Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

Pussy Willow

September 6, 2008

Here she is making friends with a plant.

We decided to take her for a check-up yesterday and the vet cleaned out her ears and gave us some thick ‘drops’ to apply once a day until the problem clears up.

She cut her nails so that she won’t do herself damage when she scratches, and, anyway, the itching should stop when the medication takes effect.

At present, the effects of her shortened claws means that she hasn’t got such a strong grip when she climbs on the furniture and her first attempts to leap onto the armchair resulted in her slipping down again with a very surprised expression on her little face.

She was microchipped – they call it a puce (flea) electronique in French – and vaccinated (which she resisted) and then given a thorough inspection before being weighed. There was no sign of fleas but the vet recommended applying Advocate against fleas, worms and earmites for the next three months. She also said that she thought she was fat!

We came away 137 euros worse off but, at least, Willow had passed her medical.

The other cats are becoming less wary of their new little ‘sister’ and now, Toby, Holly and the twins are more than ready to hiss and snarl back at her or even give her a little smack. Holly started to prowl after her, ready to pounce last night and so we felt it would be safer to put Willow in the conservatory for her own safety during the night.

After a few minutes she was scrabbling at the door to come into the lounge so it was Holly who was put into ‘solitary’ to keep the peace.  Willow slept on an armchair in the lounge,  Mustard, Pepper, Chloe and Toby slept on our bed and Parsley took up her position on Whale’s bed.

There were no altercations during the night but I slept badly because the cats made me hot and uncomfortable but I didn’t have the heart to shove them off.

Willow has been exploring her surroundings again today and discovered that leaves come off plants and make interesting toys. She has decided that she likes her water from a glass (as do all the others) but hers has to be in the kitchen.

My neighbour brought me a couple of small marrows in a bag but when I left them on the table young Willow went to investigate and rolled one of them onto the floor. She has knocked down a pile of books and nibbled a page of the telephone directory (which I left open).

At the moment she has fallen asleep curled up on my favourite armchair but I have a feeling she may be dreaming up some more mischief to get up to when she wakes.

Lucky Seven?

September 3, 2008

It seemed like an ordinary day until the phone rang. It was a friend of CC’s.

She wondered if we’d be prepared to take on another cat as a friend of her’s was going to Paris and wasn’t allowed to take her kitten.

I could hear the girl crying in the background. She was very upset about parting from her little furry friend. And she was leaving today.

OK, so I know I’d said never again, six were enough etc. etc. but how could anyone say no?

“Yes, alright, we’ll come over this afternoon and pick her up.”

So after lunch Jay took me into town and we went to see the new family member. I hadn’t asked whether she was male or female, or what colour. All I knew was that she was four months old.

Jay and I fell in love with her at first sight. She was still in her catbasket as CC’s friend is a bit scared of cats, and she was indignantly trying to get out.

She was far prettier than I’d hoped and she was tabby – my favourite!

Of course, we released her and had a cuddle before bringing her home.

She’s a feisty little thing. All the other cats have come up to sniff curiously but she spits back at them, despite her size. She has her own litter tray and won’t let any of the others near it. She has eaten some cold turkey, some cheese and pinched some fish from Bear’s plate. Now she’s tucking into her ‘proper’ food.

I get the impression she feels at home already but we’ll have to make sure the other cats get extra attention so their noses aren’t put out of joint.

Her name was Sissy but I think she’s going to be called Willow now.


Prime Suspect

July 25, 2008

Some time ago we noticed that the ‘second telly’ – the one I use to watch French TV – was behaving badly. The colour came and went and sometimes the picture narrowed. 

This week we decided to take it to be repaired. The man put it on his bench and connected it while we were there.

“Strange,” he mused, “ir’s not a fault I’ve seen before. Leave it with me and I’ll ring you within 48 hours.”

Yesterday he telephoned to say he could repair it for 75 euros. It was not as bad as he had feared but ‘did we have a cat because they had found evidence of liquid. . . .?’

“You mean a cat has done a pee in the television?” I asked.

“Erm, yes. It’s quite possible.”

“Well we do have six of them so it’s highly likely.”

We collected it today and the man explained how he had cleaned it all inside.

“Our repairs are guaranteed for three months,” he announced as we left.

“Even against cats?”

“No, sorry!”

So who’s the guilty party I wonder.

                            Parsley likes sitting on the computer monitor,



or in the laundry basket.






The twins prefer to share an armchair.






Chloe likes a radiator.





Toby patrols to keep all the girls in order,



but suspect number one is Holly, as she spends quite a lot of time on the boxes behind the television.

I love Sundays

July 13, 2008

When I was a child Sundays were very ‘special’. It’s not that we were a particularly religious family – certainly not regular church goers – but my grandmother held firm views.

You did not do any washing on a Sunday – and you’d hang your head in shame if the neighbours were to see anything on the linen line: I was not allowed to go and play with my friends, and then there was always the traditional Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding (whether or not it was beef).

Nowadays, since retirement, weekdays and weekends blend together in a kind of blur but Sundays stand out as being different.

For one thing, I feel I can have a bit of a lie-in, especially now that we’re not likely to be disturbed by Claude at some unearthly hour – we usually have a roast dinner, a bit later than usual, and everyone sits round the table where – once the wine has taken effect – we might even have a conversation.

It doesn’t matter if there’s washng on the line or neighbours mowing their lawns, although in our village the rules forbid noise before 10 o’clock on Sundays, but there is a general feeling of relaxation everywhere.

Even the cats seem to be influenced by that ‘Sunday feeling’ and after a morning’s play in the garden some have  draped themselves on the armchairs to doze.

Bear has settled down to watch the Tour de France and Whale has gone back to bed to read, accompanied by Parsley and Pepper.

Ahh – peace, perfect peace.

The Vet

June 4, 2008

We have managed to reduce our routine visits to the vet to just three times a year – two cats each time.

Last week it was the turn of Toby and Chloe and we knew that if anyone caught a glimpse of a catbasket they would all disappear under the bed or behind the computer. So I prepared the willow basket and a new cat carrier that the vet had given us last time in the garage and then went to find the victims.

Toby was curled up  on an armchair so it was easy to pick him up but when he saw the basket he became amazingly active and it was a bit of a fight to get him in. Chloe, bless her, was more trusting and quite curious about this new bag so she didn’t protest too much when I zipped her in.

Toby made  loud cries all the way there but Chloe didn’t make a sound. Maybe she was too scared. Toby was sick within a few minutes and also did a poo. We had to open the sunroof and the windows – just a bit.

In the waiting room I managed to clean Toby’s basket (he’s usually carsick so we were prepared) and the receptionist took the ‘Carnets de Santé’. The vet invited us in and proceeded to examine her patients before administering the jabs. I remember her when she started, five years ago, and was a bit inexperienced but now she handles the cats with calm assurance and sticks the needle in without making them flinch.

She gave them both a clean bill of health, made sure they didn’t have any ‘habitants’ (such as fleas) and then we went to the desk for her to add up the bill. She didn’t have a large bag of cat biscuits in stock but promised to bring them to us this week. it was then we discovered she has lived in our village for the last three years.

The only time I’ve seen her is at the surgery when we were both waiting for the physio. It was the season for ‘bronchiolite’ in young children and her seven month old daughter was booked in for her first session of torture.

Yes – torture! From what I gather they squeeze the child’s chest to make her cough and it must feel like choking or being asphyxiated. The poor little things cry with terror and as the treatment is on a daily basis most of them start screaming as soon as mum parks the car outside the surgery. I’m sure they don’t do that to children in England.

Anyway, to return to the visit to the vet, we bought six phials of ‘Advocate’ which treats fleas, worms, ticks and earmites (I like to use this twice a year but it’s more expensive than Frontline which only repels fleas and ticks) paid in advance for the biscuits and came out with our precious bundles of fur 221 euros worse off.  Veterinery charges are increasing but I think they still compare favourably with costs in Britain. All the same, it’s definitely worth it to protect them from most diseases, including rabies.

Les Saints de Glace

May 13, 2008
  Les Saints de glace sont au nombre de trois : Saint Mamert (11 mai), Saint Pancrace (12 mai) et Saint Servais (13 mai).
Selon la tradition populaire, ils ont la réputation d’apporter le froid et la gelée, signature d’un ultime sursaut de l’hiver : « Les Saints Servais, Pancrace et Mamert : à eux trois, un petit hiver ».Ces jours-là ne sont en moyenne pas plus froids que les précédents. Mais, ils correspondent, dans certaines régions, aux dates des gelées les plus tardives observées depuis plusieurs dizaines d’années.
Ils fixent également la date à partir de laquelle le gel n’est généralement plus à craindre, comme l’indique ce deuxième dicton : « Avant Saint Servais point d’été, après Saint Servais point de gelée »    


There are three  ‘Ice Saints’ : Saint Mamert (11th May), Saint Pancras (12th May) and Saint Servais (13th May). According to popular tradition, they have the reputation of bringing cold and frost, the sign of a final burst of Winter.

“Saints Servais, Pancras and Mamert mean a short spell of Winter”

These three days are not usually colder than the previous ones but they correspond, in certain regions, to the dates when the latest frosts have been recorded over several decades.

They also mark the date from which there’s usually no more fear of frost: according to the second saying; “Before St Servais, no Summer: after St. Servais no more frost.”

But this year the three Saints’ Days were marked by unseasonably high temperatures. It was time to sort out the garden, and I finally managed to put the remaining ‘raised beds ‘ in place with a bit of help from Jay, as the ground was rock hard. I’d had an idea to plant peas and beans under plastic, hoping the new shoots would find the sunlight through the holes, but, although the plastic retained water, it also encouraged slugs. So off it came and was replaced by nets (to try to keep the cats from digging) and slug pellets.

Bear did his bit and got out the Karcher (to my horror) . He succeeded in squashing quite a few flowers and still couldn’t get rid of the remaining weeds (after CC and I had pulled up most of them by hand.) There were quite a few forget-me-nots flowering in between the tiles and they looked quite pretty. Not many are left now.

With the wonderful drying weather I changed all the beds a day early, and the cats joined in as usual. Why is it that they love to play about and claw the sheets or roll about on them when you’re trying to make a bed?

Our Cats

April 9, 2008

Parsley on the computerSeveral of my favourite blogs feature cats. Sophie has been helping at her local cat refuge and she lives with Chaddy and often mentions him. Caturday is almost entirely devoted to cats and Lorraine at Me and the Cat doesn’t have a cat – yet – but she’s a definite catlover. Keith sometimes writes about Sooty (AKA Pyewacket).

So (to show off how I’ve learned to add pictures all by myself) let me re-introduce my little family: the topcat is Toby, about 14 or 15 years old. He is neutered but still enjoys chasing all the girls. He also takes over the computer chair and protests loudly if anyone disturbs him. He will then proceed to walk all over you while you’re trying to concentrate. He’s the one who sleeps on our bed and wakes me at crack of dawn with a carefully aimed paw. If that doesn’t work he chews my hair.

Next in age we have the twins, Mustard and Pepper who will celebrate their 10th birthday in May. They have always been close, sharing licks, beds and armchairs, but they have different personalities. Also, while Pepper is slim and elegant, her sister is inclined to have a ‘middle-age spread’. Here’s Pepper on the radiator, looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, and Mustard – in pensive mood below.


Poor Holly tends to be the odd one out. None of the other cats likes her and she’s not too keen on them either. This results in a fair bit of spitting and sparring from time to time but I’m really pleased that Holly now feels comfortable enough to come and sit on my lap wherever I am (instead of just on ‘her’ armchair) and she will  come and sit by the television of an evening, although the other cats are nearby. She has recently copied the others by climbing all over the computer when I’m busy.

All these four cats came with us from England, together with Kipper, our elderly white cat, who, unfortunately, died a few months after we brought him over, at the age of 16.


Parsley and Chloe are both French. As the two youngest they get on well together and often play at chasing each other round the house. Chloe is still the most reticent of all the cats but she is beginning to hold her own.

Parsley enjoys sitting on top of the computer when I’m busy but she also loves exploring empty bags and boxes – and even the laundry basket.

Chloe is still a bit nervous about going outside into the garden, although she likes chewing grass. She  is happiest when she’s eating or curled up on a radiator.

 If you click on the links for their names you can read the stories of how each of them came to live with us.

Fourniret update here