animal update


slideshow - 23

Despite his normal healthy antics - bounding, rising up on pointes to chase butterflies, rolling and being statuesque in and (most thankfully for our recently reupholstered sofas) gnawing on - the vines, and despite a good appetite for his vitamin and mineral rich nuggets, Oscar is still losing weight. We can get our hands round his torso, poor puss. Being a hypochondriac I just had to rule out aids and super cat-destroying worms from ochre environments or mice who, once ingested, come back to life and chew kitties to death from the this morning I was up early to take him to the bio-vet.

As I was waiting, being incurably English, I introduced the subject of the weather to my fellow animal owners, talking enthusiastically about the recent rain, and how good it was for the 'terre'. The peasant dog-owner present, bent over doubtless from grape picking, simply raised his earth-bound eyebrows to me as if I were just another luny tourist and said:

" La pluie a simplement lavé les feuilles."

I stood corrected and tried complimenting him on his rather ugly terrier instead.

Entering the vet's ramshackle shrine, I glanced at his medicines which, as far as I could see, resembled those of my aromatherpist in Brighton: Oils of rose, lavender and bergamot and, overwhelmingly, the scent that has come to be associated with the vet for all Ventoux creatures, cintronella. He squeezed Oscar's tum, poked his bum, gazed into his eyes and inbetween his claws for signs of terminal illness, wrote an illegible scribble on a scrap of paper and as good as showed me the door.

A part çela, Monsieur, tout va bien?"
"Il faut le vermifuger"

So that's it, I thought, the killer worm has got our greycat.

Elsewhere (but not far), the terrible poisoning that led to Nadine and Manuel's shnauzer Rudai's death is not forgotten, but a new baby schnauzer is proving a sweet distraction even if Nadine is covered in cuts and haematomae from his enthusiastic first weeks. However, the other animals are not happy. Lily misses her brother, Moise sleeps on his grave and, steeped still in grief, no-one is making friends.

The hamlet's stray tom (whom we call Ralph) meanwhile, turned up one morning for his windowsill feast looking like he had been in some tragicomic Tom and Jerry accident: Shorn mysteriously in four pink places on his face his odd furlessness suggested burns by an exhaust pipe or a tyre. In sadness at his disfigurement he has moved in next door for comfort, but their cat Moise has moved out in protest.

We are mixing up Oscar's worming pill with cod-liver oil and hoping he will put on the quarter of his weight he is lacking. In a fair world, we would be able to gift him five of the ten quarters we are both carrying extra due to the Chateauneuf du Pape diet. He would be cuddly again and we would be slim and gorgeous for the telly coming to film the happy family in June.....

I realize I never say anything about Manon. That is because she is simply Manon, simply a cat. She does all the right things, purrs loudly, sleeps on our bed, washes her stunning markings till they shine pristine....and we love her exactly for her straight down the line glorious catness.

I guess the BBC will just have to take us as we are.


That sounds terrible. What kind of worms are they?

i think they're not dangerous (hope) i was just being a bit overdramatic there!

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