Archive | August, 2012

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.