Category Archives: Animals

I miss her

Last night I said goodbye to Boo. My familiar, my fat cat, my little beast with rabbit paws. She magically arrived on my balcony 10 years ago, whined until I let her in, and then never left. She chose me, and I’ve adored her and protected her for a huge part of my life. No matter what awful things happened to me or how sad I was, I could nuzzle my face into her fur and she would purr to make me feel better. Last night I tried to do the same for her as the vet inserted a needle into her thin paw, still shaved from the drip she’d been on for days, her failed kidneys having done all they could.

Boo was the most uncat-like cat you’ve ever met. Sweet, loving, a true character, running to the door and mewling when I got home as if to say, “Where have you been?” She had many aunties who happily Boo-sat when I was away and adopted her as their own. People who didn’t even like animals met her and fell a bit in love with her. She could fix you with an impervious look to let you know she didn’t need your attention, but then she’d stretch out one white-socked paw as if to say, “Okay, we can be friends. Come pat me now.”

She loved her food, cuddles, drinking from the tap, lying inside cardboard boxes and on human chests. She was not adventurous, preferring to lie in a sunny spot and whine at the birds who rested on her windowsill. Her black and white fur was thick and soft, her whiskers improbably long.

I’d never had a cat before Boo. I’d loved dogs, family dogs. But I’d never had a creature who was simply part of my soul. Now I feel like I’ve lost a little piece of myself. I keep looking for her and almost finding her. I see movement out of the corner of my eye. I feel something warm by my feet while lying in bed. I hear a crunching noise of food being eaten from a bowl. I listen for a cardboard box rustle and an enquiring mewl. I reach out for her, to stroke that incredibly soft fur and feel comforted, to know that everything will be okay.

My heart is broken into a million pieces. And the only one who can make me feel better is her. I dream of her and I still can’t believe she’s not in the other room, curled up on the sofa with one little paw tucked under her. My angel Boo is gone and I miss her.

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” – Ernest Hemingway

Brutus is my name but not my nature

I received this email from a friend of my mother’s in Cape Town and I’m now in love with this beautiful dog. If I had a garden I’d adopt Brutus in a heartbeat. A house-trained and loving Lab who’s only three years old? Those don’t come along very often.

If you’re looking for a family dog and would like to skip the growing pains of a puppy, take a look at Brutus.

Harro

“Brutus, an almost 3 year old male, black Labrador lives next door to us in Somerset West. Over the past year we have come to know him as a wonderful character, with a lovely nature. Unfortunately his owners are not in the position to give him the attention and love he so deserves and he spends all week and most of the weekend alone with no company or stimulation.

Is it playtime?

From time to time we have taken Brutus on walks and even introduced him to some basic training and have found him to be most responsive to the attention. He has also demonstrated a real willingness to learn. He is excellent with people and is well behaved with other dogs. He also isn’t a big barker.

Although not yet neutered he is a gentle soul, who just needs lots of love, exercise and attention. Our neighbours realise that he needs a more suitable home and have agreed to his re-homing so that he can bring joy to a family who is willing to love and care for him.

Nom nom

So if you are looking for a friend for life and want to meet Brutus, please call us.”

Samantha 083 455 4115
Walter 083 299 3930

Walk your own dog!

Lots of things have fascinated me about Joburg over the past three months. Nobody knowing how a traffic circle works, the ardent socialising, the near-perfect weather, the ginormous potholes… But nothing prepared me for dog-walking in the leafy suburbs.

For some reason, the middle and upper classes don’t walk their own dogs – they get their “staff” to do it.

Driving around Parktown North, Houghton, Sandton and Saxonwold, I’ll often witness a young guy in overalls being dragged along by two Golden Retrievers and a Jack Russell. 29 years in Cape Town and I’d never seen this before.

It blows my mind. Half the pleasure of having a dog is in exercising with them. It’s not like this is New York, where you need professional dogwalkers because you live in a 30th floor apartment. Even my grandparents, who lived in typical colonial Rhodesia, never asked their gardener to walk the dogs.

Even Justin Timberlake walks his own dog

It’s like the women who take their maids grocery shopping with them – another Joburg quirk that leaves me speechless. I mean, how lazy can you be?

I’m starting to love this city in many ways, but this is not one of them. Walk your own dogs people, seriously.

The FAT cat sat on the mat

The husband, Alistair, and I have had Boo for five years. A new neighbour took her in when her original family emigrated. He travelled a lot and soon she came over to our flat more and more, crying to be let inside. She really just chose us. Our neighbour didn’t mind. Besides, you can’t change a cat’s mind.

The husband didn’t grow up in an animal-mad family like I did, but he absolutely adores Boo. She’s an indoor cat who’s very relaxed and affectionate, which also means lazy and fond of food.

When she got sick a few years ago, she became thin and listless. We were panic-stricken. Luckily some antibiotics and Hill’s Science sorted her out.

Now she’s fat and happy, despite her traumatic trip to Joburg. And that’s the problem – she’s getting rather heavy.

For an 8-year-old cat to weigh nearly 8kg is a little worrying healthwise. I try to be strict and only give her a sachet every second night (she has dry food the rest of the time), but the husband doesn’t like to “deprive” her. It makes me think about how we’ll act when and if we have kids.

Alistair had a stricter and less spoilt upbringing than me. I got a car for my 21st birthday, he got books. Yet I’m the one who insists the cat we love go on diet. So I was pleasantly surprised when he said we should chat to the vet about putting Boo on a kitty diet. “Daddy” has finally realised I wasn’t trying to starve her, just save her from feline diabetes.

Pets may not be the same as children, but they definitely give you an indicator of what you’ll be like as parents. I recommend the dry-run.

Who you calling "fat"?