Thursday, September 22, 2016

Toying With Sleep

I hadn’t noticed it before but, though all my cats - indeed, all cats - love their comfort, Josie seems to seek out that little extra. The Kick-a-roos aren’t used much for kicking anymore, though they are still wrestling partners and chew-toys for the beasts. Tucker also likes to lie behind one to try to seize a string-toy as it gets pulled by him. The Tackle-fish, sole (!) survivor of a school of three, serves similar purposes. But Josie has another use for them; perhaps an obvious one, but not one her roommates have discovered.

Now and then, I will find my Chubs using the toys as pillows. I don’t know if feline bodies are made for using a pillow, but Josie seems to find them comfortable even so. They apparently have a strong appeal when the possibility of lying in sunshine offers itself. Perhaps they impart that extra bit of heat to a fuzzy face.

I do like seeing the Great White taking her leisure. She doesn’t seem to sleep more now at thirteen years of age than she did at five, when I first adopted her. But when she sleeps, she is the picture of rest. Especially with a pillow tucked under that little head.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Diabolical Diabetical Debacle

Tucker’s improvement with regard to his diabetes suffered a set-back last week.

Due to his lower dosage of insulin, I had been testing him with individual readings twice a day. After happily low numbers, his reading one morning had increased to the neighbourhood of 17; this after 10 or 8 had become usual. What’s more, after an injection of two units, of insulin the number was still about 17 five hours later. It dropped to 15 by five o’clock that evening.

I was perplexed, to say the least. I thought the insulin in the pen I was currently using had gone bad. It was almost gone, so I theorised that the remainder was spoiled. I threw it out and started using a new pen.

In speaking with the veterinary, however, I was told that the insulin was probably not bad. She suggested that the numbers were an almost normal reaction to a great reduction in Tucker’s insulin dosage. In other words, low numbers resulted in low dosages, but these in turn caused the numbers to rise. This doesn’t seem to auger well for continued diminishing numbers.

I have taken Tucker’s readings several times since and, in the mornings and the evenings, he is hovering around 16. Because I am not able to test him in the middle of the day, due to being at work, I am not giving him more than one unit of insulin each time; I have no idea how low he goes in the middle of the day. Come Saturday, when I can test him around noon, I will determine, in consultation with his doctor, whether to raise the roly poly’s dosage to two units again.

This is a disappointing development; worse than that, it is confusing. However, when I think about it, things are still going well. Tucker’s diabetes is under control. He is receiving medicine that allows him to run and play and purr. He and Josie chased each other about the apartment just yesterday, when I came home. He can jump up onto chairs.

That his condition was being reduced so much so rapidly (after just a year of treatment) was encouraging, but perhaps not quite realistic. I do believe that he will need less and less insulin; evidence for that has been shown already. But he and I can wait. We have time and technology on our side. Even if the diabetes never fades, Tucker will have a happy life. And that makes mine happy, too.

Friday, September 16, 2016

That Ruddy Cat

Judging by the title, one may think that I have taken up the habit of Victorian-era expletives. Dash it all, it’s not true. I use ‘ruddy’ in its literal sense: reddish.

Renn has always had a red tinge to his fur, at least that along his flanks. But most of the time, one had to have light shining upon it at an angle to discern the hue. Now, his fur’s colour has changed. As one can see even in the photograph below, the red is now more obvious; it seems to go through several shades, as well.

When Renn was much younger, he had grey hair behind his ears, grey hair of a different texture than most of his hair. And once more, a contrasting colour, red in this case, is of a different texture than the surrounding fur. The grey hair eventually disappeared - how many of us envy that reversal of the aging process? - and I wonder if the same will occur with the red.

Perhaps the red itself is a sign of advancing years. My big boy is only nine years old; with good care and continued health, he could have as much time yet remaining. If the colouring trend continues, I may end up with another orange cat, without even another adoption.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Renn's Inner Demon

Renn is an interesting cat. He is the only beast in my household who enjoys a vigrous - very vigorous - chest rub. He also will get on my lap to knead my stomach. In the house, he kneaded my kidneys from the side. Oh, and he likes to imitate a demon from Hell.

It’s not what you’re thinking. My big boy’s behaviour is not always angelic, but it is never diabolical. No, this approximation occurs inadvertently and only at certain times. Renn likes to have his head rubbed, as furiously as his chest. Tungsten too, tough little creature that she was, enjoyed a speedy head-rub. Renn’s consists of me placing my hand right around his head, then rubbing so swiftly that my extremity becomes a blur.

At this time, his third eyelid crosses the eyeball and obscures it completely, only to retreat when I cease my action. The eyelid slowly slips back to its starting point, to advance once more when I rub again. That the animal enjoys the feeling of the rub is demonstrated by his rough purring, sometimes accompanied by drooling.

But while his head is being thus massaged, the third eyelid colours my big boy’s ocular orbs a bilious greyish-yellow, his mouth, partly-open, displays his fangs, and his purring could be misinterpreted as supernatural growls. It is an interesting moment that I have yet to capture by camera.

I think I’m safe, however. I’ve yet to see his head spin about or hear Mercedes McCambridge say unpleasant things to me. And the green bile he spews now and then is, fortunately, unconnected to head-rubs.

Eventually, Renn returns to normal and relaxes, sometimes on my lap. After that, the only otherworldly phenomenon I experience is the numbness in my legs, if he stays too long there.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Slender Pickings

I was this morning showing someone pictures of my cats - I do that from time to time, whether people want to see them or not - and came across a photograph of Josie from a year and a half ago. I was startled at the difference in her shape. She seems clearly to have lost weight and, though I knew this to be the case, seeing the comparison gave me a surprise.

I don’t believe there is anything wrong with Josie. When she went to the hospital for her dental procedure not so long ago, I had a blood panel performed on her, and she was declared healthy. And since the first image shows her at the beginning of April, 2015, and the second in September of 2016, I believe it is a satisfactory amount of time in which to lose a pound and a half. That is what my records show her weight-change to have been.

She eats well. Though she doesn’t eat as much as she once did - I could count on my Chubs to finish everyone else’s dinner, even before everyone else was finished it - that changed years ago when I started feeding what I think is better food. Eating a little less, and eating healthier are the causes of her new, slimmer appearance.

I will of course maintain a watch on her well-being. I have no choice; the slightest deviation from routine starts me worrying. It is automatic. But I think that Josie is simply shedding the poundage she should never have had. With the dangers of too much loss in mind, there may nevertheless come a day when my Chubs is no longer a chubs.

Monday, September 12, 2016

High and Mighty

All cats like high perches, but of mine, only Cammie enjoys jumping up onto the bookcases in the bedroom. She may be the only one lithe enough to accomplish it. I don’t know why she has decided to do this now and then. She doesn’t do anything in particular up there; I think she may just enjoy the commanding aspect she gains from it. She leaps from the near by cat-tree, which is about four high. The bookcases are, I think six and a half feet tall. The princess has to cover a lateral distance of three feet or so, as well. Not bad for an eleven year old.

Cammie reminds me in some ways of my late friend Tungsten. She too would jump to high positions. As she grew older, I was afraid that she would hurt herself getting down, so I would offer her my shoulders. Tungsten liked to lie on them, so she’d climb onto my shoulders and I would bring her down, like an elevator, and she would step off at a lower level. Cammie, after visiting the litter-box for a deposit of number two, rockets around the apartment, startling the other beasts; that is what Tungsten did, flying across the house, an orange missile. I think if the tiny terror had lived, Cammie would have tried to be her friend. I don’t know why I believe that; perhaps it was the princess’s constant shadowing of Tungsten. The latter wanted nothing to do with the newcomer, though, and would hiss ferociously at her proximity - just as Cammie does with any of the others.

But Cammie is her own cat, after all. Why she enjoys the heights of the bookcase, I don’t know. But as long as she can fly up and down again without trouble, I’ll be happy to see her there.

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Victory in Tucker's War

Last weekend, I performed another ‘curve’ on Tucker, something I do once a month to monitor his diabetes. I was surprised by the first reading, which was a lower number than that with which he had ever started the day. I decided to give the roly poly one only a single unit of insulin, rather than three, his usual dose, an indication of how low his numbers had dropped. Throughout the day, his numbers remained very good, though rising toward the evening, when I gave him two units.

This pattern I repeated for the next couple of days, though on Monday, I called the doctor to confer with her about Tucker’s new condition. When I was able to reach her a few days later, I was pleased to be told that the ‘curve’ showed that his numbers were within the ‘normal’ range. The doctor advised me to check Tucker’s numbers before the insulin shot he receives every evening, and if they were within ‘normal’ range (4 to 8), I should refrain from giving him any medicine. When I checked the sausage-cat’s number at about five o’clock, it stood at 6.6. He needed no insulin that evening.

This morning, I checked him again, prior to his morning dose, and his number was 10.5. This is just above ‘normal’, so I did give him his medicine, but only one unit. I will read his numbers again this evening.

I am heartened by this development. After twenty-four hours without insulin, Tucker’s blood-sugar number was only 10.5. I find that reasonable, considering what he has been battling lately. Even if his numbers do not remain within ‘normal’ parameters, if they rise to no more than ten or eleven, then he will have achieved a victory of substantial proportions. He has been receiving insulin doses of three units twice a day for some time now; prior to that, he had been getting four units. Since he received his first insulin injection on September 2nd of last year, I think his progress has been excellent.

I will stay guarded in my optimism, as the roly poly’s latest readings may be anomalies, though I suspect not. A drop even to just one unit of insulin twice a day will be something to celebrate. He continues to be cheerful and active in all other respects, and that, in turn, makes me happy.