Fireworks Time

Now, Norman was quite a tough nut when it came to Fireworks Time, but we still didn’t let him out in the evening around this time of year (no matter how much he stalked the door and looked all dewy eyed and needy to get out).

As the bangs, crackles and thuds went on he barely raised his head off of his favourite cushion. Norman always maintained though that some of his cousins (and doggy friends) wern’t as strong as him, so he still hopes that you’re keeping your beloved four (and two) legged friends safe and warm.

C’mon Norman, you shouldn’t be out here!
Photograph: Ed @ Moggyblog

Reader, here are some tips to keep Moggy and Pooch safe and sound at this time of year. O.k you’ve heard em all before, but doing some of this stuff might save a creature from months of trauma or even an injury… well worth a refresher then! … what say you?

Practical things you can do at firework time:

Provide a hiding place: When animals are scared they may want to hide somewhere. Ideally, you should move your pets to a calmer and quieter environment long before they get scared. Bring cats and dogs safely indoors where possible. If space is not available then use a shed, conservatory or garage as their shelter. (the latter is not ideal though as sound can be made louder in a garage which is empty). Anyway, make sure there’s a safe, dark place available anywhere in your home. An example might be a cupboard with the door left partially open, a soft blanket under a bed or under the stairs might also be good. Ideally somewhere they have hidden before such as in a cardboard box or on their usual pet bed, moved into the middle of the house perhaps.

Keep the noise down: Try and reduce the noise of the fireworks as much as possible by closing the curtains, shutting doors and windows and/or putting a TV or radio on with some soothing music or gentle talking.

Keep ’em indoors: Make sure ‘Mister Tiddles’ and ‘Rex’ have had their toilet breaks before it gets dark. If they are very nervous then plan to go early in the morning or to a quiet place you know (this will be long before the kids out for fun have started gathering). Also, keep outside windows and doors firmly shut to prevent escapes, just in case pets are startled by loud bangs and try to run away.

In the case of cats, keep the litter tray especially clean at this (sometimes) stressful time of year. If it’s not clean and up to scratch they will often choose (as most of you will know already) an inappropriate place instead.

For all our animal companions please make sure they are identifiable. Using a collar with a name tag on is not always comfortable (for cats anyway), but at this time of you might want to have a collar available (these are also useful to attach in the BBQ months when she might stray with the propspect of a free chicken drumstick – Our Norman is notorious for this, bringing all manner of chops and drumsticks to the back door here, and who can blame him!) Of course the modern way to identify your companion is to get him/her micro-chipped.

Visit the Vet: If your pet is particularly nervous then please contact your vet about the many possible temporary calming methods available, including clever pheromone sprays and mild sedatives which can help. However these may be a little pricey for some pockets!

Keep a distance: Having your own family bonfire? You might want to think about buying fizzing or cascading fireworks and sparklers rather than the noisy bangers and ‘roman candles’. Also, be sure to build your bonfire and let off fireworks as far away from your home as possible, thus minimizing any adverse effects on confused and (sometimes) terrified animals indoors.

Check your bonfire area: Of course this does not mean that other wild animals will not be affected so please always check in and around your bonfires before lighting them to ensure that no small animals are curled-up asleep inside. You might even want to make a bit of a natural racket to scare creatures away before you start the proceedings.

… and Relax: Try to ignore the nervous behaviour of your animal companion as much as possible, but do let them sit by you if they so wish. If you give them too much attention when they’re scared you’ll be reinforcing the message that there is something to be scared of out there.

Reward: Giving a favourite treat (a nice piece of fish or a tender bone perhaps) may well help to keep their minds off the things going on outside. A little at a time might be a good idea, so they don’t over indulge. However, don’t be surprised if they don’t eat it! Above all when it’s all over and they re-emerge from their den, give them some extra fuss (and another treat) for having been so brave.

The ‘ban the bang’ campaign poster
Photograph: Ban The Bang!” campaign

So, A very happy (and safe) Happy Guy Fawkes Night, Diwali, Independence Day, New Year …. to you all from Stormin’ Norman (god bless him up there), the new Little Oscar, and yours truly.

First Published: Nov 5th, 2011

The King O’ The Cats

The King o’ the Cats is a folk tale from the British Isles. The earliest known example is found in Beware the Cat, written by William Baldwin in 1553, though this story itself is related to the first century story of “The Death of Pan”.

Other notable versions of this cat tale include one in a letter written by Thomas Lyttelton first published in 1782.

M. G. (Monk) Lewis the English novelist and dramatist, told the story to Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1816, and a further version was adapted by Joseph Jacobs, the Australian folklorist and writer, from several sources, including one collected by Charlotte S. Burne (the first woman president of the Folklore Society).

Walter Scott reported that ‘the King O’ The Cats’ was a well known nursery tale in the Scottish Highlands in the eighteenth century. It can be categorised as a “death of an elf (or cat)”. It is a common type of tale you can look up on the webpage Aarne-Thompson-Uther Classification of Folk Tales

“Well Osc I never knew that an “elf” was a cat! …. mind you you’re a bit of an impish elf yourself on occasion”

On to the story…I suggest you turn down the lights…and turn off all distractions … :- )

The King O’ The Cats

One winter’s evening the sexton’s wife was sitting by the fireside with her big black cat, Old Tom, on the other side, both half asleep and waiting for the master to come home.

They waited and they waited, but still he didn’t come, till at last he came rushing in, calling out, ‘Who’s Tommy Tildrum?’ in such a wild way that both his wife and his cat stared at him to know what was the matter.

‘Why, what’s the matter?’ said his wife, ‘and why do you want to know who Tommy Tildrum is?’

‘Oh, I’ve had such an adventure. I was digging away at old Mr Fordyce’s grave when I suppose I must have dropped asleep, and only woke up by hearing a cat’s Miaou.’

‘Miaou!’ said Old Tom in answer.

‘Yes, just like that! So I looked over the edge of the grave, and what do you think I saw?’

‘Now, how can I tell?’ said the sexton’s wife.

‘Why, nine black cats all like our friend Tom here, all with a white spot on their chestesses. And what do you think they were carrying? Why, a small coffin covered with a black velvet pall, and on the pall was a small coronet all of gold, and at every third step they took they cried all together, Miaou — ‘

‘Miaou!’ said Old Tom again.

‘Yes, just like that!’ said the sexton; ‘and as they came nearer and nearer to me I could see them more distinctly; because their eyes shone out with a sort of green light. Well, they all came towards me, eight of them carrying the coffin, and the biggest cat of all walking in front for all the world like — but look at our Tom, how he’s looking at me. You’d think he knew all I was saying.’

‘Go on, go on,’ said his wife; ‘never mind Old Tom.’

‘Well, as I was a-saying, they came towards me slowly and solemnly, and at every third step crying all together, Miaou –‘

‘Miaou!’ said Old Tom again.

‘Yes, just like that, till they came and stood right opposite Mr Fordyce’s grave, where I was, when they all stood still and looked straight at me. I did feel queer, that I did! But look at Old Tom; he’s looking at me just like they did.’

‘Go on, go on,’ said his wife; ‘never mind Old Tom.’

‘Where was I? Oh, they stood still looking at me, when the one that wasn’t carrying the coffin came forward and, staring straight at me, said to me — yes, I tell ‘ee, said to me, with a squeaky voice, “Tell Tom Tildrum that Tim Toidrum’s dead,” and that’s why I asked you if you knew who Tom Tildrum was, for how can I tell Tom Tildrum Tim Toldrum’s dead if I don’t know who Tom Tildrum is?’

‘Look at Old Tom, look at Old Tom!’ screamed his wife.

And well he might look, for Tom was swelling and Tom was staring, and at last Tom shrieked out, ‘What — old Tom dead! then I’m the King o’ the Cats!’ and rushed up the chimney and was nevermore seen.

trad.

Happy scrappy Christmas

In the doghouse at xmas

Photograph: Ed

My human keepers are a little concerned that I am getting a bit chunky lately (hello…talk about pot and kettle!) so therefore my food is being carefully measured out into neat portions every day, to keep me on the straight and narrow.

The hunger pangs have become so bad that I have now had to take matters into my own paws by scouring the local neigbourhood to find bits ‘n dabs to supplement my enforced diet (…and it’s Christmas time too to boot…. Bah Humbug to the mean so’n so’s!)

No food up here

Photograph: Ed

But what delights I have found and brought home? Bits (and sometimes even great chunks) of bread that the neighbours have left out for the birds (not that tasty but my it does fill my tum up nicely). No sooner have I gotten through the door with my spoil….that the said snack has been whipped off me tout-de-suite.

…or up here

Photograph: Ed

Why, on this very day, when I reached up into the fridge and grabbed a small piece of chicken from my own special dish (which of course I recognise as ‘the blue stubby one’), I was told off in no uncertain terms and landed up in the dog house!

Still, I will never give up in my quest for more food – well I am a cat after all!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all you cats out there and may we all be fit and healthy enough to climb trees in 2017 to ours hearts content!

Merry Christmas Folks and Moggs … I just had a load o’ Turkey and now I’m sorted

Kitty’s Kittens

Kitty is a stray cat who lives in the Roscommon area of Ireland. Here are some photos of Kitty and her recent offspring.

Cat(s) of the Month ~ September 2016
Kitty supervising the youngsters
Photo: Al
Kittens pose for the camera
Photo: Al
Starting to prowl
Photo: Al
All snug in the sunshine
Photo: Al
An Adventure begins
Photo: Al

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2016 to human folks and all animals alike!
It’s me! little Oscar
Photograph: ed
My name is Oscar and I will be helping out with this moggy blog called “moggyblog”, whenever I can. After all, I am a pussy cat and I know about these things. So from now on, I’ll be walking all over Ed’s keyboard, poking my snout in and generally fooling around and looking innocent about it all. Such is the world of a kitten of tender years, such as myself.Anyway, I’m an eight month old Domestic Long Haired puss with golden eyes and a cheeky sense of humour. My fur is all black apart from one white eyebrow whisker (so I hope it doesn’t fall out).Everyone should have passions in life and climbing, running and playing are mine – give me a clothes horse and I am up, up, up and away (well, till I am caught climbing the clean washing that is and my claws are unhooked from that damp woolly) …. Give me an open door and I’m out of it like a shot (well, wouldn’t you after being cooped up in a pen for the first six months of your life). Do you know reader, I can’t even go outside yet as I have not had all my vital jabs (to ward off feline ailments you can catch in the big world), but I just love looking out of the window at the giant gods of the garden – “trees” they call em. Looking forward to the arrival of spring when I’ll be scaling the bark of those big trunks, you bet!I used to have a home, but my character was thought a bit too full on and playful for the other cats there. So the wonderful people at ‘The Animal House’ charity took me in and looked after me until I found my forever home. ‘The Animal House’ charity humans are amazing and inspirational, they foster all sorts of animals in need, ferret , rabbits, cats, dogs, you name it. They give them love, hope, care and the chance of a good life. They rely completely on donations so if you can help in any way please follow the link to their website (Ed, can you put a link down there at the bottom please?) and read some of the animals’ personal stories on their Facebook page. Spread the kindness all, and here’s wishing you a very happy, safe and healthy 2016.Oscar x x xThere you go Osc ….here’s that link you wanted: