What a Good Boy

Pete seems to have learned some manners! My upstairs neighbours have a gorgeous ginger boy called Momo, and they told me today that the other day, Pete was out in the stair when they got home. When they opened their door, Momo ran out and came face to face with Pete. Fighty Pete who hated all the other cats when he was with Lothian Cat Rescue and tried to fight them through the pen. Fighty Pete who I have seen punch two dogs in the nose. They said that Momo was a bit wary, but Pete was very sweet and polite and just wanted to say hello.

Maybe I can get a kitten!


Pete was Poorly

Pete was quite unwell last month. He had a few days of throwing up intermittently, so we trotted off to The Veterinary Cat Clinic, where we saw Simon. Simon thought Pete might have a bowel inflammation, and treated him with a steroid injection, which seemed to do the trick and the vomiting stopped.He was a pretty good boy at the vet – Simon has the knack of giving him a good going over without Pete realising he’s being examined, he just thinks he’s getting a lot of fuss. He didn’t like getting his temperature taken though. However, a couple of days later the poor boy started to sneeze, and do a weird huffing like he was trying to blow something out of his nose. So we went back to the vet and saw Simon again. Because Pete was a stray, there’s a reasonable chance he’s a carrier of feline herpes, and Simon reckoned that the steroid injection for the bowel inflammation had suppressed his immune system, allowed the herpes to flourish, and caused a respiratory infection. A few days of antibiotics sorted it out and Pete was in great form for a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, he then got very sick again, and vomited eight or nine times in one morning.So we went back, and saw Claire, who is new to the Cat Clinic having replaced Martha. Claire thought Pete he had either inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis. She gave him an injection of painkiller, which he did not like at all, and she gave me some antacids to give him with his food, plus some pouches of sensitive stomach food to try him with. He was fairly well behaved and she said she wishes all cats were as well behaved as him, which made me laugh.

I took him home but he really wasn’t himself. Didn’t want to eat, only wanted to sleep and had a very unsettled night.He woke me by sitting in his litter tray and howling loudly, so back to the vet we went, and saw Claire again. They kept him in  – leaving cats at the vet is what I imagine leaving your child for their first day at school must feel like – and phoned later to say they’d sedated him and X-rayed him and done bloods. Jenny said his colon was very gassy and bloated, and his urine was very alkaline, which is abnormal for cats, so they tested that for infection, and did more bloods. They’d put him on a drip for fluids to stop him getting dehydrated. I’d told them he likes cheek rubs and head tickles, so he was getting plenty of those but he didn’t get better through the day and they kept him overnight, which was awful. I missed him so much, the flat felt so empty.

Next morning he still wasn’t eating, but he’d done a big wee and was getting lots of cheek rubs from the staff who seemed to have fallen in love with him. They kept trying him with food and he would smack his lips and drool but wouldn’t eat. They gave him an anti-emetic with an appetite stimulant in it, and 20 minutes later he was at the front of his cage waiting for food and gobbled everything they gave him. He kept it down and continued to eat through the day, so they let me take him home that night. He was so pleased to see me, nearly as pleased as I was to see him! Claire and the nurse both said he’d been getting lots of cheek rubs and giving out lots of headbumps.

When I got him home, he went straight to his dish, which wasn’t there, then he went to his litter tray and did a huge pee. I put some of the sensitive tummy food down for him that they’d given me, and he sniffed and licked his lips but didn’t eat it, so I put a teaspoon of tuna in with it. He nibbled it a bit, but he lost interest pretty quickly. Then he went to lie on my bed for a bit and then spent several hours sulking somewhere – every time I tried to stroke his head, he walked off so I just left him to it.

He cuddled up next to me on the bed for most of the night, but a couple of times he got quite lively and was trotting round the flat. I got up at 6ish to make sure he was ok, and he’d cleared his dish, so I put some more out for him and he gobbled it. I went back to bed, and was awakened by what sounded like Pete having some sort of seizure under the bed.

As he’d been so uninterested in food I’d let my guard down and left some pouches on the worktop. The naughty cat had snaffled one and was ripping into it under  the bed. I took it off him.Later on I realised he’d stashed one in his favourite cardboard box, so I took that one off him too – and then later on he trotted past me with yet another one in his mouth! He has been absolutely great since then, totally back to his old self – charming, cheeky, affectionate, greedy and ridiculous.

And, he’s been picked as the model on the Cat Clinic’s November booster reminder cards!



Not Sure About the “Quality” Foods

As per this post, I’m keen to make sure Pete eats reasonably quality, high protein food. Lots of people swear by the Royal Canin/Hill’s Science Plan type foods, so I thought I’d give them a go. They are eye-wateringly expensive compared to Tesco/Whiskas/Kitekat/Felix, and the nutritional information on the packs and on the websites is astonishingly poor.

I got him Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition wet food, the Hairball Care and the Ultra Light in jelly (which states it has a 19% calorie reduction). The nutritional information for the Ultra Light says

COMPOSITION: meat and animal derivatives, vegetable protein extracts, derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, cereals,various sugars.

ADDITIVES (per kg): Nutritional additives: Vitamin D3: 55 IU, E1 (Iron): 0.4 mg, E2 (Iodine): 0.1 mg, E4 (Copper): 0.9 mg, E5 (Manganese): 0.11 mg, E6 (Zinc): 1.1 mg, L-carnitine: 35 mg.

ANALYTICAL CONSTITUENTS: Protein: 11% – Fat content: 2% – Crude ash: 1.4% – Crude fibres: 1.2% – Moisture: 82.5%.

It doesn’t specify what the meat is, or what the vegetables and cereals are, and the protein content is very low, so I assume the carb content is high. They tag it as having a high protein content, but it’s only 11%. They say it has a 19% calorie reduction, but compared to what?

The Hairball Care variety gives the nutritional info as

COMPOSITION: meat and animal derivatives, cereals, vegetable protein extracts, derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, oils and fats, various sugars, yeasts.

ADDITIVES (per kg): Nutritional additives: Vitamin D3: 82 IU, E1 (Iron): 3 mg, E2 (Iodine): 0.12 mg, E4 (Copper): 1 mg, E5 (Manganese): 1 mg, E6 (Zinc): 10 mg – Technological additives: Clinoptilolite of sedimentary origin: 0.4 g.

ANALYTICAL CONSTITUENTS: Protein: 7% – Fat content: 2.7% – Crude ash: 1.3% – Crude fiber: 1% – Moisture: 82%.

so it’s even lower in protein (cats are obligate carnivores, remember) and presumably even higher in carbs. Again, no calorie content.

I have emailed Royal Canin to ask for more info, so we will see what they say.

The Hill’s Science Plan I got is the urinary health & hairball control type, and again, there is very little nutritional info on the packaging. I can’t even find it on the website to look for more details, but looking at some of the other foods, they do have good nutritional information on the site.

It seems very strange to me that brands which a) cost a lot of money and b) promote themselves as being very high quality, aren’t prepared to back that up by being open about what goes into them. I’m looking at you, Royal Canin.

A Very Naughty Cat

Pete had his annual check-up and boosters at the Cat Clinic a couple of weeks ago. He was a good boy, and they were pleased with him – he’s in good health, his teeth are in good nick, and he only need to lose about another 1lb. He was doing well with his weight loss, but my neighbours got a kitten, and now he likes to sit on their doormat until they open the door and then he runs past them and eats the (very calorific) kitten food. Luckily, he hasn’t tried to eat the kitten. Rico is very cute, very similar markings to Pete but grey rather than black. He’s fascinated by Pete and obviously wants to play, but Pete isn’t interested and just wants to eat. But they have a little sniff at each other and yesterday Pete licked him on the nose, and there has been no aggression.

Pete and I went out for a walk the other day, through the nice quiet garden bit at the back. We were having a good time, lots of scampering, sniffing, tree-climbing etc, when Pete suddenly went all CONSTANT VIGILANCE and started running towards the flats. I followed him and realised that there was a cat lying on the external windowsill of a first floor flat, and it was shouting loudly at Pete. Pete, of course, wanted to fight it. I couldn’t persuade him to come away so tried to pick him up to carry him away, but he growled and tried to bite me, then hid under a bush where he thought I couldn’t reach him. I did manage to get him out, despite his growls, and carried him off, but as soon as I put him down he ran straight back and under another bush, from where he growled, bit swiped at me and completely refused to be reasonable. Nothing I could do or say would persuade him to leave his lookout point, even though the other cat had disappeared by then, so in the end I resorted to the parents-of-recalcitrant-toddlers trick and said “well, you stay there if you want, I’m going home.”

He was scampering behind me before I’d done 30 yards.

Your Silence Is Deafening: An Open Letter To the Target Boycotters

Excellent piece.

Drifting Through


I hear you.

You’re angry.

I get it, I’m angry too.

I’m not talking to the people who are angry at Target because their Pro Transgender bathroom policy flies in the face of their cherry picked moral compass. I’m not under any obligation  to respect their beliefs. 

I’m talking to you… the people who have no issue with sharing a bathroom with LGBT people. I’m talking to those of you who are speaking out about this bathroom policy, expressing concern over the women and children who you fear will be in danger because of this policy.

You’re reasonable people. You aren’t expressing hate or bigotry. You just worry. You worry about your kids, your wives, your sisters. I worry too.

I probably worry too much. I have always accompanied my younger kids to the bathroom in public places. When my son was too old to go into the women’s room, I…

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No Manners

I bought Pete some diced beef from the supermarket reduced shelf today. When I got it home I portioned it into freezer bags and stuck it in the freezer, and put the container in the bin. The bin was full so I removed the bag sat it on the kitchen floor until I could be bothered taking it out. I didn’t tie the binbag shut, and next thing I know, Pete was sitting in the bag, licking the beef container. Not standing on the floor sticking his head into the bag; he climbed right in.


When Pete first came to live with me, I did hope that he would have fun romping around in the grassed areas and wooded areas at the back of where I live. However, he’s proved to be much more interested in snoozing than in going out to play. Since the vet trip last week, I’ve been trying to encourage him to go out and get more exercise, but he’s quite wary about going too far. So, I’ve been picking him up and carrying him to the Engine Shed car park, which has grass and trees, and to the area at St Leonards Bank which is ideal for cats to play in.

He’s loved it! He scampers and runs and tries to climb trees, and pounces, and sniffs, and jumps onto fences and slinks along them, and generally behaves like a proper cat. It can be an effort getting him to come back home sometimes! We haven’t been out every day, because weather, but most days.

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Fat Cat with a Stinky Bum

Pete and I went to the vet yesterday for his annual checkup and booster jags. I’m pretty skint this month and didn’t want to pay £15-20 for taxis there and back, so we got the bus. Getting him to the bus stop was the most difficult bit because he’s heavy and what is usually a 5 minute walk took nearly 15. He was really good on the bus though, a bit anxious to start with but once he’d realised there was nothing scary happening, he settled down and lay down in his carrier and just looked around quite calmly.

The vet (Edinburgh Cat Clinic) gave him a good checkup and said his heart and lungs are fine and his teeth are in good condition. The main issue is his weight. Although I haven’t increased his food, he’s put on about a pound in the last five months and he’s now 2lb overweight, which is a lot for a cat. He is a big cat, and we think about 6kg would be right for him, but he’s currently just over 7kg. I don’t know what else to do to reduce it – he gets on pouch of wet food in the morning, usually the 100g pouches but I mix in some of the 85g a couple of times a week, and he gets 30g of Thrive dry food which is 90% meat and about 190kCal per 100g. So he’s on a maximum of about 170kCal per day, and all the research I can find says to get him to 6kg he needs to be on about 200 per day! The vet says I’m doing all the right things, putting his dry food around the flat on the windowsills, on his platforms and in his activity feeders, so he has to go and look for it if he wants it, so the only thing I can try now is reducing his intake even further. I’m really worried he’ll eat my face in the night. We are wondering if he’s getting food elsewhere, but he doesn’t go out very often, and although the neighbours have been known to sneak him bits of steak bake (!) and the odd dish of milk, I don’t think they do it regularly. Because he’s so fat, the vet couldn’t examine his abdomen, but he seems healthy and happy so we’re assuming he’s ok.

The other issue is that after he’s used his litter tray, he often has a stinky mess down “the back of his trousers.” (Is it just me who loves cats’ fluffy britches?) So I asked Simon to check his anal glands. Pete did not enjoy having his glands checked and was quite happy to say so, but it didn’t take long. The right one was fine, but the left one has some infection in it, so Simon got it all out, and we’re going back in 4 weeks for another check, and I will keep an eye on it meantime. Simon does think though that some of the mess is because of Pete’s size, making it difficult for him to poo cleanly or wash himself properly afterwards. I think it’s all about his glands, his poo is firm and seems to come out cleanly, and the mess on the back of his legs is greeny and stinky, so I’m sure it’s exudate/secretions. While he was giving the injection, Simon found a lump on Pete’s back, which he thinks is just a lipoma, but we’ll keep an eye on it.

The other thing we did was a nail trim, to blunt his scimitar-like claws and protect my legs a bit. I try to do it at home but I only ever manage one claw, then he wakes up and attacks the clippers.

On the way home, partly because he’s heavy to carry, and partly to give him a bit more exercise, I let him out of his carrier as we got to the police station instead of waiting till we got in the stair, and he trotted along behind me quite happily. He had a bit of a run around in the evening as well, scampering up and down the stairs, and I took him over the road to see if he would romp in the grass, but a seagull swooped on us, and it got very windy, and he really wasn’t keen so we came back in.

He was very sleepy last night and still this morning, and not pestering for food quite as much, which I think is a reaction to the vaccination. He was the same after his first ones last year.

7th of July was the first anniversary of Pete coming to live with me. I’m so glad he picked me.

An Unpleasant Awakening

I am reasonably certain that the next time I get my hair cut, the hairdresser will tell me it looks like something has been chewing on the back of my hair, and I will have to tell her that my cat lets me know he wants his breakfast by biting my head.