The Adventures of my FurKid – part 5

The Adventures of my FurKid – part 5

This year, Pringles turned 11, and he’s still as playful and full of mischief as always.  He loves to climb into the shower once someone’s done in there, to drink the clean warm water that is left on the shower floor.  Why?  Nobody knows, as he has a perfectly good water bowl filled daily with fresh, clean water.  Sadly, he hasn’t learned how to wipe his little paws when he’s done, and loves to leave kitty paw prints all over the bathroom floor.  If we’re lucky, there’ll even be a wet tummy print and tail print too, if he’s decided to lie down in the shower while he’s drinking.

 

One afternoon, after mowing the lawn or doing some DIY work, hubby climbed into the shower to wash all the grime off, and Catty decided to climb in with him!  Catty was perfectly happy standing there in the corner of the shower with the water going, and didn’t seem phased by it at all, yet if he gets wet outside when it’s raining, he will come inside and meow at me to please dry him.  What’s up with that?

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Well, it was just as well that he got used to going in the shower, as he got caught out in the garden in a huge thunderstorm one afternoon.  Catty is scared of thunder and we think he may have hidden in the drainage ditch at the bottom of our garden.  After the storm had passed, a very dirty cat came crawling in through the cat flap. He was filthy!  The poor boy was sopping wet and was coated with mud from under his front legs to the tip of his tail, and there were leaves and twigs stick in his fur that we battled to take out.  I didn’t think to quickly snap a photo of him, I was more concerned about getting him dry in case he got sick, and my guess is that he was hiding in the drainage ditch facing the same way that the water runs, with meant that the water was going over him in the opposite direction to the way his fur grows, which is why all the debris got caught.  Anyway, towel drying him did nothing to get all the mud off, and I was left with no other option than to put Catty in the shower and wash him!  We don’t have a bath, only a shower, and I wasn’t sure how difficult this was going to be, but thankfully Catty just stood there and allowed us to rinse him clean with warm water.  The poor little guy must have been so cold and scared, that he didn’t care what was happening.  Once I had towel dried him, he sat an licked himself ‘clean’ with this really dazed look on his face, almost as if to say, “What the hell just happened?”

The over-the-fence game of stealing the neighbour’s rags has turned into a game of hunting garden gloves.  After visiting the neighbour’s one afternoon, Catty came home with a pair of garden gloves, freshly stolen from the neighbour’s garden, while she was busy and had taken them off briefly to attend to something else.  He also loves taking my garden gloves from the shelf that they’re stored on and dropping them somewhere in the garden, usually separately, or he hides them on top of the water tank.  I don’t know what this fascination with garden gloves is, but it’s clearly a game for him.  Maybe he likes the fact that they get returned to the same place each time, and it’s a cat version of Hide-and-Seek?

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Over the years, Pringles has battled with cystitis and the odd bladder infection.  Luckily, we’ve reached a point now where I’m able to spot the early symptoms of a cystitis flare-up and we can get him started on medication pretty quickly.  The only thing wrong with this is that the anti-inflammatory medication causes him to hallucinate and see things that aren’t there, although it is rather funny to sit and watch him when he’s “seeing pink elephants flying around the room”.

His most recent bout of cystitis happened in June, and our trip to the Vet ended up having a rather unfortunate and unexpected outcome.  The Vet came in and looked at Pringles before exclaiming, “Oh, my!  Look at your eye, you poor cat.”  This reaction from her was totally unexpected, as we were there about a case of cystitis and not about his eye.

Before I carry on with this story, I need to explain that Pringles had been in a cat fight about a year and a half before we emigrated, and he’d been scratched across the eye during that fight.  At the time, our Vet had checked it out and he’d been medicated, etc, but damage to the eye had been done and there was a little on-going inflammation, which caused his left eye to look more brown than the right eye, but he still had his sight.  I took him to a feline eye specialist for a second opinion and she confirmed that the sight in that eye was fine, although they did warn us that he may gradually start going blind as he got older.

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Anyway, back to the story.  We’re at the Vet about his cystitis and she’s just remarked on his eye, so I tell her about the prior cat fight, Vet and specialist diagnosis (I even had a copy of the specialists report in his file), and told her that I know the darkened colour is from inflammation and if it gets bad there are drops that I have to put in his eye.  She explained that it wasn’t just inflammation, but that he had developed sudden onset glaucoma and that the eye was swollen, hard and putting pressure on his brain and probably causing him migraine-like headaches on a daily basis.  Sadly, cats don’t show when they’re in pain, and we would never have known.  I was given the option of operating to remove the eye, or medicating him twice a day with eye drops for the rest of his life.  diagnosis, eye op decision.  I couldn’t help it, I burst into tears in the Vet’s consultation room.  I was there to have my cat treated for cystitis, only to be told that he needs to have an eye removed!

I got the medication he needed for the cystitis, plus eye drops that needed to be put in his eye twice a day for a week, and took my kitty home.  I think I cried for 24 hours after that diagnosis.  Not because Pringles had to lose and eye, but because I felt like I was an awful “Mom” for not noticing that my cat had slowly gone blind in one eye.  The Vet did say that the blindness happened very gradually, which is why we never noticed anything, and why Pringles never walked into furniture, etc, or changed his behaviour, but I still felt bad.  We made the decision to have his blind eye removed, as it would mean he’d be pain-free for the rest of his life, instead of dealing with pain on a daily basis and having to have drops put in his eye every day for the rest of his life.  A week and a half later, he had surgery.

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His left eye was removed, and Catty came home the same day.  He wasn’t happy about wearing the “cone of shame” and kept pulling it off.  The nurses at the Vet had recommended securing it on with a cat collar, but even that didn’t work, he just wriggled and pulled until he got it off, earning him the nickname of Houdini.  Then I had an idea.  I’d bought a cat harness with leash so that I could take him out into the garden when he had cystitis, without having to worry about him disappearing to hide, as we needed to monitor if and when he was peeing, and how much, and I secured the cone on with his body harness.  He was not a happy Catty.  Now he couldn’t get it off!  I did leave the cone off whenever I was around with him, but if I had a client and had to work, he had to have the harness and cone, and at night we used the collar with the cone as it was more comfortable for him to sleep in.  Poor cat.

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After two weeks we went back to the Vet and his 16 stitches were removed where they’d sewn his eyelids shut.  There was still a lot of swelling, but this gradually subsided as the wound healed, and the eyebrow and fur slowly started to grow back where they’d had to shave his little face.

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I now own a one-eyed ginger FurKid, and have gotten used to seeing a one-eyed cat.  There was no adjustment period after the operation (as he was used to not seeing out of that eye), and I don’t even think he knows his eye is gone, only that he doesn’t have headaches any more.  He was definitely less grumpy after the surgery, and even gives me the odd snuggle when I pick him up to cuddle him, which he’s never done before.

 

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He’s back to his old tricks and still tries to hide away from me when it’s inside time.  We lock the cat flap at sunset, and most days he comes inside and puts himself to bed before the sun goes down, but there are odd days when he just doesn’t want to.  He’ll either hide under our house, somewhere in the garden, or be visiting the neighbours, in which case he’s passed over the fence and locked inside anyway.  A few months ago, my little rascal snuck into the neighbours house mid-afternoon for a visit (if the door isn’t open, he’ll let himself in through an open window).  He said “hello” to everyone, and then disappeared.  Sunset came and I thought he was outside somewhere, and the neighbours thought he was home with me, as they’d checked all the rooms in their house before closing the windows for the night, and didn’t see Catty anywhere.  Later that evening, he still hadn’t come in.  I searched the garden by torchlight, called for him, and couldn’t find him anywhere … It turns out that the little rascal had known it was inside time, and had snuck it the neighbours computer room, curling himself up and hiding away so that no one would find him.  Needless to say, he was found and passed over the fence to sleep at home that night.  No sleepovers for naughty kitties!

As I’ve mentioned before, Pringles loves to drink out of the shower after someone has just finished showering.  He also loves drinking out of the bases of pot plant pots, dirty puddles, rainwater collection bins.  He seems to prefer these dirtier water options to the nice clean water we give him in his bowl every day.  Why?  I’ll never know.  His latest fad is drinking out of the bird bath!  Yes, my cat now thinks that he’s a bird, seeing as he’s not allowed to chase birds or go near them in the garden without being told “Uh uh” or “Leave the birds alone.”

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“If the birds can, why can’t I?”

 

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The Adventures of my FurKid – part 2

The words “Cat burglar” definitely come to mind when I think about another phase that Pringles went through.  It started off with him bringing home dried leaves and palm fronds (our neighbour saw this and asked if he was nesting.  Haha!).  This soon became rags or items of laundry that had been dropped in the garden or had blown off the washline.  Then one night he brought home a pair of little boy’s shorts.  There was only one family in the block with a little boy under the age of two, so I was able to return the shorts the next day, along with an explanation.

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The following week, it was a pair of brand new, clean, Woolworths ladies panties (boyshort style), with the tags still attached.  I had no idea who they belonged to, so I hung them up on the communal washing line, hoping that the owner would claim them.  The next night, another pair of the same brand new, clean, Woolworths boyshorts (same size but different pattern from the previous night, tags still attached).  These went into a plastic bag as the other pair was still hanging on the line outside.  When he appeared the next evening carrying a third pair of these brand new undies (yet another pair, same size, different pattern), I knew I had to do something.  Showing him the offending item and telling him he was a ‘bad cat’ was not working.

Somewhere out there was a poor woman missing three pairs of brand new underwear, quite possibly from inside her locked apartment, and I could only imagine what would be going through her mind when she realized they were missing.  So, when the third pair arrived, out I went straight away, at 7pm, armed with the latest pair of undies and my ‘not-so-innocent’ Catty happily trotting along behind me. It was almost as if he was interested to see if I could solve the mystery of where he was getting them from.  I knocked on every door that had an open window or open door where he could have possibly gained access, and asked if the underwear belonged to anyone in that apartment, explaining the situation and that this was now the 3rd pair!  Obviously, this brought forth many chuckles, a few “Oh, he’s so cute!” when Catty popped his head around the door, but it did not solve the problem;  no one admitted to owning the underwear.

I began to wonder where in the neighbourhood he was getting them from, and how far he was roaming.  It must have been an extremely funny sight to see.  Just picture a ginger cat merrily trotting down the sidewalk with a pair of panties dangling from his mouth.  Over the next two nights, two more pairs of brand new boyshorts appeared.  Whoever this lady was, she was now missing five pairs of brand new underwear!  If it was me, I’d be seriously worried about how my underwear going missing from inside my (locked) house, with no clue as to how someone had gotten in, or how it had gone missing.  I kept the brand new underwear in a plastic bag in case we discovered the owner and could return them, but we never did.  The still brand new underwear was eventually added to a load of second-hand clothing that was donated to a local charity shop.

As I mentioned earlier, my Catty is a hunter and he will hunt anything that moves; grasshoppers, lizards, butterflies, the occasional bird (although we’ve discouraged bird hunting) and even your feet, if he’s in the mood.  Being on the rather “festively plump” side, more often than not, thankfully it’ll be a near miss when it comes to stalking birds, but he has managed to catch three in the five years that we’ve had him. Usually he’ll bring them to us very gently, as unharmed ‘gifts’, and we’re able to rescue them and set them free. But there was one occasion when I woke up one morning to find our lounge looking like a murder scene.  There was a large pool of blood on the carpet and feathers everywhere! He’d managed to catch a sleepy pigeon during the night, and had decided that this one was not going to be a gift, he was going to eat it! Having to clean bird blood out of a cream coloured carpet at 6am, before going to work, was not my idea of fun and Pringles knew he was in trouble! He made himself very scarce and went off to to hide in the garden.

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Four years after we’d first got Pringles, we ended up installing a cat flap in our front door.  He’d always used a kitchen window to get in an out of but after an attempted break-in at 2am one morning, the cat flap became a necessity.  We hadn’t even had the flap for a week, when we were rudely awoken at 5am with very loud meowing and yowling.  Thinking that there was a cat fight going on in our lounge, we padded through the house, my heart pounding in my chest, only to find Catty lying outside on the doormat with his front paw trapped in cat flap.  He’d been playing with it, swatting at the flap as if it were a toy and had gotten his paw well and truly wedged between the flap and the frame!  His paw was upturned and the flap had become wedged in between the soft little paw pads.  How we eventually got it free, I have no idea!  Unfortunately, he did not learn his lesson and the same thing happened a second time, about a month later, also in the early hours of the morning.

I’ll never forget the afternoon that I thought my cat was going to die.  I came home from work to find him playing with something in the garden. Thinking that it was just an insect of some sort, I left him alone, as he often supplemented his diet by eating insects and lizards. The next thing I know, he’s shaking his front paw frantically and there’s this long, thin, green thing hanging off it. A snake!

I ran down the stairs and onto the grass to go rescue my Catty, completely ignoring my absolute fear of snakes. Meanwhile he was rather irritated that this thing had bitten him and proceeded to pounce on its body with his other front paw. By the time I reached him, he’d bitten the snake a few times and had broken its neck. With my heart pounding, I picked up my cat, leaving the snake on the grass and ran upstairs with him in my arms, tears streaming down my face, hysterically shouting for my hubby and crying “My Catty’s been bitten by a snake! He’s going to die!”.

I was asked what kind of snake it was, and if I was sure it was dead and that it hadn’t already slithered off.  How would I know?  To me, a snake is a snake and in my mind, they’re all poisonous, horrible things that I prefer to stay away from. I wasn’t going to hang around to see if it was really and truly dead. I was more worried about getting Catty to the Vet!  Hubby went off to investigate, with Catty and I trailing sheepishly behind. As it turns out it was only a harmless bush snake (not poisonous), and yes, it was dead!

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In July 2013, we moved halfway around the world and I chose to take my Catty with me.  Many people told me that I was crazy.  Yes, it was expensive, but I couldn’t bear the thought of having to leave my FurKid behind.

He went through a lot with this move.  He was put into a cattery for a month before we flew so that they could do all the vaccinations, inoculations and paperwork required.  I also didn’t want him to be around while we packed up the flat, as I was trying to reduce his stress levels as much as possible.  He flew on a different airline to us (via Sydney, which made his flight shorter) and was placed in quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the new country.  When we finally went to collect him, I hadn’t seen him for 6 weeks!

We arrived at the quarantine facility and they took me through to see him.  I called his name and got no response.  Not even an ear twitch of recognition.  I was hurt.  Had my Catty forgotten me already, or was this payback for all that he’d been through?  The reason soon revealed itself.  It was mid-winter and bitterly cold, and the quarantine facility had spoilt him by putting an electric blanket inside his kitty bed.  He was so nice and warm in his cosy little bed that he didn’t want to move, let alone come home.

We stayed with my hubby’s aunt and uncle for the first few weeks after we arrived, and we kept Catty locked inside ‘our’ bedroom, just in case he decided to make a run for it.  On this particular morning, we happened to pop out for groceries and left the bedroom window cracked open to let some fresh air in.  I had done this before, as the windows are quite stiff and very hard to push open.

I forgot to mention that we’d left the open window (the bedroom door was kept closed) and unknowingly, the house was vacuumed while we were out.  Catty is absolutely petrified of vacuum cleaners.  The way he reacts to them, you’d swear it was out to eat him!  Well, he heard the noise and in a frantic panic, with super-catty strength, he must have managed to push the stiff window open wide enough to escape, and out into the wild he went.  We arrived home and he was gone!  My heart sank.  To bring him all this way, only to have him disappear without a trace.  Thankfully, he hadn’t gone far and was hiding underneath the house, directly below the window that he’d escaped through.  It took a while, but my hubby eventually managed to coax him out, and we locked him back inside the house.  The silly sausage!

We’d been here about a month when we finally found a townhouse to rent, and promptly packed up the car with our borrowed linen, luggage and the cat (the container with our household goods was still in transit), so we were able to fit everything into the car and could do the move in one trip.  It was about a 20km drive, so off we went.  After having recently flown for hours in a noisy aeroplane and been locked in quarantine, being inside the cat carrier again must have stressed Pringles out immensely, as not even 3kms down the road, he “dropped one” (thankfully I had put newspaper down in his carrier)!  It was a cold, grey, rainy day and we ended up having to drive the next 17kms gagging on the smell, with our windows rolled down to try and get rid of the awful stench.  At the time, it was not at all funny, but thankfully we can laugh about it now.

After that little incident, we were hoping that our first night in our new home would be unadventurous, but that was wishful thinking!  This was another strange house, with strange smells, and there had been another cat living here before we moved in, and Pringles kept scratching at the doors and windows trying to get out.  In desperation, we ended up putting him in the laundry room with his food, water and litter box, as it was the only downstairs room with a tiled floor that was far enough away from our bedroom so that we could try to get some sleep, as hubby had to work the next morning.

A loud bang abruptly woke us up at 5am, and it turns out that Catty had been trying to escape and was jumping up and hanging onto the door handle in an attempt to try open the laundry room door.  I went downstairs to see what all the noise was, only to find that he had managed to slide the barrel bolt across, effectively locking himself inside.  Instant panic!  How was I going to get in there to get him out?  The door handle unscrews, but you need to be able to access both sides to do this and there were no visible screws on the outside.

We remembered that there were three sets of louvre windows on the side of the laundry room and thankfully we’d left the top set open so that he’d have a bit of fresh air.  There we were, at 5.30am, standing on a chair to reach the top louvres, slowly reaching in and sliding out the next set of louvres out of their frames, so that we could get to the handles on the lower ones to open them and do the same.  Once these had been removed, there was a gap big enough for hubby to climb though and unlock the door.  Needless to say, he wasn’t very impressed with the cat!

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Pringles, Catty, Sprinkles, Orange Cat, Sausage (he brought me a Vole as a ‘present’ one day, while we were still living in South Africa.  I thought it was someone’s pork sausage, before I realized it had legs and it moved!), Thundercat (we have wooden floors and he loves the sound his paws make when goes tearing down the staircase, especially at night), whatever his current nickname may be, he drives us nuts, has us in fits of laughter, and can be extremely entertaining.  We love him to bits and I cannot imagine our lives without my FurKid and I’m really glad that I chose to bring him with.  I’m sure these frustrating and entertaining adventures will continue in the years to come and when they do, I’ll write Part 3.    Part 3 is now ready to read.