Sunday, September 17, 2017

There is No Plan B. Well, Yes, there is. Just Kidding.

There is a plan in place now for Echo. The visit to the prospective foster-home yielded good results. The person conducting the interview with the foster-guardian was impressed with the young woman in question, and with Vinny, the cat currently living there. He is three years old - so quite a bit senior to Echo - but mischievous and energetic. My little foundling will be going to what is hoped will be her new foster-home late Tuesday afternoon.

The PAW Society will be monitoring Echo’s situation closely. I think that with a whole house in which to run about, and only one feline to grow to know, Echo will do well. But she will have a place here at the Cosy Apartment if things don’t work out. In such a case, she will be integrated with my beasts upon her return, though she will be kept separated at night and during my absence, until I am sure of reactions. She will certainly not be abandoned; it would be a poor sort of rescue in that case.

But I am confident in Plan A. Kittens have been successfully introduced to homes under less attractive terms. I have no doubt that Echo will win human hearts wherever she goes. If Vinny wants the companionship of his own species as we believe, there will be a happy beginning to Echo’s search for a permanent home – her next quest. Perhaps it will have a library, in which she can re-arrange the books, as she likes to do in mine…

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hanging Out with Renn's Feet

It was mentioned in a comment yesterday that it was nice to see a picture of Renn in the day’s article. I realised that I hadn’t written much about my big boy lately, so I thought I would remedy that this morning.

Renn’s trouble is similar to Josie’s. He doesn’t often stand out and, while he acts oddly from time to time, he is healthier than my Chubs, and so I have less of him to write about than the other beasts.

One of the strange things Renn does has to do with how he contorts his big body to fit small spaces. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve seen him do it previously. Now, he’s done it again. This is Renn being comfortable in the cylinder-house cat-tree. I wonder about such comfort but I certainly don’t chastise him for it; if he can make this work, then more power to him.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dining Table Etiquette

The dining table seems to be exercising a fascination for the beasts these days. Originally, Renn was the only proponent of this sort of table manner, and then only at meal-times when he obviously belonged to the forward school of nutrition attainment. I think he also liked to watch me prepare the portions. And, as well, Cammie’s visits to the table have had to do with food.

Tucker has resorted to the table from time to time, though I don’t know why. He much prefers the cushioned chairs near by.

Josie has been on the table recently, but not when I’ve had a camera handy. In the past, she has enjoyed snoozing there when recovering from heavy brain-work.

But it is my sturdy-boy, foster-cat Parker, who enjoys the location the most. Sometimes, he simply likes to lounge there, though I can’t imagine it is comfortable. A couple of weeks ago, the position gave him the chance to observe at closer quarters the nocturnal flight of a moth.

The odd thing about Parker being on the table is that Tucker doesn’t appear to mind him being there while he, Tucker, is lying on one of the chairs. Usually, the roly poly doesn’t care for the orange boy’s proximity. The dining table seems to be a neutral ground, or at least it has been so far.

It bothers me not at all that the cats periodically spread out on the old eating surface. I know some people don’t care for it, and I can understand that. I do wash the table prior to any human use, either dining or writing, but I don’t clean it after every cat’s visit. I think I’d be cleaning it all the time in that case.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Healthy Days for Echo

Echo’s veterinary examination went very well. Her age is confirmed at between three and four months (I split the difference at fourteen weeks.) Her teeth and mouth are healthy, as is her coat. She is thin but not abnormally so. I spoke to the doctor about Echo’s pooping, which has been liquidy a couple of times, and is left in the litter-box twice, even thrice, a day (as opposed to the once for each of the other cats) but was told that is not unusual. My foster-cat is adjusting to good food regularly served, so an effect on her waste products is to be expected. My schedule of feeding, though improvised, is adequate for her until she gains more weight.

The kitten was given a vaccination - which, having so little fat to absorb the needle, she disliked greatly - and an oral medicine for worms, which the veterinary does not fear that she has, anyway. Echo’s claws were also clipped.

The newcomer behaved very well during the visit. She had to be restrained during the injection, and held, with much less strength, during the claw-trimming, the latter suggesting that future operations of the kind will not be arduous. After all was done, and we were talking to the veterinary, Echo relaxed, lying quietly and still in my hand, clearly sensing that she was no longer the centre of attention and, in this instance, glad of it.

I did not believe that Echo would have any serious problem. She has been eating, voiding and playing too well for that. There is always the hidden trouble, but she seems free of those, too. Now, her future awaits. An interview for a possible new foster-home will be held this afternoon. It’s astonishing how quickly a little creature like Echo grows on one, but it will be much better for her if she can go to a home where there is but one other cat - one with whom she may become good friends - and a whole residence in which to roam and play. Whatever is best for her is best, period.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Singing the Song of the Unsung

This afternoon, Echo goes to the doctor for her first examination. This is today’s big event, but now I would like to write a little reminder of someone else with whom I live.

Josie has been with me longer than any of my current cats. We have been together for going on seven years. I believe I may have mentioned before that she is not the spectacular sort, not the kind of cat who garners attention. She is not a cute and cuddly kitten, nor a diabetic requiring special care. She is just a cat. But she is my cat, and my friend. And that is something to celebrate now and then.

One of the remarkable things about my Chubs is that she likes to make eye contact with me. She will fix me with a stare that is steady but friendly, in a concentrated sort of way. It is as if she is studying me. Periodically, I will wake in the middle of the night and Josie will be in her usual spot, lying next to me on the near side of the bed. She will be looking at me, and purring. I rub her head, talk to her and then we go back to sleep. Well, I do. She may continue staring at me, and purring. I like to think so.

Josie doesn’t ask for much. Her favourite activity is receiving chin-rubs. I’ve described these before. She will flop on her side, near to where I sit in the bedroom and lie still, while I rub her fuzzy chin. I needn’t even exert myself - though doing this for a prolonged period can cause an arm to ache - and she will appreciate the barest movement on my part. Sometimes, she will be happy to lie on my hand.

The Great White doesn’t move about the apartment to a great extent. She restricts herself mainly to the bedroom. She is unafraid of any other cat; she simply prefers the comfort of the bed, or the curve of one of the saddles on Cammie’s old cat-tree. She will come out to the dining area or the kitchen when it is meal-time, but she likes to have her food served on the bed. She waits there for it, sometimes patiently. Hers is a voluntarily circumscribed world, small but, I hope, comfortable and pleasant.

Yesterday, as I decided to write this article, I recorded the cats’ weights, as I like to do every month. I saw that Josie had lost some poundage again. She is now below six kilograms. Hers is certainly not a dangerous weight, either too great or too small, but she has been diminishing for a while now, very gradually. I have been keeping an eye on this. As well, she has been regurgitating her food more often than used to; she’d always had a sensitive stomach. Josie is keeping plenty down, I believe, but too much is coming up. She had had a seniors’ blood-panel performed on her prior to her dental operation in, I believe, March. But I will discuss with the veterinary hospital what tests may be conducted on my Chubs to ascertain her state of health. I am not worried, just a little concerned.

After all, Josie may be just a cat, but she is just my cat, and my friend.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Saturday in the Apartment with Echo

At last, during the weekend, I had time to play with Echo. I have tired her out with a string-toy and watched her have fun with a fuzzy mouse, which I found at one point in a water-bowl. I was able to spend time with her quietly, as well. We watched a movie together Saturday night, though the first half consisted of me fending off a moocher who wanted my popcorn. It was like a cartoon in which a creature is pushed back from one direction only to appear coming from another, slipping under an arm, over a hand, down a shoulder. She did calm herself after a while, though I think we both had the same poor opinion of the night’s film.

I was able to take some photographs that were not blurry, though these are the pick of about a hundred that were. This is Echo, first, looking bored, then interested.

This close-up shows her beautiful eyes, which are amber, not gold. She rolled over soon afterward and drifted off to sleep.

And then, over on the other side of the human, she snoozed some more…

I have a number of questions to ask the veterinary on Tuesday, including inquiries regarding feeding. So far, I have been giving Echo food when the other beasts are fed, and providing her with a bowl of hard kernels to nibble through the day and night. A growing kitten can’t be allowed to go hungry. This will, I think, be satisfactory for a few days. But if she is to stay with me longer, I need a better plan for her menu.

That raises another point. I know that a number of my blog’s readers have expressed a strong hope that Echo will remain with me, if not permanently, then as a long-term foster-cat. There is, in fact, a chance of her going to another foster-home. A very nice young woman is currently fostering a cat whom, she believes, would benefit from feline company of the rambunctious sort. Certainly, Echo needs more time than I can devote to her right now, and she needs a situation that will allow her the best outlet for her juvenile energy. This may be perfect for her.

This possibility is, for the moment, just that. There will be a home-visit by a PAW Society representative to the prospective foster-home, and an interview. But the woman in question works with a respected individual who has fostered for, and adopted from, the PAW Society in the past, so I think the situation will be a good one.

Until then, and, if that possibility falls through, afterward, Echo is welcome here. She will be cared for to the best of my ability, and be a part of the household. Whatever this little cat’s future, it will be happy one.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Settling In

Echo is settling in well. She is much more relaxed than she was yesterday. This morning she lie very still on my lap and closed her eyes for several minutes while I stroked her side. How thin she is reminds me of Tungsten. Just fur and bones; but we’re working on that.

She is undoubtedly bored, confined to the bathroom, but I am starting to let her into the rest of the apartment. Last night, not wanting a repeat of the shower problems, I put her in the library during my ablutions; Parker was out among the other cats, as he usually is these days. Initially, Echo was excited in the library, but when I left her alone, she panicked a bit. But by the time I had finished my shower and come back to see her, she had discovered the window and was looking out. I will allow her access to the library and bedroom over the weekend, while the other beasts are kept out.

Echo goes to the veterinary on Tuesday, the twelfth. I foresee no health issues for the little creature. I want to ask about cutting her claws, though; there is no reason not to get her used to that early in life, but I need to know if there are differences between cutting a kittens’ claws and an adult cats’, other than that the kitten has rapiers while her older cousins have sabres. If all goes well at the doctor’s examination, Echo will be periodically released from solitary confinement and gradually integrated into the general prison population. So far, the only cat who has taken much interest in the newcomer has been Cammie, who has been hissing at her through closed doors.

I inadvertently startled Echo when, while I was brushing my teeth, she plunged her claws into my leg. The resultant yell caused the little one’s tail to poof and her back to arch. Her amber eyes grew large and she instantly stopped purring. But all was good again when I picked her up and apologised. Her motor started once more and she flipped over in my hand for some chest rubs.

I continue to try to take photographs of her but anything new attracts her attention, and she immediately advances on the camera. I have to catch her unawares to record her image. As she grows more accustomed to her new life, that too will change, I expect. There is much awaiting this tiny Echo, and she seems impatient to see it all.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Night of the Surprising Calm

Echo’s first night in the Cosy Apartment was as successful as it could have been; certainly better than I had anticipated.

She can be noisy but usually only when she is hungry. Then, I wonder if I should have called her ‘Bruce Banner’ because she can sound as if she’s turned into the Hulk. But through the night, she cried only when she knew I had woken up and was moving about, and when I returned to bed, she fell silent again. In the morning, however, she must have sensed that it was breakfast-time, as she began her heavy demands. I live in a corner suite, with only one lateral neighbour. The woman who lives upstairs was not bothered by any sounds from the new cat. I have not yet checked to learn whether my next door neighbour was similarly untroubled.

Echo is a very affectionate and happy cat. She purred constantly while I was with her, and loved being physically close to me. My morning preparations are quite the ordeal with a kitten who wants to be part of them. And having a shower last night was unlike any other experience. Echo continually screamed and wanted to come in with me. At one point, she slipped into the tub and was sprayed with water, but it didn’t deter her. I will have to arrange for her to spend a few minutes in another room when I have showers from now on.

I really had no idea how delicate a kitten felt under the hand. Echo’s bones could be made of thin cardboard. It’s like having a toy version of Cammie. I must be very gentle with this new guest - as I should be - but I feel as though the slightest accident will damage her. I am hardly brutal with the perma-cats, but picking Renn up and dropping him on the bed four feet away is hardly of consequence; he trots back purring. Yet I see Echo leap from the bathroom counter to the floor - a distance five times her length - and slip when jumping onto the top of her litter-box, yet bounce back as if she were an india-rubber ball.

(Echo used the litter-box last night, for both numbers one and two. There is no problem in that department.)

I have no decent pictures of the baby to publish; I took fifty-six photographs of her and the three that were not of an orange blur I used in yesterday’s article. Instead, I’ll show you this interpretation of Echo when she is hungry.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chapter 748, in which I Join the Highland Light Infantry

I like reading memoirs from decades ago. They provide great insight into how life in the past was lived on a daily basis, and frequently contain amusing episodes. I recall reading the autobiography of a British Army officer which told of a fellow cadet who, when passing out of Sandhurst, filled in the standard questionnaire regarding the regiments into which he wanted to be commissioned. He wrote “Anything except the Highland Light Infantry.” It was indicative that the higher powers had a sense of humour that the cadet was sent off to Glasgow and the Highland Light Infantry.

I have long advocated for middle-aged and older cats. Everyone chooses kittens. They are cute, cuddly, wobbly and have high squeaky voices. It’s the oldsters who need homes more. Kittens are rambunctious, overly energetic and troublesome. I have always stayed away from kittens.

I’ve now been sent to the Highland Light Infantry.

Meet Echo.

She was squawking horribly behind the building where I work. There is a colony of feral cats there, all black and white, except for a couple of grey tabbies. They are all very shy of people except the man who feeds them. Echo appeared and definitely knew that people were the ones with the food and comfort. Far from shy, she kept trying to slip through the doorway into the building. We think that she was abandoned with her siblings. They were all rescued by someone here, all but one, an orange youngster, who could not be found at the time. She has been now.

Someone termed Echo and her brothers and sisters ‘feral’, though of course they, and she, are not. I think the term sometimes is confused with ‘homeless’. They are all socialised, so they had a home at one point, and it could not have been long ago, for Echo is only about four months old (so I estimate). Perhaps a child pleaded for a kitten, did not take care of it and the parents did not want to. It may be known by some that the feral colony behind my work-place is being fed, so that presented a solution. Abandonment is never a good solution for the cat.

Echo was almost panicky, hoping for someone to let her in where she felt safe, so, since no one else was going to help her, I felt I had to. The only way to do that was to provide her with refuge. I brought her home. Having another cat live with me was not last on my list of things to do, but it was near the bottom. However, there was, I felt, no alternative. She is currently in my bathroom.

Once there, she wailed and cried, cried and wailed. Then she started to settle on my lap. She purred and cried and wailed. Then she purred and talked. Then she just purred. She purred and rolled onto her back and kneaded the air. She ate hungrily once she realised she was safe. She drank thirstily. I have no idea if she knows the purpose of a litter-box, but there is one with her.

The other beasts are curious but not put off their habits by the newcomer. Because of her recent problems, hardly finished, Cammie was uppermost in my concerns, but she is unfazed. Readers will be glad to know that she is eating well: her appetite for soft-food is returning, and she is asking for – and receiving – hard-food whenever she wants it. (I will still be talking to my regular veterinary about her condition. I have called the emergency clinic to prompt them to forward the x-ray. I am annoyed that they have not, and will speak to them again tomorrow.)

For now, there is Echo. Because foster-homes are at a premium here, I will be keeping her until one is found, whenever that may be. Being a youngster, she may even go straight into an adoption, but even so, that will not be possible for a week or two while her health is examined.

In any case, like the officer sent to the regiment for which he did not really care, I will do what I can for those for whom I am responsible. I wonder if that officer found his new situation not half as bad as he had anticipated.