Tags: kittens

International Kittens of Mystery

Tribble Update and a Procession

Fingers crossed it looks like we've found homes for two of the orange tribbles. And neither are my shoulder.

Naturally after two weeks of desperately trying to find them a home the prospect of losing two arms of our orange starfish is now kindling pangs of regret. Until it's time to clean out the litter tray, or sweep back the orange tide that covers my keyboard or blocks the monitor, or pick them off the curtains or my legs, my neck, my ow!

Mixed feelings. Seven demanding kittens is a number well beyond the internationally agreed limit for Health and Sanity (EC KIT/15726a/2004/aaaarrrrrggghh)

But they're cute and fluffy!

And follow you everywhere. Yesterday evening I took them for a walk. Hmmm, maybe walk is too mild a word for it. A swarm? An incursion? Whatever the word, we did it and the garden trembled. I wasn't sure if they'd follow at first. Previous outings hadn't seen them move more than a few yards away from the house. But this time they swarmed across the lawn after me. And Kai and Xena joined in too. I took them all for a tour of our enormous vegetable garden, through the twenty-kitten high jungle of sweet corn, the not quite so tall but exotically feathery colonnade of asparagus, the leeks, the runner beans, the kiwis and the currants.

The chickens were amazed. They lined up along the orchard fence and stared. What were those strange orangey things and why were there so many?

And then, the tour complete, our procession turned for home.

International Kittens of Mystery

The Trouble with Tribbles

With Kai and Xena convalescing after their trip to the vet it's an orange Kitten Picture Wednesday.

But first a word on Kai and Xena. Kai has recovered well but vanity, and a letter from his agent, prevent me from showing any post-op pictures. The Photogenic One is currently wearing dark sunglasses, sitting on his chair regaling the male orange kittens with dark tales of what awaits them when they reach six months.

Xena, having had the more intrusive operation, is quieter. Though there was one scene when she shouted down the phone to her agent, "You never told me I'd have to have a histerical-ectomy!"

And she seems to have grown remarkably attached to wicker. I think it must be some kind of Stockholm Syndrome as we took her to the vets in a wicker cat basket. Since her return she's taken to sitting on the basket. And last night she eschewed the warm comfy bed to climb into the wicker clothes basket. Very strange.

And now the pictures. For those who read my Wheely Bin post you can see the urgent need for tribble countermeasures. Human climbing frame brought to her knees by invading tribble horde. Luckily they didn't bring the Sherpas.

More climbing, this time a solo leg traverse with lots of kitten claw pitons.

Ow! Not a caption for a picture but a scream from the typist as two cats claw my neck and a third climbs my leg. Back to the pictures (with difficulty: I have a kitten balancing on my right forearm) and next up we have a very brave young tribble who has yet to learn that long-lived tribbles do not drink water while standing in the dog's food bowl. The dog, a deerhound crocodile cross, is not sure if she's been insulted or offered an early Christmas present. Mmmm, tribble pie:)

Next we have a new creature, an orange starfish, which magically appears on our floor around meal times.

And, finally, three tribbles blink into the Indian summer that we've been experiencing these last few days.

Now where's my Wheely Bin...

International Kittens of Mystery

The Vet, the Wheely Bin and the Polish Tribble

Early start and no breakfast today as we had to take Kai and Xena to the vets for (looks both ways then whispers) 'cosmetic surgery.' Well, that's what we told Kai, explaining how all the top kitten supermodels had to have it done. The word 'neuter' never passed our lips.

Meanwhile back in the house the Orange Five have decided that climbing humans is what they were put on Earth to do. And that the shoulder is THE place to be. Although a one-paw swing across the back has its merits. And biting zips and toggles is pretty fun too.

I type this with the assistance of two kittens on my shoulder and oneszgryzky on my keyboard. I think he's Polish.

In the kitchen, washing up has become increasingly difficult. The sight of a human standing reasonably still with an inviting expanse of back and two legs within jumping distance, is something a kitten can't pass up. Within seconds we're covered with orange tribbles, clawing and purring their way to our shoulders. And then down our arms if we're drying anything interesting.

Countermeasures may be called for and I think I have just the idea - the greased wheely bin. It may sound a tad drastic but tether's nethers are in sight. So, here's my plan. The human stands inside the bin and is then wheeled into position - in front of the sink, the cooker, the tv, the computer terminal - anywhere they intend to remain for a while. The kittens then throw themselves against the steep, greased sides of the wheely bin and slide down. Humans 1, Tribbles 0.

I think it's a winner.
International Kittens of Mystery

Perpetual Motion, Nous Sommes Anglais and a Virtual Book Tour

Another busy weekend in which we came close to witnessing perpetual motion. Unfortunately the motion in question was bodily and emanated from five orange kittens. As Winston Churchill once said when inspecting RAF Kitten Command, "never has so much come from so few."

I've never seen anything like it. You bend down to clean out one litter tray and two kittens decide that that's exactly the moment they desperately need to use the facilities. Not the spare litter tray but the one you're trying to empty. Another two kittens jump on your back and a third sinks its claws into your leg and starts climbing.

And as soon as one litter tray is clean the two on your back leap down to christen it. It never ends! Several times I had to rescue Shelagh who, bent double underneath a backful of kittens, resembled an orange hunchback.

Of course Gypsy's no help. She has a dog's highly developed sense of what is and what isn't proper behaviour. Doing what she wants and paying her a lot of attention is proper behaviour - everything else deserves a woofing. And brightly coloured kittens swarming over her humans deserves extra woofing.

But, in between kitten duty, I did manage to get some work done over the weekend. First, I've updated the website, adding the Animals Behaving Typically chapter. I now have seven chapters of Nous Sommes Anglais posted there. For those not in the know, NSA is my 98% true, 2% borrowed from a more entertaining parallel universe, account of our first eight months in France. It is the ultimate expat horror story - with animals. I often describe it as 'A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.' Not only does everything that can go wrong do so but it does so in a such a spectacular and bizarre way that at times I thought I was living in a Whitehall Farce.

It started the day we began our move from SW England to SW France, taking with us thee cats, two horses and a large constipated puppy. It was a thousand mile journey due south. Thirty-two hours into the move we'd covered 250 miles - all of them due east. We'd been diverted, had a storm rip the the roof off of our horse transport and been abandoned on a French cliff.

And then it got worse.

Culminating in my identity being stolen, our life savings seized and a Spanish bank account being opened in my name. Can it get worse than that? Yes, it can. The police forces of four countries then argue over whose jurisdiction the crime took place in. The French say it's Irish - as that's where the money was held. The Irish shake their heads - definitely a French crime as that's where the letters originated from. The English refuse to get involved even though false UK Passports had been used. And the Spanish... Well, they're far too busy to even think about this foreign crime for at least four weeks. So I had to solve the case myself. But unlike fictional detectives I had an 80 year-old mother-in-law and an excitable puppy who insisted they had to come along if I was going anywhere interesting - like a stakeout.

It was the most bizarre investigation ever. But, in between looking for toilets, I caught the perp and brought him to justice.

This week I'm going to start posting chapter eight on the blog. Thee Fetes and a Football Match takes us back to summer 1995 - a brief interlude between disasters - in which I drink too much and accidentally sign professional forms to play football for Racing Club; and discover the last vestiges of Al Jolson worship on continental Europe.

And, finally, also to come this month, Mindy Klasky, author of the award-winning, best-selling fantasy The Glasswrights' Apprentice will be dropping by the blog on her virtual book tour to answer a few questions about her lastest book The Girl's Guide to Witchcraft.

International Kittens of Mystery

Five Go-old Kittens

No partridges, no pear trees but plenty of kittens for this week's Kitten Picture Wednesday. But first a progress report: The Ginger Five are getting bigger and stronger and ... almost housetrained. Well, they passed a night without passing anything else on the floor. Thank God for dual litter trays!

But - there's always a but - they are now becoming far bolder and more inquisitive. First contact with our other two kittens has been a mixed affair. Kai, the male, is curious about them but apprehensive. And prefers to run away if they get too close. Xena, the female, is out most of the time doing important things like negotiating border disputes with sheep and chasing grasshoppers, but when she does see them there is a modicum of hissing and spitting. A large modicum.

Gypsy, our half deerhound, half crocodile giant lurcher doesn't like them at all. But then she doesn't like cats. They bring out the police dog in her. Don't run around, keep away from my bowl, sit over there and BE quiet! And if that doesn't work she looks hurt and howls.

Now the piccies.

First up, we have 'adopt me, I'm a little lost kitten'

Next we have a natural-born Thumper impersonator trying to get those front legs to work on tiles.

Then we have a kittenwalk model in the making showing how this year's look is spiky hair.

Next, aspiring kitten models are told that all supermodels have to be wormed. It's why they're cranky. And before they can be wormed they have to be weighed.

One prospective kitten model disputes the scales. I can't weigh that much!

Meanwhile Kai and Xena decide that, with the floor awash with gingers, the only safe place for a discerning teen kitten is the ceiling.

International Kittens of Mystery



In our drive to re-home the Ginger Five (see previous post) we found a thriving Anglo-Norman forum and posted a plea for help ... only to have the post deleted five minutes later as we'd broken French Law.

French Law? And I quote: All advertisements must include the tattoo or microchip numbers of dogs or cats being offered or, if they are too young, the number of their mother.

Which rules out every abandoned cat or dog you find on the street! What are you supposed to do? Check for a tattoo and then walk on by? People who dump their pets on the roadside don't usually stop to tattoo them first.

And we were giving the kittens away not selling them!

Pause rant for breath. No good deed goes unpunished. Sigh. So that rules out adverts in the local press.
International Kittens of Mystery

And Still We Were Five

Well, we all survived the night. The smallest of the kittens still looks a bit slow but he is eating now and the kitten with REALLY bad diarrhoea now has ordinary, put away the protective suits and the steam cleaning hose, diarrhoea.

But ... no one will take them! We tried the neighbours - they're already above complement. We've alerted the schools - still to hear back. We tried the nearest cat sanctuary - they're full up. We tried the nearest three SPAs (Society for the Protection of Animals) they're all full and suggested we tried the Mairie. The Mairie said - it's not us, try the police. The police said - we only deal with dogs. The dogs said...

And so we still have them. We're going to try the markets next. Shelagh's going to sit next to the chicken and rabbit sellers with her box full of free kittens. I'd do it but, with my scruffy gene, people would forget about the kittens and just throw me their loose change:)

International Kittens of Mystery

Just when we thought it was safe...

I still can't believe it. We took Gypsy out for a walk yesterday afternoon and found an abandoned ginger kitten on the roadside. Six months earlier we'd found another kitten in the exact spot, a month before that we'd seen another. If ever there was a location for an invisible kitten gooseberry bush this has to be that spot.

So we picked up the kitten and thought - well, we might be able to fit a third kitten into our household. If the other two didn't object.

Then, a hundred yards further on, we found another three. We couldn't walk by. They were very young, very weak ... and they were kittens.

But we couldn't adopt another four. Or five. Just as Shelagh had mastered the four kitten arm juggle, we found a fifth in a log pile fifty yards further on. Gypsy was beside herself. Life with two kittens was bad enough but seven!

And trying to juggle five kittens in your arms and walk half a mile home was ... interesting.

Now we're desperately trying to find homes for them. I knew I shouldn't have started Kitten Picture Wednesday:)
International Kittens of Mystery

Xena Quarrier Princess

Kitten Picture Wednesday's roving explorer, Xena, makes her first visit to our medieval quarry. Granite from the quarry is said to be have been used in local cathedrals - and probably our farmhouse as well. Now it's a woody hill - somewhat lower than it would have been a thousand years ago and strewn with massive boulders and rocky outcrops.

Xena poses in the dappled shade and works out where to go next.

An old apple tree looks like a good place to explore.

Though she wasn't too sure about how to get down. Surely one of these branches has got to reach the ground?

A strange alien creature looks on, impressed. The alien is a Counou (a French naked necked chicken)

Meanwhile back at home, Kai insists he's not going outside without protective clothing.

International Kittens of Mystery

The Creature From A Very Small Box.

It's Kitten Picture Wednesday with the emphasis on - The Pictures. With Xena off planet conducting delicate First Contact negotiations with the woolly aliens, Kai decides he wants to be a movie star. First up we have stills from his screen test for the new Hollywood Horror blockbuster: The Creature From A Very Small Box.

Not sure if he was frightening enough in the first take, Kai decides to play the scene upside down.

Then looms towards the camera for the close up.

Next, we have Kai's audition for the new Disney live action version of The Lion King - provisionally entitled The Lion Kitten.

Next, Kai tries his paw at action thrillers playing the escaped puma in - It Came From Just Underneath The Ceiling.

A seething Kai tries out for the new reality show - France's Next Top Kitten Model. Perhaps he shouldn't have eaten just before the take.

"I am a size 6!"

And finally, a long day over, Kai relaxes in his fleecy bed