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ArtPad Ron

The other evening (well, Tuesday 4th, for our records), we noticed a lot of black fur on the dining room rug. Black fur=Ron, so we had a good look at him; he had an abscess on his face, and a nasty hole under his chin. So, the next morning, he was inserted into a cat carrier – with some difficulty, I might say. Ron is the most amenable of chaps, but he really doesn’t care to be confined. Pete then conveyed Ron to the vet in his bike trailer, where he was cleaned, jabbed and prescribed 7 days worth of antibiotics.

He was as good as gold with the pills, once he was convinced that after pills came chickie! as a treat, and we had no trouble at all – just called “Ronkin” twice a day, and he’d come down to the kitchen and sit on the stool for his dose. We did use a pill popper, as it’s quicker and easier for all concerned.

Cost a fortune in chickie!, of course, as anycat who was in would appear for their share, but worth it all the same. He has healed up nicely, and now we’re just waiting for his beautiful black fur to grow back in.

Further note to self: Henry and Ron Advantaged today – Frontline just doesn’t seem to do it any more.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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We were just settling down to sleep last night – indeed, I had almost drifted off – when there came an unseemly scrabbling from under the bed. For various reasons (mostly lack of space) we have a number of Things stowed under the bed, and the scrabbling indicated at least one cat doing … Something.

We switched on a light, and Pete peered underneath, to find Lilith and Henry; they do interact from time to time those two, so we hoped that was all it was, but no: a small rodent was involved too. And then Ron joined in too.

The rodent took refuge under something that the cats couldn’t extract him from, it quietened down, and I’m afraid we went back to sleep. So in a moment, Pete will have to go and see where the remains of it are …

When we lived in our North Somerset village, we used to get a lot of corpses; I was frequently heard to remark that it was like the Cambodian Killing Fields, and that Lilith had wrecked the local ecosystem. But they don’t catch much here – too urban, and too much feline competition. So I suppose we should say “well done”, because they’re only doing what cats do.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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lieblingLily is having a hard-ish time of it right now – Henry has been bullying her for a few months. Not constantly, but enough to make her life uncomfortable from time to time, and now Ron is starting to join in now and again.

However, Lilith is a stalwart, and takes it  pretty much all in her stride most of the time. Here you can see her being very stressed, on my desk. For some reason, I called her “mein leibling”, and it appears to be sticking.

I have had serious words with EnRon but, as you might imagine, they just ignored me (apart from a “purr” from Henry, which is his response to most things).

In other news, we picked up a cat tree this morning from our friend Samantha, who bought it at an auction for us. It has been placed in front of the living room window, but obviously nocat is going to sit on it for some time. I have seeded* it with catnip, so we shall see if that lures them. It’s quite a whizzy one, as it has not only a platform, but a rather fine tunnel, so I imagine they’ll have some fun with it when we’re not looking.

* Not literally.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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Suzanne was kind enough to enquire after Lily, and I realised I had been remiss in not updating her fans. She is pretty much restored to full health now, thank you, but first she shared her cold with Henry and Ron.

Being rude mechanicals rather than pedigrees, they shook it off within the week, whereas she suffered for the best part of a fortnight, but all three of them are back to what passes for normal now.

Henry developed a nasty scabby rash along his spine, which I assumed was a flea allergy, so I washed and sprayed all their blankets and so forth, and thought I’d take him to the vet yesterday when his cold had cleared up. And lo and behold! – he appears to be a self-healing cat because, somehow, the rash was pretty much all gone overnight. What a fine chap he is.

Hopefully we’ve now seen the back of this infection, whatever it is, because the household budget can’t take the strain of feeding the whole lot on fresh roast chickie!

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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An unsatisfactory life; gloom, despondency, misery and starvation

I think they were protesting our culpability at letting it rain outside at this point. That and the utterly inadequate and, what’s more, inedible supplies of food downstairs.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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We have a large bedroom here, with two tall, south facing windows, so the sun streams in there during the day (when it shines at all, of course).  We set a chair that is very like, but is not, an Ikea Poang by one of the windows – it’s a nice quiet place if one of us wants to read or listen to music. And we assumed that the Tribe would love the chair, and bask in it during the sunlit afternoons.

But no – they never went near it, not even when I put one of their cat rugs on it.

I try very hard not to dump stuff on the chair, but a few days ago I left my swimming bag on there. And the next morning, when I got up, I most definitely didn’t see Iggy and Lily on the chair. No sirree Bob. Nor, at various times, have we seen Ron on the chair, or Mustrum (curiously, Henry has really not been seen on it). Iggy and Lily are on it now, in fact – they have spent every night on there since the bag arrived.

We can only assume that they’re now using it because it’s no longer clearly *meant* for them – ornery creatures, cats.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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Ron being black

We are due to go to Leeds this afternoon – we have tickets for a Show of Hands gig (yay!), and are also going into Ikea to pick up a few bits (yay! meatballs!).

However, we did wonder last night whether we might have to cancel …  Ron wasn’t too well – he was doing an odd thing with his mouth, clicking his teeth and shaking his head; we think he had something caught in his throat. He hurtled through to the food bowl and ravened when we put fresh meat down, though, so I tried not to worry. And this morning, he seems heaps better.

It set me thinking though. We’ve had to cancel a fair few Outs due to cats:

  • In Feb 2000, Iggy had a nasty respiratory illness, causing us to not go to see Yes in Cardiff
  • in October 2003, we had a weekend in Cornwall booked for Pete’s birthday; Zool was killed by a car just a couple of days beforehand, and we didn’t have the heart to go
  • again in Feb 2000, we lost Shrimp, and cancelled a dinner in London that we’d been looking forward to
  • in October 2008, we were due to go and see Jeremy Hardy do a standup gig in Bristol – we came downstairs at 5 p.m. and realised that Aliss was dying, and stayed at home with her.

Odd how these memories stay with you …

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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[just like buses - you get no posts for ages, then three come along at once]

We were away at the weekend – not for long, just a flying visit to Yorkshire to inspect our new home.  We left at 7 a.m. on Friday and were home by 5 p.m. on Saturday, and Rob the Catsitter popped in on Friday night so the beasts were not unattended.

But Henry really likes his  Blobs to stay where they’re put; as soon as I put my key in the lock on Saturday there he was, bounding down the stairs, squeaking away, and he’s been quite clingy ever since; watching out for us when we go out of the house and so forth.

Today he’s been sleeping on the bed, which he rarely does, but I think he wants to be upstairs to keep an eye on us.  Ron has today taken to sleeping on the laundry basket – a bit disconcerting when I tried to lift the lid to put some stuff in there (it’s under some shirts on a clothes rail).

Perhaps it’s just the autumnal weather, but I think they need a bit of reassurance, bless them.  Their house is being slowly dismantled round them, and they’re unsettled.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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Iggy looking mournful

Originally uploaded by ramtops

Next door is having their extension refettled – this is an irritating process, given we work in the room just above where it’s being done, but no matter. Steve the builder is fascinated by the cats, and the other day when I went out, he said “that golden one’s caught a bird”.

This seemed unlikely, to be honest – Iggy has never been much of a one for hunting, and he’s a bit of a creaky old man these days, but Steve the builder was emphatic. And indeed, Iggy was under the patio table with an unfortunate ex-bird. Apparently he moved “very quickly”.

Having caught the bird, he didn’t seem quite sure what to do next. No matter, really, as the thieving Ron nicked it out from under Iggy’s paws, and had it away on his toes.

Not really the sort of behaviour we would wish for, you might think, and you’d be right. Ron scampered around the garden with it firmly clenched in his jaws for a bit, while we failed to retrieve it (as usual). Eventually he reappeared without it, so we assume it was scoffed.

He really is a dreadful beast.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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Our weekend was bracketed by death.

Friday night, maybe midnight or thereabouts, we were woken by mad scrabbling on the landing. Investigation revealed Ron with a new toy: another mouse was moments away from its end.

There was a degree of oh-buggrit-we-want-to-sleep-clean-up-the-bits-in-the-morning and we subsided; until, that is, Ron brought his prize into the bedroom. No way I wanted to risk the rodent being deposited in several bits on (or worse, in) the bed, so up I got and chased the PoD downstairs to grab hold of him at the foot of the stairs. For a brief moment.

Ron does not like to be thwarted.

He emitted his bloodfreezing scream of fury and slipped away (I wasn’t going to try and hold on anyways), but the scream necessitated the opening of the Maw, and the Fangs Therein, and thus the now dead and still miraculously intact rodent was left behind for me to grab - quickly! - to enbag and, given the hour and my naked body, be hurled outside the front door for attention come the dreadful light of day.

This was not the end of the story, for on Saturday Mac went out onto the patio, and lying there, still in its (admittedly slightly punctured) baggie was the mouse. How it got from front to back, given our home is mid-terrace, is left as an exercise for the reader.

Oh, and I promised death after: that came at around 6am this morning. Mac got up to go bathroomward and discovered a cloud of feathers, an observant Henry, and a Ron, who was whacking the very ex blackbird in his jaws against the banister rails. That murdered sleep (as well as the bird) quite effectively for both of us. By the time I got to gathering up the remains, the part-chewed, feather-denuded bird was in Henry’s jaws in the kitchen, being whacked against the floor and the fridge as H. leaped and swivelled in the air. I added the Bits to the bagged mouse from before, still awaiting final disposal, and vacuumed up feathers from the kitchen, hallway, stairs and landing.

Ron and Henry, or maybe Ron and Reggie, or possibly Doug and Dinsdale: I expect they were good to their mum

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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Dear Ron

We know that you like to go hunting at night - we don’t like it, but we understand.  And we understand that you want to bring your kills home, although you don’t bring them to us to show them off.

However, the chirps and other general noise that ensues is starting to get us down.  Pete didn’t appreciate getting up at midnight on Saturday night to rescue a mouse - OK, rescue is the wrong word, as it was entirely deceased, but you and your brother seemed to be having some sort of party to celebrate, so Pete had to remove the unfortunate rodent.  He put it in a plastic bag outside the front door, and thus we were quite taken aback to find it, still in its bag, outside the *back* door on Sunday morning.

We had a word with you, and I thought you understood that this sort of behaviour is not encouraged. You may thus see why, when I was woken at 6 this morning by more shouts and chirps and growls to find the landing covered in feathers, and you tossing the body of an ex-blackbird around the stairs, closely watched by Henry; he clearly wanted to play too.

Please - no more of this.  There can’t be much wildlife left to kill, and I fully expect you to be dragging a buffalo in any day …

your devoted (and exhausted) Blobs

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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Originally uploaded by ramtops

Drumknott, our melanistic black Bengal, went missing in November 2003, and I still think I hear him shouting with his distinctive voice from time to time … He was a dreadful cat, with a black coat, and a black heart, and we loved him to bits. He was generally known as PoD (an acronym for Prince of Darkness*).

Roll forward five years or so, and we have the arrival of Ron, who is turning out to be PoD’s heir, although he hasn’t yet developed the distinctive sound effects, nor yet the wonky tooth of his predecessor; both Pete and I refer to hims as PoD from time to time.

Last night, Pete was cooking dinner while I was watching an old Grand Designs, and I heard an “eek!” from the kitchen. It took me a moment to parse it, but then I realised that Kevin McLeod had just referred to a 60ft Pod. He then brought Ron through to demonstrate.

Nightmares will ensure, I know they will.

* I suppose we could consider calling him Mandelson now.  But I think we won’t, thanks all the same.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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We heard a growling, and Lilith came hurtling up the stairs with a small (dead) bird in her mouth, and Ron in close pursuit; no idea who was making the noise, but we’ve never heard either of them sounding like that before!

We think Lilith dropped it, and Ron picked it up, and he wasn’t about to give it up .. we chased him round the house, even resorting to the squirty water thing, but the unfortunate bird remained clamped firmly in his jaws.  In the end, we shut him in the garden, and then had to watch through the patio doors as he consumed it with remarkable efficiency, leaving just a neat pile of feathers.  Not even a beak to be seen.  Impressive.

Mirrored from the Tribe.


Jun. 2nd, 2009 09:45 am
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Ron went walkabout yesterday for the first time ever, and we’d forgotten what a worry it is.

Being the Greediest Cat in the World, he is generally first in line when the tin is opened, with sharpened elbows at the ready to make sure nobody gets there in front of him.  So when Henry had been complaining in some detail about the lack of supper, and Ron didn’t show up, we asked ourselves when and where we’d last seen him.  And we weren’t sure, but we knew it was some hours previously.

We told ourselves, of course, that he’s quite able to look after himself, that he can find his way home from the front of the house, that he’d be absolutely fine.  But it didn’t stop us worrying a *lot* until he strolled in at about 9 p.m, showing no signs of remorse whatsoever.

Wretched beast.

Mirrored from the Tribe.

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basement kitteh gets filed

Originally uploaded by ramtops

They grow ever bigger, and ever more exploratory. Today Ron spent time on the speaker mounted on the wall above my desk, then moved to sit on the box files on shelves a bit further along.

He's a big like Gollum in some respects - all limbs and clinging. And he's gorgeous.

In other news, he is now coming in and out the window with aplomb. Henry has just - as of yesterday - decided he will come in that way. He's not at all happy about exiting, but that will come.

Originally published at the Tribe.


Mar. 22nd, 2009 03:59 pm
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This afternoon I found Henry and Ron busily investigating a bumble bee which had somehow fallen into their clutches. They were fascinated by the sound it made, and had batted it about enough for it to be not very well at all. Pete removed it, as what we really don't need is a kitten with a stung mouth.

However, I fear this may be inevitable, as they are sproinging round the garden chasing anything that flies. Or buzzes.

Originally published at the Tribe.

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and so it begins ...

Originally uploaded by ramtops

We were musing last night on how the kittens would behave when confronted with wildlife, as we tormented played with them with a bird on a wire (a toy! bird, I hasten to add).

Ron just sorted of batted it, but Henry went straight for the back of the neck of this thing (it's remarkably realistic - I must video them with it).

And lo, we talked it up - Ron came in this morning with his first catch, a small finch (I think). He hadn't killed it, but had it grasped firmly in his mouth, and when I picked him up to try to make him drop the unfortunate bird, he was going "thrum" in a most thrumming manner.

He wouldn't drop it, and instead got away from me and legged it up the stairs, where Pete caught him, picked him up and scruffed him. Whereupon Ron opened his mouth to scream in rage, the bird seized the opportunity and flew down the stairs, past my face, and landed in the shopping bag hanging from the rack in the hall.

With some presence of mind, Pete kept hold of the infuriated Ron, and I legged it through the house and out the patio doors, and decanted the bird amongst the flower pots, shutting the door firmly behind me when I came back in.

Had Henry had the bird, I think he would have killed it, killed it dead - playing with it isn't his style. But Ron has had his toy taken away, and he is officially Not Pleased.

Click the image for a bigger version - I thought I'd spare you the full horror of a large picture.

Originally published at the Tribe.


Mar. 16th, 2009 12:27 pm
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limbsRon is still very leggy, and if he grows into those long limbs (and big paws) he'll be huge. Here he is this morning sleeping up high; this ikea storage box is on the top shelf in the study, and clearly isn't big enough for him to rest all of his body.

Bigger image available at the Tribe's site below, or click through for Flickr

Originally published at the Tribe.

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Ron and Henry were conveyed to the vet today, to be neutered. As is the way of things these days, this can no longer be done at the little surgery in Hotwells; instead, we had to drag them all the way over to Zetland Road for 8-8.30 a.m. The traffic in our village is appalling from about 7.30 a.m., so we were up early, enboxed the chaps and drove across Bristol.

Neither they nor the other cats had had anything to eat since about 7.45 last night, and so there was a deal of plaintive mewing en route, but we arrived safely without them actually consuming the cat box, and delivered them in plenty of time.

Within an hour or so, the vet hospital phoned and said that Ron's (it would be Ron, wouldn't it?) second testicle had not descended, and thus his op would be a little more serious. And expensive. They have to "go in and get it".

We collected them at 14:00 and brought them home to, on the vet's recommendation, "a light meal and rest and quiet". The mewing in the car was rather more urgent on the return journey, which was - I think - due to hunger.

I'm not joking here: within 10 minutes of getting home, they'd consumed an entire chicken breast (boiled and chopped), a pouch of Whiskas, and half a can of Whiskas. They're now roaming the house to see if there's anything else nice to eat. Ron has killed a cardboard, and Henry has seen to a piece of plastic coated wire. Nobody's told *them* they're supposed to be resting.

I have a second chicken breast, which is supposed to be for the three big cats - what do you think the chances are?

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Ron helping me work

Originally uploaded by ramtops

He was all over my desk this morning, chewing cables when he thought I wasn't looking, thwipping things under the keyboard, and generally being bad in a rather charming sort of way.

He's very black, as you may notice. And exceeding charming :)


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