Monday, 23 December 2013

Cats: The Year in Remew

Preamble

     It's been a humdinger of a year with lots of things going on cat wise. One thing you realize when you start to blog about cats is that you've joined a massive online community.

     All that combined with the various adventures that I've had with Pusia has proved to make it quite an eventful year.

Late Arrivals

     It all started way back in January when Beata phoned me and asked if I'd like to adopt a cat. I wasn't at all sure to begin with but when I really thought about it, I was quite excited at the prospect of having a feline around the place.

     Pusia lived in Ardfert in Kerry at that point. Her current humans were emigrating to Canada and Pusia was desperately in need of a new home.

     My work situation was a little uncertain at the time - when isn't work uncertain these days? In early February, however, I got the news that I could rely on my current position for another year. I knew then that I definitely wanted to give Pusia a home.

Pusia soon made herself at home!
     It was stressful for Pusia, of course. She was a beautiful seven-year-old blotched tabby or calico or even tortoiseshell - it's so hard to say! Everyone seems to call her something different and her coat is so striking.

     Whatever she is, the first time I met her we drove to see Gosia and Ian and there was Pusia sitting in the front room window. I have to say that she was pretty aloof with me but at one point she did jump on my lap and just went limp staring up at me. From that moment on it was love (for me, anyway).

New Kid on the Block

     It was a new and strange environment for Pusia. The move to my house meant a change of scenery from a housing estate in a village to a farm in the middle of the country. She's used to having humans around and where I am currently there's nobody really who interacts with her when I'm away.

     Thankfully I do have a very supportive bunch of neighbours and they all help out with looking after her if I ever do have to travel away for more than a day.

     The environment wasn't the main issue. More than anything that worried me was the fact that there's a colony of feral cats that live here too! The first encounter was an anxious experience for me.

Pusia spies an intruder.
     I really needn't have worried. Pusia made a few warning noises and, to be honest, I think the feral cats were more afraid of her. Over the course of about nine months Pusia has now made friends with several of the colony and she has even been observed sitting in close proximity with Freddy, the Godfather of the colony, in an uneasy peace.

Entries and Exits

     There have been modifications too. Generally I'm around for Pusia but occasionally I do have to rejoin the real world. On these occasions I like Pusia to be able to get in and out of the house. She needs a bolt hole because there can be hunting dogs around.

     Pusia is not generally afraid of dogs - she was brought up with a huge hound called Dumps - but she is naturally wary of strange dogs. The safest thing was to have somewhere high for her to escape to when she feels threatened or insecure.

Pusia has the freedom to come and go as she pleases.
     The solution was provided by my kind neighbour, Dave, who is a cat-loving engineer. In a moment of mad scientist activity he knocked together a ladder that allows Pusia to climb in and out through a cat flap high up in the wall!

     This was quite a new trick for Pusia who was used to being let out at dawn and allowed back in at dusk by her previous humans. Once the novelty of having the freedom to come and go as she pleased passed, she found this was the best vantage point to sit and watch the world go by.

     It's not unknown for the farmer to go by and give her a wave from his tractor!

In Sickness and in Health

     We've had our ups and downs. At first I was feeling my way in the dark a little. I have had contact with cats before but have never actually had one living with me.

     My attempts to feed her the right stuff, make sure she had plenty of water and keep her happy seemed to be falling short of her stringent requirements. After having her for about six weeks it was becoming clear that she was losing weight and beginning to look unhealthy.

     I took her to the vet and much to my dismay I found that she was dehydrated and was having problems with her kidneys! The vet suspected FLIV and predicted the worst but, thankfully, it was something completely different and relatively innocuous!

Pusia was obviously feeling ill.
     Pusia had become lethargic and gone off her food and water. Sound familiar? Yes, she was depressed! The vet told me that because she had first come to live with me when I had a lot of time at home the shock of my returning to work was just too much for her after the stress of moving to a new location. She probably felt abandoned and had just given up on life.

     I have to make a big fuss of Pusia now. I want to, anyway, so there's no hardship in that. But I have to reassure her that she's a treasured companion. We've had one more incident that's involved going to the vet and, I have to say, every time they have to shave her fur to take bloods I feel so upset.

Taking Pusia to the vet is awful. Rescuing her is magical!
     I hate taking her to the vet and having to leave her there. Whenever it happens I'm pretty distraught but the reunions are wonderful. I've learnt so much about cats this year and in particular I think I've learnt more about nutrition than anything else.

Pillow Talk

     The greatest miracle has been learning to understand the way Pusia communicates her needs to me. I've also learnt that what she wants to eat is not always the best thing for her. Sometimes I have to take the responsibility of knowing that you can do serious damage by not consciously thinking about the health of a cat.

After a few teething problems we found the balance.
     Pusia is now a thriving and happy cat. She's well known in the neighbourhood and the farmers even admire her for her ability to catch (and eat!) mice and rats.

     On balance it's true to say that Pusia has now found her feet and truly belongs in the area.

Roll of Honour

     I'm delighted to say that I've met some wonderful cat bloggers this year. I'd just like to mention a few of the main culprits!

     There's Jennifer Niemi of Nerissa's Life who always keeps me entertained with her tales of life as a cat in Canada, running for political office and generally running circles around her peeps! 

     There's Babus Sama Ahmed of Ajoobacats Blog where I've found some really useful hints and tips on how to look after Pusia. 

     There's also Jennie Orbell who puts her thoughts down for everyone to see (and puzzle over sometimes) at her author's blog - I'm not certain what I've learnt but I've laughed my socks off.

     Equally nutty but quirky in her own way, Fiona Griffin posts on the blogging page on Facebook, Blogging for Blogging's Sake. I've been trying to persuade Fiona to get a blog for ages now but it's like trying to cut a diamond with a blunt knife. If you visit the page and find some of her posts then you'll see why they're worth reading.

And Finally...

     I'm delighted to say that thanks to Nissy the Cat I've been awarded some blogging trophy or something (these blogging awards always confuse me slightly but it's nice to get one)! Apparently it's the Sunshine Award (there may have been others) and I'm honoured to receive it! As part of the award I'm supposed to share some stuff about myself but this blog has now gone on long enough. Bah humbug... ;~)

     All that's left for me to do is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and to raise a glass of sherry in a toast for a happy and festive Yuletide.

     Have a lovely holiday season and see you all on the other side of Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Pusia too!