An hour in the life of the chuffin cat…
An hour in the life of the chuffin cat…
1 You go for a walk in the woods and emerge looking like Miss Haversham, complete with delightful, new cobweb-infested accessories.
2 It’s communal shower time again, when your ablutions seem to be shared with all manner of uninvited moths, spiders and insects. What’s worse than finding a spider in the shower? Just finding the leg of a spider… leading you to die inwardly as you check the soles of your feet for the rest of the innards *shudder*
3 You step out of the shower, go to grab your towel, and instead find yourself shaking hands with a large spider. It’s very nice of him to introduce himself formally before taking up residence in your bathroom, but I’d say his timing is a little off to be honest.
4 The chuffin cat develops a new coat – consisting mainly of dead leaves and garden debris – which she gleefully spreads around the house at regular intervals. As a bonus, she might even bring you in a slug or three, stuck to her belly fur. Having thrown the slug(s) across the room (any room, she’s not fussy), she will then provide you all with some evening entertainment as she proceeds to noisily suck all the slug snot off her body in a particularly uncouth manner.
5 You realise it might be time to invest in some little tin hats for the chickens, as the coop is positioned directly beneath a giant oak tree, and a heap of hooligan squirrels take obscene delight in lobbing acorns from a great height. Alternatively, just rename your chickens Chicken Licken, Henny Penny, Turkey Lurkey and Cocky Locky, and live out your very own live version of the children’s classic tale.
6 The apple tree in the garden bears fruit, not that you get the chance to eat any of it as the marauding gang of squirrels snaffle the lot, once they’ve finished using the chickens as target practice that is.
You 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.
You 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.
You 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.
I 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.
So 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
It must be said: there is nothing more alarming than being woken by the sound of a cockerel crowing. In your lounge. Particularly when said cockerel is actually a 6 week old hen. Or so you thought.
Yes, the female dominance in our household was never destined to last. It appears that we have not one but two cockerels amongst our little flock of chickens. Beryl’s crowing took everyone by surprise. It was 6.45am on a Thursday morning when the serene silence was shattered by the most excruciating sound that could only be described as like fingernails being dragged down a blackboard. Bedroom doors flew open and we all congregated, bleary-eyed, round the chicken cage. Again we heard the dreadful noise that seemed to emanate from Beryl, albeit through her closed beak. To be honest, she looked quite shocked herself as she squirted out a runny turd. The rest of the chickens remained motionless, almost as if to say, “Well, this is awkward…”
Over the following few days, Beryl’s crowing increased with alarming intensity. She could be heard randomly from as early as 5.35am *groan* to as late as 8pm at night. Yet with night time temperatures falling to near zero, and the fact that the chucks were only a few weeks old, we had no choice but to keep them in the cage in the lounge. Even the chuffin cat’s initial interest turned to disgust and irritation. A couple of weeks previously, we had changed the brooder lamp bulb from a bright white to an infra-red variety. This had frustrated the chuffin cat, who realised that her chance of a quick poultry snack had now been replaced with ‘slow roast’ chicken – she never was that good with patience. Now her beauty sleep was being interrupted; after all, who wants their afternoon siesta ruined by a noisy pumped-up pile of feathers?
An Instagram follower kindly suggested that we cover the cage at night to keep it dark, which has worked brilliantly so far. Morning routines, of course, have had to be altered accordingly if anybody wants a lie in. It comes to something when you find yourself creeping round the lounge with the stealth of a ninja, just to avoid a slumbering cockerel. In fact, one morning I even resorted to shutting myself in a cupboard just to use the hairdryer. Yes, really. It was like a mini sauna in there by the time I’d finished.
With all this commotion, we realised that Beryl would need a more appropriate name. Beryl is indicative of a small, plump, pottering hen, not a loud, proud, crowing rooster. The name Clive was picked by son no 1, and agreed upon by all.
“Crapping Clive!” shouted son no 3 with glee.
You see, Clive has quite a party trick: he has mastered the art of the projectile turd, to such a degree that he can hit an object over 3 foot away! It might not impress many people, but the boys in our household regard that as a pretty impressive feat.
Hence Beryl has now become known as Crapping Clive, Sir Crapalot, or to give him his full title: Clive Von Craphousen. Clive is quite pleased with his new moniker and will happily come running when you call his name. Then again, he also comes to you when you call “Chicken Pie!”
So I mentioned 2 cockerels. Mavis has undergone something of a transformation: her looks changed very quickly from Justin Bieber to Crusty the Clown.
With a magnificent crest on her head and long powerful thighs, we could no longer deny the fact that Mavis was now to be called Marlon. A most flamboyant boy, he loves to dance around a small disco ball that I decided to hang in the cage as a boredom buster. This has earned him the title Marlon Fandango. It certainly suits him.
In other news, Joyce the Voice has been busy growing a beard. Daphne Dapplebum still likes to stare at the wall, not that she can see much through the profusion of feathers on her head. And Barbara is quickly becoming known as the brains of the flock – she was the first one to work out that flies make a tasty protein snack. Or maybe she was just copying the chuffin cat.
Yes, you read that right. Our male-dominated household just had a big injection of female company, in the name of five frenzied, fuzzy-headed little chicks! To be honest I only wanted 3 hens, but in view of the fact that none of the chicks could be sexed at a week old, I was advised to get a couple extra and then rehome any that grew into cockerels at a later date.
Fast forward 6 months, and I can see myself with a coop containing 5 cockerels. No, scrap that. It will be 5 separate coops, each containing one cockerel. Well I do tend to live my life according to the Law of Sod.
Having lost both of our much-loved hens, Cobweb Gladys and Doris DooDah, by the end of last year, I was crying out for some more chickens. These little downy chicks have brought such fun to the household, especially as they are currently kept under a heat lamp in a wooden brooder in the lounge. My life is now being conducted to a background of constant <peep> <peep> <peep> noises; even when they’re asleep, they seem to emit some kind of sound. And I couldn’t be happier! Neither could Gloria, the chuffin cat, who has named them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. (“Roast chicken? Don’t mind if I do…”)
So *sounds fanfare* please meet:
One of the quieter chicks
Looks disgruntled with an air of surprise
Hobbies: sleeping, eating, running, leapfrog
Most likely to be a boy (Marlon)
Inquisitive but terrified; mad hair
Hobbies: exploring, flying, staring at the wall
Joyce the Voice
The loudest of the chicks
Sounder of intruder/unexpected item alarm
Hobbies: singing, jumping, flapping
Did I mention she sings loudly?
Calm and inquisitive, likes to eyeball you
Hobbies: falling asleep standing up, exploring, cuddling
The baby of the group
Quiet, shy, impossibly cute
Hobbies: sleeping in the foodbowl, washing feet in water bowl
Welcome to the family you little bundles of fuzzy chaos. I predict riotous times ahead.
I used to be one of those annoying people who could drop off to sleep in an instant: any time, any place, anywhere… sometimes when people least expected it (apologies to anybody from my past who was left chattering away to my slumbering, dribbling form – my student years were, at times, a blur…)
This has all changed.
So much so that, whilst lying in bed desperately waiting for sleep to descend, I decided to make a list of all the things that had kept me awake over the course of 1 week.
Yes, believe it or not, these are all true!
The reasons why I can’t sleep:
1 The raucous laughter of an intoxicated duck;
2 The chuffin cat using my stomach as a springboard to practice her double back somersault with half twist (the twist being a claw up my left nostril);
3 Two owls trading insults either side of the bedroom window: “Whooo?” “Yooooo!” “Noooo!” “Yoooooo!” “Yooooo?” “Noooo!”
4 The sensation of desperately needing a wee but realising it’s simply too cold to get out of bed;
5 The same 2 lines of a song going through my head. Playing on repeat. And I can’t for the life of me remember any more of the song. Despite the fact that I was merrily singing along to the entire song just a few hours ago;
6 Mr and Mrs Fox having a very public domestic dispute;
7 The shadow on the window that resembles an axe murderer hiding behind the curtain;
8 The sound of the chuffin cat pouncing on her squeaky turkey at random intervals;
9 The fact that the weatherman has forecast “a chance of wintry precipitation” so I have to keep sneaking a peek through the curtains to see if it’s snowing yet;
10 The Police helicopter hovering 2 foot above my house (clearly looking for the axe murderer behind the curtain).
1 Remove the cat from the tree.
2 Unplug the fairy lights.
3 Explain to the cat (for the umpteenth time) that the wiring on the fairy lights is not to be used as dental floss.
4. Unwrap the wiring from the cat’s teeth.
5. Fetch the bag for the baubles. Remove the cat from the bag.
6. Look for the baubles on the tree. Note that there aren’t many left. Observe how the top half of the tree is still decorated whilst the lower half is completely bald (save for the odd mangled, half-chewed chocolate wrapper). Glare at the cat who is nonchalantly polishing her claws underneath the tree.
7. Remove the cat from the tree.
8. Pluck a bauble off the tree. Drop the bauble on the floor as the cat pounces at your hand.
9. Retrieve a plaster and stick it on your bleeding finger.
10. Chase the cat who is chasing the bauble round the lounge.
11. Retrieve the bauble from the cat and place it in the bag.
12. Remove the cat from the bag.
13. Remove the cat from the tree.
14. Collect the remaining baubles from the tree, repeating steps 7-13 until all the baubles are safely deposited in the bag.
15. Nip to the chemist to stock up on plasters.
16. Remove the cat from the tree.
17. Take hold of the fairy lights and gently unwind them from the tree branches.
18. Remove the fairy lights from the cat’s mouth.
19. Remove the cat from the tree.
20. Replace the plasters on your fingers.
21. Keep unwinding the fairy lights from the tree branches.
22. Unwrap the fairy lights from the cat’s neck.
23. Remove the cat’s claws from the wiring on the fairy lights and stick another plaster on your bleeding hands.
24. Lay the lights across the floor as you remove them from the tree.
25. Remove the cat from the tree.
26. Remove the cat from the lights.
27. Run round in circles as you try to wind the fairy lights into a ball before the cat can throttle herself again.
28. Find the box for the lights. Remove the cat from the box and place the lights in it.
29. Take the tree down one segment at a time and place each segment in a large bag. Place any broken branches in the bags too, with the intention of reattaching them next Christmas… knowing full well that you will never get round to reattaching them.
30. Pour yourself a large drink and dress your wounds whilst watching the cat sulk in the corner.