Monday, 4 February 2013

Friday, 1 February 2013

Wake up swiping

What’s this I see,
before my eyes,
a skinny mouse,
to my surprise.
It moves so quick
- swipe, swipe, bite -
back and forth,
to my delight!

Swishing past belly,
and over my head,

This slim, bold mouse,
makes me roll on my bed.

I can't say it looks
like other meeces,
it's shiny and white;

hides in duvet creases.

It's one long tail,
no hint of a body,
as meece designs go,
it's ever so shoddy.

I never quite catch it,
it just disappears,
then later I see;
it's in daddy's ears!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Did he watch?

As you lay before me,
wrapped in blankets, still warm,
did you watch me approach,

your lifeless young form.

Did you watch me reach out,
to tickle your chin;
hope you lifted your head,
but you kept it tucked in.

Did you watch me attempt,
a last belly rub,

with no response;
a silent snub.

Did you watch me try,
the tips of your ears,
for a flick of annoyance,
to show you're still here.

Did you watch me accept,
with a long, lonely sigh,
that you were long gone,
and I must say goodbye.

Did you watch as I sadly,
stroked your side,
Kissed the top of your head,
and could not decide:
At what point was it?
Where was I at?
When I got so attached,
to a tiny, black cat?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Things I'm Missing

A friend asked me if I'd consider getting another cat soon. I've thought about it, but don't know if I'd want to replace Bruce so quickly (sounds like the end of a relationship!). The other thing is, Bruce was so odd that I'm not so sure I'd want another cat: it wouldn't be the same.

Here are some things I'm missing without having my little mate around:

-Having his jump through the window at 3am, hop onto my bed, and walk all over me (including my head!), purring and demanding attention.

-Having him wandering around the house, chatting away to no-one in particular.

-Being woken to the sound of crunching at 4am, when he came in for a late night snack.

-His exaggerated stretches after a sleep: both front paws first, then right hind leg (quick shake), left hind leg (quick shake).

-His little 'happy dance', when he felt content, on cushions:

-Pouncing on my feet when they were under the duvet, apparently believing them to be  mice. He'd be shown that they were, in fact, feet and he'd look like he understood.
As soon as they were covered by the duvet again, he'd go back to thinking they were mice.

-Finding him lying in the most awkward places i.e across doorways, without any concern that someone might trip over him.

-Walking back and forth across my legs, while I was on the way to feed him, nearly causing me to fall over several times.

-When he was really happy, after getting lots of attention, he used to sit on me, close his eyes, and dribble to show his approval.

-The fact that he was so docile, and just accepted all situations: if you found him sleeping somewhere he shouldn't be, and moved him, he'd dangle in your arms, looking a bit forlorn.
He'd never struggle or squirm, he'd just be happy with wherever he was plonked!

-No matter how deep a sleep he was in, you could always wake him with a swish of ipod headphones, and he'd start attacking them straight away.

-The warm patches he'd leave wherever he'd been sleeping ('free' electric blanket!)

-Always cleaning his paws straight after eating: maybe he just wanted them to smell of food later?

-Watching him eat wasps. He never looked like he was enjoying it (who would?), but still ate them anyway.

-Watching him get stuck at the top of things, and trying to figure out how to get back down.

-His 'please let me in' miaow.

-Having him fall asleep on me when it wasn't convenient i.e when I was working, or had to go out, then not being able to move as I felt guilty, because he was comfortable! (I'm sure he knew this, the little sod...)

-Having a cold nose stuck in my ear at some silly hour of the night.

-When you opened a door, to let him out, he would reach up with his front paws, as if trying to grab the handle to do it himself.

-The fact that he often left his tongue poking out after he miaowed.

-Always trying to clean me, as if I didn't smell catty enough for him.

-Not minding being used as a pillow sometimes!

-Rolling over to show his belly - paws tucked in - when I walked in to where he was sleeping: 'yes, you may give me attention now'.

That's quite a list for something that only weighed four kilos.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Catty Heaven

I can't claim to be particularly religious, and bound by the idea of heaven and hell, but it would be nice to think that Bruce - and any other cats that have 'moved on' - has gone somewhere like this:

Catty Heaven

In catty-heaven
There are no roads;
Just lots of frogs,
And fattened toads.

There’s bees and flies,
With which to play;
On endless warm,
And sunny days.

There’s window sills
That go for miles,
To bask in rays;
Stretch out, in style.

There’s Magpies a-plenty
And if they tease,
We have the power,
To make them freeze!

There’s hoards of mice,
that scamper and scurry;
Huge supplies,
No need to worry.

There’s endless rows
Of trees to climb;
we float back down
In our own time.

There’s lots of happy
Catty friends,
And no-one has
Space to defend.

There’s scratching posts,
That never wear down,
And your favourite spot,
Can always be found.

There’s soft, warm beds,
On which to sleep,
and fresh laundry,
in comfy heaps.

And while you nap,
Hands come from on high,
To tickle your belly
As you purr in reply.

There’s mountains of biscuits,
And fresh lamb in gravy;
by your side, when you wake,
So you can be lazy.

The water is fresh,
and wonderfully cold,
full to the top,
With your name on the bowl.

You can dribble and purr,
To your heart's content,
and there’s chair legs galore,
To rub with your scent.

No sheds or out-buildings
in which to get trapped,
and every nose-nudge,
elicits one back.

Nothing eludes us,
New power to paws,
We can stretch and reach up,
To open closed doors.

We can clean, we can preen,
Once sated, well fed,
Our tongues now stretch out,
to the top of our heads.

When we’ve finished our grooming,
And all work is done,
we can trot off outside,
And chase wasps in the sun….

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lovable Clutz

Before I got Bruce I thought that all cats were graceful, elegant, made things look effortless.
Bruce was anything but. In fact, bless him, he was positively graceless!

To look at him, you would've thought otherwise: he was slim, streamlined - with a tiny angular face - and had incredibly long legs. His back legs were particularly long... but also bandy; he always looked awkward when standing.

The first time I became aware he was clumsy was when he fell asleep on top of a radiator cover, with one back leg hanging down slightly. Slowly but surely, that leg hung down more, followed by his other back leg, then his bum, then the rest of him; with an inelegant 'flump'.
He didn't learn from this and did it on many other occasions.

Above this radiator cover was a big window. Bruce would spend hours trying to catch individual raindrops, and flying insects, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were on the other side of the glass.
One time, he saw a bee at the window and ran at it, headfirst, bouncing off and wondering where it had gone!

One of his favourite tricks was to run, vertically, up the lounge door (about seven feet off the floor), get to the top - which was barely wide enough to contain all his paws - then miaow, with distress, to get down. However, if you went to help him he'd paw your hand away (never with his claws out, just gently). He'd stay on top of the door for up to 20 minutes, looking confused and wobbling, then leap, with uncertainty, onto the sofa.

He made quite a habit of getting stuck on high things. The first time he went into my parents' garden, when I had to move home, he jumped onto the fence... then fell straight over into next door's garden.
My parents have a big wooden arbour, also in the garden: he'd regularly run straight up it, get to the top, and miaow for ages to be let down, lost in the plants up there:

Between my bedroom wall and next door's fence is a little alleyway, full of brambles and odds and sods. Somehow, Bruce got stuck on the fence down that alleyway, right outside my window. I could hear his little 'let me down please' miaow. I opened the window outwards to help him, and the idiot stood on top of it! If I kept it open he'd be stuck on it, if I pulled it down he'd slide off into the brambles.

In the end I had to grab him near his back legs and haul him backwards, upside down, then under the window, just to get him into my room.
He miaowed, licked his front paw, then wandered off!

Not only could he not balance on high things, he was rubbish at jumping onto things and judging distances. Many a time he would jump up towards something and fall back down again! I used to feed him in my bathroom (as it was nearest the window where he came in).
I spooned his food into his bowl, in the sink so that he couldn't get to it before I was finished.
He would jump onto the toilet lid to see what was going on. He would then try to make the leap between the toilet and the sink. Not once did he manage it!

On one occasion he made the leap, missed the sink and fell into my bin: the silly sod!

To get into the house he'd have to jump through a window, but it was too high up for him to get to in one go. Instead, I set up a couple of steps for him to reach it: an upturned plant pot, then an old wheelie bin. The window opened out at about a 45 degree angle, pointing downwards. It had to be open to its furthest extent. I found this out when I was in my bathroom, heard him jump, heard a 'bonk', followed by a frustrated miaow. The plonker had jumped up, misjudged the angle of the window, hit the underside, and bounced back down to the floor. He was uninjured - only wounded pride - and he made it at the second attempt.

Finally, a nod to the first time he was ever let outdoors. Sal and I (at my old flat), worriedly let him out, and watched as he nosed around the garden; fascinated by everything. We stayed in the garden to reassure him, so he knew where we were and where to come back to.
We had some friends round for a Sunday lunch and drinks. After Bruce had been out four hours we were a bit concerned. When that became five hours we were really worried: it had now started raining too. The four of us had to go out, calling Bruce in the surrounding roads, with my friend Chris and I jangling a fluffy pink cat toy: how manly we looked...
We looked under cars, in gardens, I think we knocked on a few doors. After a couple of hours we heard a faint miaow, in the alleyway directly behind our garden.
Across that alleyway (so all of one yard from our garden) was another garden. We peered over into it. The owners of the attached house, saw us doing this from their kitchen. The husband came out and asked if we were okay, and we explained that we'd lost our cat.
We all heard the miaow again. He looked around until he heard another miaow, then headed to the fence next to which we stood.

'Is your cat black and white?' he asked.

'Yes' I replied.
'...he's here, sheltering under a bush'

With that he bent down, picked Bruce up and handed him, awakwardly, to us. Before we could grab him properly, he panicked, jumped over Chris' shoulder, up and over the fence to our garden... and into Sal's arms, as she was waiting there for him.
The daft creature had been stuck all of a yard away from his home, without realising it!

He was such a lovable idiot :)

Monday, 21 January 2013

Bruce Vs Tree

You know you love a pet when you'll let it destroy the one thing you've wanted for ages....and instantly forgive them.

Growing up in a Jewish household, I'd never had a Christmas tree ... but had always wanted one. They're bright, they signal a happy time of year, and they have presents underneath: what's not to like?
Moving in with my partner-at-time changed all that. She's from a Christian background and, although not overly religious, absolutely loves Christmas.
So, it was with great joy that - at the start of our first December in the flat - we bought a B & Q fake christmas tree: sparkly white, plus we covered it in blue flashing lights and about 50 baubles. We didn't want a real tree as the needles would drop everywhere, and I couldn't be bothered to spend December hoovering.
The fake tree was a bit of a pain to put up as it came in (seemingly) hundreds of different sections, but it looked great when it was complete.

It was only a week later when, having made up our minds at the cat rescue centre, we brought Bruce home. He was very confused, coming into a new home, and spent most of the first 48 hours hiding behind a sofa. I'd formed the opinion that maybe he was just timid.
How very wrong I was.

About four days after arriving in the flat, Bruce discovered the Christmas tree. He'd sit in front of it, tail swishing, marvelling at what he saw as a giant cat toy.
He'd finally single out one of the 50 baubles and start swatting it with his paw: at first, tentatively, then with more gusto, when it didn't respond. He would do this until it fell off, then bat it round the room. After a while, I'd get up, take the bauble off him, and say 'no Brucey', before hanging it back on the tree. He'd look at me, wide eyed, as if he might understand... then pick another bauble.
This was all mildly amusing, while watching the TV. It was less amusing between the hours of 1am - 3am. The pattern was: I'd hear a faint tinkling, in the lounge, then a bouncing sound as a bauble dropped. Then 'clonk', at 20 second intervals, as Bruce played his own version of football. I'd get out of bed, find him running after the bauble, and pick it up. He'd look at me expectantly, thinking I was ready to play, with no concept of 'I have to get up for work in a few hours'. When I took the bauble away, he'd look disappointed. Within 10 minutes he'd be playing with another one.

I soon put a stop to this, and the lounge door was keep shut at night, so that Bruce couldn't access the tree, and Sal and I could sleep. Unfortunately, this left Bruce with less space, increased his boredom, and meant that he started finding pens, around the flat, and chasing them up and down the hallway.

As a happy medium, it was decided that Bruce could have access to the lounge  - and therefore the tree - during the day (he was still an 'indoor cat' at this point), and play with the baubles to his heart's content. It seemed like a great idea.
The first day that he was allowed to do this I came home, full of Christmas spirit, walked through the front door, into the lounge, to be faced with... utter carnage!
The tree was scattered, in bits, across the whole room. When I say 'the whole room' I mean in every single corner. So total was the destruction, that it looked like there were now more parts to the tree than when it was put up. There had been a complete bauble massacre too. I think five were left attached to the tree. The rest were under the sofa, behind the TV, in the hall etc.
In the middle of this mess, looking a bit bored, sat Bruce. I looked at him. He weighed about 2 kilos at this point. How had he destoyed a whole Christmas tree?
I put my hand to my forehead, sighed, and said 'oh Bruce'. He responded with his 'hi' miaow, then started rubbing against my legs for some attention. Only a cat would try this...
I smiled, shook my head, and stroked his head. This is what I mean: instantly forgiven.

I decided, with Sal, to put the tree back up again. For some reason, I don't think we thought he could do the same thing twice.

He did do the same thing twice.... the very next day.

I have a picture of the Christmas tree, just after Bruce destroyed it, somewhere. Can't find it at the moment so, for now.....