Archives for category: pets

Over my ten years as  a home and pet sitter, mostly spent on my own, I have noticed that I tend to talk to myself more often.  I like to think that it’s because I’m good at externalising my thoughts. Usually I keep a check on myself  in public, this morning however, as I got on the bus into town  I had a ‘moment’ while buying my ticket.  I couldn’t be certain if I’d  said out loud what I was thinking?!  As I didn’t receive any verbal abuse from our driver  I was reassured that I’d only thought that he looked like a right misery. Even so, I quickly took my change and headed for the furthest available seat at the back of the bus where I spent  the whole journey fixedly staring out of the window at the passing countryside.

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I sought him here, I sought him there and inevitably when it came to dinner time, he was sitting behind  me!  Mr Pinkie Lewis, our ginger cat, is as silent as a Ninja and more elusive than the Scarlet Pimpernel!  He has many hiding places around the house, which we have to check before leaving home in case we have shut him out in the garden by mistake. 


I bought him his own Ginger Ninja Club House in the form a small dog kennel, which we positioned behind the camellia bushes at the bottom of the garden. So now he has somewhere to hunker down outside.  Mind you, it took Mr Lewis three months before he decided he liked his furry igloo and that was only because I moved it into the cupboard  under the stairs.  Which proves that when it comes to property, even cats subscribe to location, location, location!

Last year I bought myself a new bed, I actually needed  to replace my mattress but the  bed frame was so old nowhere  stocked anything to fit it!  In the end  I wasn’t able to fully appreciate my new sleeping arrangement until December, when work became sporadic. I have always found Christmas a difficult time to judge on the employment front as most of my clients want the same week  which is why, in the past,  I’ve taken seasonal retail jobs. Unfortunately  last year I got it completely wrong! Having felt quietly confident I was in with more than a chance of work with a particular retailer, I turned down a couple of bookings only to find out that the position had been filled and my, ‘Thank You But No Thank You,’ email had gone astray. Still, all was not lost as I had budgeted for Christmas and I was able to enjoy some much needed time at home.

“Mrs What’s-Her-Name’s cat likes this!”  My Mother said brandishing a pouch of eye- wateringly expensive feline nosh at me.  “I’m sure Mr Lewis will like it!” I believe my Ma’s thinking was based more on the cat’s flatulence than his pallet.

“He likes the one we’re feeding him now.” I replied scanning the ingredients of tickled trout, catnip and conjunctivitis nonsense listed on the packet.

“He just eats the gravy and leaves the meat!” Mother’s jaw was set, she wasn’t going to back down.

“How many packets of this have you got?!”  I asked my Aged P doubtfully.

“Oh, just a couple.” I could see she sensed victory and decided to let it go as Mr Lewis might enjoy the change, although my pocket wouldn’t!  It had been agreed before we rehomed Lewis, that I would take care of him financially, whilst Mother, being at home, took care of his person.

That evening I fed our ginger boy his gourmet dinner and watched him as he tucked into the finely minced protein.  He seemed to be having a bit of trouble eating the close textured mixture.  “I think it’s getting stuck around his gums!”

“No, no,”  Mother insisted,  “you just need to mash it up more.”  I watched dubiously, as the poor cat struggled on for a few more mouthfuls before giving up altogether in favour of his biscuits.

“I’ll get some of the other food from the garage.” I announced turning on my heel rather too dramatically for the occasion.  When I went to the cupboard where we stored the cat supplies  I was met with a row of Furry Friend Posh Nosh boxes. “I thought you said you’d only got a couple of pouches?!”  I shouted from the garage.

“Oh yes, well ah, it was on offer!”  Came the reply.

Mr Lewis looked on nonplussed.  The only thing I think he needed was a tooth pick and something to gargle with?!

 

“It’s rather like going for a walk on your own.” My clients told me apologetically as we watched their, German Pointer, Brodie roving along the shore in the distance.  “He’s obsessed with wagtails.” I could just make out that Brodie was stalking something. “I swear he thinks he’s invisible!”  We laughed. “Don’t worry,” they reassured me, “he never leaves the beach!”

We carried on along the pebbly shoreline with Morgan, my client’s other dog, another pointer,  watching his owners intently as he waited for his tennis ball to be launched into the sea.  “At least you’ll feel like you’re on a dog walk with Morgan!”

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“Usual routine for the dogs.” My clients informed me as they were leaving for the airport “Nuts for the wild birds are in the funeral urn on the hall table.”  This made us all smile because the last time I sat at Postman’s Cottage I didn’t dare move the urn assuming that it held the ashes of a deceased relative! “And if you wouldn’t mind feeding the badger, we chuck a handful of peanuts and a slice of the tiger bloomer, buttered, onto the lawn last thing before we turn in.” I wondered who else I’d be feeding next-time, damper for the deer? Roti for the rabbits? Or maybe I’d be putting out focaccia for the foxes?

I do occasionally look after poultry although not all of them are as free to roam as Mr Humble, the handsome blond cockerel and his mother, helpfully called Mother. Every night, after a day spent scratching about the property far and wide, they would put themselves to bed in the barn, roosting on a partition between the stables and every morning they would be waiting for me to give them their breakfast at the conservatory door. This happened so often during the course of my sit that I was quite worried the day they didn’t show up for their slice of toast! I soon found them in the disused greenhouse making the most of the morning sunshine to dig up the grubs!