My heart is broken

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Mrs. Stripe playing with mum in the dappled autumn sunlight.

Life has been very challenging recently and I hoped that three bad things were enough but not so. Last week we had to have our beloved Mrs. Stripe put to sleep at the veterinarians. I had mentioned previously in a post Mrs.Stripe and the pharmacy that she had severe muscle deterioration in her hind quarters which along with arthritis was causing her pain. On the last visit we shot her up with everything available and it was lovely to see her vibrant spirit emerge when she was pain free. The medication stopped working despite doubling the dosage and she was struggling to breathe through snuffling from an unrelated allergy problem that we could also not treat. Teddy and I talked about what we best, especially given that she was at least 15 years old and a feral street cat. We both agreed that we couldn’t bear to see her in pain and she finally made the decision for us.

I was sitting on the sofa, the night before we took her to the vet, and for the first time in her life she sat on a human’s knee. I looked at her in astonishment but she just settled down like she had always done it. The heat emanating from my knee must have soothed her poor little joints but I had no doubt that she was saying, “Please make the pain stop”. It was a sad day at the vets and almost all staff was in tears both at our sorrow and losing such a special patient. Even in her last days she played with her knitted catnip Spiderman, mewed plaintively for treats and even seemed to smile. She often made us smile see the post Resolution No 1 – wash more.

The house is in mourning and her daughter, Toffee, who is 13 years old, is wandering around the house crying. Zhenny, our other cat, has retreated into closets; occasionally giving us the odd cuddle but mostly biting us. We have euthanized many older pets but Mrs. Stripe was possibly my favorite. I became very mentally unwell when we moved to Egypt and when I caught glimpses of her in the garden it lighten my burden. She is probably half Egyptian Mau but has a bit of European Ginger which gave her fur the most gorgeous Titian highlights. She was exquisite and I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. I had no intention of looking after her until she had an injury. See my original post about our first meeting – Mrs. Stripe. Right to the very end of our posting in Cairo I wasn’t sure if she wanted to come with us – she was essentially a wild animal. One day she just made up her mind to stay in the house and we had to rush to get her neutered and vaccinated for the trip to America.

The veterinarian placed her in a beautiful blue shroud and we have buried in her beloved garden. Like most immigrants from third world countries, she loved her adopted new land and the odd new creatures she observed such as skunks and raccoons. She loved us and we will always love her. RIP Mrs. Stripe.

Mrs. Stripe's shroud on her favorite ottoman

Mrs. Stripe’s shroud on her favorite ottoman

Pippy was a Welsh cat, Pippy was a thief.

Pippy was a thief

There is a terribly politically incorrect rhyme from my childhood that goes, “Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief”. As you can imagine, it casts disparagement onto people of Welsh origin (from the country of Wales in the UK, for those of you who suffered American geography classes. 🙂 ) Teddy and I got married in Chester, England and moved to a small town in Wales where we bought our first house. To start with, we had a lovely little hamster. I love all animals and desperately wanted a cat but Teddy was allergic (and still is, 6 cats later). Despite that, Teddy also wanted a cat. I saw an advert for a tabby kitten in our little town in Wales and we went to view. The tiger kitten had gone and all that was left was this filthy, skinny black and white kitten. My nose probably wrinkled but I saw Teddy in a haze of love. In his head, this scraggy kitten was the most beautiful black and white princess covered in fairy dust (it was just dirt). Unbelievably, he was right – she turned into the most exquisite black and white princess as you can see above.

We moved with her, back to the north of Scotland, and she was a holy terror. Trouble from the minute we owned her but we loved her anyway. She was authentically Welsh and she was most definitely a thief so that’s were the rhyme comes in. One of the many houses we lived in was a former bank in a tiny village in Scotland. The kitchen was originally the vault and the window sill was about 3 foot in depth. We had only been married a few years and had very little money (we are doing that in reverse now). The fish van had come around and I bought one fillet of haddock for Teddy. I had frozen it and decided to place it on the kitchen window sill to defrost.

Towards dinner time I went to bread and prepare the haddock fillet only to discover that Pippy had managed to eat the top half. It still looked like a fillet but a bit thinner than normal. I looked at it aghast and wondered what to do. There was nothing else for Teddy’s dinner. Eventually, I decided to wash it, cover it in breadcrumbs and hope that he didn’t notice. He ate it with great enjoyment and then I burst out laughing. “Didn’t you notice that it was a very slim fish?”. He looked appalled at first and then laughed too. I had already shouted at Pippy, who gave not a whit, and it was neither the first or last theft that the felon committed.

Topless Teaser…

A topless slutty Mrs. Stripe - you can even see her nipples!

A topless slutty Mrs. Stripe – you can even see her nipples!

This post is a little lead in or teaser into my theme next week – sexuality. Can you tell that I can’t get frisky until after my cataract operation? Teddy has been chasing me all around the house but he missed his opportunity…

Many years ago we both worked for a small oil service company in the north of Scotland. Sometimes small companies are so much fun to work for and give you endless humorous stories. When we moved to this city, I had to change jobs/careers again and finally got the opportunity to work as a fossil picker. Basically, you look at core samples (from oil wells) under a microscope and pull out micro-fossils for the real genius’s to look at. It’s a perfect job for someone with OCD to do. I was being trained at the same time as a very eager young man. He was bragging about how much he had impressed them at interview and just at that moment my husband walk past the window and waved. In response I said, “I slept with that guy to get the job”. The rest of the laboratory collapsed laughing and the young man was shocked. Well, it was the truth. Nepotism!

That’s not my funny story, though. After we had both moved on to other jobs we kept in touch with the base manager who passed on this tale. They had employed a very pretty young girl, about 18, with ample assets, shall we say? She looked good but wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box so was employed as a cleaner. The majority of staff in the various units was male and their jaws dropped open when they saw their new cleaner. She was already notorious in this provincial city because her mother had signed a waiver when she was 16 to allow her to model topless in one of our seedier newspapers. You think the ones in the US are bad but the Super, Soaraway, Sun was the worst daily tabloid. Men would just drool over someone’s breasts on the bus or train while giving you the eye.

So, to supplement her job as a cleaner she did evening jobs on the side. On one unforgettable occasion she had put up a handwritten poster on the company noticeboard to advertise her services. There were plenty of potential lads who were organizing grooms nights or stag nights as we call them in the UK.

EXOTIC DANCING – £10 a night
TOPPLES – £20 extra

I told you that she wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box but I bet she got plenty of work!

Toffee – our baby cat

Toffee on the mantel

Aaawww – that cute little face. She doesn’t look like she has the capacity to reduce you to a whimpering wreck, does she? Not a day goes by when she doesn’t whine, beg, look at you as though you torture her and then cuddle me obsessively. It must be my fault but I don’t know how it happened.

Toffee, aka Toffee Tiddles or Baby girl, is our baby. She is going to be 13 this spring but is still our baby and behaves like it. We were introduced to Toffee when she was about 6 weeks old, so she has known us forever. At some point, before she was a year old, something traumatic happened to her. We have no idea what it was but it changed her personality. She was injured but was too upset for us to take her to the vet in Egypt. Our gardener found her and kept her in his room. We would like to think that she fell off the balcony but we think that a human did something bad to her, perhaps unintentionally. Most Egyptians love cats so it is hard to imagine that anyone deliberately did anything bad but they may have shooed her into the path of a car, perhaps.

I watched her mother, Mrs. Stripe, play with Toffee and her sibling Treacle (coal black), for hours in the garden. The play was really a lesson in how to hunt and it was usually mom’s tail. As they grew older, the siblings would play fight with each other but as feral kittens didn’t utter a sound. It was the weirdest experience to watch them hurt each other and squeak silently! Toffee was the dominant kitten and came into the house soonest. She loved to chase balls around the house and kick-started by putting her back legs up the wall. Those little paw marks on white-washed walls were so difficult to remove. Although her mum was not a hunter, more a scavenger, Toffee has a natural hunting ability and is literally addicted to lizards. They have some LSD type substance on their skin. Over the years I have rescued hundreds of lizards including a big black one that bit me!!

Her first proper toy was a handmade tartan teddy knitted by an American expat. It was a few inches long and she carried it everywhere. It was hard to get either toys or cat food in Egypt but we managed with ping-pong balls. Her absolute favorite was a toy that I bought for myself. This was another hand-knitted doll who was a genial witch, dressed in a purple outfit and a knitted broomstick. It was Halloween and I was just so delighted to find something so cute. Toffee took one look at it and ran off with Nanny Ogg in her mouth – it was as big as she was!

When we finally managed to get her to the vet for vaccinations and neutering, she was the worst patient ever – even worse than Zhenny… Our veterinarian had an assistant that looked like an Egyptian Lurch. His size and temperament calmed/scared most animals but not Toffee. She totally trashed Dr. Farouk’s office – she escaped from Lurch/Mohammed’s grasp, ran around like a mini tornado, breaking everything as she went. We finally found her inside one of his desk drawers. It was the only time I saw Dr. Farouk close to losing his cool. He wanted to know why we were looking after a wild animal but by that time, she was injured and we had no choice. She has rarely visited any vet in her 12⅔rd years and we hope she just drops dead someday. Apart from us adoring our little baby, she is has been a fabulous intermediary between Zhenny and Mrs. Stripe who both consider themselves alpha females. Toffee will play with them both, particularly Zhenny who she treats as a sibling.

She didn’t find her voice for years but now has a really loud, annoying squeak. I will put up with it for ages and then speak to her in Arabic. She puts her tail between her legs and then runs under the bed. Sigh. Then I have to go persuade her than Mummy is not an ogre (she should have met her Grandma) and please come out for some organic chicken. By now you should realize who the problem is…

Toffee with Mummy in Egypt

Toffee with Mummy in Egypt

Domestic Violence…

domestic violence

This is what happens when your utterly feral 14 year old Egyptian cat does not want to have her Fentanyl patch taken off. It had been a hard week for her – a very expensive operation ($1300), one tooth left, ingrown toenail, antibiotics for a sinus infection. She just went in to have her claws trimmed…

The patch had to stay on for 5 days and then be taken off a furry leg. The nurse wisely suggested I take her in but instead decided that she was so old now and had so few teeth it would be okay. We traumatized her but got the patch off and flushed away safely. She stayed under the bed for two days, backing away from evil mom, making mom cry and generally feeling miserable. She finally came out after endless organic chicken, tuna and treats.

She is really adorable but it’s still like living with three raccoons. Look at this precious wee face.

Mrs, Stripe

Mrs. Stripe

Zombies!!!

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I can’t take any more beautiful, tasteful, upscale, divine, sensational words in my paid job and need a bit of gore! This is a teaser for next week’s Walking Dead theme and regular addicts will know that this is the last time I can mention the Z word. I might talk about Roamers, Walkers or Lurkers but not the unmentionable. The Undead have fascinated me every since my crazy mum would frighten me with tales of Voodoo from when she visited Louisiana. She believed they were real but she also believed in fairies – enough said.

When I was young she would wait at the top of the stairs and then jump out at me snarling with witch fingers. She swears that I would beg her to do it. I do remember my Great Aunt Frances scaring me by taking her false teeth out and chasing me around the bedroom. Curiously, I love to hide behind doors and scare our poor elderly cats. Genetics are amazing aren’t they? I am howling with laughter as I write this with Addams family memories.

As a teenager, my best friend and I would go to see Zombie movies at the cinema. They weren’t as popular back then and one infamous occasion there was one showing at a seedy cinema called the Classic Grand – usually referred to as the Classic Gland because of the type of movies it showed. We naively thought we were just seeing the Zombie movie but it was the B movie. For young people reading this – in olde tymes you saw two movies at once with an interval in between.

The A movie started and it was a really bad but tame porn movie. Suddenly we noticed that we were the only women in the cinema and the men were all alone in different rows. It’s not a cliche – they were all wearing trench-coats that probably gave easy access to some fiddling about down there. They were getting a twofer because not only were there pretty young girls on the screen but there were two stupid but pretty girls giggling in front of them.

I don’t know if my friend still loves Zombie movies but this incident did not put me off and I love anything Undead…

Happy Halloween!

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What can I say? We love staying at home with the lights on to encourage the trick or treaters. Most of our street is full of empty nesters or older folks so we adore our little ones. We decided to invite some of our friends around while we waited for visitors, and they came!!! Four little princesses, mutants and whatever else they were. I am sure they were a little scared by the old people in their cat PJs and hippy t-shirts but we had great fun as did our guests.

I have gone to bed with my cat make-up on because I have had a few refreshments. Sure will get a shock in the morning when I look in the mirror!