Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin’

What a splendid day!

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I didn’t have any teaching today – it’s a bit of a lean fortnight coming up, due to courses finishing, others not yet starting, and students being away – so I was able to spend all day making cards. I love messing about with glue, sequins, bits and bobs, and I have made 19 cards today, including two Mothers’ Day cards for MiL and mum. I suppose, going by the amount of time it takes to make a card, I sell them rather cheap (2,50€ or 3,00€) but there’s not really a card sending culture in France, so I don’t think I can sell them at an expensive price. I sell at the Artisanat (craft shop) in the village, and am thinking about asking a couple of shops if they’ll stock one or two shop-appropriate cards (e.g. baby congratulation cards in the baby clothes/toys shop) as well as leaving a box at the Language School for the other teachers to rootle through.

I tried quite a few different techniques: black & white, torn tissue paper, tea-bag folds, and I’m really pleased with all the results. I’m thinking I need to get Mr D (the Web Site Designer) to design me a card selling site. When I get the bloomin’ downloading-from-camera-to-computer cable sorted out I’ll post some photos of my favourite cards. (though as they’re now wrapped in cellophane it may be tricky to take photos. Still…nous verrons!

Collège tomorrow (shudder!) plus teaching three children and an Estate Agent. Then on Thursday, after an hour at Collège, I can spend another day playing with sequins! Huzzah!


Mr D showed me a photo he’d taken of Pomme and Pumpkin gazing at pigeons. I laughed…:-) and then cried…:-(

Catching Up

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

I wrote a letter to mum last week and ran out of news to tell her halfway down the first page! The most exciting thing was that I had cooked oxtail for the first time ever – and it was quite nice! It’s practically the same here…not much to say.

save that we had an enjoyable weekend, sharing cakes and tobogganing with friends. I didn’t do much of the sliding down hills. I think I’m too much of a wimp. It was all a bit fast for me, going down the hill on a bit of plastic sheeting. And I felt so ungainly! Everyone else seemed to manage with great aplomb; meanwhile I slip and slide like a newly born giraffe on sheet ice. All I could do was laugh at myself loudly before anyone else did.  Still, the cakes and hot chocolate afterwards was convivial.

I meant to take the camera but, yet again (heavy sigh directed at self) I forgot to take it with me.

I am longing for a new cat. Pomme is very much Mr D’s cat. She’ll sometimes come and sit on me, but not very often. I feel very left out!!! I’ve looked on t’internet for cats, but Mr D says he’s dubious about getting a cat over the internet (?!) So we’re waiting for friends’ cats to become pregnant. I’ve looked at adopting from a refuge, but the cost, quite frankly, is prohibitive. I know that the SPA needs to cover costs, and also need to ensure the cats are vaccinated/ neutered etc – but over 100€ to adopt?! You must be joking! The most recent update is that Martine’s cat (who, quite frankly, sounds a bit of a slut!!!) has been inviting friends into the garage. (That’s really what she said!) So we keep fingers crossed that she may be pregnant.

I must remember that no cat can ever be like Pumpkin was. We think she must have had at least a little Maine Coon in her. One description of behaviour ( Common behavior is they will follow you around, they will sit at your feet, will come to greet you (whenever you’ve been out), they will fetch and retrieve if trained, they will also carry favorite objects such as a toy stick in the mouth and drop it at your feet. Like a dog, it is usual for the Maine Coon to stretch up on its back legs resting its front paws above the waist to demand a stroke from the owners.) is so like Pumpkin to be as though the author had seen her. Pictures also bear this out. The black-and-white cats in this picture look like I imagine an older Pumpkin would have looked. I cannot – and must not- expect the New Kitty to be like Pumpkin was. New Kitty may not even like me!!!

Meanwhile I have taken to feeding the “Poor Cats” at the Post Office. These are the stray cats who, in this freezing weather, must be struggling to find something to eat. I cook up pasta and mix it with cheap cat food (and Pomme’s rejected food) and some cream cheese. I take it at the same time each evening, calling “Minou! Minou!” (French for “Puss!”) They are starting to wait for me. Most of them are too scared to come near, but one is starting to sniff my fingers, but races away if I move suddenly. There’s one big ginger fellow who is too fat and glossy and friendly to be a true Poor Cat. I think he’s a greedy house cat. If I remember I’ll take a photo or two of them to post.

Goodnight, sweet cat…

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

…and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

We’ve said Goodbye to Pumpkin, and she’s set off on her Very Big Adventure. We took her to the NiceVet who said that her temperature wasn’t good, her breathing had worsened, and, to be honest, we could see that she was weary of it all.

NiceVet was very gentle, giving her an injection so she went to sleep – the first proper sleep she’d had for days – and we could caress her and love her. Then he stopped her heart. We left her curled on his table – we don’t want to bury her, or have her ashes. We want to remember her as she was. We have a saying in the Dormouse family: “as mad as a box of frogs”. We shall change it in her honour: “As mad as a box of Pumpkins”

We had this reading at my father in law’s funeral. I hope it’s not disrespectful to Peter to post it here, and to change it just a little…

You can shed tears that they’ve gone, or you can smile that they have lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that they’ll come back, or you can open your eyes and see the memories that they have left you.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them, or your heart can be full with the love  and fun that you’ve shared.

You can turn your back on life yesterday and on life tomorrow, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember them and only that they’ve gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what they’d want: smile, open your eyes love and go on.

If I know Pumpkin, she’ll already be playing Fetch with St Francis and St Roch and his dog. (I really will tell you about St Roch some day. He’s an excellent Saint.)

Turning a corner, touching wood and thanking God

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

This is a direct cut and paste from Ship of Fools but it lets you all know how Pumpkin is doing:

Now, I’m not a very good Christian when it comes to having faith about answered prayers. My prayers are of the vague type (comfort them…help them…) or with a qualifier (but only if it’s your will) so that if I don’t get the answer I was looking for it’s “not God’s fault” (We can unpick the theology of that at a later date!). But last night I was getting desperate.
You see, Pumpkin had started to fight off the secondary respiratory infection. Her breathing is less laboured, she’s not panting so much, she can lie more comfortably, she is showing an interest in her surroundings. BUT, and what a big but, she wasn’t eating. In 24 hours she’d taken a bite or two of some cat food and a lap or two of milk. And that was more than she’d eaten in the previous 72 hours. She needed to eat or else she wouldn’t get better. Everytime we arrived with yet another dish of something she’d look anticipatory; and then after a sniff would turn away dissappointed, as though she’d been hoping for something else.

So I prayed. I told her that she was a beloved creature, that God knows every sparrow that falls, that she was truly loved – and then I prayed that God would stimulate her appetite, that we would find whatever it was she wanted to eat. And that she’d eat. Please, I said over and over.

Then we went to bed. She spent all night curled up next to me – or rather, not curled, as that’s still a bit difficult for her. When I woke, I stroked her,and she purred and then I dropped back to sleep. In the morning the state of the seven food bowls were the same: untouched. Mr D was on his way out to feed the hens and said he’d found a pouch of Felix at the back of the cupboard – not exactly a favourite, but one we’d not tried very recently.

Ho hum, I thought. I’ll have my shower and then try her with the food. Meanwhile Mr D came back and tried feeding her.
“Dormouse” he called softly. “Come and see.”
I went into the spare room and there she was guzzling the Felix down like there was no tomorrow. Then she drank some water. Then she fought us when we tried to give her the tablet.

She seems to have turned some kind of corner. Yes, there’s still the Leukaemia to deal with, and still the respiratory problems, but we may have her for longer than we’d thought. Especially on Thursday night when we were convinced we’d have to put her down.

Worldwide prayers for this little kitty seem to be having an effect. Deo Gratias!

Thank you all for your prayers and support. As DaisyDaisy said

The final decision is such a hard one to take, and I am glad you don’t have to take it right now. I have found it is so much easier when the animal goes when they are ready to – and Pumpkin obviously isn’t ready yet!!”

And neither are we.

Ooh, my fonts have come over all perculiar. I can’t easily see a way to change them. Any suggestions guys?

That darn’ cat!

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Yes, it’s more Cat Talk. Good news? I’m really not sure. We are now even more confused as to what to do.

After the news yesterday, we had a look at Pumpkin, and saw a cat that had given up. She was sitting, breathing heavily, wheezing and taking no interest in anything: food, drink, us. Mr D slept in the spare room overnight and she had stayed as far away from him as she could. So we decided that the best, kindest thing to do was to have her put down; if we were keeping her alive it was for us. She had no quality of life.

At about 9.00 last night I went to stroke her, to say a private Goodbye before today’s euthanasia. She really wanted to be stroked, she didn’t move away as she had done on previous occasions, and in fact she seemed to positively enjoy the caresses. I was there for about half an hour, and then Mr D joined us. He brought up some pussy milk and some cat food, and for the first time in days Pumpkin showed an interest. She had a few mouthfuls of food, a lap or two of the milk and quite some water. Then she purred! A real, true purr!!

“What really would make us think twice,” said Mr D with a wry smile, “is if, when you slept here tonight, she jumped on the bed to sleep with you”.  I think you can all guess what happened next…

I went to bed in the spare room, and picked Pumpkin up and put her on the bed. I stroked her for a while, and she purred. Then she decided to get down. I read for a little, and then switched off the light; in a few minutes there was a light thud as Pumpkin arrived – as she used to do! – settled at my feet and purred. I went to sleep, as I have so many times before, with My Cat’s head on my feet.

This morning she ate a little more, drank some water and then purred as loudly as ever – we could hear her through the door. She is sitting up more, she is able to lie down more easily, and today, for the first time in about a week, she started grooming herself. She is showing interest in her surroundings, and in fact wants to get out, I think. She has even looked interested when Pomme, desperate to get at those Tasty Morsels (“Look, there’s 4 dishes in there. I can smell them. Why don’t I get 4 dishes of lovely food? It’s not fair!”), stretches her paw under the ill-fitting door.

So now. Having wept down the phone at  my mother, m-in-l, and friends, saying “She’s going to be put to sleep tomorrow” we find ourselves with a cat who is honestly too perky to consider killing. Suddenly she is coming back to life. I know that with Cat Leukaemia she will not be cured; I know that she will die sooner rather than later; I know that that death may not be pleasant; I know that we will have to keep her separated from Pomme for the rest of her life. But I also know that we cannot have her put down today. She has earned herself a reprieve. Perhaps the drugs are finally starting to work. Perhaps there’s a cruel trick of fate and this is simply a rallying that will not last, but Pumpkin Lives To Fight Another Day.

I did ask God for a sign as to whether we were doing the right thing, considering putting her to sleep. This wasn’t what I expected, but hey, there’s no telling what He will do!

Good news…bad news…

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Sorry. More on the Pussy front – it’s taken over our lives a bit.

Pomme went to see NiceVet today. Having prevaricated over whether we wanted a positive or negative result on the test for her, we discovered we were mightily relieved when it was negative. Especially as, with some research on t’Internet, we have found out that the virus that Pumpkin has is Feline Leukaemia, which aint good. In fact Pomme, despite being vaccinated against FeLv, has been lucky not to catch the virus from Pumpkin. Pumpkin will have contracted it from her mother, and she is lucky to have survived kittenhood, and to have had 4 good, happy years with us.

Now what do we do? If it was simply the fact that she had FeLV we could, I think, manage to keep the two of them separated. It’s tricky at the moment as Pomme sees us disappearing into the spare room with plates of delicious smelling food, of which she’s getting none, and wants to go in to find out What’s Going On. But it’s manageable. However, Pumpkin has this upper respiratory infection, which means her lungs are slowly filling up with fluid. The drugs don’t seem to be having much effect, and as she’s not eating, she’s simply becoming weaker and weaker, and, I believe, slowly suffocating. She doesn’t appear to be in much discomfort (but how do we really know?!) but from what Wikipedia says, it’s not going to get much better unless the drugs start to clear the fluid and clear the infection. NiceVet has said that we should see an improvement in 10 days. It’s been a week with nothing, so we’re thinking see if the weekend brings any miracles and, if not,  take Pumpkin in for her Last Big Adventure with NiceVet.

So Good News: Pomme is healthy.

Bad News: Pumpkin is on the way out. I think she’ll be going Over the Rainbow fairly soon.

If you are so inclined, please pray for us. Feline and non-Feline. And thank you for all the thoughtful comments you have made. Your support is indeed appreciated.

Bad news on the Pussycat front

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

NiceVet has confirmed that our dear little Pumpkin has a virus. I don’t know what it’s called, but she’s likely had it since birth, as she was born in a SPA centre and this virus is very common in street cats/strays/ferals and is passed from mother to kitten. It is incurable, causes respiratory and heart weaknesses and will cause death in anything between a couple of months to a couple of years once the symptoms start to develop.  What’s worse is that it’s contagious – passed on by scratches/bites etc, so Pomme (Cat No 2) may have caught it, either when she was in the same SPA centre or through contact with Pumpkin over the years.

So, having come home from the NiceVet’s we have to keep the two of them separated. Pomme is booked in for a test tomorrow morning to see if she’s got the same virus. Pumpkin is now being kept in the spare room with the door closed, but Pomme wants to get in to see her – or, more likely, to snaffle the delicious food that we’re trying to tempt Pumpkin with! She is scratching at the door. I don’t think Pumpkin is too bothered about being shut up as she doesn’t go far.

The Big Question is: if Pomme is clear, what do we do? It will be very difficult to keep them separated on a long term basis – and is it fair to keep Pumpkin shut up all the time? They’re both indoor cats so they aren’t used to going outside, but they are used to having 5 floors of house to run around in. Not that Pumpkin is doing much running. So, do we have Pumpkin put down? She’ll die sooner rather than later, but at the same time, she’s not in much apparent discomfort. But she’s not apparently happy, finds it uncomfortable to lie down & stretch out and she’s not Pumpkin-as-we-know-her. It seems so wrong to put her down when she’s still not in pain.

If Pomme has got it, then we don’t have to keep them separated, but then we have a black cloud of when will Pomme succumb in the same way?We have to hope she’s OK. She seems very perky, but then so did Pumpkin before she succumbed – although she was always a bit of a heavy breather!!!

It’s not good. Mr D and I are both leaking tears on a more or less continual basis. And I think we might come to blows over who sleeps in the spare room with Pumpkin tonight!

Where, oh where has my pussy cat gone?

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

It’s not so much that Pumpkin has gone anywhere, but that the Pumpkin we have at the moment is nothing like the Pumpkin we used to have… She really is a poorly pussycat. You may remember that I was happy to see the “old” Pumpkin back about a week ago. Unfortunately, that was only a brief appearance.

Soon after, she started to go downhill again: just sitting, breathing heavily, and hiding from us. She wasn’t interested in food or cuddles, and she showed no curiosity about anything. I took her back to the NiceVet, who prescribed more drugs. Of course, it’s difficult getting her to take these. We crush them up and mix with cream cheese, and then I try to smear most of it on the roof of her mouth. She hates this and tries to run off, so I grab her and it becomes stressful and her breathing gets worse. And I get a bit weepy and it all becomes very messy! And now every time I approach her to stroke her, she eyes me very suspiciously, thinking I’m going to try to force more Stuff in her mouth.

She seems to be smaller than she was. Never a big cat (though her tummy was a bit paunchy) she seems to have retreated into herself. Mr D keeps saying that the drugs will take time to work, that there has been improvement, that she’s looking a little perkier. All I see is a cat that isn’t Pumpkin as we know and love her.  She used to trot in and bring us toys, meeowing so we’d throw them and she could race after them. Now she looks listlessly at Knitted Mouse and sighs heavily.

Where, oh where has my PussyCat gone?

I clean my house every other day…

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Sign seen somewhere “I clean my house every other day – and today’s the other day.”

Truth be told, we clean our house as often as pigs fly and hens have teeth. But today we have a friend arriving for a few days this evening so the dust needs to be redistributed. I hate cleaning. So I’ve been giving myself little treats: clean the living room & dining room, you can look round the market. Clean the two bedrooms, you can go on the pooter for 30 minutes. Clean the study, you can have lunch and so on… Mr D is working (he works from home) and I get a bit miffed that he’s not helping me. Yes, I know he’s working, but I’m muttering darkly that I bet if something came up that he really wanted to do, he’d be able to stop work. Which may, or may not, be true. He’s offered to steam clean the rugs later, and rather ungraciously I said that I’d rather he did other cleaning. So I’m not sure what he’s going to do.

I wish I could be one of those people who could do 15 minutes housework every day and keep on top of it that way. But I’m not. Even when I don’t have any teaching work  I can find myriad things to do that don’t include vacuum cleaners, polish or any other cleaning product. And I can not see grubbiness for quite some time – and then suddenly it’s “This house is filthy! Why are we such slatterns! Why don’t we clean?!?” And I whirl through the house moaning and grumbling. Then let the dust settle once more. Mr D sees the dirt more than me – but doesn’t do much about it, though he may clean the kitchen floor if our Very Clean friend is coming round. Cleaning is her hobby. Maybe she could come and do her hobby in my house…?

It doesn’t help that our house is old (about 1830s) and it breathes dust. And we have a rug from Ikea that sheds hair like nobody’s business – and is helped by Pumpkin clawing it every day. So with two furry cats, dust and fluff sometimes the wooden stairs look like they are carpeted!

Update on No 1 Cat – she’s back to her normal self, huzzah! Although as her “normal self” involves waking us up at 5.30 am to show us how much she loves us and wants to be stroked that may not be such a blessing. The cream cheese trick is still working, but she’s starting to get very suspicious when she sees us holding towels!

This (if I can attach a YouTube clip – first try!) reminds me of Pumpkin in the morning.