Sunday, 21 February 2010

In praise of the Wubba

When you get your first cat, (or your thirty-first), if you are like me, you can't wait to rush out and buy it some "essentials", like sticks with feathers on, bouncy balls that go missing after 2 minutes and vibrating and/or running mice.

I have a big box in the loft full of the many, many items that I've been sure will be loved by all my feline friends. The truth is that they show a passing interest in each item but it can never be said to be a lasting love. I bring the box down each time I get a new house guest, let them pick what they will play with and then back up it goes.

But I've at last found a toy that all three of my cats and my foster cat love. And when I say love, I mean not only the "like intensely" kind of love, I'd go as far as to say the romantic kind of love.

This fabulous item is called Kong Wubba. They lay with their faces on it, they lick it, they rub their noses on it, they fall asleep with it in their "arms". When they get tired of loving it they bite it ferociously, kick at it with their back legs, and then go back to cuddling it better again. I have to make them take turns with it now to make it feel fair!!

Here is what remains of mine and what it should look like: -

I ought to add, I have no connection with the makers of this item and simply felt the need to share my wonderful find.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Something Kitty This Way Comes

Ooh it's coming to that time of year again. Not sure why but female cats the length of Britain are choosing about now to start looking around for a bit of nooky and in a few months time we'll be inundated with cute little fur balls.

I have Thomas for another 2 months at least, so I've been working out that if he gets a new home at the end of the 2 months it gives me just a few weeks respite before my house will be full of scrambling feet again - and those are just my sister's as she gets down here at breakneck speed to see the babies.

The best ones, although I love them all, are the ones that are only a day old. You look at these tiny helpless creatures and can't help but be awe inspired at the thought that they will be scampering around causing havoc in just a few short weeks.

It's a bit like when you have a baby and you can't wait for them to take their first steps. Once they can walk you long for the days when you could put them down and they would still be in the same place when you came back!

So I'll enjoy my time with laid back Thomas for a while longer and then start to kitten proof the house again ready for a hectic spring.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

To Oblivion and Beyond

Oblivion, (quickly renamed Oblee), came into my life in September 2008 with his brother Predator. I am told they had been put into a sack of some kind and thrown down a river bank. Fortunately someone had spotted this and rescued them. I’m not sure exactly how true all this is, but it would explain Oblee’s absolute fear of everything when I took them in.

This is all I saw of him for the first 3 weeks.

And here is his brother Predator who was much more chilled out about it all.

Predator was quickly adopted via the RSPCA and so I just had Oblee left. Gradually he started to come round and before long he was looking a lot more relaxed.


It was a busy time for the RSPCA and Oblee kept getting overlooked by adopters. As I often do with cats that stay longer than a month or so, I started to let him interact with my cats and to my absolute surprise they took to him readily which had definitely NEVER happened before. He came out of his shell and started to find his place in the pecking order – right at the top. Fudge is always at the bottom of the ladder in my house, even taking her place below any kittens that are around. But Georgie had established himself as king of the castle and started to object. He soon gave in though and now has the sulky teenager role.

Can you tell which one is Georgie?

Once he had his place in the house established Oblee started to work on wooing me and any visitors that came to the house. He would play fetch with rubber thimbles for hours. He would cuddle up to people and drape an “arm” over them and then give a big sigh of ecstasy. He would roll onto his back and wait patiently for his tummy to be tickled by any willing party. Everyone left my home in love with him.

By the end of November I had fallen hook, line and sinker for Oblee. And so he became an official member of the Joey Grey household.


Saturday, 6 February 2010

Thomas the Terrible

Thomas came to me about 3 months ago. He had been found by an RSPCA inspector dragging his back leg behind him, unable to use one of his front paws, and hobbling along a road. He was taken to the vet and came out of a long operation with a fixator.

Fixators are fantastic things – my sister had one when she badly smashed her leg a couple of years ago, and was told at the time that she would have lost her leg without it. A metal rod acts as an external skeleton and is pinned through the bone holding everything together. It’s not pretty but it’s an amazing device!

From the minute I met Thomas I knew I had a real character on my hands. He was confined to a huge crate at first and hissed at everything that moved. There was a constant low grumbling whenever I walked into the room he was in. He gave the dirtiest looks I’ve ever seen a cat give.

Within a few days he was trying his legs out in my dining room. He had very little feeling in his front paw due to nerve damage under his “armpit”, and the back leg was very stiff and sore. But he found his purr very quickly and has purred throughout the last 3 months. He could move like lightening when I rattled his food pouch and the pain only showed late at night when he would limp very heavily and sigh constantly.


He was slowly introduced to my cats, and pretended to be shy. Within a few days he was trying to eat Fudge, terrorising Georgie and fighting with Oblee for top spot. They still haven’t settled that particular argument, so there is never a dull moment.

After many visits to the vet, 3 separate infections, and a few catfights with my three, he had the fixator removed last Wednesday. He is getting stronger and stronger and the front paw is also improving every day, which is a huge relief as it was thought at first that he would have to have it amputated.

So a few more weeks and he’ll be off to a new home somewhere. There will be three lots of cat-cheers and a whole lot of people-tears from me when he goes, but he will make someone very happy.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Loving and Losing

Why does it take a minute to say hello
and forever to say goodbye

I’ve got very good at saying goodbye. Or so I tell myself. Over the last two years I’ve had dozens of cats and kittens in my life for a few short weeks that have then moved onto their new life.

Each cat comes to me as a blank slate – I’ve no idea if they are going to be boisterous, shy, aggressive or wrapped around my legs constantly. Within a few days they have become a full blown personality and I know I won’t forget them. Within a few weeks they have established themselves somewhere in the pecking order of my household, whether that be at the bottom to be picked on along with my darling Fudge, or fighting with my Oblee for top cat spot. (I’m somewhere in the middle of the pecking order, if you were wondering!)


Saying goodbye has to be the weirdest emotion I ever go through. With humans when you say goodbye, it is usually a temporary parting as the chances are you are going to see them again. But with cats it is very unlikely that you will ever see them again as the new owners don’t realise you ever were part of their new cat’s life.

It amazes me how strong I can be sometimes. I allow myself a full day, occasionally two, to grieve over the “loss” of one of my lodgers. The full works - heartbroken tears, vowing I’ll never do it again as it isn’t worth it, coming home from work and feeling as if my house is empty despite my three terrors. But then I get the call saying there is a mum with 1 day old kittens or a poor old lad who has been knocked down and needs one to one care and I can’t say no. And the cycle starts again.

But I never forget.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Owl and the Pussycat

I think I first realised how cool cats were when I was three or four.

That's when my mum taught me the Edward Lear poem "The Owl and the Pussycat". I learned it off by heart. I would recite it to people and get more and more excited and shrill as it got towards the final line, and then would end it with a twirl as I said the words "then hand in hand on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon, THE MOON? They danced by the light of the moon".

I had a book with the poem in and it showed a hand drawn picture of a beautiful black sleek cat lounging back against a cushion in a little rowing boat, eating something, perhaps "mince and pieces of quince", and looking up at the owl who was serenading her with a guitar, telling her how beautiful she was and somehow steering the boat all at the same time.

That cat really had it all worked out. I wanted to be that cat when I grew up. I never tried pieces of quince, and I certainly never had an owl serenade me.
I think my version got the wrong kind of "fowl/foul"