Of Newspapers, MasterB, Cat and Trevor, and Introducing Ditto

Chez IsobelandCat we find ourselves with a wealth of newsprint this week. Normally, I restrict myself to one paper at the weekend, and gradually read all the different sections during the week. On Friday, however, I bought a paper. I bought another on Saturday. The next day, I picked up a free copy of the Independent on Sunday. Add to that the five copies of the Metro I nabbed and the several copies of something in the Cyrillic alphabet my neighbour kindly brought home for me last night, and you start to get the picture.
Are you thinking “Wow, she reads Russian”? Or “Blimey she reads the Metro”? Admittedly the two feel like opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. I read neither. No, sometimes I read the Metro and then do the Sudoku puzzle. These papers are small, tabloid sized – as indeed is the IoS, not to be confused with IDS, no, no that would never do – and my newspapers of choice for lining MasterB’s indoor facility. A facility I am glad to relate he has scarcely used since the departure of Trevor. I was getting through a serious quantity of cat litter. Cat’s ashes must have been spinning in the airing cupboard. A year or longer could pass without him using the litter tray. He believed the place for toileting was the garden. He also believed a day without a fight was a day wasted, so poor Trevor would have had a sorry time if he had tried to take up residence during Cat’s reign.



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Late Night Reflections

Bedtime calls, but I am sitting on the sofa with the IPad and MasterB has taken over the armchair after a fair fight with some string. He has a gorgeous new basket, but so far has done little more than sniff at it. No updates about Trevor. He is at the Cattery, being fed a diet to control his sensitive tum and no doubt loving the heat lamp, comfy bed and attention. When the rain lashed down last night I was so pleased he was safe and warm.
Two people have responded to the posts about him to offer money for his treatment. Isn’t that wonderful? A cat you don’t know, will never meet, will benefit from your generosity. The power of the Internet – thanks Tim Berners-Lee – is truly amazing.
For all the horrific stories about animal cruelty and neglect there are humans who do redeem our species. Kris celebrated happy animals rehomed in her blog yesterday. We need those stories of hope to motivate and inspire us in the face of the bleak reality faced by so many animals. Lorely and her friends are taking practical steps to improve animals’ lot. You may need a stiff whisky to get through this post, but believe me, it’s worth it. I left a comment, but it is not there. Blogspot is like that sometimes.

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Straying Alive

So here s/he is. His/her gender now in question, but we didn’t want to do too much invasive peering at his/her nether regions.
When I say we, I mean Chris at the Cattery. Breathe again. The white and back stray is now in safe hands, and literally in a warm bed. The sleeping rough episode is ended.

When I took breakfast out she scrambled from her hidey hole at once. I had thought she had a sore on her leg when I saw her in the gloom. In daylight it was clear she has sores on both front legs and one is making her limp. I resisted her demands for seconds and thirds and instead we had a bit of a love fest. When I went in I was a bit worried she might try to follow me, and maybe that is what happened, because having talked to Chris on the ‘phone and got the go ahead to bring her in, I couldn’t find her. I looked inside the binshed and there she was, crouching in the corner, and fortunately where I could pick her up. Which I did. She didn’t resist though she was obviously worried when I closed the door and it made a noise. The car was already open and the cat basket in place. She lifted her nose to mine and I told her she would now be properly looked after. Continue reading

Hoping for a Happy Ending

Do I only write about cats these days? It seems like it.
Just over a year ago my neighbour Carol and I rescued Izzy, a young kitten full of vim and mischief. That raised my awareness of the number of animals unceremoniously abandoned over the Christmas period. As I walked backwards and forwards from visiting Fang, I wondered if I might stumble across another needy kitten.
But it wasn’t a kitten, and it was much closer to home. In our garden, sheltering in an upturned pallet wedged between the binshed and the wall, I found an adult white and black cat.
She hissed at me.
I had found the explanation for MasterB’s reluctance to use the garden and his worried glances towards this corner in particular.
Nothing for it, I thought. I shall have to make friends with her and then move her on. That was yesterday.

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If You Are Thinking of Getting a Cat…

It’s been a time of cat posts here chez IsobelandCat over the last few days, and I am about to post another.
My friends with the peeing kitten and no doors have just made the decision to give her up and let her start a new boundried life with another friend. There have been tears and wobbly chins. The handover is tomorrow. This kitten is lucky. She may be heading out of one home and onto another before she has grown out of her first pyjamas, but it is a home, and a good one.
The cattery has horrified me with tales of how many cats and dogs get abandoned at this time of year simply because their owners want to go away on holiday and haven’t organised care for their pets. Rescue centres are already overflowing because of others giving up pets they can no longer afford to keep.
Many healthy cats and dogs are euthinased after a few days to amke way for the next wave of homeless arrivals.
The cattery has a link to a very small cat rehoming charity. The cats are kept until homes are found for them, but in summer the accommodation is full to bursting point. Continue reading

Of Clutter, Charity Shops and Evening Sunshine

Another bag of my cull handed into the second hand bookshop in the hope that the owner may buy some of them. Only pin money, but after years of giving them shelf room, it’d be nice to get a little something back. Really, I am only tinkering with the books; identifying a volume here and there; finding a new home for the Chronicles of Narnia with my namesake over the wall; seeing how many books from the boxes can now be squeezed into the new space.
In the bedroom, I emptied a drawer for the first time in years and came face to face with my scarf collection. How ever did I acquire so many? And how many pairs of walking socks does one woman need? Continue reading

Share the Reading, Share the Love

As luck would have it, I was booked in to attend the Reader Organisation conference today in London. I spoke about this organisation at Mother’s funeral yesterday, explaining why it is one of the two chosen charities we are asking people to donate to in her memory. The other one is Pets as Therapy. I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew, which was foolish, because of course the facilitator from the Get Into Reading group I have attended twice was there. She was one of the first people I saw when I went to the coffee and second breakfast spot.
I was wishing more and more that I could swap my first workshop for the one on dementia, when I saw the reports on the work the Reader Organisation has done with people living with dementia sitting on a table. I picked up two copies; one for me, one to drop into the home where Mother was living.
There was an opening session in the auditorium. I took a seat, and then saw Sandra, a local storyteller and member of our poetry group walking up the central aisle. I caught up with her at the coffee break. Her sister died in the autumn, and both of us had been tripped up by a reading about a boy who had lost his mother.
We were in the same group after the break. My emotions sloshed about in that one too, and then it was lunchtime. Another member of my local Get Into Reading group turned up. She is interested in joining the poetry group, so I introduced her to Sandra, and watched them bond.
After lunch there was a fascinating talk about how our brains respond to poetry, and how in particular they respond to functional shifts; nouns used as verbs, adverbs as nouns and so on. Shakespeare was fond of this, and today helped explain why some of his phrases catch us and spin our imaginations as they do. But I was amazed that reading poetry results in increased activity in all parts of our brains.
We were very well fed all day. Despite the fact I was interested in the talk, I could happily have had a mid-afternoon nap, but it was on tothe next seminar.
The whole day was about the strength of shared reading, of building communities around shared reading; using reading to make connections with people, to improve health and wellbeing. Continue reading