Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wilder Life

Sometimes I see wilder life than my cats. During my holidays, I took an early morning bicycle ride, and saw these rabbits, who were going to work with the humans. I have seen quite a few rabbits in both residential and commercial districts of the town. I’m not sure if they always live near where I see them, but these two probably did. This location is not far from a park.

And you may recall that, during my holidays, I saw, while on my way to do some shopping, a deer by the side of the street. This one I observed more recently. He was outside the Ramada Inn (formerly the Heidelberg) and seeking to cross the town’s major north/south thoroughfare. There are parks near either side of this street, but none in which a deer would live permanently; there are houses and pavement for miles in either direction. Where this fellow came from or where he was going I don’t know.

He did cross the street safely, however. Automobiles slowed down for him, and he knew when to cross. I have seen deer in the midst of town, during the day; they seem to be wary of people and cars, but not unduly afraid of them. They know to stay away from them, but are otherwise undaunted by their presence. I think the deer like eating the leaves of trees on lawns and in gardens, though why they should go to such trouble when there are trees in the parks by the river, I don’t know.

If you enlarge the photographs, you can see that this fellow has antlers just starting. He may be a youngster. I am sure he made it back to his friends and family without incident, as deer being struck within the town is a rarity. Why he would risk it at all, I can’t say.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scratching the Surface

I have noted before how cats can change their habits, but with Cammie, it’s more a matter of continuing to evolve the ones she has. I was reading some of my entries written when she first came to stay with me, and how cautious she was with me and the other cats. She has changed greatly, though she still hisses at the slightest displeasure.

For a while now, I have been scratching her chest when she provides the opportunity. She will be snoozing comfortably, and then stretch, twisting her lithe form, and come to rest on her back. Initially, I scratched hesitantly, unsure of how she would react. Now I know that she likes it, though I tend not to press my luck.

But the other day, while I was rubbing her fur, she started purring. Cammie rarely purrs except when lying on me, but she purred this time. And, just as when she is lying on my chest, I know that she is ready to leave when the purring stops. It stopped, I ceased scratching, and she was off to do something else.

I think of this as an instance not of my princess allowing me to rub her chest, to touch her in a way that’s new, but of permitting herself to enjoy something. I wonder if she had much of that in the days before she was rescued. She knows she is safe in her home, and with me, and every now and then, when she experiences something new, she may think to herself, “This is rather nice, too.” That’s always a pleasant discovery to make, whether one is feline or human.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Where We Want Him

Parker is my foster-cat, and he, like my perma-cat, Tucker, has diabetes. This weekend demonstrated that Parker’s condition may be under control.

Last weekend, I performed a ‘curve’ on the orange sturdy-boy. It showed that, at their nadir, his blood-glucose numbers were within the ‘normal’ range, which is between four and eight. In other words, he is receiving the correct dosage of insulin to lower his sugar to an acceptable level and make his body work properly. I ran a ‘mini-curve’ of just a few blood samples the next day, and, though the nadir was a little lower than what we would like, it was close enough to be pleasing.

The doctor rightly wanted to make sure, so I conducted yet another ‘curve’ on my long-suffering foster-cat this Saturday. The results were very similar to the previous Saturday’s, confirming that Parker is receiving the right amount of insulin, aided by a fitting diet of low-carbohydrate food. We have him, in other words, right where we want him. His doctor was happy with Parker’s status.

This is especially satisfactory as he will head into dental surgery on August 3rd. His stability is important for such an event. I would like eventually to try lowering his insulin dosage, especially since his nadir is at the lower end of what is acceptable, giving room for a slight rise in the numbers, while keeping it within ‘normal’. This, however, will not be attempted, if at all, for some time.

In a way, this is just the beginning for Parker. He may be on insulin for the rest of his life; he may be on lower doses of insulin. There is a chance of a remission of his diabetes. Whatever happens, however, it had to start here, with control being taken of his condition, a platform built from which to make changes for the better at a later date. Diabetes, I have learned, is an unpredictable enemy, so our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But for now, we have the upper hand.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nine Thousand Words

Tucker will be appearing in the 2018 Lethbridge PAW Society calendar, as I mentioned in a blog entry a week and a half ago. This Saturday, the photographer came to capture the roly poly’s likeness for eternity.

The photographer, Tanya Plonka, of Puppy Love Pet Photography, has donated her time and talents to the creation of the calendar’s pictures for several years now. The results are always excellent, but in Tucker, she faced the challenge of an unco-operative subject.

He is, by nature, shy. Once a person is familiar to him, he shows little concern for their presence, and can even come out to greet visitors after they have been in the apartment for only an hour or so. That didn’t help us in this case, and Tucker had to be bribed with treats. Suddenly, he was ready for his close-ups.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

All Quiet on the Feline Front

Right now, there is little to describe from the cosy apartment. But I have a picture of each of the beasts at rest on a recent, hot day, so I thought I would make a progress report to justify their display.

Josie was regurgitating her hard-food (and not the soft), but making sure that she - and all the others - are deprived of it soon after bedtime seems to have solved the matter. I also dosed her with hairball medicine. She proved unexpectedly intractable in that activity, but the job is done, and she still likes me.

Renn continues to groom himself overly-much for my liking. I gave him some hairball medicine as well (he was much easier about it than his sister) and have bought a Furminator to help with any excess hair he feels he may have. His behaviour is otherwise unchanged, and his health appears excellent.

Tucker is on two units of insulin twice a day. This is undoubtedly too low an amount for him, but it will, I hope, stabilise his diabetes so that I can then see when and by how much it needs adjusting. He remains a happy little sausage, except when Parker is loose.

Cammie, recovered fully from her latest digestive episode, is eating well, walking across me purring while I am trying to sleep at four a.m., and hissing at anything that incurs her displeasure. It’s nice to have her back to normal.

Parker’s blood-sugar numbers are showing improvement, and he may at last be stabilised. His insulin dosage is still high but that is less important than a good, consistent curve. Once he is finished with his dental procedure in early August, and we are sure his diabetes hasn’t been unduly disturbed by it, we may see about lowering his dosage. But even then, the significance will be in his stability and general health.

The beasts are feeling good. I am pleased at this, as who knows how long it will last, with five very different cats? We enjoy today and prepare ourselves for what tomorrow will throw at us. I’m ready and, as you may see from the photographs above, so are the beasts.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Familiar and the Exotic

Cammie’s recovery is complete at last, but her most recent illness, following closely upon the cleaning of the cat-trees (I’m not sure which was the greatest upheaval, in her eyes), has left her with some differences.

Dietically, she has returned to eating more hard-food than soft, which is disappointing to me, as she needs the moisture of the soft-food. I suppose she will eat only so much, and if it is mostly hard kernels, the soft-food will suffer. This was discouraging but not wholly unexpected.

What I find more surprising are changes in her habits. I have already written an entry describing how she is – sometimes – more tolerant of the proximity of her roommates. There is an addendum to that story. The hot weather here continues, and Cammie has taken refuge under the armchairs from time to time. One spot in particular is a favourite resort of Tucker’s, but this day, the princess had claimed it. I wondered how that would affect the roly poly’s leisure. I was taken quite unawares when I saw not only that Tucker had slipped into his spot (well, very close to it, anyway) even with Cammie there, but that the latter did not object.

Then again, Cammie seems to have discovered another comfortable new spot. Specifically, she has taken to lying where I often sit, in a corner of the sitting room couch. This means, of course, as every cat-person knows, that I must find somewhere else. Even when I arrive on the couch first, my little Siamese will periodically jump up on to my lap, which she used to do when she was first growing accustomed to physical contact with me, but rarely did afterward.

It is rather an adventure, living with cats. They are, as I have written before, creatures of habit – until they change those habits. Cammie will still hiss at a cat who is too close to her (across the room is frequently too close), even if that cat is asleep and posing no danger whatsoever. And yet, she may then consent to her personal space being constricted. Bit by bit, the princess is changing. In that she is rather like me, like all humans, altering how we behave, what we do, sometimes imperceptibly. Perhaps that is why so many of us enjoy feline company: these beasts are similar enough to people to be familiar, and different enough to be exotic. Can there be a better description of my Cammie?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Ferocious Pretender

There are certain things I do with each of my cats. Each beast is different, with a personality all his own, so what I do with each is different. Tucker and I have our own game.

We usually play it while he is sitting in his favourite chair at the dining table. I will feign an attack upon him, and grab his head. He is ready for this manoeuvre, however, and in turn seizes one of my fingers or a thumb with his paw. (Since he has no thumb of his own, his action is not very definitive; I go along with it nonetheless.) My digit he then puts into his mouth, securing it by clamping his teeth upon it. But he doesn’t want to hurt me, so, while I pretend that he can capture a finger, he pretends that he is biting down on it. I cry out in false pain, and he lets me go.

The roly poly one likes this game, happily rubbing his fuzzy moon-face against the spindles of the back of the chair, a sure sign that he is enjoying himself. Sometimes he even purrs as he is tearing the metaphoric flesh from my bones, the ferocious beast.

While cats’ ability at pretence is demonstrated by hunting fake mice and the like, this imaginary battle and its equally imaginary consequences show, I think, a slightly higher capacity for seeing in their minds’ eyes what isn’t really present, for feeling what doesn’t exist. It proves that we don’t need toys to entertain our cats. And we just need them to entertain ourselves.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Excuse Me, Do You Have Anything Warmer?

Tucker’s photo session went well – after I bribed him with treats. I will show the results when they are sent to me. As regards buying the calendar, I will put the information for its acquisition on the side of this blog early next week. Though the calendar has yet to be printed, copies may be ordered at any time now.

In the meanwhile, days are uncomfortable here. The temperature right now is 32˚ Celsius (89.6˚ Fahrenheit) and is expected to reach 37˚C (98.6˚F) next week. That’s body temperature. And, but for one day, it is not predicted to fall below 31˚C at any time during the daylight hours for the next two weeks. It is my opinion that that counts as excessive. Still, we do not suffer the humidity that other parts of the country do, such as southern Ontario. On the other hand, it is not in human nature to think, when one is being beaten with a piece of plywood, ‘at least it’s not a rock’. So I will continue to grumble.

I, and many others, have mentioned numerous times how our cats will sometimes defy the heat and lie in its midst, and the next moment run for the coolest shade they can find. Here is an example of the latter, a photograph taken while I was making the bed. The comforter, usually at the foot of the bed, has been discarded - though someone found it cosy.

Friday, July 7, 2017

In the Merry Month of Tucker

Each year, the Lethbridge PAW Society, the rescue-group to which I belong, brings out a calendar for the following year. Work has started on the calendar for 2018. The design will be all-new but it will feature, as did previous calendars, twelve cats who were adopted from PAW. I have been working my way through mine; last year, I had intended to include Tucker, but he developed Horner’s syndrome and, though otherwise well, one of his eyes had its third lid half-way across it. So his appearance in the calendar was postponed.

A professional photographer has volunteered her time and talent to take the pictures for the calendar, and will be visiting Saturday to capture my roly poly one for posterity. I hope Tucker isn’t too timid to give a good show. I am sure I can keep him from hiding, but as to whether he will be as co-operative tomorrow as he needs to be is another matter. We will see.

The calendar will be available for purchase by September, and one of the months will be taken up with this fellow.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pieces of Renn

I would have thought the principal shedding period for cats was over. At the cosy apartment, however, the excessive heat that we are experiencing may be inspiring the beasts to greater efforts. And, while most of them are divesting themselves of their extra hair in an unconscious manner, Renn is a cat of another colour.

He seems not to be shedding, strictly writing, any more now than he usually does. But he is grooming himself more, with the result that he is throwing off small clumps of hair everywhere. I am sure my big boy is not suffering from anything except a more noticeable enthusiasm for cleanliness. I keep an eye on overzealousness, of course, and am inspecting his fur more than usual.

In the meantime, Renn is littering the apartment with little bits of his hair. Sometimes it is fluffy; more often, it is thick and damp (or previously damp), from him licking it off his body. I am glad that he likes to keep himself presentable, but I now find bits of him lying all over our home.

Really, it is a small thing to use the vacuum cleaner on the big boy’s refuse. And in return, he maintains a fine-looking and healthy coat - which he enjoys showing off, like this.