Lockdown – Post-Fatcat

Updates have been a bit sparse over the last couple of weeks.  No particularly good reason, life has just been a bit dull.

Following on from the departure of FatCat, it’s been a lot quieter. The Bengal has, thankfully, settled a bit too, and seems to be OK with being a solo cat. She’s not behaved anywhere near as badly as I was expecting, and the entire experience has been OK.

What I’ve noticed more than anything is the hindsight with which I now realise how bad FatCat had become.  I’ve had two weeks where I haven’t had to clean up puke, where she hasn’t had accidents of not getting to the litter tray in time (or just deciding that she couldn’t be bothered, and the floor would be fine) and there’ve been none of her normal noises and behaviours as well (obviously)

All told, it’s reinforced that I did the right thing, that she was getting worse and would’ve continued to do so.

But that doesn’t stop it from sucking. For me I think it’s the worst part of pet-owning, this whole process of making decisions about whether they should live or die, having that control and so on.

Anyway, things are OK. I still look at some of the stuff in the living room, expecting to see her asleep on it (particularly the Sky box, which was always a favourite) and then remembering she’s not here any more. But it’s OK, and it’s only been two weeks.


Lockdown – Chilled

While my weekends have been a lot quieter, I’ve done some maintenance stuff that I hadn’t got round to before.

Absolutely nothing glamorous, mind you – but I’ve cleaned out and deiced both my freezer and fridge. It’s been a long time since I’d done either, but neither job was a high priority either. However, might as well let the warm weather help out and speed up the defrosting process…

The freezer had slowly iced over – it’s an odd design with freezing elements on each shelf, so it had slowly become that opening any of the drawers was more and more problematic. I don’t actually use the freezer much though, so again it wasn’t overly important.

As it was, over a couple of hours I emptied it out – which was easily the toughest job, because of those iced-over shelves – and then let it all thaw a bit, carved out all the ice, cleaned it up, and then turned it back on and re-filled it.  There was, as expected, a *lot* of ice, but that was about it.

The fridge, on the other hand, was a much mankier job. I’d noticed that there appeared to be a leak, or an overflow, and finally decided to have a look into what was going on.  A quick clear out allowed me to see that at some point the back of the fridge had frozen solid, blocking the drain hole, and that was what was causing the problem.  Of course, that ice was pretty vile, but again, it’s a job that’s been done now, so hopefully won’t need doing again for a while.

I’ll also keep more of an eye on both things, and (in theory at least) deal with them earlier on next time so they don’t become such big problems again. Only time will tell whether that’ll actually happen or not, though.

Hopefully, both items will now run better and more efficiently.  It’s either that, or they’ll go into shock, break, and need replacing…


Lockdown – Space

One of the weirdest things I’ve found about the Lockdown (I can’t really call it the current lockdown any more, the speed with which it’s being rescinded) is that outside my house, there have been many more parking spaces than usual.

I can’t explain it – all logic says that with fewer people travelling, the spaces would’ve been filled at the start of the lockdown and then vehicles wouldn’t have moved.  However, that’s not been the case – there are fewer vehicles, and the spaces seem to vary all the time, but there are always spaces.

All I can assume is that where I live has a fair percentage of people who have second homes here (for commuting during the week or whatever-  we’re only an hour from London, so it kind of makes sense) and who haven’t been here while things have been different.

I’m not complaining – it’s just always seemed odd to be able to park outside my own house, rather than having to find spaces further away.


Farewell, FatCat

Today, FatCat was put to sleep.

Over the last couple of months she’d slowly been going downhill – not eating as much, not keeping food down, losing weight, blood in the poo, and a bundle of other things.  I’d initially put it down to a change of diet (for whatever reason, I hadn’t been able to get their usual food, so I’d been changing things and giving them whatever was available) but she should’ve got used to the changed food in that time.

She’s never been in pain, and I’ve kept a close eye on that as well as everything else, but I’ve been aware she’s doing less well.

This week, though, she took a bigger downward turn – more lost weight, worse poo and so on – and the really significant thing for me is that she was a lot more cuddly, and was actually choosing to sit on me or against me most of the time.  That was absolutely new behaviour – she normally avoided that sort of contact like the plague – and definitely not a positive sign.

As the week went on, things didn’t improve, so I made the appointment with the vets.  And today, we went in. She didn’t even fight going into the cat carrier, so she knew things weren’t good.

I’ve always known that this was how it would work out – she’s antisocial enough that even taking her to the vets for an examination would’ve led to her not trusting me as much for [x] weeks, if not months. (It usually takes her about two to four weeks to recover trust of me after I’ve applied anti-flea stuff to her, so God knows how long it’d take after a vet visit)  Similarly, traumatising her daily in order to get meds into her would’ve utterly knackered her quality of life, so it was always likely that this was how it would all work out.   (The same is true for the Bengal, so that’s something to look forward to…)

The vets themselves were really good – the entire process has obviously changed in the current Lockdown, but it was all done as well as humanly possible.

As it is, I still feel like an absolute shitbag. I know it was the right thing to do, I know she wasn’t well and that this was the best (indeed, the only) way to do things that kept her life as good as possible.  I know she wasn’t in pain, I know she had a really good eight years here with me, and I know the end wasn’t a vile experience.   But I still hate being the one to make that life or death decision, it just doesn’t sit well with me.

I’m going to see now how the Bengal – a change-averse little twat at the best of times – handles things, as she’s never been a solo cat before. She’ll either do fine and accept it, or she’ll be a nightmare for a while.

All told, a shitty, shitty day.


Lockdown – Missed

In a similar vein to the previous post about things that might survive, I’ve thought a lot about the things I’ve actively missed in this time, as opposed to the things I just haven’t done.

The list of things actually missed – the things I’ll look forward to being able to do again – is really quite short.

  • Seeing films at the cinema
  • Meals at my favourite places – with Mere being the key one I’ll be at as soon as they re-open
    (There are a couple of other places I want to go back to, but Mere is the only one I’ve actively missed)
  • Walking in London

And that’s it, really.

Of course there are other things I want to be able to go back to doing and so on, and I’ll enjoy life slowing going back to normal. It’ll be interesting to see how it all works out


Lockdown – Changing Values

One thing I hope will be interesting – as and when the current lockdown is properly eased – is to see the things that people decide are important, the things they’ve actually missed, as opposed to the things they’ve just not been able to go to as part of a routine.

For example, I wonder if [big chain] coffee shops will suffer, as people have (hopefully) realised that they don’t need all that caffeine and sugar.
[Note : I amended this afterwards, following Gordon’s comment, because I’d particularly meant big-chain (Starbucks, Costa et al) places rather than independents/locals that definitely deserve the business and support]

On the evidence of the things that’ve currently re-started, I don’t think it’ll be the case – as soon as they’ve re-opened, there have been huge queues outside places like McDonalds, Burger King and KFC.

It’ll be more interesting to see what happens longer-term, once the “Oh good, they’re back!” novelty value fades.


Lockdown – Blinds

A while ago, I ordered a vertical blind from Tuiss (Edited on 23/05 : who now sell as Blinds2Go – sorry, forgot to add this before) to replace the shitty curtain in the front room, and got it fitted.  I’ve been really pleased with it since, and it’s generally handled life pretty well.

However, two heavy-footed felines stomping in and out of it had meant that some of the clips to hold it all together (plastic chain with connectors onto each slat of the blind) had snapped, so it was beginning to look a bit ropy.  (Additionally, the fabric I chose is slightly rough, so grabs cat fur like an absolute bastard, but that’s a different issue)

Anyway, the number of snapped connectors was getting close to outnumbering the ones still intact, so I got in touch with Tuiss to find out whether I could get some replacement weights and chains.

As it turns out, when I say it was bought and installed “a while ago”, it turns out I meant “nearly six years ago”. All things considered, that means they’ve lasted pretty well.

Tuiss found my order, and we discussed what bits I needed – and at each point I was clear and said I was happy to pay for the pieces, it seemed only fair after six years.  But they’ve kept on insisting that they’ll just send them out – and they’ve done so.

The bits arrived yesterday, and are now all in place on the blind. I’m really pleased with it, and impressed with Tuiss. Depending on how things go, if I decide to replace the blind then I’ll go back to them and do so, and see what they’ll charge me for a replacement blind without needing the infrastructure (the actual holding frame/mechanism and so on)