Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sweet William and the Nana

The great thing about pets is that they are something and someone to look after.  In Vietnam we have decided not to get another pet, because we're not sure how long we're going to be here, and also because Vietnam is just about the worst place in the world to import animals to New Zealand from. If we ever went home again with a Vietnamese dog or cat, the poor animal would need to endure a very long quarantine period, and that just doesn't seem fair.

 William's greatest day - the day he brought home a frankfurter.

William really did bring dead animals life to our home, and we miss having him around.  He mostly has settled in well at my mother's place - after those Great Escapes of the early days.  But there is one, quite significant problem.

We got William as a kitten from a state house not far from our flat.  There were a pile of kittens in the window, and I knocked on the door and asked if they wanted to get rid of one.  The people in that house thrust him at me.  The woman said to me "It's best if you get a boy one.  The girls just get more and more babies," as if the creation of kittens was a mysterious process.

Little William stunk. He is a greyish brown tabby, with a white front and paws.  His back legs were a sort of pale ginger colour.  It took me ages to figure out why he was still so smelly - even after a couple of days in the new house.  That ginger fur on his back legs was not ginger at all.  It was urine stained.  All the cats at the house he came from home were not properly litter trained, and Baby Bingle had clearly been walking around a lot in puddles of wee.

That cat was the most difficult animal to train to use a litterbox. And once he got big enough to jump on the bed, he started to wee on the bed.  It was a disaster!  It was so bad, we ended up having to replace the mattress and I was at my wits end. I researched online frantically, and found lots of helpful advice, about keeping clean litter trays, and trying different mixes of cat litter.  One site told me that cats often pee on their owner's clothes or bedding when they are nervous or afraid, or just plain unsettled - because it comforts them to mix their scent with ours.  Which helped explain the behaviour (William was a very nervous cat) but not to solve the problem!

Eventually, I noticed that he kept on going on piles of discarded newspaper when I had it around.  And I finally realised that newspaper is probably what the people in his first house would have put down for the cats to go on - if they used anything at all.  And at last we found the perfect litter tray recipe for William - a few sheets of newspaper, plus a couple of tablespoonsful of cat litter.  Changed after EVERY use.  We stopped calling it a litter tray and started calling it a nappy.  And when he was finally big enough and brave enough to go outdoors on his own we only needed the litter tray for emergencies. Like rain.  Scary, scary, rain.

I would just like to state at this point that my mother KNEW EVERY POINT of this troubled history when she agreed to take William on.  I had called her regularly throughout the years to ask her advice.  My mother was convinced that I was the problem, not the cat.  And that she - as someone who had raised cats all her life - would be IMMUNE to William and his idiosyncrasies.  HAHAHAHAAHAHHA!

Guess who has had to replace a good number of cushions!

You might think it mean of me to laugh, but she was all, "You're spoiling him. You wouldn't have any problems if you didn't treat him like a baby.  Blah blah I'm perfect and blah blah blah YOU SUCK and blah blah blah blah blah."

HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Just wait till we have real children, Mummy!  We're going to send them for holidays at Grandma's!

Poor William.  A few weeks ago Mum told me he'd been banished to outdoors altogether. But my little brother was sneaking him in for cuddles. And clearly he's back in the good books now.  My Nana has been visiting my mother for the last couple of weeks, and Mum sent me this photo:

Sweet William and the Nana. Smooching it up.

Apparently he's been 'smoochy' lately.  And was on his best behaviour for Nana's visit. Quite obviously he's out of coventry. We miss him.


  1. This little brother of yours sounds like a genius.
    I wish I was that awesome.