Seven Shades of Grey

150px-230px-Eleanor_AbernathyToday’s exercise is to: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.

I have decided to write to the readers that would love reading about my house full of cats. Specifically the readers that won’t think me insane with the sheer number.  I often think of myself as similar to the Simpson’s crazy cat lady but I never throw my cats or wear an apron.  The title: Seven Shades of Grey is a play on both the shades of grey book series title and how each of my cats are essentially different shades of grey.  The title also references that each of my seven cats portrays the shade (or ghost) of a specific personality. This will be an introduction to each of my babies and their very diverse personalities as I intend to write more about them over time.

The element that I am adding is to place images in the text.  It was a bit of a fight but I like the look of the images and how I edited them.  Although I struggled to edit them with the blogging site and did it instead in my photo programme.   Over time I want to be more artistic in my blogs, bringing in more and more visual elements, with doing so not resulting in a lot of swearing and threats to end the life of my laptop.  I love photographs but frequently find them to be ‘frigging aggravating’ to place them within my text.  I am hoping to get more comfortable with that.  As much as I love writing, I can understand how in some instances an image does ‘say’ more than one thousand words could.

My cats are more than simply pets.  When I am lonely but unable to manage socialising with people, I can “communicate” with my cats.  They don’t betray my confidences, they aren’t angry when I wet their fur with my tears and they can sit for hours listening to me ramble and look like they care what I am saying. Often their purchase coincided with a low period of my life, where I or hubby felt that the care of and love from an animal might tip the balance to my holding in there. They seem to know when I am feeling down and stick close, nuzzling and purring even when I don’t encourage them.

I spend much of my days home alone, but I am never really short of company as there is usually at least one, and probably more of my cats around me.  They especially love gardening with me, weaving among the weeds and sleeping in the shade with one eye on me at all times.  It can be a little over crowded in bed with up to four in there at once, hubby and me. Charlie, Brat, Chicken, B1 and B2 can all curl up in bed at the same time, as long as they don’t accidentally touch, which can result in the continuation of the fur wars.  Tabbie rarely comes to bed but can sneak under the blankets and sleep, as long as no one notices her.  Teko is rarely in the house at all and if she is she sleeps in the spare room.

Charlie – The slothful shade


Charlie is a beautiful BIG boy.  This picture disguises his 8 kilo bulk but shows his playful side.  He makes this pitiful cry that sounds like a small female cat, you turn expecting one of them and its Charlie.  He loves gardening, which on his part means hes lays on whatever I am working on, flattening plant and weed alike.  He has a very, very sad fighting stance.  He drops onto his back and if really scared his bowels loosen.  I have seen his enemies looking disgusted and running off. He does manage to block the cat door by simply sitting in front of it and that can protect the other cats from stray entry.  When he lays in bed his preferred position is to be under the blankets, fully stretched with his head on the pillow.  Many a time I have woken to a face full of fur.

Charlie is a very simple minded cat.  He loves us and he loves any time that we can give him.  I make sure that he gets individual time because he is too shy to actually ask for it.  He is very heavy and it can limit how often we can actually pick him up and manage to keep carrying him.  He was so small when we got him, he used to climb into hubby’s dressing gown and fall asleep.  Dieting is hopeless for him, as the girls are mainly grazers, which means we leave food out, he wolfs down anything in sight.  For all his appearance of a big, mature cat he remains a kitten at heart.  He’s just my big baby boy.

Brat – The possessive shade


Brat was originally called Whiskey after a tank I played with in World of Warcraft. She definitely earned her familiar name of Brat or Bratly. She is extremely possessive, but not of me.  I am only good enough for attention if hubby is nowhere around.  The photo shows her in her favourite “brat attack” pose.  If I touch her she pounces but if hubby does she just lets him and purrs.  Any cat silly enough to come too close gets the whirling claw and paw attack.  When hubby comes home in the evening Brat meets him at the front door, he must then carry her up to the lounge listening to her comments about her day as he goes.  She expects this service even if she just ran down the stairs to meet hubby.  I need not bother to pick her up as she would prefer to walk.

We got Brat from Lower Hutt, two hours driving from home.  I should have realised her personality, when on the drive home she was only settled when sitting on hubby’s shoulder watching the road ahead (he was driving and this did not seem to bother her). She prefers sleeping on his chest, usually with her butt hard against his face.  She will sink her claws in if she thinks hubby is mistaken in thinking he can put her down before she is ready.  Brat will search the car when I come home if hubby is not around, I am sure she thinks I kidnapped him and only she can save him.

This year Brat disappeared shortly after the arrival of the two kittens, B1 and B2.  Hubby thought she hated the competition but I just could not see her leaving him.  She was tough enough to stake her place at his side and defend it, no matter the number of cats or humans (including me) that challenged her position.  After two weeks of searching I was ready to give up and mourn her loss more fully, there had already been hours of crying and being sure I could hear her cries.  One day I heard the cat door accompanied by this sad pathetic cry (which sadly sounded just like Charlie).  I looked up and there was a thin shadow of my Bratly.  It appears she had been locked up somewhere.  She was very unsteady on her feet but when she heard hubby pull up she dragged herself to the stairs readying herself to go down and greet him.  I helped her down and she was so happy when her beloved hubby carried her back to the bedroom and helped her settle to sleep.

Tabbie – The bashful shade


We found Tabbie in a pet shop in Hastings, which meant a three hour drive to home.  Let me just say the radio could only adsorb some of the sounds of her distress.  She has an extremely flexible tail that she can lay almost flat upon her back.  Hubby calls her his ‘Flexy tail’ or ‘Tabbie tail’.  She prefers not to be picked up, instead sitting beside one of us on the chair arm.  Hubby can turn her into a collapsed bundle of bliss by rough stroking or brushing her.  The rougher the better.  Her eyes glaze over and she literally melts into the floor, moving her body to get more and more areas rubbed.

Tabbie was a very quiet cat once she settled in but that meant she got very little attention when she wanted it.  She would sit quietly beside the chair or a person’s legs.  Often this resulted in her being accidentally stood on when the person moved.  We made the mistake of teaching her to meow a request for attention and now we struggle to shut her up at times. It is like she is initiating a conversation with us, she requests attention and then when you say her name she meows her response.  Well that is until hubby subdues all thought and noise with a rough but truly desired rub down.

Chicken – The grumpy shade


If I had a favourite it would be Chicken.  She is just so loving and quirky.  Her usual facial expression is grumpy and she expresses herself with growls more than meowing.  She gained her name by growling while she chewed some chicken hubby had given her on her first day here.  She has the nick name ‘Pudgy Wudgy’ because she is just getting so plump (5 kilos and climbing).  She has a cute habit of laying on her side with her head stuck in the food bowl.  If the food bowls are empty she is often found on her side. appearing to be near death (even if she just ate!! and was the reason the bowls were empty!!). She has to eat from every food bowl in the house, somehow she thinks that the food will be different in one of them – it never is.

Chicken likes to sleep with me.  However, ‘with me’ is more like on top of me and she growls if I dare to move.  She likes being under the blankets till it gets too hot and then she likes being next to be on the pillow.  Chicken’s most endearing charm is that when B1 and B2 arrived she adopted them and she made sure they got food,even when it meant she didn’t (which was very, very unexpected considering her love of food).  She is just a bundle of soft fur, that prefers a growl to a purr.

B1 – The lonely shade


B1 and his sister B2 were found abandoned in a box outside the pet shop.  The name was hubby’s idea since they were only meant to be temporary and yep it references Banana’s in Pajamas. They were so small, barely a handful with the two of them.  B1 has white paws and is very dependent on his sister for everything. He sleeps better when she is with him. He is insanely determined to obtain a pouch of cat food every chance he can get.  At night when I walk past the room that I feed him the pouch in he begins meowing and running circles.  If I step into the room he will grab my leg as if to stop me leaving or to pull me to the food.  He is a thoughtful kitten, his facial expressions can let me know how he is feeling, if he is about to get into trouble or is awaiting being caught after the trouble.

B1 gets lost a lot.  His reaction is to start crying and keep at it until B2 or one of us finds him.  He is not fond of being carried but he likes following along and checking out what everyone is doing.  We really only meant to keep B1 and B2 until we found them a home, we got them both ‘fixed’ to help with our desire to home them together.  This is mainly because B1 would be heart broken without B2, she basically runs his world and hes okay with that.

B2 – The smart shade 


B2 is one of the smartest cats we have ever had.  She taught herself how to use the cat door, probably to thwart me since I just spent ages closing every window in the house she might escape out of.  She then taught B1 to use the cat door, something we were having no success with.  When she relaxes she just flops and she loves being stroked while relaxing. She is very flexible and often contorts herself in shapes that seem unable to be achieved by a normal cat with bones.

Teko – The interloping shade                 


Teko is an eight year old, female cat that came to us two years ago. She was our friend’s cat and it was just the two of them for the eight years of her life. He decided to study in Germany and had no one that wanted to take an adult cat and at very short notice. Despite the fact that we already had four cats we took her in (B1 and B2 came after Teko but she is supposed to be temporary, hence the interloper).  I am very attached to her, despite her antisocial or maybe just anti – me attitude and feel bad that she has been thrust into this home after her previous situation.

Teko is barely at our home, she comes in for food and will scream all the way up the drive way and into the house to let us know that she has arrived for her meal. This behavior is contrary to what her owner told us.  He stated she was a quiet, stay at home cat.  Initially, Teko would only eat freshly placed cat food but she has since learnt that if there is any food in the bowls its a minor miracle and to eat when she can. When her owner comes on Skype to talk, Teko will move out of camera range but she does remain to listen to his voice. Apparently she holds a major grudge and has not yet forgiven him.

Teko really does encompass the concept of a shade with her way of being with us is to silently slither into a room and then sit until noticed. Then she leaves. She always sits just out of visual range so it is a turn of the head that spots her and gives me a jolt. She can often look very condemning of my attempts to cuddle her, unless she is in the mood, where upon she will sit upon my lap or legs but heaven help me if I notice and attempt any form of touch or communication.

My cats are very important to my life and sanity.  I enjoy them as a group and their individual quirks.  When I was a child I always dreamed of a house full of cats, for awhile there I thought I got confused and it was a house full of rats but now its right.  I will be blogging about each of these and I have millions of photos to accompany the words.  They really are great company and provide a lot of the light and love within my life.

I did have some trouble with deciding how this page should look but like the final layout.  I would love readers to comment with the names and some information about their beloved pets.  It doesn’t have to be cats,  I love all animals and am often more comfortable with them rather than with people.  I also share my home with a rat called Jaws (interesting story there too that I will eventually share) and two turtles called Tankidy and Kshinta, whose names are drawn from friends that I played World of Warcraft with and who I will also blog about at some stage.

Comments on how I could make this more interesting for readers about cats would be great too – I wasn’t sure how to focus it or change my writing from how I would write about any topic.  Happy reading.

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  1. Hi back and thanks for the compliment. I only just found this comment in a place I have never been and may never return again – so glad I found it!!!


  2. I was thinking about this exercise and I am not sure I have a dream reader. It is more that I want or need to write and its a real privilege if someone chooses to read it.

    I do want to improve how I focus when I am writing since I can waffle and I think picturing the specific reader might help me retain a focus within each blog. It can become one of many tools I can employ to improve my writing.


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