Day 057 – colours and a cat…

Walking around town there are always things changing. Colours stand out where before they merged with the background, new developments are always coming and going and people are moving around.

I like the way people on the canal boats by Gloucester Docks personalise their space – the guy with the cat and planter is a good example : )

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Dr. Seuss is…

I’ve been meaning to look up who Dr. Seuss actually was, after all the Cat in the Hat reading over the last few years! According to Wikipedia, he was Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American born in 1904, who died in 1991 – an artist, carttonist and writer.

Here’s how The Cat in the Hat came about…

In May 1954, Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children, which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. Accordingly, William Ellsworth Spaulding, the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin who later became its Chairman, compiled a list of 348 words he felt were important for first-graders to recognize and asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and write a book using only those words.[24] Spaulding challenged Geisel to “bring back a book children can’t put down.” [25]

Nine months later, Geisel, using 236 of the words given to him, completed The Cat in the Hat. It was described as a tour de force by some reviewers[who?]-—it retained the drawing style, verse rhythms, and all the imaginative power of Geisel’s earlier works, but because of its simplified vocabulary could be read by beginning readers. The Cat in the Hat and subsequent books written for young children achieved significant international success and they remain very popular today. In 2009 Green Eggs and Ham sold 540,366 copies, The Cat in the Hat sold 452,258 copies, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960) sold 409,068 copies—outselling the majority of newly published children’s books.[26]


Cat issues…

Right, we are declaring war on our cat’s stress levels! Tinks has recently been more stressed in general, starting with a local male cat coming into the area inside the house by the back door. I’ve seen it in there once, but this and all the other cats which come through the garden are obviously making her stressed. She has been spraying a bit in the house and not been herself.

We’ve also been doing some decoration recently and have got two new armchairs, so a few things have been changed. She just came back from the vet with a diagnosis of cystitis, so the vet gave her some pain relief and we are starting up again with the cat pheromones.

There are also a few other things we’ll be doing…

– To stop or hinder the movement of other cats, I will build a fence across gap between shed and fence at the bottom of the garden. Claire’s Dad will also build us a new side gate as a combined Christmas present, which will hopefully help at the other end of the garden.

– The treatments, new sleeping basket thing from vet, a new chip operated cat flap (£80!), which our neighbour has also gone for. This will stop the cat(s) coming in.

– Tinks also likes the fire and last winter was always lying in front of it stretched out, so hopefully the more frequent use of it will help.


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OAP cat…

Ok, the cat (Tinks, AKA Tinker or Tinkerbell), has been to the vets twice in the last two days – another £100 but we’ve come out with loads of drugs for her and hopefully she’ll be back to health soon!?

I’m not convinced about over-medication for people and also not for animals. We’ve even now got a feline facial pheromone air disperser thing, which releases artificial cat scent to reduce her stress levels! Bloody hell.

But, when Claire took her to the vets today, she was diagnosed with cystitis again, probably stress-induced. So, it’s back on the meds, but hopefully she’ll be able to get out of the house this weekend, which will reduce her stress levels a bit.

So, there’s also the worm and parasites treatment and a steroid shot + the last inoculation.


DYI & the killer cat…!

We made a bit more progress on a few house jobs over the weekend, but most weren’t to do with anything we’ve already got on the ‘to do’ list.

All the jobs were insulation related, but also cat related to a certain extent. Because of the single storey, flat roof bathroom extension at the back of the house being so badly insulated (probably due to the roof), this creates quite a cold area, which works its way into the main living areas.

Due to this, i’ve been wanting to insulate around the door from the kitchen to the utility/bathroom area. So, I managed to cut and screw up a standard draft excluder to the bottom of the door. Plus, there was a big gap at the top of the door, which i’ve blocked off, using a modified metal corner brace, a wooden baton and some insulating rubber type tape.

I just drilled some screw holes into the metal bracket and screwed this into the wooden doorframe, then screwed the baton to this, then stuck the rubber tape stuff to it. There are now no drafts around the door and the fitting that in part only took 15 mins! Just have to paint the baton white and wood-filler around the edges.

The other kitchen door related bit was fitting a new cat flap into the existing kitchen door, so Tinks can get into the bathroom/utility/back door area, so she can use her litter tray and eventually the back door cat flap to the great outdoors!

This was slightly more complicated than it sounds (see images). It involved knocking out 2 glass panes and a wooden support bar, clearing away all the glass and bits, buying edging and plyboard, cutting the wood edges and hole, bending the board into the opening, screwing the cat flap to the board, getting Claire to re-screw it in as I messed that bit up (!!!!!!), cutting and gluing edging strip front and back.

Quite a fiddly job but it’s draft proof and functional, even if there are 3 different colours of wood in that bit! So, now the litter tray is in the toilet/music room and we just have to teach Tinks how to use the cat flap.

Finally, the kitchen window has been sealed with draft proof plastic sheeting. This covers all the window, except for a smaller opening part at the top, which we open when cooking. It makes a big difference and will help a lot over the winter, given the window is old and drafty.

A day after this was fixed up, Tinks decided to make a break for freedom via the small window, in the process ripping parts of the sheeting with her claws! We now have tasteful taped up plastic sheet, which we’ll have to re-do once she’s officially allowed out. I’m feeling stressed just thinking about yesterday!