Holly Behaving Badly…

15 Sep

I’m pretty sure Holly has entered her terrible toddler phase – albeit a little early, even in cat years… In short, she’s become a total nightmare.

About a month ago a friend of mine stayed over. She lives in London and we were both attending the wedding of a mutual friend so I offered her my couch for the night. The wedding was fabulous, much vodka was consumed and we returned home around 1am with tired eyes and sore feet. Holly, having returned from her stay at the Cat Hotel a few days earlier, was obviously not impressed with having been left to her own devices for a good 10 hours and was running circles around my apartment attacking inanimate objects and terrorising the plant pot. It was a hot night and, given Holly’s newly acquired climbing skills, the windows remained closed despite the fact that both my friend and I were still sweating after pulling some serious disco moves on the dancefloor at the wedding. I went to bed and my friend settled onto the couch, exhausted from our celebrations… Holly however had other ideas.

Now, it has to be said that my friend is one of the most polite, beautiful, well spoken girls you will ever meet – a true lady. So imagine my surprise when I woke up around 2 hours later to find my ladylike friend stood at the bottom of my bed, looking like the girl from The Exorcist, screaming “It’s like a f*cking oven in here and if you don’t get that f*cking cat out of my f*cking face I swear to God I will f*cking kill you both!!”. It seems that Holly thought our house guest was in fact a new toy for her to play with and had spent a couple of hours alternating between attacking my friend’s feet and jumping on her head from the nearby coffee table.

Fast forward a few weeks later – another friend staying. This time a colleague from work, who was staying over in order to make an early meeting nearby the following morning. Thinking I was being smart I offered my friend my bed and took the couch myself, expecting that Holly would spend the evening harassing me rather than interrupting the sleep of my friend. Wrong. I woke at 5am to the sound of my friend crying, having had zero sleep due to a relentless attack by flying fur-ball Holly, who had spent several hours climbing up the side of the wardrobe, jumping on to my friend’s head, running away and repeating the exercise five minutes later. Despite the use of some industrial strength concealer, the poor girl went off to her meeting looking like death.

Shortly after that, Holly learned to jump. I remember with delight the first time my little fur ball learned to climb onto the couch on her own – Clever girl, so cute! What I didn’t anticipate was the first time she learned to jump any great height it would be in an attempt to reach my head. There I was, stood in the kitchen one warm evening doing the washing up, listening to the TV in the background and lost in my own thoughts when suddenly – BAM!! – searing pain struck my shoulder blades. I have to say it took me about 3 seconds to realise that there was in fact a kitten attached to my back, her claws deeply embedded into my skin. I think we were both somewhat shocked, me by the indescribable pain and her by the fact she was now five feet off the ground with nowhere to go. Doing the only thing I could think of, I slowly bent down until I was on all fours and crawled across the kitchen, into the living room with the cat still attached to my back. Several of my neighbours who were sat out on their balconies, enjoying the last of the summer warmth were treated to the sight of what appeared to be a grown woman giving a small cat a piggy-back.

The jumping attacks continued, always when I was least expecting it and certainly not wearing enough clothing to prevent my back now looking like I have an isolated case of measles. In fact I now have that many scratches and scars on my arms and shoulders that someone asked me last week, quite seriously, if I had sought any professional help for my self harming problem. The jumping became a new game and it wasn’t long before Holly was able to reach what had previously been my “safe places” – the area around the kitchen sink, the worktops next to the oven, the kitchen table – suddenly these unknown lands were well within the reach of super kitten and her amazing spring-legs.

Once she realised she could make her way onto the worktops unassisted by the ladder that is my back, it was only a matter of minutes before she discovere the kitchen sink, where she now spends hours attempting to extract the plug and turn the taps on. I always thought cats were scared of water – not this one. Turn the tap on and start doing the washing up and within seconds she’s there playing in her new paddling pool. Clean the sink after I’ve finished and within minutes she’s fast asleep in it.

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I didn’t think that Holly would change my life. Needless to say, I now have two good friends who won’t be visiting me anytime soon. The washing up has to be done before I sit down to eat in case Holly develops a new habit of licking the pans, and the sink is thoroughly cleaned at least three times a day. The worktops have to be cleared of mail, phone chargers, food and any general stuff which could double as inappropriate toys for a curious kitten. I spend hours wiping away the paw prints which have appeared on every surface, only for them to magically re-appear the next morning.

I anticipated that the Crazy Cat Lady lifestyle would involve some interesting outfit choices, but I never expected it to turn me into a bloody domestic goddess!!

A Day in the Life of Holly…

22 Aug

Wake up in the morning looking cute and pretty

Check my person’s had her coffee ‘cos without it she’s sh*tty

A quick yoga stretch has me feeling good

Take a look out of the window at my neighbourhood

Sit in my person’s handbag, maybe hide her keys

Take a quick nap with my bear in the breeze

Wake up for dinner, choose a book to shred

Update my blog, mail some friends before bed

Almost time for sleep, now I’ve had my kicks

If you want to watch TV then the Kitten picks!

(Not So) Sleepy Kitty…

21 Aug

It seems that Holly is a “No Fear” kind of cat – A bit of a rebel, a risk taker. This does not sit well with my slightly neurotic tendencies, and whoever said that cats were good for your health obviously wasn’t taking into account the mini-heart attack she manages to give me every single day.

Although there are minimal risks for her to take in my small apartment I get the feeling she actively seeks out danger. At 8 weeks old, she learnt how to climb on top of my wardrobe. At 9 weeks old, she taught herself to death-leap from said wardrobe onto the bed. And at 10 weeks old, she realised that there was far more entertainment value in this if I was sleeping in said bed at the time. Being woken up at 4am is somewhat shocking at the best of times, but slightly more terrifying when you wake to find you’re being smothered by a 1.5kg hairball.

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I’ve tried a number of things to calm her down. Of course we have play times together where she chases a football or some kind of stuffed fish on a stick, which is fun. But then there’s crazy hour – usually just as I’m planning to get into bed – where she quite literally runs up the walls. She tears up the back of the chair, skitters across my desk, bounces off the couch, tears through the kitchen, across the floor and up the wardrobe, makes her famous death-leap onto the bed like it’s some kind of circus trampoline and then sprints back to the living room to start the whole circuit again. Nothing will distract her from this – not toys, food or even my high pitched shrieks as she inadvertently makes the kind of full speed tackle on my ankles which would reduce the average rugby player to tears.

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to calm her down before bedtime, I downloaded something called “Calming Music for Kitties”. Now, let’s just stop there for a moment. Less than 6 months ago I was the kind to girl who went to Snow Patrol concerts, who saw up and coming bands at a local venue during the week and followed a local music blog. The kind of girl who had an iPod with two separate mixes of dance tunes for both Friday and Saturday nights out. And now here I was, lying on my bed with an agitated Holly running riot around me, listening to a mixture of freshwater streams, rainforest sounds and Himalayan singing bowls. I’ll admit it, I don’t even know what a Himalayan singing bowl is.

Strangely, the first few times I tried it this actually seemed to work. Holly would sit down on her cushion and listen to the weird sounds coming from the speaker, looking somewhat confused as to whereabouts in the bedroom I was managing to conceal a waterfall and a bunch of singing crickets. And whatever a Himalayan singing bowl is, it certainly had the right effect on Holly. Unfortunately it also had quite a powerful effect on me, as I discovered a few days later when I woke on a Saturday afternoon following a 4 hour ‘nap’, having completely missed an important lunch with my friends. Come on, how do you explain that? “Sorry I missed your birthday lunch, the crazy cat and I were just chillin’ out on the bed with some Himalayan singing bowls and the cool vibe just knocked me out, man!” My friends would probably have me sectioned.

So, in an attempt to burn some of Holly’s excess kitten energy, I’m going to try to leash train her. I know what you’re thinking, I too have serious reservations about taking a cat out on a lead, but I’m a girl who needs need my sleep and if this is a way to calm her down then I will gladly accept the Crazy Cat Lady comments which will no doubt be whispered in my direction by nosy neighbours and complete strangers alike. Hell, if it works, I might even fashion a special cat walking outfit, complete with faux-fur coat and a jaunty cat-themed fascinator on my head, give them all something to talk about.

Project C.O.A.R didn’t start well, as halfway through fitting the harness Holly promptly bit me and tore off through the kitchen with the loose end of the harness trailing after her. Two hours later she was re-captured from her stronghold under the couch and I managed to get the second clip on the harness fastened, making sure it wasn’t too tight whilst at the same time being Holly-Houdini proof. Taking the advice from the packaging I left her in the harness for an hour… What followed was one hour of Holly rolling around biting the floor, scratching the harness and screeching at me. One hour of pitiful yelping as she tried in vain to push the collar section over her head. One hour of kitty tantrums that would have put one of those toddlers you see trying to throw themselves out of a supermarket trolley to shame. And then, as if by magic, she just seemed to forget she was wearing it – Cue me making a stealth ninja dash to get the lead fastened onto the little hook on her back whilst she wasn’t looking.

Finally!! Success!!

…We made it out of the door and as far as the lift, before Holly lay on her front and flatly refused to move. It seems that just the idea of going “walkies” is the perfect tool for turning a hyperactive kitten into a pet rock. Who’d have thought?

I plan to give Project C.O.A.R (yep, that’s Project Cat-on-a-Rope to you) one more shot this weekend. Who knows, Holly could still change her mind about the great outdoors and the Crazy Cat Lady outfit might just get an airing after all?!

Separation Anxiety…

19 Aug

Separation anxiety takes many forms with a pet. Some people miss their furry friends and secretly count down the days to the end of their vacation, anxious to see them again. Some people can’t bear to be separated at all, and take their pets to work with them, or find cute hotels which will welcome Tiddles or Snoop with open paws. In my particular case, the anxiety of being separated from Holly takes the form of bizarre imaginary situations in which Holly could cause, or get into, major trouble.

The first few times I left Holly alone, she was small enough to be secured in the bathroom, where I was confident that she wouldn’t be in any danger and the minimal amount of destruction could take place. That said, before leaving I still had to return to the bathroom seven times to check that I had closed the shower door, that she had food and water, that the toilet lid was down and that there were no expensive cosmetics lying around that she could mistake for food (I’ve heard that Creme de la Mer is a particular favourite for cats, perhaps due to the high content of dead fish-related stuff).

It goes without saying that I suffer from what I believe to be an average amount of OCD – I have on more than one occasion returned to my apartment to check that I really did unplug the hair straighteners, or switch the iron off, even once turning around 5 minutes into my journey to double check that I’d closed the fridge door. But come on, who doesn’t? The first time I left Holly, I went grocery shopping. Now, I’m a big fan of shopping and even a trip to the supermarket can take 2-3 hours depending on what I can find to distract me. However, with the thought of my little beast locked in the bathroom, I was in and out in 20 minutes, all the time thinking “Oh god what if she finds a way to climb into the sink? What if she grows thumbs and learns how to turn the taps on?? She could drown!!” I returned home to find her fast asleep in her little bed, in the exact same position I had left her not more than an hour before, and felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

The next step came when she was big enough to be left on her own to explore the apartment. Feeling confident that she was now too big to be sucked into through the gates of Narnia which exist between the kitchen cupboard and the fridge, off I went to visit a friend. Arriving at her house, I felt quite calm and confident that she would be happily playing with her footballs or napping in the sunny spot by the window… The window with the blinds down… The roll-up blinds with the little cord which Holly had been trying to catch the night before… The cord made of string… The string which in my overactive imagination of worst case scenarios then somehow became tangled around her neck. Oh no, what had I done?! Back in the car, speed limits were broken and I arrived home with a feeling of dread as to what I would find. I opened the door to find Holly curled up on the couch, blissfully unaware of the drama playing out in my slightly unbalanced mind. Needless to say I spent that evening trimming the blinds and securing the cords to the ceiling.

Now, it’s one thing securing your own home and being comfortable that your pet is relatively safe, but a time will come when you need to leave them for a little longer. When Holly was 10 weeks old, work commitments meant that I had to go away for 2 nights, so I packed her up for her first vacation – at my Dad’s house. Now of course I love my Dad and would trust him with most things in my life, but this didn’t stop the irrational situations playing out in my head. What if Holly eats something off the floor which makes her sick? What if she gets stuck somewhere? What if she poos on the white carpet and my Stepmother “accidentally” leaves the door open and she escapes?? (Given that this is the same woman who “accidentally” ran over the family cat when I was 13, this was not an unrealistic possibility). But Holly was fine, in fact when I arrived to pick her up she was sat on Dad’s knee, purring happily. A few weeks later a good friend’s hen night in Ireland meant leaving Holly again, this time with a close friend. The same fears, the same worry – only to return to find Holly had learned to climb stairs and was racing around in circles from the top to the bottom like some kind of crazy Tazmanian devil. My friend shared a picture from the night before – Holly fast asleep in the arms of my friend’s fiance. Clearly my kitten is a bit of a tart when it comes to men.

Now I know what you’re thinking – I’m nuts. And yes, I would agree. I do have that moment just before I’m about fall asleep at night which I am sure everyone has experienced, where impossible future situations flood into my head and then keep me awake for hours whilst I consider all of the worst case scenarios playing out in my head. I’m not what you would call a negative person generally, in fact I think that my outlook on life is quite positive and in most situations I’d say I’m pretty laid back, but when it comes to the things I really care about – my family, my friends, my job – I do tend to get somehwhat emotional. And now it seems I can add Holly to that list. This little ball of fluff has only been in my life for a matter of weeks, but she’s also the first thing in my life which has been solely my responsibility. It’s my responsibility to ensure she’s healthy and well fed. It’s my responsibility to keep her entertained and make sure she’s happy. It’s my responsibility to keep her safe. And there are times when I can honestly say this scares that crap out of me.

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be having have kids.

The Cost of a Kitten…

18 Jul

So… How Much Does a Kitten Cost?

A few people have asked me how much my kitten cost. Well, I paid £30 for Holly. That’s right thirty English pounds – about the same as a decent main course and a few glasses of red wine in a middle of the road restaurant. Around the same price as a good t-shirt, or a bad concert ticket. Not a lot, really. However, I feel that it is my duty to make you all aware of some of the “hidden” costs of becoming a cat owner, costs which I could not have imagined when I forked out three crisp £10 notes for my little furry bundle of joy six weeks ago. So let’s start with:

The Kitten – £30

Yes, ok, I bought my cat from a Pet Shop. Read the first blog before you judge me – I’m over it, you should be too.

The “Cat Stuff” – £40 to £60

As we have established, kittens need “cat stuff”. Essentially, your new friend will need food, bowls, a litter tray and cat litter, a scratching post and a bed. If you’re feeling generous you may also want to pick up some toys for your new bundle of fluff, but as I have since discovered your kitten will probably be more interested in the scrunched up receipt which you accidentally drop on the floor. If you’re looking for cheap entertainment I can recommend fabric covered hair-ties, balls of tinfoil or plastic drinking straws. You know, the ones you usually reserve for the vodka when your credit card statement comes in.

The Carry Case – £40

As I learned at my cost, you can only successfully carry a kitten in a designer handbag for a few minutes. Any longer will no doubt result in an escaped kitten and more than likely a little brown present left at the bottom of your best bag. Cleaning this up and / or replacing the handbag will cost you considerable more than £40 so think of this as a sound investment for the future. Good news is the carry case also doubles as a toy – mine is under the couch and Holly spends hours trying to get it out so that she can chew on the mesh windows and plot her escape during her next trip to the Vets. Which leads me to…

Vets and Injections – £70

Vets are not cheap. People often think that it’s harder to become a Vet than a Doctor – not strictly true in terms of knowledge, however university places for studying Veterinary science are few and far between which leads to an organised cartel of people charging extortionate amounts for sticking a very large thermometer up your cat’s bum. I’d recommend pet insurance, not because it’s any cheaper but it just feels less painful when it’s removed from your bank in smaller chunks – unfortunately this method doesn’t make the thermometer experience any more pleasant for your cat. If you don’t wince when that baby goes in then you have no heart.

6 x New Blinds – £240

Now, in hindsight having Japanese paper blinds in my apartment has never been a good call. They’re essentially the opposite of blackout blinds, allowing any little bit of light into the apartment at any time of the day or night. But they looked pretty so I put up with the interruption in my sleeping pattern. Then Holly came along. It turns out that kittens like to climb things, and they learn to do this quite quickly. Very quickly. As in you get into the shower and the kitten is on the floor – you get out of the shower a mere eight minutes later and the kitten has not only found her way onto the windowsill but has also managed to claw holes in every single one of your blinds whilst using them as a ladder in a failed attempt to get to your not very interesting ceiling.

My Favourite Blanket – £50

Now I know what you’re thinking, I’m spoiling the kitten by giving her a blanket to keep her warm in her bed at night. Ah, isn’t that lovely? Not quite… The blanket in question was MY blanket, which was on the end of MY bed when Holly had an unfortunate accident. You see, she got the hang of using her litter tray pretty quickly, however she developed a very bad habit of standing in her little deposits whilst trying to bury them. This has resulted in many hours of fun for both of us, me chasing the kitten round the bathroom before washing her paws, releasing her and then disinfecting the floor, walls and on one occasion the ceiling. However on this particular evening she caught me unaware and having (unsuccessfully) buried her latest deposit she ran out from the bathroom and leapt onto the bed – depositing a big lump of fresh cat shit onto my favourite blanket with a flick of her paw. After catching her, washing her paws and cleaning the floor I threw the blanket into the washing machine on a hot wash. Which leads me to…

A New Washer-Dryer – £485

…When several hours later, the blanket had disintegrated in the washing machine, completely blocking the pump and the drain, and leading to…

New Laminate Flooring to the Hallway – £200

Now, flooding washing machines are nothing new to me. Usually I am quick to spot the water pouring out of the drain and jump in with my bucket, minimising the damage. Clean out the drain, throw some drain unblocker stuff down, rinse it through and all is well for another 12 months. Except on this occasion, somewhat exhausted from the bathroom / blanket episode and the subsequent chasing and cleaning, I’d fallen asleep on the couch. Fast asleep, which meant I didn’t hear the weird noise coming from the washing machine, or the subsequent “whoosh” of approximately 20 litres of water flowing out of the front door of the machine before making its way out of my own front door, into the communal hallway and towards the lift. In fact I had no idea what had happened until the next morning, when I woke at around 6am to discover the lost city of Atlantis in my hallway. Cue the kitten, hot on my heels and now believing that she was in fact one of those magic mops you see on QVC. Apparently Cats don’t like water. Which is probably true, but when faced with the decision of staying dry or making my clean-up job even more difficult you can guess which one Holly opted for. 20 minutes later, the kitten was rinsed off, dried and screaming to be let out of the bathroom, and I set to work trying to clean up the floodwaters with a few old towels and a large amount of kitchen roll. It was approximately 4 hours later when I lost the will to live, sat on the wet floor, cried and then called my Dad and asked him to come save me.

So, how much does a kitten cost? Well, in my case the first six weeks of kitten ownership have set me back around £1,175. In my past life, that’s a Chanel handbag, 2 pairs of Louboutins or 78 bottles of cheap vodka. You know those crazy cat ladies you hear about in America, who dress in tatty old clothes, and carry all their possessions in plastic bags but then leave $3 million to the cats home in their will? I get that now. Because there is no point spending money on expensive clothes or nice things when you’re faced with a beast whose sole purpose in life is to destroy them… And your sanity along the way. That crazy cat lady was probably worth $10 million when she got the damn cat!

So six weeks in and I already know that my little beast has cost me somewhat more than £30… And that I still wouldn’t swap her for all the shoes in Dior!!

Cats and Dogs…

16 Jul

As I’ve already mentioned, Holly was originally to be named Harriet,  given that I had assumed if I ever got around to actually getting my cat he would be a boy and he would be called Harry.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t specifically want a male cat – in fact I didn’t know if I wanted a cat at all – I guess I just assumed that all cats were male.  I’ve honestly never met a “female” cat. 

Now dogs – Dogs are obviously girls.  They bounce around so full of energy, they’re a little bit ditzy and ever so eager to please.  If a dog behaves badly and you tell them off or ignore them, they’re genuinely hurt, and will follow you around trying to apologise.  They crave any little bit of attention from those they love so desperately that they will literally roll over onto their backs with their legs in the air just to get their tummies scratched.  This behaviour reminds me somewhat of several of my female (human) friends.

However, cats are definitely male.  Clever and sneaky, walking around with their heads held high and their tails swishing even when they’ve just done something inexcusable, refusing to acknowledge that they could ever be in the wrong.  Your favourite skirt got pulled?  Don’t wear it within jumping distance of me then.  Pot plant on the floor and soil all over your new rug?  Don’t look at me, I was busy sleeping on the couch, where I will now insist on staying until you’ve cleaned that mess up.  Have you ever tried to discipline a cat?  Well, quite simply, you can’t.  No amount of shouting, nose-tapping or water flicking will work.  Try ignoring your cat – he’s just going to ignore you right back, and what’s more he will likely take the opportunity of your back being turned to wreak devastation somewhere else in your home when you’re not looking.

Like the original caveman they’re pretty focused on the important things in life – they dedicate their entire time on earth to sleeping, eating and hunting.  They don’t want to go out for walks in the woods, they don’t care about new clothes (God help you if you ever try to dress them up) and they really don’t like showing love – Just let them go hunting, allow them to sleep when they want and most importantly don’t forget to feed them.  In return for this, if they are in a good mood, they might show you a little affection – but only at a time which pleases them.  Interrupt their eating, sleeping or hunting and you can expect to have your head bitten off.

Now ladies – in place of the word “hunting” in that last paragraph, insert one of the following – Watching football / Drinking with my Mates / Playing Call of Duty.  Remind you of anyone??

So imagine my surprise when picking a kitten to find that they also come in the female variety.  Now, I’m not so stupid that I don’t understand basic biology, but I did find this quite interesting.  If I bought a female cat – and she had female characteristics – would she in fact be, well…  a Dog? 

It seems not.  Sure, my kitten has some “girly” habits.  Holly is constantly cleaning and preening herself, and she’s a fussy eater who loves expensive treats.  She demands privacy in the bathroom and as we already know she likes the toilet seat left down.  There are times when she wants my affection but there are also strict rules to this – she will stay exactly where she is and cry until I come and see what’s wrong then give her a little cuddle – there’s no way she’s coming to me.  Overall, I’d say she’s a pretty typical cat.  

However there are a few things I’m learning from my new friend…  You see, despite being a crazy cat lady I do on occasion leave my apartment and venture into the big wide world.  Usually to the local cocktail bar.  Sweeping statement it may be, but the women I observe here seem to have lower self-esteem than the Men.  I don’t know why, but let’s face it, in situations like this women are usually the prey rather than the hunters.  If a woman has an issue (I don’t know what dress to wear tonight!?!), she will usually seek the opinions and approval of others around her (ooh wear the pink one, that looks lovely on you, you look really thin in that one…) before making her decision (wearing the pink dress and spending the rest of the evening feeling uncomfortable, then crying in the toilets after your fourth glass of wine because you think you look like a cross between Barbie and a cocktail sausage).  Men on the other hand seem to identify their problem (no beer in fridge), find their own solution (go to bar) and stick with it (stay until 2am, walk home, fall asleep with a half eaten kebab and / or next to a woman with low self esteem who you drunkenly mistook for a cocktail sausage).  There’s a born independence and confidence in men that women just don’t have – the same way you can never train a dog to behave like a cat.

Ladies, here’s a little experiment for you.  The next time you’re out, imagine you are your cat. Stalk into a crowded bar with your head held high and your tail swishing from side to side and immediately make eye contact with your prey.  Admittedly in my case this is usually the nearest barman promising a nice cold Mojito, but whatever you fancy girls…  You might just be surprised at the reaction you get.

If nothing else, I promise it will get you served more quickly at the bar! 

Important Lessons in Kitten-Keeping…

12 Jul

So Holly moved in…  We got home, I opened the handbag (no poo-poo, no wee-wee) and she climbed out, looking a little lost and slightly confused at the sight of her new home.  My apartment is not big, but to a tiny animal roughly the same size as my hand I imagine it looked like the kitten equivalent of Berkshire.  She looked at me, at the bag, back at me and then promptly disappeared under the only piece of furniture which was too heavy to move – a solid corner table next to the couch.  And there she stayed for the next 8 hours.  Now, I know that kittens need time to adjust to their new homes, but in my head I’d just brought home my furry new-best-friend and she didn’t want to play.  I felt slightly disappointed, a bit of a failure but mostly terrified of what would happen when she finally decided to move.  And so commenced the longest day of my life.

Of course, I had visions of my fluffy kitten running around, chasing sparkly balls with bells inside and pieces of string before curling up on my lap and sleeping soundly, full of happy little kitten dreams about tasty fishies and shiny things.  I did not expect to spend the majority of our first day together lying flat on my stomach with my head under the couch whispering “Come on kitty, come out from there, please…”.  If any of my neighbours had seen me through the window, I imagine they would have immediately called the police to identify a dead body.  I put her litter tray next to the table, and her food and water, and even a toy.  But no – all she wanted to do was crouch in the corner andstare at me with those big blue eyes looking all teary and frightened.

Finally, she poked her tiny head out from under the table.  She took a few bites of her food, a few sips of her water, a few steps forward…  And promptly shit on the floor before running back to her corner.  Ok, so I didn’t expect her to be litter trained but if this was a sign of her opinion of me then we still had some way to go before we were the perfect duo from the Whiskas ad I had imagined.  I cleaned up her little present for me, disinfected the floor and then returned to my position under the couch.  I’m not sure if it was the excitement of the day, the sheer stress-induced exhaustion or the fumes from the cleaning products but at some point I must have drifted off.  Only for a few minutes, but when I came round – Holly was gone.  WHAAAAAT?!  Shit, oh shit, where’s the kitten?  Where’s the KITTEN?!?!  27 seconds of sheer panic followed before I finally located her, fast asleep, behind the couch.  If this was pet ownership I feared I had perhaps made the wrong move.  Surely having a child would have been a more sensible choice – after all, you just strap them into a basket / pram / chair and that’s where they stay, right?  Where’s the kitten equivalent of that??  A-ha!  The bathroom, yes, I should put her in the bathroom, it’s tiny in there, great idea.

Now, kittens may be small and cute but they are also incredibly fast, and quite violent, especially when they don’t really want to be picked up by a strange person who in their eyes is roughly the same shape and size as King Kong.  Attempting to retrieve her from behind the couch could only result in one thing – a serious injury, most likely to be mine – and it was at that point I received my first kitten bite.  Man, no-one tells you that these cute balls of fluff have mouths filled with hot knives and needles.  Several attempts and a few puncture wounds later, the fluffy terrorist was secured in the bathroom.

Which leads me back to the title of this post, and the fact that there are certain bad habits which you have to change when you get a pet.  Those little clear plastic tags that drop on the floor when you open a new packet of socks?  You have to pick those up and put them in the bin now.  The door to the washing machine?  That needs to remain tightly closed at all times.  The new pair of shoes which you leave on the floor when you get in from work?  Unless you want them to look like a pair of 80’s stockbroker style perforated brogues the following morning you’ll put them away in the cupboard.  Feeling slightly smug that the kitten was now in a place where she couldn’t cause too much trouble, I set about dressing my wounds, making a cup of coffee and doing the washing up.  Wondering how my little terrorist was getting on in the bathroom, I returned to take a peek through the glass door and caught sight of my tiny kitten perching precariously on the edge of the toilet seat, looking as though she was seriously contemplating a suicide jump into the water below.  Cue utter panic, and with the reflexes of a newly qualified ninja I swept her off the seat and onto the floor.  I’m not sure who was more shocked – I’ve never moved that quickly in my life and she certainly wasn’t expecting to be interrupted.  Thus one of my first lessons of kitten-keeping was learned:

You must – I repeat MUST – remember to put the toilet lid down.