Gold And Goodbyes.

29746940_219689532109795_1301520642_o

Strictly speaking, Gold is a mineral, not a crystal, but it still has its place in the world of healing and therapy. It is said to inspire knowledge, encourage spirituality and bring true understanding of the physical and spiritual self so they can be united and complete.

29830693_219689245443157_1870488227_o

It is traditionally a symbol of wealth but is also said to encourage generosity and compassion, a mineral made for sharing and caring, not hoarding. Gold can also be associated with purity and development.

29748850_219690195443062_1011509449_o

Gold can help with the balancing of the heart chakra and its purity is also credited with the ability to preserve thoughts and information which can be accessed at a later date. It clears negativity from the chakras and aura and is a lovely way to connect with higher energies.

Physical examples of gold’s ability to endure can be found in the jewellery and relics of Roman..Saxon… Egyptian times…however far you care to go back, and it is a wonderfully positive mineral to have about you, wear, or use. It has a lot of positive associations – a golden handshake, golden years and so on, and who isn’t happy with the gift of golden jewellery.

29693961_219692195442862_1222036202_o

We recently had to say goodbye to Lucky the budgie and it actually upset me a lot more than I anticipated. You see, we’d had him for nearly ten years – my little dog Lulu found him when we were out walking the dogs (A Lucky Save), Walter, my beloved old cat knew him, he’d watched Charlie grow from kitten to princess and was distinctly unimpressed with Ting and Tooty – these animals were and are all part of a long golden chain linked by love.

Animals that I have known and loved and the privilege to share my life with, spanning forty and more years, from Walter to Tibby, his mother, to Mogwai, Ginger and Ming my Burmese, then Snoopy, my very first cat. Not forgetting the dogs… from Lulu to Rebel to Rowan to Rosie to Shadow and Wolf, then Nikki and Bruce… all the way back to my mother’s first dog Beauty and cat, Peppy…

29894030_220600685352013_559639953_o

A roll call of the faithful, their love still shining as bright as any gold in a chain of love that carries us through our days and helps us if we lose our way. So, although goodbyes can be sad, treasure them like gold as we forge a new link in our lives.

29884407_219691668776248_163835919_o

Love always xx

Animal Incidents

29243042_216592995752782_1669466552_o (1)

As regular readers know, my many encounters with various representatives of the Animal Kingdom have a variety of outcomes, often ending with aforesaid creature affixing teeth into various parts of my anatomy, or leaving me in tears… of laughter.

Here are a few examples of the latter… When I was younger, I was fortunate enough to visit a few countries on holiday with my mother – a memorable one was Crete. We were walking back to the hotel one afternoon after a pleasant day of sight-seeing when my mother spied a very large, very green grasshopper, sitting, with no apparent regard for its own safety in the middle of the pavement.

Oh look, poor thing, I have to rescue it!”

She swooped down on it and picked it up, where it lay happily enough, along the length of her finger. We went about twenty paces, me exclaiming at the bravery of my mother in saving the poisonously green insect, when it wiggled its mandibles vigorously, stretched them open really wide and BIT the tip of my mother’s finger.

She screamed and shook her hand furiously, flicking the creature into a conveniently placed flowerbed.

Bloody thing!! No gratitude at all!

I laughed…

Another incident involved Alex – we used to have a pair of pet rats, who enjoyed having time out to play in the front room. Alex was only about three at the time and he was eating a sweet. He bent down to look at one of the rats and the sweet fell out of his mouth… just as he reached out to get it, the other rat darted past and grabbed the sweet and ran under the sofa with it. Alex gave a scream of rage – he was enjoying that sweet! – and flung himself on the floor with his arm outstretched under the sofa in an attempt to retrieve it.

I laughed…

Now, this next incident I didn’t personally witness, but I heard so many retellings of it from various sources it became almost legendary. Alex went on a school trip to “Monkey Forest”, a wildlife park that is mainly devoted to … yes, monkeys. He was walking a little distance away from his classmates, slightly nearer to the open, paddock-style enclosure, when a large baboon appeared and began to keep pace with him. Alex thought: “Oh how sweet!” But then another joined the first one. And another. A couple more. Alex began to walk a little faster. Another couple joined the group… he walked a little faster still as several more fell in behind the lead monkey on the other side of the fence. By this time, Alex was practically running , parallel to the monkey marathon on the other side until at last his nerve broke and he screamed at the lead monkey who screamed right back at him. The pack broke away and scattered. Of course, the onlookers found this highly amusing, but Alex was quite indignant when he told me.

I laughed…

Poor Alex… one evening, I was lying in bed, Charlie curled up beside me and Alex came in to say goodnight. He thought he would croon a tender version of “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera to Charlie. She opened one eye and sighed in visible irritation. Just as Alex reached a particularly emotional part: “ … you are beautiful, no matter what they say -” she leaped up and grabbed his head between her paws to box his ears. He shrieked in alarm and spiralled away while Charlie followed, claws firmly fixed in his scalp and they waltzed away down the length of my bed… I was crying…

29391414_216592049086210_244225516_o

Now, when ever I hear this song, all I can picture is the deadly duo of child and cat, spinning down my bed. Hysterical. As I said though, just a small selection. I’m pretty sure they’ll be more…

29243351_216593109086104_1431660432_o

Disappointing Dogs…

29495781_216014839143931_4990283133552164864_o

By this I don’t mean that I find dogs disappointing – far from it. Although I really am a “cat person” we have always had dogs, when I was growing up, and my mother still has dogs now. They are family to me – I learned to walk holding on to our rescue greyhound, Gypsy, and a succession of German Shepherds have been sister dogs and companions to me.My older son doesn’t get this… it annoys him if the dogs look at him while we’re eating; whereas to me, sharing my food with animals is second nature…I am often to be found eating my lunch with one cat on my knee and Ting reaching out a long brown arm in an attempt to swipe something. If I am having dinner at my mother’s and Erin sighs at me and says “Nom-noms!” how am I supposed to resist?

29391536_216582512420497_507714505_o

Alex, my younger son, has a similar affinity with animals. Some of my fondest memories involve visiting petting zoos etc. with both my sons – Alex would engage directly with all the animals, talking to them, touching them, my older son was nearly eaten by a goat and refused to participate.

29513875_216582869087128_271222187_o (1)

My mother’s dog Rowan was a great playmate for Alex, he would take his toys outside to play and explain the long and complicated game to her. She gave every appearance of both listening and being interested. Alex loves our canine family members too and they sense this and respond – when he came home at Christmas, Rocky was so pleased to see him he jumped straight over the four foot high garden gate and into his arms.29391434_216583372420411_1549045352_o

Likewise, my sister, who has three dogs of her own, two crossbreeds and a bulldog – they adore Alex. When we visit, the room is full of waving tails, grinning jaws and panting breath.

29496998_216013429144072_2165596568764284928_o

Then. And then. Then comes the disappointment. Alex returns to university. It’s just me. I go to visit my sister – the dogs are crowding at the door, panting and eager:

“Where is he? Where’s the fun one? Where’s the boy? Where … oh. It’s you. Just you.”

They look at me, having first looked behind me to ascertain that Alex isn’t hiding behind me… under my coat or in my bag… just in case he isn’t somehow immediately visible. Or perhaps delayed. I am subjected to a cursory sniff and a polite wag of the tail, then they return to their beds, disappointment evident in every line of their body.

“Yeah… just her then.”

“She’s boring – she screams when I snot on her…”

“I know – she doesn’t like muddy paw prints either…”

You get the idea.

So, leaving one set of disappointed dogs, I carry on down to my mother’s, mentally preparing myself to fail the next lot of canine expectations. My mother’s dogs hear the garden gate and they’re up at the windowsill, smiling and smearing their noses on the glass – I can hear my mother –

“Get off the bloody curtains!”

And then they see me. Just me. The tail wagging decreases a gear, the grins are slightly less frantic…

“Oh. Just her then.”

“Oh no! Oh no. The boy’s gone! But I love him!”

This from Rocky. I open the door and am quickly nose-frisked –

“Nope, she’s seen her sister, but no boy…”

I am subjected to the same inspection:

“No, he’s not behind her… check her bag… not in the hallway..”

Rocky and Erin resume their previous activities. I am left feeling distinctly lacking in dog -worthiness.

I cheer up at the thought of going home, having spent an afternoon disappointing dogs. Surely the cats will be pleased to see me… won’t they?

29512868_216549095757172_2640282637855358976_o
“Ohh… back so soon?”

Kakortokite And Kisses…

24201056_162728607805888_67929188_o

When I first saw this crystal it reminded me of this wonderful chocolate I used to be able to get… a decadently sweet but oh-so-smooth white chocolate with little surprises of freeze dried raspberry gently enfolded within its silky embrace. Similarly, this crystal is a sweet and happy little stone that can help with lifting depression and also SAD.

24251167_1943939032592931_1831520903_o

Kakortokite is a lovely stone for winter because its sugary sweet vibe lifts and energises, helping to re-invigorate the body with fresh life. It asks for immediate attention, to help you deal with the present moment, giving you the energy to make the best of your present moment but also giving you the confidence and insight into how to improve it.

24197243_162728454472570_1904549904_o

Kakortokite’s confidence boost encourages others to trust and have confidence in you too, helping to overcome jealousy whilst promoting forgiveness, a sugar boost to the soul, a cosmic kiss to lift and cheer while reaffirming your connection with Mother Earth.

Does Charlie want a kiss-kiss?” is usually her cue to turn tail and flee as I approach her, arms outstretched, a look of manic love on my face… I do love to kiss the cats and although they respond in varying ways, there is nothing quite as sweet and fulfilling as delivering a smacking kiss to my cats’ heads.

I know not to push my luck with Lily – I have actually seen her bite Alex’s nose before. Tooty tends to struggle and honk-meow if you pick her up for a cuddle and has absolutely no compunction in farting as a means of self-defence if you don’t let her go. Ting will screw up her face in protest but allow me to kiss her and Charlie kisses are just the best… she has such soft fur and such a special delicious scent that if I could bottle it I’d make a fortune… and sometimes, just sometimes, she will reward my kisses with the tiniest of purrs, to let me know that my excessive show of love is, after all, appreciated.

Kisses are funny old things really. I remember watching a wildlife programme on childrens television years ago, where this wonderfully macho presenter and naturalist had fought his way through the jungles of the Amazon with his tough, veteran camera crew, and they had discovered a new species of rat, the Giant Pouched Rat, I think. However, what amused me was the sight of them all standing around with this cute furry animal, totally adorable with big round eyes and soft brown fur, completely unafraid of people, taking turns to cuddle it. And even as the presenter was saying how really human interference should be avoided, he couldn’t help himself and dropped a little kiss on the rat’s head.

Alex has an affinity for owls. Not quite sure if that’s symbolic somehow, but you can guarantee generally wherever we go, there will be a wild bird display, a raptor event, or my favourite, a regular sight in the city, a random man walking around holding a barn owl. As you do. Obviously, as a careful parent, my first question is “Are they friendly? Is is all right to touch them?” But Alex is straight in there for a kiss. These birds could probably do some serious damage, but they accept these kisses with good grace and enjoyment, the little barn owl even lifting its heart-shaped feathery face for more…

24201180_162875757791173_2142199625_o

So then, crystals, kisses and cats. Chocolate, owls and rats. A mix of subjects but I hope you agree words and pictures to make you happy!

With many thanks to Liz who understood and interpreted my request for “that crystal that looks like chocolate..”

Abalone And Anthropomorphic Animals…

23998479_161097701302312_1716487419_oAbalone is actually an edible shellfish, a member of the clam family, and while the creature itself can be eaten, its shell has metaphysical benefits too. Its wonderful iridescent shell is said to bring feelings of love, compassion and peace, with a particularly gentle vibration, perhaps because the abalone was once a living creature nurtured by the sea.

24085126_161097627968986_595244091_o

Abalone is soothing and calming, a good focus for meditation as you look into its shimmering spiral, and it also brings physical peace. It can be used to help with arthritis and other joint disorders, as well as helping with muscle, heart and digestion problems.

23998543_161097514635664_1827227735_o

A bridge, a little step between worlds and a pause in a time of ever-evolving emotions, Abalone will bring peace and clarity in situations where feelings are volatile.

23960969_161097554635660_1329613660_o (1)

Anthropomorphism”… fabulous word… essentially, the action of ascribing human emotions to an animal. In years gone by, people have rubbished the idea that animals could possibly feel emotions, but only now, science is starting to provide proof what your average pet owner has known all along. Of COURSE animals are capable of both feeling and demonstrating emotions, very effectively too.

Studies have been conducted into whales and their family dynamics, which show not only do they have relationships as deep and complex as humans, they feel emotions such as grief just as strongly as we do. I watched a television programme where a mother whale’s grief over the death of her baby affected the whole pod, so achingly apparent it made me cry too…

My father was one of the old school type of vets where animals were regarded as tools to help man, rather than as co-companions on this Earth, but nowadays, vets are generally a lot more… animal-friendly. I definitely do NOT think I am guilty of anthropomorphism when it comes to Charlie…on one of our vet visits, we happened to see a vet we’d seen maybe four months previously, who had deemed the emptying of Charlie’s anal glands necessary…

Oh yes. Charlie clearly remembered and despised this man who had so rudely grabbed her and squeezed her bottom. She folded in on herself, with her tail firmly tucked over her lady places and… glowered…Despite his most seductive cooing, “Oh my, you’re SO beautiful”, my little cat firmly refused to let this man examine the royal backside. He had to settle for prescribing her some tablets “just in case”, eyeing her doubtfully as she continued to make smiling threats…

On the other hand, Charlie is capable of expressing a whole range of emotions from joy to excitement to wonder… Already she is displaying anticipation of the big day…she knows she gets presents and special treats.

23998189_161098044635611_1442610306_o

I even inflict Christmas on the budgie…this plastic budgie (as seen in the picture) was my misguided attempt to give Lucky a little company. For days, he huddled on the perch furthest away from the polymer playmate, looking miserable every time I saw him. Then one day I caught him…sharing a tender moment and chattering confidingly to his new friend.

23960941_161097797968969_119646920_o

But what do you buy a dragon for Christmas? My sister’s bearded dragon was definitely interested in Alex… I was quite interested by how the dragon – Frank – actually felt to the touch, sort of like a cold, leathery pastry crust.

23960907_161098177968931_1547628932_o

My point is though of course animals have and demonstrate emotions – they have infinite patience and compassion for mankind in sharing their lives and this beautiful planet with us.

When a man has love and respect for all living creatures, only then is he noble.”

Buddha

Princess Charlotte And The Smelly Red Not-A-Dog

23714903_157555868323162_1125057208_o
A picture of a picture…foxes are reluctant to pose… 

It was a crisp, early Autumn morning, the sort that I can tolerate without too much complaining since the sun was already shining comfortably, the sky was bright blue and the fallen leaves from the apple tree were crunchy underfoot rather than soggy.

Even though I no longer smoke, I still like to take an early morning saunter around the garden to check on the progress of the various plants and restrain myself from pulling the occasional one up to see if it’s growing.

Generally, one or more of the cats accompanies me on these little excursions and on this particular morning, Charlie chose to bless me with her presence. We stopped to comment on the progress of the tissue plant – I think it’s actually called a Rose of Sharon, don’t know who she is… but the flowers are a beautiful shade of pink and set against the silvery green leaves look like crumpled balls of delicate tissue.

23698392_157556074989808_449385320_o (1)
It’s not Sharon’s… it’s mine… 

We turned the corner into the main body of the garden and Charlie instantly stiffened in alarm and went tinsel-tailed… an intruder! But… but… what an intruder! I am aware that our garden is a cut-through for foxes, right at the very bottom where the pond is, and I think they like to stop by for a drink of water. We leave shallow dishes out for the cats and hedgehogs, but today’s visitor had been caught red-pawed…

He was only a young fox, as he didn’t quite have the bulk and splendour of some of our other visitors, and he seemed as surprised to see us as we were to see him. He froze, one slender paw raised, Charlie, unconsciously mirroring the pose, then as the breeze changed direction she must have smelt him… Her face was a picture. She pulled her lips back in the “Oh-my-God” face – more correctly known as the Flehmen reaction and looked at me as if to say:

I have never smelled a dog so disgusting it can’t even be a dog! How can he smell that bad and still be alive?!?”

The fox, perhaps sensing Charlie’s distaste at his overwhelming body odour slowly lowered his paw to the ground and began moving stealthily towards the gap in the hedge. He cast a shame-faced look at Charlie –

I know someone as beautiful as you would never give me a chance…”

And made a break for the gap. The wrong gap. He got stuck. Just his furry bum and brush sticking out of the hedge.

This impudence was too much for Charlie to bear and she shot forwards to deliver a series of well-placed slaps to the poor fox’s bristly behind.

A frantic rustling from the depths of the hedge – then seconds later I was relieved to see the fox hot-footing it across the park… Lucky the colour of his fur hid his blushes…

Charlie looked up at me:

Honestly! Give them an inch and they take a mile…” and walked off to clean her contaminated paw.

23715030_157556384989777_209238025_o
“How very dare he!!”

Or… “Animal Tails”…?

_MG_4577

Here’s the start of my other option… how does this compare to “Dream”?

The Beginning…

Why is it that the colour palette of childhood memories remains so vivid in your mind’s eye, so poignant, so carefully delineated…my very first memory involves a cat, and from that day to the present I have usually been accompanied by a cat or two. Or three. Currently four…

My very first cat, my very first friend was Snoopy, a large black cat, who was originally a gift from my father to my mother. She however, has resolutely remained a “dog” person so Snoopy, by default, became my particular friend and comfort.

I was born in the seventies, not so far removed from the Golden Age of Hippydom, the Summer of Love and Psychedelia, but very different in terms of attitudes as strikes, unrest and power cuts made the news. For me though, it was a time of learning and sharing, an establishing of my own little foothold in the world around me.

My first memory then, my waking into being if you will, involves the sort of day we all remember from being a child: golden, dusted with magic and sunshine. On this day, I remember very clearly, bunching my fists in my cat’s furry armpits and hauling him upright to walk with me.

I remember so very clearly – I was maybe about two or three – the thick plushness of Snoopy’s fur, soft as love, the smooth cotton of my dress – blue with white flowers – and the springy dry feel of grass under my bare feet. The colours were bright and crisp, so bright you could taste them and smells – I wish I could bottle the scents of childhood, the golden days of summer when the sun shone, the sky was blue and the Earth gently baked.

Snoopy walked tippytoes with me, good naturedly and patiently. He was the first in my long and usually rewarding association with animals, my first introduction to the value of their friendship and love. He went on to be my best friend, dressed uncomplainingly in dolls clothes and a major player in my childhood adventures in the theatre of my imagination.

The sun was high overhead and the clouds were white and puffy, like cotton wool or cold candy floss that you could reach up and pull down by the handful to eat. At that age, every day is an eternity, a page waiting to be filled, a story just beginning…

Trees, Ting… And Tinkerbell!

_MG_4936

I quite like trees. We don’t actually have that many in our garden, there’s four miserable looking leyllandii, that my partner insists are his topiary project, which to me just smell of cat pee… We have an apple tree that he grew from a pip, which obligingly puts forth a fantastic display of beautiful, delicate blossom every year and produces apples as hard as bullets and that are the sourest thing that Mother Nature has ever made.

We have a lemon tree, lovingly grown by my partner from a pip. (But we won’t talk about that…) My son likes trees and has spent a lot of time photographing them, drawing them and painting them.

IMG_6522

But none of the trees in my garden are particularly large. Our house has a park adjoining our garden, and right next to our boundary fence, we have two large trees, I think they’re ash trees. They make a mess, anyway, dropping dead leaves into the garden, the sticky bud cases get in between the cats’ toes and only the most determined plants will grow in their shade.

However, they can come in useful, I suppose. The squirrel uses them as a quick getaway route, goldfinches and blue tits sit in them and pigeons fight in them. Ting likes to sit on the garden table and watch them.

_MG_4741

Now. Our neighbour has a cat. Nothing wrong with that at all, apart from the fact she’s a bit dim… the cat, not the neighbour that is. She’s a beautiful cat, a Chinchilla, but she just has no concept of boundaries, or personal space, or danger… The neighbour is forever retrieving her from under cars, other peoples’ houses and so on… The other day, the cat, Tinkerbell, thought she would investigate our garden. Luckily for her, my girls were having their afternoon siesta, as my partner – never one to resist a pretty face – made friends with Tinkerbell and accompanied her on a tour of our garden. Tinkerbell thought she would repeat the visit the other day… this time, however, Ting was awake. I never thought Ting was a particularly fierce cat – she tends to flirt with passing males:

IMG_6217

Ooh, you’re a big boy…” and apart from her sister, has little to do with the other girls. Well. She took one look at Tinkerbell and CHASED her… right out of the garden and straight up the larger of the two ash trays… trees… Freudian slip there.

Charlie told me what happened. Not that she’s a tell-tale, but she obviously witnessed the whole incident and as the responsible adult, felt she had to come and warn me. Ting sat at the foot of the tree:

Hi Mum, look! I’ve chased that funny coloured thing up the tree, let’s leave it there…”

Tinkerbell looked down at me miserably:

I only wanted to be FRIENDS! Where’s that nice man from the other day?!”

I went to fetch my partner. He looked at the tree and looked at the cat.

I’LL NEED MY LADDERS FOR THAT!” (He’s quite a small man, and it’s quite a large tree, and the cat was quite far up…)

I looked back at him impassively. Charlie and Ting looked at him. Tinkerbell chose that moment to change position and balance on one of the thinnest twigs…

He fetched his ladders. He wanted me to video his heroic rescue, but I felt I had to hold the ladders. Large tree… small bloke… wriggly cat… I managed one picture though, to show the neighbour. Although Ting suggested I make a ‘Wanted For Trespassing’ notice from it…

19576721_153227328565808_828368281_o

Puppies and Pain

_MG_3102

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a little boy in the house at my mother’s… of either the canine or human persuasion. Rocky is obviously the most recent addition and like most babies, loves to play. He has a number of special games that I am invited to play, like tug-of-war with the rope toy. This has a certain risk element to it, as he doesn’t really play fair… moving his jaws up the rope till his teeth are perilously close to my fingers and I have about two centimetres of rope left to pull on.

_MG_3038

There are various other games – hide and seek is quite funny, biscuit in three cups, piggy-in-the-middle… This time last week I never thought I would be finishing the week in quite so much pain or with quite so much personal damage… Rocky is, indirectly, the cause of this…

Firstly, we were playing catch with my son in the front room at my mother’s… the puppy was wall-of-deathing between the two sofas while I was sitting on one of the arms. Next thing I know, I’m seeing stars and I feel like I’ve been punched in the face. Which I have. So I know exactly how it feels…

Stunned, I fell completely onto the sofa, tears of pain spurting from my eyes and my agonised intakes of breath filling the now-silent front room. My son leapt forwards:

Oh my God, are you all right??” he gasped.

What happened??Did you hit me?” I asked…

No, it was the dog,” he replied.

Apparently, what had happened was that the puppy had bounded across me, smashing me in the face with his muscular back…

ICE! You need ICE!”

My son rushed to the kitchen and thoughtfully returned with an ice pack to press tenderly against my cheekbone… (“Are you and your partner not getting on, Samantha?” “No, no… we’re fine… I was hit in the face with a dog… “)

Realising that my shrieks of pain were not part of the game, Rocky came to see what the mater was, and empathising with my pain – I like to think so, anyway – buried his head in my son’s jumper and scream-whined his sadness at my injury.

_MG_3115

This of course made me laugh…

What’s the matter with you, Samantha? What have you done to the dog?”

Nothing – I think he may have fractured my cheekbone… can you -” fully expecting my mother to offer sympathetic concern and advice as a retired nurse.

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, what can they do? Put your face in plaster?”

I recovered.

Then, the day before yesterday, we were playing piggy-in-the-middle. I was sinning round and round after the dog trying to get the ball off him. I f’*£#ng  fell over, didn’t I…

My son reported faithfully that the dog was nowhere near me and that I appeared to just… randomly fall over… in my defence, I must say I was dizzy… or I tripped over a fairy. Whatever.

Fact of the matter was, I ended up face down in my mother’s climbing rose, which she had carefully pruned and staked last Autumn… And I smacked my head off the fence post. It must have been a spectacular fall as Erin got up from her seat in the kitchen doorway and came trotting over to check on me, tenderly licking my grazed hands as I heaved myself over onto my backside…

My son thought I’d skewered myself on the stakes and rushed over, ashen-faced. The pup came over and stuck his nose down my cleavage with a friendly snort:

What you doing down there, then?”

I had half the rose tree rammed up my thumbnail – the same thumb that I cut on the so-called safety razor a few weeks ago, and a crescent shaped piece of nail dangled forlornly from my bruised digit. My mother:

Get off my bloody rose Samantha! It’s a Heritage fragranced rose!”

_MG_4612

With my son’s assistance and Erin standing so I could grip her fur, I pulled myself painfully to my feet and went home to take stock of my injuries collected so far this week in private.

I am now sporting a rakish L-shaped bruise on my left cheekbone. A bruise on my forehead where I headbutted the fence post. My hands have gravel rash and my knees look like two bowls of purple porridge… apart from that, I’m fine!

18090505_1824224537897715_714320937_oEvery household should have a well stocked First Aid Cat…

Cats and Carriers

dav

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.

dav

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.

sdr

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.

_MG_2847

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…

_MG_3554