Spiderly issues

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I don’t really like spiders, I never have and if you ask me I can’t explain to you why.
I notice that when most people write about these horrid arachnids or post about them on facebook they frequently put pictures of the little horrors.  I have opted not to do this.  Primarily because I detest those pictures and find myself immediately unfriending anyone who conducts such an act of cyber terrorism.
My cat disagrees, he likes spiders, in fact they are his favourite prey.  When we first moved to the money pit we found mouse traps all over and the cats were a real bonus as we didn’t spot a mouse at al during the building work.  Recently we found a couple of mice but our cats seem to spend most of their time simply looking at said mouse and waiting for me to move it.  That’s fine, I can cope with mice.   I can’t cope with spiders.
It always happens at the end of summer that for some reason there are literally* thousands of spiders.  As I have aged I have come to terms with even the massive spindly ones, but these are substantial “real” spiders, with big bodies and they bleed*, they cannot be squashed and they move so fast they can escape my Dyson.
I hate these spiders, I really hate them.  The Turk can’t understand why, but it’s not really been an issue for a while, we never seemed to get spiders until last autumn.  We were living in the loft of our house at the time and I couldn’t work out where these blooming massive spiders were coming from, and why they were up on the third story of our house.  I would get up in the night, bring the boy into the living room for a feed and there would be one, lurking, in the middle of the room (usually dead).  Luckily because I am a grown up and the need to not freak out the baby became my highest priority I managed not to scream blue murder, but to place a container over the dead spider so it was out of my sight while I nursed.
One night a live one ran out from under the fridge….that wasn’t a good night.
I worked it out one day many months later, when I caught the skinny cat bringing a large one in and dropping it on the kitchen floor, the two cats then pranced around looking at it for a bit and tapping at it when it stood still….before romping off outside and leaving we and spider to it.  This year after I flipped out at the ginormous creature brought into (and then lost in) the kitchen my cat tried to appease me by bringing the next one up to my bedroom…and the one after that as well.  During the spider month I no longer go to the loft (where the cats sleep) alone.
The Turk has real issues about killing spiders, and I have real issues about not killing them.  This started when on a couple of many many many occasions he would attempt to pick them up in a tissue, drop them, find them, pick them up then drop them but walk over to the window and pretend to throw them out.  I’m not stupid, I know they’re still there.  I now have to be satisfied (from a reasonable distance) that they are well and truly squashed before I am happy.
*not literally, but definitely inside my own mind
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There’s a mouse in this house…

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We once had a mouse in our first flat, we realised because when I pulled out my bag of flour it was empty…

The next night we could hear the little blighter scrabbling around behind the kitchen cupboards, we sorted it out pretty easily by blocking up the air vent and ensuring that all edible food was in mouse proof containers, we didn’t have any problems after that.

When we moved to the money pit we were convinced there would be mice, on occasions we have suspected that it is their scuttling sending bits careering down the chimney, but this time we were not afraid…we have cats!

Now one of our cats are hunters!  I know this because the little one has a tendency for bringing in spiders, moths and daddy-long-legs in for us (he used to leave them at the top of the stairs and miaow until we came to admire…)  They loved the new house, so many rooms and nooks to scratch and sniff…so many mouse holes!  Paws were thrust down them, floorboards were pulled up and explored behind, we knew there had been mice as one of our first tasks before the kits arrived was to remove the numerous traps lying around (we don’t want paws to get caught in them), but we saw no sign of mice.

For a while…

Then one day I looked at my two cats sat in the hall, nose to nose, looking at a leaf….

…looking at me…

…looking back at the leaf…

…looking imploringly at me….

….back to leaf…

…I came closer.

It was not a leaf.

It was a mouse.

A tiny little triangular thing.

I hadn’t seen them touch it, to be fair they were both effectively asking me in cat to take the scary thing away.

I went back to the kitchen to try and find something to pick it up with, I was newly pregnant so didn’t fancy using my fingers.

The mouse didn’t move.

A journey down the road to the high street in my dustpan and brush still didn’t disturb it and I released it into the wild.

That was two years ago, and this weekend I found my cats playing with a teeny tiny mouse in the garden.  They were much braver this time, little mouse moved so slowly and they would occasionally paw at it trying to tempt him into moving.

Part of me thinks I should have left them to it, it’s good for them to play and catch fresh food.  But I couldn’t do it, I have a fondness for small furry things and yet again trusty dustpan and brush came out and mouse went far away.  The cats were fairly miffed, but wet food helped them get over it!

Cat-astrophe

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We have 2 cats which we adopted shortly after getting married, before the arrival of the boy.  The Turk has never been fond of cats but seemed to take to our boys until Jem arrived.  Our poor cats were rather neglected for the first few months of Jem’s life, but more recently since he’s been on the move it’s been a source of some tension in our house.

Jem was fascinated by the cats once he started to realise they were moving around, and I’m pretty sure that he said “cat” as his first word, because he later pointed at them and said something that sounds very like cat…

However, as crawling advanced we started to notice some issues…at first careful handling of the cats (I say cat but actually one of them doesn’t want anything to do with the boy, so I really mean just our needy cat) around Jem he took to stroking them nicely and squealing with delight, very cute.  Stroking advanced to grabbing and the cats soon learned to stay out of his way.  He’s not often quite fast enough to catch them (although he does get close) but he has turned his attention to their food instead.  Today a quick back turn whilst chopping veg resulted in food and water bowls being upended all over the kitchen floor and an attempt to consume pieces of Iams…hmmm must check what the BLW book says about that…

…to cat…or not to cat

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We didn’t have any pets when I was a child (apart from a goldfish…I liberated it from a fair…it doesn’t count)

Shortly after we got married the Turk and I adopted two cats from Gumtree, their owner was departing for Brazil (taking Daisy the whippet with him) but couldn’t also take his two cats.  I’ve always loved cats…the Turk hasn’t…we got the cats.

Now our cats were a tad spoiled (on no less than three occasions the Turk climbed local trees to retrieve fat cat) and despite his reservations it was the Turk who found and rescued skinny cat when he was chased away by a dog into the next but one estate…it was quite an achievement and I was overjoyed to be called to go and persuade him out of the locked shed…we had to take the door off to get him out…I’m not going into that story any more….

Anyway once I was pregnant I was besieged with messages of woe about having to get rid of the cats.  What was this?  Surely thousands of people successfully manage to have babies AND cats?  Of course I was careful, I have only ever cleaned up poo on a handful of occasions (a task mainly reserved for the Turk) and our cats are largely housetrained so go outdoors anyway.  I had my blood test for toxoplasmosis (naturally, hating needles but given I had to have a pre-eclampsia test every 2 weeks I guessed one more wouldn’t make a difference) and was fastidious about cleaning my hands after touching the cats.

The Turk was adamant that it was dangerous to have the “dirty” cats around whilst pregnant.  Bearing in mind that I was living in a house with no roof or back wall, 100 year old plasterboard being demolished around me, and a fear that we may discover asbestos hanging over us, throughout my entire pregnancy;  I was less concerned about the cats.

Once the baby arrived there were more warnings, mainly involving the cats finding the baby alone and sleeping on his face.  I googled this regularly and found no reports of this actually happening.  I duly purchased a cat net, but given Jem was never alone in his buggy (because we were by this point living on the 3rd floor and the buggy had to be dismantled every time I went up or down the stairs) and I tried putting the cat net over the moses basket when he slept in there, but given he only slept in it when I was in bed next to him (for a grand total of 2 hours every night…) and the bedroom door shut, it seemed a little pointless.

In fact our cats didn’t seem very interested in Jem at all.  They got over the initial shock of the noise relatively quickly, but I could tell from the looks that there was no love lost there.  For one thing the constant (and I mean CONSTANT) crying irritated them and disturbed their sleep (all 5 of us were sharing a very small space so they couldn’t get away from it).  Moreover there were now no laps for sitting on!!!  The Turk didn’t want them anywhere near him even when he was around (for fear of contaminating the baby with cat germs) and I couldn’t physically manage either of them as I always had a screaming baby in my arms.  Poor things were rather neglected.

They soon got used to him, and once he was a little older and able to lay on his front they started to take an interest in each other.  Jem loved them and literally squealed with excitement the first time fat cat came and sat with him once he was old enough to comprehend.  Skinny cat was brave and came nearer, we taught Jem to stroke him (gie gie, gently, gently) at 5 months which was fantastic (the Turk eagerly cleaning hands with wet wipe immediately after of course).

Then the boy learned to move…we barely see the cats now…

It has provoked a more important issue…Jem would much rather play with the cat toys than his own…and eat cat food…and use the water bowl as a plaything…don’t mention it to the Turk…

What to do…?

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Toilet roll;

Cat food;

Screws;

Phone chargers (or baby monitor chargers for that matter);

Chopsticks.

What do they all have in common?  Ah well the answer is simple, they all form part of the never ending list of things that my baby wants to eat, seems to be able to get hold of fairly easily, but probably shouldn’t be allowed to touch…

It”s a tricky one, of course I must keep the baby safe and if treated correctly none of these items cause a genuine danger BUT Jem doesn’t want to treat them correctly, he wants to eat them.  Whilst I admit that attempting to baby proof a semi-building site (yes over a year on there are still bits of plasterboard and screws lying around, damp patches etc but we do have all our walls and windows now 🙂 )  was never going to be easy it’s not the overtly dangerous items that he seems to be interested in (well ok he did make a beeline for the cordless drill the other day).  In fact his favourite thing at the moment is toilet roll.  Those parents amongst you will realise that whilst this seems to be a fairly easy thing to prevent once baby has made their mind up to get something there’s no dissuading them.  To deal with the constant dribble/snot there are many tissues or toilet rolls located throughout the house, but these I can often disguise behind cushions or under sofas just beyond the reach of baby arms.  What I can’t seem to prevent is the toilet roll which is actually (quite properly) placed in the toilet roll holder in the bathroom.  Since Jem started standing and coasting around these are no longer out of his reach and as he has to be taken with me to the bathroom (unless I want to deafen the neighbours by way of disgruntled baby) it’s difficult to stop him making a beeline directly for them.  Don’t get me wrong, when the Andrex puppy grabs the end of the roll and runs off with it I think it’s delightful…but this looses something in the translation when it’s baby dissecting the entire roll and leaving me with toilet paper snow all over…

More importantly I feel I could break this cycle if only I could see the attraction, why does he want to eat toilet paper anyway…surely my fishcakes are preferable…?