Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to http://www.catminders.biz

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Welcome to CatMinders

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Misunderstandings .......

At the weekend I am up as usual rather early to get the coffee brewing .
There is a lovely morning routine of bathroom tasks ( the first of a series of scoops of cat biscuits for Kitty , who still refuses to come downstairs in protest at a dog having joined the household ... or is it that she is Too Lardy for the stairs , as occasionally she does venture down to petition for more food ) , kitchen tasks which include , on cold days , opening the dishwasher door loudly to give the guinea pigs the opportunity to rise and shine without being embarrassed at caught out still in bed , greeting them with a hearty Good Morning Pigsters as they start up their shouts pretending they were merely tidying their quarters or some such , providing their morning cereal and enjoying the moment as they snuffle the hand and press forwards as if dying to run a marathon across the kitchen floor .
Left to their own devices of course with the door open , they retreat to the safety of what they know and simply look out at the world . A stance with which I can identify , especially on Mondays .

But this is the weekend ...
I set the coffee machine off , three Birman cats in a line on the bench keeping tabs on my progress . Once the water starts pulsing , I head for the cupboard where the Pearl Gourmet pouches are kept in D's neat and tidy Pearl Gourmet dispenser ( ex shoe cleaning rack converted for the purpose and perfectly fit for purpose too ) .
Three Birman cats follow me to the cupboard and two Birman cats enter the cupboard as I close the door . I therefore have to bend twice , once to extract the pouches from the dispenser , annoyingly situated on the floor , and second time to flap the cats out of the cupboard . Occasionally a squawk indicates the timings have misfired and Toby's tail remains in the door .
The third Birman , who does not enter the cupboard , walks in front of me as I proceed to the bench with the pouches and as I lean forwards to collect the plastic bowls which are ( also irritatingly) stored slightly beyond my reach she is happy if I trip over her and we both stumble . Or so it would seem , since it happens most mornings .

But being the Senior Birman and thus slightly favoured , she eats her breakfast downstairs on the bench , whilst the other two take their pouches upstairs , sharing with Kitty , who waits , immobile, at the top of the stairs ,until , as the bowls of food arrive she turns and gallops as fast as her little legs will carry her into the bathroom and to the designated feeding station where she has already seen off the first scoop of biscuits .

It is at this point that I usually re enter the bedroom to see what life exists there . To ascertain the state of play . Weekend . Is D likely to want coffee at this point or should I leave him for another half an hour or so before bringing up the tray ?

The dog is fast asleep at the bottom of the bed , a flattish mound under a tasteful check blanket , resembling a grandmother wrapped for an outing with only the nose pointing out . Greyhounds are the teens of the dog world , preferring to rise at lunchtime or later , if at all possible . Sleep is more important than food , and a warm bed and a blanket spell bliss .

Out of the blue as my back is turned ( I am glancing out of the front elevation windows and watching the station activities at the stall holders set up for the day . There is a flurry of silent activity . ) I hear the dog utter a " wuf " , unusually for her, in her sleep .
She is the master of the long drawn out sigh with just the occasional wuf and occasionally the disparaging "rrrrrrrrr" if she is really tired or disgruntled .

So , the dog says Wuf .
then , I hear D ( also apparently asleep ) say " Oh no , thank you . " very politely and I look round in amazement .
Clearly he thinks I am still in bed and have asked him some searching question .

Really those two don't need me at all .
Except to bring the coffee....

Three Fox Night at Four Am

I may have omitted to admit that Alice has wangled her way upstairs at night . Since the advent of the fireworks at the end of October ready for Guy Fawkes , the frequent bangs , coupled with the colder nights , meant that her excursions to the top of the stairs to shout for assistance and someone to replace her blankets ( " I'm so skinny I'm cold now ") or deal with whichever Cat she felt was giving her dirty looks ( I myself had my Theories about the blankets and how they came to be removed as I am fairly certain from close observation that Alice being a lazy greyhound once asleep does not stir and sleeps like a log for hours on end ) had increased to an intolerable level .
I was tired of trotting down three of four times a night and facing a sleepy dog and a prim looking set of cats , backs turning with a What ? Us ? look about them .

Thus it came about that Alice was permitted upstairs .... and very happy she is with human company and intervention should the cats tease .....

And I confess I much prefer sleeping the night through with just the occasional push of a heavy dog back to the bottom of the bed , and still sufficient room for cats at the top corners . Fortunately we have the biggest bed I have ever seen , and with all that hot water swilling around , the warmest ..... no wonder its always fully occupied .

Four am .

The household is sleeping . Last night's hailstones have melted and there is no heavy night frost .
I wake with a start as Alice bounces to life , hopping in front of the window , strangely as it is marginally too high for her to see out of .
D leaps out of bed . Outside , on the wall beyond which is the railway line , stands a big fox , and on the ground two further foxes , one younger and smaller in appearance . They pace up and down the avenue as we watch . It is too dark outside for photographs . Alice is on tenterhooks , still bouncing , desperate to get out , yet she can see nothing , because of the height of the windows . Is it that she can smell them , or hear them , through our double glazed windows ?

She shows no interest , ever , in passing people , cats , or dogs . yet the foxes intrigue her .
Mystery .
And greyhounds are sighthounds surely , not dogs which rely on scent , or hearing ?

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