Tag: cats

Cat Logic

Cat Logic

You knew it was going to happen. Why would you even try?

In the world of t’internet, there exists the term, “cat logic”. It’s both hashtag and explanation, description and exclamation, and it’s one of those wonderful phrases that makes me happy about the existence of social media and the internet in general. Seriously, google “cat logic”.

You’re welcome.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, I’m going to share a few examples of Layla’s cat logic, as it’s a wonderful thing. I may also attempt to relate them to the life of non-felines, to prove that I’m using my blog for more than just sharing photos of my cat.

That may or may not work.

Obviously, Layla shares the usual feline traits. If it was bought for her to sleep in or play with, she wants nothing to do with it. Favourite sleeping places are my lap (or back, if I’m in bed), or anywhere that makes it awkward to get up/sit down/open doors/carry on life in general. Favourite playthings (despite the half-suitcase of Australian catnip toys I carted back to France for her on my last trip) are my hair ties, a drawstring from the SO’s PJs, and crumpled bits of paper. Every time a cat sitter looks after Layla, they very diligently collect all the hair ties and put them away on a shelf somewhere. They must think I’m some sort of hair tie stripper, flinging multi-coloured elastic bands about the house willy-nilly. Because one hair tie is not enough, obviously. It must be every hair tie I put down, no matter where that may be.

This is fine.

I go through a lot of hair ties.

But these are all cat logic traits shared with most cats I know, along with the astonishingly accurate foreknowledge that allows her to come and sit on my lap at the exact moment I need to get up. But Layla has her own wonderful quirks.

She will only sleep on the spare bed if I’ve stripped all the bedding off, including the mattress cover. Apparently this makes it a wonderfully comfortable place to nap, so much so that she only moves for food. Which is unfortunate, as vacuuming mattresses is not as easy as washing cat hair off sheets.

If we’re going out for the day, she must go out in the last minutes before we leave, despite the fact that she’s lazy and spends almost all day sleeping inside. This goes double if it’s raining and/or we’ve spotted some of the neighbourhood strays in the area. With no cat flap, this means we spend all day wondering how many fights she’s got into (Layla has never been known to walk away from a fight. She thinks she’s posh because she’s from Harrogate, but she’s actually very scrappy for a small cat), and return home to an aggrieved kitty, complaining about being left out where she can’t get to her biscuits.

I don’t care if there ARE two doors and three other windows open. Open THIS one.

She likes to sleep in cupboards. This is something that she shares with many other felines, but the problem is that she can’t really meow. She puts an awful lot of effort in, and you can see her sides heave as she pushes the air out – but if any sound joins it, it’s a tinier squeak than most kittens have. Which means that, if we haven’t noticed her go into a cupboard, it can take a long time to find her again. She ended up spending all day in one when we thought she’d done her usual Great Escape, only to panic when we returned home to find she wasn’t waiting for us. It took about an hour of frantic calling and searching outside before we thought to check the cupboards. To be fair, she was sound asleep, so I don’t think it was much of an issue.

And it looks even worse in reality.

She doesn’t like fresh fish, chicken, or meat. She doesn’t even like fancy cat food. Which is good, because there’s never any need to worry about leaving food out, but also bad, because when she occasionally goes off her food, I don’t have many options. Not that I’m entirely complaining that the cheapest, nastiest supermarket own brand food is her preference. Oh, and pork pies. That’s the only food she’s ever stolen. Which may say something about the composition of pork pies.

Layla, unlike many animals, isn’t at all bothered by loud noises. I remember the first Guy Fawkes after she adopted me, I spent a fortune on a Feliway plug-in, Feliway spray, Valerian drops for cats, etc, etc. I tried everything I could think of (or read about) to make sure she was going to feel safe when the fireworks started. Her ears barely twitched. I, however, was a nervous wreck. On the other hand – apparently the SO’s winter jacket is terrifying and he can’t put it on in the house any more. (Edit – I also discovered yesterday that toothpaste boxes are Very Scary.)

If she’s outdoors and feels a hairball coming on, she runs inside and finds a rug to vomit on, then goes back out. (In one house, there was only one small rug in the entire downstairs, everything else being smooth flooring. She always found it).

She never, ever walks on the kitchen counter, but every other surface in the house is fair game. This is not something I’ve taught her.

I hate air conditioning, but if it gets really hot in the summer and I can see she’s getting uncomfortable, I’ll put it on. At which point she will always leave the room. Likewise in winter – she’ll sleep in the bedrooms where there’s no heating on, rather than in the living room where there is.

Without fail, she leaves the Christmas tree a minimum of two weeks before she attacks it. It’s always just at that point when we’re thinking, “Ah, she’s such a good kitty. We’re so lucky, not having to worry about the tree,” that we come home to utter devastation.

Soon…

Two other things about her, which have nothing to do with cat logic, but which I’ll share as more examples of her lovely oddity: she’s clumsy, and she snores. Both of which are adorable.

And I have, of course, utterly failed to relate any of this to human life, so I’ll just say this – we don’t always have to have reasons for our pathological hatred of certain jackets, or our affection for small cosy spaces. We don’t need fancy things to be happy when small things will do just fine. And, while we may know better, there’s nothing wrong with eating a little cheap and nasty food now and then, just because we like it. A little cat logic never hurt anyone.

How about you? Any examples of cat logic you’d like to share? Or just the lovely quirks of your pets?

What?

 

 

A Halloween Q&A

A Halloween Q&A

I was tagged by Billy Owens Jr in a Halloween Q & A, so you lucky people get to find out more things about me that you never wanted to know! (Yes, I realise that technically it’s not Halloween any more, or even Halloween month, but it’s still closer to Halloween that Christmas. Not that the shops seem to know that…)

If you haven’t come across Billy yet, his website is here and his Twitter here – he’s a wonderful supporter of all writers and indie authors in particular, and is working on an intriguing-sounding superhero story. Thanks for the tag, Billy!

Onwards, then, for the spooky details…

1. Are you a scaredy cat or a horror aficionado?
Umm. When I was a kid I devoured anything horror-ish, the more gruesome the better. I adored anything that made me scared to turn out the lights. I didn’t watch a lot of TV or movies even then, but I read anything scary I could get my hands on, the more teeth and gore on the cover the better. I also slept with my light on for quite a while after reading Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night, purely because I was too scared to reach across the gap between the bed and the light switch. There was also a small incident when I was about 13 and reading Stephen King’s It for the first time – we were living on an island in Tonga, and I was in a separate fale (beach bungalow type thing) to my parents. I did manage to turn the lights out, but then became so sure Pennywise was watching me from just inside the bathroom that I had to sprint through the night and hammer on their door until they let me in. I think I slept on their floor for about a week…

These days I don’t seem to find a lot of horror I actually like. I don’t like splatter, or gore for the sake of gore, and I seem to be more sensitive to some things than I used to be. Anyone got any recommendations for a good old-fashioned supernatural scare?

2. Would you ever consider writing a horror novel?
Ah, now this I’ve actually tried, when I was younger and bleaker. They weren’t very good. My horror short stories were okay, though.

3. What is your favorite bookish costume you’ve ever worn?
When I was growing up, Halloween really wasn’t a thing in New Zealand, and I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a Halloween party as an adult. Although I did once wear a snowman costume to teach a Christmas spin class. Does that count?

4. What is the best bookish costume you’ve seen someone else wear?
I saw a small boy in a full Harry Potter costume while I was in London, which I know is hardly original, but there was no one else in costume around, and he and his dad were just wandering down the street as if this was a normal occurrence. I liked that.

K M Watt short story stories blogs writing reading author writer fantasy contemporary urban ya mg5. What literary villain is your favourite?
Ooh, tricky! ‘Literary’ always makes me think of the classics, so I’d have to go with Mr Hyde, as the idea that the villain is part of us is something that’s always been more scary to me than any monster.

6. Will you be visiting a haunted house this year?
Not intentionally. But you never know.

7. Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go Trick-or-Treating?
Go to a party and have to make small talk while explaining an obscure costume to people, or knock on strangers’ doors and ask them for candy? Why is staying home, drinking tea and reading scary books not an option here?

8. What’s the best Halloween song?
I’m putting a video in here because, predictable as it is, I love this too much not to.

9. What scares you the most about the writing process?
Other people reading it. Which is also the bit I love the most.

10. Monster Mash – If you had to say your antagonist was a mix of two traditional monsters what would those be?
I’ll go with my MG book here, so he’d be… a touch of demi-god, a touch of warlock (stretching the traditional definition here a little).

11. Would your MC be more scared of being left alone in a dark forest or an abandoned castle?
At least one of those things does happen to her. And she’s scared, but she’s also not happy with the people who put her in that situation, which helps her out rather a lot.

12. Does anyone in your WIP believe in ghosts?
Kate, the protagonist, does, because she’s just discovered cats can talk, pixies are real, and there really are monsters under the bed. So she figures the rest must be real too. Everyone else knows that even magical worlds have limits.

Do not mess with the cat.

13. What character would last the longest in a scary movie?
Chester, because he’s a scrappy cat with about five lives still left to him. Plus, like any cat, he looks out for himself rather well.

14. Good witch or bad witch – do you enjoy torturing the characters in your WIP or do you feel bad about it?
I thought I was a good witch, and wasn’t that mean to them, but my beta readers rather disabused me of that notion.

15. Pick a love interest from your WIP: would they be most likely to scream like a little kid or punch someone in the face if they were scared abruptly?
There aren’t any love interests in my WIP, because I have the romantic intelligence of a cabbage. But Kate would probably scream and punch them, then kick them a couple of times just in case.

 

Gratuitous Halloween scary black cat shot.

 

And that is it – Halloween Q&A is done! Thanks again, Billy!

What about you – what’s a spooky fact you’d like to share? Have you seen a ghost? Do you write about them? Tell me below!

Stuff for Sunday – the Cat Edition

Stuff for Sunday – the Cat Edition

You may have noticed that I’m fond of cats. There are a few things that give it away, like, oh, I don’t know – Layla having her own blog this week. And also maybe before. A couple of times. Plus there are my many, many short stories that involve cats. And then, if you’re on social media with me, you have to put up with an overabundance (if that’s possible) of cat photos.

Cats are cool. There’s no arguing with that. Or them, for that matter. Go on, try. I’ll wait.

And because cats are the masters at relaxed days, they seemed an obvious choice for a Sunday.


 

Why a Cat is a Writer’s Best Friend: Feegle Cat Chronicles

“Writers will always have cats because we keep your lap and your lap top warm.

We remind you that there are other living beings on this planet when you’re engrossed in your writing by expressing loudly our hunger or other demands.

We keep you company by being with you as you write without looking over your shoulder and criticising.

We will never judge your writing, mainly because we cannot speak. Not because we are kind.”

The lovely Lisa Sell is ably assisted by her own little furry muse, Feegle, who regularly takes over the blog to make sure things are running correctly. The pictures are pretty cute, too.

 

 

The Great Cat & the Origin of the Universe

“Before there were stars, the Great Cat spun through the cosmos with his bowl of tuna.**

At first the Great Cat was content because he was the First, the Most Important, and the Only. But then he realised his tuna had been sitting in his bowl for more than an hour and was no longer edible, and it didn’t move when he felt like playing.

So he created the earth and made mice to run across it and get eaten.

He created the oceans and made fish to swim through them and get eaten (but only when they came on land, because water is wet and yucky).

And at last he created the skies and made birds to fly through them and get eaten.

And then he slept because he was tired, even though he’d given himself a week to create his realm and it was only 10am on the first day.”

The hugely talented and hilarious A.S. Akkalon is also owned by a cat, as all writers tend to be. And there have been problems with a lion in her kitchen.

 

The Guardian – Top 10 Cats in Literature

“Which was when she explained a great truth to me – that once a literary woman associates her name with cats, no one will take her seriously again.

I have been haunted by that conversation ever since. In my heart, I know that she was right. But on the other hand, cats are such good material.

It seems obvious to me that cats are clever and totally lacking in altruism. This means you can believe almost anything of them.

The following are masterworks by people who were bravely prepared to take the risk of being associated with cats. Noticeably, though, nearly all of them are male, so perhaps the subeditor’s warning should still stand.”

Good thing I was never aiming for a literary career, then.

 

Moshow, The Cat Rapper.

 

 

He raps about cats, and adopting cats, and cat welfare, and cat ladies, and it’s completely hilarious. And if you disagree I don’t think we can be friends anymore. Also absolutely my favourite thing on Instagram!


And that, my friends, is that for this week. What fun things have you come across this weeks? They don’t have to be cat-related, but it helps…

 

Life & How To Cat

Life & How To Cat

Are you ready to take notes, humans?

Layla has made her mark on this blog more than once, and she’s insisting that she be given her chance to shine again. Having ladled out life advice for cats and humans alike, she has some observations on human behaviour that she’d like to share with us.

I say humans, but really, it’s just me. She’s judging me. Which is what cats do, but she could be at least a little subtle about it.

Over to the little furry muse.


Greetings, inferior beings. I’m going to take this chance to enlighten you on a few things, in the hope that my human will also learn. I don’t hold out much hope, though. She’s terribly slow. (K: HEY!)

It seems to me that you two-leggers do dance around things an awful lot. You call it politeness and courtesy. I call it unnecessary. So let’s get a few things straight.

 

Always know your safe places. And escape routes.

1. Hiding is okay.

No self-respecting cat feels social all the time, and if people are going to be pushy, you should feel free to hide under the couch. Or wherever it is you fit, since you’re all a bit over-sized. You get all wound up about being social, but do you do anything about it? No. I went and sat on the roof for half the night when more than the two permitted humans were in the house the other day. The Significant Human kept trying to get me back in, but I wasn’t having any of it. And did she join me when she got tired? Ha! Silly creature.

 

 

Observe: The human has not observed correct petting etiquette. I bite her.

2. Respect your boundaries, and make sure others do, too.

I am a cat of advanced years, and before adopting the SH life was a bit rough. This means that I have no patience for fussing. I will allow the SH to pick me up once a day for a brief cuddle, and for the rest she knows to limit things to some petting and head rubs, strictly on my terms, of course. I am not comfortable with more than that, and I make this clear with a some assertive tail sweeps and, if pushed, an admonitory bite. If you don’t listen, on your own head be it. The SH tries to explain this to guests, so it’s really their own fault if they push things.

 

(K: The conversation tends to go like this:
“Best stop now, she’s had enough.”
“Oh, she’s just playing.”
“No, she’s not. You really need to leave her alone.”
“But she’s sweet really, you’re just – OW!”)

 

You will not touch me with your poison drops.

3. Express your displeasure.

The SH, for reasons known only to herself (K: it’s called politeness, Layla), rarely makes a fuss when things don’t go her way. She sighs a bit, but then continues as if nothing is wrong, although I hear her muttering sometimes. She never seems to actually say, “I don’t like that,” even when, for example, there are people being loud outside her window when she’s trying to sleep. This is, of course, entirely her own fault as she sleeps at ridiculous hours, and always at night. Humans. Anyhow, if I were her size, I’d throw cans at them from the window. Or potatoes. I’m not sure what else potatoes are good for.

To demonstrate how you can be more proactive in expressing your displeasure, here are some real-life examples:

If I am bored with my food, I will stop eating until the SH provides a decent alternative.

If she insists on putting that stinking poison (K: flea treatment, Layla. Flea treatment. You don’t want fleas, do you? L: Don’t be vulgar, I never get fleas. K:…) on the back of my neck, I will retire to a high shelf and glare at her for at least two days.

If she buys the wrong sort of sand stuff for my indoor toilet, I will use the bathmat.

And if she will insist on sleeping past 5am and not responding to the gentle touch (K: ha!) of my paws on her face, I will fart on her pillow and leave.

Make your feelings clear, people. How else will you be relaxed enough to sleep all day?

 

It is not a real mouse, but I will express mild pleasure.

4. Bring gifts to those you love.

The SH does her best, as does the Other Human. They can’t help that they will never be as beautiful, gifted and intelligent as cats (K: can I insert a face palm here?). I do love their big clumsy selves, and to show my appreciation I will on occasion bring them a nice mouse, or a lizard. These critters take some catching, and there is usually some bloodshed involved, but I persist and try to always bring them in alive, so my humans can learn a little about hunting. They normally jump around and shout a lot while they try to catch the gifts, so I feel they do understand how special these little gestures are.

However, they’re not very good at reciprocating. They keep bringing me fluffy mice and fake birds, stuffed with herbs. I know the real ones are tricky to catch, but they could at least try. It’s very lazy.

 

I don’t WANT to sit in this weird room. But someone has to make sure you don’t drown.

5. Look after yourselves.

You don’t sleep enough, particularly during the day. My humans spend all their time out, or rushing around, or tapping on the internet machine, then expect they’ll get enough sleep by lying down in one special room for about seven hours. That is not enough, and besides which everyone knows that night is the time for adventures and playing, not for sleeping. And what’s with the one room? How can you have slept properly if you don’t sleep in every room, every day?

Then there’s the matter of grooming – I never see the humans grooming themselves. They splash water all over the place instead, which I have to supervise closely in case they need rescuing. Worse than kittens.

They also never chuck up hairballs. I know they eat some odd varieties of grass, but it doesn’t seem to work very well. I hate to think of the amount of hair they must have in their tummies.

So, there we go, humans. Please try and emulate cats a little, and your lives will only be the better for it. You can contact me through my human with any questions, or to express adoration and send treats. You’re welcome.


Hard work, all this catting.

There you have it. Layla speaks, and I’m not sure all of it was entirely rubbish. What do you think? Kitty behaviours we should embrace or resist?

 

Catnip, Marmite, and Whittaker’s Chocolate

Catnip, Marmite, and Whittaker’s Chocolate

It’s short story time, so head on over to this week’s offering here, or read on for some background, and a ramble about the things we miss when we move away.


I’m sure my nana had those glasses.

One of the things that you don’t think about, when you’re eighteen and heading out into the world, is that not everywhere will have Marmite. Not New Zealand Marmite, anyway, and as I’ve discussed at length before, any other form is nothing but a treacle-coloured imitation. Whittaker’s chocolate, for some strange reason, is another product that has failed to travel. Inconceivable, really, when you consider they’re just giant slabs of chocolately bliss.

These days, it’s not such an issue – you have all these delivery companies that will happily post you everything you might miss from home, even if you’re weird and like pineapple lumps and burger rings (seriously, I tried those when I moved back to Australia for a while – they’re awful. Evidently teenage me had no taste). This was not the case when I originally left New Zealand, so for a while there my every trip back ended with me dragging an almost-but-not-quite overweight bag through the airport, laden with supplies to last me until the next trip. The first time I went back after being away for probably six years, I discovered 1.2kg jars of Marmite. 1.2kg. Oh yes.

They taste of dust and sadness. What were you thinking, teenage me?

I’m not quite such a hoarder these days, partly because it’s easier to order things on-line than to hope your bag of chocolate and Marmite doesn’t get either squished or left in the sun, and partly because things start tasting different. I don’t know if Whittaker’s has changed its recipe, or if I just remember it differently, but ever since food hygiene was invented and they actually started to wrap their bars, it doesn’t taste the same. It’s still the best chocolate around, but I’m not quite so obsessive over it.

However. Layla is one of those cats that isn’t fussed about catnip, in the normal course of things. Yeah, she’ll have a snuffle of the leaves, but it doesn’t send her silly. And then we discovered a certain brand of Australian catnip.

Gold. Yes it is.

This particular brand is some crazy strain that Layla likes a lot. As in, rubbing it all over her face while crying in delight a lot. And she’s destroyed all the toys that we brought back with us, so I figure this trip my luggage on the way home will consist of Marmite, Tim-Tams (biscuits of joy), and as many of that particular brand of catnip toys as I can find. Which, on reflection, might look a little weird coming through the airport.

“Anything to declare, ma’am?”

“Ah – cat toys, yeast spread, and sugary snacks?”

It’ll be worth it, though.

Read The Smuggler now!


How about you? What do you miss when you’re away from home? Anything you remember loving as a kid that now doesn’t taste the same?

Happiness is Australian catnip.
Stuff for Sunday – Weather, Kittens, & Winning Instagram

Stuff for Sunday – Weather, Kittens, & Winning Instagram

It seems we found our level last week, as Cake Wrecks was the one link everyone was talking about. I should have guessed, really – badly-made baked goods are rather more fun than philosophical musings. And therefore I shall deliver more oddities and less serious stuff. After all, there’s more than enough serious stuff in the world, so why shouldn’t we have more kittens and cake wrecks?

So let’s jump right in…

 

 

Attack of the Cute

This is an adorable website. It’s nothing but photos, gifs and videos of ridiculously cute animals. And they all look like furry little models, because all the photos are exceptionally good – if not professional, then not far off that level.

I tried to limit myself to just looking at the home page. (I also have to keep an eye out for the little furry muse. I mean, if she came along and found me looking at photos of other cats…).

 

 

Village Name Generator

I’m pretty sure that there’s no way a name as good as Upton Snodsbury or Barton in the Beans could ever be invented, and whenever I try to come up with good village names they always sound very obviously fake to me. And then I discovered this.

I’ve linked to the blog post, but if you scroll down you’ll discover the link to the English Village Name Generator, which gave me Toot Hansell and Little Weirding. It makes me terribly happy.

 

 

Celeste Barber

If you haven’t discovered the wonderful Celeste Barber, you must do so immediately. She writes a very funny blog here (although it hasn’t been updated for almost a year, boo), and her instagram is fantastic. All those times you’ve thought that a celebrity’s in a ridiculous pose, or wearing something entirely bizarre? Well.

 

 

 

Windy.ty

This is probably only interesting if you’re a weather geek or like prettily coloured maps, but I love it. You can click anywhere and choose to see wind, cloud cover, temperature etc at any location, all in rather pleasing graphics.

Want to know if it’s snowing in Iceland? Done.

Want to know how strong the wind is in the Southern Ocean? No problems.

Want to know how hot it is in the Gobi Desert? Click and go.

I can waste so much time on this.

 

How about you? Any fun links you’d like to share this week?

 

 

Stuff for Sunday – Planets, Kids’ Mags, & Bad Cakes

Stuff for Sunday – Planets, Kids’ Mags, & Bad Cakes

Somewhat like Friday’s new Frivolities post, I make no promises about how long I’ll keep this up, but I fancied sharing a few things I’ve been reading this week. Some I may have already mentioned on Facebook or Twitter, others I may have forgotten to for one reason or the other. But if you’re looking for a bit of Sunday evening reading, you could do worse than these.

Or you could read some of my short stories over on Wattpad, of course. But if you’ve already exhausted that, here are a few things that caught my eye this week – some silly, some less so.

 

Scoop:

“Scoop is a monthly printed magazine for 8+. Designed to inspire and nurture a love of reading and stories. Every month we bring together a host of incredible writers and illustrators who create original fiction and non fiction, we promise never to talk down to our readers.”

And I really want to subscribe, judging from the list of contributing authors. Research, right?

 

 

 

 

Brain Pickings: Leonard Bernstein on Cynicism, Instant Gratification, and Why Paying Attention Is a Countercultural Act of Courage and Rebellion

“As we grow up and learn to be cynical, Bernstein argues, we gradually stifle this inherent love of learning, turn off our curiosity, and become calcified. Out of that cynicism springs the impulse for instant gratification — the very opposite of the pleasurably protracted challenge of learning.”

Beautifully encouraging.

 

 

 

Nasa: Cassini, the Grand Finale

Because, wow.

 

 

Cake Wrecks:

And now to lower the tone a little.

“A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate – you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it’s simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I’m not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.”

Follow them is you don’t already. Sugary hilarity will ensue. (And yes – that is Batman fighting a Great White with a lightsabre.)

 

 

Buzzfeed: Deep Animal Thoughts

Because how could this not be adorable? Click on the smiling critter and get a deep thought.

“If you get a chance to be weird, take it.”

Win.

 

This is how I spend my Sunday, apparently. What odd or interesting articles have you run across this week?