Conversations with my cat – 92


This is Chester.  He’s been missing a lot.

It’s the confined to quarters thing he doesn’t understand.  We had the discussion about the coronavirus, and the need to stay at home and only go out when there is a reason to go out, like to get food.

Which brought up another concern that he didn’t let go of,  that he didn’t think we had enough cat food or cat litter, or treats, though he didn’t define what he meant by treats.

I assumed it was real fish.

I didn’t tell him that it was a treat for us too, the cost of Barramundi and Salmon just a little expensive for pensioners.

Not that he remembered that we have been pensioners since April last year.

I swear that cat is getting more forgetful.  And, yes, that was another heated debate, whether he was getting dementia.

So, now he’s been taking to his hiding places, and keeping away from me, coming out only to get a pat or two from my other half, and give me the daggers look.  And eat, though some nights he turns his nose up at it.

You can tell his displeased because some of it ends up in his water bowl, and then sits by the water bowl and moans and groans till the water’s replaced.

I swear I’m going to go bonkers if we are forced to stay in the same place much longer.

His annual visit to the vet is coming up, and maybe I can get something for his grumpiness.


Past conversations with my cat – 54


This is Chester.  Did someone use the word ‘vet’ out loud?

It is odd how some animals can recognise some words and remember what activity is attached to it.

Chester knows the word vet, and his memory attaches a great deal of seemingly horrible experience, not the worst of which is being transported in a pet basket.

Yes, we have just tried carrying him, but there is a sixth sense in every cat that tells them when they’re nearing a vet.  Within 50 metres of the front door, the hair stands up, the cat starts hissing as he would face off against a formidable opponent.

We only carried him once, never again.

But the histrionics start in the house where we have to mound a search party to find hi,  There are innumerable hiding places, and we have to be organised.\

Invariably, each time something like this happens, he finds somewhere new to hide.  We keep forgetting he can use his paws to open sliding doors, and close them again, a talent he had learned.

We’ve also learned to start looking a half-hour earlier than we used to.  The vet is only three minutes away, and we used to leave it to the last minute, but being late for the appointment happens only once.

Vets are worse than doctors when you miss appointments.  PErhaps Chester knows this and tries to use it to his advantage.  It no longer works.

Then, once we find him, the next exercise is to get him into the basket.  I’ve never seen so many tricks on how not to let the humans put him in it.

But, over time, we’ve learned, and sometimes it’s easy, others, I have the scars to prove it.

Then, once we get to the vet, it’ss a completely different cat, not Chester, but some other cat disguised as him.  Chester has never given the vet an ounce of trouble.

Perhaps we should become vets.

Chester is fine, just a little off-colour perhaps from something he ate.  Not all pet food is agreeable, and we’ve been trying to get his to have something different.  I even specially cook fish for him, and maybe that was the problem.

What is off-putting is the ease in which he goes back into the basket for the vet.

But all is well, and he will be glad to get out…

Conversations with my cat – 91


This is Chester.

We’re having an interesting time in the quest for self-isolation.

It seems he doesn’t like the idea that we are still going out, and coming back, potentially bringing the virus back.

This, of course, despite the fact that there are no confirmed cases of the virus attacking cats.

That doesn’t mean that Chester might be the first cat that does.

Out of curiosity, and perhaps against my better judgment, I have to ask what his reasoning is.

Old age, he says.  If you are telling me the truth then I’m about 18 cat years old, which means it’s about 126 of your years.

I can see where this is going.  It’s my fault because I’ve left the running count of Coronavirus patients worldwide on one of my computer screens.

As of this morning, there are 393,000 cases worldwide.  He was sitting next to me when I  was looking at the statistical data on the various ages and pre-existing conditions.

For him, apparently, there was only one statistic that mattered.  Anyone over 90 in human years had little chance of surviving.

I reiterate the virus doesn’t attack cats.

I also tell him that I have no intention of getting the virus.  But it raises a point I hadn’t considered.

Going out anywhere always has a risk, whether to the supermarket or the pharmacy which are basically the only places I go.  Then there is the situation of my wife, who is still working and has to go to work.  That is a bigger risk considering one of the staff will be coming back from overseas.

How successful the self-isolation rule is, and whether everyone complies, is a matter of conjecture, and one has to wonder if 14 days in isolation is long enough.

Chester has raised a legitimate point, not necessarily in relation to himself.

Perhaps he might be worried about us.

And if that is the case, will the specter of this virus finally become the catalyst for a change in the relationship between cats and people, where they might realize we are more important to them than they currently believe.

Let’s see what happens.

Conversations with my cat – 90


This is Chester.

He’s not looking forward to being in quarantine.

Yes, he’s been keeping up with the latest developments regarding the Coronavirus, but like many, he doesn’t seem to think it will affect him.

After all, he says smugly, there hadn’t been one recorded instance of a cat getting the Coronavirus.

Of course, he’s right, but I still search for a searing reply.

That may be, but what if they’re not reporting cat infections so as not to alarm the cat population?

Aha, got him with that one.  He ponders that for a moment or two.  I decided to add fuel to the fire.

Apparently, dogs can contract the virus, but after reporting one, there hadn’t been any more.  What if they’re not telling anyone that more dogs have contracted the virus so owners and pets don’t get alarmed.

A reply quick as a flash, Dogs get everything that’s going around.  We cats are more resilient.

Until you get cat flu.  Yes, my nana’s cat got cat flu and it killed him in 2 days.  This virus is a much deadlier form of flu.

A suitable look of concern crossed his face.

Maybe I’ll stay indoors for the duration.  It’s not as if you’re going to let me roam the streets any time soon.

Maybe I will, I say.  Perhaps it is time I started letting you out from time to time.

A shake of the head.

We’ll revisit this when the crisis has passed, he says getting up and walking off, tail flicking in annoyance.

One to me, none to him.  Yes!!!

A movie review – Call of the Wild

It’s always a pleasure to go and see a movie with Harrison Ford in it, whether beating off a hoard of crooked treasure hunters or just being a grumpy old man.

In this, he was playing his grumpy old man.

But it’s the dog, Buck, a cross between a St Bernard and a Scotch Collie that steals the show.

And rightly so.

Everyone else came to see Harrison Ford, who comes in and out of the picture until the end.  I came to see the dog, whom I think might well be nicknamed ‘the great galuka’ though I have no idea where that name originated.

Certainly, for sheer size and energy he bounds his way across the countryside, from his home in California to the wilds of the Yukon and Alaska, from being a spoilt household pet, then a sled dog and part of a group of other dogs, delivering mail, then a sled dog for a cruel gold seeker, to finally becoming a companion for an old man, yes, Harrison Ford, who saved him from a certain death, who seeks to get away from everyone and everything.

The end is sad in one sense but uplifting in another, nor did I find any part of it slow-moving or boring.

Solid performances all round.

I give it four stars out of five.

Past conversations with my cat – 51


This is Chester. Our standoff continues.

I can tell he’s not happy because when he’s going down the passage and I’m going in the opposite direction, he changes sides.

Instead of coming over to see what food he’s getting, he waits in another room. That is fine by me because it takes a little longer to find out he’s not in an eating mood.

And come to think of it, he no longer climbs up on the table when we’re having fish. I’ve told him more than once that eating off someone else’s plate is just not good manners.

Perhaps I should not be so concerned he’s not talking to me, because he’s almost become the cat I’ve always wanted.

What’s that expression, cut your nose off to spite your face.

But, it isn’t going to last. This morning when I go down to the library, which is just a fancy name for my writing room, he’s sitting on top of my closed laptop.

I never used to close it but the last time I cleaned it I found cat hair, an allegation he vehemently denied and tried to tell me it the dog we used to have.

I didn’t bother telling him the laptop is new, and the dog’s been gone for 12 years.

I ask him to move.

He yawns and makes himself more comfortable.

He still hasn’t realized that all I have to do is pick him up, and move him, which I do.

I sit down to start work, he jumps up on the table and gives me that ‘I dare you to do that again’ look, and I stare back with the ‘do you really want to do this’ look.

Fifteen minutes later…

Conversations with my cat – 89


This is Chester.  We have been discussing the possibility of being stuck in the house for anything from 14 days to 10 months.

Yes, the Coronavirus is finally arriving in Australia, and though it is slow to catch on, we are being warned that it could get a lot worse, very quickly.

Chester has suggested we barricade the doors and windows.

Alas, I tell him, this is not the same as the American cowboys fending off an Indian attack.  No circling the wagons, and definitely no John Wayne to ride in and save the day.

Too many westerns on Fox.  I keep forgetting Chester has mastered the art of turning the TV on and changing channels on the Foxtel remote.

I also tell him that the virus is not only airborne, spread by those who cough or sneeze, but also by touch, like shaking hands, and hugging.

At that, Chester takes a good three, four steps back away from me.  So, he challenges me, what are the options.

Well, firstly cats may not get the virus.  Only one dog, as far as I know, had got it.  You, I tell him, do not need to worry.

As for the humans, well, we are in trouble if it comes.

We will be staying in, in some sort of forced quarantine, trying to avoid the rest of the world until it goes away,

So, he says, that means you have enough cat food and litter, the proper one?

I shake my head like he does when he’s annoyed.

Well, if it happens, I’m sure we’ll find out.  Besides, I add, you need to lose a kilo or two.