Between the pair of us, The Mother and I have managed to overfeed Mr Lewis, which was pointed out at his last veterinary appointment, rather tactfully I thought.  So Lou is back on his diet again!

Somehow, the ten grams of cat biscuits I’d been weighing out for Lou to have as treats over the course of the week became ten grams of biscuits he was getting everyday before bed!  No wonder he was expanding!  So, over the following days I began to reduce the biscuits until Lou was having a gram per day.  This didn’t seem to be making much difference and it wasn’t until I discovered The Mother’s stash of cat biscuits that I realized she was still giving him extra!  Needless to say we had `words’ about this with me pointing out how being overweight could lead to more urinary problems for Lou and large vet bills for me!  I think we’re both on the same page now.

Mr Lewis is not happy about the cut in his rations being very `hangry’ at not having his stomach clock satisfied.  We are working on this but in the meantime, despite the recent warm weather, we continue to wear shoes and long trousers in order to protect our feet and legs when Mr Lewis turns into Mr Bitey!

 

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I remember thinking, not so long ago, that it would be nice to spend  more time at home with The Mother and our ginger cat, Mr Lewis, being  in `lockdown’ due to Coronavirus wasn’t what I envisaged!  I had been planning on scaling back my pet sitting work  so that I could care for my 89 year old Mother anyway but wasn’t  expecting  to have the decision made for me.

With everyone’s holiday plans put on hold until the Government says otherwise I have found myself filling the time I would’ve been working in our garden.  Sometimes joined by Mr Lewis, who likes to lies on his back in the grass exposing his rotund, furry undercarriage to the sunshine.  Occasionally, The Mother comes out to check on her camellias and roses.  Mostly I’m left to my own devices, which is wonderful, no pressure, no stress, no worries. Just the slugs and snails to contend with!

A week before Mother’s Day and `lockdown’ commencing, we were joined by The Sister, as I helped her unload a mountain of stuff from her car I realized that she must be staying for the duration and wondered how things would pan out, bearing in mind the last time we’d all spent an extended period living in the same house, I was 7 and she was 18! It wasn’t long before I overheard The Mother telling one of her friends over the phone that she was being ruled by her daughters!

Life has settled into a routine of sorts, with me and The Sister taking it in turns to cook. The house hasn’t been so clean in a long time, it’s no secret I don’t like dusting and the garden is green and growing.  We go for an hours walk each day, being lucky with the beautiful weather so far and living on the edge of the town surrounded by countryside.  We try to respect each other’s space, although The Mother is still doing her best to mother her grown daughters.  Mr Lewis is loving the fact that he has three people he can ask for food!

This could very well be the last time that we, The Mother, The Sister and myself, spend so much time together, nothing is certain in life, certainly not at this time!  So we owe it to each other to be kinder and more respectful of each other’s needs and wants, not so easy for three independent, women who’ve spent so much time living alone 😀 

 

 

Mr Lewis, our ginger cat, is happy to go outside now that he understands he will not catch Corvid-19 from the crows (or the other corvids) that visit our garden and taunt him from the  safety of the trees!DSCN8454 (3)

This year, all being well, The Mother will ninety years old, I will be fifty-three and Mr Lewis, our cat, will be eight, lets face it, we’re all getting on a bit!  With this very much at the forefront of my mind I have decided to scale back my pet sitting business so that I can spend more time at home with my family.  I will be honouring my bookings for this season but I won’t be taking on any new client’s and from next year I will only be available to dog walk or `pop-in’  to feed your pets.

I am not giving up and hope to still see most of you for `light’ pet-sitting duties as, now I’ve bought a new mattress  I’m looking forward to sleeping on it!

Thank you all for being such wonderful clients/friends – two-legged and four-legged.

The very warmest of whiskers,

Rachel

 

It made a pleasant change to be working with bipeds as opposed to quadrupeds this Christmas as I took up my position behind the till on Cash and Wrap at a leading high street chemists.  All of humanity seemed to come to us, from new parents shouldering their babies as they struggled to find their bank cards to senior citizens getting a head start on their Christmas shopping with baskets full of three for two bath products.  I loved being part of a team working quickly to keep the queues moving, having a laugh and a joke with our  customers, when time allowed and all the wonderful nail varnish colours that, as someone who is usually employed to care for animals, I didn’t know existed! By the time my fixed-term contract was up I had `It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’ as an earworm and a sore throat from constantly shouting, `whose next please?!’

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The first time I saw Mr Lewis, our ginger cat, with a frog it was early one July morning in our back garden.  I’d stumbled out of bed to see what all the commotion was about and still bleary from sleep,  found Lou sitting behind what looked like a large pile of glistening grass which I thought he’d thrown up!  On closer inspection I realized it was a large, very much alive, frog and hurriedly picked up my struggling moggy.  His legs and belly were wet, I assumed from his fishing expedition in next-door’s pond.  Lou was most upset at being separated from his new toy and sat on the dining room window sill staring fixedly out at the lawn!  To my relief on returning to the garden I discovered the frog had vanished.

A few days later The Mother and I were enjoying a coffee in our sunny garden whilst Mr Lewis did his usual patrol of the shrubs and bushes.  All of a sudden he leapt into a tangle of foliage, this was followed by a loud squeak and a tiny froglet jumped out onto the grass causing The Mother to shriek, which frightened Lou, who shot up the lawn into the house.  Once I’d stopped laughing at The Mother’s reaction I had a look for the small amphibian, I felt very sorry for it but couldn’t find it.  Again, we shut Mr Lewis in the house to give the poor creature a chance to get back to it’s pond.

Mr Lewis diligently pursued his new hobby and caught another frog the next day, which he brought into the house.  He announced their arrival with a deep, guttural yowl and dropped his captive on the hall  floor.  He didn’t seem in the least bit interested in playing with it, instead he lay down and waited for me to show my gratitude for his thoughtful gift.  I surveyed the prone frog which lay on it’s back, it looked dead and leaving it briefly, I  tore off a sheet paper from a roll in the kitchen and returned to the upside down creature, bending to carefully scoop it up.  Mr Lewis seemed completely nonplussed by my interference so I carried the unfortunate amphibian, bigger than the last one but not as big as the first,  into the garden and placed it as close to my neighbour’s pond as I could.  As there was nobody at home and their side gate was locked this involved a short flight for the frog, attached to the paper towel and a soft landing amongst the long grass.  On checking later I found the frog  sitting in a more natural position for it’s kind, which was heartening.  Later still, when I checked again, froggy had gone.

Mr Lewis had obviously taken the lecture I’d given him on not catching the garden birds to onboard and had turned his attention to things aquatic although, I did notice him eating a particularly large moth the other evening!

A new neighbour moved in nextdoor with his small dog, a terrier of sorts and three cats.  Unfortunately  our feline, Mr Lewis, took an instant dislike to them all. One morning, as I was preparing my breakfast,  I heard a commotion in our back garden and on going outside, found Mr Lewis had  a ginger kitten cornered behind the Camilla bushes and  was swearing at it very loudly.  I ran to get the box of cat biscuits which I shook at him, calling his name. It has the desired effect, the neighbour’s  kitten was instantly forgotten and Lewis came trotting in ready for his second breakfast. Definitely stomach driven our boy is!

Lewis met his match though, the day our garden was comandeered by another of the  neighbour’s cats, a large, black and white, fluffy, feline. As we hadn’t been introduced I it called ‘Madam ‘. On the afternoon of our first meeting, Madam was bathing on a patch of sunny lawn, blissfully unaware of Mr Lewis, with his undercarriage low to the ground, was creeping stealthily up behind the unwelcome visitor. In an trice our moggy found himself nose to nose with a hissing puff ball of fur, who must have sensed the imminent assault and whipped around to face him. From my vantage point at the kitchen window I thought I saw Lewis wince and wondered if Madam had halitosis?! Thankfully, no blood was shed and under Madam’s death stare, Mr Lewis backed away and turned, VERY slowly, towards the house. After that, whenever their paths crossed again, he gave her a very wide birth!

Some weeks later I bumped into our neighbour in town and  mentioned that Madam had become a frequent visitor to our garden.

 “Do you mean Sylvester?!” He asked perplexed.  ” Since the  move here he’s become extremely territorial and has even started  bullying our other two  cats, I’m seriously considering  re-homing him!”. I did not mention the animosity between Sylvester and Mr Lewis, although it made sense when  I knew that Madam was another dominant male. Sadly, Sylvester was eventually re-homed and left Cornwall  for a new life as the sole cat and companion to a lady in Devon. So the tittle, ‘Alpha Male’,  of our estate was restored to Mr Lewis and very pleased with himself about it he was too!

Whilst looking after the Freathy Feline Four I’ve occasionally had to clean up after them, it’s all part of my job as a Pet Sitter, although  I didn’t expect to be mopping up after the neighbour’s cat as well!  The elderly feline had been visiting for some time without incident, letting himself in through the cat-flap and helping himself to any uneaten biscuits  before making himself at home on the food preparation surfaces!  All this was tolerated by my clients and their fur family until, during my last sit, Tenzing decided he was the dominant male and began marking his territory by spraying on the furniture!  The fact that Tenzing had started to urinate in the chalet came as quite a surprise, as you can imagine.

On returning from a wet and muddy walk, I let  myself into the utility room and was hit by the pungent pong of cat pee, I couldn’t work out where it was coming from until I removed my Wellington boots and placed them next to my shoes by the rubbish bin.  Tensing had sprayed up the bin and my shoes were sitting in the puddle of pee that surrounded  it!  Not only was it an unpleasant surprise but I was faced with the dilemma of what to wear to the play I planned on seeing that evening, they were the only pair of smart shoes I had with me!  I set about mopping up the puddle before cleaning  my shoes.  Frustratingly, no amount of scrubbing or spraying with air freshener would mask the nasty niff of cat pee and as they were leather, putting them in the washing machine was not an option.  In the end I left for the village hall wearing my Wellington boots hopping that as it was a wet evening they wouldn’t look amiss.  I think I managed to get away with it, only receiving one or two quizzical looks during the play’s interval.

A few days later I needed to catch the bus into town, my wellies would not be appropriate attire for what I had planned, so I bit the bullet and wore my shoes.  I sat on the top deck of the bus, at the back, away from the other passengers already on board but as the journey progressed the bus filled up and it wasn’t long before the seats around me were taken.  It was a cold day and the driver had the heating on which I could feel warming my legs and feet.  An unpleasant odour began to emanate from my footwear and I noticed my fellow travellers shifting in their seats and surreptitiously looking around for its cause.  With some relief I rang the bell for my stop and wasted no time getting off, leaving the lingering aroma of  cat pee behind which I hoped nobody suspected was me?!

 

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Just when I had sorted out our cat’s indoor plumbing by way of a large blue, moulded plastic, dog bed and some biodegradable cat litter, our own convenience took it upon itself to misbehave!  Unlike Chicken Licken of the children’s story, it was not the sky that came down on our poor feline’s head but the dining room ceiling after the cold water pipe leading to the toilet’s cistern fractured.  Over time the water from the undetected leak soaked through the chipboard  showering the dining room and Mr Lewis (our cat) in soggy plaster.  Thankfully The Mother wasn’t sitting on the toilet at the time as she would have got the downstairs cloak room she had always wanted!

Back in February  we had our bathroom redecorated and after thirty years of service it looked bright and fresh,  especially with the new vinyl flooring.  A few weeks after it was finished I noticed the bathroom door was sticking and the general consensus was that it had dropped on its hinges.  We lived with it until the door wouldn’t close at all so we took up whistling when one of us was using the toilet.

We discussed calling out a handyman to rehang the door but as the vinyl flooring had started to lift in more places, resembling Saharan sand dunes,  we decided it was because the new flooring had been laid on top of the old one and called out the carpet fitter out instead.  He discovered the dunes were due to water damage and took up all the vinyl leaving us with a very spongy, unstable chipboard floor.  Neither the plumber we called in nor the neighbourly builder were able to locate the escape of water which is why we no longer have a dinning room ceiling.

Long story, slightly shorter,  a friend of The Mother’s turned Knight in Shining Armour arrived early that Sunday morning in August, found the leak and made it safe, clearing away all the debris from the deluge.  We contacted our home insurers again and they eventually sent out an Assessor.  We then had to wait for the ceiling to be tested for asbestos, which it turned out to have and then had to wait for a specialist company to come out and remove the rest of the ceiling.  We waited several weeks for another company to bring machines in to dry out the room and floor, when they did arrived and carried out a moisture reading it was to discover that everything had dried  naturally and the machines weren’t needed.  Then we were kept waiting several weeks for the building work start date which was held up due to discrepancies regarding costs between our home insurer and their builders. Finally this was resolved and we were, after some chasing up on my part, given a start date of Thursday 22nd November, tomorrow in fact, some three months after poor Mr Lewis thought the sky was falling on his head.

We are now waiting for a Port-A-Loo to be delivered to our the back garden as the builders will be stripping out the contents of our bathroom.

“An outside toilet and a daily wash in the kitchen sink, it’ll be just like during the War!”  Joked The Mother.

 

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You may have noticed that my posts have been a bit ‘ginger’ of late, bare with me, normal service will resume!

I  guess, like a new parent dealing with their infant’s first soiled nappies, the contents of our cat’s litter tray have been scrutinised and obsessed over ever since we rehomed him a year ago.  Our fur baby  Mr Lewis’s  loose bowel has  been a continuing cause for concern and our mission to help him achieve a normal poo on going. After trying a hypoallergenic diet,  various medications and herbal remedies our Vet, who has been brilliant, said we may have to accept that Mr Lewis is a cat with the ‘shits,’ his turn of phrase, not mine!  

Mr Lewis is a big cat, too big for  the litter trays on the market purportedly for larger cats, which meant  every time he used his less than spacious tray, the litter ended up all around it and throughout the house!  My quest to find something of a more suitable size was proving fruitless until the day I was  standing in a queue at Argos, waiting  to return the child’s wading pool I’d bought for Mr Lewis’s convenience, which was  far too big to fit under the table in our utility room, I had a brain wave! I would buy a dog bed, a large plastic one. I took my refunded cash and headed to the  nearest pet supply store where a sales assistant pointed me in the direction of a waist high stack of moulded, plastic dog beds. 

It has taken me time and been emotional but at last ….

 I have finally found just what Mr Lewis needs!