My neighbour’s cats

I may have mentioned before that I have a fabulous – if eccentric, quirky and downright bonkers – neighbour.

When we first moved in , Bernie had an elderly, long-haired, ginger cat. Spike was wont to keep to her patio, sitting on the garden furniture, where he would allow those who came to visit him to pay him court. When he died of a grand old age, my neighbour was bereft.

Recently a fluffy tabby kitten called Stan came into my neighbour’s life. Absolutely adored and indulged, he’s a character with as much of a clean fetish as his owner.

Until he had “the operation”, Stan was only permitted outdoors on a long lead and Himself took to paying him a visit upon arrival home after work. I’d get regular updates on Stan’s development, and it was clear that Himself and Stan had bonded, while he only tolerated me (despite my having a reputation as something of a cat whisperer). After the operation, a now-freed Stan would rush to the side of Himself’s car to greet him, where they would engage in a chat – and I continued to get my regular updates on Stan’s welfare from both Himself and Bernie πŸ˜‰

That is, until the fateful day when my catalytic converter was stolen. My car just happened to be parked in Himself’s usual space that day and, in total ignorance of the dreadful deed, I started the engine. A terrible noise rang out and Stan, sitting on the gross nearby, did a positively cartoon-like leap into the air… and has never been near Himself’s car again. Indeed, he totally ignores Himself when outdoors… but now comes tap-tap-tapping on our patio door, to have a play date instead πŸ˜€


Before Stan and Spike, there was Murphy and Paddy. Now, I never met them, but the pictures show big, fluffy, ole ginger cats. Murphy and Paddy welcomed the Siamese kitten that Bernie’s daughter brought home unexpectedly one day. It had a name so weird and exotic, I cannot even attempt to type it. Now, it clear that Bernie’s daughter is an out-and-out snob, and was apparently furious when her mother took her precious kitten out of her bedroom to mix with the Heinz 57 cats (as she dubbed Murphy and Paddy). As the common nature of the Heinz 57 cats clearly rubbed off on the Siamese, she left it behind when she moved out… until the day her mother went to visit family in Ireland, when she was called up to cat sit.

I don’t know if you’ve heard a Siamese cat’s meow, but it sounds like the plaintive wailing of a small baby. Shortly after Bernie left, this cat started to wail, and did so constantly until Bernie’s daughter took him to the vet. Want to know what the vet diagnosed? Nicotine withdrawal! It turns out the cat had been born into a heavy smoking household, and because Bernie also smoked back then, it was able to climb into her lap every time she lit up. As Bernie’s daughter never smoked, it was suffering – so the vet suggested she light a cigarette, put it in an ashtray and leave it to burn. So long as this was done multiple times a day, the Siamese was a happy cat and Bernie didn’t attempt to give up smoking until after it’s demise πŸ˜‰

For various practical reasons, we cannot currently have a pet, so we have to live vicariously. Come share your pet stories – be they good pets or bad ones, yours or someone else’s!

25 thoughts on “My neighbour’s cats

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  1. I just love my girls. Ok…at night, when I shut the light to go to sleep, my cat will jump in the bed. If I’m on my side, which is how I like to sleep, she will paw me so I lay flat so she can lay on me…

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  2. Oh what a little sweetie LA πŸ™‚ My old cat used to like to sleep between my legs… I hate sleeping on my back.

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  3. Ok…I have a dog story. We keep my dogs treats in a mason jar. We also keep small chocolate candies in a mason jar. Last night my husband brought the chocolate mason jar to the coffee table. My dog was whining cause she thought they were her treats. Of course we gave her a dog treat after that which is probably not good behavior reward but she was too cute

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  4. Our two cats are long gone. They were characters as all cats are. The only story I can think of is that the male cat knew the sound of the cottage cheese carton. All a person had to do was move it slightly inside the refrigerator or take it out and put it on the counter– and *wham!* he appeared from nowhere making a loud entrance. Nothing else interested him in the fridge, just the cottage cheese.

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  5. Nicotine withdrawal?! Holy cow, I have never ever heard of that for cats. Who knew?

    I have an entire page on my blog listing “Stories of Cats, Dogs, Rabbits, Horses.” Boss Cat is entertaining daily as she hunts big game (i.e., big dogs) to hit in the face or bite. And woe betide humans who do not feed her: CRASH! goes the TV remote, the vase, the glass, the candlestick, the computer mouse…

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  6. We have an indoor cat — Riley. He likes to sit in the window and watch everything going on outside. Our neighbors had an outdoor cat, a ginger named Bean. Bean was such a cool cat. Very confident and friendly. He’d come over and let us pet him and such, but his big thing was laying in front of the window where Riley could see him. No apparent animosity. Riley would go nuts, but Bean would just lay there, perhaps stretch. It was so funny. I was genuinely sad when Bean died.

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  7. OMG…what a story! I’ve never thought of a pet going through nicotine withdrawal but I can totally see how it could happen. You’d think a better solution would be some sort of a nicotine patch for puss, rather than to continue to foul the air.
    Good excuse to keep smoking though…”I want to quit, but it’s for the cat you see…” πŸ˜‚

    Deb

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  8. I had no idea tobacco addiction could affect cats, but it makes sense when you think about it.

    When we were moving to South Dakota, my beloved Sydney had been secured inside a canvas crate without incident for two days. On day three, on a desolate highway in Montana – just a few hours from our final destination – I glanced in the rearview mirror and found her perched atop the back seat, without a care in the world. I did not want her running amok in my car, possibly crawling beneath the gas pedal or brake, so I pulled over to the side of the road in order to secure her. Tara had been traveling ahead of me and didn’t see this happen, so I contacted her by walkie-talkie to let her know I’d taken a slight detour…but she didn’t have hers on. Some fifteen minutes later she’d turned around and backtracked to find out what happened to me. Sydney could be a PITA at times, but I sure do miss her.

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  9. Oh no LA! Rookie error. Never use the same containers for their and for yours πŸ˜€

    PS: I’d have rewarded her too πŸ™‚

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  10. Ally, that made chortle. We’d just come back from the grocery store where Himself had said to me “I don’t know why you eat that cardboard cheese” which is how he describes cottage cheese – so I had great pleasure in telling him about your cat. His eyes rolled so far back I thought he’d lost them πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    But yeah, I swear they can hear you even if they’ve in the next street!

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  11. Autumn, I couldn’t believe it when she told me either!

    Boss Cat sounds like the Siamese and Oriental pair my mother had. They knew how to punish her is she slipped up in her adoration πŸ˜‰

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  12. Bean sounds a hoot Donna. I can totally imagine Riley going nuts.

    One of our other neighbours also has an indoor cat – a kitten bought at the same time as Stan. Stan going around there and bangs on their patio doors, driving their cat Enzo crazy, and she then marches Stan back to Bernie muttering crossly under her breath. Bernie insists that Stan just wants to play, but I’m confident that Stan is flipping Enzo the bird πŸ˜‰

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  13. I know Deb! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ And I don’t doubt that Bernie used it as an excuse whenever her daughter or grandchildren tried to persuade her. These days she vapes instead, which I’m decidedly suspicious about. But she’s in her mid 80s and has had a rough ride, so I reckon she’s worked long & hard enough to decide how she wants to live her final years.

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  14. You were so right to pull over Mark. My lovely old cat got loose in my car on the way to the V E T and climbed under my feet, nearly causing us both to need medical treatment. Like you and Sydney, no matter how much he could be a PITA, I miss him. I always thought I’d be a mad old cat lady, living alone with lots of black cats who no-one else wants because they think they’re bad luck. Then Himself came along… but I still want a black cat or two when we live somewhere more suited.

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  15. Yup, that’s how my mother operates. I went over to her old flat the other day and her “visiting” cat appeared at her patio doors. It lives across the road, so how it knew there was someone in the place where she usually got fed all kinds of high quality tit-bits I do not know!

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  16. What a wonderful story. We used to breed Burmese in a small way, and their cries are rather like a Siamese. Many times a caller on the ‘phone would enquire whether we had a baby in the house!

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  17. I was told that my old black cat probably had a touch of Burmese in him somewhere because of the way he “chatted”. He was quite the talker, my ex used to laugh at me and him talking away to each other, but he eventually admitted it was clear he did understand me (and not him!)

    Would you say that was accurate. Were Burmese cats inclined to talk or chat?

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  18. How true. Although my friend’s poodle has her figured out pretty well too (but maybe that’s because my friend was cat trained before she crossed to dogs) πŸ˜€

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  19. Burmese are definitely chatty cats, though I think most cats will chat if conversed with. In our experience, cats get chattier as they get older and our mutual understanding increases with time. Our present Ocicats are very vocal.

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  20. I like a chatty cat, indeed I encourage cats to be chatty. I think I’ve lost my touch since not having had one myself for a while, as strange cats in the street used to come chat with me, whereas now they treat me just like they used to treat other non-cat talking humans. I rather miss it.

    Roll on the days when we can move somewhere cat friendly once more!

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