Thursday, August 6, 2020

Those Old Bones

I have been giving Josie joint-medicine for several weeks now. She receives about two millilitres of it orally on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays (the other days, she receives a dose of Restoralax, to keep her regular.) I think I have seen a concrete improvement in my Chubs.

I have several water-bowls placed about the apartment; in the bedroom alone there are three, because my cats spend so much time in there; certainly, it is Josie’s favourite room. There is a big one by the door, a small one on the ledge under the window, and Cammie’s Bowl in the corner, a couple of inches off the floor. This is the Great White’s preferred source of water.

During her urinary tract infection six weeks ago or so, Josie took to lying on the base of one of the bedroom cat-trees; she evidently found it to her liking since she snoozes there now even though she is fully recovered. Cammie’s Bowl is easily reached from there. Josie also sleeps on the bed but still mostly uses Cammie’s Bowl. To get there from the bed, she merely drops the two feet to the floor.

She could easily use the stairs from the bed, or walk across the desk to the descending platforms of the cat-trees. And she does travel these routes from time to time. But the fact that she repeatedly jumps from the bed to the floor tells me that her sixteen year old bones and joints must be able to withstand the shock of landing. She may have done this priorly, and I hadn’t taken note; that she does it now suggests that her joints and muscles are serving her well, and without pain. Whether this is due to the medicine she is imbibing cannot be known for sure. Then again, I don’t think the medicine can hurt.

So, despite her dislike of receiving it, my Chubs will continue to take her dose. Maybe if she keeps taking it, she’ll soon be spry enough to run away from it…

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Season of Futility

We usually have a wet introduction to summer here, followed by sunshine, and then sunshine and heat together. The last stage is where we are now. There has been plenty of sunshine, which I don’t mind, except in the evening, when it shines directly into the apartment, which faces west. The cosy apartment then becomes the toasty apartment.

Another effect of the concentrated sunlight is on my cleaning. I like to have a clean home, which isn’t easily achieved with four cats, but I wash and scrub and sweep. Sweeping gives me a feeling of achievement because I see all the cat-hair and dust gathered up from the four corners of the realm and dumped into the garbage. But I’ve learned that one should never sweep in the evening, with the bright summer sun shining directly onto the floors.

Then, every cat-hair, every food particle, every mote of dust is clearly delineated, its lines and form edged with sharpness, and one’s complete inability to collect all of them, the refusal even of that debris already swept to stay put, demonstrates the futility of cleanliness. The movement of a cat, however slight, however undisturbing it may seem, throws up clouds of detritus like those vomited from a volcano. And if a cat should run or jump, the amount of hair it leaves in its wake is enough to weave another carpet to cover the one from which the move was made.

But the sun is moving south. It sinks in the west earlier each evening, and its light grows thinner day by day. Soon, it will be twilight when I clean, the sun hidden from view and its rays no longer outraged by what I cannot sweep up. Soon, I can pretend that my residence is not an allergy’s nightmare, and that my cats are next to Godliness.

Soon, even a big cat’s leap from floor to couch will once more be an innocent display of grace and agility. The season of futility will be over.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Do You Remember Adah?

Some of my readers may recall Adah, a cat I first met on the day of – possibly and no later than the day after – her birth. I won’t reiterate the adventure of finding her, though if anyone wants the details of it, they may read them in the entry for this blog from April 29, 2018. Her life was saved through a collaborative effort, involving myself, another member of the Lethbridge PAW Society, a woman and her son in a town near by (both of whom are now members of the Society) and their cat, the remarkable Miss Mew, who took to Adah (and other orphans) as if the newborn were her own, and nursed her.

For two years, Adah has been living in a loving foster-home, sharing the attention of the humans there with other cats. She gets along with them, but she would really prefer the life of an only-cat, and be spoiled rotten by her person.

At the risk of jinxing the arranging, I can announce that Adah has been chosen for adoption. Though the actual process may not be finalised for some weeks, due to covid-19 restrictions – and this being the reason why I cannot wait to tell everyone the good news – someone has been found who is perfect for the little cat. Adah will be the only feline there.

This will be a wrench for her foster-guardians, who love Adah tremendously. This of course merely means that they are the sort of foster-guardians whom Adah needed. They will be consoled by the knowledge that their little charge will have the sort of home that she deserves, and love and security for the rest of her life.

I will, if permission is granted, publish pictures of Adah in her new life once she settles in. I know a number of readers followed this girlcat’s exploits and will share my delight at this good news.

Monday, July 27, 2020

His Spirit of Adventure

Tucker evidently thought that if an old lady could do it, a baby-faced middle-aged mancat could do it.

My roly poly (who is, in fact, just a year younger than Josie), has decided that he, too, would like to journey beyond the apartment’s front door. This started last week, and, frankly, surprised me. Tucker has always been very timid of the world beyond the cosy apartment. Over the last year or two, however, he has become much more outgoing with visitors, when we have them; the fact that they are a rarity makes his friendliness toward them more surprising. He used to hide from guests. Now he stays to rub up against them and purr.

So it is that he has begun to think outside the apartment, as well. One day, he simply invited himself to go past the door while I was coming in. I am always wary of the cats doing this, even if I think they never will, so Tucker did not make it past the threshold. But on later occasions, I permitted him to explore, and he has, to a very limited extent.

He is much more ready to hurry back to the apartment than is Josie, and it takes only a mild, brief sound from me to make him turn and scurry away from wherever it is I don’t want him to be. Nonetheless, I keep a close eye on his ramblings and am always ready to grab him, if need be.

But he is content to sniff and look at this strange world, hearing noises from unexplained origins, and watching people - from a distance - whom he doesn’t know. It is a strange change of behaviour for a cat who still has little interest in what is beyond a window, barring the odd raucous magpie. I am hesitant to smother any curiosity, however, as what stimulates my beasts is always in low supply. If the smells of a well-trodden carpet and hints of what lie behind others’ doors intrigue one or two of them, I won’t stifle their spirit of adventure.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Cats' Bowls and Dogs' Dishes

Memorials come in all shapes and sizes. I have my Memorial Wall, with the pictures of the cats I have lost hung above the urns containing their ashes. But there are other remembrances, too, hardly to be recognised as such.

Earlier this month, I wrote about once more making available the little ceramic cup that was placed near the floor of the bedroom so that Cammie could have a drink in convenience and ease after her first stroke. Since cats never drink enough water, especially during the hot months, the return of Cammie’s Cup produced another easily-accessed source of water for my beasts. Initially meant primarily for Josie, she and Renn have used it so much that its contents are frequently at a low level. So I have replaced it with the larger Cammie’s Bowl.

The princess never used the bowl. It is, in fact, not one but a pair of identical bowls, one of which I use for the outsider-cats (after the raccoon family smashed the big glass bowl originally serving that purpose). I have decided to use the second in the place of Cammie’s Cup. Periodically, they will be washed and exchanged. But whichever is being utilized inside will be known, for the duration of that interior use, as Cammie’s Bowl. It provides sustenance and refreshment in the same place as the cup, and in the same spirit.

In deciding on this change, I was reminded of another bowl that I have, and which has been in use for at least forty years. Made of strong and thick plastic – it’s rather sad that even such a cheap material as plastic was made better in the old days – this ordinary bowl was long known in my family as the Dog’s Dish.

When I was a youth, my family had a cockapoo called Finnegan. She had curly black hair, except at her chin, where it was white (that white spread and diffused as she aged); like Tucker now, Finnegan loved ice cream, and she would often receive a share in the Dog’s Dish. Thinking about it, it was probably not a good receptacle for the purpose; it should be shallow, with a heavier base, so it could not be moved about by a tongue lapping up the last particle of cream. Yet she never complained. I suspect it was used simply because it was an odd bowl and cheap. But I use it for ice cream still, and for potato chips, and fruit slices…

There is Tungsten’s little ceramic dish, and Josie’s original plate that broke, Bear-Bear’s cat-bed, and Cammie’s saddle-tree… All items which, though not officially named, nonetheless remind me of my lost friends. We all cherish the photographs we have of those family members who have gone ahead, but sometimes it is the more ordinary, the more mundane items in life that stir the strongest memories. Like the whiff of a scent, a slant of light, a few bars of a song not heard since childhood, our memories are sometimes reawakened by the every-day; memories that are themselves every-day, and ordinary, yet which remind us of the extraordinary people, places, times – and animals – we once knew.

Friday, July 24, 2020

One Down, One Up

Earlier this week, I wrote about Neville’s diabetic treatment, and how his insulin dosage has been reduced with, apparently, good results. Today, I must report that Tucker’s dosage is being increased.

This, however, does not worry me a great deal. His dosage has been two units in the mornings and one in the evenings; the latter is now being increased to match the former. It isn’t a great jump and will, I think, be beneficial.

Unlike Neville and my late friend Parker, Tucker’s diabetes has always been rather erratic. One ‘curve’ will display an excellent set of numbers, from moderately high down to just right; the next will show him nowhere near what he should have. There is a danger, of course, in adjusting the dosage too often, just to match fluctuating numbers. But the roly poly one has been on his current amounts for some time, enough to demonstrate that, while they are adequate, he can do better.

In another week or two, I will perform a ‘curve’ on my long-suffering sausage-like beast, and see how he is doing inside. Until then, he will play a little, eat very little, purr a lot: in other words, he will continue being Tucker.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Tickets Purchased, Rooms Reserved

I received some good news yesterday. My delayed holidays have been scheduled at last, and I hope to have them at the start of September. They will be two weeks long, rather than the three, due to a number of people in my department at work being away for so long. I have already taken a week off, and did not find it very relaxing (which is why I always try to have all three of my weeks off at once.) But the two remaining, taken together, should be a relief.

My plans are already formulated - the benefits of a good imagination. I will be taking a sleeper on the night-train to Idylland, arriving the afternoon of the day following my departure.

I will stay for the night, possibly for two, at the Hotel Splendide, in Idylltown, where the staff retain fond memories of Mr Parker…

Then I will head to Verdureland, the expansive province of forest and glade, stream and meadow between the capital and the Borea Mountains, to the north. I have rented a tiny cottage in the valley of the Catsbourne River, where I will take my fortnight’s ease.

This is the plan, anyway. Its manifestation is a month and more away, so there is plenty of time for disarrangement.

In this year, when too many have lost too much, I am grateful to have a job at all. However, except for the newest employee, I am the only one in my department who has not had lengthy time off - my supervisor is on very extended sick leave, another colleague is on disability leave, two others were given enforced time off, twice, isolating themselves for safety’s sake - so I am looking forward with enjoyment to a holiday for myself. I will keep everyone apprised of any developments but, considering my destination, my itinerary should remain constant, even in the uncertain world of reality.