Tuesday, June 26, 2007

They don't sleep all the time

As preamble to this post, you need to know one of those stories that has become family folklore. Some years ago, our whole family went on holiday to a rambling old house in France: my parents, brother, wife and two children and us with our three children. Not long before, there had been a horrible incident in a youth hostel in France in which a young girl had been murdered by an intruder as she slept.

One night, I woke and went to check on the children, all five of whom were sleeping in one big room. Daughter 2, aged 14, wasn’t in her bed. I checked downstairs: not there either. Not in the bathrooms; not anywhere. I panicked and woke my husband and we searched together. No sign, though no obvious break-in. But I became convinced that she’d been kidnapped.

And then eventually my husband found her. Asleep underneath a bed on the opposite side of the room from her bed, squeezed against a wall and under a pile of blankets. And fine, though unable to explain how she got there.

This is the reference at the beginning of the email my husband sent to me at work today. By the way, I sleep at my mother’s house to keep her company on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, so hadn’t been at home this morning. The chap had been in charge of the kittens – Daughter 2 had gone to work and Son wasn’t up yet.

You also need to know that I have an ambition to have a cat-free room: the sitting room. Yes, I know it'll never work.
Read on - my husband's email follows.

Subject: Kitten report
From one of their owners (traumatised)
I had a "Daughter under the wrong bed in France" few minutes this morning. Cassie managed to escape from the kitchen without my noticing and make her way to the sitting room. She has learnt to scale the cardboard washing machine protection both ways (i.e. in and out) and as I left the kitchen to go to the bedroom she was climbing in. I was sure, wrongly, that I had shut the kitchen door and, for once, didn't shut the dining room door to the hall.
When I came back only Sirius was in sight and, after I'd checked all the usual places, panic set in. I couldn't be sure that there wasn't a way out round the back of the sink unit (there isn't - the mouse ingress was filled in by me years ago). She wasn't in the dining room and so I rushed upstairs to get [Son]. He also looked in the usual places and then hauled off the cardboard and pulled out the washing machine and the dishwasher. Plenty of dust but no pussy. Sirius was just looking on and keeping dumb. I then decided to try further afield and found her nosing round the sitting room.
Panic over but as a consequence I didn't get to work until nearly 25 past 9!
Also when I went in first thing they were sitting in their new basket which had been put on a chair under the table. However, a geranium (still in its pot) was lying on the floor with compost scattered all around. The kittens were very interested when I cleared it up in a "Goodness. How did that happen?" sort of a way. They were then fed and watered (by me) and toileted (by themselves - although at one point they both tried to occupy the tray at the same time which didn't seem like a good idea). I'm beginning to calm down slightly and had better do some work.


  1. Isabelle,
    That was a great story! And I'm certain they will provide you with lots of them (stories). They are so cute in that little bed... looks like they've grown. That is so sweet of you to stay at your mother's house overnight. I'll bet she just loves that.

  2. Aw, they look so cute. This is but the beginning! Scruff felt compelled to write the little cherubs a note!

  3. Poor fellow....and he had thought he was all done with raising children! I wonder if the seemingly innocent duo was/were testing the suitability of the geranium pot as an alternate toileting facility??

  4. That's so funny, and so cute!! Can't wait to hear more about the new "babies" ...

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  6. (re-posted to correct spelling - I'm on an unfamiliar keyboard and don't want to look silly)

    I remember this stage! My girl-cat had four kittens when I was 12, and we ended up keeping three of them. Right now I have a pair of 5-year-old long haired feline maniacs in a two bedroom flat, which is all the kitten I can handle. One of them just wandered in and warbled at me because it is suppertime, I'd better go feed him or he'll start beating up his sister.

    I hate to worry you, but my experience has been that all-black cats are particularly characterful.

  7. Ohh, I am in love with the idea of those kittens! I love cats, but you can't beat that kitten stage.

    Especially when they get a fright and jump off all feet at once!

    Poor hubbie, oh well, he needs to toughen up, there is more to come yet!

  8. Isabelle, I am thoroughly enjoying the adventure of the kitties! :) Even if they are a bit harrowing for you all. ;) They are still adorable! I can say this because they are not lost or tipping plants at my house. :)

  9. That compost bit reminded me of an incident last week
    Could not work out why the result of daughter's science project seemd so odd. The control plant (Violas) semed to be wilting and yellowing by the minute, when the ones being doused in various concentrations of detergent seemed none too sick.

    I caught Little Cat 2 perching delicately on the rim of the flowerpot, using it as his own tiny little toilet. It was just the right size.
    Conclusion:" Violas don't take kindly to a drenching in cat urine every day and will die as a result"

  10. There are going to be some wonderful cat stories to come out of all this!
    I had the same thought about the potting mix... alternate toilet.
    The do seem to be growing fast! Wish I could wear one on my bald head!

  11. What gorgeous cats - just like our two! I remember that youth hostel incident so I can imagine just how you felt. Cats are just like having more children around the place and just as mischievous!

  12. Aw, they are so very, very, cute! A lovely story too, I especially like the way that you have a special phrase for that feeling. Soulmate and I call it "coat at school", as it makes me think of that moment as a chubley when you get home from school only to realise that you've left your coat there - that stomach flippy and altogether not very nice sensation! :o)

    Hope there aren't too many more disappearing kitty moments.


  13. Hi Isabelle, I just visited from Joni's (Yummers) blog. I have to say you gave me a really good laugh, you have such a great sense of humour. Loved your story about the dog-lol. We have one of those Rotweiler's, she really is adorable (to us). Maybe not to the visiting tradesmen if we aren't home though. But we are saved, we also have (our second) a gorgeous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, 14yrs old, my darling Maddie Girl. Please come and visit some time.
    Cheers, Coll :-}

  14. Isabelle, I forgot to ask you, please, who is the "Person from Salford". Sounds very mysterious indeed.
    Coll :-}