Posts Tagged ‘horatio’

Give the dog a bone

I wonder how many poor dogs and cats who think they’re loved and adored by their owners, will be dumped this winter? I ask because the cost of pet food has taken a sharp increase in recent weeks – and this never bodes well for our four-legged friends. It’s different for livestock – if the cost of feeding gets too much, then reverse the situation and let them feed us but when it comes to our pets, we abandon them when the going gets tough, even though they’d follow us to hell and back.

Snipe, being a Labrador, is happy with whatever food comes her way so I feed her on Asda SmartPrice complete dog biscuits (at 95p for a 2.5kg bag, can you blame me?!) but Midge is extremely fussy and would much prefer things if she never had to eat a biscuit in her life. But she will eat both the Webbox and the Wagg biscuits which are twice the price of Snipe’s but as she eats less, one bag lasts her longer. And each day they share a tin of Asda’s complete dog food, which is £1.79 for a six pack. On Sundays, they get treated to a tin of Pedigree between them.

The cats get complete biscuits whenever they want them – there’s a bowl in the kitchen that we keep topped up at all times so they can help themselves when they’re hungry. None of them are fat so this system obviously works for them. We’re really lucky that they’re not fussy when it comes to their biscuits, so I get to buy whatever seems to be good value, just to vary things a bit for them. We used to get an excellent sack of biscuits from the farm shop but they came in 25kg bags and just one flavour – after they’d eaten 100kg, they started to get somewhat bored!

However, whilst they’re happy to eat whatever biscuits come their way, Queenie is quite fussy when it comes to her tinned meat. For months, we had to buy Whiskers for her and the shop’s own brand for the boys (who are well trained and if it’s in front of them, they’ll eat it!) but we eventually persuaded her to try a shop brand and so long as it gets varied (and isn’t supermeat), she’ll grudgingly tuck in to the cheaper tins! Like the dogs, the cats get a “posh” brand on Sunday – usually Whiskers or Go-Cat. Unlike the dogs, they sulk every Monday because they expect their treat to carry on!

Having said all that, I’m looking again at how we feed the dogs and cats, as the prices have gone up quite alarmingly in just a short space of time. Asda’s dog tins were £1.79 for a six pack, but are now £1.98. The SmartPrice dog food is still 95p but Midge’s Wagg biscuits have gone up from £1.98 for a 2.5kg bag to £2.19. Luckily, the Webbox are still at £1.98 but I think I’ll have to try her again on Snipe’s cheapo biscuits. And I’ve not bought them their usual tins this week. Asda have got 1.2kg tins so I’ve bought one of those to try. The theory is that I use one 400g tin a day for both dogs so a tin three times the size will last three days. Price-wise, it’s great – 74p per tin so the saving for six days amounts to 60p… It might not seem like much, but remember that this saving pays for two thirds of Snipe’s biscuits!

I opened the tin yesterday and the dogs didn’t object to their new meat, which is good news. The only hassle is putting two thirds of the tin in two containers and then getting to the bottom of the tin for that day’s food. Why they have to make these big tins tall and narrow is beyond me – short and wide would make much more sense, especially when you don’t want to smear dog meat gravy all over your hand!

The other way of feeding them, which would be even cheaper, would be using the Chubb sausage things. I hate them and they look vile but I know the dogs like them. There are just two things putting me off that idea. Firstly, it’s not a complete food, just complementary. I don’t know what, if any, difference this makes, but I’d rather feed them the complete food, if only because I don’t know when Midge will next refuse to eat! She’ll always eat the meat, even if she refuses the biscuits and I don’t want her to miss out on the necessary nutrients just for the sake of a few pennies. The other thing is that I’d only need three a week but Asda only sell them in multipacks of 8 so the savings would be monthly, but I get paid weekly which just makes it a bit of a pain!

The other obvious thing to cut the costs would be to stop feeding them all their Sunday “treat”. We only started this at mum’s because we all enjoyed excellent food on a Sunday, especially our roast dinners after we put the pigs in the freezer, so why not let the animals enjoy some food treats as well?

We could always give them milk or something to continue the tradition, there’s plenty of things they’d enjoy as a treat but the annoying thing is that the cat tins come in packs of six – but there are seven days in a week…

Anyway………………

This post has turned into a rather lengthy (and, I fear, extremely dull) ramble about what I feed my dogs and cats but the original point was meant to be this:

People get rid of their pets when the going gets tough (I won’t dwell on the methods) but the PDSA have announced that according to their figures,

around 30 per cent of the nation’s dogs are overweight or obese – that’s around 1.95 million fat dogs across the UK!

Surely, then, if the owners of these dogs (and cats) cut down their food intake, they’d save money and our nations pets won’t be dumped because they cost “too much” to feed?! There are ways to save money when it comes to your pet’s grub – and without compromising their health.

Happy Halloween (again)

Horatio and Bailey have asked me to pass on their Halloween greetings to you all…

Bailey - 17 October 2008

Bailey - 17 October 2008

Horatio (devil cat) - 18 October 2008

Horatio (devil cat) - 18 October 2008

One small step for a cat…

Watching the boys leaping about the place now, it’s hard to believe that there was ever a time when they couldn’t manage the basics, such as jumping in through the window. But it was only this time last year that they first plucked up the courage to give it a go:

Hey, look at me! I made it! - 29 October 2007

Hey, look at me! I made it! - 29 October 2007

How did you get up there? - 29 October 2007

How did you get up there? - 29 October 2007

Waddya mean this ain't the way *you* did it?! - 29 October 2007

Waddya mean this ain't the way *you* did it?! - 29 October 2007

Er, so how do we get down? - 29 October 2007

Er, so how do we get down? - 29 October 2007

Awww, bless!

Kittens take on the grass

Another photo of the boys from last autumn, this time when they started to gain their confidence outside and wanted to know what the green thing on the ground was and why those funny brown things that make a rustling noise looked as though they would be fun to chase about.

The boys examine the grass - 28 October 2007

The boys examine the grass - 28 October 2007

I miss having kittens!

First photo of the boys

As you can imagine, we spent last autumn surrounded by kitten cuteness and took far too many photos that failed to capture what it was really like having such fun loving and curious animals. We always had puppies when I was growing up and rarely had kittens so having the boys was a real treat for me. Ironically, Midge and Snipe were also puppies at this point, being only 3 months older than Mac and Horatio, but not being my dogs, I didn’t dedicate as much camera time to them… Ho hum.

Anyway, here’s a photo of the boys snuggled up in their bed together, taken this time last year.

Mac and Horatio - 22 October 2007

Mac and Horatio - 22 October 2007

Incidentally, that bed is now Midge’s!

Views, kittens and chickens

I took loads of photos last year when B and I were living at mum’s and while I’ve posted several of them, I thought I’d make up for the lack of internet access by doing a sort of “this time last year” set of posts, at least until I run out in about 12 months time.

This is the view from mum’s yard gate – amazingly green compared to how everything looks today

The view from Mum's gate - 19 October 2007

The view from Mum's gate - 19 October 2007

This is Horatio looking all cute in the duvet. Look at the size of his eyes! We’d had him for almost a week at this point and he was just getting his confidence with us

Horatio in bed - 18 October 2007

Horatio in bed - 18 October 2007

And here he is, taking his first steps out into the Big Wide World

Horatio goes outside - 18 October 2007

Horatio goes outside - 18 October 2007

And this is Derek, the Light Sussex cockerel and one of the Warren hens. Derek turned out to be an Evil Bastard so we sold him. Turns out he had the last laugh as, sadly, the hen and her chookin comrades were eaten by the fox.

Chickens - 18 October 2007

Chickens - 18 October 2007

Horatio: one year on

Exactly one year ago, B’s parents came to visit us at mum’s farm and brought us a housewarming present. Most people get a pot plant, we got a furry bundle of miaows. We were both so enchanted than a week later, when we were offered his litter brother, we jumped at the chance. But for one week, Horatio had us all to himself and I think that’s why he’s such a people-orientated cat. Especially as our existing feline resident, the Queenster, took one disgusted look at the new arrival and left us in no doubt as to her feelings on the matter. So we became his family, especially B.

I couldn’t get a photo of him this morning as we were in too much of a rush as we left the house, but here are some snaps of him from the past year.

Horatio meets Midge - 14 October 2007

Horatio meets Midge - 14 October 2007

Horatio in the pig shed 11 November 2007

Horatio in the pig shed 11 November 2007

Horatio in the straw - 23 March 2008

Horatio in the straw - 23 March 2008

Horatio in a box - 9 June 2008

Horatio in a box - 9 June 2008

Horatio in the cupboard -16 August 2008

Horatio in the cupboard -16 August 2008

Do. Not. Wash. The. Cat.

It’s a good thing I checked the washing machine this morning before switching it on…

Horatio gets in the washing machine - 6 October 2008

Horatio gets in the washing machine - 6 October 2008

Horatio in the washing machine - 6 October 2008

Horatio in the washing machine - 6 October 2008

Horatio considers the idea that the washing machine isn't the best sleepytime spot - 6 October 2008

Horatio considers the idea that the washing machine isn't the best sleepytime spot - 6 October 2008

At least he is doing better than Mac who loves nothing more than to pull all the drying clothes off the dryer and onto the floor. Which is just as risky to his health.

Introducing… our feline friends

I’ve always preferred dogs over cats but I couldn’t live without our three feline friends, even if they are currently driving us up the wall.

Over a year ago, B and I were adopted by Queenie at an animal sanctuary. We’d actually gone into see if they had any kittens but heard a yowling from one of the cattery sections. Peering in, we saw a big fat black cat who looked utterly miserable. No doubt desperate for some peace and quiet, the woman showing us around practically shoved us in with this unhappy cat. I scooped her up and she promptly stopped yowling and gave us a look that quite clearly informed us that she would be accompanying us home.

Queenie - 29 June 2008

Queenie - 29 June 2008

Queenie is a classic misanthropist. If she were a tom cat, then Bronte would have supplied the name. But Queenie suits her as she really is in charge of the household, though her regal style is more “Off with their heads” than anything more kindly. I don’t know what happened to her before she came into our lives, but her aggression and swift right hook seem to be born out of fear not an instinctive nastiness. That doesn’t change how she is but helps to control her outbursts. The classic rule for cats is that you let them come to you, but with Queenie, that really is what you have to do. Never make the first move. If she’s asleep on the sofa, you can gently stroke her on the back of the neck. If she stretches, carry on. If she tenses up, then get the hell away! It can be quite annoying, as she’ll call for you to go over and fuss her, but will run away as you approach! We’ve learnt that if you stop when she stops, then walk forward again, she’ll roll over onto her back and you can fuss her. Ah yes, the belly rubs. She loves them. In a certain spot. Drift away from that exact (and quite small) spot and she’ll let loose with claws and teeth. In her own way, she’s a loving and affectionate cat but she just needs space to be herself. Cross the boundaries and you pay. Leave her be, and you reap the rewards.

Queenie - 20 July 2007

Queenie - 20 July 2007

In total contrast are the two boys, Mac and Horatio. We got them as kittens last autumn and apart from a few moments such as when they chewed my phone charger or our current battle to get them to go to the toilet outside, they’ve been a joy to know. We got H first but Queenie was absolutely horrified at the scrap of black fur and it soon became clear that they would be living in a never ending cycle of his desperation to be near another cat (as far as he was concerned, when he first set eyes on Her Maj, it was love at first sight) and her desperation to be as far away from him as possible. And then we found out that some of his litter brothers were still looking for homes. A week later, Mac arrived.

The Boys - 27 November 2007

The Boys - 27 November 2007

Apart from a slight size difference, they look identical (H has a few white hairs on his chest, Mac has a few more. H used to have a white whisker and Mac had one long white hair above his eye. Mac’s eye hair fell out and then H’s white whisker fell out. But it’s ok, because Mac is currently growing a white whisker of his own…) but their characters are very different. H is a mamma’s boy. Mac’s a bit more boisterous, the hunter of the family.

Hmmm, B is going to cause me great pain for pointing out that her boy is a bit of a wuss, but the facts are the facts! He’s such a sweet little guy, the only cat in the world that doesn’t just like having his belly rubbed, he positively loves it. You can even blow raspberries on his belly!

Horatio - 18 October 2007

Horatio - 18 October 2007

Mac’s a bit more of a cat than that. Belly rubs are fine for about a second but then watch out. You also can’t bounce him up and down. But then again, while H likes our dogs, Mac loves them. Especially Snipe. They don’t just play together, they cuddle up, they greet one another, they tolerate the other’s respective size and strength that are used to push smaller animals to the ground or sharp claws that are used to sink into the other’s tail or flank or any available part of the body. And if a telling-off is required, you can count on the other to offer comfort. I always thought Midge and Horatio would have that special relationship as they loved one another as puppy and kitten but I think H decided he preferred people. To be honest, so does Midge!

Mac - 13 November 2007

Mac - 13 November 2007

I’m not so sure that the cats are really settling into their new life in Cardiff. This is the third time we’ve moved with Queenie and she’s spending a lot more time in the house that she ever has before. At mum’s, we hardly ever saw her, but I think the only thing she ever goes out for here is the toilet. Which brings us to the boys. We’re now paying for how easy it was to litter train them as kittens. They’ve decided they can’t go to the toilet outside, they have to be inside and if we take away their litter tray, they’ll go inside anyhow. Lovely. In fact, they won’t go out at all if they can help it and suffering from cabin fever. Big time. Mac’s latest way to keep himself occupied is to chase his tail. In the bath.

And so the war has begun! Queenie’s fine. If she wants to stay indoors and curl up on the sofa, then she can. She does go out, she just doesn’t stay out for long. The boys, however, are facing a new challenge. What to do when the windows are shut and you’re on the wrong side! Whenever someone’s in for a few hours, or will only be gone for a few hours, the cats are being evicted and the windows shut. This is how we got the boys to go outside when they were kittens and if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do. Though it’s really hard when you an here them crying and see their little faces pressed up against the window! Ah well, harden thy heart and think about how nice life will be without a litter tray stinking the house out…

I’ll keep you posted on how it works out.