Tabbies And Tablets…

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A follow-up to yesterday’s post…

As any pet owner knows, sometimes you have to give your pet medication in tablet form.

As any pet owner knows, this scenario can play out in a number of ways…

With my girls, it is at least a two-person job, preferably three, the third acting as tablet spotter and retriever after it has been flicked away, coughed out, spat out, dropped by a nervous administrator or accidentally inhaled by the holding assistant. Charlie generally has steroid tablets prescribed to reduce the itch/groom cycle… at least I didn’t have to worry about my son spending too long brushing his hair that time…

You can get all sorts of cunning devices from the vet designed to make the giving of tablets easier… the “crusher”, the “cutter”, the “divider”… They don’t work. Trust me. I have it on good authority (me) that they don’t.

If you are lucky enough to have a pet that falls for the “wrapped in a tasty treat” tablet trick, then I am extremely envious; but be warned: there will come a day when you are rumbled. The pet that has swallowed its medication happily and obligingly wrapped up in cheese or bacon (or pate or ham or tuna or sardines or very expensive wet food) will, one day, take the treat, give every appearance of eating it with their usual compliance and then carefully spit out the tablet.

By all means, crush up the tablet with something delicious … like pilchards. Charlie loves pilchards. I thought I was reasonably safe with those… I carefully combined the tiny tablet crushed to powder with a camouflaging amount of pilchards… then watched, disbelieving, as Charlie ate the pilchards and licked the sauce off every crumb of tablet…

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So. The last option is surprise ambush… and generally, if we are lucky, I am the only one that may get nipped if I don’t remove my fingers quickly enough. My son takes Step 1-the enticing of cat onto knee and stroking into purring almost-sleep… The next stage is down to me. I open the tin tablet bottle outside so Charlie’s delicate and supernaturally sensitive ears don’t catch the faintest rattle… I slide back indoors carefully and blend my fingers to the hypnotic stroking…

Oh so carefully, we tilt back the little tabby head and while my son keeps his fingertips under her chin, I place the thumb and forefinger of one hand either side of her tiny jaws and gently ease her mouth open… Then quick as aflash I flick the tablet down her throat, close her mouth and blow in her face.

Six times out of ten, maybe, this will work smoothly and incident-free… the other times descend into a bit of a … kerfuffle. I have found tablets stuffed down the side of the sofa. I have a few scars… both mental and physical…

Really, you wouldn’t think that within 7½ lbs of adorably soft and preciously patterned fur dwells the heart and soul of a fiery tiger warrior princess… all over a tiny tablet!

sdr

Cats and Carriers

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My little cat Charlie is a constant source of joy, delight and inspiration to me… however, sometimes, I do wish she’d just … co-operate.

She has a tendancy towards over-grooming, just the one particular patch of fur, right above the base of her tail. I’ve been through all the possible causes of this, from food allergies to stress, and although, by and large, the problem is under control and resolved, there are still certain times of year, like the Spring moult, when a trip to the vet becomes necessary.

For Christmas this year, my mother bought me a new cat carrier… it’s beautiful, like something Little Red Riding Hood would use to pop a few treats in for Granny; and what’s more, it’s a top-opener. I read an article on Katzenworld about how this style of carrier is the way forward, and I would definitely agree.

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This carrier is sturdy and spacious, the cat has room to turn around and lie down properly in it, the carrying handle is strong, and best of all, you can just pick the cat up and pop them straight in the carrier through the generous sized gap and close the lid. No more of the somewhat “threading a needle with a sausage” scenarios of trying to push an annoyed cat through a tiny door about the size of a postage stamp. Simply – up and in. I don’t know who was more surprised really, me or the cat.

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This vet trip I was on my own… my son had a really important day at college… so he claimed… and I actually had to take Charlie and Lily as they were both due for their boosters. I thought to myself:

Am I mentally and physically strong enough to face a bus journey with two cats; the howling, the stares, the questions – yes. Yes. I can do this.” (I took a taxi.)

Once at the vets, and Lily dealt with, she’s very good at the vets-

_MG_6403 (2)Oh yes, I remember you, weren’t we introduced at the vicar’s tea party last week…”

then it was time to retrieve Madame La Princesse from her luxury basket. I opened the lid and looked in. She looked back at me… I reached in and lifted her out-love the ease of access with these carriers and plonked her on the table for the vet to look at.

NO! No! You keep your hands off me… you… you…VET!”

Charlie has surprising strength for a little cat and rolls herself up like a furry hedgehog lined with teeth and claws. However, duly examined with her usual tablets prescribed, I picked her up and popped her back in the basket. She turned around and lay down in it, glaring at me with large greeny-golden eyes.

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We left the vets, and I paused a moment outside, to consider the pros and cons of the bus journey home. Surely, after such a stress-free vet visit I could – I took a taxi.

I do love this cat carrier though. Years ago, I bought into the foolish idea that a cardboard cat carrier could convincingly contain a cat against its will… Believing this, I attempted to place my large ginger cat into a cardboard carrier to take him to the vet, Ten minutes later, it was all over… for the carrier. Ginger sat in a heap of shredded cardboard, contemptuously picking the last pieces from between his claws and looking at me as if to say “Really?”

I upgraded to the plastic boxes in two halves, with the tiny doors. My old tabby was far too much of a gentleman to try and escape from it, but he did chew through the locking mechanism, just to prove a point.

My current four girls have all done their time in the plastic boxes, and have discovered, that with enough force, they can pop the door off its hinges… stick claws through the gaps and spike the unwary person carrying them… and I am sure that if I inserted a tiny secret camera I would see the contained cat cat jumping up and down inside mosh-pit style…

However. This new cat carrier-by Curver, actually, who also make useful little boxes to put things in, is both comfortable for the cat and practical for the human. (I have carried guinea pigs in buckets and fish in washing up bowls before…)

When I got home and opened the lid for Charlie, she hopped out gracefully and unruffled, rather than elbowing her way through the tiny door like a commuter on a busy train.

Pausing only to glare at me:

Aha! I know you have tablets for me. You won’t get off so lightly with those…”

she disappeared upstairs…

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Crystal Cats And… Um… Cats

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I’m guessing from the title of today’s post you can see where I’m going with this… but just in case… My love of cats started even before I was born. My maternal grandfather died shortly before I was born, so in order to try and provide a little comfort, my father bought my mother a small black kitten, duly named Snoopy.

He would sit on my mother’s bump (me) and purr… I have since read that you can play Mozart to your unborn child to encourage the growth of genius… not sure about purring, whiskers maybe? Snoopy was the first in the line of my feline family and I have been blessed with many memorable characters that have brought their own particular magic to my life.

From the age of about 6 to 12, I had a brown Burmese, Ming, a wonderful companion and comfort. A very vocal and urbane cat, he accompanied me to my grandparents’ house in Wales on weeks away while my parents carried on savaging the wreckage of their marriage.

My grandmother took the presence of a cat in her previously animal-free home with her usual aplomb and ladylike dignity, perhaps recognising the very real comfort I drew from his presence. She only showed concern when Ming set about her textured wallpaper with his toe knives, saying with a slightly pained expression:

Darling, could you perhaps have a word with Ming and ask him not to do that… Nanny quite likes that wallpaper…”

Presently, my Furry Four are my comfort and inspiration, bringers of mice (Lily) and laughter (Ting), muddy pawprints (Tooty) and beauty (Charlie) My attraction to crystals came later, although even as a child I was drawn to the colours and shapes of stones that I found…

So… imagine my delight when my son’s lovely crystal lady had this Malachite cat. I had to have him and rushed to buy him at the first available opportunity. Malachite is quite a powerful crystal, and should be used carefully, ALWAYS in its polished state as it is toxic when rough. Its green swirling patterns reminded me of tabby cat fur, but can also be taken to mean that this crystal is still evolving.

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It is protective and amplifying – if used in healing, it’s especially good for female problems but benefits from being used in combination with something like Clear Quartz. It can soak up electrical and atmospheric pollution and will clear the chakras, bringing fresh alignment and insight, understanding and mental clarity.

This little crystal kitten is Tiger’s Eye, protective and grounding. It brings integrity and determination to the wearer, to help with achieving their goals, promoting confidence and clarity while balancing emotions and helping with depression … my cats always cheer me up…

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And then this crystal cat is Opalite – a Mother’s Day present from my son. Now, Opalite is actually glass, given a milky iridescent sheen, yet even still, it has useful properties. It is linked to the third eye chakra and is said to help with spiritual communications. Opalite is said to have quite a subtle vibration that can help to soothe emotional upset and deal with anxiety in a calm and thoughtful manner. As such, it is an excellent focus for meditation.

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Generally, crystals that have been shaped have a special quality to their energies: spheres emit energy in all directions, rather like turning on an overhead light, eggs can be used to direct and focus energy while rough pieces have a free-flowing energy ready to be purposed to your intent.

I haven’t actually come across any set interpretation for animal shaped crystals… perhaps using an animal form gives the crystal that particular quality … the faithfulness of a dog, the regeneration and joy of a frog… cats admittedly don’t appeal to everybody, but they do have a grace and elegance which is hard to deny as they move silently through the world.

Perhaps, then, feline crystals are purposed with grace and gratitude; a quiet, yet powerful energy, reminiscent of a tiger in the jungle… the warmth and love of a domestic cat upon your knee.

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“You Need Hands…”

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These lyrics fit quite nicely with the theme of this post, and although they were originally Eydie Gorme’s, I remember the Max Bygraves version very clearly… thanks Grandad…

Obviously in addition to hands, we have opposable thumbs, which are generally quite useful, although I still can’t open child-proof caps, and recently, while I was trying to take the cap off an ironically named safety razor, I sliced a perfect semicircle of flesh out of the tip of my thumb. Nothing happened for a moment, but then the blood began to flow and it REALLY hurt… it was on my right hand and it made life awkward for a couple of days as I couldn’t even hold a pen without crying… I’m not very good at pain!

HANDS 1 (2)My hands… clutching Charlie, enjoying a sneaky squish of soft fur before she woke up…

It’s only until you can’t use your hands that you appreciate just how much you really do need them. Animals like cats and dogs can be quite dextrous, using their front paws to grip and manipulate. I adore Charlie’s delicate little paws with her two distinctive ginger toes and pink paw pads – her others are brown. She can use her paws like hands to good effect and I remember being highly amused to see her box my son’s ears…

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I love the varying styles of hands that children draw – apparently hands are, in fact, one of the hardest things to draw – but children tend to draw giant appendages, attached directly to the body, or round circles, with five lines sticking out of them…

The prominence we give to hands in drawings and life even as children suggests they play a dominant role in how we perceive the world and people around us. Hands are one of the first things I look at… I appreciate well-kept hands. I used to bite my nails when I was younger, which made them look horrible; but then when I was thirteen, I started smoking… and stopped biting my nails. (Simple. Exchanging one bad habit for another can stop the previous – NO! Don’t do it!) However, my hands healed, and even though I haven’t smoked for seven months, I haven’t gone back to biting my nails…

As I said, hands are one of the first things I look at on a person – you can tell a lot about the person from how their hands look, and hands are one of the first things we present when meeting someone new… I can admire dainty hands and manicures on a woman, with wonderful shades of nail polish – I don’t myself, as having worked in the food industry, we were discouraged in case of “flaking”… – and I like well-kept hands on a man.

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There’s nothing “girly” about manicures, gentlemen, trust me! My personal preference is “artistic” type hands, long, elegant fingers and oval palms that hint at strength, yet sensitivity… I mentioned this personal preference to a friend and her response was interesting…

Ugh! Spidery hands! I like a man whose hands show they’ve done an honest day’s work!”

My younger son’s hands are a happy blend of mine and his father’s… his father’s rounded fingertips but the length of digit he inherited from me. He told me the other day that hands shaped like ours with a curved line between the bases of the fimgers and the top of the palm and ring and first fingers the same length are “psychic” hands… to which I replied

Ooh! Didn’t see that coming…!”

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