Outdoor Life in Canada: Let me inside!!

AMARULA: Well, as the only outdoor cat in our feline trio (and the only one with looks and brains!) I was really excited to explore the Canadian great outdoors! Mom had warned me about this thing you call “snow” but I was incredulous. Well, I have been schooled:

It started off innocently enough. The temperature hovered dangerously near zero Celsius but I, being a rugged beast, could handle it. I will certainly not let Canadian cats show me up!



Though it started to get a little nippy, I made due and dealt with the cold by making fun of the kittens who aren’t allowed out (mom is a big believer in keeping cats indoors but because I was a stray she could not convert me to the indoor life–I thwarted all her efforts!!) Poor saps!

outside looking in2

But then a light dusting of snow fell:


Things got ugly pretty quickly!



Seriously!! How long does this white stuff last? Only a few days right? I can go outside again soon…yes?



Feline Deep Thought of the Day

Feline Deep Thought of the Day

Sometimes when I am feeling really affectionate, I look at Sandra, my enslaved human and I ponder how I feel about her. I think about how she took me off the streets of South Africa, starving and alone, and gave me a home. Filled with love and devotion, my feelings well to the surface and I think, “Meh.”

Top 10 Rules For Cat Life in Canada

AMARULA: Well we are all slowly adjusting to life in Canada. I dare say that as the temperature decreases the amount of rules seem to increase! You would think mom would realize that one can not shackle a feline’s freedom! I have assembled a photo journal of the feline Canadian commandments. Judge for yourself how well this trio of tabbies is following them!

1. Thou shall never ever go on the kitchen table:



2. Thou shall never go into the kitchen cupboards:

kitchen cupboard

3. Thou shall not bother Grandpa MacGregor when he is watching television:



4. I said thou shall not bother Grandpa MacGregor!!


5. Thou shall never scratch the couch:


6. Thou shall not distract grandpa MacGregor while he is playing bridge on the computer:


7. Thou shall not lie innocently in the middle of the hallway where humans can trip over you!


8. Thou shall not hog the couch:

temporary detente


9. Thou shall not go into parcels that are not for you and get covered in packing peanuts:

biltong and styro peanuts 2

10. Once again! Thou shall not go onto the kitchen table even if it has the best sunbeams in the house!



We’re Officially Canadian!

CIMG8214AMARULA: We landed on a cold October 31st day here in Canada! (By the way, what is this thing you call Halloween!? We didn’t have that in South Africa! My human better NEVER try to make me wear a costume or she will personally learn what a scratching post feels like!).


The trip was hell and boy are we happy we landed safely. I, Amarula, got a carrier all to myself but that poor sap Biltong (aka Billy) had to travel in a carrier with his much-too-talkative brother Zulu! Ha ha!

My very own carrier


I can’t help but think it was Sandra (aka human, aka mom) who added “Precious” to the KLM Cargo tag! Naturally I find such displays of human emotion silly and certainly beneath a feline but one can’t argue with the truth of her addition.

Precious cargo indeed!
Precious cargo indeed!


I am off to explore my new Canadian domain!


Those nincompoop kittens can do nothing more than fall into each others arms and nap the minute they arrive at their new home. Clearly they are not the brains of this operation! Inarguable proof that stray cats are so much better than pure-breeds!

All cuteness and no brains! That's why I'm the leader!
All cuteness and no brains! That’s why I’m the leader!

Hair Balls and Hissy Fits: the Cats Are Coming to Canada!


Amarula: Our human has informed us we are leaving South Africa soon to return to her native territory of Canada. The journey on a great metal winged bird (that apparently can’t even be eaten!) does not sound enjoyable. We plan to poo every hour in our kennels to show our displeasure (though I can’t help thinking that may be more unpleasant for us then for her). She says she thinks we will like it there, though I, as the sole outdoor cat among the three of us, am wary of this white, fluffy substance she describes as “snow.” She also speaks of temperatures that go BELOW zero. Clearly she is insane.


A most patient basset hound


We all still miss our beloved basset Charlie. Despite being a canine, she was a good companion and, best of all, her ears kept us really, really warm.





Off to CANADA!

We will let you know when we arrive!

R.I.P Charlie the Basset Hound in Cape Town; Much Loved and Dearly Missed



Well, this is the first time Charlie is not doing her blog in her own singular voice. She passed away this weekend of cancer. The vet came to our home and Jonathan and I were each holding a paw when she passed. It was peaceful. I am not sure what will happen to this blog now but I do want to end it for now with photos of some of Charlie’s best moments.

As you all know, some of Charlie’s favourite activities were hiking with her dad:





Her dad would have to carry her home when she got too tired!

Hanging at Arden Gardens with the guinea fowl:


Swimming at the Reservoir:


Walks on the beach:


Sitting in the sun:


Burying bread in the garden:


Getting together with fellow distinguished bassets like her best friend Waffles:


Going to UCT Campus with dad:



Running in the flowers:


Eating Biltong (the dried meat not the kitten!!) at Neighbourgoods Market



Hanging out with dad while dad worked:


Naps were also a favorite activity:



Being a very tolerant and patient basset she put up with what she would call her mother’s “feline infestation”:  Though it took awhile, Charlie, Chosun and Amarula came to an understanding:




Charlie even came to tolerate the kittens:


And though Charlie would never admit it, she even came to like my (now deceased) cats. In fact, they are probably playing together now as I write this

Charlie and Mogy:


Charlie and Kimchie:


And Charlie and Chosun:

charlie25 charlie24

Charlie loved sneaking up on Chosun and stealing his food:


She loved sharing her life and adventures with all her readers. And she would want to thank you all for reading her blog. Now she is packed and ready to go on another adventure. She will have Grandma MacGregor and a bevy of cats (whether she likes it or not) to play with. And every walk will be unleashed. We love you Charlie! Until we meet again…



HELP! Mom Adopts Two South African Kittens! I am Outnumbered!

Through a terrible accident I lost most of my previous posts from my original pet blog – A Basset Hound in Cape Town. But these were saved thanks to https://web.archive.org/ so I am posting them here!

There are Aliens Among Us! And I am Outnumbered!

Well, just when I thought my life couldn’t get any worse after mom adopted the South Africa stray cat, I wake up to this:


Sweet God they are ugly!


Clearly mom has lost her mind! She already has one cat and then she goes out and buys two more! And then names them Zulu and Biltong! Doesn’t she know that giving them names makes them REAL!

Apparently they are Orientals (related to Siamese) and she paid real MONEY for them! Who actually pays money for a cat!?? Like dad says, you can just go to any neighbourhood dumpster and grab one from there! Worst of all, the kittens seem not to realize that I am a BASSET TO BE FEARED AND RESPECTED! They seem to have no fear of me at all and, in fact, seem to find my softness and warmth irresistible (well, ok , I am incredibly soft and warm…but still!)

kittens and charlie

I just don’t get it… my menacing basset stare just isn’t instilling the fear and sense of doom I expected. They just can’t seem to get enough of me!




Seriously! Seriously! Is this what my life has come to? Not a shred of dignity or solemnity left!?? Oh the indignity!!! I try to hide under the bed so they can’t find me.

Even Amarula has the good sense to try to hide in a box to get away from the kittens:


I don’t know what mom was thinking! They seem to have no redeemable qualities at all and have the intellect of a dust-ball! From what I can tell they do little but chase their tails and then sleep all day:

Often sleeping next to me!

Not only do they sleep all day but they sleep in the craziest, most uncomfortable looking positions!

Suffice to say, I am NOT IMPRESSED! I will have to consult my good basset-pal Waffle to see what he thinks my next move should be! I have already tried to strangle them while looking like I am actually enjoying sleeping with them, but that does not appear to have worked–the kittens still breathe!

The sleep-strangle hold is one of my best moves. Sadly it does not appear to work!

Well dear readers, until I come up with a plan, pray for me!


How Amarula the Stray South African Cat Came into my Life!


It looks like we have a new permanent houseguest. If you read Charlie’s blog, (see this entry) you know we have been visited frequently by a charmingly insistent stray who paws at the window daily (and nightly) and then proceeds to hang out here for hours. As you can see from the following photos, it has made itself quite at home here.

the trio


All this time, I had thought I was entertaining our neighbour’s cat so I had been letting it in and playing with it etc., assuming I would not really have any responsibility for the thing cause it always had a “real” home to go to. Well, it turns out I was wrong. Terribly wrong. The neighbours have confirmed that, though the cat visiting us is ALMOST identical to their cat, it is in fact not theirs. So it looks like I have “adopted” a stray despite myself. The stray clearly wants to stay so I realized it was time for a family discussion to decide once and for all if we should just accept that this interloper, this neighbour-cat-in-disguise, is ours.

chosun and ama

The discussions with all those concerned went something like this:

Discussion with the stray cat (a.k.a the Feline Menace)

Me: I really don’t want another cat. You’re cute and all but one’s enough.

FM: Let’s end this dance, this sham. You’ve been letting me into the house for weeks. You know you want to adopt me and let me live with you and teach me your crazy, foreign, Canadian ways. Besides, foreign adoptions are all the rage now. I’ll even learn to speak French. Le meow, le purr.

Me: I’m not sure it’s a good idea to take in a stray. You seem like a potential trouble maker.

FM: Rumours and lies! Falsehoods perpetuated by jealous neighbourhood cats trying to take over my corner. The legend of my misdeeds is greatly exaggerated. You’ll adore me. What’s not to love; I’m a cuddly, soft ball of fur. What could possibly go wrong? Now feed me.

Me: I’m just not sure…

FM: Seriously. I’m self-cleaning, have no special dietary requirements, and I promise to poo in the garden to save you money on litter. Now pet me.

Me: You already poo in the garden. In fact, you use all the neighbours’ gardens as your own personal litter box, that’s why they hate you.

FM: Rumours and lies! I’m being framed. Probably by that miscreant Charlie…

Me: Well…

FM: Just give up already, you can’t win this fight. I’m a Cape Town stray. I once single-handedly beat up a gang of street rats (and believe me, South African rats are nothing like your wimpy, Canadian, first-worlder rats). You can’t win. Now feed me.

Me: You’ll have to wear a collar…

FM: NEVER! Vile Woman! I’ll kill myself before I’ll put that thing on!

Me: …with a bell…

FM: I detest you!

Me: Take it or leave it.

FM: I’ll wear the collar, but in exchange I want only organic catnip, no curfew, no more speeches from you about me getting too serious with the neighbourhood tomcat, and you get rid of the dog.

Me: OK, but the dog stays.

FM: I plan to cough up a hairball on you and Jonathan as you sleep tonight, but I accept your terms. I hate you. Now feed me.

With Jonathan:

Me: Can I keep the stray?

J: No. I hate cats.

Me: Please!

J: No! Do you see the way that thing eyes Charlie! It plans to take over, I know it. NO WAY ARE WE ADOPTING THAT CAT!

Me: Pretty please?

J: No; it is ugly and probably has rabies, not to mention likely flea-infested. There is absolutely no way that thing is living in this home. For the 10 years we’ve been together, I have been waiting patiently for your cats to die. You started with four, now we are finally down to one. Chosun is the only cat left and I have been waiting for him to die so I can finally be cat free. CAT FREE! I am too close to attaining my dream to give up now by adopting a stray.

Me: Please!

J: NO! It will probably cough up hairballs on us while we sleep.

Me: It would never do that!

J: It is not living here! Absolutely not!

Me: You’ll still be the Alpha of the household. I promise.

J: That goes without saying.

Me: If you let me keep the cat I promise that our next pet will be a basset hound.

J: Hmmm…Make it two basset hounds and we have a deal.


With Charlie:

Me: So Charlie, what do you think about a new cat?

C: NO! They disgust and repulse me and stand for everything vile and non-canine in this world. They live for spite! Plus they are always strung-out on catnip and smell faintly of old socks. Absolutely not. Now feed me.

Me: It could be your new best friend.

C: No. Now walk me.

Me: I promise you will still be the Alpha here.

C: That goes without saying. And by the way, you cheapen our relationship by bringing up the Alpha thing—it is tacitly and bindingly understood that I am, and will always be, the Alpha in this house no matter what mongrels you let in.

Me: I’ll give you extra walks if you agree.

C: Ha! Who do you think you are talking to! I am a strong, proud basset hound who cannot be so easily bought! I will NEVER bend. There are not enough walks or treats in the world to get me to agree to let that fiendish feline stay in this home!

Me: Well, why don’t I just give you a tummy rub and if you wag your tail during it, I will take that to mean you want the cat to come live with us.

C: NO!!! Vile woman! You know I am powerless against the power of a tummy rub…

Me: Your tail is wagging so I guess the cat can stay.

C: DAMN my weakness to tummy rubs! Curse all cats!


Discussion with Choson

With Chosun:

Me: How about a new cat friend?

Chosun: …hacking sound

Me: Is that a yes?

Chosun: …Spits up a hairball…God no, even I have the good sense to hate cats and I’m a member of the species! Feed me.

Me: I promise you will still be the Alpha.

Chosun: That goes without saying. Have you seen my catnip anywhere?

Me: There’s extra cat food in it for you if you say yes.

Chosun: Will the addition of this feline to our home annoy Jonathan?

Me: Undoubtedly.

Chosun: Then it’s a yes for me. Hee Hee. Now feed me.




Oh the betrayal, the heartbreak…and isn’t the cat too chunky for treats!?


Through a terrible accident I lost most of my previous posts from my original pet blog – A Basset Hound in Cape Town. But these were saved thanks to https://web.archive.org/ so I am posting them here!

Oh the betrayal, the heartbreak…and isn’t the cat too chunky for treats!?

GASP! I have no possible explanation…no conceivable reason that could explain the madness…! My mom just received a care package from her mother in Canada (grandma MacGregor) that contained a plethora of goods for the cat, Chosun, and not a SINGLE (REPEAT: NOT A SINGLE) thing for me. Yes, I know, shocking! And believe me, I checked and double-checked the package and not a whisper of a dog treat in sight!

charliecheckingoutparcel Oh the betrayal, the heartbreak...and isnt the cat too chunky for treats!?



But there where dozens of packages of treats for this THING! (I mean really, the creature’s barely sentient! And look into those eyes…PURE EVIL! And by the way, the cat is sitting on me yet again)

sitting oncharlie Oh the betrayal, the heartbreak...and isnt the cat too chunky for treats!?


Doesn’t grandma MacGregor realize we (well, at least dad and I) are trying to speed along Chosun’s  “departure” to the Great Beyond?! And providing yummy sustenance and increasing the cat’s happiness quotient is in no way helpful. Just look at all these treats! Worse yet, look at the happiness on Chosun’s little cat face! (Yes, that is me waiting patiently in the background)

snacks2 Oh the betrayal, the heartbreak...and isnt the cat too chunky for treats!?

Oh Grandma MacGregor! Why have you betrayed me? Isn’t this the face of a dog deserving of many treats!?

charlie Oh the betrayal, the heartbreak...and isnt the cat too chunky for treats!?

But I did (as usual) eventually get my revenge!

revenge Oh the betrayal, the heartbreak...and isnt the cat too chunky for treats!?

Grandma MacGregor I will be waiting for an apology and an explanation for your dog-treat oversight! In the meantime, there is now an opening for “favourite grandma” (yes, that’s a hint grandma Esther)…Chosun here…finally got that stupid dog away from the computer keyboard. I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to grandma MacGregor. I loved the treats! Just ignore everything the dog just said…those canines are such drama queens. Just to really rub it in, I waited until the dog was asleep and buried her in my treats! For your viewing pleasure:

snacks Oh the betrayal, the heartbreak...and isnt the cat too chunky for treats!?


Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

Through a terrible accident I lost most of my previous posts from my original pet blog – A Basset Hound in Cape Town. But these were saved thanks to https://web.archive.org/ so I am posting them here!

Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

Dad has been kind of ignoring me lately (his Masters thesis is almost due—and thanks to my erudite musings and proof-reading abilities, and mom’s ability to nag, I am sure he will produce something brilliant and, more importantly, hand it in on time! That’s also the reason I haven’t blogged in so long, dad has been hogging the computer). Anyway to make it up to me, dad took a bit of time out of his busy schedule and took me and mom to Milnerton Flea Market. Since the folks moved (without my permission, no less!) they need to buy some stuff for their flat and this was a great place to shop cheaply. Better yet, as an outdoor market they allow—nay, welcome—dogs! And this place gets BUSY! Just look at how the parking lot was bustling. And you know what that means…lots of people to love me.

mil parkinglot Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

Yes, I know what you are thinking: “Charlie you gorgeous girl (…why did your dad give you a boy’s name…but I digress…) you don’t usually get so excited about walks where you have to stay leashed.” True, normally being leashed (a.k.a shackled) does inhibit my ability to fully enjoy my meanderings (but then again Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill is the best walk ever and I have to stay leashed for that) but what Milnerton lacks in freedom, it makes up for in smells (over 250 stalls of different, wonderfully smelly stuff), tastes and attention-getting. And it is also a great place to meet friends (I had thought that because it is called a flea-market there would be lots of flea-bearing felines around—happily I was mistaken). Just look at all these dogs:

friendsandagreatmountainview Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

Lots of the vendors bring their four-legged friends. Some dogs even wear fashionable jackets cause the market is right beside the ocean and those breezes can get nippy.

vendorsanddogs Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

This dog also belongs to a vendor (that’s why he has leashless-privileges)

leashless dog Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

And many shoppers bring their best friends along too!

milnerton meeting newfriends Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

moredogs Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

And of course, what market is complete without a puppy (I bet this guy got lots of good deals; I helped dad get great deals with my sad, melt-your-heart basset hound eyes, and my Canadian accent charmed all the vendors).

puppy Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

And let’s not forget the food. There are many vendors selling all kinds of homemade goodness (lots of which falls on the ground, perfect for fast-acting pooches). We stopped to share some vetkoeks (a traditional Afrikaans fried bread) where I got a full stomach and more love from yet another adoring fan.

morefansVetkoek Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

It was a great day. I give Milnerton 8 paws out of 10.

Next time I promise to update my impressions about our new place. I love the neighbourhood but unfortunately I have a feeling there is a malevolent presence nearby. Something is watching us…I keep seeing strange shadows in the window

menacing presence Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

Everywhere I turn I can’t shake the feeling I am being watched…

issabelle anddog2 Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

I think even that orange oaf Chosun notices a strange presence

menacechosun Milnerton Flea Market; leashed and loving it!

Something is definitely afoot; I will conduct a thorough search and let you know my findings…