Friday, March 24, 2017

A Return to the Round

Until some months ago, the cylinder-house cat-tree was Renn’s favourite spot in the apartments. He spent much of his time there, even preferring to eat his meals there, because some human didn’t insist that he get down and eat them on the floor like a civilised animal. Then, Cammie started snoozing in the cylinder-house. This was fine with Renn, as he took possession when it was vacant, which was most of the time. Then Cammie threw up in the cylinder.

After that, neither cat cared to use the cat-tree. For months, it was vacant. This week, however, Renn moved in once more. Why he decided to climb back in after all this time, I don’t know. Perhaps the smell of Cammie’s accidental discharge faded enough for olfactory comfort. But I am glad the cylinder-house is being occupied again. It needed a cat.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I Should Have Adopted a Giraffe

The sounds cats make are sometimes puzzling, sometimes amusing, sometimes startling. I may have mentioned Tucker’s weird, warbling noises; he puts me in mind of what the Disney character Goofy would have sounded like as a toddler. The roly poly often makes these noises in the evening, but rarely later in the night. When he does, the effect can be unusual.

The other night, I woke from a dream, still befuddled and not fully conscious, to hear what could very well have been a caricature of a human baby roaming the apartment, calling out.

“Helleurrr? Helleurrr? Helleurrr?”

Before I thought I had been cast as an expendable extra in an out-take of the film The Brood, I realised that it was merely Tucker, ambling about the residence, talking to himself in the dark. My interrupted sleep was afterward untroubled, but there are times I wonder that I get any sleep at all.

Just one more reason why I should have adopted a giraffe. They hum serenely at night, like a lullaby. That’d be nice.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Unsatisfactory Menu

Perhaps it is no surprise that Cammie has disdained all the varieties of food provided to her for the benefit of her kidneys, which are beginning to fail. The princess lives up to her nickname, and wants only what she wants - and not always even in that case. She will change her mind about what food she likes while she is eating it. She will be contentedly consuming a portion of Fancy Feast - because the Merrick offered her initially was refused - stop, sit up and not want another bite. Wise to her ways, I will then suggest the Merrick earlier condemned as inedible. That will then be eaten without hesitation.

My battle of wills with Cammie - doomed as my attempts to win it may be - is not over. There are other brands of kidney food that I have yet to try. These will be brought from the veterinary hospital soon. In the meantime, I am researching the methods I can work with my cat to increase her health.

Cammie is the worst of the beasts for medicating in even the most innocuous way. The slightest deviation from what she desires - at the moment - will be met with unbending resistance. I look at her with frustration and wonder why I ever adopted her. The reason is that no one else would have. That isn’t so much a reason as a warning. No, the real reason is that I wanted her to be a part of my home and family. I’d tell her that she could show her gratitude by eating well, but she’d probably respond that allowing me into her presence is gratitude enough.

That’s my princess.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The New Excitement!

Yesterday’s article about playing did not include news about the cats’ latest toy. Over the weekend, I bought a track-ball (or whatever brand name this particular version is called). I had one in the house before, but only the foster-cats played with it, so when one of them - I believe it was Kola - was adopted, it went with him.

But recently, seeing that the beasts often looked bored (they probably just want to be left alone to sleep), I thought I would introduce something that would bring hours of action-packed enjoyment. Instead, I bought a track-ball.

Many cats like the track-ball. Many spend a long time trying to catch that elusive sphere as it spins about the circular groove. Many cats love pushing the ball about as fast as it will go. Many cats don’t live with me.

This is not to write that the track-ball doesn’t get used. I may be in the washroom brushing my teeth, or sitting on the couch reading, and hear the ball make an orbit in its course. The ball moves leisurely, deliberately, as if it were on holiday, thinking of where to go, what destination is best value for its hard-earned vacation. My cats will lie beside the toy and gently prod the ball (which comes with a blinking light for greater fast-paced excitement). The ball may complete the circuit, or it may putter to a halt half-way around. It is all the same to the cats.

Yes, they play with it, in the same way a person may sit down, turn on the television set, flip through the channels hoping for something to pique their interest, then turn off the machine and go and eat a meal because there was nothing good on the one hundred and fifty eight channels now available.

The beasts will use the scratch pad in the centre, but normally simply lie on it; well, partially on it, and partially off. Cammie, like Tungsten before her, is small enough to crouch on the whole pad. Frankly, I think $19.99 is a bit steep for a circle of corrugated cardboard. But if that’s what it takes to give my pets another spot on which to sit and wait while I prepare their soft-food meals, I am happy to pay that kind of money. Really.

With a sigh, therefore, I will leave you with these pictures of two of my cats being thrilled by the slam-bang non-stop action of their latest diversion. I hope the blur of their speed doesn’t give you a headache.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Playing Kind

My cats are not the playing kind. They do play, but are not frequently enthusiastic about it. Parker attacks a fuzzy mouse and chases a ball more than all the perma-cats combined. But now and then, one of them gets in the mood.

Josie was exuberant for several days in a row recently. She wrestled with the tackle-fish initially, and then seemed to want the string-toy. Her idea of fighting the string-toy is to lie on the floor and to grab the toy as it swings past. My Chubs may actually think this is how life is in the wild; a cat lies down and attacks the various prey and predators that move next to her. Josie’s notion of life outside the apartment is limited.

But she will periodically slip into the nylon tunnel during play-time and then we can have real fun. Sometimes, the string-toy invades her space; sometimes, I do. As with Tucker, I will push at the fabric from the outside, and the cat inside will ferociously assault the resultant bulge with teeth and claws. It’s rather more dangerous than it sounds, depending on when I last cut their claws.

The action never lasts long. Josie tires of it and, as much as I try to interest her in some other toy or frolic, she decides that that is enough exercise for today. Perhaps it’s time for a snack, or a chin-rub. My cats are not the playing kind. But then, it may a little too undignified for cats of a certain age.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Dream of Friendship

This is how Parker sometimes lies on the sitting room couch. Renn likes lying there, too, but has learned that when Parker is loose, the new boy wants to lie beside him. So Renn has taken to lying on the armchair near by. Parker will rest on the couch, looking at Renn.

Parker is, very slowly, making the other beasts more comfortable with his presence. I try to encourage them to let the orange fellow near whenever possible, but I don’t force him on anyone. When there is proximity, I tell everybody involved how good they are for permitting the situation. It will be a long process, but we are patient in my household.

Until then, Parker will watch Renn, and dream of the day when they are friends.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Cosy Apartment Feline Sanitarium

Welcome to the Cosy Apartment Feline Sanitarium! I am John Bellen, the director, and I would like to thank you for wanting to learn about our facility.

We are located in the green and pleasant valley of the Imagination, just near the edge of a Claude Lorrain landscape, and specialise in the emotional and physical care of cats. Our clientele here at Cosy Apartment is small but select. Before I take you on the tour, allow me to present my assistant, Renfrew Foster. Renn, as we call him, is an orderly here, fit and healthy, as you can see.

Our current residents are varied in both background and health. Miss Josefina von Chubs, for instance, required some weight-loss. Now that she is diminishing in poundage, she has stayed on, having recently had a dental cleaning which has left her in a very good physical condition, for a lady-cat of that certain age.

Mr Tucker R Poly has had the most issues with which to deal, and I must say that he has maintained his purring nature throughout his ordeals. From urinary infections and blockages to gingivitis and now, diabetes, he has remained cheerful and young at heart.

Princess Camarouska Albigensia, who has permitted us to call her Cammie, often has nutritional challenges, and is currently a concern because of the onset of kidney failure. However, our dietician, in conjunction with our expert medical advisers, has designed a menu which should control the problem admirably - if Her Serene Highness will condescend to eat it.

Our latest client is a rather mysterious feline known only as Parker. He is here to be treated for his diabetes. He is responding positively to our plans. Due to his newness, he has a private room, though he enjoys mixing with the other residents. His weight is slowly being reduced and the dosage of insulin is also being adjusted, under the supervision of our doctors, of course. 

Here at Cosy Apartment Sanitarium, we try to accommodate the many needs of our clients, because good health isn’t just physical. Naturally, the latter aspect is always a concern, and for it, we have the exercise room, with climbing apparatus, nylon tunnel and toys, including Kick-a-roos, Tackle-fish and the ever popular fuzzy mice. Due to their complex nature, string-toys and laser-pointers are operated by staff only. We will be installing a track-ball course soon; it was used to a great extent by past clients, and we feel that it may be welcomed again.

After activity necessarily comes rest, for which we have numerous beds and chairs. A favoured feature is the heated bed, of which we have two, for the convenience of our residents.

We even present a weekly movie in the on-site cinema, a new feature shown every Saturday night, though this seems to be enjoyed more by the staff. This week’s film will be the 1953 thriller, Inferno, starring Robert Ryan.

Meals are provided, of course. Due to the ever-changing tastes of our residents, our menu is nearly exhaustive. We cater to specific needs and whims, and our clerk of the kitchen is noted for his contacts abroad, able to bring in the most obscure of ingredients for the delectation of the diners. (Please note that Mr Poly does not have a wooden leg; it’s just where he is standing.)

Yes, we try to provide for every need at Cosy Apartment Sanitarium. But we are not alone in our efforts to help cats. There are many thousands, even millions of similar sanitaria across the country, safeguarding the well-being of millions of cats. As well, canine, equine, lapine and even aviarian facilities abound. Some are small institutions, such as our own, catering to one or two, or a handful of cats; others are large, with a sizeable clientele. Many are under-funded; in many, the staff is over-worked. But each strives to give its best for the sake of its residents.

I hope you have enjoyed your tour of Cosy Apartment Feline Sanitarium, and I look forward to your future visits. And remember, as we like to think here, a Cosy cat is a happy cat.