Category Archives: pets

The Needy Cat

We knew when we adopted our cats that they had very different personalities. Where Eclipse was placid and liked nothing more than a good long sleep Snowflake was curious and into everything. And liked nothing more than a good long sleep.

What we didn’t see, though, until we got them home, was how needy one of them would be. And it wasn’t the placid one: it was the active, bouncy one.

It was Snowflake who, in the first few days at home, would wrap his mouth around any part Eclipse chose to share and suck. (Apparently this can be a sign that the Breeder had the cats leave their mother too early). This was annoying for Eclipse – especially when the part Snowflake sucked on would later be given the chop.

And it was Snowflake who – when we accidentally left a door open – would come down to our room at 5am and put his face against ours, meowing for attention. And then play the Jumping Game where he jumps from our bed to the dresser and back. Fortunately for me, Fraser sleeps on that side of the bed.

And so, each night, we close the door of the corridor with the bedrooms and give the cats free rein in the living areas of the house so we can sleep.

Actually, the only time he really looks for attention is when he has just woken up or when we first open the door to the corridor. If I’m still in bed, he runs down and jumps up to sit on my hip and tell me HOW MUCH HE MISSED ME and WOULD I PLEASE GET UP NOW and THERE WAS A MOTH! and did he tell me HE MISSED ME! and by the way WOULD I PLEASE PAT HIM A LOT.

And if the Bigster’s door is closed, which it often is these days, he will sit outside her door and loudly remind her that she is EXCLUDING HIM AND PLEASE REMEDY THAT RIGHT NOW THIS INSTANT. Not that he necessarily wants to be in there with her – he just doesn’t like the door to be closed.

But the time when he really gets upset – and when we see how needy he is – is when Eclipse hides somewhere in the bedrooms and Snowflake is left alone when we go to bed. Because then he cries and cries.

And sometimes – even with the dresser jumping – we let him stay with us.

Because the Needy Cat is kind of adorable, too.


Posted by on May 16, 2012 in pets


Cat poo

Yes. Cat poo. That is what has been causing conflict Chez Nous of late.

See, when we adopted two small, adorable kittens, we did not realise that they were in fact POO MACHINES disguised as small, adorable kittens.

Within a week of coming home, Snowflake had caused evacuations of the dining and living rooms* – and it continued. Despite the very expensive “Indoor cat, low fecal odour” kibble, there is something about our cats’ by-products (read: GOAL IN LIFE) that just carries.

(* turns out, this is a problem of open-plan living. The cat poo fumes just SPREAD. Even to my study which is around several corners.)

I made a schedule, to deal with the problem. It is very simple and looks like this:


Monday: Biggie

Tuesday: Fraser

Wednesday: Fraser

Thursday: Fraser

Friday: Fraser

Saturday: Fraser

Sunday: Fraser

OK, maybe not quite like that. It really looks like this:


Monday: Biggie

Tuesday: Fraser

Wednesday: Fraser

Thursday: Fraser

Friday: Melissa

Saturday: Melissa

Sunday: Melissa

and on the edge it has a teeny tiny very crafty-looking miniature wooden clothes peg, which shows on which day the kitty litter was last completely changed (ie discarded, tray disinfected and rinsed, then refilled). It is my attempt to make the functional cat poo schedule a thing of beauty.

Schedules are all very nice, in theory.

Except that I forgot to factor in my cats.

Here is what happens every morning:

7:30 Fraser leaves for work

7:45 Cats: WHEE! HE’S GONE! LET’S POO!

The exception to this is Monday mornings, which is Biggie’s rostered day.

7:30 Fraser leaves for work

7:45 Cats: WHEE! HE’S GONE! LET’S — OH WAIT, IT’S MONDAY. *cross legs*

8:00 Bigster leaves for school


I usually get home from work around 4.


And then we have my favourite, the Evening Special.


7:31 Melissa (as unbearable fumes threaten extinction to all in the living room and beyond): Yeesh. That’s disgusting

7:32 Melissa (pointedly): IT”S YOUR DAY TO CLEAN IT UP

7:32:30 Fraser (wearing the DUH! face): You can’t empty the kitty litter when it’s fresh! It would be too smelly!


Decision-making in my family

it's all about the kittens. And how Otto and I have no impulse control

I think this is accurate.

1 Comment

Posted by on November 16, 2010 in children, family, flowcharts, pets


What Kittens Need

The one thing that Otto really fell behind on when we took 5 months off last year was her writing. And this year, being in a combined Year 1 – Year 2 classroom, she has consistently worked down to the lowest level in the class – grade 1, to her grade 2. She actively resists writing, and complains or cries when asked to write more than a sentence or two, so it was lovely when she came out with a pen and paper last night to talk about what we would need for our Kittens. (OMG how do we sustain this excitement for FOUR WEEKS?!)

That’s right, if you haven’t already caught up with the news, we have officially adopted TWO Ragdoll kittens who will come to us on December 12th. Their names are Snowflake and Solar Eclipse (or Eclipse for short) and they are adorable … we want to go and visit them again and again and again!!

Eclipse has the dark ears (seal or maybe tortoiseshell? I’m sure I should know!) and Snowflake’s ears are a reddish colour (flame point?). Both are adorable. And both are of unclear gender, although this photo seems to suggest that Eclipse might be a boy. We went to visit for 15 minutes and stayed 70.

Anyway. Otto’s list.

The list.

Kittens’ area

1. barira (barrier) for kittens so they can’t escape.

2: bed, sraching post (littel), litter tray, food, kitten milk, litter, bowls

I’ve ordered a book on kitten care and another on the Ragdoll breed so she can read up on them. Even Bigster, who was FAR too cool (but also too injured) to go to visit the kittens, said OMG! They are ADORABLE! when she saw the photos.

On the topic of the barrier … after discussing where to keep the kitties when they first come home (I wasn’t keen on just leaving them in the bathroom, our only really contained area), we have decided to put them in front of the French doors in the dining room. That way, they’re in the activity hub. Which then leaves the question of how to contain them for that first week or so – Otto’s “barira”. My latest and greatest idea (well, I like it) is to buy a paddling pool and keep them in there while they need to be contained (um, not full of water) as we can then use it for the kids during the Summer. It’s multi-use! And would be big enough to hold their bed, scratching post, favourite toys, litter tray, food and drink. Does anyone with more recent kitten experience than I have an opinion on this? Or on whether 30cm walls are enough to contain 8-week-old kittens? (I am leaning towards the 50cm deep option which might also be more popular with my girls who are really a bit old for paddling pools, but it’s about four times the price of the little 30cm one. Also I think it should be non-inflatable.).


Posted by on November 16, 2010 in children, pets



Otto wants a kitten for Christmas.

Not just wants, actually … she is desperate to have a cat.

A few months ago, I told her that I would like to start reading Harry Potter with her as I think she is now a good enough reader for those books. Her response: “No thank you mummy, not until my birthday. Because I want to get my kitten first, so I can read it to her while I am caring for her and feeding her.”

Yesterday, I tried a different tack: “If you want to get a cat, do you think you should learn about caring for a cat?”

Otto: “No mummy, I already know how to care for a cat. You need to pat her, and feed her, and cuddle her, and put her on a lead and take her for walks.

Me: “Um, I don’t think cats really get taken for walks.”

Otto: “Oh yes mummy, because they need to get their exercise.”

Fraser is less keen on the idea of getting a cat again. Not because he is still mourning our beloved Puff-Tinkerbell, but because cats are a lot of work and can stink up houses, and can’t really be left on their own. I’m a little conflicted but do think that it would be good for both the kids (if not necessarily for the cats). Leaning towards a Ragdoll kitty or cross, as they are floppy and very very placid.

Hence, my poll for Fraser. Possibly not quite matching the Scientific Method:

1. Do you want to get a cat?  YES / NO

2. If no, please rate your opposition on the following scale:

  1. ABSOLUTELY AND UNALTERABLY opposed, no way no how, if you get one then it will go to the lost cats home first chance I get
  2. Really don’t want to, it will make me miserable and I will share that misery with you all
  3. Not keen but I do love my children and want them to be happy
  4. Don’t care
  5. Well, Otto REALLY wants one, so I guess it would be OK if one happened to appear
  6. And I do love my children very much and she is GAGGING for a cat so we really should get one
  7. Actually I really want a cat myself too OH SO MUCH so I need to be in at the choosing and definitely to come up with a name actually I already have some in mind.
Optionally, you can tick the “actually I would prefer a dog” button
3. You know this is kind of inevitable, right?  YES / NO
4. Actually, it’s better to get two cats than one, because they can be company for one another (tick the box that says “I have read and understood these terms and conditions”)
Thanks dear! xxx

Posted by on November 12, 2010 in children, pets