ME and Ophelia

Friday, April 23, 2004

Adopt a cat even if you have allergies -
The cat with the coat from Baghdad

English blogger Hazel, who has just finished stitching cats chorus, and her husband Neil of Teacher's Tales blog (he's a teacher in a Catholic school) are looking forward to adopting a cat through the Cats Protection League (CPL). They've not seen one yet but have its bed ready :-) Naturally, they are excited because both are allergic to cats and thought they could never adopt. But they've tested being around cats and are working around the problem. Right now, they're awaiting word of a first visit from the CPL.

My nephew is allergic to Ophelia when he visits here. But at home he lives with a cat. I asked him why he had no problems at home. He said probably because he got used to the one cat. He's 14. On Tuesday he visited us again and had no allergic reaction. Here are some notes that I've written for anyone thinking of adopting a cat.

Before choosing a cat, CPL will first arrange to visit your home. To see what type of cat and temperament would be a good match for the prospective new home and environment. In some cases, if you agree to adopt an elderly cat, CPL will pay future vet bills under their goldie oldie scheme.

One lady I knew was refused a cat through the CPL because her home faced a road with heavy traffic. Another friend adopted a deaf elderly cat with kidney problems and the CPL honoured extra vet bills, over and above the normal costs of annual booster shots.

If the cat goes outdoors, one still needs to get a kitty litter tray - the bigger the better - and a bag of cat grit or sawdust pellets. I prefer the sawdust pellets because its better for the environment, easier and cleaner to handle and more lightweight. Litter can be purchased in 7kg bags - it's cheaper in bulk. Need to get a pooper scooper and roll of small bin liners for litter disposal.

And a drinking bowl that is wider than a cats whiskers end to end. Plus a food bowl. Brush and comb. And a special cats clean up liquid (sort of smells like marzipan) incase of accidents when they first arrive, and to ensure no accidents on the same spot, ie on carpets etc.

Ophelia came to me via the CPL. A £25 donation included the painless insertion of a microchip into the back of her neck, that was programmed with her name and address. If she goes astray, a scanner at any CPL or vets will identify her details. Ophelia's first set of vaccinations cost £25. All cats require booster shots each year which cost around £25.

If the cat goes outdoors it needs to be guarded against fleas. I use Frontline liquid pouches. Once a month in summer but less in winter. Costs around £2 something per pouch. Cats need some sort of scratching post if they stay indoors or they'll use the side of chairs and couch to do their manicures. Vets & CPL say most types of cat collar or flea collar are dangerous. Can cause serious harm if caught in something. Frontline is popular plus it's easy to use, harmless to the cat and very effective - within 24 hours and lasts for at least four weeks.

Ophelia's vet orders 7.5 kg of Technical dried food - chicken flavour for adult cats. He says Technical brand is the best and has all the nutrients a cat needs. Ophelia needs one bag every 6 months, which works out at around £1 per week. She always weighs 3 kg as I use a measuring cup for her food. She is perfectly fit and healthy, her teeth are very clean and her fur is shiny :-)

Cats ought not to drink milk. Only fresh water. There is no need to buy milk or heavy tins of expensive cat food that messes up their teeth. Oh and some toys. Cats love toys. Colourful ping pong balls are great. Not things with bells in them. Fabric mice stuffed with catnip on a string is good fun. One can make toys of strings tied to a cork or cotton reel. Cats love any dangly things, like ribbon.

Cats tend to choose their own beds. No good going to trouble of buying igloos at the outset. They seem to prefer finding their own spots and rotate every now and then. Ophelia has two special crocheted blankets for each of her arm chairs :-)

Cats recognise tender loving care. They really are very intelligent. And are highly individual. Their language does not consist of much vocabulary. I can see why. They manage to get you to do what they want and always get their own way without saying anything. You can be a dog owner. But not a cat owner. You become a cat lover. And are owned by the cat ;-)

The British Shorthair

"Hello! Can you help me? I'm looking for a tabby kitten. Like the ones in the adverts." A familiar request - and one that usually means the enquirer is searching for a Black Silver Classic Tabby British Shorthair.

The British Shorthair, probably the most popular of all shorthaired breeds in Europe, started off life as the ordinary house cat, gradually becoming more standarized as English 'fanciers' selected cats with cobby bodies and crossed them with Persians. Originally bred in England and known simply as 'shorthair', it took on the title of 'British' as other shorthaired breeds emerged. Here is a British Shorthair blue.

How the tabby got its name

Accounts vary but undoubtedly the word has its origin in 17th century Baghdad were there was a weaving district called ATTABIAH or ATTABIYA (the spelling varies and is often shortened to ATAB), known for the production of a type of silk taffeta with a watered effect pattern called ATABI. According to Harrison Wear, the original cat expert writing at the beginning of the last century, this type of ribbed silk was called 'tabby silk' and hence cats with lines or markings became known as tabby cats. [courtesy Cat World magazine Dec 2000]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 4/23/2004
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