Oscar – a tribute

Sadly, Oscar is no more. He passed away peacefully yesterday morning after a short but acute illness. He was 13, which in cat years makes him about 80.

Oscar was an unusual cat, defying feline stereotypes in many ways; the first time he saw a mouse, he obligingly shared his food with it. On bonfire nights, far from being traumatised by fireworks, he enjoyed watching them out of the window, and while many cats run a mile from the vaccum cleaner, Oscar used to chase it round the room.

And when we got a magnetic cat-flap to keep the other cats out, Oscar would hold the door open so that Benjamin-the-cat-next-door could come in.

He was a party animal. He loved a gathering, and would work the room. Barbecues were special favourites.

All my former lodgers loved him. One even made an origami replica of him! He will be much missed.

He is buried in the garden in a favourite spot among the bluebells. Oscar RIP.


Phew! What a scorcher!

Forget spring, we’ve sprung straight into summer with temperatures in the twenties. The better weather has persuaded Oscar outside – in recent months he’s been staging a sit-in. He’s also now thankfully abandoned his hunger strike and dirty protest and appears to be back to normal. 

Tuesday’s visit to hospital was swift and sweet – they did a mammogram on the ‘good’ side then advised me to wait 7-10 days for the results – although I suspect (hope) that if they did find anything they’d recall me sooner.

Meanwhile I can add Singapore, Columbia, Egypt and Peru to the list of international blog visitors! Intrigued as to why the sudden influx, I looked deeper into the stats and discovered it’s mostly down to google. People searching for things like ‘radiotherapy beams,’ pink smart car’  and ‘chemo survival kit’ are being directed to this site. And a surprising number of people seem to be looking for information about teeth! Hope they’re not too disappointed..


Cat in the doghouse

Oscar, bored with his prescription ‘sensitivity’ diet, has been causing chaos in the kitchen.

He has just learnt, in late middle-age, how to leap onto the work surface, and in the past week has SHOVED the lid off a steaming pan of bolognese, SMASHED one of our best plates, SWIPED three meat balls and SCOFFED the best part of a tin of tuna.

John thinks we should get tough, show him who’s boss, teach him obedience through a system of reward and punishment. But Oscar won’t buy that Pavlovian stuff. Being a cat, not a dog, Oscar won’t obey…


This is Oscar with his namesake Oscar 2 – who has recently come home after spending the past 18 months on my desk at work.

My boss brought him round last week with the rest of my personal effects. I’ve now officially left that Department and transferred back to the bit of Government I worked in before (for complicated reasons involving austerity measures and office closures.)

He also brought gifts, a card, and lots of nice Spanish food, so we had a little leaving lunch here. Thankfully chorizo is one of the things I can still taste.

Oscar 2 is full of beans, and handy for throwing at people. In a previous workplace, he was banned from my workstation because he didn’t conform to the clear desk standard. You were allowed one photograph but no soft toys.

Talking of former colleagues, the Nottingham Post is coming to interview me tomorrow for a feature for breast cancer awareness month. Their feature writer is a girl I used to work with 20 years ago when I was a reporter. It will be good to catch up. They’re sending a photographer too – better spruce up the wig!

Is my cat bulimic?

Oscar has to go to the V.E.T tomorrow. Recently he’s been eating like a horse then shortly afterwards been sick as a parrot. He is also getting very thin.

Perhaps he’s got an eating disorder? I blame advertising. He is bombarded daily with airbrushed images of ‘perfect’ felines. I tell him he is beautiful but he doesn’t believe me.

We hate going to see the vet – nice man though he is. It’s all the trauma around getting Oscar in the cat-carrier and transporting him there. The practice is just round the corner so Oscar could walk himself there if he had a mind to, but he has an aversion to going anywhere near the place.

Perhaps this phobia stems from the time when we had a vet called Deville. No kidding. Great name for someone who works with animals. Mr Deville liked it so much he had a personalised numberplate – DVL666.

The first vet I ever took Oscar to did a thorough examination, looked at his teeth, weighed him, inspected his fur then said: “He’s a nice little fella isn’t he?”

Asked if the cat’s weight was normal he thought for a moment then said: “He’s not a gigantic cat, then again he’s not a titchy cat either.”

How many years in vet school?

It’s a cat’s life

JP says I mustn’t sack the cleaner, even though she arrived an hour and a half late (doctor’s appointment). So instead of her marching orders I gave her a cup of tea. She is trying to distance herself from Sweet Smiley Boyfriend. The Home Office have helped with this by moving him to Heathrow.

Chemotherapy is meant to be cumulative (each bout leaves you feeling that little bit worse), but if anything I’ve felt better this cycle than the first one, the only side-effects being fleeting fatigue and an eye infection. Third dose is next Wednesday so we’ll see if this trend continues.

After four months of enforced leisure, I’m starting to get just a teeny bit restless. I even contacted work to see if I could do some bits and bobs from home. Can’t go into the office – too many bugs – but could do stuff remotely if systems allow. Not sure how much there is to do though because the Government is closing us down.

Oscar, on the other hand, has no qualms coping with a life of langour. He has been in this position most of the day.

Sick as a cat

Oscar has come out in sympathy today and been sick. He refused to use one of the hospital party hats so I’ve had to clean up the carpet and wash the duvet cover.

Meanwhile all these hospital appointments are getting in the way of my social life. This week it’s visits to the dermatologist, oncologist, physiotherapist and chemo nurses. Dermatology visit this afternoon has nothing to do with cancer. I’m trying to find out what causes a persistant allergic skin reaction. Hope it’s not the cat. If it is I’m not being parted from him. When I took him on it was for better for worse..

On Thursday the chemo people have invited me in for “a chat”. Sounds cosy.

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