Cats, cross stitch and my life
I love cats, cross stitch and blackwork. There are so many truly wonderful cats cross stitch designs out there just waiting to be stitched, when I find the time. Those cats prowl proudly through fields of flowers, perch languidly on immaculate chairs and are always looking healthy, sleek and not doing those things that all cat owners know about but don't want to discuss in polite company.
Those who love cats but who don't actually live with them can put these pictures on their walls, enjoy the effect and still keep their illusions.
However when it comes to being cross stitch crazy and sharing your life with cats it's a totally different picture.These, after all, are animals with a keen sense of humour. They are not unique. I've met dogs that like nothing more than a good belly laugh, but generally speaking dogs are nicer. Dogs know when to stop, unlike cats that are not blessed with the concept of boundaries.
Cats, cross stitch and coffee
Any cat owner will tell you that cats have got to sit on anything that has your total attention. Start reading the newspaper and who will appear? The cats. Cross stitch at hand ready to start acts like a magnet to them.
If not actually sitting on the embroidery they will sit, sphinx like next to my cup of coffee. They aren't really going to knock that cup over in the direction of my work are they?.
Fortunately as I keep reassuring my doctor, for a rounded lady, I have a rare turn of speed. All due to the practice I get, racing to the sink with a piece of coffee soaked embroidery. No size 10 could go faster. I am sure I am not alone and if you are a cat owner you will know what I mean, and the page on fabric stain removal could come in handy!
It's not just coffee. Cats that are normally fastidious in their ablutions will silently come into the house with indescribable detritus on their paws and overcome by love will leap happily onto your work to greet you.
Cats and wildlife
A cat that has been out for a walk in the late evening so often wants to celebrate its return with a little gift and it wants to plonk it right in front of you so you can appreciate it immediately. In the case of my overfed felines the present is usually alive - for the time being. It remaining alive depends on how fast I can get to it with the certain knowledge that the wildlife is not always grateful and can nip as it is carried outside and carefully released.
I have found that cold water is the best thing for getting bloodstains (mine) out of fabric.
It's not just my cats. Cross stitch can attract strangers too. Pleasantly surprised at how well behaved the neighbours' Burmese was being at my feet one day - he usually amuses himself by running off and hiding things I'm using - I looked down only to discover he'd got hold of my embroidery silks and was happily chewing them.
A cat and fox storyOne thing I wish I had captured on camera was the relationship between Percy and Myrtle. Percy was a ginger and white cat and unlike his litter brother who was the feline equivalent of a rugby prop forward Percy was long and lean and sensitive looking. The oriental side of his mother came out strongly.
Percy was a cat who looked like a poet. He was neutered at 6 months but it became evident over time that something just hadn't worked. The family used to mutter darkly about asking the vet for a refund. Perhaps it was his romantic nature winning through but it soon became evident that the female cat population of the area took to getting smartly out of his way when they saw him coming. Percy, ever the optimist, just kept persevering through several sharp rebuffs and trips down the vet for antibiotics for his injuries. As he said to the vet repeatedly, it just wasn't his fault, he just didn't know why they did it. Eventually Percy met his Waterloo and that was Myrtle.
One day alerted by the fact that three of the cats were sitting transfixed with horror noses up against the french windows, I spotted a very young, plump and glossy vixen digging up the flower beds. Dancing around her, acting all unnecessary, was Percy. Transfixed with love was Percy. No matter that his three housemates were all signaling frantically 'Don't do it!' through the glass. When she curled up on the lawn and put her nose under her brush Percy curled up around her totally ignoring the look of withering scorn given by Myrtle. She hadn't actually bitten him, therefore she must like him was the way Percy saw it.
For weeks he took to hanging around the woodland at the bottom of the hill. He would appear for the odd meal looking somewhat smug and we got used to the strong odour of fox about his person. It wasn't as if he actually spent much time in the house.
Then one night returning late only three cats were waiting in the hallway. They were looking through the open wardrobe door watching a much battered and blood streaked Percy who was lying on my best mohair jumper.
The vet agreed that they weren't cat bites. He'd have said fox but it was a known fact that urban foxes didn't attack cats the size of Percy. I thought of telling him that a love rival for Myrtle's affections just might have but Percy was busy giving him the innocent look of a naturally good deed in a wicked world and he was much more convincing than I was.
I hope you have enjoyed this little story of cats, cross stitch and our adventures.