Friday, May 29, 2015


Today, I begin my annual holidays. I love Christmas, but I get only two days (one unpaid) off from work in order to enjoy the season. For my summer holidays, I take three weeks. This is like a second Christmas, but without the Day itself.

I won’t be going anywhere. But I intend to enjoy myself nonetheless. I will of course spend time with the cats, and hope further to integrate Noah, my current foster-cat, into the perma-cat population. Aside from that, I will be taking my ease by doing many other things.

I will be reading books…

And watching movies…

I will be enjoying the outdoors…

And, of course, sleeping…

I will be publishing bits and pieces on my blog, but they probably won’t appear as frequently as at normal times. As well, I may not be visiting other blogs as regularly. Whatever happens, I expect I and the cats will be having a most pleasant time over the next three weeks.

Noah at Play

I am getting to know Noah, and he is getting to know me and the perma-cats. The latter acquaintance is slow. I am letting him out of the parlour for an hour each evening, and will be able to expand his freedom during my upcoming holidays. He doesn’t require constant supervision, but I do notice moments that need me to watch him carefully. For instance, he was out yesterday with Tucker and Josie. My Chubs’s warnings kept him at a distance but Tucker was on the couch, and the new boy continually looked up at its arm. I knew he was thinking of jumping up there, which would have been behind Tucker - and suddenly behind him. Any cat-fancier realises what that would mean.

Noah is a loveable, energetic youth. He loves playing. He has all sorts of toys for diversion. When he is in the parlour, he has fuzzy mice and plastic rings off milk jugs, and the Trac-ball that no one else seems to like. When he has the run of the house, he has other toys.

But in the parlour, he has another distraction. I don’t intend for him to play with it, but I am fully aware that he does. I’ve had to put it away when I am not using in; that’s an inconvenience, so he and I are trying to reach an accommodation. Well, I am. What’s the problem, you may wonder? Noah is a cat, of course. And like every cat, he has one natural prey. The problem is that Noah keeps chasing the mouse.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Renn Unbalanced

Renn is a strong fellow. He can haul himself up the post of a cat-tree, he can leap high into the air. His muscles are powerful, and his balance is superb. Most of the time.

He likes to play with a string-toy. He will slap his big paws down on it, he will catch it in his mighty jaws, he will lunge for it across the nylon tunnel. He is especially active when playing on the bed. I think he feels the springs in the mattress, and they give him the extra bounce. As well, the softness of the surface encourages him to take risks that he would not normally take. This can cause problems now and then.

The other day, he was jumping about on the bed, making the string-toy fear him as he displayed his agility. But, alas, he leaped too far to one side this time and his rear legs barely touched the bed as his hindquarters fell. His forelegs came down on to the bedspread to arrest his descent, and for a moment, he clung to it like a mountaineer hanging on the edge of a precipice. I hurried over to help him up but by an herculean effort, he pulled himself to safety with his own strength.

Unfortunately, his claws, which are not sharp right now, were edged enough both to prevent him from  falling the further six inches to the floor and to tear a hole in the bedspread. I of course could hardly chastise him, as he was reacting through feline reflex - and did a good job of it at that.

He was, perhaps naturally, disinclined to continue our play thereafter, and retired to the sitting room for some rest. I think damaging the household property unnerved him a bit, the poor cat.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Josie Enjoys a Chuckle

Josie is a fairly good-humoured cat. When she wants attention, she is not obnoxious about seeking it, and when she doesn’t want it foisted upon her, she is not grumpy in her protests. She can be insistent when demanding her soft-meal foods, but that is just feline impatience. She is pleasant-tempered but not noted for her joking demeanour, nor for her appreciation of irony.

Once in a while, however, My Chubs surprises me, whether it is her intention or not. This weekend, I was doing the laundry. I had washed and dried clothes, and had folded them at the dining table, which is the largest flat, clean surface fit for the task. Next, I wanted to change the sheets on the bed. Josie was lying there, no doubt very comfortably. She complained at her forced eviction, but she had been removed from places of rest before, so she told me how unfair the process was, waddled down the steps to the floor and away from the bedroom. I changed the sheets, then I returned to finishing with the towels I had left on the dining table.

Josie had found another comfortable spot: a freshly laundered bath-towel, now covered with her easily-shed fur. Oh, she removed herself readily enough from there; her point had been made. I think I saw a smirk on that little alien cat-face as she settled herself on a chair cushion instead. Very droll, my Chubs, very droll.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Noah the Explorer

Noah is a fun cat. He’s young, so everything is an adventure to him. I have been letting him out of the parlour so that he can explore and meet the perma-cats. He’s curious about everything. I’ll let the photographs explain his first day out, beginning with his emergence from the parlour and surveillance of the corridor beyond.

Then, Josie sees the newcomer for the first time.

Noah smells the fresh air carried by the breeze coming through the front screen door.

This is just about what Tucker sees of the new boy.

Then Noah finds a Kick-a-roo.

And then starts climbing.

Here he is either examining my compact disc collection or admiring himself in the reflection from the glass.

Noah is pulling a Tucker and observing Josie.

Then he wanders farther afield. First the kitchen…

…and then downstairs to the library.

There, he seems to be choosing some reading material for when he is once again locked up in the parlour.

Noah’s relations with the perma-cats are rocky at the moment. He has chased several of them up the stairs from the basement. I think this is no more than the habit that Cammie had: a cat noticed Cammie following, and then broke into a run, whereupon the princess did the same and it ended in a chase.

However, Noah is a bit rougher than Cammie. He is not yet a year old and is rambunctious. He enjoys his play-time and has to learn that not everyone plays with the same intensity. He and Cammie have developed a bit of friction, and need to work on their compatibility skills. In the photograph below, the princess most certainly is not aware that our guest is near her.

Noah is a loveable boy who wants more than anything to be out and about in a home, exploring and enjoying attention. He would like very much not to be locked up, and that will come in time at my house, but for now, things will have to move at a pace that is more sedate than he would like. Youngsters are always in a hurry.

Monday, May 25, 2015


In continuing my subject of Cammie, she is not only recovering from her illness, but from other afflictions, as well, such as her understandable lack of trust. She and I are already good friends, and she allows me to pick her up whenever I like. That is, I must admit, too often for her favour. As well, because of recent events, she associates me picking her up with me taking her to the bathroom for some medicine. I want to get her accustomed again to being held with no unpleasant repercussions. Even so, being gripped by a human, even one she trusts, is not something she likes, and she will grumble about it, and hiss at me, but only after I put her down again.

The Siamese princess is trusting the other cats rather more. She walks within a foot or so of Tucker and thinks nothing of it, though the roly poly one sometimes will, for fun, I think, swat at any of his roommates who pass too close. Cammie minds Renn the least. In the photograph below, she and the big boy are eating their meals almost together. Neither has tolerated such proximity in the past while dining.

Cammie is snoozing more and more on the bed. Saturday morning, after I had risen and eaten breakfast, I found her there, and Josie - whom she considers her enemy - just three feet away, also snoozing. Not fleeing immediately upon the approach of another animal is a big step forward for her.

My favourite instance of progress comes at night. Cammie likes to lie on my chest while I am in bed, purring heavily and flexing her paws at my throat. Some evenings, she will be on the bed before I get in it, or jump up on it as soon as I settle in. Last night, she not only remained there after Renn got on the bed as well, but continued to purr. This lasted only about twenty seconds, but that’s a third of a minute longer than she had stayed previously.

I think about where Cammie was before she was rescued, and how she almost spent her life in a less than congenial environment in Regina. I am very thankful she is here with me. There are many people who would have given her the chance to be herself, as I have. What she has accomplished here has little to do with me. It has been her choice to trust, to let others get close to her. I see a lessening of her anxiety with other humans, and I see it with the other cats. Distances are not what they used to be.

The Siamese Patient

I am going on holidays at the end of Friday: three wonderful weeks in the peaceful Kingdom of Not-at-Work. It’s an easy-going, gentle land where there are chores to do, but no schedules or time-tables to keep, except for the odd doctor’s appointment. It’s like a pastoral landscape by Claude Lorraine in which shepherds spend their lazy days watching their flocks and playing their flutes. Except there is concrete, and exhaust fumes from automobile traffic.

In the meantime, I want to report as much about the beasts as possible. I can publish articles from home, of course, but somehow, I have more time for it while working. Today, I have the pleasure of recording that Cammie is doing better than she had been. She is eating well, though not as much as I would like to see. Her activity is lower than it was before her illness; she isn’t playing much, but then she is still being given Prednisolone. That may be affecting her behaviour somewhat, though she is receiving it only once every two days now, and that for only a couple more times.

The ugly swelling on either side of her head has vanished, leaving bald patches that may or may not fill in later. Appearances mean nothing in my household; as long as the Siamese princess is healthy, I don't care about her looks. She's a beautiful cat, regardless.

Cammie was good about taking her medicine; not very good, but good. She struggled a bit when getting her syringe-fed solutions, but I felt I had to give them by that method since she was not eating the pill-pockets with the medicine inside. Then I recollected that on a previous occasion, I had doctored the pill-pockets with small amounts of Temptation treats, which she enjoys. She gave me anxious moments when she continually rolled the pill-pocket, now filled with half a pill and half a Temptation treat, around and around, but she eventually ate it.

She is, I think, on her way to recovery, for which I am grateful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Meet Noah

Noah rescued animals before the Flood, and now it's his turn to be rescued, though this time, Noah is the animal.

Noah the cat is my new houseguest. He was in foster-care but had to leave his previous refuge. This was not due to Noah’s actions or behaviour. He is, in fact, a rambunctiously affectionate fellow. He cannot get enough attention right now, and I feel bad that I have to go to work and leave him alone all day. But then, I feel that about my perma-cats.

Noah is confined to the parlour right now. He enjoys playing, so far as I can tell. He bats around the ubiquitous fuzzy mice and tries to get at the cord of my window-blinds. He burrows into towels and blankets, so I’ve removed the heating pad from the parlour couch. I thought he might enjoy the warmth afforded thereby, but likes making piles of the towels more. He kept the towels; the heating pad just seemed to be in his way.

He’s a clean cat and knew right away the purpose of the litter-box. His appetite is good; I’ve started him on Merrick brand soft-food, which he seems to enjoy, though it may be the novelty factor more than real enjoyment. We’ll see.

He can’t get enough attention. He rolls and twists and bumps my hand. He stands on his hind legs to reach my fingers and grabs me with his paws to drag my palm down to his head. He’ll settle down once he realises that affection isn’t a one-time display.

In the meanwhile, the perma-cats are banished from the parlour. This bothers Cammie the most. Noah may not be with me for long - another foster-home may be available - but as anyone who has fostered animals knows, such a situation is indefinite; he may be with me for a short time or a long time. If the latter, I will start to integrate Noah with the others. Cammie was able to re-claim the parlour when Kola started venturing out of it, so the case may be similar now.

For the moment, Noah will get used to his new surroundings. He has more room than in his former foster-home, plentiful food and water, a private bathroom and scenery. He can relax and feel safe.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Do You Remember the Movie "We're No Angels"?

Tucker is an adorable roly poly sausage. He’s tubular, with no discernible neck, and a squeaky sound that sometimes becomes a trill. But he’s a cat, and so contributes his share of trouble to my household.

On the weekend, a friend came to visit. She gets along very well with the cats; none of them is afraid of her and Renn especially likes her attentions. Certainly Tucker has raised no objection to her. My guest was sitting on the ottoman in the parlour Saturday when Tucker jumped up, seemingly to greet her. Paying attention to something I was showing her on the computer screen, my friend was startled to realise that Tucker was wetting on her.

I don’t think it was an action directed at her personally. Tucker had done the same thing at the same spot a few months ago, when no one was near him. My guest was sitting near the same place. There is a spot downstairs on the linoleum floor which receives the odd pool of urine now and then. It happens once a month or so. It is on the same location which used to receive such attention when it was covered in carpet. It happens so rarely that I don’t think of it as troublesome. I suspect Tucker in those incidents.

The roly poly one has no difficulty using the litter-boxes. He is, in fact, most regular in his habits. But he is sensitive and I think that periodically he feels the urge to do something he shouldn’t. I believe this is the case with the ottoman. I hope that he doesn’t do it again, but I don’t feel that it was directed against my friend.

She was very kind about the incident, more than I would have been. Her clothes were not badly wet, but even a little can be upsetting. I am indebted to her that she was not angry.

Tucker was kicked out of his original home because he was wetting where he shouldn’t, due to the stress of a new baby. The smallest things can disturb his equilibrium, and yet the largest things will cause him little anxiety. Having given him an unspoken promise to keep him in safety and comfort for the rest of his life, he suffered no permanent punishment for his mischief. But he certainly didn’t get any treats that day, and he knew he had done something wrong.

Don’t let these pictures fool you. He isn’t always as angelic...

The Princess's Progress

Cammie’s condition has improved considerably since she began her treatment for the eosinophilic granuloma complex from which she has been suffering. The lumpy swelling on either side of her head has vanished, and the open sores have healed and dried up. Most of the scabs have fallen away. As you can see in the photographs, they have left her with bald patches, but they seem to be less prominent than they were.

Cammie’s behaviour has reverted to more or less normal. She is now almost as active as she was, though with she plays a little less than before; that desire comes and goes. She is also less interested in her soft-food. She has only ever liked Fancy Feast, and only a couple of flavours of that. Her desire for it has decreased. This worries me a little and, though her complex may have been caused by an allergy to fish (the two flavours she enjoys are both seafood-based) and therefore might be alleviated by less Fancy Feast, it leaves her with no soft-food that she will eat. Experimentation will have to be on-going.

I am almost finished the Clavamox treatment. This liquid medicine was not difficult to give my Siamese princess. She dislikes having a syringe inserted in her mouth and liquid squirted in. Who wouldn’t? But she takes it, albeit with ill-concealed annoyance. Less successful now is the application of the Prednisone. This is being administered in half-pills. They are tiny portions, and I have been giving them hidden in chicken treats that Cammie enjoys very much. The treats are now gone, and the pill-pockets which have replaced them are, alas, only a pale imitation, as far as she is concerned. My attempt simply to put the half-pill in her mouth has proved a failure. She is easier to handle than I would have thought - no scratching or biting - but the pill is ejected each time, no matter how long I manage to keep it in her mouth.

I have a couple of plans, however. I did notice that a pill-pocket in which I had inserted a Temptation treat vanished about half an hour after I had placed it beside Cammie. I must determine if indeed it was she who was responsible for its consumption and, if she was, whether she will eat one with both a piece of Temptation treat and a half-pill of Prednisone. That may be too much of a concoction for her to tolerate. The other plan is to dissolve the Prednisone pill in as little water as possible and inject it the easier way by syringe. The doctor cautioned me that, though this method is acceptable, it lowers the absorption value of the Prednisone. But badly-absorbed medicine is better than none.

Throughout this ordeal, the princess has behaved with remarkable forbearance. Though she will yowl and complain and, in extremis, hiss and growl, she has not intentionally injured me. I received one scratch when she tried to push my hand away, but other than that, she has submitted to indignity and discomfort with more grace than I would. After having syringes pushed into her mouth, being held in place, unwanted food shoved at her and horrible medicine forced upon her, she continues to get on my lap, she continues to purr under my hand. Cammie has travelled a long way since the day when she growled as soon as I walked into her room.

I look forward to her travelling a long way with me yet.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Medicine Train

Cammie went to the doctor yesterday. It was a productive visit, and the Siamese princess was given a ticket to board the medicine train on which so many cats must ride. She will of course expect her own carriage.

She was weighed (five kilograms) at the baggage check, and was examined by a doctor neither of us had met before. She seemed business-like and knowledgeable. She took blood from Cammie and a sample from the sores, something which I am told (it was not performed in the examining room) was an uncomfortable procedure for the patient. But it was quickly done.

It turns out that Cammie has eosinophilic granuloma complex. This is being attacked with two different medicines. One is Prednisone, a steroid, which comes in pill form. The other is Clavamox, an anti-biotic. This comes in liquid form. I believe I have used it before, probably on Tucker. It smells rather pleasant, like a flavour of milk shake. Cammie apparently does not like milk shakes. Even so, I am able to administer it by syringe directly into her mouth. That doesn’t go as smoothly as I’d like. I can get most of it in, but I have about half a second to inject it; any longer and Cammie will move her head or snap her mouth closed. Consequently, it is probably a little unpleasant for her. I will try to give it to her more gently.

The pills are, by contrast, ease itself. The doctor gave me some chewy chicken-flavoured pills, short cylinders of malleable material. The princess so far likes these very much and swallows them without chewing. One wonders how she derives enjoyment from them in that case. But, practically, they are achieving their goal marvellously. I hope she continues to eat them. There are not enough of these treats, however, for all of the Prednisone pills, which are given in halves twice a day, then half once a day, then half every two days until they are finished. I bought pill-pockets, which Cammie did eat previously, so I hope that she will again.

Conditions on the medicine train are not ideal. There is stress in being forced to take substances one doesn’t like. The veterinary also stated that a change in household conditions, including the loss of a top-cat can produce anxiety. But as each station on the line is passed, it’s hoped that the train’s principal passenger improves. She is being given comforts. Food and water are free and unlimited.

There is agreeable companionship, even if it is kept at a distance. Plenty of space and opportunity is given for relaxation. The seats are once more heated, as the nights are chilly and even the days are not as warm right now as they ought to be.

As well, the driver and the guard on the train (the same person, actually) will go to great lengths to make the journey comfortable. He is pleased and reassured that Cammie, even after a feeding of medicine, holds no grudge, and will consent to and even enjoy being petted. Lying on the driver’s chest is especially appreciated.

The journey to the medicine train’s final station will take more than a week, but when Cammie disembarks, it’s hoped that she will be fit and healthy, and ready to relax at her destination.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cammie on the Weekend

Cammie’s condition remains about the same as it was on Saturday, so I may be taking her back to the veterinary. The pustules on her head have diminished but have not vanished, and they appear to be bleeding from time to time. The ointment I was given to apply to them, the medicine called Surolan, may be helping, but not enough. The doctor suggested that topical ointment may not work. There is the option of oral medicine.

The Siamese princess’s behaviour is not being affected as much as I would have thought, in these conditions. She continues to be under the weather, but she also plays, as may be seen from these photographs. She still enjoys being on my lap as much as ever, and, when I lie down, relaxing on my chest.

And I should mention that though her health is suffering somewhat right now, she is making gains in another field. This is Cammie and Tucker, sitting on adjacent cat-trees, both looking out the bedroom window. Cammie still hisses at cats who pass by her. Every close call is an attack averted, in her eyes. Yet she permits the roly poly one to sit near her, albeit on a different stand, and what is more surprising, Tucker does not feel too afraid to accept her offer. I may yet live to see the day when the princess accepts Josie’s proximity. Or maybe not.

I will keep readers apprised of Cammie’s situation.