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

Welcome to CatMinders

Welcome to CatMinders

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Ms CatCalls finds a Bengal

Raj the hithertofore missing cat....
Having Six Feet Under-ed myself Out ( ie treated myself to a boxed set courtesy of our local library ; four pounds something for series four , five discs on loan for fourteen days of Alan Ball at his very best , I thought I had best get viewing and maxed out watching three or four episodes snuggled up on the Teenager's bed while she "Experienced" ( whatever that really means , something in a Marquee on the seafront I believe ) accompanied by the Greyhound and one cat , whilst the remaining Cats assisted D watch X factor or some such on an alternative tv elsewhere . Whew. Long sentence . I shall restart .
Having maxed out I finally retire knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I have missed my vocation as a Funeral Director but safe in the knowledge that in the next life I shall have my chance ... I finally sit up in bed reading a Fay Weldon novel and tittering at her take on various aspects of things long gone . Wash Day for example . However I am in danger of digressing ....
D appears with a homemade poster including the above photograph of the cat , Raj a fine specimen who has recently come to live two doors along from us though I have yet to make his acquaintance . He has apparently gone walkabout due to the heay rain and the appearance near the back of our houses of some Drilling Equipment . ( The Water Board . ) First thing this morning . New neighbour requests that everyone check sheds and garages in case he has holed up somewhere .
I put down my book and as I stare out into the darkness ( it is windy and drizzling outside ) an image forms somewhere inside my head . I picture this cat I have never seen . He is crouching in our yard , against our house , somewhere close to our unused guinea pig hutch , sheltering .
I climb out of bed , feeling a little stupid but knowing that I need to check . Of course I know "he can't be there" but I need to reassure myself nontheless as another part of me , an insistent silent voice I have heard once or twice before , in fact countless times , is telling me he IS there .
I head downstairs , telling D I am just checking the yard for the cat just to be sure .
I unlock the back door , step out into the yard in my vest top and pyjama bottoms , bare feet and there , of course , I see a pair of bright yellow eyes .
Hello Sweetheart . I say . People are looking for you ..... Just stay there will I come and get you ......
I hear an answering voice , very low .
Now how does that work ?

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Joan goes surfing !

Further to my last post just to show that not everyone is putting off everything and making excuses . Well done Joan who has overcome her fear of water and learned body surfing in the Summer !

Hibernation ?

Is everyone else doing the same as me ? Putting off everything in a fit of lethargy lasting forever ?

I am pleased to report that the hand still reaches out from under the duvet to switch on the coffee machine at six am somehow the Fox's wholemeal bran biscuits still find their way into my mouth , though perhaps in slower motion than usual , and Alice groans more than is the norm in Summer as I push her along in the bed to avoid her left back paw stirring it with my novel . I have found the perfect solution there , cover her up with a tartan fleece blanket including all limbs and the head and she goes quiet for a further three hours . The initial almost silent Wuf indicating Extreme Delight at such snuggliness and then .. Silence ....
Peace reigns and my coffee machine does its work puffing and blowing as I prise open the biscuit tin and prop myself up on the pillows and get the book ready leaving the great Switch On until the final moment.... Reading in semi darkness with the wind howling outside is all very well and in my ways has much to recommend it but in contrast to the Summer months when one is tempted to jump straight out of bed at seven , the desire to settle back into bed on the non working days is strong . Hence the " putting everything off until another day " tendencies of Autumn .
My To Do list is curling in on itself near my virtual-desk and my list of excuses grows thin.

This week's main excuse for not doing anything was the preparation of a presentation for a high powered conference full of politicians and the like . Every time I thought of something that needed to be done my presentation took priority . I even managed to persuade myself to get my hair cut and coloured on Tuesday afternoon and that was another thing lurking at the bottom of the To Do list , but since we were leaving at an unearthly hour on Wednesday am to drive to Harrogate the hair date saved me an hour of my own time at five am .

And last weekend was entirely taken up with travelling to Wiltshire for the birthday party of a friend . Nine hours on the roads thanks to various hold ups and delays , but worth it in the end .

So , no more excuses , unless its just Hibernation Time ?

Friday, 16 October 2009

I wonder if my Blog is slipping out of my grasp ? Or whether its just a reflection of the fact that everything is slipping slightly ? My memory , my thought processes , my abilities in all directions . Or maybe I just have a cold and its Autumn and the leaves are falling and everyone , but everyone I know is complaining of this and that .

For my part my CatCalling will be slowing up for the Winter months . My own cats are eyeing up the radiators and the water bed and jostling for the best spots around the house . There are signs that two of the Birmans would love to snuggle up to the hot-water-bottle that is Alice but so far it hasn't quite happened ; they struggle even to sit close to each other even though they are blood relatives .

And I am more than a little envious of a colleague who is going to get a puppy this weekend , a shi tsu / poodle cross . Another colleague asked incredulously , so what would you call that then : a sh*t- poo , or a poo-sh*t ? oh dear !
I can't wait to see him or her ...

Friday, 9 October 2009

Autumn Colds.....

I drag myself out of bed at 10 am ( has it come to this? ) thinking has it come to this? My head is still banging ... residual migraine , streaming cold , but at least the gastro-intestinal challenges of earlier in the week are on their way out .
As I have been sitting propped against the pillow drinking coffee since half six am without tasting it and my novel is boring me , there is nothing for it but to wander downstairs in search of new ideas.
The leaves are changing colour and everything is cooler out there .
The house is deserted .
Even Nat has gone to school . Her impetigo has receeded and she can walk on her Uggs . I test my own second patch and wonder how I would fare in my own walking boots ?
"Alice" I call upstairs .... but she feigns deafness.
I reply to a few emails and then try again .
I have had an idea .

I go up and collect fodder for the washing machine , meanwhile checking the progress of the dog . She opens one eye but says nothing . Fancy a walk ? I ask . Nil response. Are greyhounds dogs or some kind of dog substitute for the couch potato owner? As I leave the room she makes a lovely reassuring sigh .... I'm still here and all is well with the world .... and this bed is soooo warm and my cuddly monkey is the best toy I've ever had ( I note the monkey tucked sweetly under her arm ) .

Half and hour later she and I are trotting through Jesmond Dene , a brainwave designed to make a change from our usual haunts , exchanging the bracing coastline with its salt and fish and sand and pebble for stagnant pools and old pramwheels and then suddenly a bridge, a waterfall , falling leaves on our heads all puntuated with sudden runners and jogging buggy pushers . Pets Corner and the Coffee Shop are closed for major works .

Thus we find ourselves outside Starbucks with our clipped coupon for free latte snacking and warming ourselves and wondering where the Summer went .

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Pearl is Evercats DailyCat RunnerUp .....

To cheer myself up I entered Pearl on the Evercats cat of the day site and she won runner up the next day The Daily Cat : EverCats coming second to Zoe . If you scroll through the site you can find the second the third cats of the day including Pearl lying in bed looking quite pleased with herself .

Had you glimpsed into the CatCalls Hub that day you would have seen not just the usual inhabitants of the WaterBed at midday ( Pearl in the lefthand corner and Alice bang slap in the centre legs akimbo on a hot day or rolled into a ball in cooler weather ) . There were also various human inhabitants looking very sorry for themselves .

It wasn't Swine Flu but Impetigo we had / have .... and my flea bites ( infected ) the culprits . I had largely ignored the inflamed patches of blistering skin around my heels and ankles assuming eventually they would heel , and had been too busy dealing with the eye , the conference , the injured dog , and life generally , and then getting on with enjoying my days off to want to be bothering with blisters.

Finally , when Nat's "swine flu " combined with a sudden eruption on her ankle of exactly the same kind of blister ( more like a gaping flesh wound by the time I saw it , it was time for action . She was treated before me at a walk in centre , it being the weekend , and they told her the flu symtoms were her body's attempts to fight off the infection galloping through her body . By this time I ws starting with some similar signs , a sore throat . I attended and was also given antibiotics ... which I have reacted adversely to so have now been given an antibacterial cream .

We are hoping the Impetigo which has infected the blisters will not spread further .... I now have another on my other heel .....but less gruesome than the first .

What next ?

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Swine Flu?

Much of yesterday afternoon was spent on an NHS Swine Flu website consuming an online quiz designed to keep us away from blocking our local resources and irritating our GPs. ( general practitioners that is not guinea pigs though ours are probably somewhat annoyed that their abode is left undone in the wake of yet more trials and tribulations ).
Meanwhile Nat lay burning in her bed describing a fish hook in her throat whilst I tried to get a reading on her temperature .
Finally , my cackhandedness resolved ( three attempts later) and the site declared that she fitted the diagnosis for Swine Flu and we were entitled to collect her a dose of TamiFlu . What was clear however was that this would be her one and only dose and was unlikely to do much beyond reduce the length of the illness. More alarmingly it was also possibly that it would cause nausea which she had not suffered since the previous evening . After a brief consult in her room she declared that she would rather do without .
I wondered how this would work. I had given her name and address to the site and in return had been allocated a Code.
Did they thus assume we would collect the Dose? If not would the Tamiflu Police appear to ask why not?
If at a later date we tried to collect would this present problems ?

Today though her throat is as bad , her temperature is lower and she feels less unwell . Maybe the diagnosis was wrong ? Who knows? Not me ?
All I know is my throat is grating like a pair of pinking shears .

Meanwhile, Alice is making a stunning recovery .
The collection of fluid under her chest turned yellow then rapidly disappeared. Her staples were removed last night . Her vet's bill which we hope will largely be paid by the insurance company , was less than three hundred pounds.
Today she has had her first run off the lead ( though prior to this she has been trying to run in the house , up and down the stairs , along the landings , the hall , over the backs of sofas ) in the short bursts of energy that mark the difference between "sleep" and "deep sleep" that characterise Alice's normal existence. Her two main settings have not been much changed by the accident .

Thursday, 1 October 2009

..And now George has a Broken Jaw...

I miss my neice Felicity's birthday thanks to the various excitements of last week so she comes to stay on Tuesday . We plan a roast dinner and an episode of Holby City ( at least I do in my head ) ... though I suspect Nat and Felicity have more amusing entertainments in mind .

As I clear the table we receive texts to the effect that Felicity's younger brother George has been attacked in Liverpool and his jaw is broken . It appears his friend's younger brother, newly arrived for Fresher's week , came under attack and George waded in to protect him and took the brunt of the assault. It was captured on CCTV and the police will pursue the protagonists.
There has been a surgical intervention and the jaw is held in place by plates or pins .
The thing we find most upsetting is that the assault took place the previous week , in fact most likely as I was returning from conference and Felicity was at Florence and the Machine . George has made a choice not to inform family , not wanting a Fuss.
We jointly emote and agonise over this decision and wonder how sister Laura feels . She has a horrid Cold/ Flu to contend with also . We speculate that she may Understand George better but that we simply do not and will never Get Young Men , if indeed this in a Young Man Thing .
Had any one of us had a broken jaw or indeed a broken tooth , finger or toe , we would have rung texted or broadcast this information to the world at large , hoping for the maximum number of visitors , letters , cards , texts , small gifts , donations and the like . George by contrast stayed alone in hospital for three days , missed one day at Uni , then returned to normal life , contacting family only when he knew all was well .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday