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.
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 In short, she was lethargic, off her food, withdrawn and short of breath.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:
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.”
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.