This Cat Is On Something

No, not catnip. Well, yes, sometimes. But Arwen (even more so than most kitties) has to sit ON or IN everything possible. Here I present, for your amusement, a photo journey through Arwen’s preferred sitting places. Enjoy!

All boxes must be sat on:

And in (however small):

Once on the box/in the laundry basket/on the printer, shout really loudly to let everyone know you are there:

Or just look cute, wherever you are:

Sit on the builder’s saw and other items until he stops work and fusses you:

If disturbed when actually in a proper cat bed, give human the stink eye:

When sitting on mum, be prepared for her to take photos that make your bum look big:

Finally, when sitting on dad, be prepared to share him with other kitties!

Social Media Friends Are Really Real!

About three years ago I met a lady on social media who has become one of my best friends. Coral McCallum is a fellow writer (among other things like fellow cat lady and fellow rock chick), and today she publishes her second book, Impossible Depths (Silver Lake series Book 2). (Find out more about Coral’s books at the end of this post). I am a proud friend, and plan to spend a great part of today reading said book! Just for fun, here’s the blog post I wrote after our first meeting in person. We have met many more times since then, for gigs, for shopping, and for lots of coffee. 😀

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I took a jaunt down the west coast of Scotland this weekend, to meet a friend. Namely, one Coral McCallum, who I’ve been chatting to on Facebook and Twitter for months. Coral is a writer, and decided at the beginning of the year to join in the blogging world. Do visit her blog for short stories, poetry, and mad anecdotes involving rock music and cats (do you see why we get on? 😉 )

Coral and I met online through our shared love of rock music, and in particular, Mr Myles Kennedy, lead singer extraordinaire with Alter Bridge and Slash. Once we got chatting properly, we discovered we also both liked cats, coffee, and carrot cake. As we are only about an hour’s drive from each other, we started talking about meeting up in person. I hadn’t visited Coral’s neck of the woods for many years and thought a wee road trip might be in order. Coral had also been bigging up her local coffee shop, so with the promise of caffeine and cake, I pointed my little car west on Saturday afternoon.

The morning had been very wet and windy, but by the time I set off it was just windy. The sun was even making an attempt to come out. It was a pleasant drive down the edge of the river Clyde, even if the view was still a bit obscured by cloud. I followed Coral’s very clear instructions to the coffee shop, and was rewarded by the sight of her waving at me as I approached (I have a very distinctive car, covered as it is with bright yellow AA stickers). After parking on the sea front and nearly being blown away, we dived inside and began chatting. It’s slightly weird meeting someone face to face after you’ve only spoken to them online. We’d had some pretty in depth chats but it’s different doing it in person. Fortunately neither of us decided we couldn’t stand the other, so over a delicious Latte for me and Americano for Coral, we talked cats, music, family, and more cats. We both had carrot cake and I have to say, the coffee shop lived up to expectations. Yum!

Coral had very kindly invited me for dinner, and had obviously decided during our coffee shop meeting that I wasn’t a nutter (well, not too much), and I was safe to invite to the house. After a quick tour of the town shops (during which I bought the first of this year’s Christmas presents – go me!) we made a small convoy to her home. I got to meet the human family and three out of four of the cat family. The missing one was off on an adventure and hadn’t been home for a few days, the scamp. (He has since returned safe and sound). Cue more coffee drinking, listening to said rock music, and general chit chat about everything under the sun. I admired Coral’s book collection. Unsurprisingly, very similar to mine, with classics, time slip/historical stuff, and fantasy – including Mr Tolkien, of course. After being fed lasagne and two helps of cheesecake for dinner (not in the same bowl), I set off home after a very enjoyable, cake-filled day.

I like to think of this as one of the good examples of using social media. It’s unlikely Coral and I would have met otherwise, and we’ve each discovered a new friend. We’ve both made friends overseas due to our shared interests, and it may be that more of us will meet up one day. Several of the friends want to visit Scotland, so no doubt there will be more coffee and dare I say, wine drinking, if that happens!

Strangely enough, the one thing we didn’t chat about as much as you might think was our rock star crush, the lovely Myles Kennedy. So we’ll have to rectify that on our next meeting. I also completely forgot to take any selfies of our day together, so people will just have to take our word for it that we did actually meet. We’re going to a rock gig in Glasgow together next month, to see the fantastic Halestorm. Must take some pics then. Roll on many more coffee shop visits together!

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Happy Book Birthday, Coral! xx

Impossible Depths (Silver Lake series Book 2):

After a successful tour, Jake, Lori and the rest of Silver Lake are busy making plans for the future – new arrivals, new business ventures, new music and a new tour.
An unexpected turn of events throws these plans into turmoil.
Life for Silver Lake will never be the same again.
Can Jake and Lori maintain their relationship, gruelling schedules and overcome tragic losses?
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find how strong you truly are.
Friendship, love, family and music dominate this contemporary romance as the Silver Lake family rise from seemingly Impossible Depths.

To purchase Impossible Depths (Silver Lake series Book 2), click here (UK), or here (US).

Some stock pics above from the west of Scotland, since I neglected to take any photos. 🙂

The Ten(ish) Funniest Things My Cats Have Done

My blogger friend ‘Silly Mummy’ writes a fantastic regular post called ‘The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said’. Check out her blog at R is for Hoppit. Now everyone knows kids aren’t really my thing, but these posts actually do make me laugh out loud. I love The Toddler’s insights on everything from The Baby’s behaviour to Silly Mummy and Daddy’s foibles. Chatting on Twitter, Silly Mummy and I agreed that I should do a cat version. After all, I am Silly Cat Mummy (you can decide whether the Silly applies to me, the cats, or both). If my cats could speak, I’m sure they would be saying many entertaining things, but since I can’t translate random meows (although I often have a good idea), I’ve gone with things done rather than things said.

1. On baffling all humans, including the vet
Several years ago, Jet, our late lamented black fluffball, came in sneezing and pawing at his nose. Neither ourselves or the vet could find anything up there, and came to the conclusion that maybe something had irritated his nose but was now gone, leaving the irritation. It was only when home from the vet, that hubby spotted something during one of the sneezes. Something shot out of Jet cat’s nose, and then disappeared again. Next sneeze, quick-thinking hubby grabs the thing – a blade of grass! It had been lying flat in the cat’s nasal passage and that’s why nobody could see it. Only Jet could inhale a blade of grass, mad kitty. Needless to say the sneezes cleared up after that.

Jet looking for his next grass fix

Jet looking for his next grass fix

2. On faking it
On the subject of ‘illness’, Sam the bonkers Bengal fakes a limp if he’s not getting enough attention. It mysteriously disappears after he’s sat on someone’s knee, had a fuss, and a little snooze. Big phoney.

3. On the elegance of cats – not
Then there’s Arwen, Bengal number two, the most inaccurately named cat in the world. Arwen the elf – graceful and agile, right? Nope. This cat is the clumsiest little miss I’ve ever seen. She frequently jumps for the kitchen worktop, misses, and lands in her water dish. Splash! Cue the looking around that says ‘I meant to do that – ta da!’

4. On shouty meows
She also tells things off if they don’t do what she wants. A spider very ungratefully hid itself under a table leg when she was chasing it the other day. She sat there shouting at the spider for hours. I don’t know whether she was saying ‘Come out, I won’t hurt you!’ ‘Stop being such a spoilsport!’ Or ‘Can I have a moment to talk to you about the Word of Ceiling Cat?’ (See internet memes if you don’t know about Ceiling Cat.)

The washing basket needs to be shouted at. From the inside

The washing basket needs to be shouted at. From the inside

5. On thuggy behaviour
It’s no secret that Frodo, our British Shorthair cross, is a little on the chubby side. Sam is also big, although he’s all muscle. The two of them were driving me mad in the kitchen one day, and in a fit of pique I locked the cat flap with them on the outside. Big mistake. The two thugs just nutted it until the door caved in. Frodo then marched through wearing the broken pieces.

Frodo beating up the rug

Frodo beating up the rug

6. On toileting – where kitty b****y well pleases
Tilly, a little grey tabby also long gone but never forgotten, was also good at showing if she was displeased about something. One time, she peed in my trainers. My very expensive Nike trainers! It wasn’t funny at the time, but I suppose with hindsight…

7. On changing one’s hair fur colour
Jet was the poster boy for ‘curiosity killed the cat’ (although Arwen is trying to give him a run for his money). In our last house, we had floor boards up while doing some renovations. Of course, Jet disappeared underneath. We tried not to panic and sure enough, he eventually came out by himself. No longer black however, but greyish white – absolutely covered in cobwebs and ‘stoor’ (good Scottish word – look it up). I think he got shoved outside to take a bath in the rain. See number 5 for what probably happened next.

8. On base jumping, kitty-style
When we brought her to live in this house, Sooty, our current black fluffball, had not lived in a house with an upstairs before. I’m not sure whether she fell or jumped the first time, but I turned round one day to see her disappearing out of the first floor bedroom window. Aargh! Of course, being a cat, she landed just fine – and promptly came back upstairs and did it twice more. I think she just couldn’t believe she was so high up. Talk about trying to give her human a heart attack.

Sooty grumping on the ground floor window ledge because it's too low to base jump from

Sooty grumping on the ground floor window ledge because it’s too low to base jump from

I’m sure all cat (and other animal) mummies and daddies can relate to these, and add many more. Like toddlers and babies, we love ’em, though. Add your own funny stories in the comments if you wish – and happy parenting to all!

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly (Or Maybe Not…)

Writing this blog amid total chaos. In order to have a moan about the total chaos. Readers: do NOT go about organising your life like we do. By we, I mean me and long-suffering hubby, as he’s partly responsible for the chaos. Here’s what’s happening in this madhouse at the moment:

The whole downstairs has no floor. Well, of course it has a floor of sorts – we’re not levitating everywhere (how cool would that be?), or balancing on beams. We are living with chipboard flooring while we wait for a new laminate floor to be laid. The original (and admittedly crappy) flooring had to come up, along with the skirting boards, so that hubby could hide all our sound system cables and whatnot under the floor or in the walls. This is all so that it will look fabulously tidy once the whole downstairs-rejuvenation-project is completed. Meanwhile, we are walking on squeaky rough chipboard. Ugh.

Who else calls this a 'Dulux Dog'? ;)

Who else calls this a ‘Dulux Dog’? 😉

This project has also, understandably, resulted in some plastering. So there is plaster dust everywhere. No matter how long you leave it or how often you clean, that s**t just re-settles. Grr.

In the middle of this, we ordered new bedroom furniture. Then it seemed a shame to put that in our old tired bedroom, so we redecorated that as well! Aarrgh! At least that job is done, and the new bedroom looks fab. I just need to put pictures up.

Bedroom looking all pretty, unlike downstairs

Bedroom looking all pretty, unlike downstairs

In two weeks time, we go on holiday. Right in the middle of the project. Great planning! However, I do think the break will do us good. Due to the situation in Tunisia, our original destination, we had to change our holiday plans. Cue much stressing while we found a resort that had space within our time frame (hubby couldn’t change the time he had off work), and for roughly the same price.

Frodo Cat decided to become ill in the midst of all this. He had an infection, which was dealt with by antibiotics, but he disappeared for a whole day before I could get him to the vet. He never goes far or for long, so I was freaking out thinking that something had happened to him. I am pleased to report that after his course of antibiotics, he is back to his normal self. He didn’t eat for several days. Unheard of! 😉

Frodo Cat making the most of being sick and refusing to let Sam have the top bunk

Frodo Cat making the most of being sick and refusing to let Sam have the top bunk

And to cap it all, hubby’s car was hit by another on the way home from work a week ago. Everyone was all right, just a bit shaken. Apparently the other driver ‘didn’t see him’. Do not get me started. The poor car was taken away for repair yesterday, and should be back within the week. So hubby is having to get the bus to work, much to his great disgruntlement.

I know, I know…these are first world problems. We are lucky to have a house, which we can afford to redecorate, a car, and a holiday. And a cat. Actually, four cats. I’m just having a vent, mainly because in the midst of all this I’m struggling to get any writing done. Never mind. Roll on September and the completion of the work, where everything will look fabulous and life will be back to normal. Well. what passes for normal round here… 😀

The Cat Owner’s Guide to Preparing Christmas Dinner

Christmas Eve: Remove turkey from freezer. Herd cat out of way with foot as you place turkey to defrost in oven – the only catproof place in the house. Leave note on oven in large capital letters reminding family DON’T TURN OVEN ON.

Christmas Day: Remove defrosted turkey from oven. Remove cat from kitchen counter. Take turkey out of packaging and prepare. Have to remove cat from counter so many times it’s easier just to shut the damn creature in another room. Finish preparing turkey to the tune of wailing sounds akin to someone being murdered.

Get turkey back into oven. Let cat back in, find it has begun a tunnel through the kitchen door in the meantime. Sweep up wood shavings. Remember you didn’t put turkey packaging in bin. Remove cat from plastic packaging, where it is suffocating in a happy way amongst turkey juices.

Christmas Day, 2 hours later: Start to prepare potatoes, vegetables, and other accompaniments. Cat thinks all these things might be of interest. Remove cat from various pots and pans. Give it a sprout to eat. Cat rolls it around floor instead. Oh well, at least it’s distracted.

Remove turkey briefly from oven to do final seasoning. Cat crosses kitchen in 0.0001 seconds and sticks head in roasting tin. Remove cat, check for hairs on turkey, return turkey to oven.

Christmas Day, 1 hour later: Rope in family to set table while doing finishing touches to cooking. Laugh maniacally at family’s efforts to lay out table with cat helping.

Serve up dinner to hungry family. Pretend not to notice that everyone is feeding cat bits of turkey under the table.

Finish dinner. Roll now very fat and comatose cat into its basket. Clear up, wash up, and join cat in happy stuffed-ness.

Merry Christmas!

Love from Karen, her long-suffering hubby and her four naughty cats. xx

The Cat Owner’s Guide to Decorating the Christmas Tree

Bring in Christmas tree from boot of car. Go back to close boot. Remove cat from boot.

Set up tree base; fill with water. Stop cat from drinking the water.

Place tree in base; get husband to hold steady while screwing in fixing bolts. Push cat’s nose away from bolts. Cat decides to climb husband’s leg instead. Tell husband to stop jiggling around and moving the tree.

Cut mesh surrounding tree and throw to one side. This distracts cat for 0.0001 seconds.

Tree springs into shape. Cat springs into tree.


Remove cat from tree. Get Christmas lights from box and start to unravel. Cat tangles them up from other end as you unravel them.

Start to rope lights around tree. Cat unropes them faster. Distract cat by throwing a non-breakable bauble across room. Finish arranging lights.

Repeat as above; this time with tinsel.

Start hanging baubles. Continue to distract cat by rolling them. Realise there are 50 baubles all over the living room floor, leaving you with 4 to hang on the tree.

Give cat a scrap of tinsel to play with. Hang remaining baubles. Switch on lights. Step back to admire handiwork.

Get a well-deserved glass of wine from kitchen. Return to find cat in tree. Spend evening playing slightly drunken game of ‘catch the bauble’ as puss chucks them off the branches. Decide it’s quite cute, really. Go to bed.

Get up to find naked tree and highly decorated living room floor. On entering kitchen, find sparkly poops in litter tray.

Decide it’s not too early to start the wine again.

Our tree, before cats. It may not look like this now...

Our tree, before cats. It may not look like this now…

Thanks to Suzie over at Suzie81 Speaks for inspiring this piece, with her post The Cat Owner’s Guide To Wrapping Christmas Presents.

Next week: The Cat Owner’s Guide to Preparing Christmas Dinner… 😉

The Crazy Cat Lady Strikes Again

As those of you who follow me on Facebook may know – I’ve adopted another one! Or she’s adopted me, whichever way round you think it works. Here’s the latest addition to our furbaby family: Arwen, aka Towanreef Autumn Sunset (isn’t that a posh mouthful?)

Arwen

Arwen

Of course she’s adopted long-suffering hubby, and our other three cats too. Sooty (black fluffball from hell) is ignoring her, as she does with everyone. Frodo (white fluffball from marshmallow land) likes her. And Sam the other barmy Bengal…well, the big wuss is a bit scared of her. Arwen refuses to be intimidated by his size and shoutyness, and this is confusing him greatly. But he’s getting there. She keeps trying to play with him, and pounce on him – in other words, she’s wearing him down. Hilarious to watch.

My bestest buddy, the even-crazier cat lady and breeder, rehomed this girl with us. Arwen is a young adult (she’s just turned two). She’s very frisky, nosy and mischievous. Favourite tricks so far: getting into the under-stair cupboard and knocking things over, climbing on top of the kitchen cabinets, and jumping into the fridge. Sam used to be able to do the latter, but he’s too much of a big heffalump now.

Arwen is also clever. She learned to use the cat flap without lessons from me, or the door being propped open. She’s the only cat we’ve had who’s managed this. Brains as well as beauty!

Eagle-eyed readers will spot a trend emerging with our cat names. When we adopted Frodo in January, and decided on his name, we didn’t even think about the ‘Frodo and Sam’ thing. But on adopting the new girl, we decided to stick with our Lord of the Rings theme, hence Arwen. I think we’ll change Sooty’s name to Smaug, as that’s the character she most strongly resembles. 😉

So we have two girls and two boys – and that’s it! Yeah, yeah, I hear you say. No, seriously, I think four is enough for now. The more you have, the more complicated it gets, with territories, rivalries, and whatnot. Also, expensive! They are all fully vaccinated, microchipped, and insured, things I strongly believe in. They are also spoiled when it comes to cat food. They probably get better nutrition than me (she says, reaching for another cake).

Look out for Arwen (and the other furries) in future posts. I’ll leave you with another pic of this gorgeous girl.

Beautiful sunny lady

Beautiful sunny lady