing that they would ask me to go to twice-daily pills, which would make it difficult even to have day trips away.

However, the vet failed to warn me of one side-effect of a cat returning to an... orthothyroidal? state. Apparently this means that their cat flaps simply DO NOT WORK when approached from outside, causing the newly normal cat to have to sit outside in the rain for 4 hours shouting to be let in. However, when the house humans are in bed or out of the house, suddenly the cat flap magically starts working again, even for normal cats, allowing ingress and egress to work normally. I don't know how this effect works, but it's clearly Science and needs to be investigated.

Cat flaps

Feb. 18th, 2014 09:31 am
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
Has anyone got any experience of using one of those cat flaps that's tied in to a cat's microchip?

An enemy tom cat has been coming in a lot lately and spraying all over the place, which is stressful for my cat, and not nice for us. Our current cat flap is actually one of those magnet-activated ones that can be linked to a magnet on a cat's collar, but we've never used it that way. When we adopted my cats, it was clear that neither of them had ever worn a collar before. Once they were settled in, I did try to get them to wear collars, but they clearly found it an utterly miserable experience. Honey, in particular, just moped around pitifully for days, too miserable to eat. I could try again, and I expect she'd get used to it in the end, but it seems wrong to take a cat who is already stressed and do something that will make her immensely more stressed, in the name of helping her.

The microchip-linked one is definitely a possibility, then, but my concerns are:

- we've already got a hole in our door from the existing cat flap. Can this be adapted to fit a new one, that's probably a different size? What if the new one's smaller than the hole?

- will my cat adapt to a new cat flap, which will sound different and feel different from the old one? Due to the design of the door and the level of the garden, the cat flap is fairly high off the ground on the outside. The current one has quite a broad shelf at its base, which gives my cat a nice, sturdy shelf which she uses to climb up to the level of the cat flap. I worry that she might be unable to use a different design.

- will it open fast enough if my cat comes tries to enter at haste, pursued by a bear?

- will we be woken in the night by repeated almighty crashes, and go down to find concussed tom cats strewn across the back garden?

Do they work? Are they worth the cost?
ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
My cat can meow again! I've no idea what caused her to be mute for 3 weeks, but her meow magically came back in the night a couple of nights ago. I'm very pleased about this, despite the fact that she broke the glad news at the top of her voice in the wee small hours of the night. Possibly she witnessed an evil fairy doing something awful and was cursed to silence for thrice seven days. Or something.

I see there's a programme on tonight in which a village full of cats was fitted with cameras and GPS devices, and tracked as they went on their wanderings. I was watching some clips on the BBC website today, most of them somewhat surreal affairs over which an enormous cat's chin loomed like nemesis. My cat wandered in just as a tomcat was seeing off an rival - (frenetic lurching camera, angry looming whiskers and much wowling.) My poor cat fled, and proceeded to creep around for the next half hour with a bottle-brush tail, hurling occasional hisses at the empty air. I think I'll have to wait until she's out before watching the programme itself.

Entirely unrelated to cats: I am currently wrestling with perceptions on Roman hair colour. Most of the Romans in the novels I've been reading (the Roman variety of Romans, that is) are dark haired, as were most of the Romans depicted in the mosaics and frescoes I saw on Monday. However, the imaginary Romans in my head are all blond. Where did I get this idea of blond Romans from? Films and TV? Illustrations in the books of my childhood? Or is it merely that marble statues don't have dark hair?
ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
Does anyone wise in the way of cats have any experience of a cat who has mislaid its meow? My cat is normally a very loud and enthusiastic meower, who likes to announce her presence with a loud triumphant fanfare. For the last ten days or so, she has still been opening her mouth to perform the fanfare, but no real sound has come out, only mute silence, terminated in a croak like unto that of a laryngitic frog. She acts normal in every other way, still purring and curling and sleeping and eating, and looks content.

She was already booked into the vet last Thursday for her annual service and MOT, so while there, I asked the vet about it. He prodded the vicinity of her throat for a while, and did wise vetly things while going, "Hmm," and reported nothing at all wrong. He seemed supremely unbothered by the entire thing, and went on to fire up his needles ready to stab her in the neck. (The poor little thing! Her feet were so sweaty, and even through the dark fur, her ears were bright red with stress. This must be why hounds of the underworld have red ears, since it can't be the most relaxing job in the world, or even under it.)

So I'm not worried as such, since the vet wasn't, but I'd be interested to hear if it's happened to anyone else (or their cats, anyway) and whether the meow returned eventually, as strong and triumphant as before, or if it was Gone Forever.


Nov. 28th, 2012 06:23 pm
ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
A colleague emailed me the following image today. It came at a very apt time, since I had just received a delivery from Zooplus, consisting of shedloads of cat food and a new cat bed.

What follows will come as no surprise to any cat owner )


Oct. 30th, 2012 08:28 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Honey was sick overnight on Saturday night, and had been off her food ever since. She's eaten something, when coaxed, and has (slowly) drunk quite a bit of cat milk, so I'm not been worried about dehydration, but she's clearly not been well or happy. She didn't greet me when I got up, and trudged everywhere rather than running, and sat stiffly rather than curling. I was all set to phone the vet as soon as they opened this morning. However, this morning, her behaviour has been a lot more normal. She came running into the bedroom at dawn, as usual, and meowed madly before I got up. I didn't give her much food, but she's polished it off. Also, her nose felt normal today, whereas yesterday it felt unusually dry, although I don't know if this is significant.

If I didn't have to go to work, I'd observe her for a few more hours to see if she's become relaxed enough to curl up and sleep, and then decide whether to contact the vet. However, I need to contact them soon if I want to get an appointment today. Do I give her another day to see if she gets better naturally, and contact the vet tomorrow if this morning's apparent improvement turns out to be misleading, or do I make an appointment anyway, just to be on the safe side?
ladyofastolat: (Bagpuss yawning)
I used to spend many hours trying to decide what I'd call my cats when I got them. When I adopted two cats, I decided to keep the names they came with, on the naive belief that they might actually know their names. This meant that I had to put up with the vet shouting "Precious [my surname]!" across the surgery, which made me want to say, "I didn't name her!" to the assembled multitude. Actually, this made me quite pleased that I hadn't gone with any of my fanciful names, either, since I hadn't considered what they'd sound like when called out in a crowded vet's surgery.

Thinking about it, I really can't blame my cat(s) for never knowing what they were really called. How could they, when I never call them by name? I reckon that I probably have well over a hundred names that I habitually use for Honey.

Firstly there are names derived from her real name: Honeycat, Honeyboo, Honeybun, which leads to Hunnybin, Funnybun, Funnybin etc. Any of these suffixes frequently stand on their own. "Boo" is a name I use particularly often for Honey, but which I used to use often for both cats. "Hello, Boos!" I once shouted as I came through the door, before realising that the neighbour who was outside and close enough to hear me probably thought I was saying "Hello, booze!"

Then there are generic names that I might use for any cat: Animal (or Anim), Cat, Kit, Kitten, Catten, Pusscat, Pusskit, Is-a-cat, and so on. (I did once feel the need to apologise to the vet when I comforted an unhappy cat by repeatedly saying, "poor little animal!", which I suddenly thought he might find heartless.)

Then they are context-dependent names: Purrer, Meower, Mower (rhymers with shower), Mowzer, Trotten, Curly, Thunderpaws, Upsid-downer, or just Upsid (when she curls her head upside down in greeting), Starvy (though it's a lie!), Runnity-runner, Pog (when a cat's looking particularly podgy), and so on. Any or all of these can have any of the aforementioned suffixes attached to them - e.g. Mowziboo, Starvyboo, Curlybun etc. etc.

Then there are names related to whatever bit of the cat I'm currently finding particularly cute: Cattypaws, Kittynose, "Hello, thing with feet!" etc etc.

I can only conclude that most pet owners are not like me, or not pet would ever come in response to its name.
ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
For Christmas, my aunt's cat got my cat some odd little tube-like sachets full of some strangely pink substance that cats are supposed to love. According to the ingredients, it consists of "Meat and animal derivatives, fish and fish derivatives, derivatives of vegetable origin, milk and milk derivatives." If only it also contained "minerals and mineral derivatives," it would be a hideous bran tub sort of thing, which could contain absolutely anything that can be found on Earth, but we won't tell you what. However, my cat does indeed seem to relish them, so all the thought my aunt's cat put into the choosing was clearly worth it.

I remain more dubious.


Dec. 8th, 2011 12:09 pm
ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
The vet just phoned. Unfortunately they found that Precious had numerous growths all over the place, so she is being put to sleep on the operating table. I'd pretty much braced myself for this news, but it still doesn't make receiving the phone call any better, really.
ladyofastolat: (Curly Honey)
I phoned the vet on Thursday morning and booked Precious into surgery as early as possible, which turned out to be this coming Thursday. Then on Thursday evening and Friday morning she showed no interest whatsoever in food, and was sick several times, so I took her in again on Friday morning. In the lead-up to the appointment, my pessimistic mind had pretty much convinced itself that she wouldn't be coming back, but the vet gave her a steroid injection, and by Friday evening she had perked up amazingly, and has spent the weekend eating enthusiastically and plentifully. Very plentifully.

The vet asked me to book an appointment this afternoon, but told me to feel free to cancel it if I had no concerns, but I'm going to go ahead with it anyway. He said that the injection ought to make her feel better for just two or three days. He chose this dosage because if she improved but started getting worse again after those days had passed, it would confirm that the steroids were the cause of her improvement. She was still eating this morning, but possibly not quite so enthusiastically as over the weekend, though it's hard to tell. What I don't want to do is cancel the appointment, then find her completely off her food again by the end of the day. I suppose the worst that can happen is that he does nothing, waves me on my way, and charges me for his time.

I went to the optician on Saturday (or "eye vet" as I called him, after losing the right word) and had a long eye test - my first as a new patient. Since I'd reported floaters, he then gave me eye drops and made me hang around for half an hour, so he could take a look at them. Additionally, he wanted to photograph a freckle on one eye, so he could take another picture in a few months and compare the results. I think I must have used up a good hour and quarter of his time, if not more, but the charge for all this was about the same as the vet charges for a five minute appointment. I am now worried about poor starving opticians - especially as all this took place right across the lunch period, and when I emerged - at 1.30 - he went straight back in with another patient.
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
Last night, I scattered a cat just before feeding time, by lavishing her with over-enthusiastic love. She then completely forgot how to use her cat flap, which led to the risk that Other Cat would eat both dinners in her absence, get Too Fat, and explode. Therefore I opened the patio door to offer an Scattered Cat an alternative route in. "Meow!" she said enthusiastically, rusing towards the rather large gap I'd opened. Then she ran CRASH into an invisible barrier, almost visibly bouncing off the invisible wall, and recoiled several feet. "Come on!" I urged, and she tried again, only to bounce off a second time. "OK, then, Honey," I said, imbuing it with as much emphasis and potentousness as "OK" can be imbued with, "I invite you in." She then surged forward, breezed through the invisible barrier, and proceeded to scoff her food.

Tomorrow I intend to try her with garlic...

I am not exaggerating this story one little bit, honest. I can only imagine that a cobweb was stretched across the opening, or something...

Or was it....?
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
I picked up some vet-strength spot-on flea treatment today. On the outside of each pipette, there is a helpful little picture showing users how to apply it. It shows a a placid cat, with rather alarmed eyes but a contented smile, who remains sitting down as an enormous pipette hovers above its back, dispensing an enormous globule of stuff onto the exposed skin at the back of its neck.

The picture lies!

A far more accurate picture would be an animal whose 25 layers of thick undercoat guard its skin like a suit of armour; who reacts to attempts to part said fur by developing the strength of a carthorse, the wriggliness of an eel and the extra legs of Sleipnir; and who thus wrests itself free from the puny hands that try to hold it, leaving a sad little pipette all poised but suddenly catless.


May. 1st, 2011 03:50 am
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Happy summer!

(Well, unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case... well, you can still have a happy summer, but it's not very topical.)

(Am now distracted by picturing Australian Morris men dancing around the November Pole. Actually, now distracted more by picturing Australian Morris men, full stop. Yes, I know that national stereotypes aren't true, but, still...)

(And no, cats, there's no way on earth you can be starving to death a mere five hours since you had your dinner. You lie!)
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
As part of my not entirely successful attempt to make Precious lose some weight, I always take Honey's dinner into whatever room I am in, so I can make sure that Precious doesn't poach. In the morning, this means that Honey has her breakfast (dried food) in my computer room. When she gets bored and wanders off, I pick up the remaining food and put it on my desk.

It's become clear that Honey knows full well where this food is, but she never attempts to eat it during the day. When I come home, she runs upstairs and jumps onto my desk, but she won't start eating the food until I come into the room. If I take too long, she sometimes comes down to search for me, then runs upstairs again and assumes her position. Sometimes she waits with her mouth mere inches from the food. All I need to do is pop into the room briefly, or even just walk past the open door. She's quite happy to carry on eating after I've left again, so I don't think it's a case of her wanting company while she eats. It's as if she feels she needs permission to eat the food, which strikes me as rather odd behaviour in a cat.

Oh, and Precious tends to wander into the room and look balefully upwards as Honey crunches her second breakfast, but never makes any attempt to jump on the desk during the day to scavenge.
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
Honeycat is a long cat, and certainly not a skinny cat, but at least she doesn't make the vet suck in his breath sharply and shake his head sadly as he surveys the scales. Precious, on the other hand, was a podgy cat when we got her, and has become even more so, and Something Must Be Done.

Precious is a fast eater, while Honey tends to get bored and wander off, leaving part of her dinner unguarded and ripe for the taking. This is, of course, the main cause of the problem. I am therefore standing over the cats like a hawk while they eat, making sure that no poaching happens. Every time Honey wanders off, I retrieve her and point out her dinner, at which she goes, "Oh yes! I knew I'd been busy with something," and starts eating again with every sign of eagerness. Precious sits grumpily on the sidelines, looking cross and jealous. If Honey can't be persuaded to return to her food, and won't follow me to a Precious-free place where she can eat it at leisure, it gets removed.

Meal times have been moved a little bit, to make it easier for me to stand and supervise. In response to getting food at a slightly different time, Precious has taken to meowing next to her food bowl whenever I go near it, perhaps thinking that if dinner can come an hour early, it can also come four hours early, as well as three, and two, and five, and all points in between. Three mice have been brought in the last two days, though I don't think it's related, since neither cat shows any sign of recognising a mouse as food; it's just a fun toy that has an annoying habit of turning still and boring after a while.

I hope I can see visible results in a few weeks.


Aug. 2nd, 2010 05:14 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I have discovered the powerful magic that lurks within a common food stuff. I had long known that tuna has the power to attract cats from anywhere within a radius of a few hundred yards away, even if said cats were fast asleep when the tin was open, and separated from it by three layers of double glazing and solid lead. Today I discovered that the magic applies to other species. At lunch, I'd been happily reading on the duver for a little while, untroubled by man or beast, when I decided that the time had come to break out my tuna sandwiches. Immediately, seven wasps decided that I was their best friend in all the world, and stuck to me like iron filings to a magnet, and a small dog apparently teleported in from nowhere and bothered my ankles.

Later I plan to apply tuna to lead, to see if it turns it into gold.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I was woken up at 02.38 last night by a sharp and fast "Bip-bip-beep!" A moment of sleepy thought revealed that it wasn't time to get up, and that I didn't know of any alarm that made that sound. However, I shrugged and settled down to fall asleep again. (Yes, yes, I know that this is entirely wrong behaviour. If I was a proper sort of fictional character, I would have got up to investigate, and would have discovered the secret hidden Outsider Alarm that a secret group of crusading immortals had planted in my room. I would also have discovered the slaughtered operative in the secret basement, and would have been swept into an age-old battle to protect the world from sinister magical beings.)

At 02.52, the same beeping happened again, immediately followed by four much louder beeps in the unmistakable voice of the smoke alarm. It wasn't the quiet beep of a smoke alarm panicking about a dead battery, but the full-on "OMG! Fire! Death! Doom!" alarm that it always launches hysterically into whenever anyone as much as look at a rasher of bacon. I got up and prowled around, but saw no fire, and no mysterious strangers were in the kitchen, caught red-handed with rashers of bacon. Since the alarm was silent again, I went back to bed, lay unsettled for ages, expecting it to go off again, then fell asleep. It remained silent for the rest of the night.

But why is it, I wonder, that Mysterious Noises in the Night only ever seem to happen when Pellinor's away.

On a totally unrelated note, every morning I go to my computer for a little while before going downstairs to boil the kettle and feed the cats. As I check email, read LJ etc., my cats gather in my room in a hopeful and expectant fashion. Merely shifting in my chair is enough to make them rush to the stairs. (Precious loiters on the top step until she's sure I'm really going down, but Honey charges all the way downstairs for every false alarm, which probably explains why only one cat is overweight.) When I do head for the stairs, both cats thunderously precede me, but while Precious always heads straight for the kitchen and her food bowl, every single day without fail, Honey heads first for the living room, rushes all the way to the far side of it, does a screaming handbrake turn, and only then races into the kitchen. I wonder why she does this. Ritual? Habit? Some obvious reason I'm not clever enough to understand?

Also unrelated: I spent much of last night tagging my LJ entries from 2008 and 2007, having done the rest of it on various earlier dates. What a collection of rambling, nonsensical flights of fancy this journal is! I wonder why anyone reads it.

Finally, anyone else fancy trying to identify books by their first lines? Several remain unguessed, but I know that several people here have read at least some of the books in question.


Mar. 19th, 2010 03:34 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Observations from a day making figureheads:

- 15 year old poster paint is as good as the day it was bought
- 30 year old watercolours are pretty good, too
- 15 year old varnish is capable of solidifying into interesting shapes
- DAS modelling clay has a smell that makes me instantly 8 years old again. Instead time travel; just add aroma.
- It is, however, quite dismaying to find that said modelling clay is apparently no longer made by Adica Pongo. I liked Adica Pongo. My Mum even had a song about them, which I have been merrily - and defiantly - singing to myself all day.
- Any easy handicraft can be rendered challenging by the addition of cats
- Plain tap water in a bowl is not nice for cats and they reject it, preferring the delights of stagnant puddles in the garden. However, in the following situations, tap water suddenly becomes as sought-after as ambrosia:
- It is in a bowl on a tray on a person's lap, nice and easy to knock over
- The person is question keeps saying, "No, cat, leave it alone!"
- The water is nicely infused with bright red paint, or murky and grey with modelling clay.
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
Honeycat has just come wandering in to my room proudly carrying what looks like half a cooked steak.

No steaks have been bought or cooked by us in the recent past.


Sep. 5th, 2009 08:02 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I'm currently feeding my cats sachets of food that have their instructions in 8 languages (English, French, German, Dutch, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian and Spanish, I belive.) This is bad for my cats, since I am compelled to read the entire packet and exclaim in delight over the linguistic treats revealed, while the poor cats wowl and rub around my legs, more interested in a more concrete sort of treat. My cats, it seems, take a dim view of the idea that affairs of the mind should come before the base demands of the flesh. Today's delight concerned the many names of the turkey, which every country in the world seems adamant comes from somewhere else. It's named after India in many languages and named after a specific place in India in the various northern European languages on the sachet, but other languages put it somewhere else, while the Spanish apparently give up completely and call it a peacock.

I've never had much of an aptitude for lanuages, mostly because I'm hopeless at the oral side of it. I can't do accents at all. Even as a child, I never picked up the local accent of the places I live in, I can't put on regional accents, and I have no ear at all for the rhythms of a spoken foreign language. However, I'm fascinated by many aspects of language, even so, and have read quite a few books on linguistics and the historical evolution of languages. I love poring over ingredients lists in multiple languages, trying to find common roots, and I always read the entire Welsh section of bilingual guidebooks, spotting the Latin words and wondering what these say about Welsh history. (Did they they stand there on riverbanks scratching their heads, until Romans came along and invented bridges? Did they have bridges, but no word for them? Or did the Romans bang on so much about bridges that the old word got superceded?)

But, anyway... My cats are still meowing loudly and telling me that they're starving to death, so I suppose I ought to feed them their Indian peacock.

Poorly cat

Aug. 25th, 2009 09:23 am
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking squashed)
Hmm... Now I've got to work out how to get a urine sample from a cat, and some way of ensuring that it's from the right cat.
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
In recent weeks, I have frequently seen a slightly threadbare blackbird standing on the lawn, only yards away from a stationary cat. Usually the cat has had its back to the bird, but today the bird was standing only feet away from a stationary cat that was watching it with great interest. Since the bird frequently makes very loud alarm calls when a cat is on the move, this inability to see a stationary cat as a threat may well make it a Very Stupid Blackbird. However, since I'm not watching the garden for most of the day, it's reasonable to assume that such incidents have happened far more often than I've witnessed, but the blackbird remains alive, so perhaps we're looking instead at some Very Stupid Cats. Or maybe the cats have taken a vow not to harm the birdies, and the alarm call thing is just for appearances' sake, to announce to the world that all is as it should be in feline-avian relations, while, united, they plot dreadful things.
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
I think it's time to answer this age-old question in a conclusive, scientific way. Since it's a rigorous scientific study, I'm not allowing such wishy-washy, evasive answers as "I like them both equally," or "I hate the lot of them!" or "it depends on whether you mean 'better at climbing trees' or 'better at barking at postmen.'" My fervent attachment to subjectivity meant that I was very tempted to frame the question as "which do you prefer," rather than "which are better" but soon realised that the issue is one that can only have a firm answer. While such vague questions as "which is taller: an adult flea or an adult elephant" allow space for those "it depends", and "it's more complicated than that" sort of answers, this issue is clearly a black and white one, with no possible shades of grey.

[Poll #1420964]


Feb. 20th, 2009 08:47 am
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
Cats are very silly.

Scene: I am in the bathroom, having had a shower as soon as I get up, so my hair will dry before I need to leave for my con in a few hours. This is a shocking evil of enormous proportions, because I didn't feed the animals first. I turn the shower off to hear the thud, thud of cats hurling themselves bodily at the door. While I'm getting dressed in the bathroom, I hear Pellinor get up and go downstairs. I shout out at him to feed the cats.

I then emerge from the bathroom to hear the sound of catty biscuits being served downstairs. The cats stare at me and wail piteously on the landing.

Me: "There's food downstairs!"
Cats: *wail* (perhaps to say: "but there's a big scary monster there, too.")
Me: "But when has he ever eaten you or done any bad stuff to you?"
Cats: *wail* ("But he exists!")
Pellinor comes upstairs. Cats flee to hide under bed.
Me: "So he's not downstairs any more. That means you can go and get your food."
Cats emerge from under bed and wail. I go downstairs and shake food bowls. Cats come downstairs and stand in kitchen, begging for food.
Me: You've already got some! Look! There it is!
Cats: *wail* ("We're staaaaaarving!")
I pick up random cat and put it down next to food bowl. I rattle food. I hold food in palm and let cat sniff at it. I direct cat's nose into food bowl. I then do the same to the other.
Cats, walking away from food: *wail* ("We're staaaaarving")
I pick up bowls, and hold them out of sight. I transfer biscuits from one bowl into the other bowl, then swap them back again. I put bowls down.
Cats: "Food! At last!" They eat.
ladyofastolat: (Misty Glastonbury)
When cats fall over on purpose, or suddenly remember an urgent appointment at the hairdressers' when confronted by a large cat, they tend to cover any potential embarrassment by having a quick wash.

How much easier life would be if we were cats. When you suddenly find yourself on your knees in a snow-drift*, watched by a horde of lorry drivers, and when your attempt to get up almost results in your skirt staying down there and you walking right out of it… Well, wouldn't the situation feel a whole lot better if you were physically equipped to give a quick groom to your back leg, or wipe your paw over your whiskers, and for that to make everything all right?

* Okay, it was an Isle of Wight style snowdrift, and all of 3 inches deep, but in terms of sheer social disruption, an inch of snow on the Isle of Wight counts as about six feet of the stuff in places that actually know how to cope with it.

Sad cat

Dec. 16th, 2008 05:26 pm
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
I came home to find a sad-looking cat curled up on the door mat. It was painfully thin and had cuts and scrapes on its face and neck, and acted very fragile and lethargic. I gave it some food (though I'm anxious now, wondering if that was the wrong thing to do) and it ate it eagerly, but with its tongue sticking out the whole time, making everything really slobbery. I didn't recognise it as any of the local cats, and no-one's advertised locally that they've lost a cat. I suppose I should have done more door-knocking, but most people aren't home from work yet, and I didn't want to keep it inside for long, because of my cats, and neither did I want to leave it outside. Cue phone call to RSPCA, who've told us to take it to our normal vet - which Pellinor is doing as I write, since I did the after-work/rush hour traffic vet trip yesterday for boosters for our two, so felt like a bit of delegating today. I hope it's okay. I also hope that this was the correct course of action. It looked so sad and ill I had to do something.

More cat

Oct. 30th, 2008 03:50 pm
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
Thanks to those who gave cat-related advice! The small local branch of the big vet I normally use was able to fit Honey in this afternoon, which worked well for me since I had some hours spare from not taking quite as much time off for the Bellowhead trip as I'd booked. (I was planning to tack them on to my half day's leave tomorrow, and leave at 11, but leaving at 11.45 won't make any difference to the ferry we're on; it will just mean I need to be super-organised and get packed tonight.) The vet can't see anything obviously wrong, and says I should go away with a clear conscience. He's given her an injection to boost the appetite, and didn't seem too concerned, but said I should return next week if there's no change.

It is, though, rather unfortunate that Pellinor was working at home today, and used that chance to get some big stompy men in to try to fix a leaky shower, followed by some other big stompy men who cleaned all the carpets in the house.
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
Honeycat has been off her food for a few days. She rubs around me, meowing as normal, and generally acts as if she wants food, but when I put it down, she sniffs suspiciously at it, looks at me as if in disgust, then walks away. I've not changed brand, and the brand isn't new and improved. She is at least eating something, but is most happy to eat it if I offer it to her by hand, then put it on the floor. That can sometimes prompt her to eat for a while - though she's definitely more likely to do so if it's on the floor, not her bowl - but less than normal. She's been happiest to eat tuna, and least happy to eat dried food - her normal well-nigh staple dish. It might just be my imagination, but she doesn't seem as contented as normal in general. She gives the impression of perching on her bed, not relaxing into it. It's over a week since we had visitors - and Honey seemed perfectly content with them, anyway - and nothing else has changed around the house.

My cats are normally such enthusiastic eaters, I've never had this problem before. So, cat owners, how much should I be worrying? Actually, I'm particularly anxious because we're going away tomorrow for the weekend.
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
The cats are having their first incarceration in a cattery this weekend. We're dancing at a festival, and a chap's coming in to tile our kitchen and hall while we're away, and apparently even the feather-light touch of a cat's paw will utterly ruin a newly-laid tile. (Okay, admittedly I call my cats "thunderpaws" and laugh hollowly at the "cat-like tread" song, but, still, we're not talking elephants here.) I'm quite anxious and stressed about it, because there's no way to tell them that I'm not actually abandoning them like the last owner did, and I will be back.

(Also stressed by work – the lead up the summer holidays is always awful – though I don't know exactly what it is that's been giving me nasty dreams that make me feel out of sorts all morning. Three nights ago, a vampire was chasing me through an empty school and cornered me just as I woke up. Two nights, a bomber was circling overhead, having just destroyed Havant and probably started World War 3. Last night, everyone vanished – everyone)

But, anyway, getting away tonight is complicated, since I'd intended to leave work early (I worked until after 8 on Wednesday, at a parents' evening in school), but now probably can't do so… but maybe can, and I won't know the answer until it happens. We want to get a ferry off the island early enough to have our tent built before dark, but we also need to get the cats packaged up and sent off, and the cattery (understandably, since they have lives to lead) isn't that flexible about arrival time. "I think we only have a very narrow window to the get the cats into the cattery," I said, which prompts some very lovely images. :-)
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Tired. We were up far too late last night, since... well, I'd finished writing a long story, so I had to have wine, right? and Pellinor didn't come back from dancing until nearly 11, so I had to persuade him to have some wine, too, and... well, and so on. Then I was woken up at the crack of dawn by an enormous crash. A baddy evil Not Ours cat had sneaked into the house, and had managed to knock a very large Really Useful Box off the kitchen worktop, scattering 5 kg of dried cat food everywhere - and I mean everywhere. I couldn't leave it until the morning, since my cats - and probably all the neighbourhood cats - would have gorged on it until they exploded, so I had to spend a while with a brush sweeping up an enormous amount of catty biscuits. Didn't get to sleep again after that.

Talking about cats... I bought 3 metres of ribbon the other day, and it had been sitting by my computer in a tiny paper bag, but it fell off. Some while later, Honey came in... and froze. She looked at the bag with utmost suspicion, edged round it cautiously, and several times almost dared to reach out for it, only to snatch her paw away. After about two minutes of this, she dared to actually touch it, snatched her paw away, tried again... A minute or so later, she finally got the courage to cautiously pull a bit of ribbon out of the bag, but clearly didn't like what she saw, for she then fled, never to return.

An hour later, Precious came in and did exactly the same. Clearly this is not just normal ribbon, but Scary Ribbon, that fills all who see it with deep dread. (I seem to be immune.) Now, I'm going to be wearing this ribbon at the banquet tomorrow, so we'll have to see if anyone else present feels a sudden wave of terror when they near me. Or maybe it only works with cats.


Feb. 1st, 2008 08:17 am
ladyofastolat: (Order of the Stick)
LARPing for the first time ever on Sunday. Am nervous. Am very very nervous. Am quite ridiculously nervous, since I'm sure the police would have stepped in before now if newbies regularly got eaten. Also currently costume-less (though that's under control) and people at work are giving me dire warnings about snow, rain, storms and famines this weekend.

Have just banished a mouse, though, with the aid of a sun-hat, a sword and a fitted sheet. I've spent the last two days eying the fridge nervously, expecting the mouse to leap out and go for my throat. However, it must have found the secret worm-hole, since it emerged from under the futon in my computer room this morning.

EDIT: The cats are totally convinced that the mouse is still under the futon, since they'd been banished to the kitchen when the Removal of the Rodent took place. They've both just come in, armed with their tents and daily rations, and look set to camp here for the day, intently watching. They always seem a lot better at monitoring former site of mouse than they do current site of mouse.
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
Pellinor's in London for a couple of days. Now, the question I have is this: Why is it that whenever Pellinor goes away, I get troubled with mice? I had two live mice two nights in a row when he was away in... um... September?, which I had to patiently chivvy outside, helped by rubber swords and soft-toy vultures. For four months, not a sausage (and not even a mouse), and then last night, what do I get? Unlike the last few, this one didn't spontaneously generate underneath Pellinor's bag, perhaps because Pellinor's bag wasn't there, but appeared to spontaneously generate in Honey's mouth. I'd fed the cats at my bedtime, went upstairs and got ready for bed, then went down again to get a book. I found that neither cat had touched their food - the food for which they had loudly screamed, the ingrates! - but Honey was standing in the hall looking very guilty, a mouse in her mouth, and Precious-I-didn't-name-her! was looking at me with frozen innocence, as if to say "It was her!"

"Oh, not another one!" I wailed. Ahem. I mean, "Honey, put that down right now," I said with firmness and control. Cat put mouse on carpet. Mouse ran under fridge. Human looked at fridge (heavy), looked at cat (patient), looked at clock (late), looked at darkness outside (cold), looked at nightclothes (thin), and said firmly, "Mouse? There is no mouse," and went to bed.

The thing is, does Pellinor keep these mice so cowed by his presence that they only spontaneously generate when he's absent? Do the cats get bumptious in his absence and want to assert their newly rediscovered confidence by slaughtering small things? I'm also made suspicious by the fact that this mouse spontaneously generated inside just after catty dinner time. I'd always assumed the mice lived outside and had been brought inside by way of the cat's mouth express, but maybe they actually live inside, in a thriving metropolis behind perfectly arched mouse-holes. I mean, I've read my children's books. I know certain things. Mice wear clothes and live in a thriving metropolis behind perfectly arched mouse-holes. (Also, squirrels never make maps and always lose their hoard; they'd probably have taken over the world if it wasn't for the map thing. Every single example of a species is identical apart from one maverick, who will get laughed at for his floppy ears / spotty back / interest in flower arranging, but will end up saving the world. Scary things with sharp teeth Just Want To Be Friends. Life is cumulative and comes with an opt-repeated refrain.)

So where was I? Ah yes. Mice. Anyway... I've not gone downstairs yet, but I fear the presence of a sad and limp little corpse. Either that, or the soft and squeaky sound of relief and jubilation issuing from the thriving metropolises behind the perfectly arched mouse-hole.
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
My cats get food as soon as I get up. My cats know this, and lurk threateningly outside my door from dawn, advancing on me with increasing menace as the minutes pass. When I get up, they erupt in a flurry of ankle-tangling meows. They follow me downstairs, and scream at me, and generally make their presence felt so emphatically that I often have to point out to them that causing me to break my neck will not, in fact, accelerate their breakfast, but will probably have the opposite effect. Once I have fed them and they have dined, however, they calm down and head off to their respective lairs to get on with their daily grind (which the ignorant might call "sleep".)

Occasionally, however, Pellinor gets up before me. He gets the same ankle-weaving / loud screaming approach that I do, but after he's fed them and they've dined, the procedure changes. Instead of settling in to their daily grind, they stomp upstairs in an angry delegation. "He's so cruel!" they shout. "He's not fed us. We're starving." When I get up, I get treated to the exact same performance as I'd get if I had been the first one up. I have often wondered if they are, a, deliberately trying it on in the hope of getting two meals, or, b, so conditioned by the fact that food appears after I get up, that they can't help themselves from acting this way, and aren't even consciously relating it to food, anyway. (Should the word "conscious" be used about cats, anyway?)

Anyway, since Christmas, I've been trying to get my cats used to eating in a different place. They do persist in sometimes treating the front door mat as a toilet, so I was hoping that by moving their bowls into the hall, I might encourage them to think of the hall as "eaty place", not "luxurious litter tray." The cats aren't showing any signs of distress about eating in a new place. As long as I stand there with them, they eat entirely happily. When I try to go away, however...

Feline drama )


Dec. 9th, 2007 07:39 pm
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
First thought upon opening the door to our own house after a weekend chez [ profile] chainmailmaiden and Bacchus: "These aren't cats! They're bloated, ginormous, lazy mutant feline hippos that scream and shout like banshees." (You could fit about ten of one of their cats into one of ours.)

Second thought: "Ooh! Lemon cake!" (and not too squashed after being carried around for two days, in a bag beneath lots of second-hand books)

Third thought: "I'm too tired to write anything more at the moment." (Staying up until 3 a.m. on Friday, drinking, is not too clever.)

Deja vu

Sep. 1st, 2007 09:16 pm
ladyofastolat: (Killer Kitten)
24 hours on, I am once again confronted with a cowering mouse in the hall, and am desperately trying to chivvy it outside using a vulture, a longbow and a plastic sword. I am beginning to suspect that Pellinor's briefcase is actually a portal to the parallel universe ruled by mice. A few weeks ago, he found a live mouse in his briefcase en route to work. Last night's mouse emerged from his briefcase; I was alerted to its presence by the cats staring intently at said briefcase. Today's mouse also emerged from the case. (I don't know if it's the same mouse. I was given the gift of a dead mouse this morning, which I presumed was last night's hapless adventurer.)

ETA (10.30 p.m.): Another dead mouse? It's either this morning's mouse come back (I disposed of it deep in the fuchsia, but Sometimes They Come Back), or it's the one I just spent 20 minutes of angst and trauma trying to save. I need Pellinor to come back. These cats gets far too cocky without Big Stompy Monster to keep them in their place.

Ah well. There's always that stray bottle of port* that Pellinor brought back from Summerfest... (Along with the vulture. Which, incidentally, when discarded on the bottom step looks very worrying like a dead Precious.)

* Which doesn't help get rid of mice, admittedly, but hey...


ladyofastolat: (Default)

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