Monday, 19 November 2012

The things we do for love!

It seems to me that the world is divided up into two types of people:- 'cat people' and 'dog people'. although I know people who have both! I'm very definitely a 'cat person'. Not only do I have 2 of my own, but I also pop along to a local farm museum to feed the 3 farm cats that live very happily on the premises. In fact I'm referred to as Isabel, the cat lady! I also find dogs adorable but not enough to be able to walk them regularly and especially not to 'scoop their poop! Which is quite ironic really as my own 2 cats are getting on a bit and Meg the oldest of the 2 has started leaving unwanted deposits on the floor of the dining room. We finally decide to try keeping a cat loo in there for a while with the plan to move it when she got into the habit of using it. Not the best place to have it - but when we tried to move it somewhere else, she reverted to using the dining room floor again, so what choice do we have! Isn't it strange that I'm unwilling to scoop dog poop, but will happily do it for my cat!

Meg was always a bit on the heavy side and in a bid to try to get her weight down I bought a scratch post with a toy mouse dangling from it on a piece of elastic to encourage her to exercise. Meg loved it and would play with the mouse and pull herself round and round in circles around the post. It was hilarious to watch and combined with carefully monitoring of her diet, helped her to loose 2 kilos, which was the equivalent of a quarter of her starting weight! I wonder if they do a 'Slimmer of the year' award for cats! Chutney, my long haired ginger tom, also loved to use it and would claw away at it much to the benefit of the sofa!

After a couple of years of much use the scratch post started to look the worse for wear. The sisal rope that was coiled round the post came apart and threads of shredded rope hung like a fringed skirt on the post. It looked a bit of a mess so one day I decided to treat the cats to a new one. Feeling very pleased with myself, I dismantled the old one and put it in the garden shed and assembled the new post ready for the cats' inspection. It looked much better than the tatty old one and improved the look of the lounge. I waited excitedly for the cats to come and show their appreciation by happily playing, scratching and clawing away on the new post! I waited for months! They totally ignored the new scratch post. I sprayed it with catnip to no avail. I even rescued the mouse from the old post and attached it to the new one. Nothing; Nada; they still ignored it. Chutney started clawing the rush matting runner in front of the door to the lounge and Meg stopped exercising. Eventually I decided to re-instate the original scratch post which was luckily still in the garden shed.

When Meg appeared and discovered that the old post was back, she went mental, absolutely crazy- for about 10 minutes she was spinning around the post, pausing occasionally to lie with her head on the base, a look of what I can only describe as unadulterated pleasure on her face.  Chutney has also taken to using the post again instead of the mat. I guess I'll just have to put up with the tatty old thing cluttering up my lounge. Funnily enough, I took the newer post along to the farm and set it up in the stable where the cats are fed and have baskets to sleep in and they won't play with it either!

As usual this got me thinking, isn't it amazing the things that we will do for love? Not just for our pets, but also our children, partners and all those in our life that we care about. Why else would we ladies put up with toilet seats being left up, wet towels left on the floor or washing muddy football or rugby kits! Why do mothers and fathers spend hours standing in the cold and often rain, watching their kids play football and other games, just to see their dirty, happy faces when they win or dry their tears if they didn't. Then there's the new parents who suddenly find that they can survive on less than 8 hours sleep. On a more serious note, some people find themselves becoming carers for the much wanted child who was born with a disability or for the beloved partner who has a serious, perhaps terminal, illness. Yet because they love them, they happily change and adapt their lives to care for them. I find this very humbling.

When I think about this it makes me feel very grateful. Where would we be without love? It helps to make the good times better, but can also make the bad ones easier to cope with. It's all too easy to take those we love for granted, I know that I'm guilty of that. Now, when I look at the scratch post , it will be a reminder not to take for granted those people in my life who I care for and who, amazingly care for me. It will also serve to remind me how lucky I am. Life may not have always been easy but I was blessed to be surrounded by people who cared and supported me. I just hope I'm up to returning the favour if necessary.

A little video of Meg with the scratch post!

Sadly Meg passed away yesterday. She was hard work towards the end as she developed thyroid and eventually kidney problems. But she was loved and we'll miss her terribly.

Isabel Johnstone 2016 ©

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