Tag Archives: cats

Kitty got buff.

Obviously, I’m talking about my kitten, not anything else. Recently, someone asked “how long has he been a kitten now?” or something to that effect in response to another one of my facebook statuses bemoaning his tendency to break small things / knock over plants / eat plants / wake people at the crack of dawn. And even more recently, I went away for 24 hours, and when I returned, it did seem as if little Yuki had grown noticeably in my absence.

Having looked it up, it seems that a kitten can be considered so until about 1 year old, when they’ve settled on their adult shape and got most of their bulk, but won’t fully stop growing / maturing until about two years old. They’re sexually mature at 6 months, but not for long, as he’ll tell you. Yuki is now seven months old. When we got him nearly four months ago, he was a small, gangly, leggy, unco-ordinated, fuzzy, fluffy and frankly stupid kitten. With Gizmo-from-Gremlins worthy ears. That are completely useless. Yes, life and karma conspired, and we found ourselves with a deaf white kitten.

Yuki at three months

"I'm blurry because I won't bloody sit still"

See what I mean about the ears? What fascinates me is that they still work in every aspect other than hearing; they indicate interest *pointing forwards, what’s this? Can I play with it?* annoyance *twitch / flick away, leave me, woman. I’m trying to sleep* and nervousness / excitement *half flat, what’s this? What’s this? What’s this? I must run at it very fast!* they still swivel around randomly (why, I don’t know) and twitch when he’s asleep.

I have no idea if he even knows what their original purpose was. But he seems to have fully adapted; he can identify the vibration of the front door shutting, he knows at least four signs (Hello / Come on / No / Get Down!) and has a very disconcerting habit of looking behind him by turning his head upside down. Literally, he leans or tilts his head back until he can see what’s behind him. Believe me, it’s very strange, and not a little unnerving when you appear to be being observed by a cat with an upside-down head. He also, unusually for a cat, likes to be held tummy-up so he can see all that’s around him when he’s picked up. He sleeps like that too. I can see he’s going to be a confident deaf cat. Good on him. This is him now:

Yuki at seven months

"check out these radar dishes, baby!"

My kitty got buff.

And lest Lucy, our elderly, 22-year-old, ridiculously fluffy tuxedo cat feels left out, here she is in her most alluring pose:

Lucy in sunlight

"I still got it"

Unfortunately, they still don’t get on. If only he’d stop playing with her tail. But, hey, he’s still got the excuse of being a stupid kitten – for a little while at least.

The cats are here!

The last couple of days have been spent on housework and settling in the new cats. They’re very chalk and cheese, with personalities as different as their markings. Yuki (Japanese for ‘snow’) is a pure white 3-month-old kitten, with some oriental good looks and smooth fur, with Siamese-sized ears (i.e. like little radar dishes on his head) that, in a perfect example of life’s little ironies, are stone deaf. So far I’ve tried the traditional clicking of fingers and clapping hands, and the less-traditional blast of music from my phone, but perhaps the most convincing evidence is that when The Doctor and Alex were sucked, screaming, into the cupboard, he didn’t even twitch. I’m looking forward to what happens when I bring out the hoover. He’s a playful but chilled kitten, who seems just as happy sleeping on his back on the sofa as he is killing random motes of dust and bits of fluff on the floor.

Lucy is an ancient, slightly grumpy, 22-year-old long-haired black moggy with a white bib and socks who lives for food. Her favourite activities so far have been lying on random patches of the kitchen floor, or the dining room floor, or on the landing, and eating. If she could spend all day with her face in a food bowl, I have no doubt she would. Yes, she does have an underactive thyroid, and if anything this has worked in her favour, as I wrap the pills in chicken. She’s already started to follow me when I open the fridge.

I’m happy that the cats are settling in, but still not sure what to do about Yuki when he’s been here long enough to – in theory – be let out. Do we set up a fence in the garden? We’ve already got a harness so we can take him out supervised. He’s not the brightest cat, and pretty fearless, so letting him out unsupervised is a risk at best, I’m all for deaf empowerment, but he’s too pretty to be run over by the boy racers we sometimes get round here. Am trying to teach him some basic signs / hand signals but it’s not going well. Mind you, I suppose it’s asking too much of the attention span of a 13-week-old kitten.

To clear up some confusion, my cat Faraday (whose picture is still my personal profile pic) who lived with me at my flat in Bristol passed away last November after a suspected kidney infection turned out to be end-stage renal failure. She came from the RSPCA at the age of 16, as I wanted a quiet cat to hang out at flat with me. This she did quite happily in return for a soft sofa and all the boiled chicken and felix she could eat, and when she went, she was 19-and-a-half. I still miss that bloody cat.

Tabby, who disappeared so mysteriously four months ago, was my parents’ cat, who came to live with us from RSPCA when I was about 14 or 15 after about two or three years of asking, persuading and eventually begging on my part. She was, as her name suggests, an ordinary tabby cat that I loved dearly, but she never quite forgave me for moving away to Uni, and then for moving away again to my own place, so our relationship over the last few years had been distant, at best. If I didn’t know better, I could almost put her disappearance a mere two months after I moved back in down to spite. I still wish I knew where the hell she went. Quite apart from closure, it’s like a Rubik’s cube that you can’t figure out. The solution is there somewhere, but you’re damned if you can work out what it is.

Cats, eh?

Tia Maria and Orange Juice

The last weekend went by in blur. This is something that I have often been told is a sign of having had a good time, but it would still be nice to remember more of it. I know I became a Dutch Marquis, a Spanish Count, a French Baron and an English Count, I bombarded and plundered two cities and gave them to the Dutch – hence the heady promotion to Marquis – I captured a Spanish treasure galleon and looted all the gold and eliminated my way to 2nd in the list of most notorious pirates on the Spanish Main. Sadly, none of this happened in reality, but in a game I became addicted to over the weekend, which is why I haven’t buggered off to Las Vegas with all the gold I looted. More’s the pity.

In the real world, I spent the weekend in a house with a mix of hearing and deaf people to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday. I wasn’t sure what to expect; from experience deaf / hearing parties have tended to end with the hearing on one side of the room and the deaf on the other. It’s nothing personal, just communication; after a while it gets too hard to focus on lipreading, and unfortunately large amounts of alcohol tend not to help with the focus. To my pleasant surprise though, they turned out to be a pretty chilled out, patient bunch who were happy to repeat things and some even picked up a few signs over the weekend. I ended up assigning a new sign name (roughly translated as *twisty hair*), and gaining a new nickname (Owl). I tried to teach some basic signs to a very drunk boyfriend of the birthday girl, but even though Rosie is a fluent signer, he scored a disappointing 1 out of 5 in the spot test. We’ll have to work on him, he’s keen but unco-ordinated.

What else do I recall? The cool-looking shipwreck on the beach, only timbers left now, heck knows how old it is, but it formed a natural pool while the tide was out, very pretty, and watching Rob clamber over it and waiting for the moment when he slipped and caused himself a near-fatal injury and we’d have to clamber in and get him. Thankfully it didn’t happen, and our jeans / thick coats / raincoats remained mud free. Raincoats and jeans on a beach in summer? When it’s August 2011 and there’s a stiff winter breeze coming off the far, far, far, (very far) distant sea, yes.

The others decided they wanted to go off and explore, i.e. they wanted to walk to the nearest tiny seaside town and have a look around. I decided to return to the house and further my career as an adventuring, swash-buckling pirate. After I’d caused some confusion by emptying the dishwasher and tidying away the clean dishes and putting dirty ones in and (I thought) switching it back on and wandering off. Apparently, switching on the dishwasher is more involved than that, so the others returned and scratched their heads over how the clean dishes had become dirty dishes again, and by that point I was somewhere in Havana trading sugar so I was unable to help with the mystery. Now you know, guys.

The restaurant was lovely, and the creamy garlic mushrooms were to die for. Or, more practically, to google the recipe for. I have got to learn how to make that. The raspberry pavlova (the little I managed to stuff in) was gorgeous and there were nice birthday touches everywhere. A good time had by all, though I did consider giving the chef a gift of my own – a steak timer.

And for the record, yes I did try the Tia Maria and Orange Juice that Rosie insisted was delicious; it tasted like a weird, liquid, alcoholic Terry’s chocolate orange gone wrong. The part of my brain that likes Terry’s choc orange sort of liked it, but the part of my brain that knew what was in it rebelled. I can explain Virtue Theory to a layman, but I couldn’t get my head around putting Tia Maria in orange juice. I got own back though, I got her to try my own favourite cocktail; Dr Pepper and Malibu. Delicious. Or if her reaction was anything to go by, so disgusting she needed another glass of wine to get over it. Different folks, different strokes and all that.

Saturday night was quite a party, but Sunday was an altogether more sedate affair. After the late morning clear-up (do you know how many cans had at least a quarter of beer still left in them? Just remember where you’ve put your drinks down guys, then you won’t assume the empty can you just picked up and shook is yours and go off and get another one…) and a respectful period while everyone recovered, some of the group headed off to Cheddar gorge to walk around and take in the sights. I bombarded Villa Hermosa and made off with more trade goods than I could actually fit in my cargo holds.

At this point I should probably thank Bruce for the lift and the generous loans of the iPad (on which the game was based; steering ships by stroking a screen, genius) and the lovely, cuddly, strokable James for not fighting me over it and settling for checking his facebook on Bruce’s iPhone. Love you guys!

The others had a wonderful time climbing up steep inclines and taking in the majestic views; my feet tingled at the thought. And not in a good way. Some very pretty pictures though, which I look forward to seeing on facebook.

The BBQ was delicious – I chomped on a chewy minty lamb steak and a big caramelised sweetcorn cob – tough, bitsy food that has been cut out of the family diet in recent months thanks to my father’s ongoing issues that the hospital haven’t nailed down yet. Modern medicine, my foot.

I was amused that on Sunday night, most people had retired by midnight, with tea and biscuits. At midnight the night before, the party had just been hitting its stride. For my part, I was asleep by 1, idly wondering if I had any Malibu left…

By Monday morning, all attempts at deep thinking and quick wit had ceased, thoughts seemed to take a while to reach destinations, and my liver was sending urgent status reports. We got the house cleaned up, and I hope whoever comes to empty the recycling doesn’t judge us too harshly. There were 17 people, after all.

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend, chatting with lots of new people, though unfortunately not always remembering their names, consuming large amounts of alcohol and eating whatever I liked, and I hope everyone had just as good, if not better, a time. All together now: happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaay dear Rosieeeeeeeeeeeee, happy birthday to you! I hope you remembered to rescue your gift from the fridge before the raids began on Monday morning 🙂

On a side note, the cats arrive today! They will be picked up this evening and hopefully introductions will be smooth, though I still have visions of the kitten making a beeline for the nearest power socket / dangling wire / tiny gap / bear trap. Well, maybe not the last one. Here’s hoping all goes well!