Sunday, July 30, 2006

Back On Track

Scoop wore his lamp shade for a week, and we thought it was having no effect. His face was still sore, and his temper was worse. Every time poor old fuzzy woke up he would panic as he had lost his peripheral vision; also, he was itchy all over. Scoop was really down.

When he went for his checkup on Thursday, the vet recommended some more medicine (at RM7.50 or about US$2 a tablet, Scoop is now officially an expensive kitty!), a new ointment and another fortnight in plastic.

We OK'd the medicine but decided that the lamp shade was too much and took it off. It's not easy to go against medical advice and usually not recommended but guess what? Scoop is a lot better! His face is clearing up and we're crossing fingers he'll be handsome again in a month's time.

Minus lamp shade Scoop is back to his old self. He's cheerfully belting Au over the head, ambushing us when we walk past his chair and diving back into his social life with real verve.

All in all it's been a terrible fortnight. Not just Scoop's illness but also my PC broke down on Tuesday (hence the long silence). Now I've got my PC back and Scoop has his life back we're both back on track.

It's great stuff.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Perfect Mate

Lunch with a pal last week turned into a discussion about life, love and loneliness. As he has a nice house with a garden, and is at home quite a bit, I suggested he give a home to a stray - or preferably two!

The discusion quickly turned to the merits of cats versus dogs. A non-animal lover who was no doubt bored witless by my enthusiasm, my pal cut me short after a generous ten minutes by saying,

"I value independence, loyalty, intelligence, and hard work. I want a companion who can look after themselves if I'm busy but who isn't standoffish when I'm in the mood to play games. I also like beauty and I think family are important so it will have to be a pedigree of some kind. But I can't figure it out, should I get a dog for it's loyalty and capacity to work or a cat because of it's independence and brains?"

Stunned by this catalogue I answered before engaging my brain, "No wonder you're single!" I gasped. He bought me lunch, but I don't think he's forgiven me.

PS the picture is Haurvatat or Khordad, the personification of perfection according to Persian mythology. This image is courtesy of Hannah M.G. Shapero whose scholarly specialty is the ancient and still-living religion of ZOROASTRIANISM.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fellow Suffering

Scoop's manipulative nature is killing me. Knowing we feel so bad for him at the moment, he is bullying us for chin scratches and tummy rubs all day and all night, plus he's worked his way through 250g of steak in 24 hours.

That's OK but his night time rambling is not. Having been woken up at midnight, 2AM, 4AM,and 5AM I feel as though I'm reeling with jet lag. While I'm finishing off commissions and hoping to sneak out to the gym for a half hour, old fuzzy is enjoying a fine snooze on the sofa.

No doubt he's recruiting his strength for another night of mayhem.

That's cats for you!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lampshade On

Scoop wearing a hat
Scoop has a sore face, and to keep him from scratching, he has to wear a lampshade for a week or so.

Neither Scoop nor Au wear a collar, so the idea of having one fitted with an extension wasn't very popular. When I put it on yesterday afternoon, poor old fuzzy walked backwards for a few minutes, trying to get rid of it, and then realised it was no good. The look he gave me was terrible.

I showed him how to keep his head up while negotiating stairs, his favourite chair and other obstacles, and within half an hour Scoop was walking around without a problem. He's still not happy but the scars on his face need to heal and this is the only way to keep his paws off them.

I'm staying at home for a week, brushing him 5 or 6 times a day and feeding him bowls of roast chicken. Fingers crossed he gets better soon!

Another instalment of Katz Tales will be published in the Malaysian national daily The Star in the Weekend section tomorrow.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Itchy Scratchy

Au cleaning up after a nice roll
It's been so hot the last week or so that all of us are wilting. The human people are constantly popping into the shower in vain attempts to cool off, and the cat people are sitting directly under fans, and drinking glass after glass of water.

Brushing Scoop who was flat out in front of the fan yesterday I saw spots of dirt on his tummy and immediately thought he had fleas. Luckily for him I checked before chucking him into a bowl of soapy water! It turned out to be plain old dirt fromt he garden.

But when Au came home this morning covered in earth too, I realised Scoop and Au are practicing an alternative cooling technique. Watching Scoop march out I got to see it for myself.

The trick is to turn over the thick soil under the plants at the end of the garden until you find a nice cool layer of earth. Then you spread this evenly over the ground, throw yourself on top and roll until the cool earth is all through your coat.

Neither Scoop nor Au seems to mind that it takes ages to clean off the dirt afterwards, so I suppose the cooling off method does work - or at least have some psychological value. Might go for a roll myself come sundown!

PS the picture above is Au cleaning up after a nice roll.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fat Cat

Yesterday Scoop sighed over his chicken liver, munched moodily on his cat biscuits, and generally grumbled about falling standards. So when I woke up at 7 this morning and decided to go to the wet market, old fuzzy was happy to push me out of the front door. He may never have set eyes on the place, but he knows it's where all good things come from.

On my return, old fuzzy stuck his nose into the groceries, unerringly passing by the tomatoes and spring onions, and aiming straight for the RM2 worth of chicken livers and the whole chicken sitting snugly in the bag beside them.

You can drench a chicken in paprika, stuff it with onions and fresh tarragon and surround it with potatoes if you like, Scoop doesn't care as long as he gets his paws on what his considers his fair share of the roast: a generous helping of breast with small slices of juicy leg meat.

Of course Scoop always gets what he wants. Having gulped down a huge bowl of meat, he is now lying on the sofa, leisurely licking his whiskers and chatting to Au with satisfied mewaufs that indicate dinner was excellent.

From the look of satisfaction on his face it's clear he's anticipating leftovers for supper, breakfast and lunch. It’s a cat's life!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No Worries!

AU fast asleep in bed
Cats can beat up the dog next door, have a few rounds of fisty-cuffs with a rival tomcat, admonish their human personal servant over the size and quality of the evening meal and then, when the entire neighbourhood is quivering with resentment, fall gently asleep on the best part of the sofa.

Cats never let anything get in between them and a good snooze. They know that worrying won't alter facts and that exhaustion merely adds to tension. You will never see a cat toss and turn, nor will you see a cat trying to stumble through the day yawning and rubbing their eyes, punchdrunk with lack of sleep.

I can't remember the time I slept through the night. Tossing and turning because my stupid brain won't shut up has become routine.

Looking at Scoop and Au I've decided I'm going to follow their example. No more worrying about what happened today or what may come tomorrow. I'm going to get a good night sleep and let tomorrow come as it will.

PS The picture is of Au taking a snooze in bed.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mouse Guy Caught

Rattus Norvegicus taken by Esmeralda Took
After four days of patient waiting, Scoop caught our mouse guy creeping from the roof and into the bathroom where the night time bowl of cat biscuits is kept.

As Scoop was taking his victim outside, I saw its poor frightened face, eyes bulging with terror at the thought of being mauled to death by this huge monster. I grabbed old fuzzy, and told him to drop.

Scoop was fuming but he dropped the mouse and growled threats as it scurried off into the bushes at the end of the garden. I hope it's had the sense to go through the drain and into the banana plantation at the end of the road because if it sets a paw in this house again, Scoop will have him for breakfast.

PS The Rattus Norvegicus picture was provided by Liftarn who puts his pics on Wikicommons.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hot Summer Days

Scoop and Au keeping their cool
It's boiling hot, it hasn't rained for a week and both fuzzies are sweating in their fur coats. Being smart cats, Scoop and Au have figured out where all the best cool spots are in the house. Calculating sun exposure, fan settings and breeze factors, they figure out the best way to keep cool is to spend the morning on the downstairs sofa (see pic), the afternoon in our bedroom and the evening on the front doorstep.

I'm spending my days trapped in the office which is cool in the morning but like a sauna in the afternoon. I would love to bunk off and spend the day at the pool but there are cat biscuits to be earned. Wish I could be a cat!

PS Want to read more about cats? A full Katz Tales column will be published in this Saturday's Weekend section of The Star.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

On Strike

Qwill in bed
There was a rat dancing on the top of the toilet tank this morning. It waved its tail at me in the most cheeky manner, took a casual look around, and then went to sit behind the tank.

I dived straight into the bedroom and woke up Au. "There's a rat in the bathroom," I said shaking his shoulder. Instead of leaping into action, Au yawned and rolled over. Thinking he hadn't heard me I told him again but Au merely shut his eyes tight, put a paw over his face and dozed off again. He had been out all night and he was exhausted, his posture implied.

Determined to show him his duty, I picked Au up, and pointed to the intruder's hiding place. Au sniffed, looked at me as though I was barking and went back to bed. As Scoop had gone out for an early morning walk and was nowhere to be found there was only one thing to do: I had a shower with the rat in situ.

Cats might be among nature's top predators, but one thing's for sure: putting a sleepy cat to work is a sheer impossibility.

Note: The sleepy cat in bed is Qwill who lives in Madrid with my mum, Norma