the community cat

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Soossie Cat WordPress collageWhile we pragmatically left Taylors Arm Soossie Cat to her independent devices but in the care of LHS neighbour following our June stay she hadn’t not been on our minds. Upon arrival at our house for a late August break, I first checked for her… and then her verandah igloo which showed leafy, twiggy, furry indications of having been inhabited. The G.O. checked the shed, and Soossie Cat’s bed there had also been slept in.

Our first sight of Soossie Cat was somewhat later as she perched on LHS neighbour’s kitchen windowsill having exited via the opening. LHS neighbour also appeared, assuring us all was well with our “community cat”… she’s gorgeous, I love her.  Plus Soossie Cat suspected of being pregnant before definitely was now, the assignation between LHS neighbour’s grey cat and Soossie Cat being witnessed. LHS also assured us although she wasn’t keeping one for herself she’d easily find homes for the kittens… hmmm, I’d bet money at least one kitten stays to replace the black & white cat which died in June.

Soossie Cat’s arrival coincided with the peace & order that comes after we’ve unpacked & cleaned. Thus we could pay full attention and respond in a timely fashion to her request for dinner, and she could eat it in peace as is her preference.

That settled, Soossie Cat did too. Except for brief expeditions around the yard, next door to keep up her usual dining routine, and apparently rat catching evidenced by the 2 rodent [wedding?] gifts deposited under the G.O.’s ute, Soossie Cat remained in and around the house. If warm she would range around the sunny spots on the verandah but the weather tended to drizzly and cool so she amused herself accompanying the G.O. as he lit or stoked the fire. Then she slept in various locations and positions around it. For variety she reacquainted herself with the inside amenities; no bed or pillow on top or underneath escaped her reconnaissance.

Generally wherever we were Soossie Cat wasn’t far away, happy for company, to check out the contents of a cup or glass and taste whatever we were eating. On our last night she moved from the fire to the rug near our bedroom door. I deposited her on the bed and she remained quiet at the foot between us, with only one midnight lap around our heads before re-settling until the G.O.’s early morning bathroom visit. When we later emerged she was asleep in the chair on the verandah outside our bedroom door.

Soossie Cat ordinarily has a healthy appetite but pregnant it is colossal… as are her farts… oh dear. On the morning we were returning to the city as we went to drive out, Soossie Cat was back over the fence with LHS neighbour, who I felt it only fair as I was saying farewell to warn that as Soossie Cat had eaten all the tinned cat food on hand her breakfast had been a large-ish can of tuna in springwater and leftover half of a boiled egg…

Note: We’re cat lovers who believe we aren’t currently in a position to provide a suitable home environment to a cat either at our tiny Sydney apartment or our part-time house at Taylors Arm, but wear the invisible sign that attracts cats. We’ve sadly and responsibly twice surrendered kittens to organisations which can find them homes, and we provide what care we are able for city independent living cats we encounter. Soossie Cat although quite domesticated with us, and now LHS neighbour, is somewhat an independent living cat. We believe up until last year she resided among an excess of cats and small dogs at a quite undomesticated house up the road. When the house burned down Soossie Cat approached our house in proximity of LHS neighbour’s cats, and decided to remain. Soossie Cat is terrified of the G.O.’s ute when it is running [ as opposed to my cat Jack who in his day waited at the gate for car rides up to the house, and regarded vet visits as a social outing ]. We bear in mind vet care and spaying are necessary, however being caged and driven to town to be handled by strangers will be also be traumatic for Soossie Cat. We’ll attempt it in due course…

a Claytons cat

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Just as negotiating our work-life city-country balance leaves us feeling we have a Claytons life, we now appear to have, for the moment at least, a Claytons cat to go with it.

Both the G.O. and I are cat, and dog, lovers and have in the past shared our lives with domestic four-legged-furry-ones. Since then, all the while we’ve been muttering our mantra we do not have room in our life, literally, for a cat, making do with pats from neighbourhood cats and befriending a couple of strays around our city apartment locale.

Late last year at Taylors Arm a little black cat started hanging around between our and both neighbours’ yards. Not uncommon as there was always an overflow from the too-numerous cats belonging to a house further up the road, and we’ve taken a couple of kittens to the local RSPCA. Around the time that house burned down is when the black cat started hanging out with LHS neighbour’s cats (of that same origin) but towards the end of our late January Australia Day long weekend stay she started waiting outside our back fence for food but wouldn’t come in. On our last day she waited and would only eat inside the fence near where the G.O.’s ute was parked.

Upon our return a few months later at Easter, Black Cat promptly appeared in our carport, waiting expectantly. After being fed, she settled in for the short duration of our stay. LHS & RHS neighbours said they’d seen her on our verandah and had been feeding her but she was too wild for any other contact. Hmmm, this is the same Black Cat, which we now called Soossie-Dorrie-Floss who meowed for food, followed the G.O., jumped on laps, wandered through our house and annexed the comfy pozzies.

A Soossie-Cat's life
A Soossie Cat’s life

Not sure that Soossie Cat’s attachment to us was permanent (after all we’d had LHS neighbour’s grey cat aka Crazy Cat as a holiday houseguest before she gifted him to friends when he couldn’t cope with the two old semi-stray cats in her keeping) we ascertained from LHS neighbour that Soossie Cat was being fed, found out the RHS neighbours continued to be a food source also, and returned to our city life.

My familiarity with the city strays thankfully had given me some independent living cat perspective, and allayed the G.O.’s concerns about me getting attached and possibly broken-hearted. In our absence Soossie Cat selected our house & inhabits it of her own free-will, and has other choices should she exercise them. So we left her with food and assurances from the neighbours, whom she seems disinclined to move in with, that they will feed and look out for her.

When we arrived for the June long weekend visit Soossie Cat wandered out from the sunny verandah greeting us like we’d only been away for the day… quickly drew our attention to the empty food bowl and resumed her occupation of the interior comforts, now accessible. LHS neighbour reported that in our absence Soossie Cat was hanging out with her cats and being fed.

I like it!
I like it!

Soossie Cat is very much at home in the country so taking her to the city isn’t an option. I had hoped, and still do that Soossie Cat will shift camps to LHS neighbour. But just in case not, I offered a little extra comfort (mostly to myself, I think) providing Soossie Cat with an old flannelette drop sheet at the spot she’d been sleeping in the G.O.’s shed, and unearthed for the verandah a cat igloo & crochet rug I’d stored since Baddy Cat left us over 11 years ago. The G.O. said of the igloo, she won’t go in there. We’d barely turned our backs and Soossie Cat proved him wrong.

What does the future hold? You never do know, sometimes things you really want happen but not the way you think…

Note: Claytons  is the brand name of a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beverage coloured and packaged to resemble bottled whisky. It was the subject of a major marketing campaign in Australian and New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s, promoting it as “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”… the name has entered into Australian and New Zealand vernacular where it represents a “poor substitute” or “an ineffective solution to a problem”. It can also be used to describe something that is effectively in existence but does not take the appropriate name, e.g. a common-law couple might be described as having a “Claytons marriage”.


the doctor

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 I have the busy blahs diagnosis of dullness work-life disorder   My white coated friend  prescribes apply cat fur  thoroughly each day.

I have the busy blahs
diagnosis of dullness
work-life disorder.
This white coated friend
prescribes apply cat fur
thoroughly each day.

when pumpkins prowl and black cats gleam

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halloween haiku

Halloween Haiku dedicated to H.R.H. RC Cat

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~Author Unknown

the kindness of strangers

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Sydney has just experienced 10 consecutive days of miserable rainy winter weather, and I haven’t been out much. Inspired by a quick walk up to Newtown in between showers yesterday, greeted warmly enroute by our little grey furry buddy Davros, I put together a retrospective of neighbourhood cat photos.

Due to our city, tiny apartment, work centric existence the G.O. and I cannot rationalise completing our household with a cat or dog, as we both have in the past.

To allay this lack we make financial contributions to the local Cat Protection Society and when out walking avail ourselves of local neighbourhood cats happy to offer attention, pats and a top up of fur.

“A neighbour’s cat, sitting on the wall, waiting to be stroked, brightens up an  otherwise miserable walk to work.” Author Unknown

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No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch.” Lleo F. Buscaglia

There are also two neighbourhood dogs on our route both of whom we’ve known since pups: Jasper, on George St, a black lab who barks whenever he sees my phone-camera; and Axel, on Flora St, a bull mastiff who requires both hands for a pat. Hence no pics.

If, as I do, you enjoy virtual cats, you might also want to take a look at these blogs:

Ginge Club

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge



Pete Denton – Writer

Kitty Bloger

Seven Legged Express Journey

and the post about how the G.O. and I came to live in this neighbourhood thanks to a ginger cat.

False awakening

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The memory and sensation of my fingers gripping coarse fur and my own screams waking me to a room that was usual in every way except one, remains strong and tactile. My logic has tried to explain it away as a type of false awakening dream but 12 years after it last happened, I still wonder.

I mentioned in the post if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more  about writing inspiration… “Previously I wrote a short story about not a dream, recounting the events where I was asleep and my then husband morphed into a werewolf beside me in bed. It wasn’t a dream. It did happen. That it occurred annually three times, and the two subsequent times my other sleeping companion, Baddy Cat, stood guard… gives the it was real argument weight”.

Werewolves were a topic again last week when Buried Words and Bushwa posted Death of a werewolf. 1893. Commenting, my thoughts returned to the experience, and the 500 word short story I wrote about it for fantasy genre competition. There are 2 versions: the real, and the vamped up version I submitted. For me, writing about something that happened is enjoyable, so I blog. Easy craft of short story writing still eludes me. I find it hard work. Out of curiousity I did a compare of the 2 versions, and the result is the version below.

The Werewolf

Screaming. Someone was screaming. I opened my eyes. The screaming stopped. I thought I heard my husband ask A voice asked “Are you alright?”. I rolled over turned to face him my husband. There was enough light in the room to perceive a Instead, the moon lit the menacing shape of the werewolf lying next to me, asking “You were screaming. What’s wrong?”. I blinked unbelievingly and otherwise too terrified to move,  my arm instinctively shot out to push him away keep it at bay. As my hand met the primitive fur on his of its back, I struggled to comprehend. I looked at my the contrast of my own pallid arm and my hand firmly holding against the dark hairy body at bay, and around my bedroom, yes, everything was normal except there was a werewolf next to me, speaking to me.

His Its brown eyes shone glittered, looking at me quizzical and concerned speculatively. In the soft darkness I could discern his a face, although furry and dog like, did not look evil, just scary hirsute and primordial. His The body and coarse fur felt dense and muscular against my fingertips. When the werewolf spoke his voice had a soft growl like timbre, the menace of its voice belied the ordinary words, “What’s wrong? Did you have a nightmare? “Was I having a nightmare? I asked myself. I couldn’t think remember what I had been dreaming or why I would have been screaming. Now it seemed I was awake and conversing with a werewolf. A one sided conversation, as I was vocally paralysed.

Only Slow seconds had passed but they were slow seconds, stretched out with fear. “What are you doing here?” was the response I eventually managed. Again, the puzzled look. The werewolf’s eyes were gentle and expressive but his muzzle as he spoke revealed long, pointed, yellowed incisors. “What do you mean?” he asked back. I struggled to verbalise my thoughts, “You’re a werewolf” was the only response I eventually managed. He looked at me, then down at himself. His The werewolf’s expression showed no trace of reaction but its eyes glinted evilly like deep set coal fires. When it spoke, the muzzle revealed long, pointed, yellowed incisors. “You’re dreaming, go back to sleep” he it responded, breath fetid with death, and as he it looked deep into my eyes, sleep reclaimed me.

I next awoke in the early morning light, my grey cat curled at my side watching over me. As I remembered the night, I rolled over anticipating with dread anticipation of the werewolf, my arm outstretched, but my husband’s pale skin shone faintly in the light from the window. The cat nudged against my arm and I slept again. In the morning I asked my husband “Do you remember last night?”. “Yes, you were dreaming had a nightmare” was his only short response.

The next following night I felt reluctant and uneasy so I delayed as I prepared for bed. My husband was already sleeping by the time tiredness prevailed and I eventually fell asleep with the cat next to guarding me. I awoke to her licks on Her warning growl woke me, my arm already rigid arm and my hand enmeshed in the rough texture of the werewolf’s fur. My As my eyes recognised the same dark sinister shape, I closed them again and when they reopened, it revealed what my fingertips had felt in that moment, the change back to the bare skin of my husband.

The grey cat always slept with me after that, and although my sleep suffered with expectation there were no further visitations, until exactly a year later,mail I awoke to her licks on my arm outstretched, hand planted against its back her urgent growls opened my eyes to the sinister form once again revealed by the light of the December full moon.

According to the consensus of dream interpretation websites, and best said by Blackridinghood “To dream of werewolf means that someone you love and trust has revealed (or is hiding) a different side of themselves. They are hiding something important from you.” Hell yes, didn’t that turn out to be so. False awakening indeed.

If you dream of a ginger cat, love is in your heart

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If you dream of a ginger cat, it could also mean it infiltrated your dream to persuade you to move to an apartment convenient to its needs. That’s what happened to me.

When offering guidance my dreams come through not necessarily loud and clear, more often like a cryptic crossword clue, which I’ve never had a talent for. Fortunately cryptic dream clues are often accompanied by a feeling, sixth sense or message.

My dreams are frequent and various: recall, processing, healing, psychic, recurring, nightmares, and messages which are usually delivered just before I wake. Sometimes I wake with the dream in my head, or later the memory is triggered. Other times the dream will be hazy, difficult to recall or simply puzzling. I recently I had a mixed mode dream in answer to a request of the Universe for inspiration for a short story. It got me thinking about ways dreams have inspired me.

The ginger cat dream stands out because it’s the reason we came to be at our current apartment, and living with the repercussions. Our beloved Darlington apartment was to be sold and we needed to find another. I looked at real estate rentals online, found a contender a few blocks away, lodged an e-application prior to viewing the apartment. The application required more details than we submitted for our mortgage.

Before I could view the property my sister rang asking for my assistance while she was O.S. to liaise on her behalf with the managing agent of her rental apartment as the tenant was moving out. No problem, I could do that. A few hours later she called back just as I’d been about to call her… I’ve been thinking, you don’t suppose we both said. Talking it over in the evening the G.O. & I both had gut feelings that renting my sister’s Erskineville apartment rather than the other was the right option but the fact her apartment had no parking niggled us with uncertainty. We owned two cars & a motorbike, and coped with a single car space and on-street parking. At Erko there was no car space and oversubscribed demand for limited street parking.

Upon waking the next morning, I said to the G.O. listen to this and tell me what you think… I had a dream I was waiting on the road to the Erko apartment and a ginger cat came up to me, so I fed it some of the hamburger I had and it jumped into my handbag. The feeling accompanying the dream was to go with my sister’s apartment. And that’s all it took. We did. We found car spaces, at a cost, but the proximity to the train line and consequential grime & noise has led us to suspect the ginger cat had his own agenda in commandeering my dream.

A few weeks after moving, I looked from our balcony into the small adjacent park between the street and the train line, and there he was, the ginger cat of my dream. The neighbours knew his story. Ginger was a commitment phobe. His dad was half wild and showed up occasionally – once I’ve seen, his mother disappeared, and brother taken in by another neighbour of whom Ginger was very wary. Ginger had briefly been homed, desexed and tagged but absconded to street life and charity of the neighbourhood. He was well liked, fed and affectionate on his own terms. His routine was to show up in the park most evenings or mornings. One or more of Ginger’s supporters would appear with a bowl of food, and socialise with him. Ginger was happy with pats and rubs even before food. But don’t touch too much and respect his boundaries. Ginger could have come home with any us but he made his preferences sharply clear.

When construction work commenced near the train line, Ginger moved around to the common area between the apartment buildings, where we’d spy him less often but give him a meal when we did. But again footpath construction and workmen disrupted his environment, and we hadn’t seen him since May last year. It doesn’t mean I don’t look. I do. Every day.

Then it happened, when I wasn’t looking, busy chatting. A few days ago, the G.O. and I were walking through the common area between the apartment buildings, and spied a ginger lump in the bushes. There was Ginger Boy – appearing well, wary, affectionate, and a happy recipient of a tin of cat food.

Everyone dreams. The G.O. says he doesn’t dream much. He’s recounted a few dreams to me, mostly about cars, motorbikes or work – things which preoccupy his mind. I’m guessing he dreams more than he recalls. Dreams have always interested me. They’ve been attending my life for as long as I can remember. I trust my dreams and know them well.

I wonder if other people have crazy dreams that impact their waking life and if the effects are as tangible as mine?