Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The tale of the cats and the shadehouse - part one

I am not a cat person

(I can’t say or read that phrase without thinking of the Terry Pratchett book ‘Moving Pictures’ – the starring actress, when confronted by Gaspode the wonder dog, says she is a ‘cat person’, Gaspode under his breath, says ‘wash in your own spit, do you?’

start again, I’m not a cat person
When I was a teenager (mumble mumble years ago) we had a pure white tom cat who terrorised me when I came home late at night by bailing me up in the yard with claws drawn and refusing to let me in the house.
I also remember a neighbour calling over the fence that their cat just had kittens and two were white – no prize for guessing who dad was – this was before council registrations and de-sexing of cats.

Tom the cat was my mums’, although knowing cats better now, I think maybe she was his. Tom met the fate of most city cats who go on the prowl at night.

He was our only foray into cat ownership – after his demise, we as a family went back to owning dogs.

Until my son came home one day about eight years ago with the cutest little black and white kitten who was as smart as a tack, he named her Newton because she investigated everything til she figured it all out.

Because he was at work all day, I persuaded him to leave Newton with me through the day so she wouldn’t be lonely, he finally said “there is still one kitten left from litter if you want it, it’s the runt”

Who could resist that offer, the runt arrived, ginger and white and as placid and dumb as her sister was bright. I named her Merlin before we found out she was a girl. The two little sisters finally settled at my house when son moved.

Merlin and Newton
Merlin and Newton
Merlin sleeping it off
Merlin clock watching

Then I made a big mistake while visiting friends with a Siamese.


I’d never come across a Siamese before, I guess I was attracted to it by its’ doglike qualities, and I foolishly joked ‘hey, if you ever want to get rid of your cat……..’

Si arrived complete with his own litter box when the friends were moving, (and after all their other friends had turned him down)

Si the psycho Siamese proceeded to terrorise our two little girls, hiding behind corners and jumping out at them, and he wouldn’t just move away from the dog, he would come out fighting.
Newton hated him, she hissed and spat when he came near, it all became too much for her and one night she just didn’t come home.
We never found her, what ever happened I just hope it was quick.

Si, Newton and Merlin

Then both Si and Merlin started to mark their territory the only way a cat knows how…inside the house, so they were booted out, and only came into our back sunroom to be locked up for the night.

Every morning I washed down the sunroom walls til I was at screaming point.

I had Si’s bags packed so many times for a one way trip to the vet but my softie husband always saved him.

They had to move out of the house, but I don’t believe in cats roaming free all day and night but especially in the night, so they had a garden apartment built for them, the old cubby house was fitted with snug beds and litter box and food table and access to an enclosed yard with outside climbing shelves and sand tray.

the cattery

the cattery

At this stage softie husband was starting to say things like ‘a piece of lead in the ear would be easier’ (inserted with a .22)

the cattery

So now they are allowed out most days for a stroll around the neighbourhood (they don’t go far) rainy days they stay confined and at night they are always locked up when they come home for tea.

I don’t like this arrangement – every pet we’ve had has always been part of the family with access to the house (and me) and I don’t see the point of keeping animals if they have to stay in the yard, but unable to break them of their spraying inside, there’s been no alternative.

...and I feel guilty about leaving them locked in their pen too long, even though it's for their own good, and the good of the neighbourhood and wildlife......

To be continued…

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