Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Automatic Chicken Detector

Scoop and Au in bed
I snuck into the kitchen this morning, rescued the leftover chicken from the box in the fridge, and started putting the meaty in the pot to make stock for soup. But it was no use. Scoop appeared out of nowhere and with a loud MRAUF! demanded I hand over "his" chicken.

As I started stripping the minescule meat remains from the bones for him, I wondered how it is that he always knows what's happening in the kitchen. When I started he wasn't in the house, he was across the street visiting a neighbour he likes. So how did he know what I was up to? I'm convinced he's got some sort of inbuilt chicken detector.

Anyway, having made sure the bones were picked clean properly and there was no more left for cats to claim, old fuzzy retired to bed for a nap.

Here he is, joined by his colleague, Au. Aren't they sweet?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cat In A Snit

Au is in a snit, and it's all our fault.

Although it's Sunday we all woke up before dawn. When Tom got up just before 7, the cats scampered downstairs with him, and I decided it was a good time to go to the wet market.

Usually Scoop and Au love wet market days. They wait for me to come home, and then dive into the bags to see if I've brought home anything nice for cats to eat. But this morning they herded me into the kitchen, meowing away, and falling over themselves in order to tell me some shocking news: Tom had not fed them breakfast.

Both Scoop and Au pantomimed they were starting, so I rushed to open up a pack of the gourmet foil food, and put it down for them. Au took a look at his bowl, shot a filthy look and me, and marched out.

In the rush to serve their breakfast, I picked up the wrong packet of cat food. Instead of the sardine Snappy Tom they love I picked up pilchard they don't like. Au has decided this breakfast fiasco is a pointed insult. He's sitting outside on the wall, and it’s very clear he's Not Speaking.

Cats! They can be so darn touchy!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Town and Country

A new Logomania column has appeared in today's Star: Town and country
Ever been sent to Coventry or shanghaied? English is rich with expressions featuring towns and countries, writes ELLEN WHYTE.

Comments, castigation, invective, exegesis, raves, and plaudits all appreciated!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Conspicuous By His Absence

Au trying to clean off that spot
Au crawled under a car last week and picked up an oily spot on his shoulder. With the rapid response rate of a professional salesman, our neighbour handed over the new shampoo he has devised to test out on our junior fuzzy. Since then Au has been conspicuous by his absence on sunny mornings. But we'll catch him. And we'll post him having his bath right here on this spot!

PS Here's Au trying to clean off that spot.
PPS Katz Tales will be in the print edition of the Star Weekend section this Saturday!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cat Talk

While reading about bonobos and parrots communicating is interesting, it's a wonder that scientists haven't tried to analyse cat talk. I'll bet it is among the most developed systems in the world.

Dutch speaking cats say miauw, English speaking cats say meow, Spanish speaking cats say miau, and Scoop says, mrf when he's half asleep, rau or rauf when he's happy, meOW when he's impatient, mauf when he's got his mouth full, mrauf when he's enjoying what he’s eating, and woof or whoof when he's tired or he's being picked up. In addition he hisses, growls, and yowls when the occasion demands it.

Au has a much higher voice, and tends to talk in sentences. He sounds a little Cantonese when he speaks. You know, with a maaaah sound in varying tones that can take on a variety of meanings from I have run out of biscuits (highpitched) to please stop typing and come and play with me (abrupt and usually accompanied by a paw on the foot).

Scoop and Au have quite different communication styles, but we understand them without a problem, and they seem to understand each other perfectly well too. Wonder if this is a worthy PhD project for someone?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Barefaced Liar

Au looking innocent
Au is a barefaced liar, a shameless con artist who can out-lie a politician. He's also terribly pleased with himself. He's lounging around outside on the wall, paws draped comfortably over an ever increasing tummy. The tummy is ever increasing because of the aforementioned swindle skills.

We have a rule: Au is allowed a small piece of local cooked ham every evening at 8PM and 9PM. If we're all in, up and awake at 10PM, he gets another piece. Au often manages to push the time forward bit by bit so he can get a treat at 7.30PM, 815PM etc. He's also excellent at pretending he's hungry so we have to keep tabs on who gives him what when. Usually we're reasonably good at keeping track but last night he got us out beautifully.

Au hit me up at 7PM for a piece. I was busy in the kitchen, felt guilty because I’d been out all day interviewing, and handed him a bit. At 715PM I told Tom what I’d done and Tom started laughing. He’d done to make a coffee a minute before and Au had persuaded him into opening up the fridge as well.

That was bad enough but then, two seconds later, when I went to check the potatoes, Au marched into the kitchen and asked for more!

I told him he'd been caught out and gave him a lecture on the value of honesty but he just grinned. Running rings around us is part of his job description, his smile implied, and if we are too stupid to figure it out, he gets what he deserves – ham!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sacked Out

Scoop is completely kitty collapso, dead to the world, determined not to open an eye-lid. He's stuffed to the gills with chicken tandoori.

We ran out of chicken liver late yesterday afternoon, and Scoop had to make do with biscuits - not a happy situation! So when we went out for a drink (at Kusar Cabana, a great place at 37 Jalan SS15/4E Subang Jaya 47500) we went home via the Indian curry house and picked up a load of tandoori.

When he saw what we had brought home, Scoop's sulks vanished. He stuffed his face, washed his whiskers and collapsed.

twelve hours later he still has curry breath but he's happy. All he's saying is MAUF!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Old Kitty

Au on the stairs
Anonymous (hi anon!) asked about cat ages, and oddly enough our local pharmacist was asking the same yesterday.

In Malaysia so many cats don't get their shots or proper food and therefore die aged 2 or 3 years old. Here many people think a cat aged 4 is "ancient".

However, properly looked after and inoculated, pet cats can live till 15 or 16 years old. They are considered in their prime at about 6, and "getting on a bit" when they are 8, 9 and 10. After 10 they are "old-ish" and after 12 "old".

BUT cat owners tend to put their pets onto cat food specially formulated for older or senior cats when they are 9 or 10.

So at a rough guess I would say: when a cat is 6 he is about 45, when he's 10 he's 60, and when he's 15 he's 90.

Scoop is now about 12 years old and Au is 7. Scoop should eat senior cat food but he hates it and won't. If I put it in his bowl, he steals from Au or from the girls in the back lane. I have given in and am boosting his immune system with garlic, vitamin C and folic acid. (Scoop's vet believes in holistic treatments and is really clued in on this sort of stuff)

Two good places for elderly cat care tips are caring for geriatric cats and Aging Cats.

PS I missed the Star yesterday. Was there a Katz Tales printed?

PPS Here is Au lying on the stairs and looking grumpy because I woke him up.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Boxing clever

The Star has published Logomania: Boxing clever, an article that looks at some boxing expressions in English.

Feedback gratefully received!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Scoop Finds His Niche

Scoop in his drawer
Scoop has appropriated the spare bedroom as his own. He also has his circular stool downstairs, a towel on his outpost in front of the bedroom window, his pick of sofa seats etc. So what does old fuzzy do? He spies an old drawer we are about to throw out in the utility room, and decides this is his favourite spot.

There's no understanding cats!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Political Cat Wanted

There may be a job vacancy coming up in the UK House of Parliament. Apparently mice are taking over the canteen, the bar, and even Commons Chamber. Tony Blair has so far resisted hiring a cat, but as the crisis deepens he will no doubt change his mind, stand on a chair and scream for help.

Read all about the problem here: No cat to fight Commons mouse infestation

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Watch Out!

Our neighbour, a chemist extraordinaire, is developing a cat shampoo for a client.

Having formulated several “flavours”, he leant over the wall yesterday afternoon to ask if he test new products on Scoop and Au.

As our fuzzies have only just had their semi annual baths, I had to decline. I’ve told him that unless they fall into a storm drain, or manage to coat their coats in car oil, there’s no prospect of a bath until Chinese New Year.

I’ve warned Scoop not to wander too near the storm drain when our neighbour is about!

PS sorry it took so long between posts. Blogger.com seemed to be down!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sad Start

Scoop in Bed
The little black cat passed away last night, probably killed by one of the older cats down the lane. I also found another small body of a kitten I’ve never seen before. A sad start to the day.

Good news is that Scoop and Au are fine. Here is Scoop, fast asleep in bed!