215. Old e-Mails for Cat lovers

I’ve been cleaning up a huge selection of old emails dating back to 2002, preparatory to deleting everything from my old computer.

Background: I’ve always been a cat lover. Here’s proof:

N ast 6 mths with cat

Other photos will have to wait till I can dig them out from storage.

When I left Brisbane in 2000 I gave my aged little Burmese cat Babouche, too old and arthritic to bring to chilly NZ, to a friend who already had another cat affectionately named Fleabag. After a cat-less year in NZ Dave and I adopted Saba, a youngish female Burmese of unknown history. Dave already had a little Miniature Pinscher named Tahi. Now read on ….

Great to hear from you and quite surprised to learn that Fleabag and Babouche are now friends. It would be good if we could induce the same happy state between Saba and the deaf white cat next door. Unfortunately at their first encounter, they had a staring match then White strolled awayand Saba the friendly extrovert took this as an invitation to play chasings… bounded after, surprised White who naturally attacked…. sigh…. Saba now spends much time following White’s outdoor explorations of OUR garden via various windows, growling now and then …..

This weekend Dave and a friend attempted the mammoth task of clearing out the garage, full of FIVE motorcycles or at least bits of them, plus god knows what else … Saba had an absolute ball, flirting with the men, playing with the dog occasionally, and continually inspecting all the wondrous things brought outside specially for her inspection. Never seen her occupied so continuously for so long! She must have been a motorcyclist in a previous life.

When we got back from our 10 days down south, and went to collect Saba from the cattery – right beside her in the next cage (in the cattery section mind you) was a familiar little dog – Tahi! Apparently Dave’s sister who was looking after Tahi had to take him there for the last 2 days and Saba went wild when she saw him, raced up and down her cage, and they were allowed to play together too …. the cattery/kennels is run by a very nice understanding person (!).

Those 10 days were wonderful. There was snow on all the mountain tops but it wasn’t particularly cold – just as well as we camped a few times. Attended a famous vintage air show, explored old gold mining towns, saw a petrified Jurassic forest on the shoreline at one of the furthest points south, and got stuck for 4 hrs in a very cold river at the bottom of a chasm. (Yesterday was a 4WD show and we went and bought something called an exhaust jack as Dave only had an ordinary jack which was one reason the rescue operation took 4 hrs.) Of course the moment we got back to dry land another 4WD appeared around the corner of the river – he could have got us out in 5 mins. He was lucky though as he would likewise have become VERY stuck.  Dave only admitted to me yesterday just how serious it could have been – as I’ve become used to the madcap antics of the 4WD Club where
people get stuck and towed out continuously, and of course ‘cos I had total faith in Dave, I wasn’t particularly concerned. We stayed together with the other truck for the rest of the day, got back to the town at dusk, went to the pub for the best ever meal of lamb shanks, then fell into our tent and slept for 12 hrs!

Tried out my brand new trout rod but no luck. We’d hoped to do some serious fishing towards the end, but the weather didn’t cooperate.

11 Dec 2002.   Our Saba continues to enchant and infuriate. She is soooooooooooo friendly – sits in the front yard and gallops out to say hello to people walking past. She took a fancy to a lady recently and followed her for 10 houses! – I had to go and fetch her back. Another time she was discovered by a home owner about 5 doors down, sitting in the middle of his driveway, saying Hello!  We think we should get another cat (yes yes yes yes yes) to keep
her company. Tahi is a bit too old to want to play with her all the time and anyway he goes to work with Dave each day (!)

A short time after that we acquired a darling little half-Burmese ‘blue’ (ie grey) with golden eyes, who we named Aza. I wrote to the breeder:

It’s hard to believe the change two days makes.  The kitten Aza now comes dancing out from her hiding places, tail sticking straight up, when we enter her room, and makes straight for our laps. She’s less inclined to play and more inclined to snuggle up, which means I spend much less time at my computer – a good thing?? … She’s showing increasing interest in the big wide world outside the door and it won’t be long before she makes a bolt for it.  I intend to introduce her formally to our other cat Saba tonight. Saba has seen Aza and growled a bit but not threateningly. The dog doesn’t seem worried so long as he knows where Dave is.

A week or so later:

Our new kitten Aza is just amazing. So spunky and lively and friendly for such a little rat-sized creature. The dog Tahi was intrigued from the start but Aza would have none of him at first – but they are friends now. Saba took longer, it was very funny seeing her suddenly adopt the dignified older cat pose ….. after a week of swearing at the little blue rat she was discovered curled up inside Aza’s carrier cage with Aza beside her, and although some of their wrestling games seem a little rough, all is now
well. Aza is being surprisingly submissive and I keep on wondering if it is all a ploy!  Aza is actually only the second kitten I’ve had – Babouche was the first – I’ve always had cats but usually they adopt me or come to me half grown.

But then in Dec 2003:

We have lost our Saba, the seal Burmese. She was out ‘visiting’ and was attacked by a dog, rescued by a young neighbour, but died on the way to the Vet “from shock”.  The neighbours buried her for us at the foot of our garden, with a wooden cross decorated with her collar and name tag and bell, their names all over the cross (9 children aged 2-13), 3 adults) and flowers at the foot.  I think they are Maori. All this while we were out of contact for 4 days, trying to catch fish over on the West coast.

It seems this family were Saba’s second family, she visited them often and occasionally spent the night in one of their beds, but always refused food and returned home for it.  She probably had a couple of other families around too.  Aza the blue Burmese-X is less inclined to wander thank goodness.

It is really moving to think they gave her a Maori-type send-off, and
what’s more they could not have picked a better place to bury her, near her favourite apple tree from whose branches she launched herself into her secret world!!  It seems that the neighbours on our other side also helped – the burial was their suggestion as nobody knew when we would be back, and our cat-feeder Lesley didn’t catch up with events until the next day.

To replace Saba we went back to Aza’s breeder and were chosen by  Rex, who sat quietly in the middle of a room swarming with kittens, and gave me the eye.

Just over a year later, more sadness:

I have some sad news, our Aza the blue Burmese-X (Arzani Shaku Blue, from Arzani Black Lucifer and Rothrose Shaku according to the pedigree you gave us) has just been put down.  Two mornings ago a neighbour came round and said she was in her garden, looked like she had been hit by a car. However after 5 X-rays ($$$!) the Vet still couldn’t find any real evidence, and nothing to indicate a dog attack either. We are now 99.9% sure she had a spinal tumour which I understand is fairly common in young cats; there were actually some indications about 6 months ago that all was not 100% but as she seemed to recover we ignored them. With paralysed hindquarters and very poor prognosis I had her put down while I literally held her paw. She’s now been buried under the apple tree next to her mate Saba the Seal Burmese we got from the Cat Protection Society.

Rex, the seal Burmese (Arzani Shaku’s Deter) is however going full guns – really adorable.  He’s the most laid-back cat I’ve ever known!!

3Rex & Dave

21 Feb. More drama, Rex did not come in late last night and hasn’t been seen since.  I expect he has been accidentally locked up in a garden shed etc where he was looking for Aza.  At least I hope so.  I’m trying not to panic (crooked grin).  He has been prowling around looking for her everywhere.

But it turned out Rex had ventured out onto the road where he never normally went, looking for his mate, and was hit by a car. A neighbour heard something, saw a car stop, the people examined something on the road then put it in a sack and took it to a rubbish bin opposite. Rex was wearing a collar with a tag bearing his address and our phone number, but we never received a call.