Friday, February 23, 2018

Cats Permeate My Life

Cats permeate my life, especially my cats and my routines with them.

There is a colony of unsocialized felines behind my work-place. Lately a new cat has appeared amongst the regulars, who are mostly white and black, except for a tabby with white socks. This new fellow is all-black and is still making his place. I left work one day this week and saw him slip behind a pile of wooden pallets. He evidently met other cats, as there was hissing and growling. I immediately said:

“Hey, hey! It’s alllllll right, it’s alllllll right… Calm down…”

This is what I do when my own beasts act up. What did I expect these community cats to do?

Then there’s the fact that when I see dust-bunnies on floors outside of my own apartment, I stoop to pick them up, automatically thinking them to be cat-hair. When I hear anything that sounds like a cat retching, I look up to see if it’s Cammie. I could be in the local grocery store…

And as if that’s not enough, I was at the pet-supply shop where, on the second Saturday of every month, my rescue-group shows off a cat available for adoption, and watched a dog come in with his people. He was a big, cheerful fellow. He came over to greet me and his people told me that he was very happy to be there. Though I could see his tail wagging, I nonetheless put my hand against his side - so I could feel if he was purring.

Cats permeate my life.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Scare from Cammie

I would like to thank those who commented on the award the Eastside Cats gave me. Such gestures from them and you are appreciated. It’s always encouraging to have one’s words read.

Now, I would like to relate how Cammie frightened me the day before yesterday. As some of you may know from reading this blog, my princess has digestive problems, probably due to an allergy. Recently, she suffered two episodes of vomiting within a couple of weeks. I am fully alive to any sounds of stomach upset. When I came home from work on Tuesday, I prepared the beasts’ dinners; Cammie was on the top of the tallest cat-tree. I heard her becoming sick.

I was appalled, as I knew that the last thing she needed was another few days of throwing up, not eating, weakness and the inevitable journey to the veterinary hospital. I wanted to see what the spew looked like, as it would tell me what had been brought up and how long ago she had eaten. Whatever the case, it was a disaster. What could possibly have caused it this time?

It was a hairball. It was a long, thick, disgusting, viscous mass. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen. Cammie had thrown up an ordinary hairball. She likely couldn’t comprehend why I was telling her how good a girl she was for such an action. I’m sure she thought she was going to be taken to the bathroom - where all medicines are dispensed - and then to the hospital.

I didn’t relax entirely, since I am not completely certain what causes her episodes. I suspect allergies, but with such a sensitive stomach, a hairball may trigger something, too. But I was relieved. Indeed, soon after, the princess was dining well, and, after eating again later that evening, kept everything down.

Cammie continues to eat her new Z/D hard-food, and to enjoy it. Because she eats so little at a time - she has always been like that - I feed her whenever she wants, or whenever I think she will accept some nutrition. This means waking a couple of times during the night to give her something to keep her tummy from growling, but that’s all right. I would like to have her on an all-soft-food diet - I’d like that for all the cats - but she disdains the soft version of Z/D, and even her previous favourite, Fancy Feast. I am fearful of giving her anything she had consumed before now, as I’ve no idea what may have caused an allergic reaction, though I suspect fish. She likes the Z/D, is eating it, is drinking plenty of water (I don’t think the small amount of soft-food she had previously condescended to eat provided much moisture anyway) and is acting healthy and happy, or as happy as she ever does.

Things are going well for Cammie right now and, if she will keep from scaring me, they will continue well for me, too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

In Which I am Presented with an Award

Today, I am pleased to announce that the Eastside Cats ( have given me a Supawstars Spotlight Award, because they enjoy my blog. While I write my blog for my own entertainment - and to tell everyone about my cats - it is nonetheless gratifying to know that it brings some pleasure to others. Thank you, Eastside Cats.

I now will list five other blogs that I feel deserve to be given this award. These are not the only blogs I like or frequently read, but are, perhaps, the ones I like which I believe deserve a bit more attention for different reasons. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Feral Cat Behavior ( is the effort of a woman in the United States who is practically a one-woman cat-rescue operation. Mary Anne does remarkable work helping cats, and does so on a necessarily minuscule budget. Lately, the local businesses that have supported her in a half-hearted way have done away with the other half of their hearts and money is scarcer than ever. She doesn’t blog every day, as she is coping with family health issues, too, but if you can drop by her site to say ‘hello’, and maybe donate, if you can, I know it would be appreciated.

Just Cats ( is a fellow Canadian blog which, despite the title, isn’t just about cats. It’s about cats and dogs, family and homes, and even a friendly chipmunk. Deb is a part-time cat-sitter, and she and her husband are in the process of building their new house on property that is practically ancestral land.

Musings on a Small Life ( is another Canadian who, in addition to her two cats, writes about work and life in general. Her views of the world are entertaining and often insightful, and the pictures she takes are interesting and vey often beautiful; she has a good eye for colour, especially in flowers.

Strange Company ( is a treasury of the weird, unusual and inexplicable. Undine (cat-lover and fan of Edgar Allan Poe) writes of disappearances, ghosts, unsolved murders and the generally odd. Her ‘weekend link dumps’, featured every Friday, are huge selections of the bizarre with something to satisfy everyone’s curiosities.

Tomcat Commentary by Tim ( always has something funny going on. Pete is dad to half a dozen felines, who usually tell their own tales. The photographs accompanying them are perfect illustrations of the adventures.

These are among the blogs I read and, though I don’t read many blogs regularly, they are not the only ones. I hope no one feels left out if I didn’t mention them. All of those I frequent - and even more that I don’t - are entertaining and fun, and one can always find something appealing somewhere on the internet.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Parker and his Roommates

Parker’s integration may be as far advanced as it is going to get. He and Tucker still exchange blows at times, and their fights can become quite heated, so I must supervise them. The other cats vary in their reactions to the sturdy boy. Sometimes there is little discord and there are scenes such as this.

Renn seems least bothered by my orange foster-boy. Periodically, he will hiss at him; other times, he will sniff noses and walk away. He seems undisturbed by Parker’s presence while snoozing. Parker, for his part, seems content to live under such conditions. He doesn’t try to push himself on the others, and, though he avoids them sometimes, is not frightened by them.

While he still lives in the library by himself when I am absent or asleep, Parker is not, I believe, unhappy. He is always glad to be released from what I consider to be his mild solitary confinement, and though his integration may have reached a plateau, I am gratified that it has been successful enough to result in this: Parker, leaning against his favourite animal.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Play-time on a Shoe-string

Interesting my beasts in playing can be a bit of a chore. I have tried mechanical toys and wobbly toys, toys that sit and toys that roll, toys that I operate and toys that operate by themselves. Sometimes they generate fun, sometimes they do not. The truth is that my cats play when they want to. But I continue to try to motivate them. Parker is the most active and will charge the Trac-ball and push a fuzzy mouse about quite a bit. Tucker likes milk-jug rings and Cammie will battle a stick, while Renn will run through the apartment, though I don’t know that this is playing.

They do like the basic string-toy, but even that can pall unless changed a bit. So I thought I would tie a shoe-lace to the string-toy. Then I thought I would simply use the shoe-lace. What a difference that made.

Everyone was interested in playing, even Cammie. Tucker found it intriguing before the others, and wrestled and rolled with the new string. Josie actually got up and fought with it (though in the photograph, she has retired to the bedroom, still playing but sedentarily). Cammie would try to bite it as it landed near her. (Parker is still amused by the other string-toys and has no need of the shoe-lace yet). But Renn was the most excited, jumping and chasing and grabbing. He even rushed into and out of the tunnel in his pursuit of the shoe-lace.

The shoe-lace is a success, but I won’t resort to it every play-time, as I don’t want the cats to become sated with it too soon. But every second evening or so, it may make an appearance - whenever I don’t have to wear my shoes…

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Night of the Strange Parker

Thanks again to all those who commented on Cammie’s well-being. The princess is doing well so far. She is eating the Z/D hard-food, and seems to like it. I still haven’t found a satisfactory way in which to leave it for her during the day, as Renn, who enjoys it as well, has learned that I put it at the top of the tallest cat-tree… Well, I can still give it to Cammie when I see that she wants it, and she is drinking a little more water now, probably to compensate for the drier intake of food.

On another subject, my orange foster-cat, Parker, was behaving strangely last evening. It wasn’t strange in a bad way, but it was different. First, he climbed to the top of the tallest cat-tree and had a lie-down. It may be that he, like Renn, smelled the Z/D up there, but he wasn’t looking for anything when he arrived; he just lie down for a few minutes.

Then he tried out the hammock, which Tucker favours but no one else does to any great extent. Parker had not used the hammock previously.

After that, it was to the top of the cabinets in the kitchen. He is a very active fellow, but this time, he couldn’t get down safely, and called for help. I lifted him down.

At last, the sturdy boy settled for a while on the platform under the cylinder on the cylinder-house cat-tree. He has not reposed there before, but seemed to like it. It was the least adventurous spot of the night, so I was content to let him rest.

My sturdy-boy is an inquisitive cat; not as scientific as Renn, as Parker’s curiosity comes and goes, and has less to do with learning than with fun. But that’s all right; a cat should never out-grow his sense of fun - or his periodic strangeness.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Same Question, Different Answer

It’s been more than a week since I’ve published anything here, I think, and in the meanwhile, Cammie had yet another attack of her allergy. This one was an unpleasant surprise, as it was just two weeks after the last one.

It was a little different this time, so initially I didn’t think it was another of my princess’s episodes. She threw up once on Sunday night, then again the next day. Usually, she is ill three times in quick succession. This time, the retching was more isolated. But eventually, it resolved itself into the normal routine, and Cammie couldn’t keep anything down. She and I went to the veterinary hospital Thursday afternoon.

There, Cammie received an injection of Cerenia, as well as 125 mL of fluid; she was very dehydrated, and the fluid didn’t even make a bump under her skin, it was absorbed so needfully. She was not pleased. It took the doctor, a veterinary technician, me and a towel to keep her in place while she received her fluids. I think this time was especially upsetting to her as it was such a short period since her previous visit.

In the aftermath, I have decided to try for a new answer to this problem. I believe that my girl’s problems are an allergic reaction, probably to fish. (I may be completely wrong in this, but this is my working theory.) I have been feeding her Fancy Feast chicken-and-liver as a soft-food, and Orijen Regional Red hard-food. I think the latter is a very good cat-food, but it does contain the fish pilchard, though only in small amounts. If Cammie’s troubles lie in fish, then it may be enough to trigger an attack. So I have started feeding her a hard-food, Z/D,  that is supposed to be good for cats prone to allergies.

The first obstacle to clear was her preferences. To my surprise, however, she likes the Z/D. She comes forward to meet me when I bring it to her. This may be the novelty of the food, so we will see if it stands the test of time. The second obstacle is my absence during much of the day. I do not want to keep the Orijen from my other beasts, nor do I want to lock Cammie up all day, like Parker. With the limited number of rooms in my apartment, that is not practical, anyway. I have taken to putting a dish of the Z/D on the  top platform of the tallest cat-tree. The others rarely go there, except in the evening (when I will be present to hand out the Z/D, anyway), so hopefully Cammie will have the dish to herself, and eat enough of it to keep her from wanting any of the Orijen.

As for soft-food, the Fancy Feast chicken-and-liver claims not to have any fish in it, but I don’t know that I trust the manufacturing methods of cat-food companies to keep each variety or flavour pure, so there may be danger to Cammie from that direction. But she eats little of it anyway. Her water-consumption is very good - except during her episodes when she can’t keep it down - so in her case, however desirable soft-food may be, it may not be contributing a great deal of moisture.

That is my newest strategy on the food-front. As well, I brought home from the hospital a bag of fluids and the necessary accoutrements for its delivery into Cammie’s system. If she develops vomiting again, I want to be able to give her fluids independent of the hospital, and, possibly, to give her fluids regardless of her vomiting. Though it took three to persuade her to accept the fluids in the hospital, I hope to accomplish this alone: I theorise that her violent reluctance previously was due to the stressful setting. Having me administer fluids at home may be different. Then again, I may be fooling myself. I can call on assistance, but as Cammie dislikes and distrusts every human but myself, that may not solve the problem. We will see about that at the time.

This is where we stand now. Cammie is enjoying her new food, which should be much less of an irritant to her little body than other nutrition, and her consumption of any other food is diminished. If her episodes are the result of allergies, this should help. If not, you’ll be reading more about this sort of thing in the future. I hope not to write its like again.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Renn's New Route

In September, I wrote about how Josie learned to use the desk in the bedroom to walk from the bed to the window sill, and vice versa. This saved her the trouble of descending to the floor and then climbing the cat-trees. I don’t think that the latter route caused her difficulties or discomfort, but the new one is easier. I am certain that she learned this from Parker. You may recall the images I used to illustrate this tale.

It seems another cat has benefitted from Parker’s eye for the landscape. Renn, who is certainly neither weak nor infirm, has taken to using the new route. I have witnessed it twice. He shows no hesitation in walking that way, and has the confidence of somecat who has been walking it for years. I suspect he learned indirectly from Parker, and observed Josie using the desk short-cut. Being Renn, he still leaps from the bed to the cat-trees from time to time, but seems to enjoy having this other option.

I don’t mind it since, unlike my orange boy and the Great White, Renn does not cross the breadth of the desk while I am actually using it. Not yet, anyway. But if a cat has learned to do something, it is only matter of time before he does it without regard for his human…

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My Lithe and Supple Jungle Cat

Well, sometimes the camera catches us when we aren’t always in the best of poses…

Monday, January 29, 2018

Plans for the Future

Tucker’s diabetes continues to be decently controlled. His latest curve was a good one. This had me laying plans for the future.

The roly poly’s insulin – glargine - has always been delivered by a ‘pen’, with an integral capsule in which the insulin is actually stored. The pen I use, however, does not allow for half-unit doses. This would be a problem if it came time to lower (or even raise, God forbid) his dosage, as a gradual change is preferable to a sudden.

Parker’s insulin, of a different kind, is delivered by syringe, which allows for manual adjustment, using the plunger, of the amounts given. While this permits human error – or, rather, inexactitude – in measuring doses, it also means that fractional doses may be given. After consultation with Tucker’s doctor, it has been agreed that my cat’s glargine may at some point come by vial, and be delivered by syringe.

I will not be switching Tucker over to this method immediately; perhaps in a few months. While, as I have stated, his last curve was good, diabetes is a frustratingly uneven condition, and one good curve doesn’t mean similarly beneficial ones will follow. Conversely, one bad one doesn’t negate a series of good curves. What I want is stability. Some time ago, I reduced Tucker’s dosage to two units twice a day to achieve just that; having done it, the dosage was increased to a level more in keeping with his needs. Once I see, from a number of good curves, that he is stable at three units twice a day, I may switch him to insulin from a vial.

Then will follow a period in which I hope to note that the change did not adversely affect my sausage of a cat. After all, there may be a difference in the two kinds of glargine that will prove a disadvantage. Only once stability with the syringe-delivered insulin is accomplished will a reduction be considered.

So you can see it is a long path for Tucker. It may branch off in other directions: it may be that half-doses will not be needed, negating the requirement for syringes. But whatever path we take, it will be by one step at a time. In the interval, I will canvass local pharmacies and learn of their ability to provide what Tucker needs. But each day brings the future closer, and I want to have a good idea of how Tucker and I will fight his diabetes, once we arrive.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Age of Cats

I was thinking the other day about how old my cats are, and I realised that they are all middle-aged. It’s true that, according to veterinary science, they are seniors. But science also intimates that there is no Santa Claus, so what does it know?

Josie is going to be fourteen this year. She is thinner than she used to be when I first started calling her my Chubs. Her appetite is nothing like it was when she used to invade other cats’ space for their food, and clean the dish of anyone who didn’t finish their meals. But she also displays affection toward me more openly and, now and then, shows her playful side by making rushes at Cammie, then veering away, just to bother her. Cammie thinks this is not playfulness. I worry about Josie the most because of her diminishing weight and loss of appetite, but according to her recent full examination, she is doing well. She has been with me since Christmas-time of 2008. Josie is like the mild, pink-and-fluffy lady who lives next door to you; quiet, but with a sense of fun that allows her to tease her crabby sister.

Tucker will be thirteen. I know this because he had been with his original family for five years, since he was a kitten, when he was returned. He had been wetting outside the litter-box, due to stress at the arrival of a new baby. He had a few instances of that when he came to live with me in 2010, but he settled in soon enough. He has had much to handle in terms of health, including surgery and his diabetes, and his weight is such that he could lend Josie some pounds. My roly poly sausage’s health concerns aren’t due much to his years, though and he has slipped into middle age without much fuss. He reminds me of a fifty year old man, who comes home from work, has dinner, then falls asleep in his chair watching television.

Cammie, on the other hand, fusses a lot, usually because the other beasts are too near her. She is about thirteen years old, as well. This is an estimate, based on the statement of her previous humans. Her bodily problems, like Tucker’s, have nothing to do with her age; they are caused by diet. Otherwise, she is quite fit, and, though she doesn’t often play with me, she will periodically rocket through the apartment, and enjoys climbing the tallest cat-tree at speed. If I can keep her menu controlled, her silver years should be healthy and comfortable. She puts me in mind of an independent lady who thinks the neighbourhood’s gone down-hill…

Parker, my foster-cat, is a fit eleven years of age. Though he has diabetes, and his dosage of insulin is higher than Tucker’s, this orange boy isn’t letting time slow him down. He charges about when he plays, throwing fuzzy mice about and running this way and that. Not all day, mind you, but when he decides to be active, he is very active. He can leap straight up onto a kitchen counter - while I’m preparing his dinner - and though he is a hefty 19 pounds or so, he carries it well. Imagine one of those stocky forty year old guys who likes to brag, gently, about how he still plays football or hockey with the younger guys. That’s my sturdy boy.

Lastly, there is my youngster, Renn. He was about three when he came to live with me, and is eleven and hale, like Parker, but seems more youthful. He has had hardly any troubles with his well-being, barring a couple of teeth that needed removal, and will continue so, knock on wood. Lean and strong, you can see the muscles in his legs when he climbs or scratches, yet he eats like a runway model exhibiting the new Skeletor collection from Armani. How he stays alive, I don’t know, but he thrives. He’s like a New Age devotee existing on granola and wheat germ, while walking briskly uphill just for fun every day.

While my feline roommates are aging, they are aging gracefully (except maybe for Tucker). There will come a time for each of them when they will grow too old for this Earth, and I will have to say good-bye to them. But for now, I am thankful to see them when I come home from work in the afternoons, thankful when I wake in the mornings, and they wait, with varying degrees of patience, for their breakfasts. I remember Tungsten and Bear-Bear, who didn’t live long enough, and am grateful for each day that is added to my age of cats.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Back to Normal?

Thank you to all those who expressed concern over Cammie’s latest bout of illness, and wishes for her full recovery. She is doing well again, eating and drinking. She came to sit on my lap yesterday, saw Renn was on the couch, too (a couple of feet away), grew offended, hissed and left. She’s pretty much back to normal.

But is this normal? A couple of nights ago, I saw Parker go into the bedroom. Josie was already there. Then Cammie wandered in. Then the other boys. It was as though they were drawn by some call. It seemed as if there might be something outside to look at, but not everyone went to the window. They wanted to be in the bedroom, but did not appear to know why. They may have been expecting instructions from their superior. And I don’t mean me.

Well, if cats didn’t behave oddly at times, we would think it strange indeed.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Cammie's Week

Last week was a difficult one in the household, as Cammie was ill again. I believe it was caused by her theft of some of Renn’s soft-food. For years, Cammie has enjoyed Fancy Feast’s ocean whitefish variety, and for almost as long, I have suspected that shrimp had been the catalyst for her episodes of sickness. Lately, I have been considering that fish in general has been the cause, and so I have taken away her ocean whitefish. She still likes it, however, and, when I served some to Renn, I think she ate it. (Renn does not always finish off his rations right away. They sometimes sit in front of him for a while and, though it would be unusual for the princess to approach another cat close enough to eat his food, it is what I think happened.)

In any case, she developed the usual symptoms: vomiting her food, followed by vomiting on an empty stomach. I tried slippery elm again, but it hasn’t worked on her for some time, so Friday morning, I took her to the veterinary hospital. There she was given an injection of Cerenia, to ease her stomach, and another of the ant-acid famotidine. She was also given fluids, as she was dehydrated.

Cammie’s recovery this time was, mercifully, rapid. Upon our return from the hospital, I put her in the bathroom, for ease of monitoring, and visited her during my lunch-break. There was no vomit. I gave her some Recovery-and-water by syringe and, when I returned about three o’clock, found that she had kept it down, so I gave her more. Though she didn’t eat anything that evening, she was already feeling a renewed interest in food, and ate on her own the next day. This constituted a swift recovery compared to previous times. While I am pleased with this, it suggests a difference in this episode, a difference for which I cannot account.

But as of this morning, the princess continues well. Yesterday caused me worry, as she was quite lazy and spent the day in the heated cat-bed. While she often spends much time there, she did not get up to eat or use the litter-box until the evening. But it may be that fatigue from the prior week was catching up to her. I am especially vigilant with her, and am anxious that I may find when I go home that she has been sick again. However, I can only watch her day by day, being particularly careful regarding her nutrition. Her dish is unique, and I use a separate spoon to apportion her soft-food. Hopefully, my precautions will be enough to keep her illness from recurring.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

One Sturdy Year

I don’t usually mark anniversaries to the day. If something stands out about a certain day, then I will remember it; if not, I generally just recall the year in which something occurred. For instance, Josie came to stay with me, I believe, on Christmas Eve of 2008. Tungsten arrived in August of the year before, though I cannot say with exactitude which date it was. I know when she left me, though.

I know when Parker came to my apartment because I wrote about it in my blog. It was one year ago yesterday. My sturdy orange foster-cat has become a part of life in the household. He is available for adoption, but it would have to be a very special individual or family to whom he would go. Of course, rescue-groups feel that way about all their foster-cats, but the specialty must be a little different for Parker because of his diabetes.

Taking care of him is more than just injecting him with insulin twice a day. It includes the monthly monitoring of his blood-glucose levels (‘curves’), which involves taking blood every two hours over a twelve-hour period; in fact, because I want to be more exact, during mid-day, the sampling is every hour. He must also be watched for water-consumption and frequency of urination. His body strength must be gauged, and his diet strictly controlled. Other people could do a better job of this than I, but it must be constant, and not everyone is able to provide that care, due to their home and work situations.

He’s estimated to be eleven years old now, but still enjoys an active life. He loves to bat around the fuzzy mice, will charge the Track-ball and run about simply because he likes it. He will also jump onto the kitchen counters, possibly because I don’t like it. Parker still has his troubles with the other cats, so he remains in the library while I am absent or asleep. He would prefer the freedom of the apartment but the library is a comfy little room, so, while he may be bored in there, he is not suffering.

Parker is always on the look-out for food. His weight stubbornly refuses to diminish, but he is not fat; he’s a big-boned boy. Since his dental procedure some months ago, he is in good health, aside from his diabetes. He is a fun, friendly fellow. He lies at my feet while I wash the dishes and loves a good, sustained head-rub. His purr is rough and throaty; otherwise, his vocalizations are highly pitched, like a little kitten’s larynx has been put in the body of a tiger. His personality is definitely that of the extrovert.

Until the ideal home comes along, this solidly-built fellow will stay with me. It’s a bit crowded in the cosy apartment, but stepping over or around a fifth cat is not too much trouble. I’ve been doing it for a year. I can do it some more.

Monday, January 15, 2018

My Favourite Cause

Today I would like to write about something that I am sure I have written about previously. A few hours on Saturday brought the topic back to me. The second Saturday of each month, the rescue-group of which I am a member, the Lethbridge PAW Society, brings a cat, available for adoption, to a local pet-supply shop, to show him off, and to generate interest in him, the group, and cat-rescue in general. We rarely have an adoption result directly from the event, but it is good for publicity. If people don’t know about us and the cats seeking homes, nothing will happen.

Most of the time, the three hours the cat spends in his roomy cage in the shop are neither good nor bad for him. He rarely wants to be there, but usually puts up with it. The cat is often anxious at first, then settles down reluctantly, to await his return to his foster-home. Now and then, a feline reaction is cheerful; periodically it is fearful for the whole time. That was, unfortunately, the case with Rika this past Saturday.

This illustrates a ‘sub-cause’, as it were, that I like to promote whenever possible, and that is the consideration for adoption of the less likely cats. Rika spent most of her time under the cat-bed provided for her. She did not want to come out and interact with people, she did not respond to petting and soft words. Normally, she is an extrovert, entertaining humans and herself with playful antics and trying to involve the other animals in her foster-home in games. No one would have known that from her time at the pet-supply shop.

Other cats are not outgoing at the best of times. Like Ali - currently featured in my sidebar - they are shy, and that makes them reclusive, especially with new people. They unfortunately create a circle of apathy: few humans want to take the chance with a cat who won’t even come out to sniff them, let alone play or talk with them, so the cat remains unadopted and becomes more of an introvert.

But that doesn’t mean he will always be so. What it means is that what qualities he has will be hidden in the short time a prospective family spends with him in a foster-home or shelter. He will emerge from his cocoon of shyness only over a long time, weeks, perhaps months. That is what it will take to come to know him.

That cocoon of shyness is also a cocoon of loneliness and fear. He doesn’t trust or like the possibilities offered by change, so he remains as he is, even if it means never having a home. But I suggest that these are not only the cats who need the chance of a home the most, but those who will give the greatest return on an investment of patience and affection.

There is nothing wrong with adopting the cat who reaches out for you through the bars of his cage. He may be meant for you. But he will also have an excellent chance of charming someone else. While your heart may melt at the cries of a little fellow who clearly wants to come with you, consider those who are too despondent, too disappointed to try anymore. Consider the ones with their backs to you, who hide at the rear of their kennels. You won’t have a lap-cat that evening, and you won’t have a cat sleeping on your bed that night. But you will some day, and when you do, you will have the most faithful of friends, a new family member who will love and trust you like no other.

We all have qualities for which we search in those we want as friends, whether they are human or animal. We don’t want to risk being stuck with someone who annoys, bores or frightens us. But every new relationship is a risk. The next time you are searching for a cat to adopt, it may pay in any number of ways to ask the shelter or rescue-group, “Who needs a home the most? Who has been waiting the longest? Who will never be chosen?”

The answer to those questions may surprise and delight you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Feline Mind Meld

Today’s story depends upon two elements of Renn’s character.

Firstly, he loves people. He may be a bit shy at first with strangers, but it takes him very little time to warm to them. He likes to know where I and and, from time to time, visit with me, before going back to snoozing or peering out the window. He enjoys physical contact with people. When they aren’t petting him, he likes to lie up against them.

Secondly, he loves lying on the bed with me. Whenever I lie down for a nap (which is very rare) or to sleep (a nightly occurrence), he will come trotting into the bedroom and jump up on the bed. How he knows that I am lying on it, as opposed to sitting (which evokes no reaction on my big boy’s part), I don’t know. He is the first to join me at bed-time and the last to get off the bed in the morning, the lazy dog.

This past weekend, I was working on my computer in the bedroom and Renn wanted to keep me company. In he came and settled down on the bed. After half an hour, I figured he had a good idea, and I joined him for a short lie-down. Renn immediately started purring. But he felt he needed physical contact, so he reached out with a couple of paws. I think the intention may have been to knead me, but the stretch was probably too pleasant, and he just kept one foot against my head.

I don’t know what was sillier: that I had a purring cat with his paw pushed against my head for twenty minutes, or that I didn’t move because I was reluctant to disturb him for twenty minutes.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nylon Tunnel, Mine Enemy

How the different cats play with their toys always interests me. The nylon tunnel has, I think, been a good investment. Tucker likes to sleep in it, as well as use it for playing with me; Josie will snooze in it periodically, Renn will now and then bat at the other cats who are in it (he gets into trouble for that); Cammie zooms through it to startle Tucker.

Parker fights the nylon tunnel. He will tackle it and pull on it, twist it and gnaw it - but only at its end. His wrestling matches with the nylon tunnel often conclude with the tunnel bunched up against a chair, or pushed against a wall. I suspect the bouncy nature of the tunnel, the way in which it springs back into shape, fascinates him in some way, though this is speculation. And why it doesn’t intrigue the other beasts in the same manner, I don’t know. But then, none of the others share Renn’s study of water. Each to his own.

Whatever the cause, I am glad that I have yet another toy for the diversion of my furry roommates. It may not have been intended for such a use, but that’s of little significance. Like the fun provided by a box rather than its contents, it is the result that counts. And my sturdy orange-boy seems to like the results when he fights with the nylon tunnel.

Monday, January 8, 2018

As Snug as a Cat on a Rug

The weather has turned warmer here, for now - it’s supposed to drop to -18° in the middle of the week, and then go back up above zero by next week - but it can still be chilly at night, especially when a wind is blowing, which it usually is here in southern Alberta. The cats enjoy their heated beds at such times.

But Cammie discovered - or re-discovered - the heating pipes during the autumn. She likes to lie against the flat metal covers that line the rooms. It’s one of the reasons why she was often under the Christmas tree when it was up: she could also lie against the hot-water pipe-covers.

She did this in the bedroom, too, but the rugs that cover the floor there are a bit coarse. I noticed that the princess was instead lying on the carpeted base of the cat-tree near by, and that didn’t provide enough room for her to curl up in comfort. The simple solution was to spread a towel on the rug. Cammie likes snoozing on such towels on the library couch, so I thought she would benefit from one in her chosen spot in the bedroom.

I think she has.