Hi there and a very warm welcome to everyone, and a special head butt and belly rub to all the new subscribers who have joined us recently.
Well, as I’m writing this, Britain is swathed, or perhaps that should be bathed, in the most glorious sunshine and the temperature today (28th March) is supposed to reach an all time high for this time of year. I love spring; trees and shrubs are greening up and bulbs are beginning to push their way through the soil. Earlier in the week I went out into the garden – under strict supervision from Sam and Ollie – to prune some of the shrubs I hadn’t done in the autumn. The scent from the clematis armandii is absolutely intoxicating; while I worked I felt almost drunk with the sweet heady aroma. Somehow when I said to Lawrence, ‘come in the garden and smell my bush,’ it didn’t sound quite right!!! Something got lost in translation!
Also at the time of writing, the votes for best cat website are being verified and the results should be known by 30th of March. Thank you to everyone who voted and many of you were exceedingly devoted in your voting every day – so thank you to everyone – I’m really grateful. The results always showed The Daily Mews in third place and if that’s where we are, that’s ok with me. Just to be nominated for best cat website (in the whole world) is the most fantastic accolade for me – especially in this, our tenth year. As soon as I know the formal results, I’ll let you know.
I have to apologise to many of you because you send me lots of lovely forwards every day, and others write me nice chatty, newsy emails and I’ve been very remiss in my correspondence with some of you. I’ve been working so hard on my book these past few weeks and I only have a couple of chapters left to write. The book is actually finished but I was slotting in the chapters that I had termed my ‘sprouts’ chapters – like Brussels sprouts that you leave on your plate till last if you don’t really like them, - I had left a couple of sections until last because I knew they were going to be difficult to write. However, finally, I broke through the wall, and I’ve almost completed them I’m pleased to say. But it’s been at the cost and detriment of my emailing correspondence with many of you – so I ask you to forgive me for that.
Actually, I have another request: can you all hold back on sending me any forwards unless they are about cats and may be of interest for future Mewsletters until further notice? I really want to press on with these few chapters and then I’ll be sending the manuscript out to some friends who have agreed to read it before I send it to an agent/publisher. I spend a lot of time wading through emails and I need to concentrate on getting the manuscript in tip top condition. If you have any problems with cat behaviour or we’re in correspondence about bereavement, then please continue to write to me and I will reply. All I’m asking is that those of you that send me forwards on all sorts of things please can you hold them back for a while. Thank you for understanding.
Here’s a bit of fun: if you were a cat, what changes would you like to see happen either where you live, or generally worldwide? If your own cat(s) would like to answer this challenge, then please write to me in the usual way: firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll mention the best ones next time, or if I get quite a good response, I may write them up for the website.
At the moment in the UK there is a terrible situation which has arisen for many pet owners because the companies that provided their pet insurance have decided not to continue with cover. There is, quite understandably, a big hue and cry as most policies were taken out as ‘lifetime’ insurance covering the pet throughout its life. Technically, therefore, the insurance companies have reneged on their part of the deal. We cannot stop what is happening with the banks here in the UK but we can do a couple of things. If you have been affected by your insurers pulling the plug on your pet’s insurance, you can write to the company and state in no uncertain terms that they have to honour their side of the bargain: that the insurance policy was taken out in good faith that lifetime would cover would be provided for the pet in question.
Some companies are now having second thoughts and although I don’t have any figures to back this up, I have heard that they are withdrawing their proposals to stop insuring a number of pets. But, if you do not have any luck with your insurers, then write to the Ombudsman stating your case. If you need anyone to write your letters for you contact me with your details and I’ll write your letters for you.
I receive many things from various sources and the one that crops up the most is the rising tide of obesity in cats. There is an ideal ‘Body Condition Score’ which shows you how your cat should look. Many people don’t realise their pets are overweight or obese until they see the diagrams. So check out this link:
If your cat is rather round, then don’t just cut food down or out, go to the vet and he’ll put your cat on a weight reduction plan – a bit like feline Weight Watchers.
I forgot to mention that Sam celebrated his 15th birthday on Valentine’s Day; he had a quiet day on the whole but I gave him some tuna in spring water as a birthday treat – which he relished. Sometimes he seems to be able to hear and other times he doesn’t; I don’t think it is selective hearing that cats have mastered the art of; I do know he is deaf but I’m not sure if it is just in one ear. He’s still very chatty and will tell me all about his day if I’ve been out of the house for a while and he chats in depth to Lawrence as if he’s talking about football scores or something else of great interest.
Ollie will be 10 in August; it’s hard to believe that the little guy who wrote his diaries at 4 ½ months old will be that age. He is a beautiful cat, with almost perfect manners and there are times when he stares right at me and I feel as if he’s plummeting the depths of my soul, so intense is his gaze.
OK – on with the MEWS
I came across Blacky in a cat group I found on Facebook. Blacky is truly an amazing cat because he has overcome insurmountable problems which would have floored some one of less calibre. I know you will all be inspired when you’ve read his truly remarkable story:
TOMBA OF THE ALPS is another amazing cat who would accompany climbers as they made their way up to the summit of the 3,453m-high Rinderhorn in Switzerland. Read his amazing story here:
Also by Patrick Roberts is a story about Halifax of the North, who accompanied her human as he spent several months with his boat embedded in the ice in the Arctic.
I receive all different things to do with cats (and occasionally dogs) and this next one was a real heart tugger. If animals could verbalise their thoughts, hopes and dreams I believe this next piece called ‘Treat Me Kindly’ by Beth Norman Harris would be what every animal would voice:
The answers to last month’s book quiz are as follows:-
The Secret Life of Your Cat by Vicky Halls
Bumble the Brave Kitten by Susan Hay
Crafting with Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya
Warduff and the Corn Cob Caper by Mat Head
Fun and Games for Cats by Denise Seidl
Only one person got all 5 answers right and that was Jared Kline in Belgium; well done, Jared, a small prize is on its way to you.
Who wrote the following:-
The Cat Lover’s Coffee Table Book
Loving Our Cats
Kaspar Prince of Cats
Send your answers by 21st April and the winner will receive a small prize.
Allia Zobel Nolan’s sweet little book is perfect to pop in your pocket, or your purse and read while you’re at the check out in the supermarket, or on a train, or lazing around on a sun lounger with your nearest and dearest feline close by.
The Therapist’s Cat by Stephanie Sorrell is a really great book:
Well the last competition was heartily embraced with 11 people entering and a total of 17 captions. They were all excellent and I did have a hard time choosing a winner, but finally, Rebecca Winch’s entry won out. Well done, Rebecca, a small prize will be on its way to you pretty soon. For a full list of all the captions, please click on this link:
For this month’s caption competition please click on this link:
As always, you’re allowed 5 entries, no smutty ones please, and the deadline is 21st April.
Chris Pranger has written another humorous story about the cats in his life. This one is called Peppermint and Butterscotch, the cats the world hated and you can find it on this link:
CHARITIES AND RESCUE CENTRES:
A Prayer for all the Kitties by S L Smith:
Claire Hegarty B, who writes from her home in Ireland has written another blog entry on the feral situation not only in her garden, but in Ireland in general. Click on the link at the end of her piece to see what you can do for the feral cats in Ireland.
Britta in the US sent me several links:
This next one from Britta is a video link featuring a dog, a cat and a rat all getting on famously:
Living in cash-strapped times means we all have to do our bit, not only to protect the environment, but our wallets as well. Up-cycling is very popular now and here’s a link (also from Britta) about just that for a cat bed:
This next link is to a homeless shelter run by a lady in Serbia who has lots of beautiful homeless cats in her care:
Kathy Pippig sent me this link to a little kitten who was scared of two scary things:
Dumpty has completed her month long challenge for Purina and you can now read her final diary entry here:
Jimmy may only have one eye but he sees life around him in a much clearer light than we humans ever do. Read his latest Mewsings here:
Stormy is taking a break this month because one of her human Food Bowl Attendants has been in hospital and she has been on constant nursing duties. We wish Kirsten well and hope to hear from Stormy soon.
NAPPING ON A SUNBEAM:
It always breaks my heart when people write to me to tell me that they’ve lost a beloved feline companion and this next tribute is to a little lady of only 8 months old.
Little Serendipity (or Dippi Duck as she is affectionately called) is a very special cat; born as a pure inbred Persian she has numerous disabilities and she was left to fend for herself living on insects and cobwebs. Never knowing kindness or love, she had never been fed cat food, only take aways by her first human family, who later abandoned her. Her life changed immeasurably for the better when Willi Whizkas’ human Mum heard about her and brought her to live at Tom Cat Towers. Read her compelling story:
I think that about wraps it up for this month. I hope you enjoy the different articles and links; I always welcome your feedback, good, bad or indifferent.
Until the next time, have a lovely spring time.
Love Pauline, Sam and Ollie xxx