Monday, 26 September 2011

Cats on Tuesday - Rappy, Timmy and Jet

Rappy, Timmy and Jet

Timmy - May 21st. 1994 to 4th. Nov 2010 
When Rappy first came to live with us, his given name was Noah, but he had such a rambunctious nature we changed it to Rappy, short for Rapscallion.  He had to leave the home of my friend Margaret because he terrorised her Calico cat Haddie.  We wondered how our Callie would react to him, as she is Haddie's older sibling.  As soon as Rappy saw her, he wanted to play and immediately jumped on her, so there was some spitting and hissing, but Rappy soon turned his attention to Timmy, our ginger and white cat.  Timmy wasn't too thrilled about that, being a much older cat, but eventually things settled down and both Callie and Timmy tolerated Rappy's rambunctious antics.  When Jet joined the family he and Rappy became firm friends, and that took the pressure off both Timmy and Calli.

That Pesky Little Brat
(Timmy’s Lament)

Noah, that pesky little brat
is always jumping on my back,
from behind the door he leaps at me
is there no place I can be free?
He follows me from place to place
forever, always, in my face.
I think I’ve found a place to hide
then he appears at my side.
He instigates a boxing bout,
one day I’ll give him such a clout.
He bites my neck and nips my tail
and if I don’t play he starts to wail.
They say he is a real cute cat
To me he’s that pesky little brat!

Jackie S Brooks ©
1st. March 2005

Yoo hoo

I'm killing this BIG mouse that Mama made for us 

I think it is dead already...! 
 It might just come back to life....!

One of Jet's favourite places to relax and observe the world.

Monday, 19 September 2011

SammyJo and Calli - Matriarchs

SammyJo and Calli - Matriarchs

SammyJo was our first Matriarch, one day in June 1987 I had just come out of hospital after having surgery and was laying on the sofa feeling very groggy, when my husband announced he was going out for a bike ride...!  When he got back an hour or so later, he looked like a sack tied in the middle, the belt of his jacket pulled really tight.  Then he put his hand inside his jacket and pulled out a tiny bundle of fur...SammyJo, she was just six weeks old, a tiny tortoiseshell kitten with huge worried eyes. 

We still had Caruso then, and he just loved her to bits and would cuddle her, she would protest with tiny high pitched squeals and try to run away and hide under the Welsh Dresser.  After we lost Caruso, we had other cats join our family and SammyJo was always 'The Boss.'  She was a beautiful cat with a lovely nature, and we often called her 'velvet paws.'  She  finally died on July 23rd 2010 at the grand old age of 23 years, 2 months and 9 days.

SammyJo with kitten Tabitha

When Calli came to live with us she was also a tiny frightened little kitten, she was born out in the fields to feral parents.  Calli is a beautiful long-haired Calico, now aged 12 years.  She has inherited the title of Matriarch from SammyJo.  SammyJo was quite a bossy cat, but Calli is rather shy and timid, especially around strangers.

Calli's first admirer was Tosh, seen here sitting under her chair when she was just 3 months old, but Calli never returned his affection, she seems to be a little afraid of black cats.  Tosh died last year, and Jet, also a big black cat, who moved in with us about four years ago, also admires her, but she spurns his attempts to make friends, she is not quite so unfriendly with him as she used to be though.

Calli’s Friend!

Last night Calli woke me
with her soft chortles and chirps,
With a friend on the landing
she canoodles and flirts,
Whispering sweet nothings
in some poor mousie’s ear,
She only wants a playmate
but he trembles with fear.
Be brave little mousie
make a dash across the floor,
You can hide in our bedroom
behind the closet door,
Then in the morning
while Calli’s fast asleep,
I’ll set you free again
just be sure not to squeak!

Jackie S Brooks (c) 
21st August 2004

(SammyJo's Lament)

She’s as mad as a Hatter
Her eye’s spittin’ fire
As she stands here
Just screaming at me.

“I want to go OUT!
I want to go PLAY
In the garden
NOT tomorrow, TODAY!

You just sit here all day
On that wretched machine
I’m neglected, forgotten
Do you HEAR what I say.

I want YOU to come too
Give ME some of your TIME!
Pay attention to ME,
FORGET about rhyme.
I want to go play,
It’s a nice sunny day
And if you don’t come too
I WILL phone the RSPCA!

I’ll tell them you neglect me
How you treat me so mean,
That you love your computer
Much more than you love ME!

If you don’t come out NOW
I might run AWAY,
And you won’t see me
Till the END of today!

Come play in the grass,
I’ll roly-poly for YOU!
Just for YOUR enjoyment
(and mine too!!)

You can make me a necklace
Of a pretty daisy chain,
And I promise to wear it
Until I lose it AGAIN!!”

Jackie S Brooks (c)
4 August 2003

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Cats on Tuesday - Trixie, Our Special Mom

Trixie - Kitnapper

Trixie and her brother Pepper, born to our matriarch Sammyjo, were the last two of her litter needing a new home, Pepper was a cute little all-black male and we had intended letting them go together.  One day a lady turned up at the house, she had heard by word of mouth that we had kittens and she wanted one, just one. She came in and had a look at the kittens and decided that she liked Trixie, we tried but could not persuade her to take both.
Trixie and Kiska
It happened to be the middle of summer and she was wearing open toed sandals, no stockings, that is when Trixie made her big mistake, while the lady was drinking the cup of tea we had given her, Trixie settled down at her feet and started to wash them! When Trixie washed feet, she washed them really well, soles and uppers and special attention to toes, her soft little pink tongue worked its way between those toes and woe betide anyone who tried to move. She would pin that foot down with her paw and lick all the harder. This did not go down well at all with the lady, it wasn’t just that she was ticklish, she could not bear anyone or anything to touch her feet, poor woman! So Pepper went off to a new home and Trixie stayed with us and we decided to keep her.

All cats have their own individual personalities and Trixie was no exception. To a visitor she probably appeared a bit unfriendly, she wasn’t one to jump up on a stranger’s lap and start purring. She kept herself aloof and often appeared to be a bit of a grump. She could scowl and look daggers when she wanted to, and if she wasn’t in the mood to play or be picked up she would growl. She never scratched or bit however, it was all for show. She was, in fact, a real softie.

It soon became evident that she could not have kittens of her own and she was never spayed. Generally we let our cats have one litter at least before spaying. Trixie never produced a litter but she desperately wanted babies of her own, we didn’t realise just how much, until one of our other cats had a litter.

Walking up from the garden one day, I saw Trixie acting rather furtively, I watched her look both ways with head bent low before running off and crawling under a neighbours garden shed. I thought something had scared her but when I went into the house and looked in on the kittens, I found the mother, Temba, was missing and so were two of the babies. I knew instantly that somehow, Trixie was involved. I went to the shed and tried to look underneath, since one side was only six inches or so above the path beside it, I had great difficulty and could not see a thing. I got a torch and tried again, one pair of eyes caught in the beam! The other side of the shed was level with the ground, as it is on a slight slope, I went round to the front and listened, sure enough I could hear Trixie ‘talking’ and kittens answering with little squeaks. Now what!

I was worried, when Temba came back from answering her call of nature, she would be frantic, and the kittens need regular feeding, they were only days old. Jim was away that day so I went next door to get help from my neighbour’s husband Teb. Teb and three young sons came to the shed and listened, yes, definitely two kittens under there and no way of getting to them. Trixie had carried them to the other side of the shed, where it was closest to the ground and that was up against the fence! So the next step was informing the neighbour on the other side that she had two kit-napped kittens under her shed. She gave us permission to pull up the floorboards which Teb promptly did, the gap under the floor joists was deeper than we expected and the only one who could reach back into the gap was Teb’s youngest son. He managed to get to the kittens and gently pulled them out and gave them to me.

I took the kitten’s home with a furious Trixie following me and meowing piteously. Their basket was in the living room and I knew if I left them there Trixie would probably do it again, so I put the kittens back with their litter-mates and took the basket upstairs to my bedroom, locking Trixie downstairs. When I came down she tried to get upstairs but I shut the door to the hallway so she couldn’t. Then she really started to wail and clawed at the door, she showed no signs of giving up. Finally I decided to let her go up to the kittens and keep her locked up there with them.

From that moment she and Temba took it in turns to look after them, the mother had no objections to Trixie at all. The most amazing thing was that Trixie actually developed milk and fed them too. We told our veterinary surgeon about it and he said it was quite common for this to happen. We had no more problems with Trixie trying to remove them elsewhere so after a few days she was allowed to come and go as normal.
From that time on, whenever we had a new kitten come into the house we would present it to Trixie. The kitten would normally cringe a little, not knowing what to expect but that didn’t last long. Trixie would pin it down with one paw, pull it towards her with the other and start giving it a bath. She would give a soft growl, probably meaning "kid, you stink" if it protested and then she would wash it until it was sopping wet. By the time she had finished with it, the kitten was lucky to have any fur left, but by then it was usually quite happy for her to continue ‘mothering’ it.

She developed a real bond of affection with several kittens that joined our family and it was a bond that did not break when they became adolescents, as would normally happen. The most notable one being Tiggy. Tiggy was one of Tiger Lily’s babies but he became Trixie’s instead. When he disappeared at the age of 15 months, we searched everywhere for him. He had been to the vet that day with an infected paw and had been given anti-biotics, he had gone out in the evening to answer a call of nature and never came back. The morning after he disappeared, a huge grain truck had left the farm opposite and I often wondered if he had somehow climbed into it in his confused state, he was a little groggy from the anti-biotics, I should never have let him go out. I was heart broken, he was my special friend. Just the day before, as I had been walking across the living room, Tiggy had walked towards me, I bent down to stroke him and as I spoke to him, he stood on his hind legs, reached up with his paws and put one either side of my face and ‘kissed’ me.
Trixie searched for him too, inside the house, every time we opened a cupboard or a drawer, she was there searching. I'm pretty sure she searched all their favourite haunts outside too. She would look at us accusingly, as if to say "Well, where is he, what have you done with him?" Finally she realised he was not coming back and she went into a serious decline, she moped and refused to eat, getting thinner and thinner. After a couple of months of this, in desperation, we got her another kitten. At first she growled and grumped, scaring the poor little thing half to death, then she pinned it down and started washing it. Slowly she recovered from her loss of Tiggy, but she never forgot him.
Trixie and Tiggi

One evening eighteen months later Jim and I heard the cat flap being moved very quietly, I went into the kitchen, no one there, so I opened the door. There was a big ginger cat on the footpath looking back at me nervously, he turned and ran. I knew it was Tiggy, he was much bigger now and looked a bit scruffy, it was obvious he was living rough. I told Jim, "I’m sure it is Tiggy." We set up a mirror in the kitchen so that if he came in again we would be able to see him without moving from our seats and scaring him. Sure enough, he came back. After a while he realised we were not going to hurt him and he would sit a short distance away from us. It was definitely him, we identified all his markings from a photo, but, he had a dent on one side of his head. We came to the conclusion that he had either been hit by a vehicle of some kind or had been kicked by a cow, he appeared to have suffered partial memory loss, maybe some brain damage. Anyway, he knew the house, he knew he could get food and most of all, he knew Trixie and she knew him. He followed her around like a little puppy, by this time she was not well, we didn’t realise at the time but she had Leukaemia. Tiggy’s reappearance lasted about three months. During the last three weeks of Trixie’s life, she spent most of her time lying in the shade in our lower garden, I would feed her on little bits of chicken, she was becoming very weak and we would have to carry her very gently home at night. She had a constant companion in Tiggy, he was always close to her, only moving away when we approached. She finally died in my arms and we buried her beside one of her ‘babies’ Kiska, who had been killed by a speeding car. From that day on we never saw Tiggy ever again. The complete story of Trixie can be found here:Trixie-The Kitnapper!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Cats on Tuesday - Jet

Jet came to us just over four years ago, he turned up on the wall dividing our yard from our next door neighbours late one evening.  I heard him crying and went out to see who it was.  He looked so miserable, he was so thin his ribs were showing quite plainly.  I spoke to him softly and he didn't run away although he looked a little uncertain.  I took him some munchies and he fairly gobbled them up, he was obviously extremely hungry, so then I gave him a saucer full of canned cat food and a saucer of milk, and that all disappeared too.

Over the next few weeks both Barbara, my neighbour, and I fed him every day. Barbara's two female cats were not impressed with this black cat who they apparently felt was trying to usurp their authority, and they would not let him into their house, although Barbara was willing to take him in.

Jet and Rappy seemed to know each other already and we are pretty certain Rappy persuaded Jet that he would find a home here, so eventually he moved in.  He and Rappy get along really well, they are best buddies and almost inseparable.

We don't know where Jet came from, but we guessed he was about the same age as Rappy at the time he arrived, around four years old, and we think he may have lost his pet person, because he is such a soft natured, friendly cat.  I can't imagine that anyone would just abandon him, he is such a loving cat.

Jet and Rappy are nearly eight years old now, still best buddies, still wrestling and playing together every day, and Jet just loves to wash Rappy, which Rappy enjoys immensely.  Jet is no longer thin, he is a big, muscular panther of a cat, with a beautiful sleek glossy black coat, he is so big we had to buy a larger door flap, for large cats and small dogs!  He also is addicted to Dreamies cat treats, and as well as pointing he also adopts the 'broken paw' routine when he wants some. 

He loves to lie and sleep on his back, and sometimes crawls under the duvet and cuddles my legs!  In this
photo I was about to take a photo
of the socks I had just finished
knitting, but he decided my legs
made a good cat basket!

Jettikins, my big panther puss is here to stay.  He often comes to the garden gate to meet us when he hears our car coming up the road.  Neither he and Rappy like it when we go out, they are quite possessive with both of us.

Friday, 2 September 2011

My Chuchee Face!

Rappy, short for Rapscallion, which means rascal, rogue and scamp.  He is all of those things, a lovable, mischievous, loving companion.  He has other names too, like mommy's boy, peekyboo boy, and chuchee face.  Rappy loves to snuggle up on my lap, and cuddle up with me in bed, when I am sick he never leaves my side.  He talks to me and I think he thinks I understand every single word he meows, I know he understands everything we say. 
Just last night I heard him call and expected him to come charging upstairs, I was in the computer room, but he didn't, even though I had answered him.  He called again so I went to the top of the stairs and looked down; he was sitting at the foot and just called again.  So down I went, usually when he does something like that it is because he has brought me a present, or wants me to go down the garden to play.  But this time he led me into the kitchen, sat down and pointedly looked up at the counter where the box of Dreamies sit.  So he got his 'fix.' 

Rappy is a very playful puss,
even though he is nearly eight years old, he is still a
kitten at heart.  He loves to play with us, and wrestle with his best buddy Jet, they are almost inseparable
 now since Jet came to live with us four years ago.  Rappy was born on a farm and was given to my friend Margaret by her brother.  Unfortunately Margaret's calico cat Hadassa didn't take to Noah, as Margaret had called him, he was too rambunctious for Haddie, she is of a rather nervous disposition, so Noah Rappy came to live with us, and Haddie's older sibling Calli soon got used to him, they often rub noses together now.

Rappy (and Jet) are always fascinated and frustrated with the antics of the Housemartins and Swallows that live in nests beneath the eaves.  Rappy loves to stretch up and 'talk' to them through the window as they fly back and forth, and I'm sure the birds love to torment him and Jet.  They have a favourite toy, a mouse made of red print fabric with a yellow feather tail, they have 'killed' three of them so far, of all the toys they have, I have never seen them drool over one as much as they have over this red mouse.  I badly need to find another one just like it in time for Christmas.

Next time, Jet's story.
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