Our Unexpected Pre-Baby Baby

So I have been a bit quiet on the blog lately but it has been for good reason. An unexpected pre-baby baby of the feline variety. Meet Velcro…

It all happened a few weeks ago when my husband and I were coming home from dinner and innocently stopped off to get some petrol. There were a huddle of teenagers standing out the front and one of them approached us and just said ‘Do you want a kitten?’. Pardon? She held out her hands to reveal the tiniest cat I have ever seen in my life. The kids had been out walking and heard a small squeaking coming from the bushes and there she was… all by herself. The girls said their mum wouldn’t let them have her and they didn’t know what else to do. Luckily my husband – who has one of the biggest hearts in the world – already had a look of love in his eyes. He had also shared a few bottles of wine with our friends which surely helped. Either way, we took her home.

To give some idea of her size…

Thinking about it rationally we knew this wasn’t the best time to adopt a cat. I am 8 months pregnant which means we are cutting costs as it is, my husband gets allergies and cats and babies are not the best mix (toxoplasmosis, the whole lying on warm face thing) not to mention I have a Pug with only one working eye! I dread the thought of a playful swipe catching little Pugman’s good blinker. But sometimes you just have to go with what is in your heart. The dogs are very excited by the new addition too – Pugman is quite obsessed with and cuddles her constantly whereas my other canine brute (Allen) is very much her plaything. And very proud of the fact.

“Can we keep her?”

We took her to the vet the next day where they told us she was no more than 2 weeks, which is insanely young to be away from ones mother. We got some proper cat milk (Cows milk is an absolute no no for kittens!!!) and took her home to bottle feed this precious 200 gram being. She could hardly muster more than a few steps without stumbling which sadly leads to the deduction that she was dumped. I went back to the roundabout the next day to look for other kittens or perhaps a mother but to no avail. It breaks my heart to think that someone would just abandon something so defenseless.

Her first night home… safe at last.

So I just wanted to share this little story for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is amazing how much kindness you can see when you are looking for it. From the group of teenagers who stopped to look after her to the vet that didn’t charge us because she wanted to repay our good deed. I am sometimes guilty of getting caught thinking the worst of people but there really are some big hearts out there. Secondly, it got me thinking of all the gorgeous animals out there that are in shelters. These shelters are mostly at capacity which means that some have to resort to euthanasia and others have to turn drop-offs away who are then met an uncertain fate.  For some, like my little pudding, that may be the side of the road but for others it can be much worse. If you know that there is some extra (permanent) room and love in your home for an animal companion – even if it is a tiny gap like ours was – then please check out some of the shelters in your area. Why do we still have pet shops when there are so many beautiful ‘unwanted’ souls already in the world.

In Perth alone we have these fantastic organisations;

If you aren’t looking for a pet but still want to help, they are always open to donations and/or volunteers!

And last but not least I wanted to share some photos of her with you. Because I am a proud mum and that’s what we do.

Love is.

Bottle-feeding the little muffin!

Milk-drunk.

A whole little life in my hands.

Quite the lady. Now pushing 600 grams.

Her savage alter-ego!

Peek-a-boo with Allen

My gorgeous big-hearted husband.

High Five for kitty!

Truly believing she was sneaking up on me.

Eco Resolutions

Resolution: A firm decision to do or not to do something.

Why not take a stand and make your firm decisions in favour of our planet this year? In Australia, the 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998 and each decade since the 1940’s has been warmer than the last. Those are pretty scary statistics which I think we all need to take heed of. So here are some suggestions if you are looking to green up your resolutions.

Save water

“Thirsty World” – A photo-essay by Brent Stirton

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on the planet yet we are often completely carefree with our water usage. I often think of what a bizarre comparison it is when I drive past Aussie kids playing in sprinklers when there are kids in Africa that literally have to walk kilometres to get a bucket of water to live off. Especially when you realise that it is so, so, SO simple to save a couple of litres every day. I wrote a blog post that lists lots of simple ways that you can save water. Challenge yourself and see how many things on this list you can adopt.

Did you know… Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh and only 0.3% is available to humans.

Choose social activities that are eco-friendly

There is such beauty in the simple things in life. My husband and I the other day just went into Fremantle and lay down on the grass and looked up through the trees. It was so relaxing and lovely that we have decided we will be doing it a lot more often. Give it a go! Here are some suggestions of low impact activities that do you some good as well.

  • Instead of a restaurant meal… Go for a bike ride and finish it at a coffee shop (make sure they are Fair Trade conscious though!)
  • Instead of going clothes shopping… Make a map of the op-shops in the area and go exploring there instead. (you’ll save money and not look like everyone else)
  • Instead of playing Wii or Kinect or any other computer game… Play a boardgame. Beware – Trivial Pursuit can get aggressive. In our household anyway.
  • Instead of lying on the couch watching movies all day… Volunteer! Go walk dogs at the local shelter or be a companion for an elderly person. There are plenty of opportunities out there and you feel a hell of a lot better than you would have sitting on your bum all day.
  • Instead of ordering a cheap book online… go to a second hand bookshop or charity store and find a pre-loved beauty to bury yourself in. Appreciate what is the magnificence of a truly old book. I found a beauty the other day – see below!

My fave vintage find ever! A worn and pre-loved Dr Seuss ‘Yertle the Turtle’ book (which also happens to be one of my faves)

Reduce your household energy use

My husband and I have been graphing our power bills for a few months now and we challenge ourselves to reduce our energy consumption month on month. It has really worked for us and we have reduced our energy costs significantly. Amazing what a bit of competition can do? Here are some simple ways you can cut energy costs this year.

  • Close blinds and curtains during the day to prevent your house heating up
  • Try cold showers in summer! It can be really invigorating and cold water is better for both your skin and your hair.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water. It cleans just as well and saves 80% of the energy used in hot washes. (Exceptions for bedsheets or reusable nappies for health reasons)
  • Use the shortest washing cycle possible
  • Abolish your clothes dryer during summer!
  • Microwaves and gas burners use less than a quarter of the energy as an electric stove and half of a conventional oven
  • Use low watt lamps where possible. It often creates a far nicer atmosphere and uses a lot less power
  • Turn your fridge off when you go on holiday
  • Turn off all appliances at the plug!
  • Never leave lights on that don’t need to be on.

Did you know… Australia has the highest emissions per person in the industrialised world, 35% more than the US?

Green up your diet

His name is Winston

The great thing about this one is that it generally goes hand-in-hand with another very common resolution – Be Healthy. Eating organically, cutting meat and dairy from your diet, cooking whole foods; these are all small steps that we can all take towards a healthier body and a healthier planet. If you want to see how you can reduce your carbon footprint just by altering what you eat then see my comprehensive list here.

“When you go to the grocery store, you find that the cheapest calories are the ones that are going to make you the fattest – the added sugars and fats in processed foods”

Michael Pollan

Let your voice be heard

At the Walk Against Warming Protest with the Save Our Marine Life Crew

If you are passionate about something then let it show. There are social groups, organisations and companies all around the place crying out for volunteers. Volunteers can be involved in organising functions or fund-raisers, tend to animals, be part of the protest, rattle a tin for a day, man a stall or even just to write a letter to their local government. These places are great for meeting like-minded people, talking about new ideas or discovering new opportunities. Here are some ideas if you want to give it a go;

Ban completely useless crap from your life!

Plastic water bottles, plastic bags, paper towels – these are all completely useless products that you use one time and then throw away. Rid them from your life! There are so many funky reusable options that are around. Get yourself a reusable shopping bag, buy an insulated bottle to keep your water cool, get a microfibre cloth. Look at anything that you throw out and ask yourself if there were any alternatives that you could have used that won’t end up in landfill.

Here are a two of my favourite reusable shopping bags.

The FEED Bag ($70), By Lauren Bush

The brain behind this is Lauren Bush (pictured) who is also – surprisingly – the niece of former president George. She took inspiration from her travels as UN ambassador on the World Food Program. She is now CEO of FEED which has spawned an iconic range of reusable shopping bags made of burlap and organic cotton. Each bag purchased provides school meals for one child for one whole year.

(L) The converted clutch (R) The full bag with it’s designer, Lauren Bush

Buy it here.

The Big Fair Bag ($8.95), by Oxfam Shop

As soon as I saw these bags in Oxfam I loved them. They are eye-catching, fun and – best of all – Fair Trade. They come in four colours and are made by the Federation of Tibetan Cooperations in India (FTCI).

The FTCI provides an income for producers (Indian and Tibetan) and also supports the refugee community in India. The biggest part of profit is used through the Tibetan government in Exile for education and health with some of the profitsalso going towards better working conditions.

I love ’em!

Fun, Functional and Fair

Buy it here

Did you know?… In March 2002 Ireland introduced a tax on plastic bags. Each plastic bag handed out costs the consumer an extra 15 cents. Since the tax scheme began it is estimated that plastic bags available at stores have been decreased by 90%.