Posts Tagged cats

Farewell Percy

As friends already know, my much-loved cat Percy was taken ill late on Monday night and died early on Tuesday morning.

He had been very ill in December, and had a heart condition diagnosed then. His lifestyle changed, from being free range to being a house cat, on daily medication, ever since; and our excellent vet at Canonbury Vets had warned us that it was only a matter of time before Percy passed on.

In the middle of Monday night, we rushed him over to the 24 hour vets’ practice at Elizabeth Street (the journey was a nightmare, our minicab driver got lost and I had to direct him using googlemaps on my BlackBerry) but there was nothing to be done except let Percy go; and at about 3am he went to sleep as I held him. The vet could not have been kinder or more sensitive; and although Richard and I were very sad to say good bye to Percy it was absolutely the right thing to do. He was old and poorly and his time had come.

Percy was a great character. He was striking in appearance, pure white, with odd eyes, one blue and one green; and although in recent years he had become very affectionate, in his youth he could be quite aggressive, especially with people he did not know.

He even got into the gossip column of the then local paper (the Highbury & Islington Express) for biting Cllr Dave Barnes at a Liberal Democrat social event I hosted in Barnsbury back in the late 1990s. As Dave then embarked on a scenic route through several other political parties (including both Labour and Conservative plus a few others, some of them his own invention) it has been suggested that Percy was showing good judgement: I can’t possibly comment.

In the last couple of years, since I’ve been working from home, Percy and I have had a happy routine; he would come into my office when it was time for lunch, or a tea break, and nudge me until I led the way to the kitchen.

He was not one for boundaries in terms of food. He loved parmesan cheese sprinkled on top of his biscuits. When we first had Percy, the vet warned us not to over feed him and to stick to special food, because of his delicate kitten digestion. That held true until the time my then husband Paul left a chicken madras unattended: and came back to find a large portion of it gone, and a tiny kitten with red sauce all over his whiskers! Richard and I got used to ensuring that Percy was fed first – and then still having to ignore his imploring looks and nudges as we ate our own meals.

Percy would sit on top of the big old TV, often draping one paw elegantly over the screen. He would play with the landline phone cable, change TV channels by wrestling with the remote, and would also regularly climb onto one of our laptops – sometimes with unintended consequences, like the time he managed to reset my screen at right angles.

Although he was a largely silent cat, I shall miss his chirrup of greeting when he landed on the bed with cold paws after some nighttime excursion. And of course his famously loud purr, like a Geiger counter.

Percy came to us as a kitten in Barnsbury back in 1996 and had been with me ever since, through house moves, changes of job, and other upheavals. He was a dear old fellow and I shall miss him a lot. RIP Percy.

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Percy`s girlfriend

Percy has acquired a girlfriend – or could have if he was interested.

For the last week or so, a very pretty cat, with lots of fluffy caramel coloured hair and big blue eyes, has been sitting on our garden wall wailing amorously. She’s sweet and affectionate to humans too, so our attempts to shoo her away have been rather half-hearted and totally unsuccessful.

You think my fat old cat would be flattered. Sadly Percy has always been more inclined to make war than love (if it was a tomcat spoiling for a fight, he’d be out there like a shot) and has reacted to her attentions by retreating indoors and curling up on the bed – alone.

So much for the joys of spring!

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Chocs away

I’ve just had the last of a lovely box of Charbonnel et Walker chocs, a present from Rich.

They were a great gift. The chocs are all delicious, a perfect daily treat. The packaging is very simple so you get more, not less, than you expect. Best of all, the plain white box came with a big red ribbon.

Percy has adopted it as his own: he loves to chase it, wrestle it, and drag it round the flat. It makes him look like a very portly rhythmic gymnast. Most unfair, since he’s not eaten any of the chocs himself.

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An offer I can refuse….

An email arrives.

Apparently I can own the domain “” for just $15 a year – what a bargain!

Having consulted an unrepresentative sample of my campaign team (partner Richard – derisory snort; cat Percy – disdainful stare) I think the answer must be no.

We are still considering however.

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The grass is always greener….

Percy and I have just been through what seems to be a new morning routine.

His meat bowl is empty, his biscuit bowl is not. He looks at me hungrily. I give him a new helping of meat. He then starts eating the biscuits.

My friend Turhan told me the other day that the Turkish equivalent of “the grass is always greener” is “my neighbour’s chicken tastes like duck”.

I sense Percy would approve.

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Giant dominoes

This video clip , courtesy of Stephen Abrams, made me smile.

Watch out for the cat. And keep watching right to the end.

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Percy galore

The Sky box (cardboard variety) has been consigned to the recycling bin, as Percy has gone off it as a perch. He is currently draped elegantly on top of the TV (no flat screen here). It’s OK, he’s house-trained; my former inlaws had a new kitten, years ago, who peed on their video player. Try explaining that to the insurance company….

He likes to go where the attention is. Last night I was doing some paperwork, until Percy spread himself on top of my letters. As long as he stays off my laptop. A few weeks ago, Percy settled down on the keyboard while I was out of the room. I’m not sure how he did it, but he had plonked his posterior on a combination of buttons that had reset my screen at right angles. It must have taken him less than five minutes. It took me a lot longer to find the bit in Control Panel to fix it.

That was the home computer – the work laptop apparently holds no charms for Percy. Or is too small to be comfy for my fat cat. Unlike my work chair. Percy’s favourite trick is to slip into the home office when I break for lunch and go to sleep on my seat. As it’s a large black leather type chair, and Percy is a white cat, it gives him a slightly Bond villain air.

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Enemy territory?

Another Saturday, another action day. With just under 3 weeks to go, the campaign is hotting up.

The weather is less sure: we have sunshine and sleet in the space of a few minutes. With a team of 16, ranging from students to veteran councillors, we got all our deliveries out in record time. A friend from church came out of his house as I passed; his son turns 18 this week, so will be able to vote for the first time on 1st May. The whole family are debating their choices for Mayor; it seems to be mostly Brian with a bit of Boris. I reassured him that with the 2nd vote system, you can have Brian then Boris, if you insist.

At lunchtime we went to the Duchess of Kent pub. The food was good as ever – I had the mushroom and spinach pancakes – but the service was more than a bit off. Maybe they couldn’t handle that number of hungry Lib Dems all at once.

With deliveries done, we started canvassing in pairs, hitting different streets and estates over the neighbourhood. I end up on BoJo’s own street. You remember those shots of him jogging in disgrace and a bandana? Then finding himself locked out of the house? That’s the one. It is a lovely place, elegant houses with enough arched windows to delight anyone brought up on PlaySchool, and cherry blossom on the trees. There were not a lot of people in, but the cute cat count was high. A pretty butterscotch one even hopped on my shoulder and stayed there, parrot style while I rang their owners’ doorbell and posted my leaflet through the door. Don’t try this at home...If only I had a camera” said my colleague.

This street is arguably the most Tory in Islington. Not only does Boris Johnson have a house there, but opposite there used to be the Conservative party hall, until they sold it off a few years ago. So we were braced for lots of Boris votes; not the case. What’s interesting is the genuine uncertainty among voters: “I normally vote Labour/Conservative, but....” is the common theme. So we met a mum who normally votes Labour but thinks Ken is a hypocrite; and a young man who stopped us in the street to say he’s basically a Tory but can’t take Boris seriously. Then there was the EU citizen who likes Brian and hadn’t realised he could vote. So good news all round.

I wasn’t the only one canvassing in possible enemy territory today. I’d just got home at teatime when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a nice looking young woman with a Labour sticker. Her: “Are you Bridget Fox?” Me: “Yes“. Her: “Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have called here....“. Me: “I think you can safely assume I won’t be voting Labour :-)“.

Mind you, we started it. Earlier this week I was out with our GLA candidate Meral Ece and our Barnsbury team. We’re reminding people that they’re electing assembly members as well as the Mayor. Our standard question – “do you know who your Assembly member is?” – usually has a 100% non-recognition rate for the incumbent; after 8 years, that’s reason enough for a change, as voters agree! So Meral was surprised to find one guy who instantly knew the name of our mystery member. I checked the card: he works for our Labour MP.

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