Tag: cats

Returns, dinosaurs and cat flaps.

Tach, Possums!

I shall refrain from writing another apology and yet another promise that I shall post more regularly.  It seems that every time I write such a thing, the exact opposite happens.  I was in Germany for a terrific 9 months and met some of the most fantastic people.  I also had hardly any internet, thus the radio silence.  Until I moved back to the UK nearly 2 months ago.

ANYWAY.  My new excuse is dinosaurs.  A friend of mine is expecting her first child at the end of the year, and naturally I’ve gotten *slightly* carried away knitting for the poor thing.  In addition to a bear and a starry cardigan, I’ve started on a dinosaur.  Because who doesn’t want a brightly coloured dinosaur?  He’s part-way through construction, has been a joy to knit, and will no doubt inspire a few sibling dinosaurs in time.

knitted dinosaur with legs
HE HAS LEGS

In addition to knitting, my furry adopted little sister had a slight disaster, and ended up spending a week at the vet’s.  I think that in pulling through the ordeal, she may well have used up one of her nine lives.  We suspect the cause was an injury acquired in a cat fight, but because it had healed over before any of the symptoms appeared, we can only speculate.  In short, she was lethargic, off her food, withdrawn and short of breath.  It turns out it was a pyrothorax; a build-up of fluid, in this case caused by an infection, in the chest cavity.  The vets drained 350ml of what I can only politely describe as goop, and she was on IV antibiotics for a week.  Last October she weighed 4.1kg, just to give you an idea of the proportion of fluid drained in relation to her weight.  (For the Imperialists among you, that’s nearly a pint of fluid.)

RIght, so now that we have a partially shaved feline back home, we decided that perhaps we ought to install a microchip-activated cat flap.  I take my hat off to the people who wrote this manual.  Sureflap, kudos to you.  You clearly know what it’s like to be a feline’s chosen human.

The first thing that struck me about the manual was the helpful information for cats on how to use the cat flap:

Not suitable for fancy dress.
Not suitable for fancy dress.  Keep away from kittens.

Now, for those of you wondering why one would splash out on the kind of cat flap that has diagrams of use for your cats in its manual, then you probably don’t have cats at home.  For those interested in the rationalisation, here’s an excerpt:

“This cat flap has been designed […] allowing access to your pet whilst keeping out animal intruders.”

Oops.

But this isn’t just any cat flap, oh no.  This cat flap learns.  But a word to aspiring crazy cat people (it’s not always us women): you can only register 32 cats.  I find this a shame.  Any fool knows that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42 and for us cat-crazed individuals, cats are that meaning in life, ergo one should be able to have 42 cats, register them all, have one’s cake and be able to eat it, cat fur and all.

But the highlight of the manual for me has to be the advice aimed at the human side of this human-feline partnership under the section on how to get the cat flap to register your cat’s microchip. This point is of such importance, that it even has an exclamation mark in a warning triangle next to it:

“In order to learn a cat’s microchip number, a sensor located in the tunnel must detect a cat’s presence to trigger the microchip reader.  Therefore it is important to ensure that your cat either puts its head into the tunnel or passes through the flap.  No amount of waving your cat in front of the flap will have an effect.”

Whoever wrote that last line clearly has a wealth of experience either dealing with scratched, disgruntled customers phoning customer support, or of having personally tried “waving” a cat in front of anything.

I also suspect that there were a few felines who managed to get their paws on the manual, as in the troubleshooting section on how to get your cat acclimatised to the new cat flap, the author notes that “strategic positioning of food inside/outside the house can also help encourage the initial use of the flap.”

All I can say is that our resident feline would never allow herself to be waved in front of anything, and aside from presently snoring softly on a bean bag whilst I write this, the cat treats have so far been successfully retrieved without the cat flap successfully learning her chip.  This one has cunning.

Damn straight.
Damn straight.
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Chrono-Syntactic Infandibulum Link #5

Okay, yesterday was spent revising really hard:

Gardening with my grandmother in silly hats
Gardening in silly hats - the new extreme sport

Speaking of extreme sports, I came across a completely new one today and its own group of eccentrics: Extreme Ironing.

No, you’re not hallucinating. Or going crazy. There are actually people who go to the remotest of places so that they can iron in peace. There’s even a Wikipedia page on it, so it must be true.

Oh, and there’s this video on YouTube of a man ironing on the closed section of the M1:

Makes me look quite normal by comparison – I just whitter on about Cabbits, Horses and all kinds of weird and wonderful things.

Oh, and the next thing I’m most likely to whitter on about is why the term “commitment-phobe” is quite frankly pants. Absolute pants. It should be something like “emotionally claustrophobic”.. But that’s for another time, methinks.

In the meantime, smile :)

Now available in Pocket Size

Musings #4

My friend pointed out to me today that my rabbits and horses theory doesn’t work. Her reasoning was that she knew people who she thought were cats.

It’s a fair point: cats like to be independent for the most part, and act aloof like nothing really matters, only to then come back to you either for food or to steal your bed for the best part of the day. Then there’s the school of thought that says that the Egyptians once worshipped cats as gods and that cats certainly haven’t forgotten.

Except I’m not quite sure that there are cats in life – I mean, sure, there are those who are independent, sleep a lot, like staying clean, aren’t too keen on water and like being scratched behind the ears; yet deep down, they are dependent on other people, and that trust or dependency will take a while to grow.

So in that respect, they’re both a rabbit and a cat. I found this a tad confusing to begin with, until I came up with a solution:

cabbits.

Cabbits are those who appear to be independent and distant. (And a little bit bitey at times..) They’re also generally quite cute and furry; often found with a tail. They act aloof and have that kind of regal air about them, and they like you to come to them, rather than seek you out. But at the same time, they’re secretly dependent on you – far more than you could possibly imagine; unless of course, you yourself are a cabbit, in which case you’ll know exactly what I mean.

To the untrained eye, a cabbit can be difficult to handle: how do you live with a creature that on the surface appears to be so cool and distant, yet scratch him behind the ears in the right place and he’ll roll over onto his back and let you stroke his tummy? (Tickle on pain of death/loss of hand.)

To be honest, it depends on the cabbit. Some are more open to change than others. The thing is, you need to give the cabbit the space he needs: the moment a cabbit feels trapped, back into the rabbit warren he goes, yet not enough interest and it may seem that you don’t care; something which cabbits find most painful.

If you find yourself with a cabbit, give him time to get used to spending time with you – coax him out of his defensive cat state and encourage him to be more rabbit-like. However it should be said that a) be prepared to have the odd stand-off with your cabbit, they often tend to want everything done their way (and to steal your bed) and b) you may need a large supply of feathers, carrots, soft cushions and catnip.

Warning: use catnip with caution – may cause lots of purring, silliness and munchies:

Cat with catnip toy looking guilty
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