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Today is the orange cat’s birthday. Australia Day. He’s a patriotic cat (though he thinks it’s national orange cat day). He’s 11. It’s a miracle he’s made it this far.

I have two cats. The grey cat is a moggy. She’s slightly fluffy, exceedingly gorgeous and quite flighty. Apart from being epileptic, which provides the odd moment of drama, she is content to sleep in the wardrobe or under my bed, hawk up the odd hairball, hang out on the back of the couch, smooch me when she’s in the mood and occasionally chirp and meow at me if she thinks I’m late with the dinner. Normal cat stuff.

The birthday boy on the other hand is a – well, to put it nicely, NEUROTIC – burmese bought in a moment of something not quite sane. When we bought the grey cat, we bought another moggy kitten who a few months later turned out to have Feline Leukemia and had to be put to sleep (note to the world – sick kittens are BAD). Our logic in seeking a new companion for the grey cat went something like “well, a pedigree cat’s mother won’t have Feline Leukemia and therefore a pedigree kitten will not be sick and break our hearts all over again. So we asked at our lovely vet whether they had any pedigree breeders on the books who had kittens available and this led us to the orange cat.

When we met him, he was teeny and teeny wailing meows are cute. His mother was very vocal but the breeders said she was on heat (note to self – yeah, right). Every other person I meet who has burmese says “Noisy? No, mine aren’t noisy”. And I’ve since heard breeders saying the vocal thing runs in bloodlines. None of which we knew at the time. Which is how we ended up with a NOISY cat. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue with him being vocal, it’s kind of cute. The problem with the orange cat is that the vocal thing (and he is LOUD like a siamese crossed with a seagull) is combined with an ungodly tendency towards stubbornness. Or stupidity, I’ve never quite worked it out.

So if he wants something he meows. And keeps meowing. When he’s telling you about something he keeps meowing. When he’s whinging about something, he keeps meowing. Even when he’s happy he sounds whiny. He has no equivalent of the very cute little happy-to-see-you chirping noise that the grey cat makes. And he’s getting more stubborn as he gets older. Now that he’s getting on a bit and doesn’t like jumping the fence when there’s a perfectly good human to open the door for him, he sits at the front door and meows to be let in. The other day he sat in the backyard approximately 1.5 metres from his cat door and because he could see me through the glass door, meowed to be let in. I don’t think so. He got a glare, a “there’s a cat door right there, dummy”, and that was that. Now, he’s very affectionate, almost doglike in fact. He loves people and wants to be with them. He’s gorgeous. He’s very sweet when he’s quiet and purring but the meowing thing. Oy.

People talk about babies not sleeping through the night. This cat has slept through the night maybe 20 times in the last 11 years. Which means I’ve slept through the night that many times (and I wonder why I’m often tired : ) ). He doesn’t sleep with me because he and the grey cat get territorial and pee on the bed when they’re allowed to sleep with me. Plus he has an annoying tendency to want to sleep on your head. They sleep in their own room. Until he wakes up and yells. Usually somewhere around 3-4am. I get up, let him out (I know good kitty mamas don’t let cats out at night but I don’t live near a busy road, the wildlife consists of sparrows and starlings and magpies plus any bird or critter who doesn’t run away when the 11 year old, not-too-bright, arthritic kneed cat stalking them does so while MEOWING loudly deserves to leave the gene pool, and kitty mamas need to sleep) he’s goes outside for approximately 3 seconds just to prove he can, then comes in and sleeps on the couch in silence until breakfast time. Just like a man.

If I let him out all night, he’d invariably end up outside my bedroom door meowing at some point so this is our compromise position.

I love him but if they made a feline volume control, I’d be the first to get in line. He’s going through a particularly yowly phrase right now, he has them every so often. Maybe he’s celebrating his birthday. So orange cat, happy birthday, I love you and give your mum a break!

In other news writing = slow. Just little bits and pieces still. Weight = trending downward. But that was before last night’s after work drinks which consisted of alcohol and lots of wedges. Not diet friendly. We foresee salad and exercise over the next few days.

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