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Sunday, March 1st, 2015 05:43 pm
I promised [livejournal.com profile] shezan that if I saw the kitty who lives downstairs, I'd take a photo. Hence the photo.

His name is Oliver, and he's a lovely kitty, though a bit skittish with strangers.

 photo IMAG0040_zpscc7inl4j.jpg
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Monday, January 12th, 2015 02:08 pm
I'm having a personal "Criminal Minds" fest, and watching through series 5, 6, 7 and now 8.

Tell me, is it common in the US for people to paint the insides of their house/apartment a shade of green somewhere between mint and hunter that I'd classify as 'vomit'. It's turned up several times so far, not necessarily indicative of serial killers, though I have my suspicions.

In other news, things are quiet Chez Lexin, and Smokey is a good cat.
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Monday, September 8th, 2014 04:16 pm
I took the indefatigable Smokey to the vet today for her annual check up and booster jabs. In general she behaved very well, only got away from me once and there wasn't really anywhere she could hide. Sweet kitty.

She also had a flea prevention treatment, not that she comes into contact with other cats much, and she only requires the minimum of jabs because she never goes to a cattery, I have cat sitters for her.

Now she's sitting on the floor, giving me the evil eye as I'm obviously to blame. She had a bit of a panting incident when she got out of her carrier, but seems to have settled down from that. I'm not surprised, too, when someone out of blue sky shoves you into a carrier and you have nasty injections and your claws clipping it's not fun for a kitty.

Now I'm going to give her cuddles.
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Monday, June 16th, 2014 01:00 pm
I've spent part of the morning today trying to support a member who's lost her cat. She's devastated, and probably shouldn't be at work. No doubt management would regard this as a waste of time, but people love their animals, and some total bastard – a person with no conscience whatsoever – poisoned my member's cat with strychnine.

Yes, she is reporting it to the police; her husband is a policeman. We gather that her cat was not the only moggy poisoned in this way, and there is a risk that if some animal picked something poisoned up and then was scared off, a child might pick up whatever it is and end up the same way. So it has to be taken seriously.

But my member is really upset. As I was for her – I can't help thinking that an indoor cat is much easier on the whole. I'm probably over-careful with Smokey, but I love her so much.
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Friday, May 23rd, 2014 12:22 pm
I am back from my trade union's conference. Go me! I got out of London Bridge Station yesterday, straight into one of the worst thunderstorms I've seen in years. The rain was lashing down, and thunder and lightning were right overheard. I've not been physically out in a thunderstorm for years, and it was quite frightening.

Having said that, I had a good time at conference with my friends, but got very tired towards the end.

I am walking very slowly because in addition to my normal problems with my legs (I fell out of a pub in Belgium in 2000 and my right leg never fully recovered) I also have tendonitis of my right ankle. So walking with me is very much of a trial right now, and I felt it very much as we limped between conference centre, restaurant and hotel.

I was so tired I passed up the chance to see the comedian Jeremy Hardy live. With very great regret, because he's often on the Friday Night Comedy from the BBC and is very funny. But I couldn't face another hour awake at that stage. Or with people. I run out of patience with having to make conversation quite fast, too. Comes of being an introvert, I suppose.

So I'm very glad to be home with my little Smokey and am giving and getting lots of cuddles. The cat sitter I got this time weren't as good as the first lady I used. They didn't notice, for instance, that she'd hawked up a hairball on the bedroom carpet, and it must have been there a while because it had dried in place. Yuk. And very hard on the poor kitty, too, I'd think.

Luckily for the kitty, my next trip anywhere isn't until August. So she's got a couple of months where it'll be me to look after her and that should give her some confidence. The cat sitter did say that she has noticeably more confidence when I'm there than when I'm not. Which is nice to know.

So I'm back. Did I miss anything important?
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Saturday, February 15th, 2014 09:58 am
So, I notice that little Smokey has 'something' on her bum. I worry about this for a while (as I do) and then decide to investigate.

I pick up the cat slightly awkwardly in order to have a look at her bum (have you ever tried that with a cat? It does require a second person, really.) Almost totally fail, but decide that it looks like a bit of poo, and not, as I had worried, piles.

Cat escapes, looking a bit ruffled.

Immediately, cat cleans her bum and proves that it was a bit of poo, and I can stop worrying.

Cats.

I mean, really. I didn't want to get that close to your bum anyway.
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Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 09:51 pm
There are not enough cat pictures on the internet and here is one of Smokey doing her celebrated impression of a kipper. She's plum tuckered out having spent part of the evening playing 'fetch' until she knocked my stick against the front door and scared herself. Since then, she's been sleeping off the surprise.

 photo DSCN0180_zps0be438b0.jpg
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Friday, November 8th, 2013 06:34 pm
Smokey has returned, not hungry, slightly dazed and confused, with a bare bit on one leg where they put the anaesthetic in, but with sparkling teeth.

I'm told the tartar was worse than they'd expected - really very bad in places, and she had swollen gums because of it. So done just in time. But the teeth underneath the covering of crap are in good condition and none needed to be extracted. They didn't do x-rays as the teeth didn't give any indication of caries.

I've been told to feed her on special "dental" cat food one day in three or so and to slowly stop feeding her wet food. She won't like that, though I wonder if her preference for wet food was because of her teeth.

Smokey behaved well throughout, didn't bite anyone and was quite laid back about it all.

I am, of course, being given the cold shoulder treatment by the kitty - though from fairly close by. So she's annoyed with me, but wants to be near me, just in case.

I'm so pleased to have her back safe, I can't tell you!
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Thursday, October 31st, 2013 10:11 am
In honour of Black Cat Day (which it is) here is a picture of Smokey, looking cute.

There are just not enough cat pictures on the internet. So sue me.

 photo catandassoc063_zpse13a0220.jpg
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Monday, September 30th, 2013 04:41 pm
Smokey spent part of the afternoon sat behind my chair, waiting for me to stop work and pay attention to her. From time to time she trilled and chirped, just to remind me she was there.

So I took a couple of photos of her from above, of which this is one.


 photo catandassoc014_zpsd0701b11.jpg
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Thursday, September 26th, 2013 04:19 pm
So here's a picture of my cat.

Smokey grooming herself on the window ledge photo catandassoc039_zps2ad053cb.jpg

Black cats don't photograph all that well, unfortunately.
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Monday, September 23rd, 2013 01:26 pm
I know you’re all still on the edge of your seats to hear how I’m doing with Smokey.

She had a good weekend, lots of cuddles and scritches, though she is definitely not as clingy as she was when she first came to me. Having a cat that won’t let you out of the room without following is sometimes quite fun, but I’m rejoicing at the fact that she’s growing more confident. She still doesn’t like the computer or the iPad, though. They take my attention away from cats, which is where it should be in her opinion.

She did really well with my gaming friends. I sorted out a place where she could go and hide, which had food, water, her favourite blanket and so on. In the end, though, she hardly used it.

She insisted on staying in the room with my friends, occasionally drawing attention to herself but generally happy to watch them and blink slowly in the way of cats and when she wanted support she came and sat on me. She did have a mad twenty minutes where she ran from the living room to the kitchen and back again repeatedly – I don’ t know what she was about there – but it was short lived.

Today, she meets the cleaner. That should be fun and games for all as it’ll be her first encounter with that creature of evil, the vacuum cleaner. Also the hissy thing that is the iron.

I changed the litter in her tray and gave the tray a wash; never a fun job but it has to be done. I have to say, modern cat litter is very much easier to cope with (if no lighter) than the stuff we used when I had cats before in the early 1980s to the early 1990s. There seems to have been a step change in cat litter technology in the intervening years.

Her appetite seems to have improved considerably – one thing that’s helped is that I tested a different brand of dry cat food on her, and she much prefers it. The down side is that it’s Iams (the only ‘serious’ cat food you can get in supermarkets) and one of my FB friends says that Iams test on animals.

I’m a bit torn over this news. I see any animal testing as a bad thing (though I accept that in science it’s sometimes unavoidable) but on the other hand at least someone has tested the food to check that cats like the stuff. It seems better than formulating and manufacturing a cat food just hoping cats like it (which the manufacturer seems to have done with Go-Cat judging by Smokey’s attitude towards it). However, I’ve ordered some small bags of alternatives from an online pet store to check against it to see if she’ll like those even better.

Then I won’t tell anyone what brand she went for, in case it has an even worse reputation. Frankly my definite preference is that my cat eats her food and fills out a bit – because at the moment she’s a bit of a thin thing and a thank-you. I don’t want her fat, but I want her flanks to fill out.

In other news

It seems there will be a voluntary retirement/redundancy scheme advertised today or tomorrow. I’m very tempted to get a quote just to see how much I’d get if I decided to go. You don’t have to accept the quote and anyway I’m a bit young to retire – but I hate working for this government so very much.
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Friday, September 20th, 2013 02:14 pm
Smokey slept on my bed again last night – though this time without constantly waking me for cuddles and scritches. She woke up fully at about six and hassled me to get up, which I did when my alarm went off at six thirty.

I sorted out the litter tray, changed her food over from the wet food which had been out overnight to the kibble she has during the day, "assisted" by the kitty round my feet and jumping on the worktop. She had almost finished the pouch of wet food she'd been given, which I was pleased about. She sniffed at the new kibble, but didn't start eating it.

By the time I was ready to sit down with a cup of tea (washed, dressed and ready to go to work) she had her back to me while she looked out of the window, and she ignored me for the full 40 minutes it took me to drink my tea, despite being called over for a cuddle and a scritch – so I went to work, when I was ready.

I think what's going on is still separation anxiety.

Yesterday evening, after my day at work, she was all over me like a rash; she spent almost the entire evening on my lap, on my chest or curled up in a ball next to me. (So cute!) She hadn't had enough of me come bed time and followed me to bed.

Morning, and I was still there – but didn't give the preferred smelly wet food. Hence sulks.

I will see what happens when I get home.

People reading my FB will know that I'm still concerned that she's not eating as much as I think she should, but I did a bit of digging around on the internet this lunchtime, and actually I don't think she's going as short as I imagined. Cats don't need as much food as I'd thought they did and she is eating. I shall just have to check the calorie content of her food when I get home.

She's a small cat, I don't think she's losing weight (though I'm watching that carefully) and her coat is still glossy and sleek. She's also grooming herself quite happily – often on my chest – and apart from this morning's sulks is usually up for a scritch behind the ears.

The other concern is the lack of playing behaviours, but I don't know what she was used to in her previous home. She belonged to an old lady who died, and I don't know whether this lady played with her – it may be that she belonged to the species of cat owners who don't realise you should. My mother never played with her cats, when she had them – though they were outdoor cats so presumably they entertained themselves during the night. They certainly never did much during the day.
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Thursday, September 19th, 2013 12:20 pm
Much better night for me; Smokey didn't put a paw inside my bedroom during the whole night (that I noticed) meaning at least I got some sleep. I'm still a bit tired from Tuesday.

I heard her at about 3:30am crunching her dry cat food, so she is eating something. This is a great comfort; I shall have to trust her that she's eating enough.

Also at some stage during the night she'd had a play – her ping-pong balls weren't where I'd left them on the floor. This is something else; she's slow to play with me – she'll run after a ping-pong ball once, but after that she's not interested. The only thing she's betrayed much interest in patting is my lanyard I use for my work passes. She's not at all interested in my mouse-on-a-string, for example.

I got up early, got dressed and sorted out the litter tray (she'd used it once in the 24 hours) then gave her half an hour's cuddles before I came to work. She tried to persuade me that she deserved a cat treat, but I was having none of it. I'm saving treats for when I get home.

As I arrived early I should be home by five, and we'll see how much of the flat is left!

I think she's doing quite well settling in given that today is only her second full 24 hours in my house.

Irritation one

I have visitors on Saturday that I can't put off, and I'll have to put her in my bedroom with a litter tray, toys, food and drink while my guests are there. They're all men – gamers, it's an AD&D Saturday – and I don't want to scare her with loud voices and big feet. Is that the right thing? I can't think of what else to do.

Irritation two

When I collected her I was told she'd need some treatment for her teeth – she's got some tartar that needs taking off. The RSPCA will be in touch as they'll be doing it and she'll need a night back there.

I said that would be OK – thinking nothing of it – but she's so clingy that I'm concerned that it'll really upset her.

She's getting less clingy as time passes, but what sort of length of time should I allow to pass before getting the treatment done? Better done sooner or later? What do people think?
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Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 07:34 am
Up at a sparrow's fart after a very disturbed night. Smokey (for it was she) came and "slept" on my bed.

This "sleeping" involved wanting fuss every hour on the hour, then going to sleep for an hour on my feet, rinse and repeat all through the night until about 4am, when she disappeared to sleep properly because it was clearly all too much for a simple cat to cope with.

She's currently behind the sofa (I think) having a kip, whereas I'm up and looking at my work laptop through bleary eyes.

The good news, though, is that she's eating and is using her litter tray just fine. (By the way, thank you [livejournal.com profile] shezan for recommending that kind of litter tray. It's very much easier for me to cope with and Smokey just loves it.)

We are having something of a Mexican standoff about dry cat food. She's not keen (despite being fed it at the RSPCA) whereas I think it should form the mainstay of a cat's diet and is good for her teeth. We'll see who has the stomach for the fight. So to speak.

This is my best photo of her so far - still a bit blurry:

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k169/lexin0/catandassoc020_zps62feb5b8.jpg
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Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 06:04 pm
The kitty has landed!

She has immediately gone to ground behind the desk. I offered her some food and she came out for a sniff around the place but did't accept the food. I assume she's not hungry enough yet to accept food from a stranger.

She's now gone back behind the desk and I'm letting her stay there and calm down. She'll come out in her own time when she's hungry or perhaps needs a poo. She hasn't yet spotted the litter tray, so I'm resigned to collecting cat poo from behind there in due course.

She was beautifully behaved on the journey over, even though it took ages as it was rush hour. Just the odd meow when we went over speed bumps.

Now I'm sorting out my dinner as I'm not going hungry while I wait for her to sort herself out!
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Thursday, September 12th, 2013 04:26 pm
I am signed off as a fit and proper person to have control of a cat. So to speak - as someone on FB pointed out, the cat will probably control me.

Therefore at some stage over the weekend, I'll be going to Holloway to meet the indoor kitties looking for forever homes.
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Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 03:11 pm
Well, the RSPCA are going to come to my house to interview me on Thursday and I have to do some prep for that – I am a bit nervous that I won't be found worthy of having a cat from them. Some of my Facebook friends tell me I'm being overly concerned, but I can't help it. I hate interviews of any kind.

I won't have time to prepare everything to be ready for the little catty arrival by Thursday, but it should be helpful – shouldn't it? – that I know what I have to do. This is largely thanks to the advice of my friends here and on Facebook, I know I wouldn't have thought of half of it without you!

My work friend who volunteers for the RSPCA has offered to lend me a cat carrier, and will have it there ready for me assuming I pass the inspection. I should be able to see the cats on offer at the weekend, I hope – it means going to some place in north(ish) London that begins with an H. (Possibly Holloway.) I trust I will remember where before I have to go there – I can always ring them and ask for directions, I suppose.

As for bringing my new friend home, I shall have to get a taxi. Unless they deliver – my friend seemed to think there was a good chance they might deliver. Which seems odd, but you never know.

I do know they did deliver years ago when my (ex) husband and I had a cat from a rescue place which may or may not have been the RSPCA.

That was one weird cat. We were told that it might be shy – might come out of its cat carrier slowly and take a slow look around and investigate the place.

Not so. When the cat arrived, my ex put the carrier down on the floor in the living room, opened the top…and didn't have time to stand back because the cat came out of its carrier as if the hounds of hell were after him and shot round the room like greased lightning. We just stood back and watched, amazed that this 'shy' cat was hitting the sound barrier. He did calm down after a while, but wow, that cat was fast!

We called him Hernu (Hernaux?) after a French politician then in the news who'd disgraced himself over some problem with a Greenpeace ship. (I don't remember the exact details after so long.) My ex said that the brains of our new cat just about matched this politician, a bit like calling a cat David Mellor.

I have very fond memories of Hernu. Not because he was a clever cat (on the contrary, he was rather dim – Hernu chased flies but the flies regularly outwitted him), not because he was a handsome cat (he was lean and rangy, scraggy and rather untidy, like Aragorn-as-Strider but with whiskers, a cat who had never quite tucked his shirt in and whose socks were always falling down), and not because he was an affectionate cat (he came to humans strictly on his own terms) but because he was our cat.
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Monday, September 9th, 2013 11:32 am
I am actively considering getting a cat. A work friend volunteers for the RSPCA and they currently have four indoor cats that might suit me. I live in a first floor flat so no way is an outdoor cat going to work.

Cat owners - what should I bear in mind? What should I look out for? What questions should I ask?

The four cats the RSPCA have are indoor cats with no current known health problems. There are two white cats, a brother and a sister aged 1 (which they would prefer to home together), a male black cat aged 6 and a female tabby aged 6.
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