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Happy Birthday Hexe & Merddin!

When Tim and I went away to Manchester for an overnight last October, we had no idea that the night we got home would be our last night with our cat, Prudence.

Prudence was Tim’s cat. She had wandered into his garden about 12 years prior and just made herself at home. Tim determined that she must be the cat from Prudential, so Prudence became her name. A few years after I moved, when Pru finally decided I was going to stick aound, she accepted me and she became my cat just as much as she had been Tim’s.

In 2014, she had an operation to remove a tumor from the base of her tail. It was cancerous, and the vet told us if it came back there wasn’t going to be any possible treatment other than to make her comfortable. He couldn’t tell us if we would have 2 weeks, months, or years with her. We decided that we would make the hard choice when she was ready, as we were sure she would let us know when she knew it was her time.

While we were away in Manchester, she started gnawing at her leg. I can still remember (and still have a slight stain from it) the puddle she was sat in when we got home. Her cancer had come back, and it was brutal. We spent the last night together all on the sofa bed in the living room and in the morning said goodbye to her. Instead of cremation, we opted to bury her in the garden.

I was distraught. Being home 90% of the time, she and I were companions. She would usually be in the room with me and we would have our little rituals together. I couldn’t even get to sleep the first few days because there was no fuzzy lump purring on me. I slept cuddling a Bagpuss toy and with a white noise app on my tablet set to a cat purr.

It was during this time we started to plan our trip for our anniversary. We were going to go to Yorkshire to see a lecture by Tim Peake. Unfortunately, Tim had to cancel. But we still had a hotel booked for 2 days in Bradford, so that was when my friend stepped in and invited us to come over and visit her and her 6 cats and to pay a visit to the Yorkshire Cat Rescue. We were going just to visit the cats……Tim, Nicola, and I all had the idea in the back of our head that we would get another cat that weekend, but none of us said this thought out loud to each other.

Once we were at YCR, we started off in the adult cat room. There were nice cats, but none that really spoke to us…..until we got to the kitten room.
In the kitten room, we watched a trio of kittens. A rambunctious boy and 2 girls snuggling together on a bed. One of the girls got plucked out to go to her fur-ever home, leaving the other girl trembling and upset. Since we were allowed to open the pens to play with the cats, I opened up the pen and picked the little girl up. She curled up against my chest and started purring! Not wanting to be outdone, her brother poked his head out and climbed straight onto Tim’s back! We had found our kittens.

Since the kittens were in Keighley and we were in Lincolnshire, we made arrangements for my friend Nicola to pick them up for us and foster them for a day or two, when I would come up on the train to retrieve them.
Tim and I were riding on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway that afternoon trying to name them. With our girl being a tortoiseshell , we decided she needed a suitably witchy name. With her brother being ginger, I first naturally considered names out of the Harry Potter Universe…..but somehow Hermione didn’t sound like a good fit for her, and Minerva would only suit a grey tabby….so then we started thinking about our favourite places, and we finally settled on Hexe (German for witch). But what would we name the boy? He needed a suitable name to go along with a witch, and we joked about naming him Aslan…..but then Tim was worried I would come home with a third cat, a white kitten we would name Pax (points if you get the references!!). Somwhere along the line we started thinking about engines – and so Merddin got his name after both the Welsh legend (Merlin) and the double fairlie at one of our favourite Welsh narrow gauge railways. Officially, Hexe is Countess Hexe von Fluffington, and Merddin is Merddin Emrys. (though really, I think he should be Sir Merddin Emrys!). Well, I say officially, but you know….they’re cats.

And here we are…..our kittens are turning one today!! I can’t imagine my life without them in it…..but we do still miss our Proodle Doodle (among her other silly nicknames!)

It’s been a learning curve for us, too. Tim hadn’t had a kitten in many years, and I never had had TWO kittens at once! Merddin finally grew into his ears and feet (and boy has he grown!) and Hexe continues to be our little dainty girl who loves her snuggles, but on her own terms!

Happy Birthday Kittens!!!

(I’ve made both a short and an extended edition of their first year. Watch them both below!)

PS: Did I mention our cats came from Yorkshire Cat Rescue? They are an AMAZING home grown charity and they place cats all over the country! So if you’re looking to adopt, consider YCR…plus you cn ride the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway the same day!
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Rest in Peace, Will 3 Jan 2004 – 13 May 2011

My mom texted Tim last night to have him tell me she was taking my beloved kitty, Will, to the vet. They thought he had a urine infection possibly.

From what I know, his bladder was swollen so badly it caused him to have a heart attack right on the vet’s table. Mom was with him.

I got Will in January 2004. I just decided that I really wanted to have a cat of my own, and so we went off to the humane society in Lancaster, PA. They had two kittens in their kitten room. One was a white girl kitten who was skittish and hid from me in the play room, and the other was Will. He craweled all over me and perched on my shoulder, and I just knew he was the right kitten for me. The vet estimated he was only about 4 or 5 weeks old, so that puts his birthday somewhere around the end of November 2003/beginning of December. I always said that January 3 was his birthday :).

Will originally got his name from Will of Will & Grace….and he would actually watch Will & Grace with me and anytime someone said “Will”, he would look up. He also gained nicknames, like William Shakespeare (espcially after I heard the Arrogant Worms Song “William Shakespeare’s in my Cat”), and even Prince William on occasion.

He was a special kitty. I still remember when he was a kitten and I couldn’t find him anywhere in my apartment…..and then I opened the fridge. He had managed to climb into the fridge while I had been preparing my dinner!

He was a curious and friendly cat. Will expected everyone who walked through the door to greet him and rub his tummy. If you didn’t, he would make sure to rub up against your legs and bother you until you did. He worked better than a doorbell for alerting us to people! He needed to know what you were doing, watching, reading, or eating…he even drank green tea on a few occasions — but no other “people food”. He never begged for food from the table, he just wanted to see what you were eating.

He knew when I was upset and would come and lay down next to me as if to say “it’ll be alright”. When I missed Tim and would be crying, Will was there. If Mom and I were on video chat with each other and Will heard my voice, he came over to “see” me and would try to lick the webcam.

I was looking forward to the day when we could finally move Will over to the UK so he could join us here. I’m going to miss him a lot….that crazy little furball meant the world to me.


Rest in Peace, my brave kitty.

Will
3 Jan 2004 – 13 May 2011

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Wildlife in Our House

I seem to have a knack for attracting wildlife into our house.

Remember the frog in the house when I was a visitor? Back in August, we had another frog in the entry way. That one I accidentally shut the front door on! But don’t worry, he was okay. I just opened the door, and he hopped away.

Then, there are the slugs. I think we’ve had 3 or 4 slugs wander in through the crack under the front door this Autumn. Again, no harm done. Just scoop them up into a bin and toss them back outside.

But recently, I had two different wildlife visitors….

It was towards the end of September, and we started closing some of the windows. I was headed up the stairs with a load full of clean clothing when I saw something red flapping in the guest room. Our guest room is right at the top of the steps, and you can see out of the guest room window as you get closer to the top, so I just thought I saw a bird fly too close to the window. I put the laundry in our bedroom and went to go back downstairs, when I saw the flap again. On further inspection, it turned out to be a butterfly!


Getting the butterfly out was pretty easy, I just reached around it and opened the window and watched it fly away.

Our most recent visitor….well, it took a little bit of effort.

A few days ago I heard flapping coming from inside the wall. I told Tim, and he said that sometimes a bird will put it’s nest in the chimney or fly down and not to worry about it, because it would get itself out eventually.

We have an Esse stove (currently not in use). It’s a solid-fuel stove from the 1950s and I know I’ll have more to say about it after I start using it, but it has it’s own chimney and a little flue box on the top of the stove. Yesterday, I swore I saw a wing in there, but when Tim looked, he didn’t see anything.

This morning, the flapping became worse and I heard a metallic sound. I’m not sure how to describe it, only that I thought the neighbour was out cleaning his gutters because it sort of sounded like a ladder. Again, we ignored it….until I walked into the kitchen to make Lunch.

What did I see?

Yes, that’s a bird, and he’s inside my stove. My stove looks a little like this:
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only it’s not blue and has the boxy thing all the way over on the right. Inside that boxy thing? Was where the bird was!

Fortunately, Tim was able to open it up and catch the bird to release it outside, and we watched it fly up to the top of our apple tree.

[*Stove photo from Kernow Coal Fires]

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Feeding Lambs

Since I promised I would blog about this…

My friend Lynne had some lamb visitors at her house a few weeks ago. Her daughter’s husband raises lambs, and these were lambs that were rejected by the mother. Since they were all visiting Lynne this weekend, the lambs had to come along, too. Mom and I got to feed them their dinner!

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Kitten on the Tracks

[This entry refers to an event from March 2009. As requested, I will be going back and blogging events from January – April.]

Tim’s cat, Prudence, likes to be outside when there are people around. She also likes to walk around on the garden rail tracks:

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Watch out for the that train!

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