I’m writing this very, very late tonight – as you can see! By the time we got home from Mt. Cottrell this afternoon (read: “evening”!) I was both mentally and physically exhausted – so this is a “catch-up” of what’s been happening around here since December 28th – last Wednesday.
As you all know, we lost our dear old 22 year old Norwegian Forest Cat, Flipper, about a month ago – and though it may surprise a few of you, it’s a lot harder living without a cat, than it is living with a cranky 22 year old cat, more-than-a-little-senile, a true “Prima Donna” since her kitten-hood, prone to fits of the vapours at the drop of a hat, on daily medication for high blood pressure, and monthly injections for severe and painful arthritis. Naturally we were going to get another cat – another two cats, in fact, and this week we decided that the time had come! But what sort of cat, or cats? Once upon a time, a long time ago, in what sometimes seems to me to have been a galaxy far, far away, I used to be a registered breeder of Siamese cats. Since then we’ve had tiny, runty little kittens offered to us on the palm of a small child, been adopted by strays, taken in a run-away Norwegian Forest Cat who’d decided that she wanted to live with us, and not the lady across the road, and re-homed a beautiful Russian Blue boy, complete with papers. In short, we’ve had all sorts of cats from moggies to aristocratic pedigreed cats – this time, it was up to us to make the choice! Julian’s first cat was a wonderful Brown Burmese, and he has a very soft spot for Burmese. I still have a great fondness for Siamese, but not for the “modern” rat-faced cats that only pretend to be “Siamese”. No, this time I wanted something different! This time, I wanted a “spotty” cat! There are three types of pedigreed spotty cats – the Australian Mist, the Egyptian Mau, and the Bengals. Of course, it all depends on when kittens are available – and there didn’t seem to be many around. We did manage to track down a Lilac Burmese – slightly older at 16 weeks, as he’d been sold, but returned shortly after as “the children were allergic to him” – but let me start at the beginning!
We’d been looking on the ‘net for kittens, and as there was nothing available through the Feline Control Council (in association with The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy Australia and Victoria Inc.) we very cautiously started going through Gumtree… which is where we found the Lilac Burmese. On Wednesday morning. On Wednesday afternoon we went out to a place near Warrandyte to have a look at him. The Breeder’s place was ummm… how can I be politically correct about this?! I can’t. The place was a shambles! We were greeted at the front door by a very large German Shepherd, with a bark like the Titanic’s fog horn! Oh, the fierce show she put on, followed shortly by happy, slobbery panting – rinse and repeat! Several times! Eventually Mr. Burmese Breeder/Owner arrived – he’d been out in the cattery and hadn’t heard the doorbell – or the ultra-loud barking! (so much for the security services of a watch dog, eh?!) We went in. Doggie was very friendly, in full summer moult… and with fleas! The place had to be seen to be believed! There was stuff every which-where! One had to wend one’s way through a tiny, narrow track between piles of… rags? clothing? washing? It was hard to tell! The floor was covered with what looked like several decades worth of dust and/or animal dander, and there was about one and a half feet of clear space on the rubble-covered table. Outside on the lawn there appeared to be about 70 to 80 wild (I think!) pigeons, waiting for hand-outs, the gentleman said. The little kitten was sunning himself by the back door and appeared to be quite happy and complacent. We sat down and talked to the gentleman for a while and were told that the kitten was completely up to date on all his inoculations, with the appropriate papers to prove it, and had already been neutered – the story went that some people had bought the kitten, taken it home, and then in great distress, brought it back about three weeks later saying that they couldn’t keep him as their children were allergic to him, and the wife had developed a bad rash. However, they didn’t want their money back, but told the gentleman to keep it as a “down-payment” on another kitten from the next litter! (Huh? If they were allergic to this kitten, wouldn’t they be allergic to the next kitten from another litter too? *shakes head in bewilderment* It does not compute!) He accepted the full price of the kitten from us, and we took him home. His erstwhile owners had called him “Coco” – but that was the name of Julian’s mother’s cat (who never had any liking for anyone other than Julian’s mother!) so we didn’t really want to call him “Coco” (besides, he’s not, and never will be, a “chocolate ” colour – he’s a Lilac!) We looked up Burmese names – honorifics really, and Julian has re-named him “Salai” – which is one of the titles given to a Monk, or a Priest. We call him “Sal”, or “Sally”, for short. This is our little “Sal” 🙂
Sal slept on our bed on Wednesday night… and on Thursday morning, we discovered that he had… fleas! The night before we’d already decided that he should visit our Vet, just for a check-up (mainly because he’d been sold and returned a couple of weeks later, and also because of the not terribly salubrious conditions of the place we got him from) so on Thursday afternoon, in all that torrential rain, we took him up to our Vet, where he was examined (and found to be perfectly fit and healthy, thank heavens!) given a giant worming pill (just in case!) and we came home with a large packet of “Advantage”, of which he had his first application this morning! He’s a very happy, well-adjusted, fully socialised, little kitten – very gentle, purrs like mad every time you pick him up or pat him. We’ve bought him a lovely big cat climbing stand that he’s not terribly interested in, two scratching posts that he eschews in favour of the couch, or the dining room chairs, and various fluffy, feathery toys… but his very most favourite toy is one that Julian made for him on Wednesday evening, from a thin bamboo garden stake, a piece of string, and a small knot of Christmas curly ribbon tied onto the end of the string 🙂
And while Julian had his little Burmese, I was still searching for my spotted cat. Yesterday, I managed to find someone selling a Brown Bengal kitten, and today we drove out to Mt. Cottrell to have a look at him. He was a darling little kitten – miles too young to leave home, at only 9 weeks old – and I have to say that I was more than somewhat distracted by a young wombat who kept insisting on trying to nibble my toes and my heals! The little kitten was so tiny! He didn’t even have great big paws to grow into – but he’d obviously never had any contact with “people” – his breeder admitted as much – but oh! The difference in the two establishments! Chalk and cheese! This place, way out in the middle of whoop-whoop, was as clean, neat, and tidy as the other was scruffy, grubby, and ill-kept! This guy was a big-time breeder of all sorts of animals and birds – when we arrived at the electronic gates we had to phone for him to open them – and in we drove, up a long, impressively neat and tidy driveway, complete with strutting white peacock (I kid you not!) a couple of white kangaroos, that he’d bred, well painted and maintained animal statues of giraffes and lions, and so to his spotlessly clean dispensary/office. The kitten was in a large cat cage, because he had been running around with this over-zealous wombat, but the wombat had been chasing him and biting his tail, so the kitten was put in the cat cage. The wombat, having had his kitten tail removed, took revenge on trying to nibble our toes, heels, handbag, and whatever else he could reach. There were lots of glass cases with gi-normous carpet snakes, medium-sized snakes, a smaller glass case with a sign on it “Warning! Highly toxic North Queensland viper”, several small medical (?) cages containing injured or sick birds, trays of prepared animal food for the evening – and the whole thing was clean, animal-smell free, open, and fresh. Oh, there was one cylindrical tank that had a warm fountain (or maybe it was cold? There was condensation on the inside of the glass, anyway!) with what I at first thought was a large green plastic frog in it… until it moved! Getting back to the Bengal kitten! He’s had all his inoculations too, but has not been neutered yet – that will apparently be up to us – and he was really gorgeous, but so tiny – the guy said that they only had to keep the kittens with their mother until they were eight weeks old – but honestly, as gentle and as friendly as Sal is, I couldn’t see this little scrap of a kitten holding his own against him, especially as he’s really had no socialisation yet… We compromised. I said I’d take the kitten… when he was 12 weeks old. We put down a deposit, and we’ll pick him up on January 16th, 2017. I’m afraid we didn’t take any pictures of him – we were both too distracted by the wretched baby wombat trying to make us his next meal! Then we left and drove all the way back home, where I just wanted to fall in a heap and sleep – but I didn’t, I sat and fell asleep doing jig-saw puzzles instead.
And that’s all you’re getting from me this evening – Auric and Dapple are both well, but you know, Sal’s been here for three days – and he only just noticed them swimming around in their Fish House this evening! Household chores have all fallen by the wayside with all this “cat getting business” – the washing hasn’t been done, the Fish House is overdue for a clean-out, the kitchen’s a mess, and so is the Den, and office paperwork – what’s that?! But now that Sal’s settled in, and the Bengal kitten (whom I have yet to find a name for!) is organised, maybe life can get back to some sort of semblance of order! Anyway, that’s about it from me for this evening – and hopefully I’ll be able to get back into some sort of sensible and regular writing routine now! So drop in again tomorrow night to see if I’ve been able to get back “into the groove” or not 🙂 Until then though, do try to bee good, remember that when you feel like quitting, think about why you started, and don’t forget to keep warm – or cool – depending on the weather, to always drive carefully, and to look after yourselves… but most importantly, please – don’t forget to stay safe! 🙂 ciao, all! 🙂
P.S. I promised you all a picture of my “dragon scale” fingerless gloves, all the way from Latvia! This is what they look like – snazzy, eh?! 🙂