Monday 28 September 2015

Last Post!

Hello all. This is just a note to say I will no longer be posting on this blog. All future cat-related posts will be at my new site, along with my other writing. Please do pop over, and subscribe to the email update if you like what you see.

A huge thanks from me and The Bear to all of those who've supported this blog, and our books, over the last eight years.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Cat Coasters

I buy a lot of cat coasters and it's always worthwhile. They come in so handy and stop cats leaving marks on my furniture and floor.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Find Out More About @MYSADCAT

Thank you very much for following @MYSADCAT - aka my 19 year-old cat, The Bear - on Twitter and/or Facebook. You might also be interested to know that there are four books about him, best read in order, which are really why the Twitter account exists. They're not books of the Twitter account but narrative books about The Bear, me, and the other cats we live and have lived with. They're also a bit different to most cat books which, let's face it, can be a bit on the sentimental side. They are books about cats, but they're more books about life through the prism of cats. They include stories about lots of other animals, family (not least my very loud dad) and living in the British countryside. If you'd like to get an idea of whether you'd like the writing in them, the best bet would be to read some of the stuff here, and this piece about The Bear.

The first book about @MYSADCAT is Under The Paw, which was published in 2008. You can get it from amazon uk and Waterstones. If you're overseas, your best bet is probably to get it from the book depository, who conveniently do free worldwide delivery.

The second book about @MYSADCAT - which stars @MYSMUGCAT on the cover - is Talk To The Tail, which was published in 2011. Again, you can get it from amazon uk and Waterstones but if you're overseas, I recommend the book depository.

The third book about @MYSADCAT is The Good, The Bad And The Furry, which was published in 2013. As ever, it's available from amazon uk and Waterstones but it has also been published in the US and Canada. Here's the Book Depository link if you're elsewhere and want the British version of it. Italian and Portuguese versions have been published and there are Russian and French versions on the way soon.

Finally, the fourth book about @MYSADCAT (my joint personal favourite, alongside The Good, The Bad & The Furry) will be published in October. You can pre-order from amazon or Waterstones or, if you'd like to support independent stores, Hive. if you're outside the UK, you can order from the Book Depository with free delivery.

Happy reading!

Friday 26 June 2015

Roscoe And Shipley's Dario Argento phase begins

Went out without my phone & when I got back I discovered that Roscoe and Shipley had used it to make this abstract psychedelic horror film.

Sunday 31 May 2015

Update from my mum on Casper and George's romance

Apparently George is now finding a way to "hold open the microchip catflap" to allow next door's cat Casper to "come in and hug".

Read more about George here and here.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Cat Horoscopes

This week you will see a ghost but nobody will notice when you look startled about it as you look like that a lot of the time already anyway. Later, a serendipitous series of events - all vole-related - will take you on a lengthy journey (247 yards). You will then wander back in your own time.

Beware of not getting your rest. Less than eighteen hours of sleep can have a negative effect on your working life.

This week brings a significant fork in the road for you, in the form of having to decide whether to sit on a pile of two clean towels or in a plant.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Unless your enemy is the vacuum cleaner or that powerful hairdryer Helen bought the other day.

The time has come to make a change in your life. Primarily: stop following people to the toilet then sitting there staring at them. It’s mega creepy.

A tall dark stranger is set to walk into your life this week, and then walk out again, when you take a piss in his hydrangeas. However, do not fear, because soon after that wedding bells will ring! Not for you. You’re a cat. But you’ll hear them, coming from a nearby church, and they’ll annoy you.

Your meow is actually really lame. Nobody has the guts to tell you normally, as they want to protect your feelings, but it’s high time you knew the truth.

The moment has come to ask some big questions, such as “If I puke on this sofa, does it offically count as mine?” 

There is an ancient eastern proverb that states “Something lost often leads to something found.” The coming few days will be a case in point, as you lose a collar but find some old toast to lick nearby.

Go away. I am eating.

This week you will ignore a toy your owner bought you but piss about for hours with the polystyrene packing beads it arrived with.

A big week for you! You’ll lick a spider out of nextdoor’s tabby’s ear and have a long, emotive dream about a beagle.

This is a very early extract of Close Encounters Of The Furred Kind, the fourth book about @MYSADCAT, @MYSMUGCAT and @MYSWEARYCAT, which is published in October and can be pre-ordered here. Catch up on the previous book, The Good, The Bad & The Furry here.

Find out more about the books, and the cats featured in them!

Friday 1 May 2015

A brief guide to the stars of the @MYSADCAT Twitter account (and how you can learn more about them)

The Bear - aka @MYSADCAT - is, by some distance, the most polite cat I've ever met. When he wants food, he asks for it not with a meow, but by nodding eagerly towards the food cupboard. Now 19, and a bit of a Benjamin Button cat (he's starting to look something like his age now but looked older at 5 than he did at 17), he has more of a meeoop than a meow: a noise that, despite its gentle nature, can pull noisily at your heart strings with its central question, which usually seems to translate as, "Can you tell me why I am a cat, please?" While other cats throw their weight about in various ways, punching each other & killing rodents, The Bear adopts a pacifist lifestyle and prefers to spend the day following me around, staring at me with his big saucer eyes, which seem to contain all the world's sadness. I did once catch him sitting alone with a dead mouse but I think another cat had killed it, and he just wanted to read some elegiac poetry to it.

"Can cats actually have sideburns?" you might wonder. The answer to the question, for anyone who has encountered Ralph - aka @MYSMUGCAT - is an emphatic "Yes!" Frequently compared to such hirsute mid-20th Century male pin-ups as Jim Morrison and Parallax View-era Warren Beatty, Ralph is simultaneously the most pretty and the most narcissistic of my cats. His beauty comes at a price, though - largely that of being a magnet to parasites and other creepy-crawlies, never more so than during the autumn of 2012, when he averaged around two slugs on his back per day. This wasn't ideal, especially when I found one of the slugs swimming around in my unattended morning cereal. That said, I found the image of the slugs on his back wasn't quite so bad if I imagined that each one was a small snake riding a horse. Ralph is also known for being able to meow his own name. It's a clever habit. Alternatively, perhaps he's just one of those annoying cats who like to refer to themselves in the third person.

Imagine a fur-covered mix of Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It, a medieval fool employed to entertain those who pay for his food, a punk rock musician and an unusually large, especially persistent meat fly, and you pretty much have Shipley - aka @MYSWEARYCAT - down to a tee. Picked as an "extra", way back in 2001 when I adopted his brother, Ralph, due to the fact he was the runt of the litter and I felt sorry for him, he soon grew into a personality that was anything but runtish, and got into the habit of walking around the house swear-meowing, batting The Bear on the head and chewing any paperback book I was remiss enough to leave lying around. Shipley is constantly in my face, talking trash. This persona can only be defused by picking him up and turning him upside down, at which point he will become as mellow as a Grateful Dead fan at a "legalise cannabis" fundraiser, and purr in a such a powerful way, you suspect it could serve as a renewable energy source.

Princess was born into a cultured environment in Kilburn, West London, in February 2012, then, a few months later, cruelly transported into a far less cultured one, in Norfolk, by her new owners and given the name of a dead American man from the 1800s. Roscoe now lives in Devon with three male cats, all of whom are much older and much bigger, but significantly less hard, than her. Her hobbies include hedgerow admin, flirting with strange men at the pub near our house, dancing into the kitchen on her back legs whilst doing "paw high fives", and eating human hair. She is still feeling very bitter about not being picked to star in the new Batman film, although has hopes she will not be overlooked for the sequel 'Batman Returns: As A Small, Businesslike Female Cat'.

George is a former stray who lived here in Devon with me for six months: first in a bush in my garden, then - after I'd taken him to the vet to get his unusually huge balls cut off - on various chairs, cushions and freshly washed jumpers inside my house. I'd initially thought he was a rough cat from a nearby problem area putting the muscle on The Bear, Ralph, Shipley and Roscoe but he soon transpired to be a lover, not a fighter. This was confirmed during his first week living here, when he purred at a bee. He was, however, a little too much of a lover, his sex drive and his lust for Roscoe not diminishing, even post-castration (hence her escapes to the pub). Out of fairness to Roscoe, he now lives at my mum and dad's house in Nottinghamshire, is getting increasingly round, and experimenting with various new sounds - one of which, my mum tells me, is "like a quiet cockerel".

The Bear, Ralph, Shipley and Roscoe all feature in my books Under The PawTalk To The Tail and The Good, The Bad And The Furry.

The Good, The Bad & The Furry has also just been published in America and can be purchased easily from Barnes And NobleApple or Amazon. You can read a sample of it in this Guardian newspaper piece.

If you are elsewhere, The Book Depository sell the The Good, The Bad & The Furry (and Under The Paw and Talk To The Tail) with free worldwide delivery.

If you're in the UK and want to support independent publishers, the best place to order from online is Hive.

Graffeg publishing also do a range of @MYSADCAT, @MYSMUGCAT and Roscoe kitten advice notecards and calendars, which can be viewed by clicking here.

The final @MYSADCAT book Close Encounters Of The Furred Kind (which features George, as well as the other cats) will be published in October.

Friday 24 April 2015

CAT REPORT, 24.4.2015

CAT REPORT Cat 1: Messing up duvet. Cat 2: Asleep in a drawer. Cat 3: Meowing at a bin. Cat 4: Doing clerical work. OVERALL CAT RATING: 2/10

Wednesday 22 April 2015

The Good, The Bad & The Furry - now finally published in America and Canada!

Order The Good, The Bad & The Furry from amazon US.

Order The Good, The Bad & The Furry from Barnes & Noble.

Read a sample from the book.

Monday 20 April 2015

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Telltale Signs That Your Cat Might Be Overgrooming

  1. Cat comes in with old spider webs and moss and twigs stuck to its fur, but in a way that seems a bit too studied and deliberate.
  2. Cat cannot go outside without being dissed and called a meowtrosexual by rough feral cats. 
  3. Bathroom sink often flecked with loose whiskers/tiny pairs of tweezers.
  4. Cat begins to catch fewer mice, due to noticing its reflection in windows on way to catch mice and stopping to check itself out.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

A Year In The Life Of A Rehabilitated Stray Cat

March 2014
I move from Norfolk to Devon. Within a matter of days, I realise that a stray ginger and white cat is living somewhere behind this bush in my new garden. I name him Darren.

April 2014
Darren begins to spend a lot of time in the area immediately surrounding the house, meowing and staring in through the windows. Realising that he's a different character than I first took him for, and that his meow sounds like he's saying "Geeeeooorge", I name him George. My four cats seem mostly okay with him, except my elderly, lifelong pacifist cat The Bear, who, in a wildly uncharacteristic freak out, goes a bit "kung fu" on George.

May 2014
After much perseverance, and leaving a lot of snacks out for him, George and I become friends, at a distance.

May 2014
I lure George into the house. His guard immediately drops and he begins to purr. We go to see the vet, who removes George's balls, attends to his cuts, ear mites and scratches and tests him for FIV. Admirably, George seems to hold none of this against me.

June 2014
George begins to sleep on me every evening and follow me around all day. We also try to recreate 1967 San Francisco together in our spare time.

July 2014
George puts on weight and develops a glossier coat. He climbs trees, sleeps on sofas, listens to stoner rock and drinks wine but, despite his neutered status, continually tries to have sex with my female cat, Roscoe. Roscoe begins to spend a lot of time at the pub.

August 2014
George and The Bear put their previous differences aside and become friends.

September 2014
George and I start to go on country walks together.

October 2014
After my mum and dad's cat Floyd is killed by a car, George - whose differences with Roscoe have proved to be irreconcilable - goes to live with them in Nottinghamshire. He is a bit down and scared at first, and my mum reports that he is "missing me terribly" (I want to believe this but cannot be sure), but he soon settles in.

December 2014
I visit George (and my mum and dad) for Christmas. He seems to be very happy, but also, quite possibly, stoned.

March 2015
George, now truly settled at my mum and dad's house, falls in love with their neighbour's cat, Casper.

You can read more about George in this Guardian column I wrote and in this follow-up column. I've also written George's full story in my new book, Close Encounters Of The Furred Kind, which is published in October and is the follow-up to my previous book The Good, The Bad & The Furry.