Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

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andrewh1973
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Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by andrewh1973 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:19 pm

Hi all

Just thought I'd update you on how things are going with the furry T800 now he's moved to Malta. Things were going brilliantly, albeit with some complexities. New job for me going great but Arnie seemed rather bored all day with me being at work. So, at the start of May as fate would have it, I was asked if I wouldn't mind fostering a little cute tabby and white female who has been thrown out by her owners as, it was claimed, she attacked the owner's boyfriend. They already had another cat and a dog so it wasn't that they were anti cat suddenly but somehow it was felt that this dear little cat, Mittens, was not fitting in and had to go. So they threw it out and the woman who raised her from an abandoned kitten found out, had her trapped and rescued and sought me out as a short term fosterer.

I took her on with the intention of rehoming her quickly if she and Arnie did not get on, otherwise she would be welcome to stay permanently. She arrived, one evening about 7 weeks ago. Immediately dived for cover under the sofa bed in the spare room and refused to come out, even for food or litter tray when left in the room alone until 24 hours or so later. Arnie was civil and welcoming the moment she arrived, as she was carried in the box and set down in the spare room where she was to be held separate from Arnie, he caught sight of her and she was miaowing in fear and confusion. Arnie simply wandered over to the carry box, put his nose up to the door, purred, brushed against the box then walked away. I think it was his way of saying "hello, welcome, don't worry, you're safe here".

The first night was ok, she was quiet and didn't mind being shut in the room. Second night she was crying to be let out for an hour then gave in and went to sleep. Third night she cried for nearly 2 hours and then because I and Arnie couldn't stand any more (he was by now sitting the other side of the door also crying because he was bothered by the sound of a kitty in distress) I opened the door slowly and allowed them to meet. She immediately hissed at him and avoided him but Arnie didn't react or hiss back. He looked at me puzzled but not really bothered by her. Mittens spent an hour or so wandering around the flat and then decided that she really wants to cuddle up with me in bed as I put the light out. She stayed under the duvet with me that night and refused to budge until the evening. During the night she was purring and treading most of the time, so she seemed happy enough.

As the weeks passed, it was clear that Arnie couldn't give a toss about her. He neither liked her nor hated her, but that was largely because any attempt he made to be friendly towards her was met hissing, growling and unsheathed claws from Mittens. Each time she went on the defensive Arnie would just go "brrrrupppp!!" and walk - not run - away from her. It was as though he realised she was trying to provoke a fight but he was not rising to it, he was being a gentleman and seeing that she was a troubled kitty so he decided to be nice.

He stopped being nice a few weeks ago however. It was like a switch just flicked in his head and he started chasing her around, trying to bite her and generally doing whatever he could to terrorise her. Not all the time though, most of the time he would leave her alone but whenever he saw she was taking my attention off of him he would go into T800 mode. He would let her use the litter tray no problems (I set up a tray for her to use but she decided from the start it's more fun to use Arnie's existing tray), he would sit next to his tray while she was in it, watching her, as though it was like a queue for the loo. Sometimes he would use it next but other times the moment she had finished and was covering it up, he would tap her on the rear and chase her out of the bathroom and under the bed.

So it was clear they were not getting on at all well, or rather, I think Arnie just saw Mittens as a fun thing to chase by now but Mittens was truly terrorised by it all. She remains under the bed or under my duvet all day, only coming out when she's hungry or needs the loo or late at night when seems to feel the need to throw caution to the wind and run around herself, excitedly playing with Arnie's toys (mostly when he's sleeping).

Meanwhile, my efforts to get Arnie used to the outdoors here were going well, he took the micky on a few occasions and wandered around patches of rough "brown" land between blocks here (Malta is weird like that, perfectly good land is left not built on while other bits of what little green belt there is are ripped up and have unsightly apartment blocks unsympathetically and badly built on them) but he was getting the idea, he'd lead me on a merry dance for an hour or so each evening until eventually allowing me to pick him up and bring him back inside. The chases he would do with me were like something from The Benny Hill show, he would run around in various directions only going fast enough to stay ahead of me so I couldn't pick him up, very clearly he saw this as a game as much as a process of staying out as long as possible. Not once though did he wander off too far, a couple of times he wandered into the rolling hillsides directly outside and I could hear him doing his "oh heck I'm lost now, where's my slave?!" miaow when I couldn't see him as he jumps in and out of the undergrowth but each time he did that, I'd go after him and stumble over rocky land to go get him.

Then, at the start of June, he jumps over the wall next to where I live, it's a bricked off patch of brown land full of bushes, brambles and bricks and goodness knows what else. I can't see him for about 30 mins but thanks to a Loc8tor on his collar and his tendency to "brruupp" and miaow to communicate where he is to me when he's out (plus his collar bell when he jumps or runs) I knew he was still there. Then suddenly I heard a "MIAAAOOWWWW!" and a metallic thunk followed by a more distressed miaow. It sounded like he'd got himself trapped in something metallic in there, so I did the only thing a cat crazy chap could do, I pushed some of the loose bricks at one end of the wall away and climbed over the wall to go rescue him.

Arnie is a black cat and when I got over he eventually came out of hiding from the bushes, he was a grey cat! Covered in white masonry dust, seeds, other bits of plant life and various other rubbish, but he was otherwise unharmed and he rolled around on the ground purring and miaowing and then shot off over the wall back into the street again.

I went to go after him of course and as I climbed back up, the breeze block I got my initial footing on, on the ground, tipped over, I fell backwards and cut the lower part of my left leg on it as I fell in a heap on the ground. Blood coming from the wound, Arnie stood on the wall looking back at me as if to say "what you doing down there, you nutjob? Come on, keep up!" and disappeared again into the street. I haul myself back up, eventually and make it over the wall. Arnie has wandered into the rolling countryside again and is enjoying himself among the bushes. 2 hours later he finally decides to let me get him and we go back indoors to clean him up and for me to attend to my wounds.

2 days later I'm at work and my leg has swollen up so much it looks like something from Aliens is growing in my leg and my foot is turning blue with serious bruising. 1 day later I go to the clinic and they say try some cream to reduce the swelling on top of other medication I got from a private Chemist GP a day earlier. Made no difference and boss insisted I take the medical advice to stay off work and rest my leg. 6 days after the accident I went back to the clinic, they referred me to the hospital A&E and I was admitted in the early hours on the Saturday with surgery expected to be done either later that day or Sunday. I had a massive haematoma in the leg, 5cm x 2.5cm x 1.5cm roughly and the reason my foot was having so much trouble was because it was cutting blood flow to the foot, I was warned that unless this was sorted quickly - by removing the haematoma - I could lose my foot or even the whole lower part of my leg.

Sunday evening I'm about to be taken down for surgery (it was a busy weekend and I was not seen as a priority for surgery) and I get a phone call from a friend who kindly stepped in to drop by and feed Arnie and Mittens for me. She sounds worried, as she opened the door - carefully - to go in, Arnie managed to trick her and ran out and now he's disappeared and they can't find him. The porter wasn't having any of this and told me to hang up, the theatre was waiting for me. I wake from surgery 4 hours later and once I'm back in the ward, call my friend. Arnie is still missing. Eventually my friend hears his collar jangling from under a car and then a miaow of "hello idiot, I'm here!" from him as she puts her phone on speakerphone and I call for him. He refuses attempts to be grabbed from under cars but 1 hour later decides he's had enough and it's time to come in for food and de-burring, again he's covered in seeds that need brushing out.

My friend, Fiona, had previously insisted Arnie was the best cat on the planet, absolutely no trouble at all and that I'm wrong about how much grief he can cause, because he is nothing but sweet and innocent and compliant to her. Now she's furious with the little ****! :)

I get released from hospital on the Monday (two weeks ago this Monday) and on this Monday coming, the stitches get removed. It's been painful and difficult but I'm on the mend, slowly. Though being off work has cost me dearly in terms of lost income but Arnie seems to be enjoying having his slave around all the time, even though he can't understand why I'm laying on the sofa with my leg up most of the time and why I'm no longer wanting to let him out and walk with him and what, he is wondering, is up with the slave and those metal poles he's hobbling around with and why does he put his leg in a black sack before having a shower. Yes cat, I know you don't understand. But there again, I don't understand why you made me think you were stuck in a metal thing in the first place!

He's a pain in the **** still then this cat but I love him dearly. He's been very sweet these past few days, maybe because he can see that Mittens is starting to love me as much as he does and he's worried I will keep her and get rid of him or maybe it's because he can see I've injured my leg (as he had somehow done when he found me a year ago) and he feels empathy towards me because of it? Who knows, but either way he's been a good friend these past few days, and less demanding than I expected, even if evenings are rather fraught with him fighting with Mittens...

Mittens however will be going to a new home this evening, my "adopted sister" (neither actually adopted or a sister but I'm like part of the family to her family, you see) as fallen in love with Mittens during recent visits to see how I'm coping and has decided that she hates the idea of Arnie constantly attacking her so she will provide her with the peaceful, cat free, quiet new home Mittens desperately needs. And Arnie will just have back to chasing and attacking me instead.. but not yet, I can just about walk now, never mind run!

Here's a video from this morning showing the T800-Arnie unit and Mittens as they await feeding...

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10 ... nref=story" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hopefully I will be able to return to work on Tuesday... I hope so, I need the money.. I'll be eating cat food myself soon.. HiLife pie anyone, no?! ;)

Party on cat people, all the best from Malta!
Andrew, Arnie (and Mittens... off to her new home shortly!)

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by hgale » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:45 pm

Crumbs Andrew, you have been through it!!

Denver is also being a little monkey - I've just started Nordic Walking (thats walking using poles to help propulsion - a very good workout if you aren't fit enough to run or jog - like me!) and you had to go to special classes to pick up the technique. It turned out that one of the other ladies on my course lives just 4 doors up the road from me, and we've become friends and walking buddies. When I said to her last Saturday "you may see my tabby prowling around sometimes" she then said that "a handsome, friendly tabby was already visiting her every day for fuss and cuddles" - yes guess who! Turns out Denver has 2 houses on the go (at least)!

I hope Mittens is happy in her new home - it sounds like the best decision for all, please give her a snuggle from us before she goes.

As for Arnie - does he know theres a new Terminator film out soon?!

I hope your leg is better soon!

Take care from Helen and Denver

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by greenkitty » Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:00 am

Wow what an adventure you boys are having! Arnie seems to have you well trained and being attentive to his every need☺️

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by nannymcfee » Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:12 am

Goodness what an adventure, ! :D one word spings to mind..mad !!!! :lol:

re the wall, now it has been demolished to a fashion, .an ideal place for a cat flap ! human size then you won't have to clamber over it again...

Really glad you have settled into your new job.

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by bobbys girl » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:31 am

Hi Andrew, nice to hear from you again. Wow what a time you've been having! I do hope you are on the mend now. It must have been a worrying time for you.

I'm glad to hear you have settled in to your new life. Please keep in touch - and leave climbing walls to Arnie! :lol:

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by andrewh1973 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:49 pm

Oh Arnie has me regularly climbing walls, in one way or another lol!

The wall was rebuilt by someone a few days later and is now higher, but that still won't stop Arnie from getting over it, it will stop me though! So when he's next allowed out again (not until I'm better and can keep watch!) if he goes in there again I can't go after him. He's a wonderful cat but my goodness he does some stupid things at times!

In fact, you can see the wall I got over in this video, recorded the day after the accident (it's the low bricked part of the wall near the start to the left of the garage driveway), that wall is now the same height all the way round... https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10155605229810570" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mittens meanwhile was rehomed last night. I got home at midnight and by 2:30am I'd finally gone to bed, Arnie was looking for Mittens and seems to be missing his feline punch bag so he wanted to play with me instead. Oddly he has never showed any interest in laser play but he watched Mittens play with it a few days ago (she loves it!) and suddenly he wanted to chase it too, not for long but still he's more interested than he ever has been. Very strange, it's though he's copying her or maybe learned from her it can be fun!

At 4am, my friend calls me, Mittens has been miaowing ever since I left and she can't get to sleep with all the noise she is making. Sure enough I can hear Mittens - who normally miaows softly and like a kitten - shouting loudly in the background even over the phone! I go over and she's quiet the moment I walk through the door. Seems she's missing me or at least associates me with feeling safe, so I stay for 2 hours until it gets light and by then she's still awake but we've played with her for a bit and she's starting to quieten down, so I leave her there again and go home. I've heard nothing since but I'm sure I will this evening... fingers crossed she can stay there!

Arnie seems understandably subdued today. When I go near him he starts purring though even when I don't stroke him. He's not done that since before Mittens arrived. So maybe he's happy he's got his home back all to himself but maybe he misses her being around also as it was fun to chase her. I think he's got mixed feelings, poor chap.

This is a video of Mittens laser chasing last week...

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10 ... nref=story" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by Crewella » Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:50 am

It's great to have an update, good grief you've had a time of it!

I hope you're on the mend, and that Arnie settles down to a more sedate lifestyle. I hope Mittens settles in her new home too. xx

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by andrewh1973 » Sun May 22, 2016 10:22 am

Right well it's been nearly a year since I last posted here, so I guess some are wondering how Arnie and I were getting on since that accident last year... well...

I was off work for 3 weeks in the end, boss was ok. Leg is still not right though and foot numb some days and when it's hot it swells up. So thank you kitty for causing lasting damage it seems, accidently.

The temporary fostered tabby cat - Mittens - was rehomed at the end of June but was returned back to me a month later, the new owner couldn't cope with her, poor kitty. Mittens is a demanding, insecure little kitty (still) but she's cute as a button albeit a bit rough and tending to be a bitey cat when you stroke and play with her.

However, the main problem with her is that she and Arnie are still not friends... video from this morning:

https://www.facebook.com/andrewholland7 ... 1638483079

90% of the time it's Arnie who instigates the violence, she'll be happily resting somewhere or sleeping even and he'll just go strolling over and start biting her on the stomach or head or he'll otherwise just get her in an "aggressive hug":

https://scontent-mxp1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=57A0324B

Which results in Mittens howling, screaming and hissing and getting really angry and, erm, Arnie seeming to just regard it as a bit of a laugh. I have to wonder if he's really just wanting some rough and tumble with Mittens and he just can't get it into his head that this kitty is not one that enjoys that sort of thing?

Not sure what to do with them really, I've tried everything I can think of to help them get on better and most of the time they do tolerate each other. Mittens has even been known to walk up to Arnie and "kiss" him on the nose gently (especially while waiting to be fed or when Arnie comes in from his strolls with me outside). Anyone got any ideas why Arnie is doing this and what I could do to help them get on better?

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by bobbys girl » Sun May 22, 2016 2:05 pm

Hi Andrew

Good to hear from you again. Sorry it didn't work out for Mittens, she seems such a sweetie. She looks similar to our Gracie, except Grace looks like she sucks lemons for a living!

Since we lost our darling Tommy last year (he was the peace keeper) our lot have little spats like that all the time. Grace is usually in the middle of it - or the cause of it. Purdy or Willow will come scurrying in closely pursued by sucky lemon face who, when she sees us, will skid to a halt and act all innocent. Sometimes Purdy will fight back and sometimes Bob will get caught up in the fuss and chase Grace into a corner or out of the house. Then we usually hear a brief yowling, hissing and, often a crash(!) before Bob strolls back in, tail in the air and Grace slinks in behind the sofa to straighten her hair and regain some composure.

Bob can be quite posessive of me and if Willow comes for a fuss he knocks her off my knee. Yet most of the time there is (almost) perfect harmony.

I think you just have two cats with strong personalities. Unless you get a 'Tommy' to join the clan I think it will always be the same. You have a Arnie we had a 'Clint' in Tommy (with a John Wayne way of walking). He just had to say, 'go ahead cat, make my day' and it all went quiet. :lol:

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by Crewella » Sun May 22, 2016 2:46 pm

Lovely to have an update. I have a similar situation with my Daz and Grumpy Nellie, as he likes to chase her and she doesn't appreciate it, but actually nobody gets hurt and I find distraction and giving Daz plenty of outside time and exercise does seem to help.

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by Kay » Sun May 22, 2016 8:56 pm

I would trust Arnie on this one - he knows Mittens is not seriously antagonistic towards him, and is therefore happy to let her have a strop without reacting

my Tiffany regularly hisses and lashes out at Tosker, but she never growls or raises her hackles or fluffs out her tail, all danger signs of serious aggression - and he has been sharing her space for 7 years now without any blood being shed

I reckon keeping him in his place keeps her young, and I take no notice of it, and I suspect you will find you can do the same

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by andrewh1973 » Sun May 22, 2016 10:08 pm

Kay wrote:I would trust Arnie on this one - he knows Mittens is not seriously antagonistic towards him, and is therefore happy to let her have a strop without reacting
Hmm well as calm as Arnie seems to be when Mittens is trying to fight back against his roughousing by biting or scratching him back while growling and hissing, I'm worried that one will eventually do the other serious harm. Arnie is a big, heavy, solid muscular cat (though rather less muscular than when he was an intact alpha male tom, but he's 6kg and mittens 3.7kg) so in terms of sheer heft, she's no match for him and it's a totally unfair fight.. she can't even manage to fight him off and run away from him most of the time, he's so strong and forceful with her. So while I know that Arnie isn't especially bothered by Mittens screaming and biting, Mittens is very much bothered by Arnie's actions towards her. You can see that for a good while after an attack she'll wander sheepish around the place and if Arnie happens to go anywhere near her, she'll flee and head for some secluded place as fast as her little paws will take her there. It's sad to see her do that really, it's as much her home as it is his now.

But, sometimes, she will try and pick fights with him. I've caught her on a couple occasions go up to him while he's sleeping on an armchair and she'll bite or swipe his tail which causes him to angrily wake up in surprise and annoyance which then leads to him immediatley chasing after Mittens to dish out punishment for even daring to do that.

On one occasion I've even seen it morph into sexual aggression. I came out of the shower a few months back to the sounds of Mittens wailing and hissing, I find her being pinned down on my bed by the scruff of her neck with Arnie having mounted her. I manage to get him off her but Mittens remained terrified of him for a couple of days after that.

Can't help but think that while Arnie is the nicest cat could you ever imagine meeting towards humans, he's a nasty, mean, aggressive sex offender when it comes other cats!

While I was sitting at my desk earlier, Arnie again launched another attack on Mittens. Twice I broke up the fight and the 3rd time it happened I chased after him - he loved it and eventually rolled over on his back and spread his paws out wide as though he wanted to hug my head, instead I pretended to be an angry cat and pretended to bite his fur on his chest - I didn't actually bite him but he could feel me pulling at his fur a little - he loved it, he started purring and licking my face and calmed down and became a relaxed happy kitty again. I really think he just wants a "bit of rough" from those he likes, so maybe he actually does like Mittens and just wants Mittens to calmly play fight back, pity she doesn't seem to know how to do this...

He's definitely among the strangest cats I've ever known though, that's for sure!

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by andrewh1973 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:37 pm

Hello everyone, thought it was high time I posted back with an update. Sorry it's been a while but a lot has happened since the last postings...

Ok well for a start Arnie and Mittens are still with us, Mittens still growls and hisses at Arnie sometimes and remain not so much enemies, just not friends. However, the fighting is a lot less than it used to be as Arnie and Mittens have another distraction: we're now a 3 cat household!

Stupid is as stupid does and you'd think having 2 cats was enough for us to be dealing with but, on our wedding anniversary in September 2016, we/fate decided another kitty was needed in our lives. My wife and I sat in this lovely semi-outdoors restaurant in St Paul's. Within moments we noticed that this tiny ginger kitten was running around table to table literally screaming at guests for food from their plates, he was so hungry. He also was clearly suffering from kitten flu and was partially sighted in his left eye due to previous infection causing scarring. The restaurant owner tells us that he was the last kitten to survive from a litter of feral kittens born there, his mother died on the roads a few weeks ago and none of his siblings made it either and they've been trying to catch him as he's a nuisance to guests but they can't get near him. We were just filled with compassion and a desire to help this poor little guy so we promised to help catch him and if he survived we'd keep him. It took a week to catch him when finally he got into the carry box we left there all by himself, actually he collapsed into it he was so sick by that time, I wondered if he finally worked it out we were only trying to help him and he realised that unless he allows us to take, he'll be crossing the rainbow bridge soon. Who knows, but I get a call from the owner saying he's collapsed inside the box and after work I go and get him. Not a single sound is made by this cat on the drive to the vet. The vet confirms he's seriously unwell with kitten flu and a chest infection and is about 12 to 16 weeks. He's given a jab to help him and prescribed antibiotics to put in his food. He comes home and is kept separate from Mittens and Arnie in the spare room. Because there were bottles of olive oil on the tables, we decided that he will be called "Oliver" or "Ollie" for short (and in practice is his every day name now).

By the time I got him home, the jab had helped him pep up a bit and this terrified, sickly kitten nonetheless went into a frenzy of purring and treading the moment I placed a bowl of kitten food in the carry box for him, he gulped it down in seconds and gently ventured to the door of the box to allow me to stroke him briefly.

For the next few days he mostly hid under the sofa bed except when I entered the room where he would come running out screaming for the food that was about to land at his feet. He played with toys I gave him and grew stronger. Eventually the vet said he was well enough to mix with the other cats so we opened the door and they met.

Ollie was curious about both of them. Arnie, once again, didn't really give a toss but Mittens was immediately hostile. A power play was clearly going to take place here, we realised that immediately and simply let it take its course. Over the months that followed Ollie grew into quite the ginger hooligan and Mittens and he became friends. The sight of them chasing each other about and rolling around the floor with each other play fighting was wonderful to see, even if Arnie looked totally bemused by it.

Ollie initially ignored Arnie and Arnie likewise Ollie, Ollie's sole attention was on getting food and play from us and on his relationship with Mittens. Mittens sometimes growls at him but most of the them you can see they're friends of some sort.

Over time Ollie started to notice Arnie more and seemed to regard him as being like his "big brother". He'd take to following Arnie around, licking him just before mealtimes and copying whatever Arnie was doing. He continues this now but Arnie doesn't always seem too impressed by this, sometimes Ollie gets spat or hissed at in return but mostly while Ollie is washing Arnie, Arnie will just turn around and attack Ollie or bite his neck etc. Weirdly, despite knowing his friendly overtures to Arnie will inevitably lead to violence Ollie persists anyway. We've concluded that Ollie is simply a cat full of love and optimism, he appears to love everyone and is endlessly excited and optimistic about each new day. Although he's now a fully grown adult cat, from the moment he wakes up he's running around still with the same sense of kitten abandonment and excitement about things. Arnie seems to look at him dismissively but sometimes he and Ollie will chase each other around and appear to be enjoying it equally. Ollie is about 5kg and a strong, muscular cat (like Arnie was when he first found me) and the fight between them is fairer.

So now, we have a place of 3 cats:

Arnie:

https://goo.gl/fW4htY

Mittens:

https://goo.gl/ERiJGP

Ollie:

https://goo.gl/XvdV9A

During 2017 we sought to buy a home in Malta to permanently settle down there. And this is where things have gone wrong this year. Life in Malta has not proved to be as wonderful long term as we hoped and over the last year or so we've realised there are lots of things about life there we're not keen on that taken together make you question why we're even there in the first place. The final straw being the stupidly high cost of property. We were effectively priced out of the market as property prices have soared due to several factors (Brexit and the success of the gambling/e-gaming industry in Malta, both meaning that demand for property from ex-pats and Maltese (returning home) has increased dramatically) meaning that our budget (120k) would only get us a 2 bed shoebox apartment in a "meh" area. The dream of having a 3 bedroom place with maybe a little yard for the cats to roam around in remained a ever distant dream.

By late summer this year we were disheartened and - as my wife was still unable to find work in Malta (she's Russian, a journalist/PR/Radio professional) - considered moving elsewhere. We looked again at Greater Manchester (despite me vowing never to return there) and realised that parts of the area have many 3 bedroom houses with gardens in "not bad" areas for around 120k. So from early December we moved back to Greater Manchester and Arnie is now a happier cat (he never really liked Malta much) but he's not allowed out - yet, Ollie and Mittens are settling in but still confused at the idea of a house with stairs it seems and I started a new job here a couple of weeks ago. The plan is to rent for a year or so, build up our deposit again and buy a modest house here... the cats however, just care about their supply of food, play and comfortable places to sleep.. and to that end, their slaves are doing a great job, even if the move up here (we had to fly to London and drive up in a rental car, 6 hour car full of miaow, Mittens would not stop yelling for a second!) was fraught (Unable to wait any longer, Arnie dropped a "nuke bomb" while we were on the M6, as the car filled up with both his increasingly distressed miaows and what felt like a mustard gas attack, my wife and I were just trying to hold our noses and stop our eyes streaming for long enough to make it to the next services... the sight of carrying Arnie in his box into the baby change room at the services must have amused some I'm sure... but didn't us!).

So suffice to say, it's been an interesting year or two (and that's without even going into work issues and that my original Maltese employer went under unexpectedly at the end of last year, leaving me told just 3 days before Christmas to find a new job!) and we're hoping 2018, back in Blighty will be better... even though we've got a load of paperwork and expense to get through for my wife and visa applications etc... Oh well, I'm told Britain is "Great" again by folk round here... let's see shall we?...

Happy new year all you fellow kitty carers!

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MarySkater
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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by MarySkater » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:17 pm

Welcome back to the UK with your interesting feline family! Good luck for 2018.

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by Mayday21 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:15 pm

Hi Andrew phew what a time you all have had. Keep us posted on how Arnie, Mittens & Ollie settle & wonderful to read how you & your wife took Mittens & Ollie into your home & now have resettled them in the UK. My mates here say that 2018 is going to be a better year than previous; 1+8=9 which is supposed to be a good number & 8 is a balanced number (top/bottom). Remember the old adage “The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side” maybe what happened in Malta was fate. And the pics of the 3 are fabulous - all look pretty contented.

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by Lilith » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:19 am

Aww - good on you for rescuing Ollie - poor little devil (I have a soft spot for gingers!)

Hope the new year will be a good one and more settled and prosperous for you and your wife and the gang :)

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by bobbys girl » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:43 am

Hi Andrew, lovely to hear from you again. What a year you have had! Ollie is such a lucky little boy.

I have some friends who did settle in Malta. But some of the things they say about life there, well let's put it this way, it's not for everyone!

Your car trip with the cats reminded me of a trip over from Ireland, on the ferry with our dog Rosie. We had to leave her in the car while on the ferry. She hated it and did what Rosie always did on occasions like this, she pee'd herself. We left the dock hanging out of the windows, gasping for air! :lol: We found the nearest supermarket, bought bin bags and dumped the entire contents of the boot (it was an estate so she had plenty of room) into the nearest skip.

I hope you find somewhere nice to live and that your wife gets her 'papers' sorted very soon. Wishing you the happiest of New Years.

Sue

PS love the photos!

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by BobbiRobbie » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:25 pm

I'm new here but enjoyed reading your journey with Arnie, Mittens, and Ollie. I love the photos and the fact that Arnie seems to be punching the camera. Totally fits with your descriptions of him :)

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by andrewh1973 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:35 pm

Hi Everyone

Sorry to have been away from this for so long. And thank you fellow member Jacks who PM'd me and asked me for an update and provided an update on your tribe of kitties - seems you have your hands full too! Ok, well it's been nearly 18 months since we moved back to Blighty, so what's happened? Do we still have Arnie, Mittens and Ollie? Yes, but at one point we feared one was lost...

I started my new job in Dec 17 but by Aug 18 I had had enough and quit partly due to realising the way the company worked just wasn't for me (it was too dysfunctional and the problems they hired me to solve were caused by the owner and a senior member of staff and neither were prepared to accept that they themselves were the cause of the problem) and partly because I got an offer I could not refuse. I am now a lecturer at one of the smaller universities in Greater Manchester (and the job is a nightmare of hard work and lost weekends!) and we still live in the same rented house in an outlying area of Greater Manchester we moved back to in 2017. My wife is still, sadly, looking for work and our plans to buy a house therefore remain on hold as saving for a deposit is impossible.

Our cats, though, are having a fantastic time.

They settled into the house well from the start. Mittens the grey/white female tabby, however, discovered the delights of carpeted floors and has systematically taken to chewing and clawing random pieces of carpet in what appears to be several "favorite" places. In one location she will repeatedly lift the carpet from the door strip holding it in place and brazenly sits there chewing the uplifted section of carpet as though she's trying to work her way through a particularly chewy but tasty steak. Other than putting mats or books (I kid you not) over the areas she's targeting, I'm not sure what else to do to stop her. Otherwise Mittens loves this house and the delights of radiators have not gotten old for her yet. We got radiator beds for all the cats and put them in every room. Only Ollie the ginger male tabby uses them and loves to warm his back on them during the cold winter months. Mittens however will lay underneath one of them, stretching her back along by it and warm herself while endlessly purring at it. So she's happy enough. Otherwise she lays on a window ledge with her back against the cold glass and her head and front paws hanging over onto the radiator burning herself no matter how hot it is. Very strange cat. When she's not doing all that, she's chasing Ollie up and down the stairs like two mad kittens. She's around 6 now and she's still every bit as much a kitten mentally as she was when I first took her on in 2015.

Ollie also loves this house. Like Mittens both of them are perpetually scared of things still and whenever the doorbell goes will fly up the stairs in a fit of noisy, clumsy, frantic paw-spinning-trying-to-gain-traction-on-laminate-flooring kerfuffle like something out of a Loony Toons cartoon. It's hilarious to watch him and Mittens do this but I wish they would just calm down. Ollie, unlike Mittens, seems ok with the idea of having two floors now to live in and explore equally (Mittens still seems to regard upstairs as her home and downstairs as a place she sometimes likes to visit), his loud pronouncements of "wow-wow-wiaow!" (he's never miaowed properly!) as he looks out the window or calls Mittens to come rough house with him, show us he's perfectly happy here also.

Last April, while Arnie was out in the garden having a potter around, Ollie - having spent a few weeks showing signs that he wanted to go out and might be calm enough now to do it - managed to get out and ran into the garden. My wife and I had, for a split second, hoped that he'd just calmly explore the garden and then come back in. Sadly no. He immediately panicked and - doing what cats do best when in panic - shot over the back fence and ran away. Arnie sat on the grass looking at this and did nothing. Then he decided, after a few minutes to wander off in the same direction but came back a few minutes later with an expression of "so, what? did you think I was going to get him to come back for you? sod off!" on his face. Arnie seemed quite happy that Ollie had suddenly gone.

Two weeks of anguish followed. We leaflet-dropped over 500 houses with a "lost ginger cat - please help us" notice that first week. And we did the same on Facebook to many local cat groups and local neighborhood groups. After a couple of days we started to get many reports of people seeing a scared ginger cat looking like our Ollie. Some we put down to being impossible as they were too far away or clearly the cat spotted was not Ollie. But towards the end of the first week we were getting regular reports that several streets away a scared, small ginger cat has been seen suddenly sleeping in the garden day times but when approached immediately flees for his life. That sounded like our Ollie! We spent every night that first week roaming the streets calling for him and putting leaflets through letterboxes, my wife especially feeling heartbroken by now. We got a call that he had been seen about 2/3 of a mile from our house near some woods. We couldn't see him there but nonetheless I tried - what seemed at the time - a last ditch and probably pointless act. I got a bottle of strong catnip spray and sprayed it at increasing intervals on fences and lampposts as we got nearer our home. Finally spraying a load of it by the back door. Ollie does respond to catnip so I was hoping that it might at least lure him back onto familiar territory and eventually he'd find his way home.

I got back home that night just as sun was setting. I sat looking out the window into the garden for nearly an hour thinking there's no way this could work when I hear a cat collar jingling from the open window, I turn the lights off and in the darkness I could suddenly see two glowing eyes, one of which was slightly deformed (as Ollie has scaring on his left eye, his eyes do not glow uniformly). It was Ollie, he had found his way back! I opened the back door hoping our brave boy would just march right in but no, of course, he fled the moment I touched the door handle!

The next few nights he was seen in our back garden after dusk. Eyes glowing as he eyed us suspiciously from the fence as he waited for his chance to go nap the food we'd put out for him. He'd come take the food and go. We tried to put the food inside the house just by the door and although he once almost stepped over the threshold to come in, fear got the better of him. On one occasion I even passed him in an alleyway while going to a reported sighting of him. He shot past me in fear of his life as though I was a total stranger. Ollie seemed to have forgotten his home and we were the only ones who loved him. It upset my wife no end. I contacted the local CPL and got a trap from them.

Several evenings in a row we baited it and waited and waited. Each night Ollie would come, see the trap, smell the food and turn tail and ran. Finally, nearly two weeks after he went missing, hunger clearly got the better of him and after a tortuous 2 hours of seeing him approach and run away from the trap repeatedly, he finally enters to claim his prize of the fresh deli turkey temptingly waiting for him. The trap slams shut and he throws himself about inside the trap, screaming and frantic like a thing possessed. We quickly bring the trap inside, throw a blanket over him, shut the door and give him a few minutes to calm down. We have our boy back, finally!

We release the trap door and he flies out and hides under the dinning room table on a chair. He won't let us near him, hissing and spitting whenever we do but too scared to move anywhere. We shut the door to the room, keeping him confined downstairs and Arnie and Mittens confined upstairs for the night. He makes no noise overnight and I come down in the morning to find him hiding behind the TV, still scared. I allow Mittens and Arnie into the room, Arnie couldn't give a toss about him being back (other than suddenly seeming to be less happy than he'd been for the past 2 weeks - mean kitty) but Mittens seems aware her younger "brother" is back. Ollie ventures out for food and minutes later he's come up to me purring and looking at me with the same loving kitten eyes he had 2 weeks prior. It was like a switch suddenly flicked again in his head and the memories of his life here came suddenly flooding back. He was awash with joy and comfort at being back in a place he felt truly safe. He had lost weight during those two weeks and clearly he's not as good at hunting as he probably thinks he is, we living by a woods there's ample source of food but I suspect he caught nothing and was starving.

We've kept a very stern eye on Ollie ever since. Too often he's tried to escape but we know we can never let him go out as he just can't cope with it. We thought we'd never see him again but we both learned many things about what to do when a cat escapes. The first few hours and days are crucial and it really helps to think as a cat thinks. I'm certain the catnip worked and was the reason he found his way back.

Then there's Arnie. As we did in Malta, he is not allowed to go out alone here. He's too much trouble, he'll wander off quite far, has a carefree attitude to cars: a car will come along and he'll happily stroll into the road slowly in front it, seemingly expecting it to just stop and wait for him to cross. Even when a car is coming at speed he remains in "couldn't give a toss mode" he is either just too overly casual or he's got a death wish!

So whenever I can (which is every day just now, since lighter evenings are with us again) I'll take him out for a stroll in daylight around the streets and woods here. We live near a river and dam so there's lots for a curious mean kitty to explore and hunt. Sometimes he'll wander off on his own leaving me wondering for a couple of hours where the hell he's gone before realising that somehow he's managed to find his way back home. But mostly he'll just walk 20 meters behind me and complain loudly if I walk too far ahead of him (when in the woods) and otherwise ignore me if we're on the streets. But his biggest problem are dogs. He hates them, of course. But whereas most cats will run away from them, fight or flight, Arnie chooses to fight some of the time and it's distressing. On one occasion a poor passing Labrador was rather too friendly with us and paid the price as our house CCTV system recorded at the time:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ilo9fb8y39ufh ... 9.mp4?dl=0

As an added "bonus" you'll see that the end, he claws my face as well.. that was a painful day for all concerned!

Otherwise Arnie is loving life here, he'd like to go out more often than he does and he's not happy his favorite variety of HiLife cat food is no more thanks to Brexit (a post for another time maybe, but it's true!) and he's as randomly grumpy one day and happy the next as he always was before I moved to Malta. He truly hated Malta and seemed to resent it every day. Here however, he's much more himself, he's back in his own country and he knows it!

If Arnie was to listen to music to reflect him, it would be Radiohead or The Smiths. Mittens would be Aqua, specifically Barbie Girl and Ollie, well, he's always positive and everything is always great for him, so it has to be the "Everything is awesome" song from the Lego Movie!

And that's it for now, they are settled, driving us crazy each of them but we love our rescue kitties dearly. We're proud of them all!

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by Jacks » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:03 am

Hi Andrew, lovely to hear from you!

What an amazing video - your Arnie is a most unusual cat who obviously truly believes he is a panther at least five times his real size! How wonderful to hear about your little family and the incredible story of Ollie and his recovery. What special cat parents you are that you understood your little boy so well and devised a cunning and successful plan to get him home - and did. Your story should be broadcast to all people who lose house cats through escaping like this. Many don't realise how quickly fearful cats can start to avoid all human contact, but once they are trapped and returned to their homes the relief is immense.

They are a lovely family of kitties and I'm so glad things worked out well for all of you - furries included - and wish you all health and happiness! xx

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Re: Arnie and his slave in Malta, 3 months on...

Post by Lilith » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:49 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Oh boy do you have a troublesome threesome!

And the dog's tail kept on wagging! :o

I once had a cat who chased a stray Alsatian out of the yard, and another who saw off a pesky neighbour who kept dropping in to use our phone ... he he ...

Glad you got Ollie back too and welcome back to sunny (not!) Britain, land of the Grey, only not in my house or only where my hair roots are concerned and probably those of every other cat (or brat) owner when they play up like our little darlings! :shock: :D

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