Busted again

Rachel had a visitor today. Ann.

Ann worries terribly about cats and dogs, and birds and mice, and anything, really, that is alive and might need looking after. She feeds the birds in the park, for heaven’s sake.

“Look out for a little tabby cat with a blue tag” she told Rachel. “I see it down by all that earthmoving machinery for the new footbridge, and I think it’s after the robins there. Perhaps you can get near enough to read its name tag.”

This is where she meant. To get to the footbridge you go this way:

Round the corner from my house onto this street, heading for the church.

Cross over the road at the church. That patch of grass is my territory!

Walk down to where that little path appears in front of the furthest red car.

That’s the one.

Down the steps.

Across the road towards Armstrong Bridge. Turn right.

And head down the hill for the heap of earth.

You’ve arrived! There’s the building work, and the new footbridge. It’s meant to be rusty, Rachel says. She says she may be a Philistine, but…..

….. that she’s not the only one who thinks it’s a very ugly and expensive bridge. You have to click on the picture below to see how ugly it is.

Across from the heap of earth is this. A gap. Look closer!

It’s a main road!

A very busy main road that goes to the seaside.

Anyway…. when Rachel heard Ann talk about the tabby cat, she took her into another room, where I was sitting just minding my own business, and pointed to me. She didn’t say anything, but she had That Face on again.

Ann looked at me. She looked at my blue tag. “That’s the one!” she cried.

After Ann had gone home, Rachel gave me the most fearful telling-off.

I had to promise never to go near that main road.

I’m going to stay indoors this evening. Promises are very serious matters, and I have to think about this one.

I do like robins though. Why is life so complicated?

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Dog control

We were complaining to Rachel. “There’s a dog wherever we look! They follow us about, they try to sniff us, they watch what we do, they’re such a blasted nuisance!”

Rachel was in a receptive mood for once. Sympathetic, even.

“Watch this.” she said. “Dead dogs in five minutes.” We liked that idea!

And she lit the fire.

And it really was that simple.

Rachel showed us where the matches were kept, and said we could light the fire whenever we liked. She can be unexpectedly kind!

Letter to a Nova Scotian beau

Dear handsome tabby Oliver,

You wanted to hear from me, with photos, so Rachel and I planned this letter to you, to thank you for being such a caring friend. I have been feeling a bit left out lately, and you were the only one who noticed.

You are a sensitive and thoughtful cat – much like me – and understand that my life isn’t easy just now because of this:

The usurper! A dog. Or as Estorbo calls it, a d.a.w.g. Either way, quite monstrous.

We knew from the start that things weren’t going to be easy.

The smell, for one thing….. And the beds, the toys, the hair, the drool, all over the place! We don’t understand why Rachel is so delighted with this dog; she refuses to get rid of it.

Hamish is still boycotting it, but he does creep into its night-crate sometimes, and drinks its water. When it isn’t there, of course. Hamish has to be careful. He trusts no one.

Lottie and Scooter have formed a team. They are planning something, but I’m not allowed to know what. Like I say, I’ve been left out. No wonder I’m starting to speak to that dog now, out of desperation.

But you have been so kind. The parcel you sent was a lovely thought.

Temptations and a card for us, and some things for Rachel. She doesn’t need presents, but it was kind of you anyway.

I smelled the package carefully. “Eau d’Oliver le Beau” I thought. And I was right!

Rachel said it had flown across the sky to get to us. Hard to imagine.

Scooter liked the Temptations. He loves food and treats. Especially treats. That’s why he is known as Billy Bunter in our house.

He can’t read, and only thinks about food, so the card was wasted on him. I, on the other paw, am a more cultured creature, and greatly appreciated both the message and the Hiroshige drawings.

On behalf of us all, here in this doggy hell, thank you very much.

Your loving tabby friend,

Millie

PS Next time, please could you enclose a ticket to Nova Scotia? Rachel tells me I could fly. I would like to try that!

Luring the wolf

I’m training that wolf. I want it to trust me. When it’s tame, I shall strike!

I asked Rachel to take photos of my technique. Pity she managed to make such a mess of them. Still, you should be able to follow what I’m doing.

1. Call the wolf. You have to do this loudly: “Yeeeeeowwwwwwww-owwwwww-owwwww!” I can do this and scratch my ear at the same time; makes me look casual and unafraid.

The wolf will listen, fascinated; it hasn’t heard such a beautiful voice before. You now have its full attention.

2.Guide the wolf carefully into the front room. Good; it’s learned to follow you.

3. Take up your position. Continue to call: “Yeeeeooooowwww!” By now, the wolf is mesmerised. Walk away, confident that you now have a follower, and can call it at any time. Rachel has to bribe the wolf with treats to achieve such obedience, but not me; I have The Voice!

Thinking you have abandoned it, the wolf will lie down and gnaw miserably at one of its ridiculous fake bones. This gives you time to inspect its bed, and pop up somewhere else as a surprise.

4. Roll over, as though you want the wolf to come and play with you. It will be nervous, as is only right and proper. Playing with cats is dangerous to wolves.

 
5. Make the Play With Me sound: “Chirrr! Whrrrr!”

The wolf is in a dilemma – does it try to play, or does it run away?

The wolf doesn’t run away, but it is too scared to play. Instead, it hides its face on the sofa and trembles. It knows who is boss.

Excellent result for a first training session!

Next time: Physical Contact With The Enemy. Meantime, your homework is to practise your call: “Yeeeeowwwww!” Wolf training demands effort.

Scrounging

Another fact demonstrated: Cats are cleverer than wolves. And much more subtle.

This is what the wolf did the other day.

“Get in your basket!” Rachel told it, when it was watching her eat her dinner. It has long strings of drool sometimes; most inelegant. Rachel doesn’t want a drooly-chops wolf sitting beside her.

The wolf’s own basket is at the other side of the kitchen. Tosca’s basket is beside the table, because she never drools at mealtimes, just looks quietly hopeful. Or plain pathetic.

And it works. She gets little treats from Rachel’s plate. “I know, I know, I’m making a rod for my own back!” Rachel says when anyone reminds her not to feed animals at the table.

Lottie sometimes gets up on the table at mealtimes, but Rachel objects to that too, so she sits on a chair instead. Rachel says she should have her own plate and spoon, but Lottie gets little treats too. She especially likes omelettes.

Hamish doesn’t bother; he sits under the table sometimes, but he runs away from treats. They might be poison, he says; trust no one, he says, especially Rachel.

I don’t scrounge, as Rachel so rudely puts it. I just sit within reach of any tidying up that needs to be done; you know, in case titbits fall onto the floor and have to be cleaned up. I’m helpful that way.

But when the wolf was sent off by Rachel, it thought it could fool us by getting into Tosca’s basket instead of her own. As if we couldn’t see that it was bursting out of it!

It didn’t work, anyway. Rachel said that there were going to be changes round here from now on; no more feeding at the table.

That wolf. Troublemaker.

But we will find a way of changing her mind. We won’t tell the wolf though.

Wolf!

Scooter here, your undercover reporter.

I am hiding. Mostly I hide in the attic, but sometimes I escape from the house and hide in next-door’s yard, on top of the shed.

I am Making A Point.

A wolf has been brought into our house, and it seems to be making itself at home. I am not pleased, not at all.

Hamish isn’t pleased either; he hides in the attic too, but sometimes he walks past the wolf, so long as it is in its crate, asleep. He doesn’t run, like I do, but strolls, calmly, but I think he’s only pretending to be brave.

Lottie quite likes the wolf, she says.

Millie sniffs its feet if the wolf is lying down asleep, but she’s pleased to note that it’s a bit scared of her. She sits beside its toys sometimes, just to tease it, and it isn’t brave enough to go near her.

Our dog Tosca thinks the wolf is sort-of ok, as it seems to mean that treats appear quite a lot these days, but she would prefer to be the Only dog.

I’m not just hiding, you know, or boycotting the sitting room. Oh no, I’m doing some research into wolves, and how to deal with them. I have some specialist reference books: Little Red Riding Hood; The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids. They have great endings!

I’m hoping that Rachel will make me a little red hood of my own. She knows that I look good in red.