Thursday, June 30, 2011


Cats looks as different from each other as do people. It’s hard to believe sometimes. Two dogs can look so different from each other that one can barely credit that they belong to the same species. That probably has to do with the fact that dogs have been bred through the ages for certain purposes. Imagining the results of similar practical breeding in cats could boggle the mind. But cats are enjoyed principally for their company, though many do work hard on farms catching mice - but they don’t need special breeding to do that.

My cats look quite different from each other. I’m not writing simply about their colouring or size. I suppose Tungsten looks the most ‘ordinary’ of the three (plus one). Nothing about her face is flat, large, protruding, recessed or anything that would contribute to a ‘distinguishing’ mark. She does have a slightly damaged left eye (something to do with the pupil) which doesn’t cause her any problems. But I’m writing about shape and natural characteristics, not scars or injuries picked up along the way. (And, unfortunately, rescued cats usually have a few of those). Tungsten looks average; all of her uniqueness is found inside.

Josie has an ‘alien’ type of cat-face. Imagine falling unconscious and waking up, strapped to a table, with that expression looking down at you. It’s enough to see it looking up at me…

Her nose is quite different. It starts off at the bridge the same white colour as the rest of her face, then becomes pinker as it progresses. At the front, it becomes the colour of the old Eberhard Faber pencil erasers, and is outlined in black, something I’ve seen in a number of cats.

Renn is my big boy. His face is big, his features are big. He has a big nose. His brothers (of whom there were four, I think; Charlie is still available for adoption through the PAW web-site) all have similarly big features. It’s a family resemblance. Even his whiskers are big, and plentiful. He has an interesting tuft of grey hair behind each ear. These don’t count just as coloration differences, since the hair there is of a distinct texture from his black and white fur. From what I can see in pictures of Charlie, this may be a family trait, too.

My foster-cat, Tucker, is like a teddy bear or a furry baby, though he’s five years old. A round head, a flat face, big cheeks and no neck. And a tiny nose for his size. It’s a little curved thing that is perfectly pink at its flat end. It could definitely be described as ‘button’ - though he threatens to nip me if I try pushing it.

No matter what my cats look like, they are wonderful to see when I come through the door.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back From Holidays

We’re back. I haven’t published much in the last three weeks because I’ve been on holiday. That should mean that I had more time for writing articles, but it didn’t work out that way.

The cats are all doing nicely. Josie and Renn went for their yearly examinations and both were pronounced well. Josie is overweight. I knew that. I knew it last year when I was informed that she was overweight. But she was commended on her teeth. They were in excellent shape ‘for a cat her age’. She’s supposedly a senior. She’s seven years old. In human terms that would make her thirty-five, not even middle-aged, and if a cat lives to be about sixteen or eighteen years, then she hasn’t even passed the half-way mark in her life. Senior, indeed.

The white one continues to be friendlier and friendlier, wanting attention whenever I give it. She even visited me in the bathroom one evening; that’s a dubious improvement in her character, but even so, it’s something the other cats do, especially Renn, and something my Chubs has not done before.

Renn was very scared during the trip to the veterinary. He’s still quite nervous of unknown things. But with people he knows, he is bolder than he used to be, and eager to receive attention.

According to my own attempts at weighing the cats, all have lost weight - yes, even Josie, a little bit - except for Tucker. The roly poly one is getting both rolier and polier. He has started to imitate Renn’s method for starting play in the nylon tunnel, and thrusting himself into one of the holes in the top. Unfortunately, he can’t fit as well as Renn - and my big boy barely fits at all. Tucker has not played in the tunnel until recently, and I think it is an example of one cat learning from another. But he’s a fun, friendly fellow, though his squeaks and trills are the least cat-like sounds imaginable.

And Tungsten remains the same. She hasn’t grown to like Tucker any more, still tolerates Josie and is the barest of friends with Renn. She continues to be the top-cat of the household and Tucker seems not to try any longer to get close to her. (He appears to have shifted more emphasis to becoming friends/annoying Josie.) The orange one is active when she wants to be, rushing about the house by herself, jumping at the string toy when she feels like it and snoozing much of the time. She is not a cat who interests herself in the outside world too much. Her life is inside: food in the bowl, water from the tap, a lap to lie on and a cushion to sleep on. She’s happy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We're Still Here

We’re still here, though it’s been a while since I’ve published anything on behalf of the three cats (and one). The fact is that I’m on holiday, and have been as lazy as some of my furry friends here. I’ve tried to put up other videos, but they haven’t worked, so I’ll stick to still pictures. They were successful for sixty or seventy years before movies came along, so I figure I’m good for a bit yet.

I should mention that though I’m not qualified to give advice on anything - except maybe on how not to cut a cat’s claws when she doesn’t want you to - I received a comment recently from ‘Anonymous’ about a troublesome cat. The only thing I can suggest is to speak with the neighbour whose cat it is. I’m sure that’s been tried, but it’s the best start.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Moving Pictures: Tungsten

Though there hasn’t been much to report about the three cats I have (plus a fourth), I thought I would try something new. This video briefly shows Tungsten playing. She plays when and how she wants, but when she does, she can put all her energy into it. I’ll publish other videos of the cats when I have them - and if this one works. Until then, enjoy this view of my senior cat - bear in mind that she’s eleven - having fun.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rest for the Weary

Cats sleep a great deal. It’s something that I’ve noticed over time, but only because I’ve been a particularly keen observer of the feline animal.

I envy cats their ability to sleep. More precisely, I envy cats their opportunities to sleep. I suppose one can sleep as much as the average house-cat if one doesn’t need a job, doesn’t have many hobbies and whose principal interest in life, aside from food, is sleeping.

Cats seem to be able to sleep, or at least rest, anywhere and at any time. They will sleep in the sun - in the middle of summer, with their bodies covered in fur and their temperatures higher than humans - or sleep in the shade. They can sleep on soft cushions or hardwood floors. They can sleep in the quiet of a country Sunday morning or the back of a car at rush-hour.

My cats enjoy resting. After waking from a long night’s sleep, there’s nothing they like more than recovering with a lengthy nap. Yet each has his or her unique way of lying, and preferred places for sleeping.

Tungsten is my only true lap-cat. She likes lying on my lap, and will let me know when she thinks it’s time for me to quit whatever silliness I am doing (if it doesn’t involve her, it’s silly) and sit, thus providing a lap upon which she may recline. At times, she will lie more or less straight, with her head upon my knee. At others, she will curl in a ball, periodically covering her eyes with her paws. She enjoys curling her little orange form around my hand, and dozing with my fingers on her side or stomach. It must make her feel secure; perhaps she likes the warmth of my hand.

When away from my lap, Tungsten likes the cushion of the dining chair nearer the wall. There is apparently a noticeable difference in comfort or texture between the chairs’ cushions, because she will choose one over the other. This is her favourite spot; she rarely resorts to the cat-trees, as does Josie, almost never snoozes on the floor, as will Tucker, and doesn’t care for drifting off beside me like Renn. There are other places in, on or at which she sleeps, but they are rarities.

Josie loves her cat-tree. The top platform is the best for her, and though she will lie on lower levels to peer out the window, only the highest is right for sleeping. These platforms are covered with carpet-like material, fibrous, made of plastic and no doubt highly toxic if ever set ablaze, but this does not worry my Chubs. She will flop down on the platform, sometimes resting her head on the parapet that runs around three sides of the highest level of the highest cat-tree, and drift off to dream of...whatever her unconscious conjures up.

But her places of relaxation are more varied than Tungsten’s. She will sometimes choose the other dining chair cushion - the one Tungsten does not prefer - on which to lie, though she rarely sleeps there. The duvet, when folded at the end of my bed, provides my Chubs with ease, and she may be found there frequently. But there has come into the house new furniture - armchairs downstairs in the library and a loveseat and ottoman in the back parlour - which she has decided are good enough for her. I was thinking of obtaining more cat-beds for the house, particularly downstairs, but since the armchairs’ arrival, the cats don’t seem to need anywhere else to curl up. And the back parlour is the sunniest room in the house; Josie, though not much of a sun-cat, has found sunshine more to her taste when it falls on the softness of padded upholstery.

Renn can sleep almost anywhere. His favourite place is near me, though I say so myself. When I sit on the couch to read or listen to music, he will usually jump down from the lower sitting room cat-tree, where he has been resting and keeping an eye on the neighbourhood, and come over to curl up in the corner of the couch half a foot from me. First he will raise his paw at me, letting me know he needs some attention, and then turn in circles. Sometimes, he will prefer to lie right against me, in which case he likes to have his chest rubbed ad infinitum, and will sometimes drift off like that. As with Tungsten, he enjoys the feel of my hand on his chest and will look up, wondering if there is a problem, when I try to take it away.

But Renn is flexible. He will lie on the bedroom cat-tree and watch the birds; he will rest on the duvet on the bed; he will snooze on the new ottoman in the back parlour; he will form himself into a ball on an armchair downstairs. My big boy is undemanding when it comes to his leisure.

Finally, we come to Tucker, who sometimes likes what appears to be the least comfortable situations. He’s still not accepted by the others, and so usually sits apart from them. When I’m on the couch, his place is on the arm to my left. Despite being of a completely different build than Renn, who can straddle the arm of the couch easily, the roly poly one manages to maintain a position despite seeming ready to slip off at any moment.

He also likes the armchair opposite, where he snoozes leaning against the little table next to it. Again, it seems rather an awkward position, but he likes it. Once, he managed to lie there next to Renn.

He too enjoys the firmness of the downstairs armchairs and I’ve seen him indulging in the relative expansiveness of the new loveseat in the parlour. Occasionally, he burrows under the covers of the bed.

But he is a cat who doesn’t appear to mind unusual positions or hard surfaces. Oftimes, he will simply spread himself on hardwood or linoleum, his legs stretched out behind him, his ‘bathing beauty pose’, ready for his photography shoot on a beach.

Each cat finds his or her own place for much needed relaxation. Each has his or her own tastes, preferences and sense of comfort. It’s not where or how one rests after all, but whether indeed one does rest. And a cat will always achieve that if given a chance.