Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lizard Visitor

Scoop came in with a big lizard this morning. He carried it in, dumped it on his rug, and lay down comfortably to take a closer look at it. Luckily the lizard was unhurt, and had the sense not to move.

lizard in the grassI gave old fuzzy a bit of leftover lamb to distract him, and took the lizard to a quiet spot in the garden where he can recover himself and make a quiet exit.

Here he is, practically invisible in the bushes. While he looks small, he measures some 10 cm from nose to tailbone, and has a tail some extra 15 cm long to boot.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Holiday in Batu Caves

I've just realised that The Star (Malaysia) published my Batu Caves article yesterday, and there is an online version too... with pics!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Monsoon Drain Kitty

kittens in a beer box
One of the stray girls in the back lane has decided our back door is the best place to keep her kittens. We’ve given her a Tiger Beer box, extra rations, and have half closed the outer screen door so that the new brood don’t get wet when it rains.

This black girl is a sensible sort. She’s decided that we’re good people, and always allows us to pat her. I've picked her up a few times and helped her with some small problems (like a sore patch on her paw, or the occasional split claw) and she has never scratched me.

Now she's a Mum, we’re allowed to change the Tiger Beer box every second day, and admire her kittens briefly. Sweet as the black girl is, she is a Monsoon Drain Kitty at heart, so we don't dare admire too much in case she gets worried and moves her babies.

If they survive, we’ll be looking for homes in 6 weeks time!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Cat Formerly Known For His Dirty Face

The Cat With The Dirty Face is back but this time his face is clean. As such, he’s now been re-christened The Cat Formerly Known For His Dirty Face.

We’ve seen him pop in and out of a house down the street, but this kitty doesn’t seem to have much of a home life. He’s constantly starving and breaks into our house in the middle of the night to raid the cat biscuit bowl.

After much persuasion and enticement, The Cat Formerly Known For His Dirty Face was moved to the back lane where he can chat the stray girls who live there, and eat biscuits at our back door twice a day.

He’s been coming round off and on for some weeks, but it’s taken him ages to realize that feeding times are 830AM and 430PM. For the last week now he’s turned up on time, and eaten his fill, so we hope he’ll stick to the routine. Comparing how he was a few months ago to today, it’s clear he’s already looking a lot better!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Fuzzy Terminator

Au and his mouse
Au is in the Weekend section of the Star today (print version only) showing off a captured mouse. Our fuzzy terminator is currently lolling around on the sofa, cleaning his claws, and making plans for the day.

His colleague Scoop has decided one of my plant pots is the best place to snooze the morning away. As my marjoram seedlings died weeks ago, I don’t really mind – except that Scoop’s feet, tummy and chin are covered in bits of soil which he cheerfully dumps on the living room floor when he comes in! But that’s cats for you…

Have a good weekend everyone.

PS To win the Purina Cat Gift Basket, please send your pics to the Star:

Katz Tales
Star Publications
Menara Star
15 Jalan 16/11
Petaling Jaya 46350

Alternatively, email weekend@thestar.com.my. Please keep image sizes to a reasonable size so that the inbox isn't maxed out.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It’s The Cat’s Meow

There’s a new Logomania article out in The Star today:

It’s the cat’s meow
Love them or loathe them, says Ellen Whyte, cats have put their pawprint on the English language, enriching it with some colourful images.

Au reading the StarFor the conspiracy theorists out there (Hi Kumar! Hi Sara!) yes, it's true. This continuous cat article publication is all part of a secret plan to create a new generation of cat lovers.

Here is a picture of Au reading the Star. As you can see he's a stern critic.

PS: Logomania is a newish column that discusses the meaning and uses of words and phrases, all linked by a central theme (e.g. lunacy, cats, Greek etc). Light-hearted and easy to read, Logomania helps readers who speak English as a second language to improve their word power easily.

I’m syndicating this column with the help of Planet Syndication. Rights for Malaysia and Lesotho have been sold. Interested parties for other countries can contact me via email.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Stiff Necked Cat

Au on the sofa
When Au settles on the sofa at night, he often props up his head on the cushions. If there’s laundry or a book on the bed, he’ll use that as an impromptu pillow. Alternatively, he slips a few paws under his chin.

I can understand why he wants head support – after all, I don’t sleep well without a pillow. But what is odd is that he can sit for hours with his head sticking out at an odd angle, even sleep for the night in a weird position, and never show the slightest sign of a stiff neck.

What I want to know is: how does he do it?

PS: This is a pic of Au sitting on the sofa last night. Tell me honestly, does he look comfortable to you?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Narasimha: Cat God Incarnation

On a trip to Batu Caves outside Kuala Lumpur this week, I saw a statue of Narasimha, a cat headed god. Here he is, complete with claws and fuzzy face.

A bit of online reading revealed Narasimha was the fourth incarnation the Hindu god Lord Vishnu.

During this lifetime, Vishnu/Narasimha confronted Hiranyakashipu, king of the Asuras, a super-human race of beings who lived in the underworld, emerging every now and again to plague mankind and fight with the gods.

Being a sneaky character, Hiranyakashipu acquired magical protection from death.

Hiranyakashipu could not die from natural causes and weapons; expire on land, in space, in fire, or in water; pass over during the day or at night; kick the bucket inside or outside his home, and couldn’t be dispatched by humans, gods, or animals.

Vishnu/Narasimha got round all of these strictures by turning himself into a half god half animal that was neither one nor the other, catching his enemy on teh threshold of his home at twilight, putting him on his lap, and clawing him with his talons!

Scoop loved the story when I told him – or perhaps it was just the petting he was enjoying. Au just yawned. He’s been out supervising our neighbour’s builder’s all morning and is falling asleep on his paws.

Check out more about Vishnu/ Narasimha and Hiranyakashipu with the help of these links: Indolink, Wikipedia's Hiranyakashipu, and Encyclopedia Mythica: Hindu mythology

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Noisy Nasty Neighbours

Scoop is fast asleep in the back seat of the Beetle; he hopped in when I came back from my Saturday Roti Canni breakfast at the local coffeeshop, and lay down with a look that said, "I'm comfy and I'm staying." I've given in, asking only that he keeps shadding fur today to a minimum as it's hell to hoover off the seats.

Out in the Star today is Nasty, Noisy Neighbours and also the Pintsized Dog story which is not available online.

Kats Tales is out next week. If you want to send in cat pics, you can email them to weekend@thestar.com.my with the subject line Katz Tales. But please don't send files that are too big as their inbox space is limited.

Also, there's a great story in the UK Telegraph about a pair of brothers being convicted for animal cruelty for overfeeding their dog. Read all about it at Brothers convicted over fat dog It's an interesting perspective on pet care.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sore Face

Scoop has had a sore face on and off for ages now. He’s been full of beans, playing wild games and eating enough for two cats, but we worried about our old fuzz.

We visited several vets to find out exactly what’s wrong. Finally, yet another battery of tests shows that Scoop has a simple infection and that the problem lies with his immune system. He has FIV, and it seems he has had it since birth – hence the poor teeth! Au is perfectly fine and bursting with health.

Good news is that our kitty is taking a dose of medicine initially developed for people twice a day and the vet assures us he’ll be 100% within 2 months. And his appetite for life and chicken is totally undiminished!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Roast Overload

Sccop's fat tummy
Scoop is crashed out in the spare bed room (known in the family as Scoop's room) with his paws straight up in the air. It's official: he is a fat kitty.

Old fuzzy had a whale of a time when he came in late Saturday night eating a thin slice of roast pork, and by conning us into thinking he hadn't had proper lunch, he dived into seconds yesterday as well.

There is a tiny smidgeon left to garnish his dinner but from this point on we're officially back to proper meals. And if I know Scoop, the return to normal means he'll soon be asking when Chinese New Year is kicking in....

PS here is Scoop in bed. Just look at that fat tummy!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Archives Links Fixed

Jett who designed the Katz Tales template has worked his magic and has fixed the archive links. Thanks Jett!

Also, the BBC reports there's some news from the US...

US obese dogs to get diet pills
The world's first weight-loss drug for dogs has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)....

I can't see me dosing Scoop and Au with this stuff; better just to play more games and cut down on the biscuits. They've put on weight in the last few weeks thanks to the Christmas season.

Having said that, I should be eating fewer biscuits and playing more games too but as this is Christmas Eve according to the Julian calendar, and we're celebrating tonight with friends, the family diet will have to start tomorrow :-)

We love the Silly Season!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fuzz Off

You know those thick woven cotton doormats made that are sold for next to nothing in supermarkets and hardware shops? Scoop thinks they are the ideal snoozing mat.

I bought one to put in front of the bathroom door, but after tripping over old fuzzy three times a day, I moved it to the outside bench where Scoop likes to snooze in the afternoons. It was such a hit that I've placed a second one in the empty drawer in the utility cupboard Scoop likes to retire too every now and again.
Scoop in his drawer
If you've got an old kitty whose bones need a bit of extra comfort, go nuts and buy a few of these mats. You'll get a Meow! of approval!

PS Here's Scoop snoozeling in his drawer.
PPS Katz Tales is out tomorrow...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Making a name for yourself

I'm still fluffing around with the archives, but in the meantime:

If you're curious where the term Lothario comes from, or want to know about Scrooge, check out the latest Logomania article in The Star:

Making a name for yourself
Some people make such a strong impression on the world that their very names become part of the English language.

Katz Tales is out on Saturday in the Weekend section...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Archive Problem

For some reason the archive links are all messed up. May and June are accessible but the rest of the months are not. I’ve no idea why this is, and have tried to fix it by turning the archives off, and then back on again, but it didn’t work.

I’m hiring some help to fix this problem, and hope to have it all back in order by the end of the week.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Happy New Year!

Can't believe it's 2007 - whatever happened to 2006 and 2005?

While we went out in the early evening of Hogmanae, I came back and enjoyed a quiet midnight at home with Scoop and Au.

Scoop doing the Big Brother thing and giving Au a friendly lick on the earNeither particularly likes this time of year when crackers go off all over the place. Au is especially nervous and looks to Scoop to hold his paw for him.

But they do enjoy the gourmet meals that come their way as part of the celebration! Scoop was looking a bit down when he realised his turkey has run out, and Au enjoyed the extra ham, so I've reminded them that Chinese New Year is coming up soon, which means they can expect roast pork and prawns to be on the menu soon. It's done the trick and they're smiling again.

Here they are, with Scoop doing the Big Brother thing and giving Au a friendly lick on the ear.

Happy New Year!