Monday, November 12, 2018

In My Footsteps

This weekend was Parker’s first foray outside after it had snowed a substantial amount. He had sniffed at snow previously, and had even tried tasting it, I think, but it was in small quantities then. We had a heavy but, fortunately, not long fall of it on Friday, and again on Saturday.

Saturday found the sturdy-boy intrigued by the precipitation. It did not bother him a great deal because the sidewalks were mostly clear, and the streets and alleys had been driven upon, flattening and hardening the snow.

I did notice some intriguing behaviour. Parker saw some cat-tracks in the deeper snow and followed them for a short distance. When he did, he was careful to step inside the already-dinted snow. I thought this might be partly instinctive and partly deliberate: in the wild, such an action would disguise his passage, showing only the first cat’s. As well, if the orange boy disliked walking in the snow, which he seemed to, this would reduce the annoyance caused by sinking his paws into it.

Sunday afternoon, I took Parker for another walk. More snow had descended the evening before, and even the sidewalks were covered. This did not suit my foster-cat at all. He was displeased, and our walk was the shortest yet, except for when I took him out one day – at his insistence – in the rain. This time, Parker initially walked off the sidewalks; he often does that to smell the vegetation. But the vegetation was covered (and dead, anyway), so he reverted to the sidewalks. There was no relief there, however, and he decided to terminate the excursion.

Interestingly, on our way back to the apartment building, Parker made sure to walk in the footprints I had already made. The snow there was flat and hard, and it must have been no worse than walking on damp concrete. He is no fool.

At last, we made it back home. I cleaned off Parker’s paws, which he protested vigorously; immediately afterward, though, he had a mid-day snack and retired to the bed for a snooze. I suspect, while glad to be inside and warm, he then dreamed of warm breezes, fresh grass and a bright, vernal sun.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Toothless Days Ahead

Tucker’s dental surgery is scheduled for Thursday morning. I initially thought that his blood and urine test results would not come back until early next week, and so set his operation late enough in the week for the results to return but early enough to consult the doctor if I had questions after the surgery. When the test results were reported unexpectedly fast, I tried to re-arrange the operation for earlier but there were no openings.

So my roly poly will have to endure his discomfort for several more days. This is distressing for me, now that I am aware of his painful condition. But by the end of five days, Tucker will be on the slow but sure path to recovery. The good news is that examination of his blood and urine demonstrated that there are no problems related to those fluids. His kidneys are in very good shape, his heart and lungs are healthy.

I want to thank everyone for their best wishes for Tucker’s well-being, just as they had expressed their hopes for Raleigh’s recovery. I especially wish to give my thanks for offers of and suggestions for monetary help. These are greatly appreciated; it is gratifying to know that the beasts I live with are so highly valued by people who have never met them, but know of them only through my blog. While I can’t accept such offers (I think I would feel guilty over accepting funds when there are those with beloved pets in worse financial conditions), believe me that I am grateful.

I will keep everyone informed of Tucker’s situation as it progresses. I believe your thoughts are helpful and valuable; they were sent while Raleigh was under-going his dental ordeal, and he is rebounding strongly. His appetite is good, and he is spending more time out among the other cats.

Things are improving, and what hasn’t improved yet, will soon.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Next Through the Revolving Hospital Door...

Tucker went to the hospital yesterday for an examination. His smelly breath concerned me, as did his wetting outside the litter-box. The latter I attributed to stress, the arrival of a new cat. The former’s cause surprised and startled me.

I expected a worsening case of gingivitis, perhaps a touch on infection in the gums. Instead, the doctor found numerous teeth in very bad condition. One, a canine, is digging into Tucker’s lower lip and is undoubtedly causing pain. Ten teeth may have to come out.

I feel very bad about this. I have let the roly poly down. His condition has been degrading for some time, but I blamed it on the wrong causes. He has probably been in great discomfort, and it has certainly affected his eating. I had noticed that he was consuming less and less, but thought it was due to increasing fussiness over his food. Tucker has lost two pounds in as many months. The diminishing poundage, the stress (the pain may have been causing more of it than Raleigh’s appearance) and any infection that may be coming from deteriorating teeth have indubitably affected Tucker’s diabetes and its treatment. I have not been taking the care of him that I should.

The monetary cost of the cure for his ills - such mercenary aspects must be considered - will be great. Raleigh’s dental surgery was very expensive; Tucker’s will be more. These expenditures, with other costs, such as earlier treatment for a brief eruption of Cammie's allergy; new eye-wear (for myself), and a new telephone (my previous instrument began falling apart, literally, and ceasing to function properly), will make the second half of 2019 very costly. I think the last time I spent so much money in such a short period, I at least ended up with a house. Perhaps needless to say, this has made a dent in my reserve funds that will not be soon pounded out again.

However, the health of Tucker and the other beasts is paramount. Tucker’s blood and urine samples have been sent away for testing; I will likely not have the results until next week. Even so, I will make an appointment today for his operation. I don’t believe the tests will result in so much of a problem as to cancel any surgery, though, because of Tucker’s age (he is thirteen), I wanted his fluids examined anyway. It’s best to remedy all of the problems as soon as possible. I hope to see my sausage cat on the mend by the end of next week, his pain lessening and his rotundity returning, just a little.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

These Cats Will Kill Me One Day

Yesterday, I took Parker out for a walk. It was a very pleasant day, especially for November. The sun shone, the temperature was reasonable, there was no wind. As is often the case, I let the orange boy determine the route we would take.

We walked down an alley that runs crookedly alongside my apartment building. Parker sniffed the dead and dying grass, and tried to eat some; I would say, “No, don’t eat,” repeatedly, and urge him along. Things were normal.

Then he worked his nose along the base of the wooden-board fence that runs by one side of the alley. Without warning, he leaped straight up and landed on top of the five foot high barrier. From there he dropped to the lawn on the other side. All of this happened too swiftly for me to react properly, so I now was on one side of the fence, my foster-cat was on the other.

Still connected by the leash to Parker’s harness, I tried to coax him to the fence so I could pull him through a space between the boards, a space wide enough to accommodate a cat, even of Parker’s girth. To emphasise my intention, I tugged on Parker’s leash several times. When I did that once, he retreated – and slipped out of his harness.

Now I was on one side of the fence, my loose foster-cat was on the other. For the moment, he was not moving, but if he saw something that interested him, that could change, and I knew, despite his sturdy form, he could move fast, faster than I. So while he was stationary, I ran  - not as fast as a cat but not bad for a human – around the fence, hoping my untethered animal would still be on the other side. He was, and when I approached him, he trotted over to me.

I gathered him up then and there and took him inside. What a fright he gave me. I brought him out again today, but have a new awareness of how easily he can slip out of his fetters if the dynamics are right. Since the two loops of the harness tug against the body in any direction but from the front – there they work together to slip over increasingly slimmer portions – pulling from that direction could undo the harness’s purpose. All Parker would have to do to escape is lift his forelegs as the larger loop is pulled past them. A new lesson has been learned.

Parker, of course, felt that nothing was amiss. He came in, had his mid-day snack and settled down to snooze in the sunshine. What a to-do these humans make of some things - like heart attacks. These cats will kill me one day.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Parker's New Hint

While Raleigh convalesces, the other beasts go on with their lives. My foster-cat, Parker, for instance, continues to enjoy his walks, though those during the weekdays are taking place in increasing darkness. Even so, he looks forward to them. On weeknights, my sturdy-boy isn’t always sure of going out, as it does not happen every day, so his demands are not usually insistent. On the weekends, though, he knows I have more time, and we normally go out in the early afternoon.

It is then that he will press his suit rather strongly. Aside from walking back and forth in front of my computer screen (if I am using that machine), or striding over and rubbing against me, then walking away (if I am reading), or crying at the door (a general purpose device), he has developed another tactic. He will pull down my jacket from its hanger.

Initially, I thought it was accidental, the result of him playing with the scarf that I habitually store down the jacket’s sleeve. I put the scarf elsewhere, but the displacement of the jacket continued. When it occurred thrice in about ten minutes, at a time when Parker was particularly demanding of an outside adventure, I realised that it was another of his means of making up my mind for me. He knows he shouldn’t be doing it, as well; after the third time, I came out of the bedroom chastising him in no uncertain terms, and he ran into the sitting room, to lie under a cat-tree, as if he had been there all the time.

I had to wait half an hour before agreeing to take him for a walk, just to re-establish my authority. Such as it is...

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Peachy, Post-surgery

I would like to thank everyone who expressed their concern and best wishes for Raleigh. It is good to know that his struggle for a good life holds a special place in others’ thoughts.

Peachy’s surgery went well. It was done as swiftly as possible to minimise his time under anaesthetic, and he came home after I finished work. He hid immediately.

The doctor’s instructions stated that it was good for him to eat, if he could keep it down. Raleigh was hungry, not having consumed anything for twenty hours. I prepared some Weruva fish soft-food for him, and he clearly wished to eat it, but had trouble with the texture, and it was obvious that he was suffering pain chewing. Re-thinking the menu, I substituted Merrick paté for the fish. The latter, though the little patient likes it, is made of lengths and chunks of fish in a smooth jelly. The paté was more solid without being difficult to chew. I broke it up into small portions, and he ate it more easily than the first dish. It still hurt him. I will feed him a greater quantity this evening. I disliked giving him too much, as I feared it would conflict with the anaesthetic and other drugs he had been given.

I have to put into him three kinds of medicine, for inflammation, pain and infection. All are oral; two are by syringe, the third by small tablet. I dreaded having to give these to him, but he took them like a mancat. I have administered two of the pills and, so far as I know, they have been swallowed without difficulty.

Raleigh was still hiding when I left for work this morning, wedging himself between two bookcases in the library. That’s all right. He is suffering discomfort right now, but the fact that he wants to eat and comes out to the bowl I place for him are good indications. I placed him on my lap last night, and he stayed and purred for about twenty minutes.

It will be a rough road to recovery, and I will have to be on guard for any relapses, or lack of healing. I will watch his reactions to chewing. But Raleigh will do well. He is young and, though stricken with FIV, strong. His lungs and heart are healthy. He is not going anywhere, and has all the time he needs. All signs are positive.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Raleigh at the Hospital, Again

Raleigh goes for his dental surgery this morning. (Please excuse the terrible photographs. I have a new telephone and the images it creates are far inferior to my old telephone’s.)

So far, I don’t think the Peachy boy has had a happy time in my care. He has been put into a new environment that he doesn’t know, with strange cats who dislike him; he has been subjected to ear-drops, eye-drops and cleanings that are a discomfort to him. He has had one surgery already and has been to the doctor a second time for an intrusive examination. Now, he will suffer pain with the removal of all his teeth. He must long for the less certain but freer days of the feral colony.

However, I hope that things will improve for him hereafter. With his teeth gone, I am optimistic that he will, eventually, feel better. Perhaps he will become less frightened of his new world and spend less time hiding.

Whatever the case, he will receive good food and decent medical care, and he will have cosy spots in which to sleep, if he so chooses. He will also have a lap to lie on, which he seems to enjoy. Wish Raleigh luck, if you will, that all goes well today. His life needs to become better from now on.