Monday, September 26, 2011

Introducing Miss Beowulf Norse Woods Doyle

I think she has moved in:

under the kitchen table

There is still some grumbling on the part of Mr Macc, whilst Miss Ming is inquisitive and neutral, as long as She doesn't get to my sardines first.

We think Beowulf is a Norwegian Forest Cat, but we may be wrong.  According to wiki-wisdom, this breed is famous for its ability to climb and jump, and although faithful and affectionate, is free-spirited and outdoors-loving.  Hmmmmmm

Since she moved in on Saturday, she has not left the house.  I hope she discovered the cats' bathroom on her earlier explorations.  I open doors for her and invite her outside, but she meows sweetly and walks away.  Thank you, but I prefer it here.

As you can see, she is really a feral cat and has never been domesticated:


And she doesn't much like cuddles:

too bad you can't hear my purrrrrrr

Beowulf is rightly wary of Macc and spends most of her time in the kitchen and laundry.  I discovered her hiding place this morning, squeezed in behind the washing machine.  Under all that fur she is pretty slim and well, Mr Macc is rather a fatso, even though he has been on a 'diet' for about two years.  He can't squeeze behind the washing machine and I'm not sure he has figured out that is where Wolfe goes.

As for the wounds ...

I finally realised that the redness I was worried about was my reaction to the fancy dressings my nurse-neighbour used.  The redness has perfectly straight edges, which would be odd for an infection.  And it is itchy.  Ergo, dermatitis from surgical adhesive?  The four deep puncture wounds are closing up - one of them has disappeared and the other three are improving daily.  No need to amputate at this juncture thank goodness.

As for the rest of our living arrangements ...  it is truly a stupid time to adopt another cat when our lives are in limbo.  Marius' contract ends in February and he is currently in the crowd looking for re-deployment.  Many debates are underway, yet strangely the wisdom or otherwise of inviting Beowulf in has not arisen.  Odd.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Please Don't Shout at Me

Forgive me gentle readers, for I am a wimp. 

I think your advice regarding Macc is sensible; but having rescued him (well received him from a rescuer) and housed and loved him for eight years I feel I have to give us both another chance.  Yes, he was wicked and uncivilised, but I feel partly at fault, failing to appreciate cat-territory-psychology.  And the only other time I have been injured by a cat (not Macc) I was also trying to gently shoo him in a direction he didn't want to go.  Clearly this is not sensible behaviour on my part.

I won't risk another confrontation between Macc and an intruder, especially  if I am home by myself.

As for the wounds ... I tried to get in to see a 'family doctor' yesterday at the local private hospital.  I tried to make an appointment online but their system was down.  I tried to ring the booking number but all I got was the Arabic answering machine (15 times in a row).  Eventually I tried the 'guest relations' number, where I got lost in a 'your call is important to us, please hold the line' and eventual Arabic answering machine loop (7 times); then I finally spoke to a person who immediately tried to transfer me to the Arabic answering machine number.  But I said Stop! I don't want to leave a message because they are never answered.  I want to make an appointment.  No dice.  But he did take my mobile number and several hours later, a person did call me.  The only appointment they could offer me was Saturday at 3 pm.  Surprisingly, I turned it down.

The joys and challenges of life in Exile.

My arm looks better than yesterday.  We changed the dressings last night and poured more betadine into the wounds.  There may be a slight amount of infection but truly, if any, only slight.  The wounds are not red or raw looking.  Believe me, I have an amazingly strong immune system in spite of efforts to slow it down and I think it is coping with the latest assault pretty well. 

If it gets worse or does not seem to be improving, I promise I will go and line up for hours to see a doctor. 

And next week I have to go back to the government hospital doctor anyway, so if she thinks it needs more intervention, believe me, she will shout enough for all of you.

Thank you for all your kind words and understanding.  As Marius said last night, if it was infected, it wouldn't be improving, it would be getting worse ...  or not showing signs of healing.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wounds & Wolfe

Not much writing as the right hand is er, damaged.

I have perfected a (foolish) technique cat-wise:  Wolfe sits on the threshold and maows.  I close the back garden door so that the brute can't come in.  I open the front door and let Wolfe in.  She is in the kitchen eating the porridge as it were (partly because - and this is a homeless cat, remember? - she doesn't like the new cat-crunchies I bought at the weekend so won't eat what I give her outside), as I'm writing this and Macc is at the back door scowling.

But honestly, I cannot cope with any more dramas.

The wounds in my palm and the back of my hand are clean and healing nicely - they were the ones inflicted by the back feet.

The scratches up my arm, inflicted by the front paws are fading quickly.

However, surprise, surprise, the deep puncture wounds inflicted by Macc's fangs are not doing so well and I am considering showing them to a doctor.  I am not sure if they are infected or not.  The whole area around the FOUR punctures is slightly rosy and slightly warm and sensitive to the touch. I think it is more tender than it was two days ago.   Not angry red or puffed up.  Is the appearance the result of the healing process or something more sinister?  I am worried:  I  want to be reassured that I won't come down with septicaemia or gangrene ...

So I will drag myself off to the hospital this afternoon after Marius gets home. I hope the GP will understand my drug-related restrictions on antibiotics/vaccines and not kill me through ignorance. I will arm myself with more research first.

Double bummer as I really wanted to go a week without a medical visit!

Wolfe has finished the porridge and is mooching about.  I will let her back out the front in a minute.

I have not resolved my feelings about Macc.  I think (anthropomorphising) he is contrite, and I accept some of what happened was the result of my stupidity, but I don't feel forgiving and I don't feel trusting or relaxed.

Wolfe has gone out the front door now.  Ming came in the back door ... dramas averted.

In case you didn't see it the first time, and being mildly prophetic:


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Soap Opera

My life seems inexplicably to have turned itself into a soap opera.  What would I call it? In some traditions it would be Fifth Avenue (where Isabel lives), or perhaps something maudlin, like The Exiled (where Isabel is doomed to live), or it could be Compound Mates (a la Neighbours), but the dramas are much more self-contained, sadly.

After all the family dramas in Melbourne over the summer/winter - three generations plus dog - you would think it was time for some nice boring pottering, wouldn't you?

I would like to tell you that after my 'emergency' infusion in August, I am feeling very well:  the best I have felt for more than two years.  Perhaps I have gone in to remission?  Perhaps the shocking cold gave my immune system something else to work on than my own musculature and distracted it?  I have all my extremeties crossed and twisted, just to be on the safe side.

Yesterday I was chattting to Prima on skype and we discussed the immune-system-distraction theory.  She suggested a really robust infection, such as antibiotic resistant tuberculosis or good old fashioned peritonitis or one of those challenges.  Hhmmmm ... 

Prima as Rapunzel

Interesting but risky ...

I was feeling terrific though.  I tidied up after the dress-up dinner on Friday night, I changed the sheets, I sorted some mail, I threw out newspapers and I began to unpack the dishwasher.  This is an unheard of level of activity for me in my convalescent state - and it was only midday.

I invited Wolfe in, not expecting her to be brave enough to cross the threshold.  Mr Macc and Miss Ming were asleep in the garden.  Wolfe stepped in cautiously.  She followed me into the kitchen and had a sniff around while I put plates (two at a time! such strength!) in the cupboard. I put her bowl down near where the resident cats' bowls were and she sniffed at hers.  Goldilocks-like she tried the other two as well.  It was all going rather well.  I thought, I'll put you out the front again in a minute, but hesitated because there was an enormous peacock perched on the roof of the car who I didn't want to talk to.

Then Macc came in, not too pleased.  He huffed and puffed for a bit and I spoke to him in a calming voice and managed to get the side (kitchen) door open and scooted him out before any physical encounters.

I thought to myself, they do need to get to know one another and some posturing is inevitable, isn't it?

Wolfe curled herself up on the mat by the kitchen door and looked quite settled. Then Macc came back in and did some more growling, so I sat down between them, speaking in my 'cat-whisperer' voice and stroking Macc and telling him what a good boy he was, and how nice Wolfe was too.  Things were going pretty well, I thought.

Ming came in to see what the fuss was about, but she didn't participate in the next phase, in fact she fled. 

Macc was getting himself quite worked up so I thought, enough experiment for one day, time to persuade him out of the kitchen and Wolfe outside.  I managed to waft him to the hall door, with a little bit of firm persuasion.  There I planned to close the door and then let Wolfe (who had not moved throughout the encounter, but did growl back) out the kitchen side door where she would spring over the wall, etc.

I got Macc to the threshold and was about to close the door with him on the other side of it, when ...  well he forgot he was a civilised domestic cat with a loving owner.  He sprang on my bare forearm, sank his jaws into the fleshy part below the elbow, wrapped his front paws around my arm, clung on and flung his hind paws, claws fully extended, into my wrist and palm.  There he kicked, repeatedly. And then, dear reader, he hung on, all 8 kilos of him.  And on. 

I screamed.  Marius says I should have kicked him or thrown him against the wall, which I suppose I would have done if sense had visited me.  I thought scream and he'll realise how much he's hurting me ...  he did and he still held on.  Eventually, perhaps the taste of blood put him off? he let go and I slammed the door between us.

There was blood splashed about the floor, drippinging down my legs from my arm and I shook all over.  I managed to pull a clean tea towel out of the drawer and I wrapped it around my right arm (yes, of course I am right handed).  I lurched over to the keys and opened the side door for Wolfe who sensibly scarpered.

I sat down on the chair.  I took a peek at my gashes and weighed up the chances of giving myself first aid:  nil.  I opened the hall door (no cats in sight) and found my mobile phone and called a neighbour, who fortunately is a brilliantly trained nurse.

Now I am covered in streaks of betadine (the most useful antiseptic to have in your house - if you don't have any, go and buy some, now) and interesting clear bandages.  I oozed a bit.  My palm in particular stung yesterday.  The deep puncture wounds are pretty scary looking (I am not morbid enough to post photos, sorry) and I am conscious of them, but not in particular pain.

Most  importantly, the wounds do not seem to be infected, but I hope they are keeping my immune system busy anyway.

My feelings about Macc are somewhat confused.  It is not nice to think we have a pet we cannot trust in our house.  Macc is rather subdued himself and did not come to bed with us last night and knows he has been getting the cold shoulder. 

Perhaps it was stupid of me to invite Wolfe in.  Hindsight is often cruel, is it not?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guess Who Came to Breakfast?

I have got myself into a bit of a pickle with the wildlife.  I've told you about Floyd and Beowulf living on our doorstep in earlier posts.  I've mentioned peacocks, I'm sure. 

Before we went away, Floyd went AWOL - like he did last October - and we thought maybe he'd gone 'home' to his alternate residence.  (Always hoping he had not met with a life-changing incident.)  While I was in Melbourne Marius spotted him and reported Floyd had looked in but not stayed.  This morning he dropped by to have breakfast with Beowulf.

I was pleased to see him, really.

But I do have a problem with, er animals.

We decided we would adopt Beowulf officially, take ?her to the vet and get her vaccinated and checked out.  While I was away, Marius brought her inside a couple of times  but it was not a success.  I've told you that we think she is Norwegian Forest cat which is a breed that is renowned for its ability to climb and jump, its loyalty and free spirit.  Sums up Beowulf pretty well, except she is also very timid.  When Marius brought her in she streaked through the house to the back patio door which is always slightly open during the day for cats (you would think she had previously cased the joint).  She was out in the garden and over the wall before our resident cats had even registered her presence.  The second time Marius brought her in she did the same thing.

So bringing Beowulf in so that she can eat inside and live with us does not seem to be a feasible plan.  She continues to dine outside on the doorstep and sleeps on the marble threshold where it is cool.

Feeding Beowulf outside would not be such a problem if EVERYBODY else didn't want to join in.

Not only the usual suspects - LG, Ratty, Seams, the two black mangey toms but also mum, dad and baby:

I have no intention of supporting peacock life.  They have taken to roosting on the car - the chick as an elaborate bonnet ornament - and mum parading back and forth on the roof while dad struts his stuff on the path.  Peacocks are famously destructive (I've heard tales of them being menaces in the UK) and I don't want to encourage them at all.  Besides, although beautiful, those claws are as big as my hand and frankly scary.

Marius tells me his colleagues have also been complaining about peacocks all over the compound.  We have had a population explosion and there doesn't seem to be enough native food stuff to keep them all, hence they prowl the compound in gangs.  He also told me that the golf course next door had introduced the peacocks some years ago to add tone to the place, but the golfers hate the birds because the swoop on the golf balls and steal them, mid-hole.  (te he he)

When Marius comes home in the evening, there are often gangs of birds and cats hanging around the front door.  Not such a great look if you don't want a reputation as the mad cat/bird people.  All this so that Beowulf can stay:

Monday, September 12, 2011


I have a backlog of pictures from the adventures Down Under and tales both gripping and depressing ...  some of which I will get to once the jet lag/sleep deprivation/grim shock/ etc have subsided.

I think this picture sums up the past two months perfectly:

Sadly, every year campers are seriously injured or killed when they pitch their tents beneath eucalyptus trees.  Still, an endearing 'little yellow sign' which has not been marketed to tourists nor spotted hanging in the back window of a car.  (Thinks, Oh no, have I given them an idea?)