Miffed

Here is Bib, looking miffed.

But why is she looking miffed?

Because of this:

This is Jasper sleeping in a box.

A few days ago, Michel across the road gave us some vegetables – half a marrow, some green beans, some parsley, and lots of new potatoes, all in a box. We ate the green beans, put the marrow in the fridge (I still haven’t used it), chopped and froze the parsley and left the potatoes in the box, on the work surface. We went into the kitchen a few hours later and found Bib ensconced on top of the knobbly potatoes and fast asleep.

She had claimed the box as her own! We reclaimed the potatoes as our own, but left her the box.

Unfortunately Jasper decided he liked the look of the box, and so now there is a constant turnover of cats going in the box. One claims it (currently Bib) but at one time or another needs to get out – to eat something, to stretch, to answer a call of nature, to go for a stroll – and then another one will hop in and mount a takeover bid! So far Jasper, Bib and Pomme have been fighting for ownership of the box. Millie isn’t interested.

PS I know we shouldn’t allow cats to loll on worksurfaces, but it’s difficult to keep them off, as the kitchen is their only access point to the balcony. Be assured we use chopping boards and anti-bac spray.

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Another Zentangle

This was done for a small boy who loves cats. Chomeuse’s Chou sent me a delightful picture of his grey cat, Delilah

Chou writes “He loves his cats more than anything in the world” , (E ( some days later) TA: I’m sure Chou is very intelligent & advanced for his age, but he’s not up to writing yet. Of course, I meant “CHOMEUSE writes….”) so I sent a zentangle of a cat for him

I believe he quite liked it.

For the love of Cats…

How true! My Friend Jane sent me this lovely card. It made me smile, and go to cuddle a cat.

How we (still) miss our lovely George boy, who was great for cuddling, even though we have…

Mad, starey-eyes Bib

Millie, here seen lounging behind the shutters!

Lovely, senior Pomme (getting on to 14 or 15 years old)

and into-everything Jasper

 

RIP Red

I told you about the Poor Cats, and how Red had gone downhill…For a couple of days, he rallied. The Kind Vet gave him some antibiotics, but the cat spent most of the day curled up on the pillow that has become the cats’ preferred pissing place. We don’t know why he chose that place at all – it smells terrible!

He hadn’t washed at all, his four paws, his ears, his backside were all filthy, and he was hardly eating or drinking. He wasn’t a happy cat.

So yesterday, Marie-Odile and I took him to the Kind Vet, who gave him an injection to send him to sleep. Red fell asleep with me stroking him and telling him what a good boy he was. Then the Kind Vet gave him another injection to stop his heart.

It was a hard decision to make, but really, I don’t think he was going to make it for much longer, and it wasn’t, in the end, a bad way to die. Better to fall asleep, being stroked in a warm place, with kind voices, than alone and cold in a ditch, in pain and distress.

But it still hurts a little bit: he was so like lovely, lost George, and made me wonder anew what had happened to our big soft boy cat.

Some sad Poor Cat news.

Hello Dear Ones – I hope nobody finds this greeting offensive or patronising. I recently read about the closure of Frugal Queen’s blog, which I always enjoyed reading. Apparently she closed it because of too many trolls (of which I get none. I’m glad I’m not famous!) which is a great shame. Somebody remarked how they found FQ’s greeting of “Dear Readers” rather patronising. I rather liked it. It’s hard to know how to greet one’s readers sometimes, but I have “borrowed” the Bishop’s soubriquet for the readers of his general e-mails “dear ones” – because, actually, you are dear to me – your comments, your prayers and positive thoughts, your support has all been very important and I appreciate you all. Even those who rather randomly “like” a post that I honestly can’t believe you have read in the 5 seconds after it has been posted – I assume these people are hoping I’ll go to their blogs and follow, or “like”, one of their posts. Which I sometimes (but rarely) do; so often the blog isn’t to my liking, or my cup of tea, so I won’t reciprocate. Sorry if that makes me mean. But I appreciate your “likes” all the same.

SO…

To begin again…

Hello, Dear Ones

Things are improving daily. I can now raise my right arm to head height, I did some knitting yesterday, my scar continues to heal (thank you to Friend Claire, who is also District Nurse Claire who popped by yesterday to reassure me regarding the state of the scar), and, having done things, I am in a better frame of mind than on Sunday, when I felt mopey and grumpy for most of the day.

I am sad though. As you may remember, I am part of a tiny team that feeds the “Poor Cats” of the village

There have been two of the cats who have been really struggling this winter: One-Eye (variously known as Barney and Bonnie) and Red. They have been getting thinner and thinner, and coughing really badly. Marie-Odile, who knows more about them than I do, told me that both have leucose – basically cat HiV. They curl up together in the cabin, and come out to eat a little when we arrive. Red miaows terribly, wanting strokes and love, and when we leave it can be heart-rending.

One-Eye/Bonnie/Barney (tri colour cat at the front left) and Red (ginger and white) in happier times

We have been debating whether to have the two of them put down – but every time the weather gets a little warmer, they both rally round. Yesterday, however, Marie Odile found Bonnie dead in the little shelter you can see under the roof. There were two other cats with her, (not dead) so I like to think they were keeping watch with her as she passed.

Red was miaowing desperately when Marie Odile was there (I’m not going over yet, as I haven’t got the movement back to be feeding them) and she fears that he has worms and ear-mites to add to his woes. She is taking him to the vet today, but asked me my opinion as to whether we should have him put down too. It is so hard, but, finally, I said that maybe he should be.For him, it is only as though he is going to sleep, after all, and he is really rather ill. He may well rally for the summer, but that is a long way away. He has lost his snuggle-companion, and he hates being left after we have fed them.I remember one really difficult time, when he was more mobile, when he followed me down the road, then sat at ther junction, miaowling piteously as I left him. If only we could find someone to take him, look after him and keep him warm, then he could have a good-ish life, but neither Marie-Odile or I can take the risk of him infecting our cats with leucose. Also, neither of us think the resident cats would accept another cat, nor do we think the resident husbands would be too happy either!

She is taking Red to the vet today, to discuss his chances, but I suspect M. Roche will counsel the same. If Red is put down, at least it will be a more comfortable passing than Bonnie had.

It’s a sad time.

The Poor Cats of St Just

I’ve paused in my planning (it’s almost lunch time) to say a Thank You to Mr FD for his help.

I have mentioned The Poor Cats before – they are a colony of feral cats that I, and a couple of other ladies, feed. Marie-Odile is much more involved than I am, and it is she that tries (and sometimes succeeds) to catch them in order to have them neutered. She puts a lot of her own money into it. She is also softer than I am (is that possible?!) and worries more about them.

Anyway,over the years Marie Odile has set up some shelters for them, and last winter I made some houses from boxes and insulating tiles and plastic bags, all in an effort to keep them warm.(You’ll need to scroll down, but I show them here) But there is a shed which has been firmly locked, which we have been wanting to open for a while – while simultaneously not wanting to open, in case it was full of dead cats who got in, and couldn’t get out again!

A couple of weeks back, Marie-Odile discovered who owned the shed, and got permission to open it (no key, so we borrowed a crowbar) We arranged to meet to open it together, but she got delayed. Finally I decided to just get on with it – I opened the shed, and found lots of old crates, full of rather manky cloths, and an old kennel, together with some very rusty tins of cat food….Obviously in the past it had been used by someone to feed and try to keep cats warm. There was also a dead cat, as feared, but it had died many moons ago, and was just like a cardboard cut-out of a cat. I couldn’t get sad about it, so I popped it in a binbag and got on with brushing the cabin out. By the time Marie Odile arrived it wasn’t looking bad.

We threw some of the cloths away, but others M-O took home to wash. It is now set up with various crates, with straw, old clothes, towels etc.

We hope this will help keep them warmer during the winter, with an extra layer of protection. I’m going to make a couple more cat-houses too, to put in the shed for them.

Here is their “home”

(sorry, it was getting a bit murky by the time I took the photo, and I didn’t want to use the flash in case I frightened them)

Despite valiant efforts on M-O’s part, there were two young females, born last year, that she had not been able to catch. They had litters early in the year, one litter was found and with the kits being very young, M-O steeled herself to take them to the vets to be put down. We have a Very Nice Vet, who does these things at a reduced rate, though M-O pays for a lot of it herself. The other litter is now growing up – named Chapeau (from distinctive head markings) and Smudge. Then the two young ones became pregnant again. We couldn’t find the litters, until one group was too big to be easily caught, so those three have been named Spot, Cloud and Patches. The other litter has not been found, although the mother is now coming back for food. We don’t know if they have died, or if she’s still feeding them in a hidden place.

One of these young mothers has been caught and neutered now, but the other one resists all efforts to be caught…And now there are several new cats that urgently need to be caught and neutered before next year!

This is Patches, the bravest of the smallest kittens – needs neutering!

But not only do we have the feral cats, but we have discovered that we have abandoned-ish cats. An old gentleman came round while we were cleaning the shed, and admitted that WhitePaws – a tabby male, with – yes, you guessed it – white paws – was his, but he couldn’t keep it in his appartment as the neighbours complained about the noise and smell (unneutered male), so he brought it here and left it, because he knew it would get fed!!! M-O got quite cross with him, and they ended up having a bit of a barney (of words), especially as Old Gentleman couldn’t see why WhitePaws should be neutered. In the end he got very angry and accused us of “making decisions for the cats”! M-O pointed out that there was noone else to make decisions for them and that the colony needed to be cared for, but also controlled. He stomped off furiously and  WhitePaws is still there – and scoffing quite a lot of the food!

Here’s WhitePaws,at the bowl by himself, plus Binkie (not yet neutered), Bonnie (who only has one eye and cat flu), Cuthbert (a female), Red (unneutered ginger-and-white Tom) and Gobbolino (all black) You can see some of the shelters that have been provided for them.

Mr FD played his part by fitting a hasp and padlock on the shed door –

It’s still quite a poor fit though so I will probably buy a bolt to fit as well. The cats can creep under the door and jump over a plank that we put up to stop draughts, or jump down from a space under the eaves. It’s not perfect, but it will help keep them just a little bit warmer in wintertime.

So, thank you Mr FD for humouring me, and helping to keep the cats safe and protected. And for letting me spend some of our housekeeping on feeding 15 or so other cats besides our four maniacs!

 

Pray, tell me…

How is it that, even with  8 litter trays scattered on every floor of the house, we still have at least one cat who pees anywhere BUT the tray?

Mr FD spent a good halfhour this morning cleaning up the cooker and the side of the cooker, and the floor around the cooker because a cat (and we think we know who it is, Bib) decided that was a really good place to pee. We know that Jasper (or rather, fear of Jasper chasing her) may well be the reason, but there are numerous proper places for a cat to relieve itself. (I know, as I’ve just spent a very warm hour cleaning and changing them!)

Hey ho: here’s aSimon’s Cat that features a kitten, a cat, and a litter tray:

and a cute kitten drowning in litter: