A life of grime

which is a heading I wish I'd thought of, but I didn't.  After my post of gloom on Tuesday, I thought I should post something more cheery, but inspiration there has been none, until today (and before I launch in, thank you very much to the people who have written to me, actual real proper letters, to say how much they enjoy my blog.  I am very touched.  Thank you.)

Earlier this week, when posting out an order to one of the very kind people who ordered from me this week (and thank you VERY MUCH to them too), I explained that the book might take a while as US customs are being a tad picky at the moment.  Never mind, she said.  The book won't go off, unlike some German sausage she ordered from Wisconscin which was delayed by snowstorms and was a very questionable parcel by the time it arrived.

I'd earlier been reading one of the UK parenting forums on revolting things you have found in your house, and behold, a whole rich topic of filth and general grime has come into being.

Last weekend, one of our hens became ill.  Hens, for those that don't have them, are one of those creatures that like to hug their illnesses to themselves.  They appear absolutely fine one day, only to appear the next hunched, immobile and on the point of death.   Echo was in this state on Sunday, and after careful inspection, I decided she had sour crop.  The treatment for this is to turn your hen upside down to make her sick and remove the revolting contents of the crop.  Well, it worked, but I can't say the process was a whole load of fun for either of us.  Since then, Echo has regarded me with extreme suspicion, and I can't blame her, particularly as the next day I thought I'd best treat for impacted crop as well, and administered a syringe of olive oil followed by determined massage.    Fortunately she is now on the mend, and I am slowly winning myself back into her good graces by sneaking up and feeding her surreptitious dried mealworms behind the hen house, having distracted the others by flinging them corn.

The disgusting crop was my own animal, which mitigates the horribleness a bit.  I do jib a bit at awfulness administered by other peoples' animals.  We get pestered occasionally by tom cats, who come in and spray, and there is nothing like stalking the hallway, armed with Febreze, trying to find out where the dratted animal has sprayed, to affect your morning mood.  I have nothing against tom cats per se, but I really can't see the point of not neutering your cat if it's a domestic pet.  Probably my most revolting tom cat story occurred when I was still living in London and commuting into work every day.  Standing on the train one day, I sniffed and thought goodness, someone REEKS of tomcat. How vile. Plenty of people around me were surreptitiously sniffing too.

Yes, it was me. Tomcat had come in a sprayed my coat, unwisely left in the kitchen. I wish I could remember what I did with the coat during the day at work. Must have stashed it somewhere, and got it home again and presumably washed it but all of that has been washed from my mind by the memory of standing on an overheated, stuffy train as realisation slowly dawned.

My own cats have been responsible for more than their fair share of horrors: mummified frogs and flattened mice, disinterred from places you'd rather they hadn't been.  Present cat likes to kill things at night, noisily and in our room.  I don't always remember, once I have got back to sleep again, that she has killed in the night, and the amount of blood and guts I have trodden on when I get up the next morning is legion.  The maggoty things are fun too.  I do wonder why some cat-left corpses go maggoty, and others just mummify.  A year or so ago I picked up what I thought was a fairly innocent corpse, only to realise it was crawling with maggots, whereupon I am ashamed to say I screamed and flung the corpse from me.  Of course this scattered the maggots far and wide, and there was no one else to clean them up apart from me, so I spent an entertaining half hour pursuing them round the kitchen floor.

I once lived next to very superior soul who thought I was the scruffiest, slovenliest being on the planet, she being the Goddess of Cleanliness. One day maggots exploded out of the drain both our kitchen sinks emptied into.  The poor plumber who investigated the drain disinterred mounds of rotting rice and meat, neither of which I ever ate, but we all knew who did, and, who, as it turned out, washed them down the drain.  I gloated. I gloated GOOD.


Fiona said…
Don't you just love cats.....I was on the bus thinking someone smells of cays on here & like you it was me! I have an appliquéd felted bag someone gave me. Django uses it as a bed, someone came in & sprayed on it. It has now shrunk a little as I had to wash it.
Molly, Django's late sister, presented me with a dead mouse one night. I crawled out of bed & she watched me put it in the bin. Just getting off to sleep & I felt & heard something strange, woke up to find a live mouse in bed with me. No doubt Molly thought I wanted something alive & fresh. Took me ages to catch it.
We have had a yucky blocked drain this week due to all those nasty things going down the sink & nearly £100 to get it fixed. No maggots though!
Jane Badger said…
Oh lordy, lordy - a LIVE mouse in the BED! I've had plenty of live mice about the house but never the BED. That has to be the best excuse for looking a little the worse for wear the next morning ever.
Val said…
My brother used to have two beautiful white cats. They were inveterate hunters, who delighted in bringing him gifts in the small hours. He didn't make it easy for them. They had to leap onto the porch over the front door. Then make a spectaular leap for his small bedroom window,but they made it. As his bed was a mattress on the floor, he often found himself sharing it with quivering wildlife that required rescue! Shrews in particular were popular.
At least your guys kill their prey. I had to chase a fat mouse from behind the microwave and then from under the cooker! While our fat crew thought providing the entertainment was enough...
As you know Jane I volunteer for the Cats Protection, so I do agree with you regarding cats and neutering. When I did a "neutering roadshow" which involved doing a 2 hour stint, asking for people's names and addresses, so that they could claim a neutering voucher from the Cats Protection (we had a special van, and we had to log each request with a special number), there was a lot of people who had cats which were on their 4th or more litter! Personally speaking I was disappointed that the animal welfare act did not say that anyone owning a pet (except for breeders) should neuter theirs. I have seen some kittens (and cats!) which had various problems due to inbreeding, and some have even had to put to sleep.

Also, people dont recognise that cats (especially males) that are unneutered are more prone to getting FIV (the equivalent of AIDS in us) and FELV (feline leukemia). My male has that, along with very raggedy ears due to years of fighting, and if his original owner had neutered him, he probably wouldnt have got it. My female came from a house where there are 15 cats and kittens, which they started with just 2 cats. But it exploded, resulting in some very nervous and badly handled cats.She has FIV too, which she got from the male which mated with her, again could have been prevented if people neuter.
Also, people do get annoyed because the Cats Protection are only able to assist people on benefits. Even then, the voucher is not worth the full amount, meaning people have to pay roughly half (what you pay depends on the vet). I dont answer the phones (fortunately, it has to be said!), but what I do hear, some people get annoyed because they still have to pay. Mine are neutered because they came from the Cats Protection, who neuter all cats/kittens when they are old enough (4 months+). Part of being a responsible pet owner should be that you get them neutered.

But going back to the spraying, yes tom cat pee does smell. Legally, the Cats Protection cannot neuter a cat until the stray time is up (which is 2 weeks, unless microchipped), and tom cat pee stinks for about a week after they are neutered. So a cat could be stinking his pen for 3 weeks, which does happen, because most of the strays we get arent neutered. We have had cats who do spray even though they are neutered. We had one which sprayed all the walls of his pen, despite being neutered. I was told that he did not spray people though when being fussed, so I went in to make a fuss on him. Unfortunately he sprayed on me.

The only good thing is that he only did on my shoe, which was easily to wipe off, plus I sprayed my shoe with disinfectant, and Odogene (which is a highly effective animal smell neuteraliser and absorber), so at least my shoe didnt stink of cat pee all the way home on the bus! You can buy Odogene online on pet store/medicine websites.
What a funny thread! I too once made the unfortunate discovery, upon pulling off my winter boots at work and wondering what on earth that stench was, that my female cat had used their nice, fuzzy lining as a litterbox.

Fiona, I am delighted to "meet" another cat named Django. My big lazy tuxedo cat Django waves a languid hello to yours. He hunts nothing except rubber bands, hair ties, and paper napkins.
Fiona said…
Christine, my Django say's hello. He got his name as when he was a kitten he danced & jumped about to a Django Reinhardt CD! He doesn't hunt so much now, he is 8, but he did catch a blue tit when our MP was at the door campaigning, slightly embarrassing.

On the subject of smells, I think Django, although neutered is capable of spraying in the house. All the local cats are neutered but a cat pee smell persists.

As a child I used to go for elocution lessons (taught like in the King's Speech, the lady who was quite old, had a number of un- neutered toms. The smell in that house & she made me start off with deep breathing exercises! Needless to add they were not very deep breaths that I took!
mokey said…
Your neighbour disposed of dead mice down the drain???? Eeeew!!!
Goldielover said…
I've still not forgotten the live bat that one of mine dragged in many years back. I was coming in very late at night, and as I went into the kitchen (lights out) something whooshed above my head, causing me to hit the deck pretty fast. I don't know who was the more scared - me or the bat.

You want to watch cats and elastics - not much fun pulling them out of their rear ends. Had to do that the other morning when one of my gang was tearing about the house scared silly by the poop that was trailing behind attached to a long thin piece of elastic that I have no idea where it came from. I eventually caught her and carefully pulled it out, but it took her a day or two to fully forgive me.

Don't have mice where I am now, but I used to have them years ago, and it was always interesting when they wandered into the living room with one in their mouths while I had company. Especially if they proceeded to drop it.
Jane Badger said…
Thanks for the tip about Odogene PTA. I hadn't heard of that. Female cats spray I know, having just watched mine spray the area underneath the bird feeders! This doesn't put the birds off, but perhaps it makes her feel better.

Christina and Goldie, I bow. Your cat poo stories are beyond vile.
Mary Trafford said…
You're all hilarious with your cat-related misadventures! I've thoroughly enjoyed them. As a three-cat household, our home has its share of moments brought to us courtesy of our cats. Tey are all "indoor" cats, however, so their access to rodents is limited.

I love it when my cats find spiders and other icky insects in dark corners and on the undersides of things, thus saving me from stumbling across one at close range and therefore having to scream then feel embarassed.

And yes, it would be interesting to know the answer to the mummified vs. maggot question. We have only found mummified, thank goodness. Maybe it has something to do with humidity in the house or central heating. I'm in Canada and I wonder if our forced-air electric heat, which is dry, mummifies the deceased rodent.

Lovely topic, eh! But kudos to all you cat rescuers and responsible cat owners who spay and neuter. Cats are wonderful friends and it dismays me how our society seems to regard them as dispensible pets. Here in Canada, there are far too many cats in shelters and living as feral wanderers in urban and rural settings alike. I'd love to see more people treat cats humanely and be responsible, and so save many, many of them from suffering.

Love your blog!
Jane Badger said…
I absolutely agree with you Mary about neutering cats. There is a shelter at the bottom of our village which is always brimming with unwanted cats. And unwanted dogs too, come to that.

I have noticed that most of the stories here are about cats. A while ago I posted about our dog's lovely habit of rolling in fox poo, but I'm so used to having to scrub that off it no longer appears revolting.

Popular posts from this blog

Pony Club Diaries (Kelly McKain) and A Pony Called Magic (Sheryn Dee)

Dick Sparrow - 40 Horse Hitch, and Neil Dimmock's 46 Percherons

The Way Things Were: Pony Magazine in the 1960s