Past conversations with my cat – 98


This is Chester.  He’s now over having the grandchildren staying with us.

As part of the COVIS 19 restrictions in place, the grandchildren cannot go to school.

However, because their parents are both working (which is very fortunate as so many others are not) they have asked us to look after them.

So, they arrive Sunday night, stay the whole week, and go back home on Friday.  It means they are homeschooling, so the internet is taking a beating, I have to feed them, morning tea, lunch. After school snack at three and then dinner.

Chicken nuggets, pies, and shoestring chips can only go so far, and, no, he does not like scraps from their plates.

And having to cater for four rather than two means a gentle shift in logistics.  More shopping for food, having to do the washing every day, tormenting the cat.

OK, that last part is where Chester comes in, or, rather, he stays hidden away.

Remember that phobia he has when the grandchildren are around?

Now they’re here semi-permanently, he’s in hiding, and coming out only for food and water.

And to let me know just how displeased he is.

He wants his domain back.

Pity I haven’t told him yet they’re going to be back next week.


Past conversations with my cat – 97


This is Chester

Still hiding away.

Like any wise, old, skeptical cat, he’s not believing the good news.

We do not have a COVID 19 case in our house. Of course, we had to wait an agonizing 24 hours before we got the good news by phone.

It shows that our testing labs are getting through the tests, of which I heard in the news there were about 4,000, with only 10 or so new cases countrywide.

Queensland had none overnight, so if our case had been positive, we would have been in the news for al; the wrong reasons.

So, after broadcasting the news, that is, walking up and down the passage saying it was safe to come out, there’s still no sign of him.


I have a cunning plan.

I bought a can of his absolute favorite food.

Come dinner time I’m putting it out.


Of course, food trumps fear every time.

He walks past me on his way to the tasty treats, the tail movements indicating he is not a happy cat.

The things I have to suffer at the hands of you humans, he mutters.

So, I say casually, we have guests for dinner.

He stops, turns his head in that dismissive manner of his.
What else can you do to me?

COVID 19, Grandchildren, I suppose you’re going to let me outside.

Do you want to go outside?

With COVID 19 lurking on every corner?

It’s under control.

Right. I’ve been watching TV. You do realize there’s good news and fake news, and there’s more of the latter than the former.

So, he’s going with the confuse the poor human with blather.

It’s working. I say, Go back into hiding. I was quite enjoying the silence.

After dinner, he says, ending the conversation with the angry tail swish. Yes, we are not amused.

Past conversations with my cat – 96


This is Chester

Once again, it’s Sunday night, and he’s looking for a philosophical discussion.   COVID 19 is off the topic list.

He’s suitably disappointed that the Trump Show is over, as far as we are aware, though he’s not surprised.

But he is worried that two cats have tested positive.

I try to tell him that it is in New York, about 18,000 miles away, where there are over 200,000 cases. We have just over 1,000 and they are all isolated so we cannot be harmed.

I guess it’s hard to convince a cat when his mind is made up.

We’ve also taken the grandchildren off the list of topics too,

They arrive a few hours ago, and studiously ignored him when they arrived. I tried to point out that he was in hiding when they arrived, but again, the stubbornness of opinion is amazing, or normal.

I should be used to this sort of contrariness.

So, what is on the discussion list?

Outlander, Season 5 Episode 10. Well, I say, we haven’t seen it yet, so don’t tell me what the plots is.

He looks at me as if I’m mad. I only get to see it when you do, he says. How should I know what the plot is?  In fact, what is the plot?

Time travel, I say.

Pity we can’t do some of that, he says.

Why I asked, and really, I should know better.

Because I could go back to the day you came to the pet shop and hide. I have given you 18 years to improve, and you’re still the same as you were then.

Discussion over.

Not his favorite food for dinner tonight.

Past conversations with my cat – 95


This is Chester.

He realizes we are now part of a different world driven by the events surrounding the COVID 19 virus.

The grandchildren are here while their parents are working, and they are going to school remotely, that is one is in the kitchen and one is in the dining room, remotely linked to their school, teachers, and classmates.

Chester finds this interesting because they are not trying to find him, so, he’s come out to see what they’re doing.

First, he jumps up on the dining table and sits next to the 13-year-old. She is hard at work. I hear him ask if there is anything he can help with given his vast knowledge of everything.

There’s a universal greeting from 30 others, and he tries to find where all the other people are. No, it’s not hide and seek, they’re all online she tries to tell him.

No, doesn’t get it. They must be in the room somewhere. And he’s suddenly miffed that he can’t find them, and then that his assistance is not required.

All too much to cope with, he comes out to join the 10-year-old sitting at the kitchen table. She had headphones on and doesn’t hear him.

This time he sits on the floor and looks up thinking, if they can’t see him, he’s not there. She ignores him. I don’t think mathematics is his strong point.

So, he wanders into the office, planning to annoy me.

I find some headphones and put them on. He gets the message, no interruptions today, everyone is hard at work.

A sigh, then he goes to his corner and lies down on his bed, yawns and closes his eyes.

I know he’s not asleep. He’s waiting for something to happen, ready to spring into action.

Unless, of course, it’s a mouse.

Past conversations with my cat – 94


This is Chester.

We are in the middle of a philosophical debate.

No, it’s not about whether the world is flat, though sometimes I think he has that notion, as well as all humans are basically stupid.

I’ve been thinking about the pandemic and how it might meld into a plotline for a story.

Chester is not happy that I should use China as the country with global ambitions, after using the term ‘global domination’ and got a very silky retort.

He doesn’t seem to think that by causing a pandemic, making each of the G20 nations basically launch themselves into insolvency in order to maintain some semblance of economic stability, that China, who miraculously recovers, becomes the nation who saves the world?

It sounded quite good in my head.

Particularly when you see nations like the USA, the only other country that could tackle China as a ‘savior’ state, is going slowly down the gurgler.   Or so it seems, and it’s only a matter of time before something gives.

Chester and I now have mandatory viewing every morning, the Donald Trump show, where we lay bets as to whom he’s going to fire or lambast.

Chester thought the Doctor was gone for all money on Monday.

My money was on the reporter, who wouldn’t stop asking questions.

But today, it might be about Joe Biden and the Democrats, and the ramping up of the Republican’s political campaign.  Who said the COVID briefings had to be about that mundane virus?

Still, it’s back to the drawing board.  The overall plot is good, creating a virus that brings almost every nation to its knees, and one that rises out of the ashes to ‘save the world’.  It’s like you don’t need bullets and arms to fight a war, just a hell of a sneaky virus; you know, infecting people when you don’t know you’ve got it and infecting others.

Hang on, Chester’s calling.  It’s time for the Donald Trump show.

Past conversations with my cat – 93


This is Chester.  We’re getting by during the ‘stay at home’ order.

I’m doing just that, though it sometimes feels like I’m in jail, on the inside looking out.

“Now you know how I feel”, Chester tells me, after jumping up on the window ledge to look out the window, trying to see what had caught my interest.

I don’t tell him I’m basically staring into space.

Except, a car passes, not fast, not slow, but much like the rest of the traffic that passes by.  Or used to.  With the order to stay at home, and the fact schools are not open, there have been fewer and fewer cars passing by.

“Didn’t that car…” Chester mutters.

He’s right.  The same car just went back the other way.  Slow, but not too slow.

“Perhaps’s he’s looking for a house, a particular address.”

We watch and wait.

Five minutes later the car has returned and stops outside my window.  A man gets out the passenger side, says something to the driver, then closes the door.  He starts walking back up the street from where the car had just come.

The car drives off, then a minute later is back, and parks on the other side of the road.  We can see the driver.  Not the sort of person you’d want to need on a dark night.  Tattoos on his arm, and smoking a cigarette, negligently stopping ask on the road below his window.

“He’s watching,” Chester says.

“He’s a lookout?”

We’re both thinking the same.  A crime is being committed.  They’ve scoped the street for an unattended house, a rarity for obvious reasons, though these days robbers rob the house while you’re still in it.

We wait.  Three minutes later the other man comes running very quickly to the car, jumps in and they drive off very quickly before the man had closed the door.

Seconds later another man appears with a baseball bat in his hand.

“Close call,” Chester says, interest now waning.  He jumps down.  “Pity they didn’t catch the robber.”

Perhaps.  But one thing is for sure, those robbers will not be back.

Diversion over, back to boredom.  Chester has gone back to one of his hiding spots.  I’m going to do another crossword.

Six months is going to be a long, long, long, long time.

Past 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.


Just when you think you’ve found the right wordprocessor

It was as if Microsoft Word was sent down from that place in the universe where a group of torturers sit around a table to find new ways of making our lives just that little bit more difficult.

I mean, most of the time it works really well and behaves itself.


Then there are the times, usually when you are stressed about a deadline, or you are nearly at the end of what you believe to be the most brilliant writing you have ever put on paper.


Disaster strikes.

It could be the power goes off, even for just a few seconds, but it’s enough to kill the computer.  It could be that you have reached the end and closed Word down, thinking that it had autosaved, all the while ignoring that little pop up that says, ‘do you want to save your work’?

It’s been a long day, night, or session.  You’re tired and your mind is elsewhere, as it always is at the end.

You always assume that autosave is on.  It was the last time, it has been since the day you installed it however long ago that was.


When the power comes back on, you start the computer, go into Word, and it brings back all the windows you had open when the power failed, and the one with the brilliant piece you just wrote, it’s just a blank sheet.

Or up to where it last autosaved, which is nowhere near the end.

Or it didn’t save at all.

You forget the software updated recently and that always brings changes.  Usually unwanted changes.

By which time you have that sinking feeling that all is lost, deadline missed, brilliant work lost, it’s the end of the world.

You promise yourself you’re going to get Scrivener, or something else, where this doesn’t happen.

Or if you’re like me, you put the cat on the keyboard and tell him to sort the mess out.

Past 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.

Past 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!!!