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!

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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!

Up and over or the one above sees all! Mr Lewis, the ginger cat we rehomed a year ago this August, has finally discovered the shed roof. To be fair to him, that corner of the garden was such a jungle he’d have had a job getting up onto the fence there, let alone the shed.

The Mother got quite a shock when she realised she was being observed by our ginger ninja. He did look rather proud of himself, and when I produced my camera, he put on a bit of a show  which involved rolling about on the sloping roof, much to The Mother’s consternation, she was certain he would roll right off!

Once all the excitement had died down we watched Mr Lewis to see how he would return to earth. The Mother, convinced he was stuck, placed a garden chair against the shed wall, this he  ignored, preferring to jump the short distance across to the  neighbour’s shed roof before dropping down onto the only piece of fence free from ivy and down from there into our garden.

As Mr Lewis sauntered across the lawn towards the back door he gave us a look which seemed to say, ‘Why on earth were you making such a fuss?!

Not a field but definitely further. Mr Lewis has expanded his territory into our nextdoor neighbour’s back garden. This came about with some help from me after The Mother mentioned she used to be able to get behind the garden shed to paint it.  Unfortunately the neighbour’s invasive bamboo, brambles and ivy had created a Sleeping Beauty obstruction, which put pay to anyone repairing the shed. It got me thinking that if I could clear a path, Mr Lewis might be able to get over the fence and thereby avoid the road and it’s traffic at the front of the house.

Pet sitting nearby, I was mostly free to call in and tackle the overgrown corner. It took me eight bags of garden waste, meticulously chopped up, before I could get all the way around the shed. In doing so I discovered a gap in the fence large enough for a cat to get through. This Mr Lewis did almost immediately and I discovered him sitting amongst the bamboo intently staring at the neighbour’s pond. It has become one of his favourite places to hide, especially now that the beautiful, blue iris have grown tall.

Having made a start on tidying the garden I turned my attention to the fence which, at a list, needed replacing. Short of funds I opted to hide it behind a row of slightly rusty brown planters. My thinking was, once they were full of colourful trailing plants, nobody would notice the wonky brown fence or the rusty brown containers against it.  There followed a great planting frenzy, I’m not sure The Mother was all that happy at first, the garden, being very much her baby. However, she began to get involved again and soon I had more plants than I new where to plant!

I even upcycled a neighbour’s large, wooden gate hanging  a black framed mirror on it, which looked splendid against the forest green paint along with a basket full of trailing fuschia. It made quite a feature  of an otherwise undervalued area of the garden. Chelsea here we come Mr Lewis, I told the cat, who throughout the back yard transformation had been on hand to offer his support, mainly by weeing on my freshly dug borders!

We didn’t have a problem with mice until Mr Lewis, the ginger cat we rehomed, came to live with us! I told him to leave the garden birds alone and focus on the mammals, he was to be in charge of ‘rodent patrol’. I think he took my instruction to heart, although the offerings were slow in coming they arrived, with Mr Lewis favouring a ‘catch and release ‘ policy. Release being in the house! 

One evening, between pet sits, The Mother suggested we open a box of Malteesers she’d been saving for my return. I duly got them out of the cupboard under the stairs only to find the box was missing a corner and half it’s contents gone! On closer inspection I found tiny fragments of chewed cardboard and cellophane on the shelf where the box had stood. The Mother was rightly concerned for the stash of M&S cheese straws, her usual lunch, that she kept in there along with the sherry and a couple of sun umbrellas. I had a good look for the culprit but was unsuccessful and to placate The Mother, told her that the rodent was probably lying under the floorboards in a diabetic coma after all the sugar it has consumed She wasn’t impressed, saying, if it died the smell would be awful and we’d have to have the parquet floor up!

The next day I bought a humane mouse trap and, watched by Mr Lewis, I baited it with peanut butter  then put it on the shelf where the villainous rodent had committed his crime. Mr Lewis spent the evening loitering outside the cupboard door and when I checked before bed, the trap has been sprung. It felt empty when I picked up the trap and I had to resist the urge to shake it! Instead I carried the tube and it’s possible contents out to the green beside the house and opened it to discover a woodmouse staring back at me, though not for long, as the nimble creature leapt from it’s prison causing me to drop my torch in surprise. I returned home to find The Mother in a celebratory mood, having bought another box of Malteesers and Mr Lewis in a huff, ignoring me until his breakfast was due!