Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Café Cosy: the New Hot Night Spot

The food and water available for the outside cats seems to be finding favour with them. A neighbour of mine, who is retired, tells me that the bowls are visited by at least three cats that she has seen, usually in the very early morning.

One of the cats is orange; one evening by opening the patio door to recharge the water-bowl, I accidentally chased away a largish orange fellow who had a white-tipped tail. He evidently was not scared permanently away. There is also a black and white long-haired cat. And my neighbour has seen an all-black cat at the bowls, too. Assuming this is one of the pair of black cats I have seen, that would make four who visit the bowls for refreshments. The two black ones I have witnessed eating simultaneously from the bowl, which I am told suggests that they are family, or at least a bonded pair; I tend to think of them as mother and daughter, though I have no reason to suppose this.

I was gratified to learn of these visits. It means that cats have found the food and water and are habitually partaking of them. They may have homes, but I suspect that some at least are community cats, shy of people, and with no regular source of sustenance. I am glad to be able to provide them with some. I am still investigating the possibility of a shelter, though I am not sure the landlords would approve.

In the meantime, as I have no new photographs of my elusive diners, who come to eat in nocturnal darkness, here is a picture of Josie, resting on the Tackle Fish, her tail slowly rising and falling contentedly. (She is not regaining her lost poundage, by the way; she just spreads out a bit when flat on the floor…)

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Christmas Tree Puzzle

I have a bit of a problem with regard to my Christmas tree. I don’t have a place for it.

One of the disadvantages of the cosy apartment is that it is one room too small. I would like one more room, principally to put the books for which I don’t have space elsewhere. This is a small complaint, and is not the first I would address if I had the power to perfect my life. It does mean, however, that what space I have is filled. And I don’t have anywhere to put my Christmas tree.

Last year, it was in the near outside corner of the sitting room, at the far end of the couch. I moved a circular end-table and had a spot for the tree. A month later, Parker arrived. My foster-cat spends time in the library whenever I am absent from the apartment or asleep. His litter-box, a small but serviceable vessel, fits very nicely into a corner, a corner which had been filled with an armchair. I moved that armchair to the near outside corner of the sitting room, where the Christmas tree went last year. I think you may be seeing the problem by now.

With Parker’s arrival, I cannot move the chair back into the library. Even if I had space for it, which I do not, with the orange-boy’s litter-box there, both he and Cammie, and sometimes Renn, use the armchair - at different times, of course - that is now in the sitting room’s corner. All my corners are occupied, and I have nowhere to move the occupants, even temporarily.

I may end up putting the tree not in a corner, which is both traditional and practical, but simply in front of a bookcase. That will prove a hindrance to both man and cat, but it will only be for a while. It will, though, make the tree more prominent, and more of a target for curiosity, especially from Parker, who has yet to see a Yuletide at the cosy apartment.

But, we will figure something out. The stockings will be hung, the music played, and the gratitude at having a home, with five cats safe and warm, will be felt. While a tree would be nice, we’ll remember the point of Christmas, and the point of the tree in the first place.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Tucker's New Numbers: the Diet Aspect

Several readers of this blog have commented about Tucker’s diet. Roberta and Kari mentioned Purina DM food, which is probably what the Trout Towne Tabbies were thinking about. I actually have that brand of food for Parker, my diabetic foster-cat, and Tucker likes it, too. But each cat presents me with a problem in regard to its serving.

I am trying to reduce the cats’ weight, and while Tucker does not like soft-food as much as hard, Parker does, and this gives me an opportunity to diminish his poundage by feeding him just low-carbohydrate soft-food, which of course entails the elimination of the Purina DM kernels from his diet. Tucker, on the other hand, would not eat enough soft-food to keep him going (I don’t really want to starve him to make him lose weight), so feeding him the Purina hard-food would not pose a dilemma - for him, I would not need to consider weaning him off the hard stuff. But, unlike Parker, who is kept alone in the library while I am absent - he is still having a few issues with the other beasts - Tucker is among the other cats all the time. This means that I cannot isolate his food for him. And the others do like the taste of the Purina DM. Josie finds favour with it and, being the dominant diner in the household, would consume most of what I leave available.

The challenges of a multi-cat home are great in number, as many cat-fanciers know first-hand. Even if I had enough rooms to keep them all separate while I was absent, I wouldn’t do it, as feline interaction is, I think, both beneficial and, to varying degrees, enjoyable for a cat. So I will continue to work on a practicable plan. In the meantime, I will try to ensure that neither of the diabetes boys suffer unduly because of their condition. I learn more about it all the time, and hope one day - probably immediately before my demise - to have the answers.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Change of Numbers

I am raising the dosage of insulin that Tucker receives each day. While, in strict terms, this is a bad thing, it is something that I and his doctor favour doing, and don’t see it as a retrograde motion. It has been quite a while now since the roly poly one’s dosage was reduced to two units twice a day. This was done not because his diabetic condition had improved, but to stabilise it.

During ‘curves’ - blood-tests to determine the effect the insulin he was given had on his diabetes - it was noticed that Tucker’s ‘numbers’ were inconsistent. So I suggested to his veterinary that I drop Tucker’s dosage, not dangerously, but to a ‘lowest common denominator’, if you will, in the hopes that it would diminish the inconstancy. Rather to my surprise, it has.

But two units twice a day is really too low an amount for him. He is faring adequately, but his water-consumption is more than it should be, and I can tell that, though his rear end is strong enough to enable him to jump where he wants to, he is a little reluctant to land when he leaps from a chair to the floor. My sausage of a cat is therefore going to receive three units of insulin twice a day (twelve hours apart, as usual). This will commence on the weekend, when I will be home to view the possibility of adverse effects.

Three units is not a high amount, though of course the goal is to eliminate the insulin all together. But, having stabilised his numbers, albeit at a higher amount than he should have, the next step will be to reduce them. Watching the other signs, such as water-intake and urination, will also be necessary.

Tucker is doing well, all things considered. He is still my purring boy, and hopefully, this new situation will give him more to purr about.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

They Arrived Uninvited

Rossini wrote an opera entitled The Thieving Magpie, named after that bird’s kleptic propensities. I think the subject of the opera lives near me. Every couple of days, since I began leaving food out for the community cats, the food-bowl has been emptied. I thought that I had some very hungry animals in my neighbourhood. I do, but they aren’t mammals.

The solution is simple, of course. I will put the food-bowl out in the evening, when the magpies are sleeping off their reiving, and the cats are prowling. The only time I have seen cats actually eating the nutrition I’ve offered has been at night, so they know it’s there at that time. I will bring in the food each morning.

But I think I may scatter some kernels for the magpies, regardless. Though they are rather aggressive toward other birds, even driving them out of districts by eating their eggs, they do provide a bit of entertainment for my beasts, and I believe in paying performers for their work. But I won’t give them too much. They’ll just end up stealing what they want, anyway.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Harsh Punishment

During the weekend, I accidentally stepped on Parker’s tail. I am pretty good at avoiding such mishaps. I think I have done it only a couple of times in the last ten years. I recall putting my foot on Tungsten’s tail early in our acquaintance. It was in the dark and she shrieked. Needless to write, the effect on me was dynamic. She was, of course, more surprised and outraged than hurt.

Parker did not scream or cry. He stood up from where he was lying on the floor, trotted into the library and hid behind the bookcases. I’d not before heard of that reaction in a cat. It took me only a minute to coax the sturdy-boy out from his hiding spot, and he accepted my apology without hesitation. But I felt worse than if he had screamed in pain and indignity. Simply taking himself off to be alone was a harsh punishment for me.

But all is well, and we remain friends. He just asks that I watch my feet in the future. Stepping on tails twice in a decade is, I’m sure he believes, rather too much.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Guests for Dinner

They were actually a bit behind the time for dinner, so it’s more of a late supper for these two. They came to the food bowl about eight-thirty. I had left the outside light on for my cats, as they seemed to like viewing with some illumination. I usually do not leave the light on, and won’t often in the future. But it allowed me to see this pair.

I thought some owned cats may have been coming by during the day to sample the food I’ve left out, as all of what I offered yesterday had disappeared by the time I returned from work. But we have some community cats in the neighbourhood who don’t seem to have homes. I think these two may be included in that category. I have no proof, but they had a combination of confidence and caution that suggested ferals who know their way around the outdoors.

Are they siblings? Mother and daughter? They are either mostly black or dark grey. The slightly larger one ate first; in fact, the other didn’t eat at all, though I suspect they returned when they had less of an audience, or when the audience had less of a chance to see them. You can observe Tucker’s reflection in the glass of the window, though in fact he could not view them from where he was sitting on a cat-tree; the angle was wrong. Parker could, and was much interested in the intruder-cats, but I explained to him that they were not intruders. They were our guests.