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Hello and welcome to thedailymews.com. Here you'll find everything on all things feline. Why not subscribe to our FREE monthly Mewsletter. You'll see a link further down on this page. Lots of great articles for you to enjoy, plus the caption competition to enter.

 

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Catnip Corner

Catnip Corner

My main passions in life are cats and writing and this new section combines both quite nicely. This blog is the chatty bits which are usually found at the beginning of the Mewsletter and the Scratching Post but in a bid to make both of them more user friendly, I am cutting the chatter and putting it into a blog. I hope that you'll take time out to read them and more importantly, enjoy them! I always welcome feedback so please write to me using the contact us box.

Thank you for reading.

paws for thought

Paws For Thought

a place where you can stop off at any time of the day to rest a while; put your feet up; have a drink and relax – perhaps with your favourite feline on your lap or nearby.

Paws for Thought is a collection of quotations written by people from all walks of life on their passion for cats. I do hope you’ll enjoy them enough that you’ll want to come by often to just sit and find peace with your feline companion while you read.

A Message from Pauline

Where it began ....

Where it began, I can't begin to knowing,
But then I know it's growing strong
Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who'd have believed you'd come along

Neil Diamond, Sweet Caroline

The opening verse to Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond sums up the birth of the Daily Mews perfectly.  I didn’t know, when I first, tentatively, began to put content on a rather rudimentary website back in May 2002, that it would still be going strong twenty years later.  There have been some ups and downs, and losses and the family that I feel the wonderful subscribers to the Mewsletter are to us, have kept me buoyant when there were times I felt I was sinking.

Sam, Garfield, Timmy, Billy, Ollie and RickyThe original Daily Mewsers: Garfield, Billy, Timmy, Sam, Ollie and Ricky (see photo) are all, sadly, long gone but never forgotten. There were a few other felines who passed through the cat flap from time to time, who left their pawprints on my heart; some were found homes with new families, some, sadly, passed away.

My house is small, just two up and two down, but with Garfield et al, it vibrated with purring all day, every day.  Each room had a feline stretched out – sometimes two – nose to tail basking in sun puddles, on a couch, bed, or cupboard.  Cats don’t mind where they sleep.  I’d walk from room to room and feel so blessed because these wonderful, amazing felines had made my life complete.  

Back in 1993, a miniseries based on the book by Armistead Maupin was shown on British television. I was hooked.  Tales of the City starred Olympia Dukakis as Anna Madrigal, the owner of a seemingly a large house with tenants renting rooms.  As a newcomer arrived, she would tape a joint to their front door as a welcome gesture. 

I had visions of writing something similar based on the lives of my cats. Garfield was the senior kitizen, who mentored the newbies as they arrived and offered the benefit of his wise counsel to the others. I wondered if I should leave a snifter of cat nip nearby to help each kitten or cat settle in.  But as we all know, life sometimes gets in the way of the best laid plans, and Tales from 227 (or whatever I was going to call it!) never materialised.  

And now the Lazypaws Guest House for Discerning Felines is home to Casey and Gibbs; two mackerel tabbies who found their way through the cat flap a couple of years apart and into my heart. 

Back in June 2006, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, and two subscribers – Jeff Shepherd who lives in the UK and Stacy Mantle, who lives in the US, between them, kept the website updated with new content, and a Mewsletter was sent out each month.  I can’t remember now how long they did this for, (I think it was a couple of years while I was going through the worst of the journey,) but I am so grateful to them both for their selfless devotion to my little website, while I slowly recovered.

Thank you, Jeff and Stacy.

Friends were made along the way, either because they contacted me or because I’d read a book they’d written, and I contacted them to ask if they’d like to write for the Daily Mews. Jim Willis contributed from quite early in the Daily Mews journey, while Ed Kostro and Jared Kline have been friends of TDM almost - but not quite – from the beginning.  And from about 2006, Carol Turner, became a contributor and a great friend. Writers have come and gone for various reasons, and I have been grateful to each one for his or her contributions.

The current writing team consists of Carol, Audra High (with Raena Belle and Zebby – her service cats), Susanne Haywood with Bilbo, (who writes his Buzz when he isn’t too busy), Darren, who is dad to Ceci, who is blind, but lives life to the full, and her various house mates that Darren rescues.  Newcomers Andrew Lane and Gloria Lauris have brought fresh voices to the team and their writing is hugely appreciated.  

I am also blessed to have Aida Marina on the team because she has created some amazing banners over the years, and I have her to thank for this 20th anniversary banner on the Mewsletter.  I must also thank Aoife McCann for her beautiful illustrations in recent times.  

The Daily Mews is very different now to when it first began back in 2002. Back then, I wrote a couple of articles and sent out Mewsletters to a handful of people, some of whom have stuck with me through thick and thin, some of whom left when their own cats passed away. I am grateful to everyone who came, stayed, or left, for their contributions over the years.

I don’t have copies of the first Mewsletter I sent out, but I do have some of the articles I wrote. They seem a bit naïve and ‘innocent’ now, but I’ll put links at the bottom of this piece so you can check them out if you want to. A whole raft of my various pieces is in the ARTICLES section, just click on it, a drop-down box will show you lots of contributors – and you’ll see my name.  Click on it and you can read – if you want to – lots of stuff I’ve written over 20 years.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to still be here.  Last year, I had some very scary times when I really thought I would have to give up the website.  Many of you wrote with encouraging words of how much TDM meant to you and with suggestions to try to keep it going, even if it was only once or twice a year.  I still have Long Covid, and I do struggle daily with various symptoms which are unpleasant and difficult to live with. But I know it would break my heart if I had to stop writing about cats and never be able to share stories with you guys ever again.

None of us know what the future has in store for us.  We’re living in very uncertain times, but I hope the Mewsletter, with its links to the fabulous stories from my wonderful team of writers, will help you through your days, will lift your spirits, and perhaps, make you laugh.

I think I’d be very optimistic if I said, ‘here’s to the next 20 years’, but maybe I could say ‘here’s to the next 5 or possibly 10!’  

With love and gratitude to you all

Pauline xx

           

Cat Calls - What's New Pussycat!!

George“Er, excuse me.”

I looked at the rather rotund ginger cat that was parked on my worktop next to my kettle. He’d been popping round for a half dozen sachets of Felix several times a day for a few months now and he looked like a George to me, so that’s what I’d been calling him. George. He had answered straight away the first time I’d called him that so either I’d struck lucky and his name really was George or he just answered to anything. ‘For you lady, I’ll be George, or whoever you want!’

“Can I help you, George?” I now asked him.

“I’ve come about the vacancy,” he explained, still not moving from his spot next to the kettle, which was rather unfortunate as I wanted to make a drink.

“The vacancy?” I hadn’t been aware we had a vacancy but George seemed to think we had one so perhaps we did.

“Yes, I’d like to move in, if that’s OK with you,” he said, looking me straight in the eye daring me to back down or refuse him.

Suddenly I remembered a conversation we’d had a few weeks ago after one of his mammoth sachet swallowing sessions. I had perhaps, rather rashly, suggested in a moment of bon homie that he would be very welcome to move in, if he’d like to. He’d carried on eating at the time and then walked off through the cat flap without a backward glance. He hadn’t come back that evening for the rest of his carton of sachets and I wondered if I had offended him in some way. Perhaps he had a perfectly good home and he was just spending his waking hours visiting various homes on the street to see if anyone needed cheering up. That he was given a meal for his efforts was the way it went: he came and cheered up some unsuspecting soul in return for several sachets of food. It seemed a good bargain whichever way you looked at it.

He had a faded blue collar on and his coat was rough and dishevelled. Could he really have a perfectly good home and look so, I tried to find the right word, unkempt? Long past kittenhood, it was difficult to put an age to him, but I think he could be early teens or perhaps a smidge under ten. Life had obviously given him a tough exterior but when he purred, I knew he was a huge softie underneath all that gruffness. 

He’d stayed away for a couple of days, no doubt to keep me guessing or make me sweat, which in the unusually hot (for the UK) weather for July wasn’t hard to do. I kept making puddles wherever I went, and it was nothing to do with my age, let me set that record straight!

Finally, a few days later, when I got up one morning, he was sitting in his preferred spot next to the kettle on the worktop.

“At last!” He said, looking at the kitchen clock which showed the time at 7.45. “I thought I was going to have to open the sachets myself!” He looked slightly miffed at the thought of having to get his own food and I gave him a passing stroke on his forehead and spent a bit longer on Casey who was looking on with concern.

Casey seems to like George but he’s not quite sure if he should. George, is after all, a visiting feline and our house is Casey’s turf but having lost his two best friends within a very short space of six months, I had wondered if he was lonely. Seeing George ensconced on the worktop I mused that perhaps Casey had put some ads in the local newspaper, advertising a room to let in return for friendship and fun. You never know these days, what with the Internet and all the gadgets at their disposal.     

George tucking inI got two clean dishes and opened two sachets of Felix cat food and gave Casey his, while George made a great kerfuffle about leaving his worktop to come down to floor level to eat. He went to the usual spot near the cooker where he’d become accustomed to taking his meals and set about with great gusto the devouring of one sachet in record time. Casey ate his with some finesse but George had no such scruples. ‘Down in one or two slurps at the most’ seemed to be his motto and he sat by his empty bowl looking at me and giving the cupboard where the cat food is kept some pointed looks.

“I don’t suppose I could trouble you for a little more?” he asked.

I knew ‘a little’ was an understatement but I duly opened the cupboard and got another sachet ready. He rubbed his head around my legs and I could hear his purrs. I put the dish down on the placemat and he launched himself as if he hadn’t eaten for hours.

Once he’d eaten, he’d gone back out through the cat flap and up the garden path to who knows where. I hadn’t seen him before he’d started coming through our cat flap so I don’t know who he belonged to. On one occasion when he’d let me stroke him, he suddenly growled and snapped at me when my hand touched the side of his stomach. I wondered if he’d been kicked by someone and I was careful after that to not touch that area.

He was friendly and purred his thanks but he didn’t usually stick around for any conversation, although one evening he popped into the front room while I was watching television and Casey was upstairs on my bed. I’d patted my lap and without any hesitation he leapt up and began giving me gentle headbutts, rubbing his head all round my face. He sat on my lap for ages while I stroked his back, carefully avoiding his stomach, and telling him what a beautiful boy he is. He rewarded me with rumbling purrs.

I thought we were making headway but as if he was giving too much of himself away, he jumped down quickly and headed off to the kitchen where he sat by the food bowl which he’d earmarked for himself and waited for me to come. After he’d eaten three or four sachets without pausing for breath he just went through the cat flap without a goodbye or see you later.

And now, here we were, a few weeks later and he was asking about the vacancy. “What made you change your mind?” I asked him.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” he replied, “I’m only staying on a temporary basis. I make the rules and if you’re happy to accept them, then we’ll get on just fine. Don’t try to change me or turn me into something else because I’m me. What you see is what you get.”

“You’re free to come and go as you please,” I said. “You are you and that’s why I like you, no, scrub that, that’s why I love you.”

“Steady on, we haven’t known each other that long. You can’t go bandying words like love around.” He said from his perch by the kettle.

“Ok, how about we take it one day at a time, George? Would that suit you better?” I asked. “That way, if you find somewhere else that you prefer to be then you’re free to leave whenever you want.”

“Hold your horses, lady, who said anything about leaving?”

“Well, I thought you just said that you were only staying on a temporary basis …” I mumbled almost incoherently.

“Look, this is how I do things,” George started to explain. He had shifted his position slightly but he still blocked my access to the kettle. “I come for breakfast and dinner, and if I’m not busy elsewhere with my travels, I might pop in for lunch. If I haven’t got any prior engagements then I might avail myself of the sofa or an armchair for one of my several naps. I don’t do slobbery sentiment and love is not a word in my vocabulary. If you play your cards right, and you’re not doing too badly at the moment, you might have me as a permanent guest but I never make any decisions on an empty stomach.”

Saying that, he gathered himself together and, nimbly for a rotund ginger cat, he jumped off the worktop and landed on the kitchen floor.

“All that rulemaking has made me extra hungry,” he said. “I’ll take my first course if you don’t mind.”

“Coming right up, George. And welcome to the ‘Lazypaws Guesthouse for Discerning Felines.’”

Pauline Dewberry 28th July 2014

   

 

 

Speaking "Cat"

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Titbits

TOP TEN CATS' NAMES 2022

Luna

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For more names, go to supakit.co/blogs/news/cat-names-2022

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