Thursday, 13 February 2014

How long is a piece of string?

Good morning, I am pleased to report sunshine. It's cold, but sunny with only a wisp of fluffy white cloud in the sky. Funny how it changes overnight. The country was being battered by winds as I went to bed and when I woke up all is calm. Amazing. 
After getting the kids breakfast, cats always eat before me, I took my mug of coffee upstairs to see to George. He is in the habit of scoffing his food overnight, all the dishes were empty. I put his Felix down and escaped out of the door with his litter box while he was distracted. So far he hasn't tried to escape. You have to be so careful with cats who have to stay indoors, they become curious about the outside world, and eventually try and make a dash for it. 
Although cats are independent animals and can be left to amuse themselves some of the time, they also need company, and reassurance that someone is looking after them. George is a little bit wary of me, but is coming round a bit. Lots of baby talk is needed. 
I have a few cat toys about the place, purchased from the Pound Shop when I had the rescue kittens here. George has not shown much interest in them, preferring to chase a length of string which I trail around the floor. A few shakes and flicks of this has him mesmerized for a few seconds, then he takes a dive at it and rolls on his back while he grapples with it. You have to be careful with string, make sure it is of a suitable thickness and length as they can be prone to chewing and swallowing something as thin as cotton. Best if these games are supervised and the string removed when the cat is alone, unless it is tied securely to a large object like a chair. 
We also have another game. Cats like to chase things rolling along on the floor. You don't have to buy small balls for this purpose, keep a few small round bottle tops handy. The cat will happily flick these around, sometimes deliberately rolling them under something and losing them. They spend a good few minutes trying to fish them out with their paws, then you have to help them when their little legs aren't long enough to reach. 
There are a plethora of toys you can buy for your cats. Pets are big business and company's play on the fact that people are soft on their animals and will cough up. Take for instance the posh designer cat beds that are available, hundreds of pounds some of them. OK, if you have a posh house and unlimited funds, you might as well get one of those. Otherwise, a cardboard box lined with an old blanket or towel will do the job just as well.
What I am saying is that cat's don't care how much you spend on them. All they want is the basics, a warm dry place to sleep, food, and some company. What I can't understand are those people who think it's ok to buy all the fancy stuff for their animals, thinking that's all they need to do, then proceed to kick the cat out at night and ignore it for most of the day. 
The same could be said of dogs as well. Again, pets are big business. People get a dog, buy all the stuff they think it needs, conscience spending I call it, play with it while it's young, then the novelty wears off and they resort to only seeing to it's basic need, feeding it. Some don't even do that. A dog or a cat or any pet you have deserves to be treated as a family member. You can throw all the money you like at them, but all they really want is to be loved. And that means spending time with them. Playing with them, talking to them, and entertaining them. Ignoring them is cruel, locking them up for hours is cruel. Cats will socialise amongst themselves if allowed outside, but if not they need the stimulation of games indoors. Dogs need walking at least once a day, preferably twice, and access to the garden in between. They need to meet other dogs and humans, which will teach them how to  to behave themselves. Dog training classes are ideal for this, they make training fun. Some of you may remember me speaking about a little dog called Rocky. Just to let you know, I am walking him every day. He is fine. 

And on another topic,  Caterina asks, what is Quorn? I have scanned the bag for you, I hope you can click on it and enlarge, and read all about it. If not here is the web site.   I only buy it when it's on offer, this 500g bag was half price at £1.50. I would not pay full price for it. There is a lot of fibre and protein in it, though some people would argue that it isn't good for you because it contains mycoprotein, a member of the fungi/mould family, and may cause intolerance in some people. I don't appear to have any food intolerance's so I am ok with it.  

Right, sunny day beckons me outside. Got to make the most of it. Toodle pip.


  1. I think its great how much you do for animals, really warms the heart, there needs to be more IIona's in this world :) how can I donate some cat food for your little lovely? AFM xx

    1. Hi Mrs Frugal. Thank you for your kind offer. George is rather partial to Felix, any kind. I don't have a paypal account. You could send me a gift voucher from Tesco or Sainsbury's if you like, which will cost 50p postage, and I will get some when it is on offer. Or you could do a shop online and get them to deliver it direct. You will need my address, if you send me an email, (address on the side), I will reply with my home address. It's nice to know I have some lovely caring readers. Thank you

  2. Hurray! I often wonder what Rocky is up to, glad to hear he is ok. I'm glad I'm not the only one who talks to the animals ; ) Yes they should be part of the family, a good pet owner will feel very protective of their needs (like you do a child); worry when they are ill, feel proud of their talents, want them to look groomed and cared for, happy to just spend time together. Of course they are not children, but they come pretty close. My dog loved to walk in all weathers, I remember her little face in the top field, ears pricked up telling me to 'hurry up' whilst I struggled with the wind and the sideways rain. Walking her in horrible weather wasn't always fun - but I did it for her enjoyment and for the rest of the day she kept me company in her own affable way. I may be talking myself into getting another dog here!! Debbie

  3. One of the most treasured cat toys I've ever found is the little soft plastic curved tab-strip you remove from a plastic bottle of juice or milk. It skitters across the floor with a very satisfying sound (apparently) and is easy for a cat to bat around and to pick up in its mouth and carry back to its lair. Best Toy Ever, and recycling! :)
    Must add to your caution about thin string...yes indeed. Thread (and scarily, thread with a needle attached, like sticking into a pincushion or an unfinished sewing project) is a huge threat to cats, who will start chewing and swallowing at one end, and then find themselves in a life-threatening situation.
    But some cats will also chew off pieces of even thick yarn and eat that. I started saving old phone cords, clipping off the connector ends and using the cords as the "string" in string toys. They seem to last forever, and again - recycling.
    Thanks for taking such good care of George. He's a lucky boy!

  4. When our rescue kitten arrived she loved playing with dried Apricots - when we moved a couple of years later, we found a number of them behind bookcases and cupboards!

  5. A scrunched up piece of paper is a favourite toy in this house..and NO cat can resist a cardboard box!
    Jane x

  6. Ilona, we are so pleased to hear that you and Rocky are 'walking out' together again.
    Wendy (Wales)

  7. A piece of string, a newspaper, a ping pong ball and cardboard boxes - all good fun for pusscats.
    Love from Mum

  8. If I didn't already have my little rescue cat, I'd be in the car now and begging to have George. What a beautiful boy. Do so hope he gets a lovely forever home.
    Well said about the expensive toys, etc. Years ago went to Harrods and they had a four poster pet bed at £thousands!! Why?? You're spot on with an animals needs.
    I have been crying over all the news..about the warfare being used on the elephants, etc and also the poor baby giraffe in Denmark : ( Did you hear about it? So sad :
    The quorn recipe looks fab and will definitely be giving that a go. Thanks for sharing. : ) Louise (Burton)

    1. Hi Louise, I too was saddened about the news of the elephant warfare and the baby giraffe.
      If you want to make a difference, head over to the #1 petition site in the world and let your voice be heard with the other petitioners like myself. I signed off on both of those news stories.
      Here is the website:

    2. Hi Louise. I saw the headlines but I can't read the articles. I am so overwhelmed with sadness when I hear of animal cruelty, that I can't function properly. I get too distressed, so I can't read it.

  9. We use frozen Quorn mince in lasagne and spag bol instead of beef mince, it is healthier, leaner and cheaper (on offer recently at £1.49 for 500g) even though we are not vegetarians.
    I love my 2 dogs and my cat but they don't get fancy collars, leads and coats etc. they get good quality food, lots of play, 2 walks a day for the dogs and as many cuddles as they want :0)
    Glad Rocky is doing OK

  10. A big AMEN to all your pet advice. Our cat is an indoor one because coyotes and owls as well as several large varieties of hawks would make short work of him. People lose their cats all the time because of these. In fact small dogs allowed out in a fence surrounded grass yard are still prey to coyotes who can easily hop a six foot fence. We use a window sash cord with a knot tied in one end for Scruffy's favorite toy. We certainly didn't declaw him!! But I do trim the very sharp points off his front claws every two weeks. Hope you are surviving all the terrible winds and rain over there.

  11. So happy to read that you are spending time with Rocky every day and that he is okay.

  12. Nice to hear news about Rocky. Everyone following your blog had taken a shine to the little fellow. You are spot on with all you`ve said about the basic needs for our pets. Treating them like valid family members is essential for their happy existence with us.
    I must say that I`m not adverse to vegetarian foods, but this Quorn stuff leaves me with a foul taste in my mouth. My youngest stepdaughter used to insist on us cooking with this stuff, so I tried to make spag bowl or even use the chunks for stir fries. We all ate some of it but we grown ups did detect a distinct taste and texture of cardboard. Needles to say, we never ate it again. Why would I want to spend good money on cardboard to chew on? I`d rather prefer to make vegetarian meals from fresh veggies, leaving all traces of meat away altogether. Vegetable stir fries are great, so why mix it with cardboard? If I need protein I will use pulses, wheats and grains for my diet. Even a boiled egg will give you more valuable nutrition then cardboard Quorn.

  13. Great points! We have 3 very loved dogs who were given to the pound around the age of 1. They sleep on handmade dog beds made from old blankets and play with ropes and tennis balls. We walk 3 miles every day with them and they are talked to constantly. They are just like children in that your time is way more important than expensive toys!

  14. That's good news about Rocky, long may it continue. On the subject of Quorn, the only two times I've eaten it I have been violently ill with stomach cramps and sickness so I won't touch the stuff any more. It seems it's the ONLY thing I am allergic to, I can happily eat mushrooms or anything else.

  15. Children as well as animals are happier if you spend time with them and in both cases the most simple of things keeps them amused. Our dog liked us to throw a stick for him, the bigger the better, and would find a 3x2 skid for me to throw when i took him to work.
    As for kids its true that you can buy them what you think they'll like and they have more fun playing with the box.