I try to look cool
when the old man and the old woman present me with a new toy - but I'm excited inside. I love nothing better than chasing a tinkling
ball or shredding ribbons and chewing on tassels. When the staff are out - to be
honest, I'm usually asleep - but when I am not you can often find me digging out
one of my toys and having what they call "a funny five
minutes". The other day the they were having a big tidy-up. The old man looked worried as he always does when someone called The-Mother-In-Law. I think she worries him. They were gathering my toys together into a cardboard
box and I heard the old woman sar: "What on earthdoes she do with all those toys we buy her?" She tilted the box and few
furry mice and a half-chewed cardboard bird rolled to one side. She
shrugged and carried on with the housework. I closed my eyes and started to
dream about real mice and birds. Suddenly my pleasant
reverie was broken by a yell. "TOFFEE!" What was wrong? I
thought I'd better go and see so I strolled into the living room… and the picture above is very similar to what I saw. The old woman didn't have her camera ready (unusual; she's usually got it practically stuck up my nose) so she found this on the internet to show all her friends on Facebook.
Personally, I think that's a sheer invasion of privacy. I AM NOT AMUSED.
I was was in trouble yesterday after an "incident" involving some salmon fillets and my mouth. So, in order to make amends, I have been helping with the housework today.
I started in the sitting-room. I had a quick swish round with my paws, cleaning dust off the shelves - plus books, two ornaments and a stack of DVDs (I know, who still has stacks of DVDs? The old man and old woman think they live in the Middle Ages when it's just that they are middle-aged).
Then there was a tidy round in the kitchen. I cleared off the counters. That was easy although I must admit the pile of broken crockery on the floor looks a tad untidy. Still, there's plenty of worktop space now.
Into the bedroom and I thought I'd iron out the duvet by using the heat of my body. Yes, I lay on it and it was soft, so so soft....zzzzz.
I was awoken a few hours later by the old woman going mad and shouting, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, TOFFEE!"
A few years ago I adopted two pets. I am sad to report that it is getting more obvious every day that they are both are getting past it. They are galloping full pelt towards senility, which is worrying. For me. The first thing I noticed was that the hearing was going. They both ignored me as I meowed, and meowed, and meowed, and meowed, and meowed, and meowed while they were eating their prawn salad. Would it have killed them to have thrown one or two in my direction? Not only deaf - but, I hate to say it - tending on the cruel side. Now the eyesight is becoming a problem. Yesterday the old man picked me up - as I allow him to from time to time - UPSIDE DOWN. The indignity. My ass was in his face and my head was on that huge round thing he calls a stomach. Then he dropped me. Good job I have the reflexes of a well-honed athlete or there could have been a nasty accident. I am now afraid to sleep on their faces when they are in bed as they might stop breathing altogether. It's a worry.
Even so, older pets have their advantages. For those of you who are unsure about adopting an older person, here is some information fromCats Protection. They seem to have mistakenly used the word "cat" instead of "person" and included other little typos like saying "litter box" instead of toilet so I have corrected these for you too. You're welcome.
The Adult Advantage
An adult person's personality has already developed, so you'll know if he or she is a good fit for your family.
An adult person may very well already know basic household etiquette (like not attacking your feet at night). In particular, senior people are often already house trained and are less likely to "forget" where the toilet is.
An adult person won't grow any larger - well, as long as it doesn't eat too much! - so you'll know exactly how much person you're getting.
Adult people are often content to just relax in your company, unlike younger people, who may get into mischief because they're bored. Adult people also make great napping partners!
Adult people have often already been taught that scratching posts (not furniture) are for scratching and toys (not hands or feet) are for biting.
Adult people are harder to find homes for, and generally the older the person, the harder it is to rehome. When you adopt a senior person, you're truly saving a life.
I am cross. It's not like me, I know, but I have been provoked. The old woman has been posting the below all over social media. IT'S NOT TRUE. It's a foul calumny. I have no idea what's she talking about. Not a clue.
The Life Of A Cat Owner
Lovingly rubbing your cat’s belly until it suddenly thanks you by clawing
your arm into mince.
Wondering how you can ever thank your cat for its precious gift of a
freshly decapitated pigeon delivered straight to your pillow.
Coming home to find someone has coughed up what appears to be Donald
Trump’s hair on your carpet.
Never being quite sure if your cat likes you, or it’s trying to work out
the best way to conquer then eat you.
Attempting to read a newspaper while your cat sets about trying to
destroy it using only the top of its head.
Remembering the days when you woke up to an alarm clock rather than being
repeatedly punched in the face.
Injuring your spine by sleeping in an S shape because your cat has
commandeered the middle of the duvet.
Knowing that if you collapsed your cat would spring into action and use
your body as a bed.
Spending mega bucks on new toys only for them to be snubbed in favour of
a screwed up ball of paper and the thrill of an old box.
Returning home from holiday and being unsure whether your unforgiving cat
will ever acknowledge your existence again.
The sun was shining so I was out in the garden today. It was lovely to feel the sun on my fur and I was soon fast asleep. But it wasn't so nice at around 8.30am when I was awoken by parents dragging their squalling brats to school.
The children spotted me and started calling to me, "Puss, puss, puss," as if I'm going to get up to greet a total stranger who hasn't even got some kind of catty foodstuff in its little hand.
Then I hit on a clever wheeze. I stretched out and twisted my body. Then, eyes wide open, fixed my stare on the garden fence. I held my breath.
"Mummy, mummy, there's a dead cat in that garden!" shouted a little girl. Then I suddenly leapt in the air and she screamed blue murder.
I was enjoying this and thought I could keep it up for ages. But then the old woman swooped down on me.
"I see what you're doing, Toffee," she said, "And you can stop it right now!"
She scooped me up and carried me into the house but at least I got a few treats in my bowl.
As a media star of some standing, I often get asked questions by my fans. Here are a few of them: How do you keep your fur in such tip-top condition? It's all down to personal grooming and care. Occasionally I come indoors with muddy feet (see my recent Pawprints post) and with dirt and burrs stuck to me. I then find the cleanest spot in the house and transfer as much of this dirt as I can. I then proceed to groom myself. It is essential to get dirty in the first place as it's by removing the debris that I can condition my own fur and keep it glossy (hence the term "spit and polish"), making me the beautiful girl you see today.
Why do you try to sleep on laptop keyboards? You misunderstand the manoeuvre. I'm not trying to get into position to sleep there - but to share with you my technological expertise. I am keeping an eye out for nasty things like worms and viruses. If I ever see any I am going to pounce and get rid of them for you. You're welcome. What is your favourite food? PRAWNS and anything I can steal off a plate, hopefully PRAWNS. Who do you share your house with? I don't share anything but I have an old man and woman who live with me. They are more like staff than housemates. What do you dream about? I had a dream I was perched high on top of a bookcase with the old man watching TV below. I waited until his eyes began to droop and then I pounced. He screamed like a girl and fell off the sofa. Oh no, hang on. That wasn't a dream, happened last night. What is the collective noun for a group of cats? If you look this up on the internet, you will find a variety of collective nouns, including a clowder of cats, a clutter, a pounce, and a glare. Personally, I call a group of cats "a fight waiting to happen". Why do you sleep so much? Too tired to answer any more questions. Zzzzz, Zzzzz, Zzzzz.
The weather is getting better. I know because the old man and the old woman have been dusting off the barbecue and casting wistful looks at the sausages and burgers in the deep freeze.
They are simple souls and like nothing better than cremating what was a perfectly fine piece of meat and then serving it up on a plate. Still, it's often raw in the middle so I guess that evens things out.
I don't mind a barbecue because the next morning I can help with the housework by hoovering up the collateral damage of discarded meat products. Yum. I keep as far away as possible from the actual event, not least because their daft friends insist on eating to what they call "music" and what I call "an assault on the ears".
The preparations drive me batty. They always have a garden makeover before inviting people to share in their culinary catastrophes. The lawnmower, buzzing like several swarms of angry bees, strips away the long grass in which I like to hide while stalking little creatures. Then there's the ear-splitting strimmer. How can I sleep with all that kerfuffle going on?
Usually these friends bring along smaller versions of themselves - "children", I think they're called. This selection of ankle-biters, horror of horrors, want to play with me. Another reason for boycotting the event and scuttling off to my favourite hidey-hole. These "children" scream and fight over the minuscule paddling pool Mr and Mrs bought for a pittance in a car boot sale and then had to mend with a bicycle tyre repair kit. Hardly a brain cell between them.
When all the gardening has been done and the children at last subdued, there is that crazy summer ceremony - the lighting of said barbecue. The old man spends about half an hour holding matches to firelighters and charcoal. It smoulders for a short while, sending up clouds of smoke before he gets a fire going hot enough to just about warm through a pork chop rind. That stage lasts for half an hour before the next phase when it suddenly flares into life and become hot enough to strip the paint off the garage at 20 paces.
I'll be glad when it rains again so I can pop outdoors, get soaking wet and then jump on either the old man or old woman to get myself dry. They usually put up with me and I end up warm and cosy between them on the sofa. They do have their uses.
I HAVE never been so insulted in my life. And I have been insulted plenty, I can tell you.
The old woman was reading some darned book about cats and came up with this little snippet: ‘The vast majority of cats are mongrels.’
She ruffled my ears. ‘Just like you, Toffee.’
W-H-A-A-A-T? ME, A MONGREL?
How dare she say such a thing. I might not be a pedigree cat or even a part-pedigree cat, But I am a…, a…, a…, am a Superior Being.
She went on reading. She doesn’t know when to stop, that woman.
‘Cats have been especially bred for a variety of reasons; to produce softer or longer coats, for example, or to enhance their markings or refine a colour. In the eyes of the breeders, the refinements have enhanced their beauty.’
That did it for me. Was she implying that I was not as handsome as some pedigree cat? How very, very dare she. I leapt to my feet scrabbled across her hand, digging my claws in as I went. She yowled and sucked on her hand.
‘Pity you weren’t bred to be a NICE CAT and not a monster,’ she yelled after my retreating, ginger behind.
We aren’t speaking to each other at the moment but I might deign to be a ‘NICE CAT’ when it’s time for tea.
The old woman showed the old man this wall-hanging. I thought it was rather cute but, guess what, the old man just LAUGHED.
"Yeah," he said, "And on floors you've just washed, all over the furniture, on windowsills, on clean bedding, on your new white shirt (while you're wearing it), in wet cement, on clean cars, on neatly folded piles of fresh laundry..." and on and on he went.
THERE I was lying on the sofa, minding my own business, when I spotted the old man and the old woman advancing towards me, he carrying a towel and she with her hands behind her back.
Suddenly they were upon me, the old man wrapped me in the towel and the old woman produced…oh no, NAIL TRIMMERS! The old man grasped my paw and held it out to the old woman. She pounced and - clip! - the top of one nail gone. I was so shocked I did nothing. I just lay in the old man's arms and let the old woman clip my nails one by one. They finished one paw.
“Toffee’s being very good,” said the old man.
This comment brought me to my senses. Toffee/Good - these two words do NOT go together. My acquiescence must have lulled them into a false sense of security so I suddenly yowled, wriggled free of the towel and scrabbled out of the old man's arms, catching him and the old woman with what remained of my claws.
My one good paw.
I am now back on the sofa with 9 of my 18 claws vandalised beyond all recognition. I yawned and used one of my untouched claws to scratch behind my ears. I gave a secret smile as I looked at the old man and old woman sitting stony-faced on either end of the sofa with plasters on their hands.
TOFFEE FOR PURRIME MINISTER. VOTE FOR TOFFEE. TOFFEE IS PURRFECT. TOFFEE IS THE BESTEST CANDIDATE. Here in the UK we we are having a leadership contest for the Conservative Party and the winner will become Prime Minister. I've decided to stand for election. Apart from me there are only two candidates, someone called Boris who looks like a demented tom cat who really ought to be neutered and someone called Jeremy who looks like the cat who got the cream. I'm not sure cats are allowed to become Prime Minister but we felines could do no worse than the current crop of politicians who populate our parliament. Most of them don't know their arse from their elbow - or so I gather from the way the old man has been shouting at the tellybox. I have formulated a manifesto and here's a brief resume:
An unlimited supply of cardboard boxes.
All furniture to be designated as scratching posts.
Free run of the house for sleeping spots - including on people's heads, on their laptops, in the middle of the bed while people are in it, on the top of the expensive ornaments on the top shelf or on clean clothes in the laundry basket.
Feeding on demand of fresh meat, fish and/or prawns with several treats thrown in at regular intervals.
Compulsory stroking by humans for at least two hours a day.
All dogs to be banished to a black hole in the universe from whence they will never return.
The official reinstatement of the god-like status we enjoyed in ancient Egypt
I was considering adding 'Home Rule for cats' - but we already have that. So, don't forget, peeps. TOFFEE FOR PURRIME MINISTER.
I AM offended. There I was ignoring my new cat toy and sitting in the cardboard box it came in and the old man said: "That cat is just not logical!" and laughed. The old woman replied: "You can say that again!" But he didn't say anything again - but neither of them cared. And they call me illogical.
That's the trouble with you humans, you just don't understand feline logic so I have found a few pictures for you that demonstrate our point of view.
This picture is not me - I'm far more beautiful - but you get the message.
You catch me in an unusually good mood. It's only 7.30am and I have already grossed out the old man and the old woman. Cue evil laugh.
It was their own fault. I was up bright and early and where were they? Under the duvet, snoring, the pair of them. Not even my cold wet nose pressed against their faces managed to wake them. My plaintive meow had no effect, neither did walking all over them. Then when I found my food bowl was empty I had no choice but to put Plan B into action.
I went into the sitting-room and found three spiders. They're ex-spiders now. In fact, so ex are they that they ended up in my stomach. I found some fluff and swallowed that as well. Then, result, under the sofa was that dried up bit of pork I had been saving for a rainy day and forgotten about. That rainy day had arrived - it went down a treat.
I had a couple of gulps of water to make sure all the ingredients were nicely marinated, waited a few minutes, and puked half of it up in the old man's shoe and half in old woman's.
They overslept and were later running about like blue-arsed flies trying to get to work on time.
To say they weren't best pleased when they thrust their feet into their shoes was an under-statement. I didn't know they knew such language. The air turned blue and my ears turned red.
At least they weren't too rushed to forget to feed me. I'm now curled up on the settee, purring away, after I finally got my breakfast. Have a good day, Peeps.
The old woman was complaining to the old man that she was worn out.
"I've been working full time in addition to all my freelance obligations. And I've had housework and gardening to do. I'm tired out and stressed. I'm an old woman now. Blah, blah, blah."
I made up the quote about her being an old woman but she does moan a lot about going into rooms and forgetting what she went in there for. Mercifully, she hasn't yet forgotten my name or to feed me and stroke me. When she does... well, I shall have to take the appropriate action. Not sure what, but I'll think of something.
In any case, I hadn't noticed the garden progressing beyond the stage of slightly tamed jungle and the other day my cat nip toy was not in its box but with all the dust bunnies under the sofa, so I'm not sure how much housework is being done.
Anyway, the old man made suitably sympathetic noises and promised to help her all he could.
So what kind of a week have you had? Mine has been uneventful - the usual round of sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating, brief burst of energy chasing things, sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating.
There was one thing that made me sit up and take notice, though. The old man and the old woman were discussing this:
I was briefly worried. Surely they wouldn't consider trading me in for a younger model, would they? But then they both cuddled me and said: "You're our little stress-buster, aren't you, Toffee?" so I think I've dodged a bullet there. In any case, the old woman would walk into a room with the intention of petting a kitten but then forget what she'd gone in there for. So I think I'm safe. For now.
GOOD morning, kittens. Today I am going to teach you how to behave around doors.
You are young and at your stage of life probably think
you have to wait patiently until your hooman opens a door. So one
of the first skills you need to learn is how to get your pet hooman to open the
door on command.
After all, you don't want to lose your dignity like the young chap below, do you?
Often all that is required is sitting in front of the
door and meowing in your most annoying tone of voice. The times I've heard the
words, "For goodness sake, Toffee, go outside if you're going to make
that racket," before the door is flung open.
Sometimes your pet hooman is on the opposite side of
the door in a room you want to enter. The "annoying meow" tactic may
work here too. Sometimes, though, they pretend they can't hear you. In which
case you have to proceed to Stage Two. Start scratching the door. For some
reason pet hoomans hate this and will rush to open the door before you have done
more than make a few marks on it.
Other useful tactics include jumping up at the door
handle, rubbing your hind feet on the floor as if you need a "comfort
break" and sitting an inch from the door and glaring at it.
If the worst comes to the worst and your pet hoomans
are so terminally stupid they don't understand what you want, you can always open the door yourself. This is tricky and will require
practice but it's not impossible.
Now pay attention, class. This last module is the most important part of my lesson plan.
If your pet hooman has gone to a lot of trouble to open
the door for you - maybe they were in the middle of a phone call, busy doing
chores or engrossed in a TV show - it is imperative that as soon as the door is
open you turn around and go back into the room.You can, if you wish, stand or sit in the open doorway and stare out for quite
considerable time while they wait (usually impatiently). However, the end result is the same. You end up back where you started from.
The old man and the old woman have a new vacuum cleaner. It’s a state-of-the-art bagless upright with a quiet motor. The last one made enough noise to wake the dead and invariably sent me running out into the garden as if pursued by the hounds of hell.
It was a monstrous machine so, obviously, I treated it as a monster. And attacked it. It fell open and I leapt on its internal organs. Did you know that monsters’ stomachs are full of dust and fluff? It went everywhere, all over the sitting-room floor, covering the furniture, books, ornaments and me. I sneezed so much I threw up.
While trying to escape the monster’s clutches I pulled the lead and the monster flew across the room and ended up wedged under the sofa.
Not all cats hate vacuum cleaners
The old man and woman took one look at the chaos, laughed at me covered in fluff (they often laugh inappropriately at my predicaments) and decided Monstrous Machine had had its day.
The old woman tried out the new machine. It glided effortlessly across the room, picking up everything in its path. Until… Stop! Stop! That’s my toy! Give it back, you monster!
The old woman switched off the machine, pulled Fluffy Bum from its jaws and threw it my direction.
‘You’re going to have to be careful about where you leave your toys from now on,’ she says.
Really...? I fear new vacuum cleaner’s days are numbered.
Emotional blackmail is a vital skill in my feline armoury. Thanks to my ability to look cute, sad, angry or disappointed on demand, I can pretty much get my own way about everything. Here is a little lesson for other cats who haven't yet quite mastered the art.
Some vital tips:
One: You may fancy a brief tickling of the tummy but the hooman is very busy, dashing about doing what hoomans do (lots of dashing, not much achieved). You must throw yourselves in front of their feet - not too close, you don't want them to step on you - and roll quickly onto your back. Above we have a picture of the supine position. Cats who adopt this pose look vulnerable and appealing. What the human reads from the pose is, "Look at me, I trust you so much that I am baring my stomach to you. Is it too much to ask for a rub in exchange for my undying love?" Of course, rub me for a nano second too long and I will sink my teeth into your hand and my claws into your arm.
Two: Then there is the big-eyed "I'm so sad you're not paying me any attention" look. The hoomans may be very busy. They could be running about trying to remedy that "house hit by an earthquake" appearance before the in-laws visit or they may be hard at work trying to complete some report as a deadline rushes to meet them. Whatever is going on in their lives, all you have to do is reach out a paw to give them a stroke, tilt head slightly sideways and look at them with a pair of giant pleading eyes, and they will immediately stop what they're doing and give you whatever you want.
Three: You may have eaten a bowl of food a short while ago, but after an exhausting hour of bird-watching, chasing some idiot interloper cat from the garden and batting a ball of paper across the floor, you are now STARVING. You go and sit by the bowl as they sit at the kitchen table. One of them may say: "She can't be hungry; she had two sachets of meaty chunks and a handful of crispy crunchies at 10 o'clock," and the other may say, "And I gave her a handful of Dreamies and some prawns at 10.30." So you have to employ some emotional blackmail. Jump up on the chair, rest your chin on the table and start to drool. Works every time. You may have noticed that picture is not of me. I didn't have one with my chin on the table as the old man and old woman are always too busy getting my food to take a photograph.
Four: Finally, sometimes despite all your best efforts your hooman will behave badly. They may have had a bad day at work and will pay you very little attention or, conversely, they may be in a very jolly mood, laughing at your antics rather than responding to them. Now is the time to be strict. I advise getting onto their level and fixing them with your most accusing stare to show how disappointed you are with their behaviour. I call it the "this hurts me more than it hurts you" look.
So, my feline friends, that's how it's done. You're welcome.
The old man brought a nice cup of tea into the sitting-room and settled down to watch
something ‘exciting’ on the tellybox.
His idea of ‘exciting’ means programmes
about building ‘megastructures’, watching men drive trucks on ice or people
selling things they found in a lock-up storage facility.
He was so
engrossed in the tellybox he neglected his cup of tea. As you know, British hoomans are very fussy about their tea. And, you know me, I always
strive to be as helpful as possible so I put my paw into it to test the
my paw about a bit, licked it off (I can report tea is vile) and put it back in
to make sure the beverage was still pleasantly warm. The old man spotted what I was doing. Was he
grateful? He was not.
goodness sake, Toffee. That is DISGUSTING!’ he yelled and marched out to the kitchen to throw it away.