Oscar & Peter

Saturday 7th October 2006
Our much-loved cat Louis had passed away in March, and after the period of mourning that all cat owners will understand we were up for some new fluffy chums. Holiday and house-sitting commitments in September had to be got out of the way, and then it was a matter of some phone calls to those wonderful people at the Cats Protection League, and a home visit arranged by our local branch to vet us, if you see what I mean. Which all lead to our visit to the Purley Cattery to choose Oscar and Peter. They were strays found together and given their names by a woman in Thornton Heath. We weren't sure about the names, but having realised that the names are suggestive of Oscar Peterson, the jazz pianist, who my dad liked, and what with Louis being suggestive of Louis Armstrong, we're warming.

Peter rewarded us with a large crap in his new basket not minutes out from the cattery, necessitating a stop by a park, with a bin, on the Purley Way, and I had to have him on my lap in the back of the car for the rest of the journey so my jeans got...well too much detail maybe.

We were advised to keep them in one room for a few days to let them become acclimatised and leave their scent. So we took them into the front room and they both disappeared behind the sofa.  We had lunch and sat quietly reading the papers with the cats still behind the sofa. Peter emerged pretty quickly, establishing himself as an affectionate and loudly-purring (like a freight train) and lap-sitting cat. Feeding we left maybe a bit late as Peter tucked in furiously, simultaneously chewing and growling if Oscar came up to the other bowl. So we put the other bowl behind the sofa with Oscar. In the evening I watched a DVD with Peter on my lap (sweet!) and realised Oscar had emerged to sit on the floor by us. I got in a stroke and a chin-skritch, but he dashed back behind the sofa when I stood up.

Sunday 8th October
Much the same behaviour from both cats today, with Peter becoming very confident. Some cat-loving friends came and he was out with us, and playing with them, for the whole visit.

Later I fed the two cats some biscuits after watching a DVD with Peter sprawled on my lap. And, sitting on the floor as they finished, was rewarded with more tentative contact with Oscar, and even some purring, and Peter grooming Oscar's head and then even some grooming/fighting play, not involving me.

Monday 9th October
Knowing that a postman would be coming to the front door (and I'd have to open it) in the afternoon I waited until he'd come and, at feeding time, left the door to the front room open. They both ate and then Peter (who'd made a dash for freedom last night and got up two flights of stairs before I scooped him back) went and sat on the sofa and watched as Oscar finished his food. And then Oscar went out and explored! When I poked my head around the door he scampered back and hid behind the sofa again. As I type I'm awaiting developments.

And as the evening progressed there was more bravery displayed in house exploration, with Oscar pretty brave, but he's yet to venture upstairs. Food and eating, as is ever the case, offer the best opportunities for luring and bonding.

Tuesday 10th October
Freedom for Oscar now seems to mean a different room's sofa to sleep behind, and after joining me for breakfast, Peter's just joined him. This is all going to take time, I can see.

Going down to have something to eat at 7.00pm, I find them both out, and waiting. They eat and wander off, but not behind sofas. After I've eaten I go and sit in the front room to watch some TV. I get Peter on my lap and Oscar curled up next to me. Aaaah! Then Oscar actually goes off upstairs exploring. More progress. Later whilst watching a DVD (A Prairie Home Companion - tedious!) Oscar comes up on the sofa and starts kneading my thighs, but no lap-lounging yet.



Peter has made himself at home,
but Oscar is still spending most of his time behind the sofa.


Wednesday 11th October
Oscar disappears after his breakfast, but Peter's still out and about when I wake up and come down for mine, and sticks with me, even while I come upstairs to the PC. As I type he's on the window ledge watching the torrential rain. Continued dingy weather is preventing the taking of any more pics, but the sun did come out a bit (see right).

A good acclimatisation-progress day today, with Oscar emerging more and Peter seeming more nervy, for some reason - even becoming spooked by the dishwasher. Both seemed OK with the thunder, and (wondering about their  lives previously) both seem to know what a fridge is and what cans can contain - shame it was baked beans in this case.

Thursday 12th October
The first day that both of us were out at work all day. They seemed to cope - I came home to two cool cats, not immediately weaving around my feet and pleading to be fed! Well, not until I'd taken my coat off. Now they've come upstairs, but they're being pretty patient. Cool!

OK, I'll leave off with the daily stuff and get back to you later when Oscar poses in daylight a bit more. The next big step is letting them out into the garden, which we were advised not to do until we'd had them indoors for a few weeks. Hoping that this has been cute and/or educational.


Sunday 15th October
The proof's in the picture (right). Oscar out and about and happy.
And more groomed. Phew!



19th November 2006
Time has passed, and the pair of them are now very settled. They had their first visit to the vets which went OK, apart from Peter doing his cat-basket-crap trick, and Oscar being, well, not exactly well-behaved. They now go through the cat-flap and out into the garden at will, so we got them collars, with engraved tags, which they both managed to lose within a week. They chase each other and charge around quite a bit, especially in the early mornings, which can get a bit tedious if you're wanting a quiet breakfast. It may also explain Oscar's cut nose (see pic above). This chasing usually evolves out of cute mutual grooming and head-licking, which mostly then develops into head kicking (see pic right). Visitors still tend to spook them, with an odd personality swap having taken place whereby Peter hides behind sofas with Oscar tending to be more the fearless one. There is a bit less compulsion with regard to their eating habits: they sometimes don't wolf down all the food in one go, but they're still a pair of gannets. Old stray-cat habits dying hard, perhaps. So, they're settling in nicely, we're all getting used to each other, and contentment reigns, mostly.


24th January 2007
Some cold morning pics of a white cat in the snow, taking advantage of a rare fall, what with global warming and all. The boys continue to become more settled, and less likely to compulsively gobble their food in one go. Also Peter is becoming more talkative, in fact a bit of a plaintive squeaker, especially when he's happy to find you after thinking he's been left on his own. The garden is now well and truly their territory, and they've not used the litter tray indoors in weeks. Hallelujah!



20th April 2007
March was a month-and-half for the cats, and the rest of us. Big and disruptive building work left us all traumatised and covered in dust, and saw the cats back in the cattery that we got them from for a week, while we escaped to Venice. Going to pick them up after the trip the worry was that they might've forgotten us, but as I was distracted into communicating with a sweet cat on my way to Oscar and Peter's pen I'd just started wondering who the noisy blighter was further along when I realised it was Oscar, who'd recognised my voice, and from whom we'd never previously heard the slightest squeak. Aaah! We're still a couple of weeks away from the end of the building work and look forward to the end of the disruption and the return of the cats' fur to some semblance of the previous white colour.



26th August 2007
Not much to report. The summer months brought bird carcasses and dead mice, along with a couple of well-chewed moths, but that's cats for you. Anyway, a couple of nice new pics. Oscar on the new paving in the garden and Peter against the new tiles in the new kitchen.



February 2008
Just a couple of 'Why are you messing around taking photos when we're fainting with hunger?pics.


May 2008

February 2009

March 2009



August 2009


September 2009

October 2009


June 2010

January 2011

April 29th 2011

Portrait of a cat whose cut eye is now healing nicely.

July 2011


August 2012


July 2015
It's been a while...so just a bit of a photographic catch-up. Recent years have seen them both become a bit noisier with some regular,
if still quite rare, squeaking and, Peter particularly, developing a tendency to groans when relaxing and snorting during feeding.
All good, though.








29th December 2016
And then...sadness. Peter had been ill since October (ten years since we'd first brought the pair home) but a kidney infection had responded to antibiotics. He had not been his usual self since, though, and gastric trouble lingered on to Christmas. So, after his not eating at all for two days we took him to the vets today for that final visit. If I ever have a more devoted and affectionate cat Ill be a lucky man. He will be sorely missed, and warmly remembered. A couple of last photos of him from this year left and below. Oscar is now our only cat and continues in his usual cute and fluffy ways. So a new photo of him too, with hopes for his continuing to thrive.

23rd April 2018
Oscar continues to thrive (see below).
(That the fleur-de-lys pattern embossed on the wallpaper matches the decorative element
on the page below is a mere happy coincidence.)














19th April 2020
Life During Lockdown
The going got tough, and the tough got new cushion covers.
A health scare in January - 'why isn't he eating?' - had turned out to be a false alarm.
He's been more than making up for it since.


8th October 2020
Could 2020 get any worse? Well yes, for us, because our cat Oscar is now no longer with us.
'Why isn't he eating?' turned to 'Why is he eating so much?' and other questions, but he never got better, really.
Fourteen years is a long time, and were feeling the usual combination of relief, grief and guilt.

Venice // Florence // London // Berlin