Holiday

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

At the beginning of July we went away for a week with my parents to South Devon. It was the mostly lovely relaxing week and we had a wonderful time. We stayed in a house that overlooked the sea and it was perfect for watching the boats and birds and listening to the waves.

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Daz looking out from where we were staying

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My lovely parents

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Daz and I

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The sunsets were magical

Missing Molly

Friday, June 6th, 2014

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Last night concluded the longest five days of our lives! On Saturday afternoon we noticed Molly was missing. We’d only seen her ten minutes before but we couldn’t find her anywhere. We searched for five days. We knocked on neighbours doors, asking them to check sheds and garages. We put up posters all around the area and posted three hundred leaflets through letter boxes. Lots of kind people helped, many phoned up to say they thought they had seen her. We went out at dawn, dusk, daytime and even in the middle of the night. It was heartbreaking, especially after getting our hopes up only to find all the sightings were of another cat, Jeremy.

Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I heard a meow whilst I was in bed. It was Pixie but even though I know it’s Pixie meowing I always go outside just to check. It was Pixie, she was carrying her dinosaur toy around. I had a little walk around the garden and suddenly heard a noise. It sounded like a meow and it was coming from the roof! I thought Molly must be stuck under the neighbour’s solar panels so I grabbed a ladder and made my way up there. I couldn’t see her anywhere but I could hear her. It sounded like she was under the tiles! I rang Daz who rushed home from work and we tried to work out where she was and how to get to her. I ran out to go and see the owners of the house but they weren’t there. Some other neighbours saw me in a panicked state and rushed over to help. We went into our attic to make sure she wasn’t there and spent more time on the roof. They even took tiles off trying to get to her. In the end we realised that there was nothing we could do until our neighbours got home. Unfortunately they weren’t due home till ten o’clock, five hours away! It was the longest wait ever. The moment they drove into their drive we went round. There was a hatch in the wall into the roof space. Molly was reluctant to come out with the neighbour there but when she saw me she ran over and rubbed herself on my hand. I scooped her up and we got her home.

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The most helpful neighbours ever!

I wish we had heard her sooner, I don’t know why she stayed so quiet for so long. I spent hours sat outside listening for a meow.

She was so hungry when we got her home. We’ve been giving her lots of little meals so she doesn’t get sick from eating too much. She looks a bit thin but apart from that she is fine. She is so happy to see us and spent the night purring, licking us and being cuddly. We are so very very happy to have her back.

Thank you to everyone who helped look, shared posts, retweeted etc., and offered emotional support during a scary time.

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ME Awareness Day

Monday, May 12th, 2014

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May 12th is ME awareness day. Myalgic Encephalopathy, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a life changing illness that sadly too many people suffer from. This day hopes to increase awareness and understanding of the condition.

I wanted to write a proper blog post about this but as I spent time this morning designing a new father’s day card, I’m really tired and my brain just isn’t working well. That’s pretty typical for me. I’m able to do a little bit in the mornings and then the rest of the day I’m tired and not able to concentrate or do much in the way of moving. I spend a huge amount of time in bed.

It’s not always been like this. I’ve had ME for a year and a half (and Fibromyalgia for 9 years) and I know that it won’t be like this forever. I’m determined to overcome this, however long it takes.

Thankfully I have a wonderful family supporting me and the cats are a constant medicine. Daz is incredible, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive without him.

Having Doodlecats is a lifesaver for me. There is no way I would be able to do a job that involves me leaving the house or doing lots of hours. Working from home on my little drawings is perfect and means I can work at my own pace. I am so grateful for it.

I’m doing my best to make the most of what I’ve got and life is pretty good, I’ve just learned to live within my limitations. One day I’ll be better but until then I’ll keep on drawing silly cats and smiling.

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The cats love that they get bed cuddles so much. They bring me so much joy, when I’m stuck in bed.

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Catification in progress

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

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We’ve lived here for a few months now and we’re finally getting round to sorting out shelves for the cats. Stage one is putting the wine boxes on the wall in the living room. These are wooden wine boxes that I got from the market I used to have a stall at. Lots of wine merchants will sell them to you if you get in touch. We paid about £5 a box. Boxes are great because the cats can go on top of them and you can put books/ornaments etc inside them.

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Because we were putting three on one wall we decided to test layouts using newspaper cut into the size of the boxes. That way we could see where we wanted them to be without drilling holes.

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We made sure they were level and Daz got drilling :D As Arty is quite a heavy lump of a cat we made sure to use decent sized screws and rawl plugs suitable for the type of wall. We put a washer between the head of the screw and the wood to distribute the weight more evenly.

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Pixie was first to investigate.

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Molly was a little more apprehensive and didn’t spend much time up there.

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Pixie loves being so I think they’re going to be a success.

We are going to line the boxes with pretty paper now they’re up. I am on the look out for some nice cat wrapping paper to use :D

Have you put up shelves for your cats?

Introducing Molly

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

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If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram then you’ll know that last week we welcomed a new little kitty to our family. We thought we’d wait till we had a name before formally introducing her to the world on my blog.

We were checking out the Cats Needing Homes page on our local rescue centre website, Hollyhedge Animal Sanctuary, when this little face popped up. The next day we jumped in the car and went to visit her. She climbed on us straight away and we knew that she was the one. We had been looking for a young cat as we thought it would be less stressful for Pixie and Arty, our existing cats. Black cats have a hard time finding homes which was another reason for our choice, we liked the idea of having a kitty that might not be so easily adopted as cats of other colours.
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She is 8 months old and was called Bluey in her previous life. We decided we would like a new name for her and my friends at Awesome Merchandise helped out with that. We had so many amazing suggestions. We tried out some of our favourites and some just didn’t suit her until we found Molly. It’s just right for her.

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We had a slow introduction planned for her and our existing cats. For the first few days she was in her own room. We’d open the door at meal times and feed her one one side of a mesh screen and Pixie and Arty on the other. Arty came up to the screen and gave her a few sniffs. Each day we would move the food bowls closer together. We would stroke her with a sock on our hands and then stroke Pixie and Arty with it so that they would get used to each other’s scents. We assumed we’d do this for a week or so and see things continue to progress slowly, then one day she jumped the mesh screen and ran off into the living room with Pixie and Arty. Pixie looked on whilst Molly and Arty sniffed each other and began to play. It was then we realised that they were all going to get on fine. Pixie wasn’t totally sure about her and we kept Molly in her room for a couple of nights so we didn’t have to worry about them whilst we slept. By Thursday (we picked her up on Saturday) they were all running about the house together freely and it’s been going well since.

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Molly and Arty are best friends, always playing. Pixie has started to be more playful with her in the past day or so and we’ve had no aggression from any of them. All in all, I think we’ve been really lucky.

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Molly is the sweetest little cat and we’re so happy to have been able to adopt her.

If you are considering getting a cat, PLEASE check out your local rescue centre. There are so many cats needing homes.

Molly is from Hollyhedge Animal Sanctuary

A little peek into Doodlecats Towers.

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I like being nosey and I like cat stuff so if you’re anything like me you might like this post. We have a *lot* of cat stuff in our house. I say we, I admit it, it’s me. Daz loves cats but doesn’t find the same excitement in a new cat cushion or planter as I do.

I thought I would share with you some of the things around our house. This is only a fraction of it. I could probably do weekly posts and not run out of things to photograph till next year (by which time I would have acquired more).

I adore books so it’s only natural that we have quite a few cat books. There are more somewhere in a box that’s still not unpacked too.
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Cushion from The Catkin Boutique
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Photo Frame Clock
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Cat planters from eBay and charity shops
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Print by Beck Griffin
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Cat box from H&M
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Cushions from Next and Tesco
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Kitties by my amazingly wonderful friend Kitty Pinkstars
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Art by Kitty Pinkstars, Ankepanke, Heidi M, Rus Hudda and others I can’t find
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PurrBoxes

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The lovely folks at Purrboxes.com have sent Pixie and Arty one of their fab boxes of goodies to check out.

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When you sign up to Purrboxes you get a monthly box of toys and treats for your cat (you can also buy an individual box if you don’t want to sign up for a subscription)

Pixie and Arty were interested as soon as it arrived. I don’t know if it was the sound of a packet of Dreamies or the scent of the catnip but they wanted me to open it right away.

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In this month’s box there were two mice toys, a great ball on a string toy, lots of treats, catnip and cat grass (including the compost to grow it in).

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Arty has been batting the mice around the hallway, he throws them in the air and then chases them at high speed. Pixie’s favourite is the ball on a string. She leapt all over the place chasing it last night and every time I wanted to stop playing she’d drag it around until I played again. The tasselled bit makes a great noise as it goes through the air which is what I think Pixie is most attracted to. Catnip is always a winner in our house, both Arty and Pixie are addicts and happily roll about in it.

Pixie was also really interested in the box and tissue paper that it all came in.

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I’ve planted the grass, following the instructions, so we’ll have to see how that goes. Arty loves eating plants so I’m sure he’ll be happy to have something else to chew on.

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For more information on PurrBoxes, head over to their Website or Facebook page. Purrboxes monthly deadline is usually the 10th of the month but they’ve kindly extended the cut off date so if you order before the 14th of April you will get the April box. Orders after that date will be for the May box which will be different.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

New Chickens!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

We’ve only had our one chicken Dorothy for a while now, since her friends passed away. They were all battery hens which we adopted and not all of them live very long due to the stressful start in life.

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We decided it was time to get her some friends!
Meet Audrey and Margo :D

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We got them from a local chicken farmer. Audrey is an Amber Star and Margo is a White Star. They’re hybrids.

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They’re in a pen at the moment whilst they get used to their new home and so Dorothy can see them. We’ll introduce them properly in a few days and soon they’ll all be scratching around the garden together.

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We’re often asked how the cats get along with the chickens. They mostly just ignore each other. When the cats first met chickens they got flapped at which soon made them realise that chickens weren’t easy prey. Now they all have a healthy respect of each other and neither cats or chickens bother each other.

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How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity – Book Review

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Everyone knows that internet would be nothing without cats and in the past few years there has been a rise in the numbers of celebrity cats. My all time favourite will always be Maru but there are so many other big profile cats out there that make the internet a better place. A day wouldn’t be complete without seeing a Grumpy Cat meme.

Well what happens if you want to get in on the action and make your cat the feline celebrity? Thankfully the answer is here in the form of this hilarious book.
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What ever type of cat you have, be it a clown, a devil or a lazy bum, there is advice on how to make the most of your cat’s abilities. It has hints and tips on how you can cash in on the awesomeness of your kitty and get his five minutes of fame.

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This book is hilarious, the photos made me laugh so much and it’s bound to be a hit with anyone who loves cats of the internet. The tongue-in-cheek humour and cute cats are the perfect combination.

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Daz and I thought we would use some of the hints and tips in the book to make Arty into the next big thing. Arty is a ‘do-nothing’ cat so a box and some food seemed like the only way to get him to do anything. I decided to take it up a notch and add some humour into the mix, an ordinary box isn’t good enough for our Arty. Five minutes with a box, a marker pen and my artist talents, our prop was done. Time to get Arty working to earn his keep.
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It turned out that making the prop was the easy part. Getting Arty to play the part of a lion was more tricky than anticipated, not helped by Pixie trying to get her own slice of celeb life.

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Finally we got a shot that we were happy with, time to upload it to the internet and wait for the paparazzi to turn up at our door.

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Daz, I told you not to feed the lion!

If you want to help Arty reach his true fame potential you can head over to Facebook and share his picture.

How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity is out on April 1st and you can pre-order it from Amazon – Amazon UK or Amazon USA

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Moving House With Cats

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

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Last weekend we moved house. As you can imagine, making sure the cats were ok was a priority. I thought I’d share some of the things we did to make sure they stayed as happy as possible whilst making a big change to their lives.

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Feliway kindly sent us lots of goodies to help with the move.

We had Feliway plugged in at our old house whilst we prepared for the move. All the packing was unsettling for the cats and we wanted to make sure that they weren’t too stressed by it. Thankfully cats love boxes so the packing wasn’t all bad for them, they loved to help!

Arty is a very nervous cat and the thing that upsets him the most is having strange people in his house (I’m pretty sure he’d rather go to the vet!). He gets very upset, burrows into a tiny space under the bed and doesn’t come out for hours. Because of this, whilst everything was being moved from one house to the other, we had him looked after by the lovely ladies of City Central Cattery. Our cats go there regularly and they know the people. They are looked after really well and I knew they would be safe and less stressed. If we were moving to a bigger place, giving the cats a room to their selves may have been an option but it wasn’t something we could do. Knowing they were safe and looked after meant we didn’t have to worry so much, especially seeing as our move was very stressful for us.

As soon as we had access to our new house we plugged in several Feliway diffusers. This gave them time to fill the rooms with the special pheromones that make the cats feel calm.

We set up the bedroom as a safe space for the cats with their beds and blankets so that it would smell familiar. We also included several litter trays, food and water. It would be too overwhelming to introduce the cats to the whole house at once so setting up a base room for them is best.

For the car journey we sprayed Feliway into their carriers and in the car. I sat in the back seat between their carriers and talked to them the whole way. Thankfully it was only a half hour journey and they coped pretty well. Arty did meow a bit but he’s always been a very vocal cat.

On arrival, we let them out into the bedroom and left them to explore for a bit. We just sat on the bed so they knew we were there but left them too it. It’s important for cats to explore at their own pace. Arty hid for a while under the bed, Pixie was a little braver and had a look round before coming and sitting on me. We left them in the bedroom for the rest of the day. I took a nap with them :)

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Pixie was soon very relaxed.

When they seemed settled and confident in the bedroom we opened the door and let them explore the rest of the house. We’re only in a two bedroom bungalow so there isn’t a huge amount to explore. In a house you might want to let them explore one floor at a time. They would venture out for a bit and then go back to the safety of the bedroom. Pixie was adventurous straight away, sniffing everything, running about, climbing on things. Arty was a little more tentative and took a bit longer to venture out. Once he did, he made sure to mark everything he encountered by rubbing his cheek on it. He marked boxes, door frames, furniture and us.

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Arty was determined to mark *everything*.

Play is a great way to build confidence so we’ve made sure to play with them a lot. We’ve had them running and leaping about the living room after their mouse and Da Bird.

It’s been three days now and the cats are pretty much settled in. Arty still runs to the bedroom if the doorbell goes but that has always happened. The rest of the time they’re being their usual cute selves. We are going to keep the Feliway plugged in until they run out as I really believe that it has been a great help to them. I had heard so many stories about people not seeing their cats for a week or two after a move because they’d be hiding so I am so glad ours are doing ok. I think the combination of all the things we did really helped the transition.

You can find out more about Feliway here

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.