Toby hiding in the safety of the Executive Lounge
It's been a Friday quite like a normal Friday in the Beforetimes. I met both S., and G., who decided to risk joining us (her first outing to a café since social distancing first became a thing, even before lockdown) at River Kitchen for coffee and another bacon croissant for me, full lunch for S. and just a cautious cup of Earl Grey for G.
Later, it was time for me to collect my car from the garage and return the loaned Barbie car. As we drove to the garage, Elder Daughter phoned an international courier company and asked them to give an honest answer to the question "Can you realistically guarantee to deliver a package to the Middle East at the moment?" The answer was that, honestly, "it might take at least a month to get there, as there are very few international flights to anywhere just now. We've had packages waiting two weeks for a flight to open up, and once it leaves here it's really up to the staging depots in the other countries en route."
What is it that we want to send? Well… the update from the vet in Bahrain about Mehmet is that he can come home now that he's able to empty his bladder and bowels without assistance, but in order to protect his tail, he must be confined and kept from jumping. A decision will be made in a couple of weeks as to whether it needs to come off. Really, he ought not ever go outside but especially not at night, because he roams over a wide distance and gets into all sorts of scrapes. But he goes a bit mental when he decides it's time to go out on patrol.
The vet told Nicky that she could speak at length about the sheer impossibility of altering a cat's behaviour. Dogs can usually be retrained, but cats – no. Once they've developed behaviour patterns, that's just who that cat is. Mehmet's problem is that he wasn't neutered when he was a kitten, or properly cared for, so he became a street fighter and scavenger. It's not that he really wants to fight; he was perfectly gentle, and even playful, with the kittens last year, for example. But other male cats coming into the garden will not be tolerated, and he seems to consider the whole compound, and the road out the back, as part of his territory. As his original home was next door to our house, he also considers their garden as "his".
The vet suggested using the cat pheromone product Feliway to try and calm his urges to go out in the evenings; she says it's fairly effective and I know others who've used it with success. However, Bahrain is out of stock. Nicky asked me if I could find some online, but Amazon won't ship it to Bahrain. The other solution was to see if I could send some from here, but clearly the regular post is a non-starter at the moment. We wondered about a courier - but no, I'm not going to pay an international courier fee for a package that might never arrive, and certainly not in time for Mehmet's homecoming.
However, having heard about it, Elder Daughter decided to buy some Feliway in the hope that it might calm down her cat Molly (our 'lockdown cat') especially around Toby, who is scared of her. Most of the time we have to keep our cats segregated from Molly, and Toby & Tabitha spend the evenings sleeping on my bed in what we've termed the Executive Lounge, while Molly is in the living room. Feliway has now been sprayed on the living room rug where Molly likes to recline – so we'll see!
In the evening we were invited over to my brother's house for a 'farewell dinner' as the girls will be setting off on a road trip to return Younger Daughter to Dunedin in a couple of days. They'd cooked a delicious vegetarian repast that included carrot & ginger soup, cheese soufflé, onion quiche and sticky toffee pudding for dessert – all delicious!