Monthly Archives: September 2016


Love, licking and a Catflap Coda

I frequently wonder how exactly the three cats are genetically related and what their previous relationship was like. Sadly the refuge had only skant information about this, and all three have been given what appear to be estimated dates of birth on their record cards, all May 5th.

This seems an unlikely coincidence, given that Mystic is two years older, whether they are siblings or half-siblings.

One of the clues to their having been together for the 16 years of Fluff’s and Felix’s lives is Mystic’s strong tendency to parent the others. (This has increased over the last two days with the Feliway.) He’s always tended to wash me and Fluff, and indeed Felix if the latter is fast asleep in my lap and so doesn’t notice. Last night he joined Fluff on my lap and more or less bathed him, washing about 80% of him before Fluff said enuff and ran away.

Could Mystic be the father of the other two? Although it’s more usual for kittens to stay with the mother, I suppose it’s not impossible. I guess it’s not worth getting DNA tests! But if they were quite little when they joined the household, and Mystic was already neutered, he could well have been quite caring towards them whether related or not.

Sadly the only effect on Felix of the Feliway seems to be that he’s more aggressive, not less. While the other two are competing to out-soppy each other, he keeps walloping them -have switched it off for now. Pheromones are tricky things, it seems.

Catflap – last night I was in the utility room when Mystic popped in through the flap all by himself! This gives me hope that those who feel the need to go out in the winter chill will be able to do so without me getting up to open doors for them. Phew!





Back towards the beginning of this catalogue sequence I recall saying that each cat had a chosen safe place to sleep. Mystic’s was the doughnut that used to belong to Jerry, and it was beside me on the sofa. Fluff’s was the fluffy cushion that used to be Oscar’s and it was on the chair that first Oscar and then Jerry liked to sleep in. (Really Andrew’s chair, Oscar took to it after Andrew’s death, I think because he was looking for his daddy.) Fluff’s was a dining-room chair where he was hidden by the table-cloth.

Prior to this, they had all firmly rejected my nice wicker cat-basket beds, and seemed to have no idea what they might be for.

This, like every aspect of their behaviour and preferences, has now moved on, to the extent that the doughnut and cushion, once washed, will be stored away. Their very favourite place to sleep is still ON MUMMY, usually three at once. However, I refuse to spend my entire day on the sofa for this purpose.

Fluff otherwise divides his time between the back of one of the sofas, which is in front of a window so he can nose at the neighbours, and a little niche at the top of the stairs that used to be Oscar’s Place.

Mystic is very often to be found lying across the top of the stairs, especially when I want to carry something up or down, a fraught business for me even without extra barriers.

Felix still prefers the dining-room, it’s still ‘my room’ as far as he is concerned. Recently he took to lying on the table-cloth which I had to remove, wash and store, leaving the protector for him – it’s easily wiped and dusted, but I still hold out hopes for his becoming more at ease with the other two and my being able to close that room off at night as well as the living room.

I guess the next shift might well relate to the changing seasons – they’ve only lived here in summer, after all. Once the underfloor heating starts coming on they’ll discover the hot-spots. Once I light the woodburner on really cold days, will they sit companionably on the hearth-rug? One can but dream.

Probability - if you have 5 cats, 4 will be asleep.




Another nice round number.

Felix is fine now, much more perky. He and Mystic both drink a fair bit of water, so I’m monitoring that to be sure to consult the vet should it become excessive. Fluff still hasn’t noticed there are bowls of water, he still needs it added to some of his meals.

The catflap saga is still running. Felix still tends to go out of a door and back through the catflap, exiting through it only if I hold it open.

Mystic has suddenly decided that it’s fun to get me to hold the flap open for him to go out, and then again for him to come in. Not on every walkies, thankfully.

Fluff has taken hardly any notice of the catflap, except for the memorable occasion of his last (hopefully now really his very last) poo disaster when I thought I’d confined him to the utility and kitchen for the duration so that I’d only have easy-clean floors. He then went out of the catflap and back in through the French window onto the nice light-coloured living-room carpet. Bless him.

The Feliway came today and it’s plugged in – hoping for a deeply relaxed Felix any day now!

Schrodinger's Cat Flap, "Am I in or out?"
Schrodinger’s Cat Flap, “Am I in or out?”


Time for an update on the three boys as they settle further and start to show more of their personalities to me and to each other.

Mystic may be the boss of the other cats, but towards me he is very loving and sweet. Very tolerant of things like eyedrops for example. He is the one who is most likely to follow me to wherever I’m working and sit nearby. He not only washes bits of the other two cats now and then, but washes bits of me during the communal evening cuddle. His coat is lovely, thick and soft and he seems very content despite the half-ear and the dodgy sight. Sometime he lies down suddenly on his side, or drops into one of those deep deep sleeps that make you wonder if he’s just died – but so far he’s always woken up again, thankfully.

Fluff has taken on a more positive attitude since the magical medicine came into his life – not being afflicted with bowel troubles is definitely nicer for him. (Well, d’uh!) He too has a silky coat, as it’s longer I try to brush and comb him more than the other two but he’s not specially grateful. He’d prefer a cuddle with that melodious purr of his at full pitch. he sometimes comes up to the study for a sit but is more likely to come when he thinks it’s nearly a meal-time, and yell at me. Like Mystic, he goes out but only for a short time in the garden.

Felix is still fond of ‘out’, it’s a nice place. Recently he crossed the close and wandered uninvited into Best Auntie Jen’s kitchen. As soon as she spoke to him, he fled. he’s a bit given to fleeing, a bit suspicious still. Although he’s more cuddly with me and more affectionate than he was, he’s still tense and will sometimes lash out at the others. It’s defensive, a lack of trust. I’ve decided to go down the Feliway route to see if it helps. It’s getting to be great fun remembering which cat likes which food, which needs which supplements, which likes which treats, etc. Felix can only eat ‘in jelly’ and always throws up ‘in gravy’ or ‘in sauce’ varieties, which the others find a great treat. Hopefully all this is good or my brain.

Today Felix is sleepy and didn’t really want lunch, so maybe I’ll be off to the vet again tomorrow? I do hope not for his sake – when this happens to any of them it’s usually brief and I think is related to agedness.

It’s all good.



A pleasant calm prevails this morning after an odd week of poorly cat, poorly car and a brief resurgence of antagonism between the cats. Now the sun is out, it’s warmer than forecast, and the mogs are all at rest, each in his favourite spot.

Should this happy state continue, I may well manage to do some work! Both in the garden and on ‘The Dry Well.’

Perhaps my personal logo should combine a red pen crossed with green secateurs, in a cat-shaped outline shaded black-and white? But what would my motto be? I generally use ‘Nil Desperandum,’ life being what it is. Although the connections between the elements of this might not be totally clear….

But I ramble, as I so often do. Time to get on before it all goes pear-shaped!

Have, as they say, a good day.

red-pens  secateur



Cats eating 2

As far as cats are concerned, their human servant has no existence when not attending to their needs. She/he is simply ‘not’ when gone away behind a door, in a car, elsewhere in any way at all. The real business of a cat-person’s life is being with the cats, feeding, litter-tray cleaning, or cuddling.

There is a curious half-link when a cat does what Mystic has been doing this afternoon; sitting in the garden where he can see me while I do incomprehensible things to plants in the border, then following upstairs to where he can snooze just outside the open study door, knowing where I am and ready to leap into action as soon as I stop doing more unlabellable things in here and resume my duties.

This had me thinking around the old unanswerable thing of when is a writer not a writer? Mainly when not writing, which means most of the time then; indeed I’m probably a cat-mummy for much more of each day/week/month than I am actively doing what writers do.

One can only hope that when shopping, gardening, going for a swim, taking the car for repairs, drinking tea with a friend or just plain sleeping, there is something happening in a more unstructured way in the depths of the writerly brain. Indeed sometimes one is aware of the fact that something’s happened when one was looking elsewhere. You don’t feel it happening and may not be able to pinpoint whether it was while you were hanging out the laundry or shopping in the supermarket; something related to a character, plot point, choice of words is suddenly there in your head.

It’s probably a paranormal gift of cats who live with writers, the gift of sending out inspirational waves that osmose into ones brain. See; it was a good idea to get three cats to come and live here, after all.

Skorn small



(The cats have given permission…)

Yesterday was a washout as far as writing was concerned but probably the single most sensible thing I’ve done for some time.

I had been subliminally worried for a few weeks that one of my tyres registered lower than was usual before each regular top-up of air. In other words, it was losing air faster than the other three. So I booked the car into the workshop and drove off, assuming I’d be home for lunch.

Actually it transpired that I was right to feel uneasy and right to follow up on the feeling, since in fact two tyres had reached ‘dangerous’ condition. I was not home for lunch but took lunch nearby while the replacements were sourced and fitted. The cats’ lunch was late, but they survived – and so did I, the car, and anybody I might have hit had this not been discovered.

Moral – follow that gut feeling, it’s trying to tell you something.

So anyway, ‘The Dry Well’ did not get printed yesterday. When I sat down to the job today I found the desk-section where I store ‘paper-used-on-one-side-to-use-for-rough-printouts’ was empty, so i started searching file-cabinets for new stocks. Well, old stocks, you know what I mean.

An hour later I stopped reading and finally got it printed. What fascinating stuff there is lurking in my cabinets! Some of those creative-writing students I taught years ago really knew what they were doing, they certainly didn’t need me. And I used to make far too many handouts, but those are useful for printouts like today’s. Then there were cards and letters from an incredible number of years ago. Wow!

I really will start with the red pen tomorrow, honest.


'Uh-Oh. . . Got a flat!'
‘Uh-Oh. . . Got a flat!’

A 1st Person Narrator, A 2nd Person Narrator And A 3rd Person Narrator Walk Into A Bar…

Tara Sparling writes

A 1st Person Narrator, A 2nd Person Narrator And A 3rd Person Narrator Walk Into A Bar...

First Person Narrator: Sorry I’m late.

Second Person Narrator: You could have called.

Third Person Narrator: [motioning for drinks to be served] Everyone got here in the end. That’s enough.

First Person Narrator: Right. I’d like to call this meeting to order.

Second Person Narrator: Of course you would.

Third Person Narrator: [shaking head] There they are, squabbling within the first 30 seconds! The charter said this was supposed to be a supportive and encouraging writer’s group for everybody.

First Person Narrator: Really? That’s not how I read it.

Second Person Narrator: Course not. You think everything is about you.

First Person Narrator: Well, I’m the most popular form of narrator for first-time novelists, so it generally starts with me, which makes it all about me, as far as I’m concerned.

Third Person Narrator: [slurping with relish] A wise man once said: he who encourages the growth of others, grows most…

View original post 654 more words