An Important Day

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Dear Gloria

img_4417You may have woken me up at 6am (it’s Saturday, that’s really quite rude) by clattering a ping pong ball around the kitchen floor.

You may have run your teeth along my foot when I tried to go back to sleep.

You may have initiated an affectionate head-butt, but then turned at the last minute and yelled, “Sucker!” whilst slapping me round the face.

img_4525You may have insisted on going outside despite the rain lashing down, and then come in dragging wet leaves and debris across the freshly-vacuumed carpet.

img_4536You may have sat in the middle of the floor with your fur stuck up on end, looking like a giant fluffy porcupine, swiping away any offers of a towel, preferring instead to wipe your wet fur along the soft furnishings.

But today is an important day for you, so I didn’t shout.

I cleaned out your litter tray, since you prefer to use it like a ball pit, albeit with white grit in place of coloured balls.

I cooked a big roast beef meal, not because you like beef, but because you like the crispy bits from the roast potatoes.

img_4551I tried to take some pictures. You refused to smile for the camera.  You refused to sit still for the camera. You hate my camera.

I bought you presents, which I then wrapped in catnip-infused paper.  I did the same with the card I made for you too. You ignored that and chewed the foil bow instead.  You went berserk when you saw your new toy, but then ignored it when I removed the packaging.

But this is an important day for you.  Today is your second birthday.

And what did you do in return?

You decided to indulge me in a touch of forensic anthropology – my favourite subject. You left 3 dead mouse carcasses scattered in the front garden: fly-infested, mangled corpses, carefully placed in full view of the garden path.  Your very own body farm.  I only hope it wasn’t a warning for the postman.

img_4543So Happy Birthday, you mischievous heap of fluff and mayhem.  Here’s to another year of sleeplessness, irritability and attitude… I’m talking about you, not me, sweet cheeks.  Hope you’ve enjoyed your day more than I have *mwah*

with much love from the Chief Human Staff Member xx

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How to Introduce a Cat to a Chicken, Part 2

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Have you ever wondered if a highly-strung chicken and a naughty young cat could be friends?  Judging by my ‘Friend not Food’ post earlier, you would assume not.

014Doris has never been the brightest chicken in the coop. Throw her a grape and she often stands motionless, staring at you with her beak open, a vacant look in her eyes. The grape can land on the floor directly in front of her, and she will still be gazing up at you.

“It’s there, you daft ‘apeth!” you can exclaim, pointing to the ground.

Only then will Doris look down and gasp (in a chicken-like manner) “Well I’ll be blowed! How the chuffin ‘ell did it get there??”

“It bounced off your beak and landed there when I threw it to you!”  (She’s not called Dim Doris for nothing).

And the plump little hen will shake her head, give a little chuckle and attack the grape viciously. It’s a shame that she doesn’t show the same attack mode when Gloria Chufflepuff appears.

Being a fluffy ninja, Gloria just wants a sparring partner; someone to ambush and chase and slap.  Yet Doris just wants to eat. Therein lies the problem.

Whereas Doris used to dilly dally about in the garden when I called her to bring her back to the coop (much like an errant child: “Hang on a mo, I’ve just found a worm!”), she now scuttles furtively into the relative safety of her enclosure. However Gloria still persists in trying to play.  021Many a time recently I have been replenishing the chicken food in the coop, when I’ve heard a noise from above. As I’ve looked up, I’ve been showered in dirt and cobwebs (dusting the coop isn’t high on Doris’ list of priorities) – only to find a wide-eyed furry face beaming down at me through the coop roof saying, “Oooh look! A CHIKIN!”

I mean, stalking from above?  That’s a bit out of order. Don’t chickens have a right to privacy?  Imagine being slap bang in the middle of a dust bath and looking up to discover a voyeuristic cat ogling you! Shocking.

Once Gloria had mastered the coop-top spying manoeuvre, she decided to take things a step further. There was I, merrily poo-picking in the coop… well I say merrily… maybe I’ve exaggerated a bit there. 067Doris hopped outside, having found an interesting speck of nothingness to peck.  As I followed her out of the coop, I pulled the door closed behind me… and turned to discover a fluffy face looking back at me. Yes, the cat was sitting inside the chicken coop, and the chicken was gleefully stomping about outside in the garden!  Doris thought this was hilarious, and in an act of blatant bravado she kept waddling up and pecking the outside of the enclosure.  I had never seen Gloria so subdued, her whiskers twitching as she blinked her big, green eyes. It wasn’t easy trying to swap the occupants over, believe me.

008Several days later, I had an even bigger surprise: having been bent double whilst undertaking the coop cleaning chores, I stood upright to be confronted by Gloria nonchalantly sauntering out of the pop hole of the chicken house. She then sat at the top of the ramp and had a quick wash, before looking at me with an expression that said, “WHAT??”.  Clearly impressed with the sleeping quarters, she had decided to make herself at home.

We have now got to the point where Gloria accompanies me down to the chicken coop every day. I open the door, Doris waddles out and Gloria bounds in.  014017Sometimes they sit together in the coop, pointing and laughing at me as I clean.  At other times, they play leap frog or rugby with Doris’ yellow ball.  Of course outside the coop, on the grass, Gloria reverts back to her ninja training and Doris often has to dive for cover, clucking loudly in annoyance.

 

So there we have it: yes, a thick chicken and a cheeky cat can be friends. But only if they live together as room-mates in the chicken coop.  Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad – with so many cobwebs down there, Gloria could make excellent use of her beloved feather duster!

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Teenage Travesties

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Teenage selfie!Recently an email unexpectedly landed with a thud in my inbox. The title made me raise an eyebrow: “Having tricky times now that Gloria is a teenager?

Tricky times? Seriously? Has the sender been secretly watching me through my front room window? Or maybe they’ve been reading this blog…Angel wings

The email merrily continued with the heading “Keeping your kitten in line“. Ha. Ha. Ha. Are you kidding me? Clearly these people have never met Gloria Chufflepuff. I have more success in keeping my 3 boys in line than I do this rambunctious explosion of fluff. Don’t let those ‘angel wing’ markings on her back fool you.

An endless supply of dental floss for GloriaShe may have a few bad habits…” You don’t say!  Are we talking about swinging from curtains, toppling scratching posts and pulling towels from rails to throw around the room? Or maybe partying in the litter tray at all hours of the night. Do we also include sitting in front of the television screen so that nobody can watch it? Half-eaten remains...with cat teeth marksOr eating freshly baked goods meant for a cake sale at school? Hmmm. What about wearing the standard lampshade as a hat and using the tassels as dental floss? Riiight.

Does she ignore you, hide or clash with other pets?” Tick, tick and, oh yes, tick. Although it’s not so much ignoring you as answering back. You see, Gloria just loves to have the last word, no matter what the debate. She is particularly gobby, albeit in a cute, cuddly way of course.
Not the best camouflage gear, but a great colour match for the eyes...Hiding? Are we talking about trying to camouflage herself by sitting in the recycling bin with a baked bean can wrapper on her head? That’s just one way to try and ambush an unsuspecting human. (There are many more, believe me…) I think the picture says it all, eh?
Clashing with other pets: maybe we should just head down to the chicken coop to answer that one. Or read my last blog post here:  Friend Not Food!

AttitudeMake the Rules” read the next heading. Oh do come on! Really? “Now is the time to nip any behavioural problems in the bud…” continued the email. I smiled in a self-satisfied way. You see, some progress has been made in this department.
Popping balloons and gagging on the soggy remains = tie balloons up high out of the reach of pole-vaulting cats.
Eating flowers and poisoning herself =  keep your house boring and drab by refusing all offers of cut flowers and house plants.
Turning on kitchen taps = turn off water supply to house. Oh no. Wait. That won’t do. Remove taps? No. Redesign kitchen? No! Oh.
Repeatedly trapping herself in bathroom at night = remove bathroom door. No! *sigh*
OK so maybe we haven’t made much progress on that either.

Let’s go back to the email. Next heading: “Manipulative Moggies“. Ah. Right. “Do you feel controlled by your cat?” Now you’re talking. I mean, how do you deal with a cat who sits in the middle of the kitchen floor shouting, “HAM!” each time you make a sandwich? The advice is usually to ignore such behaviour, yet how can you ignore an elite fluffy ninja who can give an ankle a friendly nip, climb up human legs using claws alone or somersault onto the kitchen worktop at lightning speed? Controlled by our cat? Tick.

The TeenagerSo there you have it. All boxes ticked on the email. Yes, we have definitely hit Gloria’s teenage years.

The action plan?

Absolutely nothing.

A Feline Facial?

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The day that Gloria realised she could jump onto the kitchen worktop gave no cause for celebration.

She had spent some little while jumping up and performing what could only be described as a ‘Scooby Doo scrabble’, moving all 4 fluffy feet together in a manic frenzy as she landed on the edge of the worktop and fell off. Repeatedly. Never one to be deterred, she clearly decided it was worth persevering with this charade, mainly because it could lead to an impromptu munch on some otherwise forbidden food that had been left unattended to cool.

Antici.....pation!

Antici…..pation!

Of course, once she actually managed to stay up on the working top, she realised that there was something even more exciting to be discovered: running water. Oh yes.

The first I knew of this was when, having been out, I returned to find Gloria sitting beside the kitchen sink with her head bobbing up and down as she watched the water running from the taps with fascination. She was so entranced that she even failed to notice me standing there watching her, hands on hips, shaking my head.

“Why you little…!” I exclaimed. Only then did she avert her gaze and look at me with an expression that said, “Wow! Oh wow! Did you know this would happen if you push that shiny bit forwards?!”

Not wanting to miss any of the action, she then turned her attention back to the continuous stream of water. Turning off the tap, I grabbed Gloria, placed her firmly on the floor and said in a very stern voice, “No!”

Not that she took much notice of course; with a flick of her fluffy tail, she raised her nose in the air, gave an indignant <chirrup> and padded off in the opposite direction.

I’m sure it goes without saying that this rigmarole continued for the next few days. Word for word. Action for action. Until one day the situation escalated. You see, Gloria discovered 2 things that day: the hot tap and the plug. Together.

Who knew taps could be so much fun?She cleverly chose a day when most of us were out, leaving a rather unobservant Handsome Hubby home alone with his little fluffy charge. The first he knew of Gloria’s new discoveries was when, having been pottering in the garden, he wandered inside only to hear running water. Yet the water wasn’t running free. Oh no. He could hear it collecting. As he sauntered into the kitchen, he couldn’t believe his eyes: the sink was full to the brim with steaming hot water, with the chuff of a cat sitting beside it, almost clapping her fluffy paws together with glee. Maybe her pores (or paws? Oooh what a pun) needed cleaning, who knows? Handsome Hubby shot across to the sink and turned off the tap. Had he been but a few minutes later, the sink would have overflowed with red hot water all down the cupboard and across the floor.

Pucker up

Hmmm I think I need a facial

Clearly disappointed that her fun facial had been abruptly cut short, Gloria jumped down onto the (thankfully dry) floor and crept off into the lounge to sulk, leaving Handsome Hubby to empty the sink and heave a big sigh of relief (whilst wondering how the hell the cat managed to put the plug in the plughole!).

 

Luckily the bath taps are of a different design: you turn them not push them. So Gloria has to wait for a member of staff to turn those on. That doesn’t prevent her from sitting on the side of the bath to splash the water as it runs from the taps though. No bathtime goes unsupervised with a Chufflepuff in the house. It’s like living with a penguin who insists on wearing a designer fur coat.

Mind if I join you in the bath?

Mind if I join you in the bath?

A Morning Call

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It’s morning. You open one eye and glimpse daylight. You twitch your ears to listen for the birds. Yes! The birds are singing, the sun has risen; it’s time to wake up and dance and sing. And eat. First priority: check the status of your foodbowl. Hmmm. Disappointingly it’s only half full. Which really means it’s empty *sigh*

Is anybody awake yet?

Is anybody awake yet?

So where the heck are your your human staff?! This is something of a catastrophe.

A quick patrol of the staff sleeping quarters reveals that, as you suspected, the humans are all asleep. How did you end up with such lazy staff?! They’ve been asleep for hours. Meanwhile you’re completely neglected. Not to mention starving. How very rude of them.

You look at the clock beside a slumbering human (well, that’s the first thing they check when they wake). The numbers read 4:15. You have no idea what that means, but the lights look quite enticing. Mimicking your human, you swat the display with your fat, tufty paw. The clock clatters to the floor and your human groans but doesn’t move. What a disappointing start to the day.

Ah, the fun to be had knocking bottles off the bathroom windowsill into the bath.

Ah, the fun to be had knocking bottles off the bathroom windowsill into the bath.

So you saunter off to the bathroom to test out the acoustics. Launching yourself nimbly onto the windowsill, you sit and survey the scene. There’s not much room so you nudge a couple of plastic bottles and watch as they fall with a rattle into the bath. How satisfying was that! You topple a couple more containers with your paw, just for good measure. Then you start to sing. And trill. And chirrup. What a marvellous array of noises. Then it’s time to jump down from the windowsill and land in the bath, amongst the bottles, with a resounding thud.

Boxing the towels comes next, pulling them off the rails and leaving them in a crumpled heap on the floor: every last one.

Wait a minute! Is that your food bowl calling you again? As you scamper off, you decide that it would be better to take the scenic route: mountaineering across the back of the furniture and swinging on the curtains, using only your claws. This is, after all, the perfect opportunity to practice your training as a fluffy ninja.

A neglected fluffy ninja

A neglected fluffy ninja

And yes, you note with disappointment that your food bowl is still empty* (*only half full). What a neglected fluffy ninja you are. As you look forlornly at your bowl, the realisation hits you – it would be a great idea to make a little more room for food if and when your human staff ever decide to get up.

You head on over to your litter tray, tufty paws striding purposefully across the carpet. When using your tray, you can never underestimate how important it is to dig deep. Very deep. With both paws. Woo hoo! Party time! Only when you have laid your stink pod do you turn around and notice all the nuggets of cat litter scattered across the floor. How disgusting. Your human staff really should keep the house somewhat cleaner than this. You step out of your tray, shaking each foot vigorously as you do so.

Getting into position for a loud morning serenade

Getting into position for a loud morning serenade

Now you really are ready for some grub. A final full-bodied serenade of your favourite tune brings a bleary-eyed human staggering to the door – just in the nick of time before you pass out from starvation.

After a good munch, you notice that your human staff member has gone back to sleep. Again. How very lazy. Although it seems only fair that you join them in their repose to keep them company. So you curl up on their face.

Frustratingly, it’s not long before your human wakes up, pushes you aside and stumbles off to grab a large mug that they fill with a hot, steaming black liquid. Yet with a full belly, you are now ready for a long snooze. Why do humans keep such strange hours?

Snuggles

Hunting

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I spy...

I spy…

I spy a FLY!

I spy a FLY!

I’m on a fly hunt.
I’m going to catch this one.
I’ll prance and I’ll pounce,
I’ll frisk and I’ll flounce.
Trill, trill, chirrup, chirrup.
‘Till it flutters and soars
and I fall on the floor.

Oh Gloria.

I spy a SQUIRREL!

I spy a SQUIRREL!

I’m on a squirrel hunt.
I’m going to catch this one.
With it’s big, bushy tail
I really can’t fail.
Trill, trill, chirrup, chirrup.
So I cavort on the floor
then head butt the door.

Oh Gloria.

I spy a CHICKEN!

I spy a CHICKEN!

I’m on a chicken hunt.
I’m going to catch this one.
I’ll stalk her and seek her,
like ‘follow my leader’.
Trill, trill, chirrup, chirrup.

Follow my leader

Follow my leader

‘Till she squawks in my face
and puts me in my place.

Gloooorrrriiiiaaaaa!!!

All this hunting is hard work...

All this hunting is hard work…