The Soliciting Purr

Penny: Aren't I Cute... Will Beat Up The Somalis In A Minute..

Penny: Aren’t I Cute… Will Beat Up The Somalis In A Minute..

Last night I was watching a programme on BBC2 called ‘The secret lives of cats’. One thing that really fascinated me was that the scientists pointed out that cats have 2 kinds of purring; The usual type of ‘I am happy’ purring – and then what they call a ‘soliciting purr’. In short, a soliciting purr, pretty much means ‘Give Me, Give Me, Give Me – NOW!’, and it tends to incorporate the same frequency as a baby’s cry.  Upon hearing that a sudden light went off in my head. I have always noticed that when Ulysses – my Persian – sleeps on my pillow, I can sleep through any of his purring quite happily. Yet, when my old Somali – D’Artagnan – was still alive, he would have what I used to call a ‘directional purr’ that inevitably would wake me right up. I could never understand why. I assumed that it was simply that he was my special boy, but I now realise that he was using underhanded, secret warfare and manipulation! He had found the key – purr at the right frequency, and even someone like me with no children would be programmed automatically to wake up and give him what he wanted…

We always think that humans are the primary movers and shakers on this planet. Well, whether it is through natural selection or whether cats are just naturally devious – how come cats in cat-loving households inevitably ends up being so much in charge? We love our dogs as well, yet it is rare for a family to cater to a dog’s need the way that a lot of people do to their cat. What is it about cats that makes us acknowledge them as independent beings that we assume can’t be trained? Cats get away with so many things that we would never let any other animals get away with. There was only one answer for it – interview the cats!

Ianthe went the whole big-eyed innocence way. What? Moi? Manipulate? You Have The Wrong Cat, she said. I Just Love You- Lots – And Need You – Right Now – Rubbing My Tummy – Right There.. Yes, That Is Right, purring wildly….and there I was doing exactly what she wanted. Izabelle agreed with her. You Know I Never Get Enough Attention So How Can You Think I Would Manipulate ANYONE? I Just Know How Much You Enjoy It When I Rub My Head Right There Against Your Hand And Wrap My Paws Around It – Yes, Just That Way, And How Nice Is It To Rub MY Tummy??

Penny predictably declined to answer. Don’t Know What You Are Talking About, she claimed. You Must Have Dreamed It. Are You Having The Rest Of That Chicken, By The Way? And while I absentmindedly fed her the chicken I pondered whether I had been mistaken. As for Ulysses – Well, I Don’t Think So Fast, he mumbled. Besides Which The Girls Always Have The Better Answers – I Just Do Cute…

Shifting of balances

Look At Me!

Look At Me!

Cats juggle inter-feline relationships all the time and it is fascinating to watch the shifts and the testing that takes place. After we said goodbye to our lovely D’Artagnan – my 17 year old Somali boy – the balance in the house between the remaining 4 has been really interesting.

First of all I would have thought that Ulysses – my 6 year old Chinchilla Persian – would have remained bottom of the hierarchy where he has always been. He never argues with the girls, except to chase and play with our massive, 5 year old Maine Coon – Penny. What I hadn’t anticipated was that he is so focused on my attention that he is willing to throw his – considerable – weight around a bit to get it. Since D’Ar passed away, Ulysses has become my shadow. He sleeps on D’Ar’s pillow next to mine, he appears within minutes of me sitting down to work at my desk and settles down for the long haul. If I am there – he is there. He has started mewing piteously again when I take a bath – he thinks water is really scary.. – and he camps out on the table when I have my breakfast, chatting all the time about how important it is to not let kitties fade away into nothing (he is very solid… as in somewhat fat…).

Penny is the funniest. She has so determined that she WILL be top cat in the household and does everything to reinforce it – but always in a subtle fashion. One thing that has changed is that she suddenly vocalises a lot more than she used to. We get long, chirpy serenades addressed at my husband. Loove You, she croons. Need To Be Cuddled, she sighs, Feed Me Now?, she manages to insert.. When D’Ar was alive we used to feed Penny her food spread on the floor. She is on Prescription Diet j/d because she has arthritis, and D’Ar used to like a taste of that – but only if he could ‘steal’ it from her. After he is gone, we have gone back to feeding Penny in her activity board – a white board filled with obstacles that requires a handy paw to get anything to eat. Penny is NOT impressed and spends the whole time she is eating calling to the kibbles, interspersed with asides to us as to her opinion about this – obviously hoping that the food will magically move out on the floor. Can’t Believe They Have Put My Food In Here, she complains, while busily fishing with a paw. Come Here You Little *&%^, she grumbles as one piece of kibble eludes her. Heeere, Kibble, Kibble, she entreats… And at some point she turns around, jumps up on my husband and shouts in his face: Just Open The Door Now – Much Easier To Pinch Ulysses’ Food!!

Izabelle has taken the opportunity as well to fill out some of the space left by D’Ar. She is busy purring away and setting her firm and muscular bum on me at every opportunity she gets. Takes Up Too Much Space, she complains about Ulysses on the desk. Nice When It Is Cold, she sighs and settles into his (considerable) fur. At first she tried very hard to see if she could wrestle control from Penny, but after a period of incredulous stares from our Maine Coon (who is twice Izzie’s size), Penny finally took to chasing her energetically around the house until the point was made. You Are Not In Charge, she said firmly. Now Scoot! So instead Izzie is busy beating up the dog – as usual..

Ianthe already had her preferred times and spots for sole attention. Sofa Is Mine! She declares, busily stomping on me, purring so loudly that the whole sofa shakes.  Ahhh! She sighs and plunks herself down, staring worshipfully into my eyes while gently chewing on my chin or nose depending on what she can get to.. Can Help With Cooking! She insists when I am in the kitchen making coffee or food – and promptly drapes herself around my neck and hangs over my shoulders, intently observing everything I do. Hmm, she comments, Frying Fish Not That Difficult – Let Me?

So while the space after D’Ar by no means has filled out – I don’t think anything can – the girls and the boy are doing their best to change it around a bit. To make it something different. And to get more attention while they are at it. As to my comment the other day that maybe we need another cat – NOOOO  – they all said… But then I haven’t told them yet that Ianthe is due to go off next week to get mated… hmm – lots of kitties then…

Cat toys

Izabelle with her favourite toy

Izabelle with her favourite toy

This morning I woke up to the sound of Penny playing. Like all silly kitty-parents, we fall for temptation and buy the odd cat toy for the motley crew at home. It sounded as if Penny was having a really good time, so I craned my head around the old boy (no, not the husband, D’Ar – the old Somali! ), who promptly grumbled at me – Stay Put. Too Early To Get Up. Cuddle Ration Not FulFilled Yet! Penny chose that moment to catapult across the floor, acrobatically land on one hindleg and proceed to throw something through the air with her front paw – and promptly chasing after it. My first thought was that the Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d obviously was doing her arthritis wonders as it has been a while since she was last this agile. The next was curiosity to see what super toy she had found, and a fleeting thought that I should buy a new one of those. Well, probably to no-one’s surprise the super toy that she was playing with was – a really big elastic band…..

We tend to keep the elastic bands out of reach of small kittens, but this one was one of the ones that the mail comes wrapped in, so quite a sturdy specimen that hopefully wouldn’t get swallowed and disappear into the insides of a cat and cause havoc.  Penny was quite pleased with this one. Was Rude! She said… Needed To Be Told Off. Quickly! Quite A Lively Little Escape Artist! She followed up with a slightly bemused expression on her face.

After many, many years of buying cat toys I have come to the conclusion that – at least for my cats – it really is quite simple. A good ‘cigar’ or other big toy stuffed with catnip is extremely popular – for 3 days. Then it needs to be taken away for a month before being given again – for 3 days. Ping pong balls are brilliant – if you can put up with the noise of them on wooden floors or tiles. If you want to participate, feather dusters or sticks with long, dangly boas on their end are great. And the absolute winners are 3: Pipe cleaners twisted into funny shapes (they move like greased lightning when the cats hit them), big elastic bands (SO Funny To Put A Paw On Them, Bite Into Them, Pull And Have Them Go Snap And Hit The Paw, the mittens earnestly assure me) and finally – the little white circle that keeps a stack of blank CD’s in their place (!) (I know – really, really weird…).

The last one we discovered by accident. One of the cats followed the usual principles of clean desk policy – found it on the table and promptly hit it so it fell on the floor. At this stage it was discovered by the mittens – and oh, dear…. I have never seen two kittens play so hard…Being tough parents we tend to only give them one toy at a time – so much more fun to see them all follow each other around to see if they can snatch it away..

So – moral of the story – cat toys are really mostly for humans…. At least according to my cats. Really, Mum, they say with a slightly pitying expression on their face when I present them with a new fancy toy, You Are Just SO Predictable – Will Buy Anything Shiny. And off they go to play with the pipe cleaners…

The Weather

Just as with so many other things, in our household, the cats blame us for the weather.

Well, Don't Just Stand There! Make It Stop Raining! Now!!

Well, Don’t Just Stand There! Make It Stop Raining! Now!!

Picture this: Cat (typically Penny (our big Maine Coon) or D’Ar (our 17 year old Somali) will stand in front of the door that leads from the kitchen to the garden. Now, this is a French Window door – so they can perfectly well look through the glass and see exactly what the weather is like outside. If we do not jump up quickly enough to let them out, the inevitable pointed stare (over the shoulder) will follow. Need Out. Now.  Move! If that doesn’t work, an impatient, tight circle might be walked in front of the door and an imperious shout. Yo! Pay Attention! Service Now!

On a good day, that is where it ends. The door gets opened, cat runs out to catch things in the garden or drink the yucky rain water (Tastes Much Better Than Tap Water – Even With Dead Snails In It, they claim. ). On rainy days or even worse, rainy days with WIND – it is another story. The first give away is that when we open the door, the cat doesn’t move… Instead, it sticks its nose out and sniffs gently. If the weather is bad enough, that usually means it gets settled quickly – kitty turns away with a disgusted look on her / his face and walks off – grumbling under their breath. If the weather is so, so…. kitty stays in the door. And stays. And stays. Might Change Momentarily, they complain when I urge them to make a decision. Never Know. Not Sure I Want To Go Out After All.

Since we don’t let the mittens (our 1 year old Somali girls) out in the garden, and since they are lightning fast, having the kitchen door open for extended periods of time is a very bad idea.. If the weather isn’t too bad, I have been known to bend down and gently shove Penny out the door, but D’Ar – of course – always gets to choose.  So there I am, with the door open, the old Somali hanging out and thinking about it and me using my feet to fend off inquisitive girl noses. Eventually, he will turn around and go off in disgust..

The story doesn’t stop there, of course. Because, as far as the cats are concerned. Weather Changes. We Are Sure. Very Fast. So three minutes later – there is the cat again. Need Out. Now! Move! And we go through the routine again. Usually by then, they decide that it is Our Fault. Mummy You Have Made The Weather Bad, they say. Now Change It! Immediately! All delivered with the most offended expression on their faces and a stare straight into yours. And it doesn’t matter how much I protest my innocence – Will Have Revenge, Penny grumbles (D’Ar is too old to go that far – he just sulks), Chew On Your Rye Bread When You Turn Your Back! Ruin It For You!  And off she goes…

Let me love you..

Cats have many different ways to show you how much they love you. In our kitty family, Ianthe is probably the loudest and most obvious. There is never a time where she doesn’t want to cuddle on your shoulder, purring in your ear, chewing on your nose and chin and generally making it very obvious that This Is Best Place Ever To Be! It has become something of a challenge to cook, actually, because she claims Better View Of The Food From Up Here – and insists on being draped around my neck, with her head hanging down from my shoulder to stare at everything I do on the counter top.

Ahhh..Best Place To Be...

Ahhh..Best Place To Be…

As a matter of fact she is so pushy that Izabelle – our other Somali girl – sometimes struggles to get to us. This means that when she gets the chance – NOTHING is going to stop her! Wildly buzzing purrs, ecstatic full body rubs and 10 claws gently embedded in your skin ensures that she gets our full attention. MUST Have Cuddles NOW! She insists. NEED To Stock Up Before Evil Sister Comes Back, she mutters (bearing in mind that they are extremely affectionate to each other and usually sleep piled in one big heap) and proceeds to wriggle her body even closer to yours, while washing you thoroughly..

Ulysses – our big, fluffy Chinchilla Persian boy – tends to express his affection slightly differently. I Am Here! He announces, while walking energetically back and forth in front of your face, swishing his tail like some demented dog. You Need More Fur In Your Mouth, Mum, he declares and throws his body more firmly into my face. Never Mind The Keyboard, he says, My Writing Better Anyway, as he proceeds to write gobbledygook all over my papers and letters. Need Hand Now, he then piteously cries, until I give him my hand so he can collapse (heavily) on it and proceed to wrap himself around it so I can’t leave. Ahhh, he says, Much Better This Way. NOW We Can Cuddle. And on a really good day – he manages to lie down on whatever book or paper I am reading as well – making it completely impossible to get any work done.

Penny – our big Maine Coon girl – takes the complete opposite approach. Not Talking To You, she grumbles from the other end of our big kitchen table. You Don’t Love Me And Want To Get Rid Of Me, she huffs (yes – she huffs – trust me – if you saw it you would know exactly what I mean). And when we rush to reassure her that we DO love her and of course we don’t want to get rid of her – she throws herself on the table while maintaining complete eye contact and making little chirpy noises; See! THIS Is What We Need To Do. Stay Home, Dad. Don’t Go To Work! (As she inevitably decides that she needs cuddles JUST as my husband is rushing around heading for the door). And when he sidles towards the door – NOOOO! Dad! You Can’t Go Now! Not Had Enough Cuddles!

And finally D’Artagnan – my big, old, 17 year old Somali boy. Well, he rarely has to ask for the affection – we tend to lavish it on him anyway, but when he suddenly decides to prove how much he loves us, it usually consists of intense headbutting – to the point where my glasses go flying and in the past I have wondered if he had broken my nose. Need To Scent Mark You EFFECTIVELY, Mum! He declares and comes around for another go – See! Smell Much Better Now, he sighs with great satisfaction before slowly letting himself keel over so at least half his body pins mine down. Now We Can Sleep… he drowsily says – and so we do.

007 kitty power

Sometimes I think my age shows…. We recently went and saw the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. It was excellent, but afterwards I started dwelling on all the great James Bond movies I have seen through the years. Now, I am a bit of a Bond fan, so it suddenly struck me that there could potentially be an explanation for my inexplicable love of Chinchilla Persians!  Remember Blofeld? And the kitty he had? Well, those were always my favourite Bond movies…

All Me... Look At How Fluffy I Can Be.. Now Give Me 5 Minutes And Watch How Many Leaves I Can Pick Up..

All Me… Look At How Fluffy I Can Be.. Now Give Me 5 Minutes And Watch How Many Leaves I Can Pick Up..

When you get your cat based on a movie I guess you have expectations of something slightly sinister. That might actually have been the case with my first one, but Ulysses, my current fuzzy boy is anything but sinister. He is, to put it mildly, a bit of a wuzz… He seems to have taken his soft, cuddly exterior to heart. Whenever something happens in the house, he is inevitably to be found in a corner or behind Penny waiting for someone else to defend him. The only things he seems to go for are mice –and even them he manages to catch without killing them. When he lies on my desk, happily purring away, he is gone in a flash the second a lorry or a tractor passes on the road outside. Might Get Me, he worriedly confides…

Even on the Bond side, he doesn’t quite manage the dignified lying on the lap and having his head stroked. He LOVES to lie on my lap – but preferably with both front paws wrapped around my hand and his head solidly plunked down on top as well – just in case I start to think about leaving… As for the whole dignified in general thing – well, He Just Doesn’t See The Point – Get More Cuddles Being Cute, he claims.. That doesn’t stop him from being able to express dissatisfaction with his entire being when I pick him up and he isn’t ready for it. Undignified, he complains, Might FALL, he gasps, NOO, Mummy, Don’t Turn Me Upside Down – You Might Groom My Tummy, he wails. Though apart from the turning upside down, he never does anything except cling on for dear life… because, bless him, he is terribly afraid of heights… Not for him the elegant leap into a tree, instead it is more of a clamber about 3 feet up and then a desperate call – Get Me Down, Quick! Too scary all together.

He has grown in confidence over the last 6 months, though. Initially when we got the mittens – the Somali kittens – he was petrified… TOO SCARY! He said… Must Be Related To Ferrets Or Something Fast With Teeth, he worried. It’s only now that he is playing with them a bit and starting to enjoy the odd cuddle with them. On their side they think he is Best Pillow Ever! SuperSoft! Must Have Been Washed With Laundry Softener! As for him – well – Cuddles Always Good, he sighs – contentedly…

Cat Communication

Have you ever wondered where science fiction gets its ideas from? In this case I am thinking about the ‘power-stare’. Superman’s ability to see through anything except lead, other superheroes ability to use their eyes like laser beams, etc etc. Well, my personal theory is that it all started with a cat owner…

Ahh.. Finally Some Proper Water!

Ahh.. Finally Some Proper Water!

This morning as I was in the bathroom, I turned on the tap for the Ianthe to have a drink. Ianthe is of the firm opinion that taps are exclusively for her –  providing drinking water, toys and entertainment in one package. She will run ahead of you when you are anywhere near one of the bathrooms, shouting at the top of her voice (also known as ‘braying’ when I am in one of my more unkind moods – there can be a certain insistent quality to her voice) – Come Here, Need Water Now, Must Play, It Is Time! And once you turn the water on, she scrunches up her entire face in the funniest way while she drinks at considerable speed! After which, of course, it is time to see how much of the water you can spread over the bathroom….

The only thing she thinks is even better than the tap is the shower…. Every single morning when my husband goes to take his shower, Ianthe is running back and forth in the shower cubicle shouting  Do It, Come On, Let’s Get The Water Going. And even when he turns the shower on and inadvertently (I think…) forgets to turn the shower head to the wall, so she gets the full load on top of her – she still stays in there, happily drinking and playing with the water. ‘Wet cat!’ he might shout to me to signify that I need to find a towel if I don’t want water everywhere as she merrily runs through the house drying herself on anything she can find..

So this morning it was entirely predictable that Ianthe would be happily drinking from the tap when I turned it on. This morning, however, Penny – my Maine Coon – had decided that she needed a drink… Now, if it had been Izabelle that wanted a drink, she would just have muscled in and moved her sister out of the way, or at least tried to, but Penny believes in Superior Communication. So Penny just – stared – and then she intensified her – Stare – and then she – STARED.. And for every intensity point that went up, I saw Ianthe change. The face stopped scrunching, the eyes started shifting and then – lo and behold – something REALLY INTERESTING called her from the floor, and she just HAD to go and Investigate! Not Because Of Penny, she explained as she jumped down, Just REALLY Need To See What Is There!

Right…said Penny – and proceeded to drink from the tap in a majestic and considerate way – just to make her point…

Visitors

One of the regular routines in our household when we have visitors coming is that last minute running around with the vacuum cleaner. Let’s face it. In a house with 5 cats – 3 of which go in and out of the garden – and a dog, it is inevitable that even the best cleaning is doomed to die a quick death. You can be assured that by the time you walk from having put the vacuum cleaner away and to the front door to let in your guests – Someone will have tracked leaves all over the kitchen floor,  Someone will have put damp kitty prints all over the kitchen table and Someone Else will have sent a spray of kitty litter out through the front of the litter box – Needed To Go Right Now! Quite Urgent…

Ohh...Wonder What I Can Think Up Next..

Ohh…Wonder What I Can Think Up Next..

Now, I don’t know how many nooks and crannies you have in your house, but we have quite a lot. And even with the best cleaning (at least so I will claim) dust bunnies can magically appear underneath furniture. I think there is a black hole somewhere just for those where they can pop out from.  As my kitties are ever helpful, you can be sure that once I am seated with my guest(s), Someone Small will diligently dig out a dust bunny and proudly bat it our way. Not to me where I might be able to discreetly whisk it away – no always to the visitor. Look What Mum Missed! And It’s HUGE!  And all of this will be said with lots of chortles, acrobatic bounces and a penetrating voice to ensure that the visitor COULDN’T POSSIBLY miss the fact that the house isn’t completely clean…

Of course the cleaning itself is greatly helped as well. These days it is a bit lowering to realise that where the mittens (Somali girls) originally thought that washing the floor was great fun to help with, now they think the stiff broom is down right scary…. which probably means that I wash the floor less than the breeder they came from. Fortunately the dog thinks it is great that she now has sole right to chase it around – and everybody else are following me quite closely anyway. Naturally, the best place to be is on the piece of floor I have just washed – otherwise there wouldn’t be any paw prints, would there! Have To Show Where We Live, they all agree.

Scrubbing the sinks is another type of job that obviously requires close supervision. Turn The Tap On, Now! Is quite a common request in our household anyway. Usually delivered in a distinctive, braying tone of voice that clearly demonstrates that it is an imperative that needs to be fulfilled immediately! The fact that I might have the tap on to wash my hands or scrub it is neither here nor there according to the fluffy ones. Ohh – MY Toy, they say, See How Far Water Will Spray When You Put Your Paw JUST There.. And there goes the newly cleaned mirror again now all covered in water. Oops, they sneeze, Evil Water! Got In The Nose! And once they are done playing – Need To Wipe Feet On Clean Table Surface – Or Mum….

Spooky cats

Do you ever wonder at what goes on in the heads of cats? Whether they are just slightly telepathic or at least seem to know when your world is breaking down a bit? Most cat owners will have had times where they have been distressed and the cat has come to purr at them and want to cuddle. But sometimes it just seems as if it is a bit more…

Look Into My Eyes... Yeeesss, Look Deeply.... Now Listen To My Thoughts... Feed Me...

Look Into My Eyes… Yeeesss, Look Deeply…. Now Listen To My Thoughts… Feed Me…

Recently I went away for 3 weeks. I was home on weekends, but gone for the week as I was attending a course. It was a very intense course that meant I got very little sleep, so I was progressively feeling worse and worse during the 3 weeks. On weekends I would do my best to fit in extra sleep, and it didn’t surprise me at all when all 5 cats would enthusiastically pile into the bed with me to hang, purr and just generally make a friendly nuisance of themselves.

Midways through the third week something strange happened… About 9.30 in the morning I had a really bad episode with one of the instructors where he basically was truly offensive and very nasty. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and I got really upset about it.  The whole thing from about 9.30 and the next 3 hours was a huge emotional rollercoaster. I was physically exhausted due to sleep deprivation and I was very, very upset due to the things that had been said to me and the way they were said, and finally decided to pull out of the rest of the days, as I was so uncomfortable with the situation and the way it was being handled (or not handled..). I got on the phone and spoke with my husband and he was (as always) being very supportive.

That night as I was packing up in preparation to leaving the next day, I saw an e-mail from my husband. It was a weird e-mail. It simply said ‘Check your Skype’. Aww – I thought – he has gone and send me a really nice Skype message!! So I went into Skype –and true enough, it said that there were 7 messages from him on there. I did think that was a bit weird, after all we had been talking on the phone – but then I opened the messages up. Starting from 9.32 and continuing for almost exactly 3 hours there were indeed 7 messages, bearing in mind that my husband had been at work with no access to Skype. They went something like:

Sfge yjvsk 773

Polkmjfgt

65745

Etc. etc.

Now, everybody knows that cats like to play on keyboards… The thing is, I can confidently say that I have never received a Skype message from them before or after this. And the really spooky thing is the timing… Exactly when I was feeling down, exactly that time frame where I was feeling the worst. So tell me what you think… are cats spooky or what??

Oh – and I never did find out who did it – no signature… Hmm, something to work on there…

Hanging out with the dog

5 cats and 1 dog makes for a lively household. We inherited the dog from my mother-in-law when she passed away, and she arrived with us a slightly demented Lakeland terrier called Molly. Now, Molly had come to visit since she was 6 weeks old and had spent vacations with us many times, so she was really used to the cats and while distinctly cautious about them, still did her best to get on with them. When we got the two youngsters – Ianthe and Izabelle, our Somali kittens, the situation changed slightly…

No. You Can't Have The Ball. Ever. Nope. Definitely..

No. You Can’t Have The Ball. Ever. Nope. Definitely..

First of all – Molly has been brilliant. From the first time she was introduced to the two spitting, hissing balls of fur, she has been gentle and used superb cat language (we actually think that she genuinely believes that she is a cat..). The kittens took a bit longer to persuade that REALLY, Molly is very nice! Somewhere along the way they also managed to completely lose all respect for her, though… Instead, they decided that she was obviously The Really Big Punching Toy! Anytime something goes wrong – say one of them gets her foot wrong (when she didn’t intend to), one of the falls off something (which obviously they always intended to!) or one of them gets beaten up (by the other one or by Auntie Penny, our Maine Coon) – they head straight for Molly. BAM goes the paw – and What?!? Says Molly with a slightly puzzled expression on her face when she doesn’t chose to just ignore it and roll her (considerable) eyebrows. Punching the dog seems to be something that can be done while standing still and staring at her – or while on the run! It is obvious that all parties are clear that this is a friendly game, though. These days Molly doesn’t even bother getting out of the way, but then she probably reckons that it doesn’t make any difference anyway.

Things become interesting when we get around to feeding times. All the cats – except D’Artagnan, the old Somali – are keenly interested in food. Any food. Anywhere. Any time… And that includes the dog food… We feed Molly a healthy, dry kibble from Science Plan, and we can confidently say that it seems to be very tasty – both according to the dog and the cats! For when feeding time comes around it is a proper frenzy who gets it first! This is good news from the our point of view as Molly used to be quite a finicky eater. Well, that isn’t really an option anymore… because if you don’t eat as fast as you can – there won’t be anything left!! It is hilarious though to watch her with her head in the bowl, and at least 2 young cats with theirs in there as well, Molly and Izzie growling at each other and Izzie occasionally swiping Molly with her paw – all over some dry dog kibble…. Must be tasty…

As for the future – well, we are still waiting for the kittens to react appropriately to Molly when she drops a wet and soggy toy on top of them to try and entice them to play tug of war. Knowing Somali’s – it is probably just a question of time anyway…