2011: Goodbyes

Looking back at The Year That Was is always an ambivalent matter. There have been great moments, but sad ones as well, and while 2011 brought us new friends, we also had to say “goodbye”. I prefer “see you later”, though.

Valras

Vally was a stray from the south of France, taken in by the parents of Mrs C. many, many years ago, and ever since then, she’d lived a life in paradise, with a house and a garden on her own and luscious green meadows just outside her front door. While we don’t know her age for certain, she was very old, and enjoyed her years with “her” family to the fullest. She’ll be sorely missed.

Max McPaw

Two years ago Max, who had been part of the family for well over twelve years, moved out to live with his dream family, where he enjoyed finally being a “only cat”. Or rather, “only king”, because he was treated like royality. We took in Max, an unwanted Christmas present thrown out of a running car outside the vet’s practice come summer holidays when he was about 8 months old. This crime cost his previous “owners” a hefty fine and him one of his hind legs, but he soon learned to get around on three legs perfectly well. He always agreed with Charlie that four-legged cats were actually freaks and three was the number to go with.

While certainly not unhappy, Max made it clear very soon that he prefered to be the only cat in the house. A very dominant and strong-willed tomcat, he tolerated the rest of the group, but I promised him that I’d find him the perfect home, eventually. We tried to find him a new home several times, but despite involvement of a popular TV show without much luck. Nobody wanted a “dammaged” cat, which just goes to show that most people are really stupid.

Max eventually found his dream home in Mannheim/Germany, with a lovely couple whom he soon had wrapped around his paw. Unfortunately, he developed a cancerous growth in his hind leg, and as he only had one, surgery was out of question, and so he could’t enjoy his kingdom as long as we all would have wished for him to. But he certainly had a happy life, and when he fell asleep on 6 August, he left only friends behind.

Max was an old and wise soul, you could talk to him without speaking, and he always knew when his tin openers felt down and tried to cheer them up. He also had a very special talent – he could sense an impending epileptic episode and would warn his person. He had an inexplicable love for bagpipes; whenever there was a parade outside, he’d rush to the windows and sing along. Personally, I always thought he was the reincarnation of the ancient head of a Scottish clan…!

While still living with us, he was best friends with Bounce. The two would play for hours, and Bounce was the only cat whom Max accepted as an equal. I like to think that they are both resting on the pearly gates now, whacking unsuspecting angels on the halo.

In his memory, his tin openers created a special “Max McPaw Jam Edition”, which tastes heavenly, sold like fresh bread and raised some funds for the animal shelter. It was the perfect “farewell” for Max – he was loved, and shared that love.

We would like to thank C. and H. for giving Max such a loving home and being the best tin openers on this planet.

If you’d like to support the important work of the animal shelter and help them to save animals like Valras and Max McPaw, then please click the “donation” button. Cheers!

Spring Cleaning with a Meow

It’s June and everybody prepares for a long, lazy summer. And what’s the woman doing? Spring cleaning! Buttons and Lorchen decided it was their duty as loyal cats to help their tin opener with this task. Gee, one wonders why she didn’t look too enthusiastic…

First Buttons decided that we should sort the cat biscuits by colour. That made sense, so I helped him.

O gentle cats, O lovely cats,
And all the cats that be,
The biscuits in the kitchen lie,
Come, pick them up for me!

The good must be put in the dish,
The bad you may eat if you wish.

Your wish is our order.

As he was already at it, Buttons thought it would be a good idea to help and clean the pots.

Ooops… what can I say? It’s terribly difficult to carry a pot if you have paws… in the meantime, the woman had pulled the fridge aside and discovered our stash.

At that point, she showed us flyers of a place called “Cattery”. Looks like our hard work will be rewarded with a nice holiday! Neat!

After cleaning the windows, the woman left to run some errands. Oskar came to see what was going on, and he complained that there were still visible lines on the glass. In some things, he’s very pedantic. To save the woman extra work, he decided to clean the windows herself. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the ladder, so he only got half the job done.

The woman was really pleased with Oskar’s work when she returned. To celebrate the successful spring cleaning, she opened a bottle of gin, and we haven’t seen her for the last hours. Ah, nevermind, it’s not as if we’d get bored anytime soon.

If you’d like to support the important work of the animal shelter and help them to save other animals like Emma, then please click the “donation” button. Cheers!

Kitty Spring Fashion 2011

This, dear friends, is a cat who is not amused.

Emma is an old bat – when she was a kitten, dinosaurs were still roaming the earth – but she’s fit as a fiddle. She’s the unchallenged boss, and not even Buttons dares to play any tricks on her. Well, the occasional game of bite-the-tail aside. Emma’s a bit stiff-legged and has arthritis on her right front leg, but it doesn’t bother her. She loves eating and looks like a bowling ball with legs, despite our attempts at keeping her at a normal weight. Then again, once you’re over 100 years old, you don’t really watch the scales anymore.

There’s only one thing that was really annoying her, and that was the loss of her down hair. It happens – due to age, due to meds. She wasn’t miffed for beauty reasons (she’s not that vain), but because she hates the cold. The slightest draught, and Emma hides under the cover of the bed. And she gets grumpy. VERY grumpy.

“Woman,” she ordered one day, “I’m fed up having a cold bum. Find a way to keep me warm! Like, NOW!”

Your wish is my command, madame. But how to keep a cat warm? We finally found the solution, and all I can say is: thanks the Gods for vain dog owners!

Kitty in Hello Kitty – a must-have for the fashionable cat this spring.

Not only warm, but also stylish – perfect leisure wear for a lazy day at home.

“And now go and knit me a Gryffindor-sweater!”

Tip: some dogs don’t seem to mind wearing clothes – cats, however, usually hate them. Hate as in “geddawwaywithdadorIllscratchyereyesoot”. And really, there’s no reason for cats to wear anything but their own fur. Emma is an exception; she loves her “Hello Kitty” sweater and whinges and scratches at it whenever we take it off. If you also have an old cat who needs some extra warmth and doesn’t mind wearing a sweater, please remember to take it off regularly, at least a couple of hours every day. That’s important so the coat gets enough air and kitty can groom the fur.  Also choose a sweater that can be washed. Clean cats are happy cats.

If you’d like to support the important work of the animal shelter and help them to save other animals like Emma, then please click the “donation” button. Cheers!

It’s a Cat-astrophe!

You know the saying that one shouldn’t complain about the status quo as things could be worse? It’s actually true. I didn’t complain, and things got worse.

In our last entry, Buttons was still a wee little kitten with all the charms, grace and destructive energy of an elephant in a China shop.

No matter how many vases he smashed (3 and counting),

lamps he ripped from the ceiling while playing Tarzan (3 so far),

or dragged off the table and smashed (4  – I’ve given up and got myself a pit lamp), the woman would only smile, pat his head and assure me that Buttons was still young, that we all needed to be patient, that he’d soon grow out of it and become a decent, respectable and well-behaved cat. With a bit of luck, he might even sleep two or three hours a day! Then she’d get some kitty treats for the little monster and Paracetamol for herself, and who had the pleasure of cleaning up the mess? Have a wild guess.

(Of course Pauline, or did you think I’d have the time for cleaning?)

Anyway. Buttons did get older (he’s now almost 1.5 years old), and he also grew a little.

However, as far as his behaviour is concerned…

As usual things don’t get done if you don’t do them yourself, so I decided to take matters into my paws. Emma didn’t like my suggestion to put Buttons up on Ebay, though. After lengthy discussions, we agreed that the best way of getting Buttons out of our fur was getting him into somebody else’s. No sooner said than done. Emma called the shelter and asked if there was a kitten who needed a home and would make a good companion for Buttons. Indeed there was, and two weeks later, wee Lorchen arrived.

Buttons and Lorchen got on like a house on fire. Love at first sight, you could say. And that’s wonderful, isn’t it? Because Lorchen is a cultivated, well-behaved lady who teaches our dear Buttons the golden rules of catdom:

“1. The food  on the table is better than the one in the bowl”

“2. That no-cats-on-the-bookcase rule is more of a guideline”

“3. Don’t wait for the food box to be opened – do it yourself”

“4. Humans have built beds for us, so let’s use them”

“5. Christmas presents must be slept on before being posted”

“6. Recycling is important, let’s help sorting”

“7. The fridge is for self-service”

“8. Bad service? Complain!”

“9., 10. and all following: When in trouble, look cute”

That’s what you get for listening to Emma. Now I have two of those pesky little brats chasing my tail! That’s it, I’ll retire. Or get myself a dog.

If you’d like to support the animal shelter where Buttons, Lorchen and Charlie came from, please take a moment and click the donate button. Every contribution helps and is much appreciated. Thank you!

Cheers, Paddy

Buttons here, Buttons there, Buttons everywhere – yadda, yadda, yadda. Let’s talk about me for a change, right? Right. While sorting through papers (you know, that spring-cleaning which always seems to happen in August), the woman found my old “International Certificate Of Vaccination”. That’s sort of neat, isn’t it? It’s a bit like finding one of your old baby pictures that you completely forgot about. Would you believe she’s got a “Charlie Box”, where all Charlie-related items and papers are kept? She’s such a sentimental old sap.

Anyway. I was curious and peeked over her shoulder. “Born on  8th April, 1998″ – woah, I’m older than I thought! Well, I’m not an old bat like Emma yet, but uh, it’s a bit of a shock to learn you’re twelve. That might explain my receding hairline… there was also the name of the woman who looked after me for eight years. I remember her very well; she loved me and my buddy Bonnie very much. And you can tell she took very well care of me; she always got me to the vet in time for my shots, year after year, never missing one. And then she died. Why do people have to die and leave their cats behind? I don’t understand this. I don’t think people understand it, either, so I guess we can only accept it.

I wish I had some pictures of myself as a kitten, though. The woman always tells me that I must have been a very cute kitten. “Cute” – that’s insulting. I was wild and ferocious! Well, at least I think I was. Beside Certificate of Vaccination, the woman also found the newsletter from the animal shelter where she first saw me. Want to know what I looked like back then? Sure? Really? OK, but don’t laugh!

FEAR THE KILLER PAW OF DOOOOM!

Oh, and that’s Bonnie. She used to live with me, but found a new home elsewhere.

After the death of our kind woman, her friends looked after me and my mate for well over a year, but eventually, we had to find a new home. It’s not easy leaving home, you know? It’s not just the place or the beloved chair. It’s the memory of a kind hand stroking my fur and a friendly voice calling my  name – all gone.

I arrived at the shelter back in October 2007, and as I’m a cat who appreciates good company, I kept far away from the dogs and settled into the office. Unfortunately, nobody allowed me to use the computer, or I could have started this blog much earlier. I got a special cat bed on the window sill, and soon forged friendships with the smashing lot managing the shelter.

But of course, the idea was not for me to stay there, so me and Bonnie were introduced to potential new companions in the November-newsletter:

Charlie’s already nine years old. Charlie’s blind on his left eye. He’s also missing his left front leg, which had to be amputated five years ago when he stepped into a snap trap. Charlie was lucky, because he managed to make it home despite his terrible injury. Despite his disabilities he’s full of life and longing for a place where he’ll be safe and loved.

You could think the phone would have rang non-stop, but nope – not one call or mail. Frustrating! The woman saw my picture, but at that time, she still had that ill-tempered ginger flea carrier called Paddy O’Paw at home, a stray of biblical age with failing kidneys, bad breath and an addiction for chocolate-hazelnut spread, who’d spent most of his life  down at the local fish’n'chips shop.

I never met Paddy, but I heard many stories about him. Whatever Paddy wanted, Paddy got, so when he told the woman not to get any funny ideas about adopting a cute little kitty or any such nonsense once he was gone, as he was moving to greener pastures so that some other old cat nobody wanted would get a new home, it wasn’t up for discussion. I’m not surprised they didn’t call him “Sunny”.

One week after the Padster had left for Walhalla (because really, what other place could have coped with him?), the second newsletter arrived. You can tell from the picture that I was singing the blues. Badly.

Unfortunately, nobody’s been interested in Charlie so far. You don’t happen to be looking for a flat mate who loves to cuddle, do you?

The rest, as they say, is history.

Charlie and Bounce

If you’d like to support the animal shelter where Charlie came from, please take a moment and click the donate button. Every contribution helps and is much appreciated. Thank you!

The World Cup, Doctor Who, and Buttons’ Solution for the Keeper Problem

Pauline is not a happy cat. Pauline est une chatte malheureuse, and really, who could blame her? It isn’t easy being a French fan during this World Cup.

She’s changed her surname to “Poirot” now and tells everybody she’s from Belgium.

Football, football, football – there’s  no escape. And Emma’s the most obsessed fan, ever; a staunch and sole supporter of the English team. No matter how often they stumble and fall (on and off the pitch), she keeps her whiskers stiff and stands by her lads. “Back in the day, when Geoff Hurst still played…” – wait, how old is she again? If you ask her, she’ll tell you she’s watching the World Cup because she’s fascinated by Fabio Capello’s “strategy”. Strategy, my paw; all she does is oggling David Beckham! (So does Pauline. Not that she’d admit it, though.)

"Three Emmas on a shiiiirt..."

Me? Well. I’m a football cat  – black, white and football-shaped. On the one paw, I usually support the German team. On the other paw, it’s not really the German team, but Bayern Munich light (I support Werder Bremen, and yes, I’m still bitter). At the end of the day, I don’t really care, as long as the game schedules don’t interfere with my weekly dose of Doctor Who.

Oskar always gives 100 %, so he’s dedicated his full attention to the World Cup.  He’s set up camp in front of the telly, waving his flag and making the wave. It’s a small wave, just him and Buttons. Things are complicated by Buttons chasing after the ball on the screen, and the Gods only know the consequences if the woman hadn’t confiscated Buttons’ express parcel with six vuvuzelas!

Oskar firmly believes that Germany will make it to the cup final. (He also believes that kittens are growing in cabbage fields.)

Oskar, looking for kittens...

Considering that we only have one TV set, it was only a matter of time before World Cup and an illegally parked Tardis would collide. You try and explain to Buttons that no, Doctor Who is not a documentary series! After watching both Robert Green’s blunder and “The Lodger”, Buttons decided that there was only one way to save England’s honour: The Doctor has to play for the English national team. Move over, Wayne Rooney, here comes Eleven!

What nonsense. The Doctor has to stand in the goal – the woman said he’s a keeper.

Well, I better go and prepare myself for the next round – Switzerland versus Gallifrey. And no matter which team you support, I’ll keep my ears crossed for them!

We would like to thank all of you who have so generously donated to the animal shelter. Over EUR 350.00 so far! Your donations help to pay for vet bills, food, heating and care. The costs that come with running an animal shelter are high, more often than not, it runs on love and dedication.

Here’s a “thank you” picture from the animal shelter – for those of you tired of cats, have some dogs! And the apprentice, whose salary is also paid for by donations. So you’re not only helping animals in need, but also give somebody the chance to get a professional education and a job. Well done!

Donations are, of course, always welcome.

“Tac… tac… tac… whooooooooosh!”

Ah, just look at him. What a cute little fuzzball! So sweet, so innocent, so harmless…

… yeah. Right.

Buttons is growing up; he’s now a teencat. Living with a teencat is like sharing the flat with a werewolf, only worse. At least George in “Being Human” cleaned the sink; all Buttons does is chewing open the toothpaste tube and spreading its content.

One good thing: he’s sleeping more than one hour per day now. Then again, it probably doesn’t make a big difference to the woman whether he kicks her out of bed at 5am or 5.15am.

Also, he put on weight. That’s another good thing: we don’t have to worry he might get stuck behind the toilet bowl anymore.  Then again, he’s heavy enough to flush the toilet now. And he figured out how to do it. And does it. 5, 7, 10 times a night.

That’s not funny. As soon as I’ve curled up in my basket and am about to fall asleep, a suspicious “tac… tac… tac… whooooosh!” sound is coming from the direction of the toilet. It’s followed by a series of frantic “tactactactac!” and wild cursing coming from Buttons, who doesn’t have the patience to wait for the cistern to refill.

And when he’s not flushing, he unrolls the toilet paper from its holder. Which reminds me: last week, he discovered where the woman hides the kitchen rolls. Kitchen rolls are great. Three layers of soft, comfortable, luxurious paper. And if you think about it, kitchen rolls are nothing but huge, giant toilet rolls…

I woke up at 3am and decided to check if the woman had forgotten to lock the box where she keeps the cat treats. Hey, it happens. You can’t blame a Charlie for trying. And what did I find in the living room (which had been carefully hoovered and dusted only hours ago)?

Yes, yes, I know. I’m old and wise and should know better. But – tissue! Kitchen paper! Soft and nice and shreddable! To quote Oscar Wilde: The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it!

Buttons and me yielded and played “snow storm” for the next couple of hours. I wasn’t surprised that we got icy glares when the woman got up.

The kitchen-roll-incident was only the start of Buttons’ Little Week Of Horrors, though. The next day, he smashed the bedside lamp – not his fault, though, he couldn’t know the cable he ran off with was attached to it – and while he was at it, he pushed a priceless family heirloom off the table. It was a fruit bowl dating back to the 1950ies, and I always thought it was a present from somebody who really hated the woman’s grandma.

As Emma is the only cat Buttons shows some sort of respect for (she’s 18, you don’t argue with little old ladies), she held him a stern lecture on the dos and don’ts when sharing a place with a human. Buttons looked remorseful, apologised and promised he wouldn’t touch fruit bowls from the 195os again.

All fine and good, but then he discovered the eggs. I’m sure he had only their best interests in mind when he decided to help breeding them.

Have a wild guess how that went. While the woman took the mop and wiped Humpty Dumpty off the floor, the neighbour arrived to see how cute wee Buttons was doing.

“Give us a cuddle, will ya?”

Of course he would – she was standing right under the Japanese lamp in the corridor, after all.

Well.

Emma announced she’d put Buttons up on ebay. The woman is on her fourth cider.

Me? I’ve locked the door and re-watch the final episode of FlashForward. Maybe I’ll figure out what’s going on this time. It’s difficult to concentrate, though – “tac… tac… tac… whooooooooooooooosh!”

Tip: cats like Buttons who were separated from their mother at a very young age – Buttons was one week old when he was abandoned – need to learn cat etiquette and customs from their “tin openers” – us. It’s very important to get informed how that’s done – blowing at a kitten when s/he’s playing too wild or biting is the equivalent to a cat hissing. Firmly put two fingers on the kitten’s forehead (not too  firm, though; you don’t want to hurt them); it’s where a cat would put their paw to say “stop”. Never yell at a kitten or hit it (especially not the latter, I hope that goes without saying!) – Junior wouldn’t understand what’s going on, and you’d only end up with a confused cat. And broken plates.  And an icy glare from Charlie.

If you like Charlie’s stories and would like to support the animal shelter where he and Buttons came from, please take a moment and click the donate button. Every contribution helps and is very helpful. Thank you!

Timeo Danaos et dona Buttons…

“Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes – I fear the Greek, even when they bring gifts.”

“Charlie, old chap, I’ll be back in two hours and I’ll have a lovely gift for you.”

Of course I thought of something like sweetened condensed milk, vanilla cream or tasty treats.

Yeah, right. Some treat that was!

Looking back now, I should have known something was cooking, because there had been plenty of signs: lengthy phone calls, abruptly interrupted when I approached. Food for “Kittens under 6 months” in the hamper. I actually made inquiries about that, and was told something along the line of “free samples from the pet shop”. Suuuuuuuuuuure…

Bounce’s death had left a huge gap in our lives. Emma was patrolling the place, looking for him; Oskar and Pauline were too depressed to steal each others mousies, and I – well, ok. It had hit me very hard as well. He was part of the family, and with him gone, we all just dragged ourselves through the day rather than enjoying life. Not to talk of the woman, who went through one box of Kleenex a day. I knew that, sooner or later, another cat would move in. It’s odd how it works – one leaves, making place for another cat in need. I guess that’s one of Mother Nature’s rules, and it had worked for me as well. Though I’ve never met my predecessor, I often think of Paddy the ginger and his amazing story. I’ll tell you about him some other day, now let’s go back to my whining!

The woman returned, carrying a brand new transporter. She put it down in front of me and scritched my ear.

“Here we go, Charlie,” she said with the grating cheerfulness of a vet before inserting the thermometre.  “His name is Buttons, I hope you’ll be the best of friends.”

Then she opened the door. Buttons? No, seriously – Buttons? I peeked into the basket, but it seemed to be empty. Just when I was about to stick my head in it, a tiny black and white furball with sharp claws tackled me. No “pleased to meet you” or any kind of formal introduction as you’d expect among well-mannered cats, oh no! Just a yell of “wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Partyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!” and – well. That was the last quiet moment I’ve had in this place.

“OMG OMG OMG, so exciting! Where’s the food? Where’s the fridge? Where’s the remote control for the telly? Do you have cable? Do you like football? What’s your favourite movie? Oops, sorry about the vase, but it was ugly, anyway, oh, look, a sofa, mind if I use it as a scratching post? Yes? Rats, too late, but you can always cover it up with a permanent marker, do you mind if I play with the Dalek on the desk, darn it, there it goes, and wooooooooooooow! Giant scratch pole!”

Honestly, it was impossible to get a word in. Ever wondered what the term “herding cats” means? I could tell you. Oh boy, could I ever. Emma, always the sensible lady, brought one of Bounce’s favourite toys along, a yellow octopus called Davy Jones.

“Here, give this to the wee one. It might calm him down before he gets a heart attack.”

“I’m more worried about me here,” I grumbled.

Later, while Buttons tried to find a way to hack the cat-proof lock on the telly, the woman told me his story over a cup of tea (for her. I got milk).

Buttons, so I learned, had been found with three of his siblings next to the railroad tracks; abandoned, dripping wet and freezing. Luckily, somebody informed the animal shelter, and they came to the rescue.

Here you can see Buttons, his brother and two sisters after their rescue. He couldn’t open his eyes because they were infected, and the kittens had to be fed by hand for the following weeks. I don’t know many humans who’d get up four times in the middle of the night to feed mewling kittens! Kudos to the ladies at the animal shelter; I wish everybody had such big hearts and dedication.

Buttons as a baby, first day at the animal shelter (front, left)

Buttons (front) and his brother Aragon

Luckily, all four kittens survived, and three of them found new homes. Back then, Buttons was still called “Eragon” and half the size of his siblings – and the only one left. So of course she had to take him in (and give him a new name. If I remember correctly, her words were “we don’t have any Eragons in here, neither on the bookshelf nor in the catbasket!”).

And why did she pick him? Heh – have you ever seen Puss’n'Boots in “Shrek”? That cat’s an amateur compared to Buttons. Buttons went to the School of Kawaii and graduated summa cum laude. You don’t stand any chance. It’s impossible to be angry with him, not even when he sleeps in your basket, chews on your tail, takes a bath in your water bowl or locks you in the fridge (don’t ask).

Buttons felt at home here from the very moment he set a paw on the parquet. And he’s wrapped us all around his tiny paw by now. He’s a four-pawed disaster area – but we love him. More about his adventures next week, because something just crashed in the kitchen, and as Buttons asks where we keep the armbands, my guess would be that yet another vase has gone the way of the dodo. I better check. In the meantime, please stay tuned.

Charlie and Buttons, Christmas 2009

If you’d like to support the important work of the animal shelter and help them to save other animals like Buttons and Charlie, then please click the “donation” button. Cheers!

Who says Cats don’t know about Grammar?

“Blog by cat?”

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh hell, no! Not another one!”

But desperate times ask for desperate measures. The economy pulled a Titanic, and people have to tighten their belts. Pets like me are dropped off at the local shelter (if they are lucky) or kicked out on the street. And of course, donations for animal shelters decrease. So I said to myself: hey, this is the age of the internet. Why  not tell people about my life and my mates? My favourite TV shows? Maybe they’ll like what I write. Maybe they’ll have fun with it. And who knows, maybe one or two of them will find the donate button for the animal shelter which saved my life.

Noble cause aside, this is also a question of honour. For years, the world has mocked feline intellect; by now, people are convinced that we all use “lolspeak” to communicate. Look, there’s only so much “iz it cookie tiem nao?” a cat can take. Enough is enough! Not even Oskar talks like that, and he’s… well, not the brightest candle on the Christmas tree, if you know what I mean.

My name is Charlie. In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a cat. If you read something on the internet which makes sense, chances are high it was written by a cat, by the way. If you go all “quoi?” – then it was probably a dog.

Ok, that picture is a bit misleading. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do like gardening. According to Emma, I have a green paw. Emma’s a cat as well. I have no idea how old she is; I guess dinosaurs were still roaming the earth when she first crawled out of her basket. I quite like the old bat, though I could do without her watching re-runs of the Golden Girls and the Antique Roadshow all afternoon and drooling all over my books.

As far as my life is concerned, I can’t complain. Sofa, cushions, food – service is a bit lacking, but the woman is working on that. Only yesterday she mentioned the Evil D Word again (means: “diet”), but I don’t think she was serious. I can still see my paws when I look down, after all. At least one of them.

I’ve spent the first years of my life in the country and was the scourge of mice and rats in the neighbourhood. Then some moron put up a foothold trap – one false step, and one of my legs was gone. Just like that, within a moment. Luckily, I made it home alive, but it hurt like hell. Yes, I’m still holding a grudge. Then the lady looking after me died and I ended up with a group of fantastic people who work their backsides off to help animals in need.

Eventually, they found me a new home and I made new friends. Life’s good. I chill on the balcony, read a good book or watch Buttons and Pauline wreck the place. Buttons is completely mad – think Doctor Who on a sugar high.

Eh, I think I have to log off now. Oskar wants to use the computer to chat with his latest flame, a Manx from Birmingham. Well, that’s what she says – if you ask me, she’s a hamster…