Tag Archives: Animals

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"?

Pet Project Thursday – Boo

Like most white girls from the suburbs, I love animals. I even volunteered at the SPCA for a year. I grew up with a golden retriever named Prince – The Dog That Ate Vaseline Intensive Care Cream – who brought hours of joy and laughter to my family.

And now the husband and I have Boo, a black cat with white socks and velveteen fur. We didn’t choose her, she just moved in one day and never left.

She has a million different names bestowed upon her, mostly by Alistair – Fatness, Konvunt, Ikran (yes, after the creature in Avatar), Boo Velvet, etc. I have tried to put her on a bit of a diet, but Alistair flouts this all the time. She kept getting very ill until we put her on Hill’s Science Prescription food. She likes to drink out of the water glass beside my bed. She is possibly the most adored animal in the country. Well, one of them.

And that brings me to a blog feature for people who love their pets so much that they also think their quirky behaviour is a sign of genius – Pet Project Thursday.

Every Thursday I’ll profile a different dog, cat, horse, rabbit, bird, etc. that has turned a rational human being into someone with scratched furniture, a garden of landmines and a hair-covered bed. Email me (amandasevasti@gmail.com) a picture or two of your most adored animal and the info set out below. If you have more than one creature, feel free to send more profiles.

If the humans were smaller, I'd eat them.

Name(s): Boo, Ikran, Konvunt
Species / breed / description: Cat, Burmese X, black with white chest and paws
Odd behaviour: Drinking from the human’s water glass, opening cupboards while the humans sleep
Signs of intelligence: Sitting on the human’s suitcase to stop them going away
Mental block: Cannot open the cat flap
Toy or object of choice: String and a cardboard beer box
Favourite pastimes: Sleeping, eating, staring into space, kneading the humans

Mini Bio: My first family emigrated and left me with a decent human who travelled a lot. We moved into an adequate apartment block but the flat next door had infinitely preferable lodgings. After much scratching and crying at the windows, the humans there let me move in. It’s comfortable, clean and the food is of a high standard. I am rather fond of them both, although the male makes odd noises sometimes.

The dog that ate Vaseline Intensive Care Cream

I wrote this a year ago on my old blog. I think it’s worth sharing again in the lead up to a new blog feature I’ll be introducing...

When my best friend and I were 13, we dreamed of sharing a big house with a menagerie of mutts. Toy poms and huskies for her, golden retrievers and ridgebacks for me.

Last night we watched Marley & Me … Two of the most unsentimental 27 year-old women on the planet sniffling away in the cinema, our hearts aching for the dogs we’ve loved.

I desperately scratched in my bag for the one tissue I had. I held it up and carefully tore it in half, handing the other piece to Leanne. We looked at each other and laughed at ourselves through snotty tears. Leanne said to me afterwards, “The movie must’ve been sadder for you. Marley looks like Prince.”

Prince – the canine vacuum cleaner

Prince (aka The Dog Formerly Known As Slobber Chops) was my childhood dog, a gorgeous golden retriever with soft fur and the patience of a mother.

I was eight and my brother five when we brought Prince home. Dad grumbled about paying R300 for a dog, but Mom insisted retrievers were good with children. As always, my mother was right.

Why all kids (& moms) should have a dog like Prince:

  • We would sit on a dinner tray, hold Prince’s tail and throw a piece of food down the corridor for him to chase. Hours of fun during school holidays.
  • Being a retriever, Prince needed to carry something whenever you arrived home. My mother gave him her keys and he would drop these somewhere in the house. Hours of playing ‘find Mommy’s keys’ while mommy relaxed.
  • When we got a pool, we would watch Prince dive spread-eagled into the water to retrieve various items – including us. Hours of lifeguard duty.
  • Prince would eat anything (except veggies); we called him the vacuum cleaner. Vaseline Intensive Care Cream was one of his favourite foods, squeezed straight from the bottle into his mouth. Hours of hysterical childhood laughter.
  • When we got a dishwashing machine, it was just the right height for Prince to lick all the juicy tidbits off the plates. My mother called this “the pre-wash cycle”. Hours of dish-rinsing time saved.
  • Whenever we got home, Prince ran around wagging his tail with delirious delight. One day the garage door slammed and nicked the tip of his tail off. Prince carried on wagging obliviously… Hours of telling school friends how our house looked like a horror movie.
  • When I was a depressed teenager, I kept my sanity by going for long walks at night with Prince by my side. Hours of free therapy.
  • Before leaving for work, my mother often left a frozen chicken or margarine tub to defrost in the sink. Often, it disappeared. Eventually the garden service called to ask why there were frozen chickens and margarine tubs decomposing in our hydrangea bush. Hours of amusement when retelling this story.

Prince died just before my 21st birthday. That’s 13 years of unconditional love and memories that inform my childhood. How many people can you say that about?

It’s (kinda) cool by the Zoo

I despise zoos. Not the Cavendish-before-Xmas zoo or traffic-on-the-M5 zoo, but animal zoos.

The whole concept freaks me out. I can’t stand seeing creatures in cages. Even my pet snake and hamster both spent a lot of time outside, miraculously the former never eating the latter.


Then I went to Johannesburg Zoo last week with other zoo haters. It was a gorgeous day and we were in the area, so we tentatively approached what I’ve always regarded as the original den of inequity.

By the end of the day my perception, at least of Johannesburg Zoo, had altered somewhat. About 90% of the animals are endangered and the zoo is involved in breeding programmes that help repopulate species in the wild. Many of the enclosures are quite large and cleverly camouflaged so that you never feel like you’re looking at animals through bars.


It also gives kids and families who can’t afford a holiday to Kruger the chance to see and learn about animals. Of course it’s a skewed lesson – nothing compares to seeing a pride of lions in the wild – but it’s better than never seeing any, except on TV.

I got to see a polar bear, a spectacled bear, a cougar, lemurs, tigers, rhino, gorilla and an armadillo, which has got to be the weirdest fluke of evolution on the planet. The elephants made me sad though. No enclosure will ever be big enough for an ellie.


Still, it was a lovely way to spend a sunny Sunday. Strolling from one amazing creature to another, relaxing on the lawn with hotdogs and ice-cream while an array of birdlife flew around us and monkeys heckled in the distance.

If I lived in Joburg, I’d probably choose the zoo over Sandton. At least the animals are wearing their own fur.