FurCats – A Shop. For Cats. Day 27

From Kitten To Cat

Hoorah!  FurCats is a month old! It’s been a different kind of fun and a different kind of busy.  From Kitten, to (kinda) Cat.

SuperDude (aka Tian, with Mum CC and sisters): From Kitten…

A friend of mine has just got two kittens; Buffy and Spike. I obviously spent my day off, indulging on (more) kitten-joy and paid them a visit. She asked how the shop was going and I told her it was great.  I couldn’t help mentioning the fact that occasionally it’s quiet and I’m not always busy (like today – I haven’t been busy at all), but that wasn’t a bad thing, as I was happy and enjoying myself.

And then that got me thinking.  Was I under-selling my joy about the shop?  Was it a difference that I’d fully accepted? Was I at peace with the new life I’d created? Was I, in fact, happy or was I just trying to be?  I had, at least, willed this to happen.

It’s strange.  I’ve always been a bit rubbish at accepting my own joy – but FurCats is something that I am genuinely proud of.  I look around and think – yep, this is what I have done – I have made this happen; in my head first, then on paper (my initial hand drawn ‘drafts’ of a logo are ‘totes hilaire’ together with the plan of the shop floor – equally so.  I might share at some point).  But, sitting in the shop that was, this time last year, a mere thought, is quite exciting as a concept on its own. In general, the process of a thought; abstract, hypothetical, that then becomes tangible and concrete, is a powerful one.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to watch a play that my sister’s friend, Alex Keelan, had written (The Loves of Others, at 53Two, Manchester).  It was brilliant (I cried, obviously).  And it struck me that the process of her getting her play on stage; a thought, ideas on paper, draft after draft, negotiating premises, actors, dress rehearsals, tears, tantrums etc. etc. – and me getting my shop; a thought, ideas on paper, learning process, negotiating premises, sellers, searching for products, doing up the shop, tears, tantrums, etc. etc. – was more-or-less the same.  Thoughts are so powerful – once we allow ourselves to (properly) think (and explore and live) we can pretty much be (whatever we want).

I remember reading a factoid about the boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson, at the school I taught at.  It was on the inside door to the Admin corridor, which was strictly for staff only (we had toilets there and the previous Head’s office was there too).  Robinson had dreamt he’d killed his opponent, Jimmy Doyle, the night before a match.  So he refused to fight him, but convinced by a Catholic priest that his fears were unfounded – he was persuaded to go ahead with the fight.  Doyle died from his injuries the following day.  His thoughts happened. Thinking makes it so.  Breathe enough life into them; indulge them enough; and they become real.  They grow.

…To Cat

I guess, we sometimes accept less than what we want.  And other times, we struggle to accept what we wanted; thinking perhaps, that we’re undeserving. But, I’m going to let my thoughts guide this and see where it takes me.  Wednesday tomorrow.  It’s going to be a good day…


FurCats – A Shop. For Cats Day 22


The Power of the Rain

It’s a Wednesday.  It’s wet.  We’re in Manchester – so it all makes sense really.  Rain is very powerful – I haven’t always acknowledged its superiority.  As a teacher, there was often a spate of fire alarms going off – inevitably accompanied by the rain.  The rain would ensue screeching girls – and boys – petrified of the after-effects of getting ‘a bit wet.’  Horrified, that the rain would unleash frizz-galore-4-eva and a miserable dampness that would only dry out once out of the sodden clothes, at home; it bought a whole new wave of terror to our kids.  And kids behaved differently when it had been raining (throw a bit of wind into the equation (and a full moon, God, please not a full moon) and you’re in for a teaching-treat of shouting/ talking to yourself, for the rest of the day)! Some might say Zombie days.

Well, the rain has a similar effect on most grown-ups.  However, rather than facing the rain; being forced out of the classroom, because teacher-said-so, they can choose.  And most choose to stay indoors – because they can!  Just like our cats.  So, that clearly has an impact on the little shops where I am, like I am.

As Manchester slowly casts off the damp, sodden clothes, aided by a reluctant sun, life is breathed back into this strip of shops and eateries in Chorlton.  It gets busier and feels happier – not just because I feel happier, but because the sun begins to peep into people’s conversations; perks them up a bit and their general energy feels more positive.


Unshakable Sunflowers


Days are unpredictable, in terms of busyness. According to other shops – it’s just so.  No reason, just so. Rain or shine, term time or not, weekend or not…  So far, in my less-than-a-month-experience, there doesn’t seem to be a set pattern. Regardless, the shopkeepers are as unshakable as the sunflowers – we’ll stay stood up and wait for the rain to pass.

But what is certain, is that rain follows sun, which encourages those with an aversion to rain, to venture out and about and explore again.  (Until it falls again. Inevitably).

FurCats – A Shop. For Cats. Day 16

A Whole New World

It’s a Wednesday. My third Wednesday, running a cat shop.  So far, the feelings seem to be the same; panic because the shop isn’t inundated with people the minute I open.  And then relief, when someone comes in and my instinct is to indulge/ suffocate them with my enthusiasm!

Running a little shop, in Chorlton is great. Genuinely. It’s a fab location and I’m surrounded by things that I’m proud of selling.  But the truth is, it isn’t mental-busy all the time.  And that, unfortunately, is enough to send me into a bit of a frenzy.  Sometimes.

I know nothing about running a shop – but figure it’s a bit like learning to drive; you learn properly once you’re actually, actually driving. On your own. And, although it’s a little bit terrifying, you have no choice, but to pick it up.  Quickly; it becomes a matter of life and death… So, you know, there isn’t much choice – and I’m definitely learning – all the time.  Whether it’s not measuring something (and then unwittingly ordering the teeny-tiniest plant pots – In. The. World) or being overly enthusiastic with an item, (because I love it completely, but nobody else seems that enamoured with it)! Or, just setting up and learning spreadsheet formulas.  I am picking things up – quickly and despite inevitable errors, on the whole, it’s good fun!

I never really thought about it, when I was living my ‘other’ life, as a teacher.  I’d go into small boutiques and not really consider how business might have been that day.  I never took much notice if it was quiet, or if they were reading or straightening things up on shelves (I do a lot of that in my shop); it was always a bit of a blur really – until now.  Now I actually see shop owners; we keep ourselves busy, in order to not think too much about the decision we’ve made to start/ run a business. (‘Is this the worst decision I’ve ever made? Oh my God, what have I done?!’ to ‘It’ll be absolutely fine – it always has been…  There’s always a lull this time of year…’ etc. etc).

But this is very different to the panic/ stress that I’m accustomed to.  There aren’t deadlines, as such, other than the ones I place on myself.  There aren’t those difficult conversations that need to be had (with you, or you need to have with other people), there isn’t the relentless marking; an everlasting gobstopper popped in the mouth each evening, and there aren’t the same feelings when I get up. (But there isn’t that busyness either; that constant conversation, on a loop, the banter, the laughter and frustration you have in a classroom). But oh, let’s cover that another day.

As the day wears on, people arrive a bit like buses – no one for ages and then a few, all at the same time. It’s no Aldi or Tesco – so it’s never going to be crazy-busy like that, but that’s how we roll in the small business world -I think (well, that’s what I’m rolling anyway). A bit of an unsteady start, before the rush commences; and then I’m manic busy – and feeling pretty euphoric!

Pre-FurCats – A Shop. For Cats.

Tian’s Tail

FurMum, Me and My Sisters

Flicking through some old pics of when I could fit into the palm of your hand, seems like a life that happened to someone else.

I had a tough start back then. My FurMum was a stray who wandered into a Garage, 9 weeks pregnant with me and my two sisters. Jo and Matt, the owners (thank you) took FurMum in – but then she disappeared again to have us. Matt went out, determined to find us in the deep dark woods, armed with a torch and oodles of blankets and treats. We were rescued and brought back to the Garage. FurMum – or CC (CompanyCat) as she was then named – stayed there and lived out her final days as Queen-of-the-Garage. This was until CarMonster took her away – and now she’s Queen-of-another.  Up there somewhere, on the other side of the rainbow. My HuMum tells me she fell in love with me. Instantly. She tells me that’s my special power – I can make people fall in love with me and helps make them feel all warm and colourful inside. There are lots of other cats where I am – and I hate to break it to her – but I think that’s a special power that all cats possess – not just me!

HuMum tells me I arrived at a very important time, when lots of things were coloured in different shades of blue. Apparently, I added colour to things and gave things a bit more of a sparkle; a bit more of a shine. I know that to be something all us cats are good at. So, when people come to visit me (sometimes they even come to visit my HuMum) – they too take a little bit of colour and shine away with them. I’m assuming that cats everywhere are doing the same 🙂 and our HuMums and HuDads are desperately wanting us to continue colouring things in for them and making things look brighter. And, as a kind of ‘thank you’ I get lots of food that’s really good for me as well as fabulous things to play with. It’s a win-win situ! Here’s the deal…

I know our HuMums and HuDads want us to eat well and play lots so that we continue to turn everything we touch, to colour. Apparently not all cat food is good for us – and we need to be very careful about what we put into our bodies (what with us being so important an’ all)!

Let them stroke us occasionally, perhaps lie on their chest for a bit, brush past them every once in a while and stare at them. A lot. This is ‘love’ apparently and its easy-peasy! Instant gratification, in the form of snack treats – as well as pretty much anything else we might want!

Our love, apparently, is the gift that just keeps on giving…