Monday, 11 January 2021

Mailman Moggie




So many stories are emerging from the Covid pandemic and although some are sad, there are many that are uplifting too.

Here's one about a little rescue cat called Billy (pictured) who brought his neighbours together after acting as a mailman between the two households.

Olga Shipunova, 29, and her partner Zack King, 37, from Hackney, London, UK, adopted little Billy after he was abandoned as a kitten just over a year ago. 


Billy looking cute on the day he was adopted.

Zack returned home one day to find Billy with a note attached to his collar. It said: "Your cat likes to come visit us when he is outside. He will sit at the door and meow to be let in. It's actually hilarious and we love him!! We have no idea where he is coming from. What's his name? We call him Billy :) From your friendly neighbours!"

Olga and Zack were astonished the neighbours had guessed the name. They replied:  "We're glad he's making friends with the neighbours! And his name is Billy!!! So you guessed right." It seems Billy once had a name tag, before losing it, and the neighbour's  housemate has spotted it a few weeks previously.



The correspondence began in September and Zack said the notes had been a highlight of the coronavirus lockdown. He has been sharing the story on Twitter.

Now the neighbours, who still haven't met, share recipes and Netflix recommendations. The unknown neighbour  even kitted little Billy out with a proper mailbag - which he promptly lost so a new one had to be made!



Olga said: "My favourite note was when she asked what she could treat him with - she was kind enough to say he could have salmon, and we let her know that he loves everything."

Zack added: "It's definitely something we look forward to - when the cat flap goes and we suddenly notice that the note isn't what we've attached and there's a new note.

"Billy is very cheeky and inquisitive - he doesn't do things by half - if he's sleepy he's sleepy and if he's playful he's playful.

"Billy himself has been a highlight of lockdown - and the notes, extra so - especially as the winter months drew in and we found it a bit tougher with fewer connections."

The delighted neighbour described Billy delivering their notes "like a carrier pigeon, but much cuter obvs".

A few of the notes.


Olga says she's happy that Billy, who comes and goes via a cat flap, has made friends with the neighbours, adding: 'He brings so much joy, so why not?'

And the story is a bit like united nations. The neighbour is Canadian, Olga is Russian and Zack is British.


*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Wednesday, 23 December 2020

A Happy Christmas Home for Grumpy Cat Chester


Chester and his new owner, Wilma, with Jenny Sherring. Photo: RSPCA

Chester, branded Australia’s grumpiest cat, will spend Christmas in a new home.  He has been returned to animal charity the RSPCA four times in the last seven years. But the charity refused to give up hope and are now sure they have found a purrfect home for eight-year-old Chester.

He was described by his last owner as “anti-social” and “a real Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” but the description didn't put off Wilma who is happy to take in the grumpy cat. 

“With Wilma, I feel confident that he’s going to get all the attention he wants – and no more,” shelter staff member Jenny Sherring said. “That’s a perfect outcome.”

On his surrender form, the former owner wrote that while Chester was “great with chickens” and “tolerates the dogs”, he also “attacks our old cat and the neighbours”. She told the RSPCA she had visitors who would not enter the house unless the cat was locked away.

But employees at the Lonsdale shelter south of Adelaide insisted Chester was one of their favourites. He first came into the South Australian RSPCA in 2013, as a young and loveable one-year-old.

“He was a stray from Port Lincoln, so we don’t know what his story was at that stage,”  RSPCA’s media relations manager Carolyn Jones said.

“He had a notch out of the ear so he might have been living a bit rough on the street before he came to us, but he was a character from the get-go. He knew what he liked and didn’t like in no uncertain way, but he was extremely affectionate and would come up to you and give you those head-butts.”

Jones said it wasn’t hard to find him his first home but much to everyone’s surprise “he didn’t last too long”.

Chester stayed at his next home for six years but his owner was forced to surrender him when entering aged care. He was well-loved there despite his habit of gentle “biting whenever he wants your attention,” according to the owner.

The third family lasted only two weeks and slowly that independent and loving nature hardened into a grumpy exterior.

“The last report card was particularly surprising. He was with a lady and family that had a lot of experience with cats and he was a bit of a nightmare for them by the sounds of things. You know, making it a little difficult for them to have guests around and certainly not making it too pleasant for the old cat that lives with them,” Jones said.

“She thought she would be able to manage it and unfortunately she couldn’t but she did give it a red hot go.”

Those at the shelter who tried to pet him too much were met with meows and bites and he gained a “bad boy” reputation for bullying other cats. Despite his cranky attitude, Chester was able to win over the workers at the shelter.

Jenny said he was a lovely animal – you just needed to know how to handle him.

“He will swipe but it’s generally just him telling you when he has had enough. He has had four owners so I would say his patience levels are probably at an all-time low at the moment. But if you can learn how to read the signs and you know to tell when he’s had enough, then I hope that we can find the right home for him. It’s just a matter of being patient.”

She was keen to point out Chester’s good qualities for potential new owners.

“He is so chatty, he sees people, comes up to them and chats to them straight away. He can be really affectionate when he wants to sit on your lap, but then when he’s had enough he will simply leave you alone,” she said.

Wilma has owned cats in the past and said she made the decision to adopt Chester after seeing his story on a TV news bulletin.

“I’ve been wanting another cat for a while and I just thought he looked cute,” Wilma said.

“There’s just me, no other animals, and I’m retired so I’m home a lot. He’s been following me around the house already and he sat up behind my head on the recliner.”

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Thursday, 26 November 2020

App Translates Cats' Meows




I'm not totally sure that this is a good idea, given the demands of some of the cats I have known! But a former Amazon Alexa engineer has created an app which helps to translate your cat's meow. MeowTalk records the sound and then attempts to identify the meaning.

The cat's owner then labels the translation, creating a database for the AI software to learn from.

Currently, there are only 13 phrases in the app’s vocabulary including: “Feed me!”, “I’m angry!” and “Leave me alone!”

Research suggests that, unlike their human servants, cats do not share a language. Each cat’s miaow is unique and tailored to its owner, with some cats more vocal than others.

So, instead of a generic database for cat sounds, the app's translation differs with each individual profile.

By recording and labelling sounds, the artificial intelligence and machine-learning software can better understand each individual cat's voice - the more it's used, the more accurate it can become.

The eventual aim is to develop a smart-collar, with technology that would translate your cat’s miaow instantly, and a human voice would speak through the collar.


Here's the app: MeowTalk

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Monday, 9 November 2020

Covering Hate With Cat Pictures






I love this! What better way to deal with racist graffiti than to cover it over with a picture of a cat? 

One cat lover in Manchester in the UK has covered all the hate-filled comments in the city with cute stickers. This person has been universally praised on social media for dealing with the racism in such a novel way.




This is not the first time something like this has happened. The cat sticker idea seems to come from an Australian group, Cracks Appearing Distro, which is an anti-fascist group.

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Tuesday, 13 October 2020

George On The Right Track For Station Award


George with station supervisor Ian Tomlinson


George the cat is such a purrfect "employee" at a railway station that he has helped it make the shortlist of a prestigious award.

Stourbridge Junction is in with a chance of winning the World Cup of Stations award, which is given nationally to the best UK railway stations.

George was adopted as the station cat in December 2017 and he has been praised for his role in promoting public safety through his online presence.




The focus for this year's awards is on smaller stations which have gone beyond the call of duty to support their communities during the coronavirus crisis.

Staff at Stourbridge Junction were praised for their work installing new signs and educating passengers to ensure they could travel safely and comfortably amid the pandemic.

But special recognition went to the role of George, who has nearly 10,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, for his role in helping to spread the latest railway safety messages using through social media.
Providing some much-needed light-hearted relief, George has been praised by passengers for making them smile every day in these troubling times.




Station manager Simone Carter said: “George first found his way into the station back in December 2017 and he’s been the star of the show ever since.

“As well as helping us out in the booking office most days, George has been a fantastic addition to our team who work tirelessly to provide exceptional customer service to our passengers.

“I’m so proud of the team, and our wonderful ambassador George, for their hard work and determination, particularly over these last difficult six months.”

 


*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Monday, 7 September 2020

Palmerston Retires


Busy patrolling Downing Street

One of the United Kingdom's foremost political figures has retired. After four and a half years right at the heart of the government,  Palmerston the cat, the Foreign Office's chief mouser, is now taking a well-earned rest.

Palmerston wrote to Sir Simon McDonald, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to say he now wanted to spend his time "away from the limelight" after enjoying working from home during the coronavirus lockdown.

“I have found life away from the front line relaxed, quieter, and easier,” said Palmerston, a rescue cat from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, in his letter of resignation.


Checking everything is where it should be. It's a bit untidy, I shall have words.

He wrote: “My 105,000 twitter followers show that even those with four legs and fur have an important part to play in the UK’s global effort. I have championed our work, built our relationships, and celebrated the diversity of our staff.” 

Palmerston will not be completely retreating from public life. He said: “I will always be an ambassador for the UK and the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office."

Sir Simon McDonald replied to the letter on Twitter, saying that everyone at the Foreign office would miss him.

He went on to say: "In 2016 Palmerston arrived from Battersea, mouser and social media phenomenon. After four-and-a-half happy years, he retires at end of August: he’s enjoyed lockdown life in countryside so much, he’s decided to stay.”


Yes, I'm enjoying life in the country.

Foreign Office staff paid tribute to the outgoing mouser, with Jon Benjamin, director of the department’s Diplomatic Academy, wishing him a “very happy retirement”.

“He left us a slightly chewed dead mouse next to my desk once, and we were of course not very grateful,” he added.

Caron Rohsler, British high commissioner to the Maldives, tweeted a goodbye message from her embassy’s own diplomatic feline, Miska.

It read: “Congratulations on your exemplary service to British foreign affairs, & for fur-thering the cause of diversity in our noble institution. I’m sure an elevation to the pawrage cannot be far off.”




I shall miss my daily work making sure the committee room is up to scratch



*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Monday, 3 August 2020

Momma Cat Salami Makes Herself At Home


Salami and her kittens. Pictures on this page by Ida Floreak


Here’s a story that brought back memories because I experienced a similar situation.

Ida Floreak, of New Orleans, was woken at 5am by the sound of a cat meowing. She thought at first it was her own cat Bruce but on going to check found another cat on her doorstep. She recognised it as a stray cat she had been feeding on and off for a few weeks.

She had called the cat Salami and there she was, meowing insistently, begging to be let in.
Once inside, Salami continued to meow and Ida soon sussed out what was happening. Salami had become very round since she last saw her and it was obvious she was about to have kittens.

Sure enough, by 9am Salami had given birth to four babies.

In the following weeks, the four kittens all went to good homes but Salami remained with Ida and Bruce. Ida made inquiries but no one claimed Salami, so she stayed.


Best friends. Salami and Bruce

‘I was able to get her fixed and vaccinated, and she and Bruce hang out all day together,’ said Ida.
‘She’s adjusted really well, and is a very sweet and loving little cat. All of the kittens have gone to friends: one is in Mississippi, and the other three are all in my neighbourhood. I’m glad I get to still have a connection with them.’

As for my own experience, a few years back I awoke to the astonishing sight of a cat with three kittens making herself at home in my hall. The kittens had obviously not long been born but weren’t newborn. So momma cat must have carried them one by one from wherever she gave birth and then through my catflap into my house. My own cat didn't seem to mind at all!

We asked around and found her owners. We think that as her owners had young, noisy children, the cat had decided ours was a nice quiet house in which to keep her kittens. They took her home and she was happy to stay there. Her kittens were later all adopted.


*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Monday, 20 July 2020

Meet The Robotic Cats




Delightful robotic cats are being used to comfort dementia patients and in some cases make them feel less isolated.

One person who has benefited enormously from the scheme is Doreen, from Cambridgeshire in the UK. Doreen has vascular dementia and lives alone with the support of carers. Her daughter usually visits regularly but has been “locked down” during the Covid-19 crisis and has been unable to see her mother.

Cameras set up within the home showed Doreen looking increasingly lonely and isolated, spending much of her time staring out of the window.

Her daughter spoke to an occupational therapist who told her about the work of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Technology Enabled Care team and how they could provide robotic cats to help patients feel less lonely. As Doreen loved cats it was felt this might help her.

Doreen loves her cat which has had a positive impact on her life.


Councillor Anna Bailey said: “It may seem a small thing to many of us, but it’s wonderful to see how technology like these robotic cats can be used to enhance someone’s life so much, especially as many people are feeling isolated as a result of Covid-19."

The robotic cat is sold by an American company. It’s a battery-powered cuddly toy that purrs, meows and moves. It also responds to touch when it is petted and hugged.

It has helped patients feel a sense of purpose when they pet and cuddle the cat. It helps encourage a sense of empowerment, companionship and enjoyment.

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Monday, 6 July 2020

Sneak Thief Caught On Camera



Busted! Tiger is caught in the act.

Canterbury Cathedral in the UK closed its doors to its congregation during lockdown but continued to broadcast via the internet.

The Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury , settled down to preside over an online prayer service, only to be interrupted by one of God's creatures.

Tiger the cat, ignoring the commandment Thou Shalt Not Steal, leapt onto the table to help himself to milk on the reverend's tea tray.

“We’ve acquired a friend this morning,” Dr Willis said as Tiger helped himself to the refreshments.
Tiger is one of four cats at the Deanery, with another named Leo going viral a few weeks ago for disappearing into Dr Willis’ vestments during a service.

The Cathedral has been uploading virtual prayer services as places of worship were closed during the UK-wide lockdown beginning on March 23. It was reopened for visitors on Saturday July 4, and for services of worship on Sunday July 5.


*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Friday, 26 June 2020

Buckingham Palace Address For Flo



As addresses go, Buckingham Palace, The Royal Mews, London, isn't a bad one to have.

Now Flo, a white Persian cat, has fallen on her three feet to take up residence in the grounds of one the most famous buildings in the world.

She is living with the Queen's chauffeur Andy Fitzgerald whose daughter Victoria works for animal charity, the RSPCA. Flo was discovered pregnant and in a ‘terrible state’ in a dirty shed in London.
She had to have a leg amputated and sadly lost her kitten.

Her recovery was slow and the vets were unsure if she’d pull through.

Victoria said, ‘She really has gone from Aristocat to Aristocrat. She is living a life of luxury compared to where she was before, adding, 'She is getting pampered with me and my parents and she has settled in so well and gets on really well with my other pets.’

Victoria, who has worked for the RSPCA for three years has four other pets including a crossbreed dog called Oscar and two kittens she is hand-rearing.

She added: 'It is the most rewarding part of the job to see an animal who was in such an awful state like Flo was, be rehabilitated and find a loving home - and it's even better that Flo could come and live with us at Buckingham Palace.'

*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Monday, 1 June 2020

Fluffer The Fluffiest Cat



Pictures courtesy of Arizona Humane Society

An humane society called to rescue a little animal, found the stray was so covered in matted fur it was even difficult to see what type of creature it was.

They found out it was a cat whose owners had died, leaving her to care for her herself.

An incredible  two pounds (just under a kilogram) of matted fur was sheared from the cat, nearly a quarter of her body weight.  Fortunately, the cat was very sweet and tolerant of her grooming session and was otherwise in great health.They named the beautiful little female Fluffer. Just two days later she was adopted and is now living happily in her new home.



The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) shared the story of Fluffer on their Facebook and Instagram pages. They wrote: ‘Show us a better #TransformationTuesday than Fluffer the cat… we’ll wait!"

The AHS has plenty of stories like Fluffer’s as they’ve made it their mission to rescue as many animals they can. They also try not to euthanise any and re-home as many as possible.



*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





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Thursday, 7 May 2020

Cat Comforts Dog



Joule is a nervous dog who suffers from anxiety when left alone. So with both her owners at work during the day they set up cameras to see how he was coping when they were out of the house.

What they caught on camera shocked them. Their cat Kelvin came to the rescue, cuddling into Joules on the sofa, licking her face and calming her down.

Joules and Kelvin's owner posted the video on Instagram. Explaining more about the unusual friendship, the owner– who didn't want to give their name - said: “I originally had all the cameras up high so I could see the whole room, and I noticed that Joule and Kelvin were on the couch together.




“So I moved the camera to point directly at the couch, and realised that they weren't just on the couch together, but they were snuggling.

“I think Kelvin really helps with Joule's anxiety. Kelvin has always been friendly with the dogs, but I never realised the extent of it until I got the cameras.”

This is obviously a family interested in science.  A joule is the amount of energy exerted when a force of one newton is applied over a displacement of one metre and a Kelvin  is the Standard International ( SI ) unit of thermodynamic temperature.

And please don't ask me what any of that means! Not a clue!

Here's a compilation of a few of the videos the owner has posted on her Instagram account:




*     *     *     *     *     *    *
If you are a cat lover - especially a lover of the grumpier members of the species, this is the book for you. Written by Toffee who, despite her name, is the least sweet cat you can imagine. The world according to Toffee exists to serve her and woe betide anyone who forgets it. Paperback on left, Kindle version on right.


            





Follow That's Purrfect on: Facebook    Twitter    Pinterest    Instagram


*Take a look at The Best Cat Products In The World. You'll love them!


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