Tag: Cats (page 2 of 2)

Eating dinner this evening and talking with my husband about his impending trip to Washington D.C. whilst stroking the cat, I came up with a great idea.

That place in the US where some bloke lives

That place in the US where some bloke lives

Everyone knows that cats ease stress (except for those poor soles who are allergic to cats, for whom cats increase stress). Hospices use cat therapy for their patients. Cafes now provide cat therapy for coffee drinkers (not yet in Shrewsbury, I might add). So, now I ask: how about an airline that provides cats to ease the stress of flying?

I think there is definitely a future for people like me (cat people who find the whole being airborne experience quite stressful) in airlines with cats. I’d pay an extra few quids for a cat to sit on my lap during take off and landing.

Not sure this is what I had in mind

Not sure this is what I had in mind

Picture yourself on a United Airlines flight from London Heathrow to Newark: the in-flight attendant is moving down the aisle, pushing the trolley, with the bottles rattling gently to the turbulence. He stops by your seat and asks: ‘Would you like something to eat, sir? Chicken or vegetarian? Drink? Milk and sugar? Cat? Ginger or black-and-white?’

Cats on planes? Great idea

Cats on planes? Great idea

I think it is a brilliant idea. So good I am going to keep it quite, I’m not going to tell a soul, and my ambition now is to get myself on Dragon’s Den with my idea in time for the next series.

That's me in the future

That’s me in the future

If slugs were cute

Would we keep them as pets? This is a weird thought I had while observing the spell my cat casts over the hearts of passers by. Our cat is a very sociable cat. She loves people. She loves us all equally. She’s an egalitarian cat. She’s also quite a lazy cat. She spends much of her day either asleep on one of my children’s beds or next to me while I work. She greets guests to the house with the same amount of attention and affection she reserves for us when we return home. She is the Beverly Moss of the cat world. She would offer them bowls of nuts and Martinis if she had opposable thumbs.

Our cat in human form

Our cat in human form

People like her back. Strangers stroke her. House guests pet her and tell her how lovely she is. The reason? She is lovely. She’s cute, she’s furry and she smells of clean cat. She’s vain (all cats are) and she’s charming.

Our cat in cat form

Our cat in cat form

Were she to be a slug, would she get the same reception? If we had a pet slug, would house guests rush to stroke it (him and her)? I suspect not. So my weird thought is: why do we only want our pets to be cute?

‘How about snakes, rats and lizards?’ I hear you cry. ‘Those are popular pets but they aren’t cute.’ I disagree. Not everyone finds snakes, rats and lizards cute but some people do. Rats are furry. They are intelligent and interesting. Snakes are smooth to the touch and move with elegance. Lizards have beauty and grace. ‘What about stick insects then?’ It is, I must admit, harder to argue against the yuck-factor of the stick insect but I don’t think anyone since the 1970s has kept a stick insect as  a pet.

That vast web of knowledge, the internet, tells me that the reason we prefer cute animals for pets is evolutionary.  We particularly find animals that have a baby-like quality cute (vulnerability, high-pitched voices, soft body, big head, big eyes) because we are hard-wired to want to protect the young of our own species and so similar qualities to our babies seen in other species turns us into surrogate mothers and fathers. We are transferring that need to protect orphans of our own species to the desire to protect orphans of other species, so in other words, cute furry animals. The Germans even have a word for it: Kindchenschema. At the sight of our cute cat, visitors will get a hormonal boost which will bring on their nurturing side and make them feel good. She’s a drug dealer.

Look at me, I'm gorgeous!

Look at me, I’m gorgeous!

Animals that have some degree of human baby characteristics are at danger of becoming our pets. So no chance of a slug as a pet then? This is a shame because I’d have the pick of the bunch after filming them entering our home one night last year.

Do you get left-handed cats?

This was a weird thought I had today, watching my cat use her right paw to drink milk from one of my children’s abandoned cereal bowls. So of course I googled ‘left-handed cats’. Why wouldn’t I?

I was amazed to find that not only do you get left-handed cats that the chances are, if you cat is a boy he will very likely be left-handed. This article explains. Apparently, left-handedness in cats comes from exposure to testosterone. As a leftie (or predominately leftie), this hormone issue interests me. Does this apply to humans too? The internet seems to think that the reason for human left-handedness is different, for us it comes from genes (although they aren’t sure which ones) rather than hormones (this might explain why two of my three children are also left-handed).

I bet you he's a boy

I bet you he’s a boy

Only 10% of the human population (as opposed to 50% of the cat population) are left-handed and we are prone to the following:

  • psychosis
  • dyslexia, ADHD, IBS and other mood disorders
  • creativity
  • a tendency to vote for left-handed politicians (Barack Obama)
  • fear
  • sporting ability (many tennis players are left-handed)
  • a higher IQ

Things that we left-handers struggle with:

  • London Underground ticket machines
  • glass blowing (you simply cannot blow glass left-handed)
  • surgery (left-handed surgeons struggle to get access to left-handed equipment)
  • scissors (not a problem for me, I use my right hand for cutting)
  • American high-school desks
  • living in Japan (there are no left-handed people in Japan)
  • Le Creuset soup pans (the spout is on the wrong side for a left-hander)
  • kissing a right-handed person (a head-clash is bound to ensure – this was a huge worry to me as a teenager anticipating much kissing as an adult)
  • shaking hands (I just want to use my left-hand and have to go against my instinct in those hand-shaking moments)
I cannot pour soup out of one of these

I cannot pour soup out of one of these

Things we left-handers benefit from:

  • eating Indian food the authentic way (you should eat Indian food with your left hand because the right hand is reserved for less hygienic acts, something I was taught in Japan)

So my conclusion here is that if I were a male cat there would be more facilities for left-handers and at least I can enjoy my onion bhajis without missing my mouth.

This cat, being a boy, struggles with the ticket machines

This cat, being a boy, struggles with the ticket machines



People who think a lot sleep badly

This is a weird thought I had at 5am this morning when I couldn’t get back to sleep. I found myself early this morning lying in bed engaged in, rather than sleeping soundly, thinking, thinking, and more thinking. I thought about work, art, artists, philosophy, food, coffee, chocolate, my children, my week to come, parents’ evening (what I was going to attend this evening), Zumba (another activity of today), the cat, science, religion and the sea.

The most chilled cat in Shrewsbury - she doesn't think much

The most chilled cat in Shrewsbury – she doesn’t think much

After an hour of constant thinking I gave up and made myself a coffee and an egg buttie so I could think and eat at the same time, and read my book (a book about philosophy).

I’ve been plagued sporadically with insomnia all my life. Even as a child and a teenager I can remember lying in bed thinking and not sleeping. Luckily, I am generally only plagued by sleeplessness about once a month, but when the plague hits me, it hits me hard.

Is he just thinking too much?

Is he just thinking too much?

So my weird thought is: do people who think a lot sleep badly? Do we all spend the same amount of time thinking? Do I think as much as the man stood next to me in the Post Office queue, as David Cameron, as the milkman, as my eldest child? Is thinking a constant for everyone? I suspect not. I think people who think too much can’t sleep.

Interestingly, if you google ‘high IQ and insomnia’ you get some interesting results that claims that on average, people who suffer from insomnia may have a higher IQ. However, my theory is not based on intelligence. It is based on thinking. I don’t think you need to have a high IQ in order to be a thinker. I’m sure there are some very chilled people with a very high IQ who sleep like babies – I’m married to such a person. Equally, I think there are some very clever people who don’t bother their brain with thinking too much.

I've never known this person to suffer from insomnia

I’ve never known this person to suffer from insomnia

This article claims that night owls are likely to be more intelligent than morning larks. Poppy cock I reckon. But then I would say that, I’m a morning lark. This article thinks that ‘creative geniuses’ are plagued with sleep issues. Of course that must be true, I say.

However, whether sleeplessness is related to cognitive ability I couldn’t possibly say, but I do believe that those who suffer from excessive thinking are more likely to be lying awake at 2am.


Do people in real life swipe mantlepieces…

…and dressing tables, tip up table tops and punch holes in walls in anger?

Last night, I was watching Revolutionary Road. This is a film riddled with marital rows. During one of those marital rows, towards the end of the film, Leonardo swipes his arm across the dressing table in the master bedroom and knocks everything onto the floor. Watching this I thought: ‘I’ve never done this’. I also thought: ‘I’ve never witnessed anyone else doing this’. So this had me thinking (would any less be expected of me): do real-life people swipe at their treasured possessions in anger?

One of the many rows those two had in this film

One of the many rows those two had in this film

Unless you are a cat, I can’t see the pleasure (or release) you would feel from knocking things off a table. I’m not a very angry person so perhaps that is why I can’t see it. I would hate the mess and regret the destruction of precious objects.

I'm just waiting until you turn away...

I’m just waiting until you turn away…

I don’t think I even want to try it to see if I would feel better. I’d have to manufacture a reason to be angry, and that I fear is not possible.

I think if I did experiment by swiping the mantlepiece my cats in hats would be upset.

My cats in hats

My cats in hats

Questions I’ve always wanted to know the answer to…

…and I refuse to ‘google’ because finding the answers via the web would be a let down.

  • Why don’t nits die when you lie in the bath with your hair underwater? If they were people they would.
  • Do animals go in strops with each other?
stroppy cats

I’m in a strop with you

  • Who teaches animals sex education? How do they just ‘know’ how to do it?
  • Why don’t cats eat chocolate?



  • Why don’t cats and dogs try to walk on two feet? They must wonder why we do.
The world looks much better from up here

The world looks much better from up here

  • What is the point of pubic and armpit hair? We don’t need to be kept warm under our armpits or in our nether regions so why hasn’t evolution got rid of this stuff?
  • If humans have boobies, why don’t animals – they just have nipples? Is it because bras on animals would be odd?
I'm a 34B, you?

I’m a 34B, you?

  • Why is coke black? It’s not the most attractive colour for a drink.
Mmmm, doesn't that look appetising?

Mmmm, doesn’t that look appetizing?

  • What is the point of eyebrows?
What is the point?

What is the point?

  • Why does our hair go grey?
This Phil is happy being silver

This Phil is happy being silver

  • Why do people kiss? Why don’t animals kiss, with tongues?
  • Why do we need chairs when the floor is just as comfortable (ask the Japanese)?
I lived for two years in Japan with NO CHAIRS

I lived for two years in Japan without chairs

  • Why men go bald but women (generally) do not?
Phil doesn't mind being folically challenged

This Phil doesn’t mind being folically challenged


I now want to know what other people’s ‘questions I’ve always wanted to know the answer to’ are.



Too many balls in the air – but I can’t drop any of them

Today’s thought is provoked  by a conversation I had last week with a friend while walking to school to pick up the little boys. We were talking about people who do too much, or, take on too many things. She was telling me about a friend of hers who took on too many different jobs at once at the same time as expecting a baby. Except for the baby part, she could have been talking about me. She said, and these words stuck with me for a while, ‘if you take on too many different tasks or jobs, you won’t be able to give any of them your full attention and you’ll end up being disappointed’. It was as if she’d read my mind of recent. I’ve had a really busy couple of weeks and I have been worrying that I haven’t been giving enough to any of the jobs I have had to do: work, college, home, everything else.

Two balls are work, one is college, one is children, and the last is everything else.

Two balls are work, one is college, one is children, and the last is everything else.

This is me: I can sit at home with two or three applications or spreadsheets open up on the laptop, plus a sketch pad by my side, and a blog entry half written (this one), and I will spend my day flitting between each task not quite finishing any of them. I will only put everything down at the last minute before I need to go to school or before I need to go to bed. I’ll print out work to take to college (or even better take my laptop and wifi). I’ll take work to school events to read during the boring bits. My sketch pad is with me all the time. My to-do list is by my bed. The phrase ‘no, I have no time for that’ is not one I can ever utter. I have about three books on the go – dipping in and out of each of them during spare moments.

However, if I am to keep my sanity over the next six months (until I finish my college course), I need to drop one of the balls: but which one? I can’t drop work as it pays the bills and buys me coffee. I can’t drop college for obvious reasons. I can’t drop the children, they might not thank me for that. And I can’t drop ‘everything else’ because I want to do ‘everything else’ as well.

Sleep? I suppose I could drop that ball from time to time. Or I just resign myself to the fact that I am an workaholic and always will be and just try my best to put my best into each job, task, child.

Any excuse for a cute cat picture

Any excuse for a cute cat picture

We should analyse everything conceptually as well as subectively

This is a thought I had this morning as I woke up (before I went to the usual place). I was thinking about my typical weekend breakfast choice: toast with cheese and ketchup. If I analyse this subjectively then it makes perfect sense to me – it combines three of my favourite food stuffs and keeps me going until lunchtime. However, if I analyse it conceptually, I get a very different picture. It is weird, and perhaps a little bit gross.

Yummy or yucky?

Yummy or yucky?

I think this logic should be applied to other areas of my life (and other people’s too of course).

I can think of a lot of decisions I make from which a conceptual analysis would benefit, such as: cycling to school with a nearly-five-year old in the bike seat. Subjectively this makes perfect sense since we are always running late and it gets everyone to school on time if we cycle. Conceptually, it is nuts. He’s so big that I can only get the straps done up if they are off his shoulders. His feet almost dangle to the floor. He is so heavy that I can only just get him and the bike up a short incline. I’m sure that my recent flat tyre is partly attributable to his age / weight.


Toby in the bike seat when he fitted it properly

Toby in the bike seat when he fitted it properly

Owning a cat provides another example. Subjectively cat ownership makes sense. The cat makes me happy. She keeps me company. She keeps my children asthma free. However, conceptually, the idea of having a cat in your house is nuts. They are hairy (and they leave their hairs everywhere), they eat a lot, they wake you up at 7am begging for food, they catch small animals and leave them in your house and they wash their bottoms ten centimeters from you when you have guests. Where is the sense in that?

Bedside table ornament or cat?

Bedside table ornament or cat?

Of course it would be exhausting to anayse everything conceptually so perhaps I’ll refrain from doing it too often. In any case, I suspect most of my decisions would turn out to be completely crazy ones.



I want to be a cat

We’ve had a manic week in the Collins household. It has consisted of long school governors’ meetings; meetings at Powis Castle; exhibition planning; college; spreadsheets; phone meetings; trips to Manchester, Leeds and London; visits to secondary schools; and last-minute trips to Charlies to buy a head torch.

Spreadsheet heaven

Spreadsheet heaven

When life is like this I barely recognise my book never mind pick it up to read it.

My dusty, neglected book

My dusty, neglected book

While I am rushing around taking children hither and tither, I find myself feeling very jealous of our cat. I want to be our cat. The more manic I am, the more relaxed she seems to be. She doesn’t have to worry about art exhibitions, online publishing, stroppy authors, secondary school applications, hiking trips and the like. All she has to worry about is food and sleep and she does that very well.

The most chilled cat in Shrewsbury

The most chilled cat in Shrewsbury

I want to be our cat. That may not be possible (not yet, at least), but the internet reckons that our relaxed cat is helping me feel less stressed than I might otherwise be. I’m sure this is true. I feel much more relaxed after a stroking session with the cat. What’s more, there are apparently 17 health benefits in total to owning a cat, and these include much more than merely ‘reducing stress’. Cat ownership can keep your heart, lungs and mind all very healthy, it can keep your children asthma free and also it will boost your immune system. That is good news since I don’t like being poorly (I have no time to be poorly with my lifestyle).

Can I use this argument to get another cat? A black one?

You know that I am adorable, and cheaper than paracetamol.

You know that I am adorable, and cheaper than paracetamol.

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