Friday, 16 January 2009

Introducing Smudge!

Happily settled on the playroom sofa this morning, complete with muddy paws!

I will begin at the beginning. About a year ago, I noticed a small black and white kitten in the garden, just doing what kittens do, chasing bugs and birds and generally being cute. I have 5 cats of my own and they didn't seem to bothered by his presence. Both my neighbours have cats too, so they have learned how to rub along with other cats without it resorting to 'Cat Wars', and constant border skirmishes and disputes. What threat was a small black and white kitten? If only they had known!

As time went on, we experienced the 'Great Food Theft', and initially this was blamed on a neighbour's cat, who lived on a diet of dry kibble, and had been seen in our house on several occasions wolfing down our cat's rations. We euphemistically called this invader' Tubby', she is as round as a barrel. Her real name was 'Tabby'. However, it soon transpired that Tubby had been wrongly accused as we caught sight one night of the rear end of a small black and white cat disappearing into the utility room and heading for the cat flap! Gotcha!

Smudge (so named because of a black patch beneath his nose that looks like a smudged thumbprint) was now the primary suspect in the Great Food Theft , and we realised we were being mugged by this little usurper on a regular basis! This ritual mugging became known as 'You've been Smudged'. My cats were not to impressed with this and it led to an outbreak of bad toilet behaviour and territory spraying, which began to get seriously depressing, as we discovered a puddle in the utility room every morning.

After much discussion with neighbours and cat re-homing charities, it was suggested that Smudge be re-homed. He was taken to live amongst the barns on a farm a few miles away, and as far as we knew was happily passing his days doing what feral cats do; catching vermin and living on their wits!

Smudge has more wits than most cats, we didn't see him for over two months, and then just after Christmas, the iGit yelled, 'did you see that?' What? I replied, totally bemused and looking skyward. 'Smudge' he yells, 'B***** Smudge is back!' Well we couldn't quite believe it, how could he find his way back here, there is a motorway and a main line railway between us and his new home? Maybe he had belonged to someone after all and he had been returned? We felt a bit bad. The feeling didn't last long.

Smudge soon made it clear that no one owned him, in fact he had decided he owned us! It wasn't long before he was up to his usual tricks and was making raids on the kitchen. It was his kitchen after all! Over the holidays the weather became seriously cold, many nights it reached well below freezing, on a couple of occasions getting down to - 10 Celsius. Smudge took to sitting on the work top above the tumble drier in the Utility room at this point. Gradually he became braver and was later found sleeping in the ironing pile; muddy paw marks everywhere!

This week he has become really brazen, and has obviously been watching and learning from my cats and how they manage us, their servants. One of my cats Gem, who is a cat of very small brain, and huge fluff, starts mewing and moaning the minute she catches you in the kitchen, on the off chance she may persuade you to feed her. Smudge has obviously realised this strategy works, because bold as you like, on Monday, I went into the kitchen to be met by the usual screeching Gem. Imagine my surprise when I along side her bulk, Smudge was sitting neatly by the food bowls too! He joined in the cacophony and starting meowing at the top of his reedy voice for food!

I assumed he would run a mile if I tried to put food in the bowl that was inches from him, but he didn't he sat patiently and waited for me to serve him dinner! This has happened a few times now, and he is often found asleep near or in the house. Last night he discovered the sofa in the kids old Playroom which can be easily accessed from the Kitchen. I think he is here to stay and we have been chosen as his servants! The tenacity of cats never ceases to amaze me, and I think this little chap has earned his right to stay if he chooses. The iGit isn't so sure and worries that it will cause more problems with the resident Pride. Time will tell.

A little news about me too. I had my first post treatment check-ups with the Surgeon and the Oncologist this week and last, and both seem happy with my progress apart from the ever present infection. This made me quite unwell over Christmas and I was back on the antibiotics. The surgeon has since put me on an 8 week course of antibiotics in an attempt to knock it on the head once and for all. I am due to go for a further check up with her after a mammogram in 6 months time. The Oncologist wants to see me three monthly. I added a new Dr to my list of hospital visits this week , and was sent to see a
Consultant Physician in Gastroenterology and Hepatology! I had expected this initial consultation just to be a fact finding mission, so that they could decide whether or not any tests were required. I initially saw one of the Registrar' who after taking notes and physically examining me suggested that I might need to go along at a later date for Colonoscopy. I didn't relish this idea, and said if she thought it necessary then I would accede. She then decided she wanted the Senior Consultant to have a look at me there and then and asked me to wait whilst she went off to find him. Soon after they returned and he looked at my notes and previous and recent medical history. He said some things that I didn't understand, and then asked me would I mind if he used a device to look inside me now! Well what do you say? Again I agreed, undressed and jumped back on to the exam couch, lying on my side in the foetal position and was promptly pumped up with air as they had a look around my rear end! I have to say this hurt, and they soon stopped when they realised how uncomfortable I was. Upshot of this was they have decided I need a Barium enema so they can investigate me further! YUK! I am told this appointment will be sent to me shortly and it will happen in the next month. Something to look forward to then!


WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Hi Zoë - ahhhhhhh you have to let Smudge stay . . .

As for the colonoscopy - you can ask to be sedated and then you won't know anything about it. Good luck with it.

Pipany said...

Hello Zoe. I hope you got my email thanking you for my lovely card. I was so touched; thank you again!

I had a cat called Smudge when I was younger and she looked very similar to this one. Can't believe you have to go through a blooming barium enema - as if you haven't done enough. Good luck and let's hope that might be the end of it.
Happy birthday to your son as well xx

Jean Bradbury said...

How nice to have a post from you this morning! I enjoyed the story of Smudge and, I am afraid to say, it sounds like you have 6 cats now. It reminds me of the kid's song "The Cat Came Back".
All the best to you,

Arabella Sock said...

Your stuck with Smudge now... clever little beggars aren't they! You'll find him snuggled up in bed with you next taking up the majority of a kingsized bed whilst you are forced to be cramped up on the very edge.

Bad luck on the colonscopy. I've had two - they give you sedation but not enough in my view although when I had the last one the nurse did ask me how much I thought I might need! The answer (if it happens again) will be "enough to put an elephant out".

Quilting Cat said...

Smudge sounds adorable, and yes, cats take us on, not the other way round, I think the black/white variety are particularly endearing, and crafty. I have had a colonosopy, agree, very uncomfortable, hope the barium is bearable.

Victoria said...

Bloody hell, Zoe! Can't they leave you alone for five minutes? I've got to have a gastroscopy at the end of next month, but in my case the tube goes down my throat. I'm not quite sure whether I prefer that to the other route or not... Still, hopefully I'll be doped up on Valium as WesterWitch says and won't know anything about it.

Calico Kate said...

First time I have visited you and as a cat person - we too have 5 -I can completely understand trials and tribs with a newbie to the gang. Looks like he is very comfortable though. Rather think you might be stuck with him How wonderful to be chosen like that. He must be very special and I expect that there is a reason for it.
Very best of luck with uncomfortable exploritory procedures. Go to sleep & dream of Purple Coos!

Frances said...

Hello Zoe, I do wish you and your family (and perhaps even the newest addition, Smudge) a happy new year.

Yes, do let those doctors and other medical types do their investigating, but do make sure that they cause you as little discomfort as possible. You and they should be on the same wavelength.

It is always a joy to see a post from you. Your writing is so good!

See you soon, xo

Exmoorjane said...

Ah you're a madwoman! But sounds like you had little choice in the matter.....Clever smart Smudge eh?

Yuk to things being poked up bums....not remotely fair. Absolutely yes to the sedation thing.
Tons of love

Esther Montgomery said...

Hello Smudge!

Hope the tests aren't too unbearably awful and that the doctors are gentle with you.

Esther Montgomery

Frances said...

Hi Zoe, a wonderful tale of the very large brained Smudge. We hate that toilet upset too, and have a small brained fluffy number among us.

As for the other news, so sorry about the infection and good wishes for the rest. I have had two colonoscopies and the barium enima, I'll take the colonos. any day over the latter. Maybe at this point it is over. We will keep you in our thought, as always.


Pomona Belvedere said...

It's true: cats take you on, not the other way around. You might try some flower essences in their water to see if you can get more peaceful behavior around the place. I don't know what to recommend for doctors who put things up private places.

CAMILLA said...

Just trying to catch up Zoe, brilliant that you are back with us on the site.

Oh Smudge must stay now, think he has made his home with you. Our neighbour had exactly the same thing happen, neighbour felt sorry for the other cat, and always puts down extra bowls of food for him.

Best of luck at the hospital tomorrow Zoe.