Tag Archives: Cat

Our New Addition …

Bronte2I couldn’t help myself. I was (and still am) deep in mourning after my beloved cat Dora was knocked down and killed recently.

I shouldn’t have looked at the cats seeking their ‘forever home’. Their big, pleading eyes, their sad stories, their heart-wrenching starts in life.

So we now have a new addition to our little family – Brontë. Quick explanation about the somewhat pretentious name: she arrived with the name ‘Bronwen’, and, much as I love Welsh names, it seemed a bit of an odd choice for a tiny kitten, not even six months old.

She wouldn’t answer to my new choice of name, ‘Flump’ nor The Teenager’s, ‘Pancake’ or ‘Dog’. We tried out ‘Batwoman’ and ‘Kerpow’ (check out her Bat Mask), to no avail. So she became ‘Bronnie’ until one evening I called her ‘Bronty’ by mistake and she came trotting over. Result. Being of a literary persuasion (lol), she is now named after one of my favourite authors.

Anyway, she has settled in remarkably well, so well that she enjoys nothing more than scampering up my curtains and sitting on the wooden pole, grinning down at me. She also tears around the house in an endless loop and can make a toy out of anything – she’s smitten with my hair bands and has fished out seventeen of them from a bowl in my bedrooom (I counted) and laid them all on one of my rugs in an impressive pattern and every so often she returns to rearrange them.

In short, she fits in well. She’s also great to snuggle up with when the dreaded mid-afternoon MS crash happens. We mute the telly and radio, choose our blanket and flop onto the sofa.

Plus, she adores The Teenager and he’s in awe of her acrobatics (and her fondness for squatting in my larger plants before I can chase her off), although she is now banned from his bedroom after she stole his expensive headphones.

She may be hard work right now, but I wouldn’t be without her. A bit like The Teenager …

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A Sad, Wan Little Face…

man fluThe Teenager has been poorly.

To make sure he wasn’t blagging, I immediately ran the Playstation Test – waving the controller in front of him to check for a response. Nothing.

Just to make absolutely certain, I resorted to the Nutella Test, offering to fetch him some toast slathered in the stuff. Not a flicker.

Oh. It was probably serious.

The Teenager is rarely ill, so when he is, he seems to display a dazzling array of symptoms, as if he’s been saving them up for a special occasion. Luckily he made it to the loo in time (and time again), the Bloo was changed and I sloshed a bottle of bleach around (in the toilet, not on The Teenager).

He lay in bed, tossing and turning. I then heard through the rugby-grapevine that a load of kids had been felled by the same bug. All Sunday and into Monday I was the butler/nursemaid. I fetched this, I carried that, I soothed and reassured. I had to work part of Monday so my mum took over, dashing down to my house with sandwiches and treats plus the ubiquitous biscuits for the cat (she’s not daft, she hears my mum coming a mile off).

She called me in work – ‘Well, he’s had half a sandwich, a wee bit of lettuce and some Smarties and the cat’s had all her biccies. Oh and I found that dead bird she left outside and put it in your recycling bin, dear. It was a robin, poor thing.’

By Monday evening, he was returning to normal, managing a short Skype call with his friend – ‘yeah, it was mega – all over the bathroom, you should have seen it.’ By Tuesday, he was wolfing down a pie, asked for chocolate and watched a football match on telly. All back to normal. A sigh of relief.

He was packed off to school this morning, totally recovered and no doubt with a stronger immune system but without his chemistry homework completed. All was right with the world again.

I got to work. Gah. The boss turns up clutching a medical cupboard full of cough/indigestion/headache/throat tablets. He’s unable to eat his usual morning pastry and orders an immune-boosting smoothie at our coffee-house catch up meeting instead of his usual caramel macchiato. Here we go again.

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Christmas CtI am one present away from completing my Christmas shopping.

Before you start pelting me with mince pies (or Terry’s Chocolate Oranges – yes please), I can explain, honestly.

Organising Christmas for the last couple of years has been a bit of a nightmare, so this year I was determined to be calm, cool and collected.

I drew up lists, scoured the internet then decided it’d be far easier just to give everyone a onesie. Present list – big tick. The Teenager could have a Superman one, The Boss could have a Homer Simpson one and I’m guessing they make them for cats now too.

After running the idea past The Teenager (who looked at me in horror, told me he wouldn’t be seen dead in an oversized babygro and turned his music up even louder) it was back to the drawing board.

So now I have a whole stack of carefully-chosen presents, reams of wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tags. All waiting for that advert-inspired magical evening where I will settle myself down with a glass of mulled wine, Christmas carols playing in the soft-focus background and fight with the sticky tape and try to catch the cat when she runs off with the ribbon.

The internet has been a blessing, although I’m not sure my postman sees it that way, as he struggles up the path day after day. I’ve ordered everything from it – right down to a reel of invisible thread to hang my home-made stars with. Yup, getting the shopping out the way has given me time to pick up my glue gun. I’m going to get crafty this year. My Christmas wreath was a bit of a disaster (Pinterest made it look so easy, bah), but you can’t go wrong with stars. Can you?

So this year I won’t be barging my way through crowds. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’d slip unnoticed to the ground, trampled by hordes of eager shoppers poking each other in the eye with jumbo rolls of wrapping paper.

For people with MS, Christmas is a society-endorsed period of doing what I am an expert at – dozing off on the sofa in front of rubbish telly – and I intend to make the most of it.

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Dating. With MS.

GoslingSimone from Manchester is my guest blogger today – she’s just started blogging, so check it out here. She was diagnosed with MS in 2006:

Without boring you with details of my diagnosis, aged 30, steady relationship, wedding planned; I then found myself diagnosed and single aged 30 and 2 months. Those last two months were only because it took 6 weeks to track him down after he Usain Bolted away from the neurologist’s consulting room.

So, on top of the regime of injections, aches, needles, bladder nonsense, constant terror at an uncertain future – I also had to get back on my bike and ‘try to find a boyfriend’. *

After 2 years, hiding in my house, holding on tight as I held it together; persuasion from well-meaning friends persuaded me to date online to seek my Manchester Ryan Gosling who would be able to see past those two hated capitalised letters and see me. Guardian Soulmates seemed the place to start. Surely the men on there were pretty tolerant? They all said they were and had endless photos of themselves cuddling chimps and demonstrating kayaking heroics.

Reader, I have not the time to tell you about the horrors I endured. The sociopathic Greg Rusedski lookalike OR the mountain climbing freak who listened with tears in his eyes as I told him of my MS, then MADE me climb Mount Snowden ‘to prove to myself that the MS was no barrier’ and then dumped me the next day as he couldn’t face the prospect of spending his later life as a carer…

I decided that this woman could take no more. I would buy a cat (or rather, an animal with no fur due to allergies); I would stoically face my future alone. Then I received the email in my Soulmates inbox – ‘Mark is interested’. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single individual in possession of an online dating subscription must be in want of a new message. So I replied and we wrote to each other and he was a journalist – light and funny and clever and articulate. I hadn’t told him about my diagnosis but there was time yet and so we met up.

After an odd evening with a morose, half-drunk man, we reached 9pm, by which point he was looking mournfully into his ale and I was imagining what kind of turtle I would buy for company and whether it would cuddle me on winter nights.

I said, ‘Look, this isn’t working, is it – I”m going home.’

He grabbed my arm with tears in his eyes and then said, ‘you’d never be interested if you knew.’

‘Knew what?’ I almost shouted, trying to free my arm and also catch the attention of a member of bar staff.

‘I have MS’ he half shouted/half sobbed.

‘So do I’ – I said quietly.

I took my coat off and we talked non-stop for a further 4 hours.

Dating with MS is hard and complex and awkward and requires honesty, trust and bravery. However, there are moments that make you realise that we’re all dealing with our own crap and it is whether you are willing to start a journey with someone who brings an unwelcome companion to your new relationship.

Incidentally, the journalist guy was definitely NOT worth starting a journey with. Nothing to do with the MS, he was just a self-important heavy drinker with two over-indulged, long-haired cats.

*Mum’s advice every time we talked, for about two years…

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Adorable Dora

Dora the bonkers catThe Teenager and I had a very long chat the other night and we decided to adopt another cat as soon as possible, so I went to Cats Protection yesterday.

He wanted to call the new cat ‘Dog’ or ‘Jam’. At a push, ‘Enchilada’. Hmm. This is the same kid who named my mum’s cat Yoda eight years ago.

Anyway, at the centre there were four long rows of the cutest, saddest cats. Heartbreaking. Half of them were clambering behind the glass, the other half hiding or sitting with their backs turned.

Some of them had sad histories. One had been kicked so badly in the stomach that she had to have an operation. One had lost an eye. Many had been abandoned and some were handed over by owners who could no longer afford to keep them, due to the recession.

I looked around. So many cats, but one stood out. Dora. A dinky little all-black female. Five years old, with a bonkers glint in her eye and I took to her straight away.

Back at reception I handed over my ID, my bank card and my details. I filled in numerous forms, read the small print, promised to take her for her second injection and swore allegiance to Cats Protection. I joked that there was less paperwork when I took my son home from hospital after he was born but that didn’t go down so well.

Dora came through in her basket and we whisked her off to the car. Back home, she has settled in incredibly quickly. When The Teenager came home from school, she jumped straight onto his lap. It feels as if she has been her forever.

Dora could never replace Bubble. She’s her own little character. She seems slightly crazy, but I like that. Having a crazy cat in a crazy world is no bad thing.

p.s. Dora just would not stay still for a second to let me take a proper photo – think she was high on catnip. And we’re going to call her Isadora…

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