Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Images of a Princess

As I mentioned last month, Cammie will be appearing in the Lethbridge PAW Society’s 2019 calendar. On the weekend, I received the results of her photo session. The pictures turned out much better than I had expected, not because I had doubts about the photographer - she has worked on several of our calendars - but because Cammie was the subject. Not all the pictures taken of her were good, as she was averse to posing that day (and every day), but those that worked, worked very well, I think.

The first is a general photo, good for identification purposes, and to show her usual mood.

The second displays a pensive side to the princess’s character, a little sad, perhaps thinking about having to live with other cats, when she really deserves a palace of her own.

Then there is the profile.

And, lastly, my favourite.

Monday, April 16, 2018


My cats don’t often play together. Periodically, Cammie will rush out at one of the others, particularly Tucker, to startle them; she likes zooming through the tunnel at them. I don’t think that is playing, though; at least, Cammie’s victims don’t appear to believe so. The only two who have fun together seem to be Tucker and Josie, and that is a rarity. It usually happens when I return from work and everyone is excited; the roly poly and my Chubs will chase each other.

But now and then, Tucker will see Josie somewhere in the sitting room, and hide around the corner of the couch, hoping to ambush her. It never works, simply because Josie doesn’t walk past Tucker’s hiding spot. I don’t believe she knows he’s there; she just doesn’t pass by while he is ready to startle her.

I don’t like the idea of my beasts being frightened, but even so, when I see this, I try to persuade Josie to walk by the corner of the couch. I know that Tucker’s action would be gentle, so I don’t fear the Great White being terrified of couch corners afterward. But it never happens.

So Tucker sits patiently for several minutes, hoping. I feel sorry for him. Especially since I suspect he would miss his cue anyway.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Parker's Field-trip

On the second Saturday of every month, the rescue-group of which I am a member, the Lethbridge PAW Society, brings a cat to the downtown store of Homes Alive, a local pet-supply company, to show off to the public for three hours. The purpose is to generate interest not just in the cat himself, but in the group and cat-rescue in general. I am usually the group-member on hand to answer questions. It is a good opportunity to meet people and discuss matters of common interest.

Yesterday, Parker was the cat in the cage.

I was confident that the orange boy would do well. Cats have different reactions to being on display. Some are frightened the whole afternoon, overwhelmed by the stimuli. These are spared any further showings. The rare ones have little problem with the situation, and, after thirty or forty minutes of adjustment, settle down. The majority dislike being there but are not so badly affected that they cannot come back. Then there is Parker.

The sturdy-boy did better than any other cat we have had on display. He was a little bewildered by the reason for being in the cage, no doubt, and his breathing at first was more rapid than I would have liked to have seen, but he accepted the situation very swiftly and without much complaint. What problem he did have, I suspect, came from being restricted to the cage, and not simply from being in the new environment. He was a bit unnvered when the noise of shopping carts, barking dogs (pets are allowed in the store if carried or on leashes) and customers became too much, but that happened just the once. Otherwise, Parker took it all in stride.

He was a hit with everyone who came to see him. He was very friendly to his admirers - of whom there were many – but I knew he would be. He walked over to their fingers for some face-rubbing and head-stroking, and even rolled over for some. He accepted two chicken treats from one generous couple (even the successful cats on display are rarely at ease enough to eat) and indulged me in play with a feathery wand. The various dogs in the store during his time there interested him, though he hissed at one whose owner permitted him to come too close. (I quickly interposed myself. When people let their dogs come near the cats, they always say the same thing: “Oh, he (the dog) loves cats.” They don’t realise that that does not address the cat’s concern; the latter animal is caged, with no means of retreat, as an unknown and possibly hostile animal advances upon him.)

But everyone who saw Parker thought he was wonderful. They all uttered the same two things: “Wow, he’s a big one,” and, “What a handsome fellow he is.” Both true, of course. I talked to people about Parker’s diabetes, and how he is active and healthy, with the condition managed. Numerous comments were made about how fit he looked. No one there wanted to adopt him – except a crowd of young adolescent girls, who swooned over him – but the PAW Society does not adopt straight from such an event, anyway. We don’t want enthusiasm of the moment to be mistaken for a correct decision. But if interest is shown, we encourage it and follow it with conversation afterward.

The afternoon was a success. Donations were made – undoubtedly due to the popularity of our orange mascot – and people were met. Best of all, the cat in question was not troubled. He was glad to come home, no doubt, but he may be going again some day. The timing was a bit off: Parker has been my foster cat for sixteen months, but he has just recently been added to the group’s website (http://pawsociety.com/Parker.html). We wanted to control his diabetes first. But now, as you may have read, his glucose numbers are unusual. I don’t think this will cause any great trouble, but it would be better to present him as ready for adoption without reservations. A diabetic cat always, however, comes with concerns over his continuing care. Not to worry, though: Parker will not be going anywhere that won’t love him and care for him as much as possible.

Until then, he will remain in his foster-home – with perhaps a field-trip now and then.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Now, It's Parker's Turn

On Tuesday, I noticed something about Parker’s litter-box when I returned from work and walked into the library to say ‘hello’ to him. It hadn’t been used during the day. That was unusual but not concerning, especially since he urinated in it between then and the serving of his dinner. On Wednesday, a similar thing occurred. The orange boy’s litter-box had not been dirtied during the day. Furthermore, he did not urinate more than once before bed-time, at 10.30 that night. (When he is not confined to the library, he tends to use the ‘general’ litter-boxes, so it is not always easy to distinguish his waste from the others’.) And I had not seen him drinking at all during the two days, which is unusual for a diabetic.

The next morning, I took a glucose-reading on the sturdy-boy. Even without insulin, his number was about 16, which is too high, but quite a bit lower than usual. He did receive his medicine, but I returned home at noon to check on him. His number then was 6.4, which is very good. Six hours later, though, when he should have required another injection, he was not given one, as his number had not risen above 12.

Today, Parker’s numbers are much closer to what he usually has, and he used the litter-box during the night. Unlike Tucker’s recent changes, I don’t think Parker’s is a sign of any permanent alteration; it may have been just a diabetic reaction to something, though to what, I can’t say. He experienced no different food or stress, his environment had not changed. I will be checking his blood for the next few days, to be on the safe side.

Certainly, my foster-cat’s behaviour has not been abnormal. He has been active and alert. He may have more reason to be tomorrow. Parker will be having a bit of a field-trip. It’s not to the veterinary, so I think he may like this one - though I should caution against too much optimism, as it is not a trial-adoption, either. In any case, I will report on it probably on Sunday.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tucker Up and Down

Tucker’s doctor has had me continue to test the roly poly’s blood each morning and evening. I was hoping to find a pattern, but have been frustrated in this. Instead of seeing a low reading each morning and a high one each evening, which would have probably led to a reduction of Tucker’s injections by half, the results are random. Sometimes his numbers are too low for a shot of insulin, while other times they demand one.

I will be in contact with the veterinary again early next week. If the instances of a high number aren’t many, she may have me reduce Tucker’s insulin dosage or, more likely, the number of times he receives it, anyway. The doctor has been in consultation with one of her colleagues, who is also familiar with Tucker’s condition, so there is some considerable thought being put into the situation.

Because I have had to sample Tucker’s blood so often recently, I started to draw it from his toes, but this has not been a success. Not only does it not bead enough for me to use on the test-strip (the blood must flow across the breadth of the strip), but Tucker feels the pin-prick much more than in his ear. He does not like it at all. At least I have become accustomed to doing it, if it needs to be done.

In any case, the roly poly continues to be in a cheerful mood, even taking his blood tests (as long as they involve ears and not toes) in good humour. It may be because I reward him with a tiny piece of meat from my dinner saved from the night before; this morning it was a little square of roast pork. I am grateful that I have such easy-going cats who take experimentation well. If it pays off with reduced medication, we will all be happy.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Danger: Curve Ahead

Tucker is undergoing an experiment. Previously, I have randomly checked the sugar in the roly poly’s blood and, because of one day’s findings, I measured that sugar every day last week. I discovered that his blood-glucose numbers were very low in the mornings, so low as to render his regular insulin injection unnecessary, dangerous, in fact. On two mornings, his numbers were below four, in one case 3.1. At two, he is at a grave risk of entering a diabetic coma. That’s when one applies some corn syrup directly to his gums, so that it is absorbed quickly by his body and boosts the blood-sugar. At 3.1 and 3.6 (the other very low reading), I didn’t think that we were quite there, but I did give him small pieces of Pop-tart, to raise his sugar numbers.

On Friday, I consulted Tucker’s doctor about this, and she agreed that such numbers were worrisome. She endorsed my application of sweets on the two mornings. As this pattern of low numbers at the beginning of each day, with Tucker’s more usual numbers at the end, seems to have come from nowhere, the veterinary advised me to refrain from giving my cat any insulin at all for several days. Sunday, I will perform a ‘curve’ on him. This is rather hard, since he underwent one just a fortnight ago, but it will determine what his numbers are without any medicine.

The doctor suggested that Tucker’s diabetes may be going into remission, though this represents long odds. More likely is an adjustment of the insulin dosage, perhaps just to one injection per day.

I hope to have some new arrangements come of this. If I had not checked Tucker’s glucose levels those mornings, the consequences of giving him insulin would have been dire. On the other hand, I don’t feel that I can test his blood every morning and evening for the rest of his life. Though I have now successfully drawn blood from his foot-pads, rather than his ears, even these will become a bit sore after several weeks of such treatment.

But a plan to decide on a new schedule is in place. I will perform the ‘curve’ tomorrow and see what happens as a result. Ever trusting, Tucker continues to be a cheerful furry sausage, even purring while I poke him with a needle to draw his blood. I hope to vindicate his trust, and keep him purring a long time yet.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Curly Antennae

My foster-cat, Parker, has many interesting features. One which I did not notice until this past weekend was the curl of some of his whiskers. They are not those which come from the sides of his mouth but, rather, those that sprout from above his eyes - the antennae.

You will notice that some curl with kinks, instead of smooth curves. I’ve not observed that in any of my other beasts, but I must take a look. Whatever their shape, the orange boy’s whiskers seem to serve him well: despite his diabetes, he can jump and run with the best of them.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Bigger Than a Lap

This is a rarity: two cats on my lap at once.

My cats don’t much care for each other. I had written recently that Tucker and Parker do not get along. In truth, none of my cats cares for another. Each would be quite content to be the only cat in the household. I envy those families who have cats who are friends, who groom each other and play together. Mine do not hate each other, but they are largely indifferent to one another.

When I am on the couch, reading or listening to music, one of the beasts will sometimes join me. At that point, Renn, if he is not the cat already lying on me, will periodically decide to come over, too. He usually approaches the position indirectly, walking along the back of the couch and then onto the arm beside me. From there, he may gingerly step onto my lap. If Cammie is already present, she will hiss and jump off. Parker will move to one side. Josie will only rarely be there at all. If the lap is occupied by Tucker, he might stay.

So it was on the weekend. As you can see, the roly poly is not happy about Renn’s intrusion, but he remained for several minutes. There was even an attempt by both cats to relax and snooze. But my lap is only so big, and the two boys, together, are bigger. So Tucker departed soon after this photograph was taken, and my big boy stayed, settling down for a real snooze.

At the cosy apartment, we take little victories when we can. There is more success in grouping cats together on the bed, at night-time. But then, the bed is bigger than my lap.