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Comedy in cat food labelling

November 14, 2010 Leave a comment

This week, the Six-Kilo-Cat developed her annual fussy-with-furballs problem, necessitating the administration of twice daily tablets, Cat-Lax paste and a whole new menu.

Scratched-up and emotionally crippled by the ordeal, I took myself to the shops in search of new cat chow – something to hide tablets in, chiefly. To this point, I’d managed to stay within the Kia-to-Corolla range of cat food, but desperation finally brought me to the Rolls Royce of kitty cuisine.

Comedians in cat food labelling...

Well, how funny did I feel, reading the labels:
* pate, marinade, jus, sauce and gravy (nary a jelly at this price point)
* sliced, shredded, whole, or strips
* chicken, turkey, duck, whitemeat, ocean fish (how discriminatory), prawns, beef, chicken hearts and livers, virgin tuna (as opposed to what, exactly?)
* accented with long grain rice, tossed with vegetables
* a delight, affair or banquet?

Readers would know that truth in advertising is something I hold dear, mainly because it happens so rarely. Give me a brand of cat food, something like this:
* Ducks’ guts in goop
* Fish eyes ‘n fins jelly
* Chicken wobblies in sauce
* Beef offal with cereal.

As the kids insightfully point out, the cat can’t read. However, after all the fuss and big-spending on new food, the kids also advise me that the boss only eats what comes out of light pink tins and still spits out the tablets. Go figure.

Weather for ducks

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

To say it’s raining in Brisbane would be an understatement.

Rixie, Dixie, Nina and Rita are wanting webbed feet, or flippers. (I’ve now put them up on the clothes drying rack on the flooded back patio).


According to the Bureau of Meteorology, there’s an extreme UV risk today (um, really?) and rain will ease (eventually they’ll get it right).

I’m hoping that all this rain now, means my annual camping trip isn’t washed out after Christmas.

I’m also wondering whether the price of water will come down, or whether in some secret public/private deal, high prices will be locked in to repay all those lovely desalination plants (including the one they couldn’t turn on because the endangered Lung Fish was found nearby AFTER completion! Since it lives to 100yrs, we might be waiting a while….) (Perhaps they made their way from Traveston Dam? Rascals!). Anyone trying to FOI the government or council on water prices may find it comes under the exemption for Commercial in Confidence. Otherwise, it’s totally transparent, like TOTALLY.

Bring out the Slip ‘n Slide (while the water’s free) ….

UPDATE: Reader Lucy suggests that since someone has to pay for the new infrastructure for recycled water and desalination – that it should be footed by big water users, including industry. (That sounds pretty good insofar as it could get the domestic water bill down, but we all know we’ll be made to pay by industry indirectly sooner or later…. Still, worth considering.)

Chook fact for the day …

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s true that chickens love dirt baths. But did you know how much dirt one little chook can carry?
Dixie shook herself / himself off to demonstrate …

Made you look, you dirty chook ...

You might recognise Dixie from my earlier post “K. Rudd on the Hustings“. For Dixie’s fans: s/he is the only one of four to not yet lay an egg – but since Dix – who is also known as Kevin07 – hasn’t been crowing, s/he’s safe from the fate of city roosters …

If Dixie does crow, he mightn’t get the foreign posting he was hoping for….

Categories: Australia, Pets

K Rudd ‘on the hustings’ …

August 6, 2010 1 comment

Kevin Rudd’s from Queensland and he’s back again, to help some more …

I’m not sure why, but the image of our rebel chook, sitting on top of the 8-kilo cat’s pussy palace, resonates. Perhaps both K-Rudd and Dixie have a death-wish? But unlike Dixie, K-Rudd seems to have more than one life.

In fact, watching internal Labor politics of late is reminiscent of some 80s horror flicks. Probably Dead. Then Alive. Then Probably Dead Again. Alive Again. Then Really Truly Dead. Until the Sequel. And there’s always a humongous knife left lying around.

With K-Rudd crawling out of hospital and back onto the hustings, voters are left wondering how the sequel will end. And how many sequels there’ll be.

(With apologies to Dixie the chicken.)

Categories: Australia, Pets, Politics

Road Test: www.lostmypet.com.au

August 4, 2010 5 comments

There’s a new easy-to-use Aussie website, for people who’ve lost their pets. And what a great idea it is, especially since joining is free. It even gives links to vets and animal products.

One year and one week ago, my own beloved Burmese, “Mischa” went missing. It took us days to find her. Days of panic and sadness. It wasn’t a happy ending, but then, she was very old and it was her time. I certainly would’ve used the new website if it had been available. Reader Lee, has a cat who goes for long walks and has trouble finding her way back home. Lee’s been letterbox dropping her area (and the gorgeous pictured feline is hers – anyone seen her in the Bracken Ridge area?).

Who didn’t love today’s news story of Timothy the cat, who went missing a year ago from Bald Hills and was found in Townsville, hundreds of kilometers away! Today, he was reunited with his delighted family.

When you’ve lost a pet, you want to know you’ve done everything you can to find it, and now you can.

Paws & claws up! Give www.lostmypet.com.au a go.

P.S. Best wishes to those in the process of finding their furry or feathered companions.

Categories: Pets, Services

Know Thy Neighbour

July 14, 2010 1 comment

This morning was garbage collection day. I was still in holiday mode and was feeling just a little bit happy with myself that husband and children had been dispatched out the door on time.

At our new-old place (with emphasis on old), the driveway is so narrow that I have to reverse the car out to wheel the bins to the road. No big deal. I grabbed the car key and did just that. As I could hear the rubbish truck approaching from a few streets away, I crammed in a few more rain-sodden packing boxes into recycling, and one or two dry ones into the neighbour’s almost-empty bin. Then, the wind blew the front door shut. It was the kind of heavy wooden door that locked on closing. Did I mention that the house keys and phone were inside and that all the other doors were locked? To make matters worse, I was still in my Elmo pyjamas.

Life is all about opportunities to grow. Glaring at the front door, I pondered this along with some choice and best-not-repeated other thoughts. Make lemonade out of lemons, I tell myself often. I was getting pretty sick of lemonade. Lately, I’d been making the stuff like bootleg.

What were my options? A. Drive to work and get keys off husband. Nope, not happening. B. Break in. This could be an option. The place was so rickety that an asthmatic wolf could blow it down. C. Use a neighbour’s phone and call husband home with keys. Was this the best way to meet the new neighbours? Putting to one side how impressed Dear Husband would be to get a message from Dear Wife saying come home – I’ve locked myself out – in my Elmo pyjamas …

I’m not ordinarily one to preconceive conversations, however, I started to think how to approach the neighbours in my pyjamas without them calling the police. I couldn’t approach the renters across the street, the ones who never wave back, because I couldn’t see a happy ending to that meeting, any way I looked at it. Then there were the extremely prim and proper retirees who knew my mother. Not happening. Then, there were the other neighbours who wave back. But I didn’t want them to regret being friendly. How would the conversation begin? Would they look through their peep hole and pretend to not be home? Would the pajamas be an ice-breaker? As in, the darling children picked them … I’ve locked myself out … may I use your phone? I’d probably cry with embarrassment and not get any words out at all, then they’d call the police and maybe even the ambulance. Nope, not going there.

I followed the cat around to the back door. She looked at me with her slightly cross-eyed yellow saucers, expecting me to let her in. As if to demonstrate, she launched eight kilos of claws onto the fly screen door and hung off it until the beading popped out, peeling the fly screen all the way back. Reaching through the fly screen, I could pull open the glass sliding door. Brilliant! It was unlocked. The cat and I made our way inside, as if nothing had happened. We pushed the fly screen back into place as best as we could. No-one will ever need to know, other than you, Dear Reader.

So, the moral of today’s story is, get to know your neighbours well before you ever have to call on them and make the rubbish bins someone else’s responsibility.

NB. Some details of this story have been changed for dramatic effect. Eg. the cat insists that she’s closer to 6 kilos.

Categories: Life, Pets, Social Commentary

Road Test: Coco Crush & Coat Magic for pampered pooches

July 9, 2010 2 comments

Loving thy pooch doesn’t mean putting up with doggie odour and lots of knots. Last week, I reviewed a product for cats. Dog-lovin’ readers are demanding equal time. So here goes …

Yours Truly is often asked to share Elvis’ style secrets – Elvis, the Shih-Tzu Poodle cross, affectionately referred to as the Shitoodle, that is. The resemblance to Presley is admittedly only fleeting, when the dog is sporting big hair. In his party glasses, he probably looks more like Elvis Costello.

Elvis goes to Animal House professional grooming every two months and it is there that we discovered the summer-inspired bliss-in-a-bottle, Coco Crush. It’s a non-irritating pump spray that smells so good that you have to know when to stop spraying (and be mindful not to spray oneself…all over). It takes one away to a beach in the 1980s, when everyone was soaked in coconut tanning oil. Cousin Basil, the Jack Russell, also enjoys more invitations onto the couch since borrowing Elvis’ cologne.

The other product is for coat care and knots – Coat Magic, no less. It speaks for itself.

For those in the Brisbane area, John and Janet do a wonderful job with the pooches. Elvis LOVES going there. For those pooches who aren’t local, try some of the products. Now, where did that bottle go….

Categories: Pets, Products

Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke

Mini People were spoiled for choice with movies this holidays. All of these kids’ flicks were entertaining and were universally loved by the Mini People as well as their keepers.

In order of preference: Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke. Why?

Toy Story 3 was the favourite. The story was great, the animations were as we’ve come to expect and there was no bagging out of stupid parents (other than “mom” accidentally throwing out the toys). Kids think their parents are stupid by the time they’re teenagers as a matter of natural progression – paying Hollywood to bring this process forward into the tween and early years is just an assault on parenting. This is why movies are a sometimes treat, to be enjoyed with a parent present, even if G rated. Toy Story 3 was good clean fun and it had useful messages about loyalty, care, friendship and anti-bullying. Admittedly, I was leaking from the eyes within minutes of this film starting. A word of caution however: this film’s marketing and tied in merchandising is very effective – hold onto your wallets.

Shrek Forever After was well put together, although the Mini People probably responded more warmly to the Marmeduke movie, simply because this edition of Shrek was darker than the previous movies. Children don’t really get why Fiona and Shrek were not as nice as they were in the earlier movies. Visually, the animations were fantastic and the story-line held together better than Marmeduke. Parents will get more out of Shrek than Marmeduke, as it’s cleverer and speaks to things that adults in relationships (particularly with kids) understand. For the kids, it’s just a revisiting of loved characters and easily digested humour. This is probably a good film to send dad to, with or without kids, to head off any impending mid-life crisis revolt against domesticity. While this does in a way, bag out dads, at least it’s a dad’s own journey toward contentment, rather than a movie which is narrated by a dog who’s cleverer than the owner. The simple moral of Shrek is to appreciate your family.

The Mini People loved Marmeduke as did die-hard dog-lovers who were able to ignore jarring plot issues, awkward character development and poor quality CGI. Marmeduke was a dog’s version of a high school teen angst movie. The parallel human plot was about the family’s growing disconnect because of the work-obsessed, clumsy, goofy father. There were plenty of nifty things for kids to learn from this film, like how to roll eyes every time one’s father speaks, how to write snide text messages about your family, how if your dad’s too busy to notice – sneak off to the skate park instead of soccer training and how talking to your dog instead of your parents somehow makes it all better (because of course, the dog fixes everything in the end). There was just a bit too much cheesiness in the rushed ending. Also, why does the cat need a Spanish accent like Puss in Boots? And why do all the dogs dance in the end like in Shrek and Garfield? Marmeduke, the movie, just felt like it had been pushed through production too fast and was roughly hacked together in the editing room. On a brighter note, the menace of merchandising wasn’t an issue and the Mini People thought the moral was to take better care of the family dog and to fight against bullying.

It’d be great if there were more stories about the resourcefulness of kids and less said about unhealthy family dynamics.
What’s that Skippy?
A bushfire? Where?
At the ranger station?
Let’s go, Skip!

The kids in the movies of my time were so clever, they even understood kangaroos. Enough with the eye-rolling, already!

Road Test: Litter Kwitter – 100,000 cats can’t be wrong

Imagine 100,000 cats all agreeing on one thing. According to the marketing for Litter Kwitter, that many cats are already lining up with the rest of the family, to use the bathroom in the morning. And evening. And in between. Just like in the movie franchise, “Meet the Fockers”. Except non-Hollywood cats don’t flush.

The Auntie Who Thinks of Everything introduced Yours Truly to this ingenious device today. It would be unfair of me to not share this new insight into what your cat could do, if it could be bothered.

There are 3 stages of red, amber and green, after which, the most competent of cats can use your toilet without the product at all. This is great stuff for people with indoor cats – no more litter and theoretically, no more mess – except when the toilet’s otherwise occupied or the two-legged servants forget to put the cat-seat down … That’s when one notices the “cat” in “catastrophe”.

Nonetheless, Auntie is very impressed with the product, as is her three month old, almost-hairless Devon Rex “Pom Pom Sparkle” (that’s what you get when you let your four year old choose the name).

Happily, given his lack of hair, PPS has no problems with dingleberries. Yours Truly has not yet interviewed any long-haired Persians and unfortunately, a certain 13 year old Bombay Black showed me her exclamation mark when I tried to discuss toileting. Apparently, old cats can be taught to use the apparatus, but mine likes the feel of the wind in her fluff …

Claws up. This product rocks.

Categories: Pets, Products