You can teach an old cat new tricks…


Julia's cat PoppyPoppy is my cat and I thought I would tell you a little tale (or should that be tail) about her as she approaches her eighteenth birthday next month, which makes her almost ninety in equivalent human years!

She has always been a fairly slim cat even though she rarely goes outside so she doesn't get a huge amount of exercise, apart from racing up and down the stairs. I always take her to the vet for an annual check-up and he was concerned on our visit in March because she had lost weight and was under 3 kilogrammes, the lightest she has ever been. He decided to run some tests to check for signs of illness, but also suggested giving her an additional meal in the middle of the day to try and help her gain a little weight.

Julia's cat Poppy relaxingInitially Poppy was surprised to be summoned for 'lunch' but after just a couple of days she started to appear at lunchtime and ask for food, it's amazing how quickly they learn something new even at her ripe old age.

She can be quite choosy with her food so she doesn't always finish everything in her bowl but the extra meal certainly seems to have done the trick as four weeks later she tipped the scales at 3.05 kilos … still quite light, but moving in the right direction.

We have always thought of Poppy as quite a well-behaved cat, unlike her naughty little 'sister' Daisy, who you may have read about in my book. Daisy was motivated by food and had quite a few tricks to enable her to steal food, sneaking into the kitchen unnoticed and even learning how to push down on the door handle to let herself in.

So imagine our surprise when we went into the kitchen the other day to find Poppy on the work surface! I blame my daughter's cat, Oskar, for leading Poppy astray. We didn't know whether to be cross with her or congratulate her for being able to jump that high at her age!

Talking of animals, earlier in the week Jackie Kabler tweeted a really funny link to a YouTube clip of a dog trying to persuade a statue of a man on a bench to throw a stick for him. I was in hysterics – the dog was so persistent. I thought you might like to have a look so I've popped it just below…


I hope you are enjoying Get Gorgeous on QVC today – it's all day tomorrow as well with the focus on fashion, jewellery and beauty, and everything on air is on 2 Easy Pay. I'm with Lenny from Nina Leonard at 5pm then I have a new footwear range at 6pm, Peter Kaiser. I say new, more correctly I should say new to us as the brand has been around for 175 years – even older than Poppy!

Thanks to those of you who have very kindly sponsored my daughter Sophie in her Tough Mudder challenge and if you still want to, here's the link again:

I did say I was going to tell you more about my One Hundred Lengths of the Pool sponsored swim this week but we are just finalising the location so it will have to be next week. What I can say is that it will be on July 7th and if any of you would like to come, or take part, let me know on here and I will be able to give you more details. I deliberately haven't mentioned football but for those of you who know who I support you'll know I am a very happy bunny.

Much love, Julia xx


  1. Jan May 18, 2013 at 9:09 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Love love love reading your blog every week, particularly like the pictures you posted this week of Poppy – she is gorgeous – beautiful fur for someone of 90!!.
    Kind regards

  2. Joanna Downey May 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, Poppy is GORGEOUS and has very impressive whiskers. We had a lovely cat called Sooze who often came home with food including a large steak that was stil hot and a cream doughnut, I can still see her negotiating the cat flap with it between her teeth. I love animals, we’ve always had cats and black and whites are my favourites. However, we’re now down to one – a 15 year old called Bertie who is an absolute delight. He is dual heritage of British Blue Longhair from his mum, a house cat, and moggy from the local bit of rough she met up with on the one occasion when she went on an adventure. Bertie appears to relish being an only one after always having to compete with other cats, some of them were quite horrid to him and I can only think that they were jealous of his good looks and nice character..! I loved the YouTube clip and I hope the people with him did throw the stick when they had finished laughing. Things like that are great to watch when feeling a tad flat; our younger daughter had an awful time when she started her first teaching job and it was a regular part of her evening to watch “Ethan tearing paper” to give herself a much needed laugh. Loving the GG event, don’t think the bank balance is… You’re looking wonderful at present so hope that you’re feeling that way too. Love from Jo

  3. Joy padley May 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    We had a ginger & white cat called Monty who was such a character. He had his own plate when we sat down to eat. He would sit by one of us patiently and wait for his little plate to be filled usually with some chicken. Once he had had his ‘lunch’ he disappeared. He was very good as he never climbed on the table even though he was very inquisitive!
    Well the special one will soon be back and I for one cannot wait. Special in talent and looks can’t be beaten. Good luck for Palace hope to see you joining us next season.
    Just to let you know I have reviewed your book on Goodreads. This website is great for reviewing what you have read by serious readers. Debbie F and Julie Cohen also review what they have read. Anything to promote the writer is good by me. It is amazing that when you start yourself how you look at things in a different perspective and also want to help other writers.
    Prologue for my first story done, well received by class teacher and the other writers who are experts compared to me so onwards and upwards from now on.
    Please let us know about your swim, as I would like to sponsor you. And what a great date it’s my parents 62nd wedding anniversary.
    Well off to have a look at more easy pays, bought my fave Gatineau yesterday the tan accelerator love it.
    Love Joy xx (sounds like a tv programme lol)

  4. Rosemary Thompson May 19, 2013 at 6:09 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    After my prediction being badly off track for the football looks like I need to get a new crystal ball and Brighton are heading for a new manager!!!. Nothing changes. I watched the match as baby-sitting grandchildren and the best team did win. Good luck for the swim

  5. Jean Pugh May 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Love the photographs of Poppy, she is gorgeous. One of my cats as I mentioned before is black and white Guiness he is called, he has never grown to be a big cat, still looks like a large kitten. He was found to have a heart mumour when he was a kitten and the Vet said he would never grow to be a big cat because of this.
    Yes it is strange how animals sooon catch onto things and with regard to food times, they always seem to be spot on with the timing. I often wonder with my cats and dogs how they always seem to be on time everyday for food.
    I am glad Poppy is okay, it is a worry when they get older. Naughty Oskar teaching an old dog (as the phrase goes) new tricks. Must have been a surprise to see her on the worktop.
    I love the Y Tube clip of the Collie and the statue, I have a Border Collie and I know what it is like when they have a ball or something, they want you to continually throw it. I expect the dog in the clip was thinking ‘gosh your a miserable old so and so you cant even throw me my stick’.
    Glad your Football Team have done well.
    Take care.
    Love Jean X

  6. Joan May 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm -  Reply

    I’ve never done this before but I usually read your blog and have thought about commenting. You are a very faithful blogger and I do enjoy the blogs.
    Poppy looks wonderful and I would have loved to have seen her jumping up on your work top!
    With all best wishes. Take care.

  7. Yvie G May 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, love your cat, actually love all cats!! Very much a cat person, always have been. I have only one cat at the moment, Ben , a very large tom cat who dribbles …a lot!! We got him from the RSPCA with his little brother jasper in 1997. Unfortunately they both caught cat flu where they were housed and we did everything we could to save them, little jasper had to put to sleep, but ben was always a fighter, and survived, but he still has a cough from time to time, and we love him to bits!!!We did have a lovely cat a few years ago ( another rescue cat )called Lucie, he was a great character, but completely stupid!!He loved to climb, but the trouble was he couldn’t get down again. He went missing one day, so I called him and he answered me, he had climbed up my neighbours scaffolding, and was in thier bathroom, trouble was they were out.He was there all day!! luckily he did’nt leave any ‘ presents’ for them , but he did pee in thier bath!!!What a good boy!!lol , Love and Best Wishes Yvie X

  8. Alana May 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Glad to hear Poppy is doing well at such a good age. I have always loved cats and until recently have always had one. But sadly I had to put my beloved cat to sleep not long ago, he too was a good age of 13. I find cats are great company and have such interesting personalities.
    Just wanted to let you know that I finished reading your book the other week and found it throughly interesting!! Waiting for the next one!! I have also wrote a review, which hopefully will get published.
    Have a good week.

  9. Sally – Anne May 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia.
    Our cat Sophie is 19 this May! I saw your blog on inspirational quotes, my favourite is ” The human soul is a winged thing. Even in sleep it flies.” Keep well and happy.
    Sally x

  10. Lyla Scott May 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm -  Reply

    I just wanted to say that I have just received my Polio Fellowship magazine and see that you are now an ambassador and donating some profits from your book to the British Polio Fellowship. As a fellow polio survivor I wanted to say thank you for your support and helping to raise awareness of our ongoing problems.

  11. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jan
    So glad you enjoy reading my blog. I have been telling Poppy all week she is a blog star! She really is in great shape for her age
    Julia x

  12. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jo
    I have to agree that Poppy is gorgeous but then I guess I am biased! I think Poppy likes being the ‘only one’ too – Daisy used to terrorise her a bit. She says ‘miaow ‘ to Bertie.
    I hope the dog owners eventually threw a stick for the persistent dog on the YT clip – I think it earned it!
    I am feeling pretty good at the moment thanks, even better now that I have shaken off my cold!
    Glad you enjoyed the ‘Get Gorgeous’ event
    Julia x

  13. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi Joy
    I’m so pleased you took the plunge and started your writing course – sounds like you are getting on really well with it! Debbie’s book is available on Amazon from Friday I think. Thanks for doing a review on Goodread – I haven’t heard of it so will have to check it out!
    I finally organised the venue for the swimming gala and will write all about it on this week’s blog.
    Starting to get a little nervous for the Play-off Final on Monday …… picked up our tickets today and we are just to one side of the goal so watch out for us!
    I think a Mourinho return has been on the arms for a long time, just hope we will be playing you next season
    Julia x

  14. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 11:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Rosie
    That’s very gracious of you. I feel a bit sorry for Gus Poyet, I think he was genuinely disgusted by the stunt in the Palace dressing room. It’s a real shame that your former player, Glenn Murray, will miss the final …. I think he is out for 9 months!
    There’s always next season
    Julia x

  15. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 11:15 pm -  Reply

    Hello Jean
    Oskar is a bit naughty at jumping up but it’s not really his fault as the girls have an open plan kitchen/living room and they can’t watch him 24/7. Anyway he is simply too gorgeous to say mad at!
    It is a worry as Poppy gets older – I can’t bear the thought of the inevitability of losing her but I hope se as a few more years in her yet. I think black and white moggie’s seem to live to a ripe old age if my Dylan was anything to go by ….. how old is Guiness?
    I’m hoping my football team have one more really good game in them this season and that they will play it on Monday! Keep your fingers crossed
    Julia x

  16. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 11:18 pm -  Reply

    Hello Joan
    I’m so pleased you enjoy reading my blogs and thanks for making your first blog comment – I hope you will do it again soon.
    Poppy is a lovely cat but I hope she won’t be repeating that particular performance too often!
    Julia x

  17. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 11:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Yvie
    I think I get my love of cats from my mum …. my dad was more of a dog person so we had two wire fox terriers when I was growing up but after we children had left home my mum got her way and they got a beautiful long haired tabby called Midge. Then followed Suzy and Mum now has Tabby for company.
    I love their independence and I think they can be as loving as dogs if you treat them right. Mind you I love dogs too and when we are eventually settled we might consider getting a puppy.
    Loved your story about Lucie ….. good job it was only a wee!
    Julia x

  18. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alana
    I’m so sorry to hear you had to have your cat put to sleep – I know it is for the best if they are suffering but it doesn’t make it any easier does it. Will you consider having another one?
    I’m so pleased you enjoyed my book and thanks so much for writing a review. I would love to write another book but it is just finding the time!
    Hope you are well
    Julia x

  19. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Sally
    Happy 19th birthday to Sophie the cat …… what a good choice of name!!
    I like your quote too and I like to think that our souls survive our human form.
    Julia x

  20. Julia roberts May 22, 2013 at 11:44 pm -  Reply

    Hello Lyla
    It is my pleasure to be involved and I was honoured to be asked to be an ambassador for British Polio Fellowship. I owe them a great deal for the support they gave to my family when I was a very young child and in particular for teaching me to swim.
    I will be writing about the swimming gala I am organising with BPF and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research on this week’s blog ….. really looking forward to meeting some BPF members at the event and also James Crisp.
    I will support both charities in any way I can
    Julia x

  21. GINNY PAARZ May 23, 2013 at 11:41 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia! You know me and cats from all my days in WALES!! LUV seeing Poppy and hearing all about her!! We have a registered litter in our Beach Jungle that entertain us here on Barefoot Beach!! They are beautiful and of course our Goldens REALLY LUV them as they were use to our cats on the farm in Vermont! Wish there was a place for PICS on the blog as I have TONS of them on my IPHONE as well as FACEBOOK!!
    Hope you are doing well! Jeff is coming down the stretch with his treatment and we are going for his Pet Scan this AM to see how it all went for him. He is having way to many side effects and can not get about much! So we shall see how it goes today. This has been the week from well you know what!! Hope things smooth out as it has been a rough one!
    Glad Palace is doing well! At least it must be from reading your BLOG!! Summer is really here now hot and very BRIGHT!! The gulf is up to 83 and it is fun in the afternoon when the surf is UP!!! LUV to you as always, XXXX

  22. Rebecca June 17, 2013 at 10:59 am -  Reply

    I have two cats one called Alfie who is a stunning black and white fluffy cat. He has a white main and white paws. He gives a lot of hugs and is very intelligent. I have loved reading your blog as I totally love cats. Recently I watched the Horizon cat programme about how far cats actually go on their outings and even through other people’s cat flaps (how funny). My cat Alfie is a house dweller and loves home comforts and does his pretend hunting in the bedroom window which is his favourate perch.

  23. Rose Cummings July 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia I cannot get over the resemblance to you and Charlie Travis of big brother you both have similar striking looks and class . You should apply for Celeberity big brother you would be a defenite winner , as you are a wonderful person . Keep up the good work love from Rosexxx

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