Monthly Archives: April 2017

Our Furry Friends #7

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Today we have Faye Kename here to tell us about a rather special cat. Faye claims to be two people, one of which is not a carrot, the other is J Cassidy. They’re both the same person. It’s not a little confusing.

Faye donated a short story to our latest anthology, Paws and Claws. It also contains a cat.

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She was never mine

The first day I moved into my house, we started by unpacking boxes in the kitchen. It was a hot day and the air inside was stale so we opened the back door and got to work, when a tiny little tabby cat wanders in like she owns the place and starts meowing at us. The neighbour told us that she used to live in the house, that when the people before us moved out they left her behind. As far as she was concerned, she did own the place. I let her come and go after that, thinking that she was just missing her old owners. I’d come home from work and she’d be waiting on the fence. She always knew what time I’d be back. I’d unlock the door and she’d shoot in between my legs as if afraid she’d get shut out, start wolfing down the food I put down for her. I didn’t tell her owners I was buying her food, I didn’t want them to think I was stepping on their toes, but she was just so cute and always ate the whole bowl in one go, as fast as possible. After that she’d come and sit on my lap while I worked – alright, procrastinated – and sleep for a couple hours. I didn’t mind not being able to get up.
She’d chase her tail. I thought she was playful at first but soon it became apparent that she just didn’t like her tail. There wasn’t any problem with it that I could see, but she’d attack it with teeth and claws, hiss and spit at it. It was best to leave her to it when she got going, else your hands would get caught in the fight. She wouldn’t mean anything by it, she wasn’t out to hurt anyone, it’s just that she didn’t notice if something was in the way when her claws were out and she was trying to catch it.
Unless it was cold, she always meowed at the back door at the same time every day. That’s when her owners were home from work and could let her back in. Sometimes she’d be doing whatever cats do all day and left it too late to be let in, so she’d come to my door and in her own vocal way ask if she could sleep over. It wasn’t often, she preferred being at home, but sometimes. She wasn’t interested in toys. She wasn’t one for playing at all really. She just liked to sit and purr, loved cuddles but hated being picked up. She was confident, definitely Queen Bee, and very protective of her territory which included my back garden along with her own.
One day I came home and she wasn’t there. It wasn’t unusual. She came and went as she saw fit. After a couple weeks without seeing her I got a bit worried about her and made a note to ask her owners how she was. A week later the other half spoke to them, which is when we found out their cat wasn’t their cat after all.
She was a stray.
They let her in at night so she had somewhere warm to sleep, but they couldn’t afford to keep her full time. They thought we knew she was homeless, we thought they took her in after being abandoned. They assumed if we’d wanted to house her we would have.
They ended up calling the RSPCA to collect her after they let her in one night and saw she’d broken her tail. She didn’t need housing, not with everyone looking after her between us, never mind how well she looked after herself, but she did need attention for her tail and with no single owner, who would have put up the money for a vet?
I went up to the local shelter to see if I could take her home. It was quite unfortunate that I couldn’t because of her tail. Without knowing how it was broken, they couldn’t let her return to the area in case it was a person who harmed her, who would try again. Makes sense I suppose, but that didn’t make it any better. Her tail was amputated rather than fixed, given how much she hated it. She was a lot happier without it so it’s no bad thing. It didn’t take long for her to be adopted and I like to think she’s gone somewhere where she can swan about as Queen Bee.
There’s no moral to the story at all. She was just a cat that was never mine, that I wish was still here.

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Our furry friends #6

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Today’s author is Sebnem E. Sanders, a native of Istanbul, Turkey, who lives on the Eastern shores of the Southern Aegean. Her pet memories revolve around two mischievous dogs.

Sebnem donated a short story to our latest anthology, Paws and Claws, featuring not dogs, but a pair of Red Kites.

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Champagne and Caviar

Champagne and Caviar were two male Golden Cocker Spaniel puppies that we adopted when they were eight weeks old. Out of a litter of eight, we chose the best looking male. Then my husband said, “We should also get this naughty one.” He was not as handsome as his brother, but his mischievous eyes mirrored his intelligence. We had only planned to get one, but returned home with two.
Our house in Singapore had a big garden with a separate quarter for servants. We gave the puppies one of the free rooms to spend the night in, until they were house trained. During the day they ran along the vast grounds, getting up to all kinds of mischief. Frightening the Malay postman who hated dogs, their favourite game. They chased his bike, barking after him. He would throw the letters on the doorstep and cycle away, while the puppies opened them on the lawn and read them before we did. A mayhem of torn envelopes and half chewed postcards awaited for us to solve the jigsaw puzzle if we didn’t rush to collect the mail before they did.
Then, things started disappearing. Bahari, the gardener’s brush, my cigarette packs and lighter, combs, hair clips, and other small items. The leader of mischief was Caviar, the naughty one. Champagne did as he was told and followed his brother. As the number of missing items increased, we discovered their den behind the patch of daisies surrounding a tall, flamboyant tree. Some things were recovered, others completely useless, chewed, torn and damaged.
They loved to crunch on ice-cubes, eat apples and salad droppings on the kitchen floor. Grapes were the hardest fruit for them to deal with as they couldn’t figure out how to bite them. Due to the tropical climate, the house was surrounded by narrow canals, covered with iron grids, for discharging rainwater. Caviar managed to find a gap he could fit through and Champagne naturally followed him. At the end of the shallow drain, despair set in when they discovered there was no way they could turn around. In panic, they started barking. We ran to their rescue, trying to find a way of lifting the iron grids. Caviar worked it out, pushed his brother back with his bum, and kept pushing until Champagne figured out how to go backwards towards the other end of the canal. My husband lifted them through the gap, and made sure to cover it to avoid another catastrophe.
That year there were no orchids decorating our patio. They pulled the stems and roots from the perforated pots and laid them out on the tiles with great pride.
An intercom connection to their room provided contact to check up on them from upstairs. They recognized our voice and communicated with us in their language.

Sadly, we didn’t know we would be leaving Singapore for Hong Kong, eight months later. During our visit to the island, I looked for flats that accepted dogs. There weren’t too many among the available ones. But the biggest setback was the quarantine period of six months. How could I leave two eight-month-old puppies in confinement for such a long time? They were used to their freedom, running around the big garden, receiving love and attention all the time.
I visited the Hong Kong kennels, saw the cages where the dogs were kept, and returned to the hotel with tears in my eyes. No, I couldn’t do this to my beloved dogs. It would be unfair to put them through such torture.

On my return to Singapore, I spread the word around. A friend said she could keep them in her house until she found a good home for them. Our last month together was a time of unconditional love and devotion. We swam, went on walks, watched TV and cuddled each other constantly.
The day the packers came, the puppies watched them from behind the glass patio doors, all day, without leaving the spot. I think they understood.
We dropped them at our friend’s house a couple of days later and bid farewell. It was very sad. I cried all the way to Hong Kong, and more during the following days and months.
My friend found two Americans who wanted to adopt them and lived next door to each other. Though the puppies had different homes, they shared the same garden in the complex. I was delighted to hear about this and to know they could still play together.
Two years later, one of the families moved to Indonesia, and they were separated. It has been many years since I left Champagne and Caviar in Singapore, but the memories are still fresh in my mind.

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Our furry friends #5

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Today it’s Tina Rath’s turn, who tells us about a rather notorious pair of cats. Tina lives in London, as an actress, writer, story-teller, and Queen Victoria Lookalike. She’s also the Resident Poet of the Dracula Society.

Tina donated three poems and a short story to our brand-new anthology, Paws and Claws. Not surprisingly, all of them feature cats in one way or another.

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We called them Vlad and Boris – Vlad after Vladislavus Drakulya, sometimes called Vlad Tepes, and Boris for Boris Karloff. If we had got their little sister as well we were going to call her Doris (after Herod’s first wife). They are Mau/Bengal crosses, so they have the pretty silvery spotted fur of the Mau, and the Bengal temprament. And Bengals are well known as mad bustards. We were – after we got them – told about one pair who hollowed out the entire sofa to form a den while their owners were out. Having known Vlad and Boris I am only surprised that they didn’t have the electricity and water supply set up as well.
Vlad and Boris are remarkably pretty. They are also thieves. They brought home their first football when they were quite small. I have no idea where they stole it, or how they managed it. Did a snarling Boris fend off its tiny owner while Vlad made off with it? And how did he manage to carry it? Or did they head it from one to the other? Eventually we had at least four quite large rubber footballs, a horrible pair of Marigold gloves (the Twins lost interest in them after I put them – the gloves – through the washing machine), but the weirdest trophy was a rubber devil mask. It was made on the lines of a balaclava, so the wearer put it over his or her head. It was quite elaborate and brightly coloured…and I could not think what to do with it. You can hardly go from house to house asking your neighbours if they have lost a devil mask? Can you? Well, I would rather not… in the end I put it out with the re-cycling, which was then in open boxes, and it vanished before collection day.
Vlad and Boris have also hunted frogs (which they bring home, unhurt, to play with (did you know how loudly a frog can scream?), smashed flower pots in neighbours’ gardens, and done something unspeakable in the raised vegetable beds next door…it was when I heard myself saying ‘People only notice them because they’re Twins, and so pretty…they’re lovely boys, really…” that I realised we should have called them Ronny and Reggie.

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