Friday, July 10, 2020

To Catch a Sunrise

I trapped Sunrise this morning.

This handsome, sad-faced orange boy succumbed to Temptations, literally. Previously, I had seen that he had been interested in the sardines with which I had baited the traps, but not interested enough to enter the cages. He may have had some experience of them, if only seeing them in action from afar. Then I recalled what had lured Ambrose, the lost housecat I had recovered, into a trap at last. It had been some candy, in the form of Temptation treats.

Yesterday, with three ferals still to catch at my work-place, I used both Temptations and sardines as bait. The former was placed in the middle of the trap, intended to bring a cat farther in and so trigger the trap. Sunrise, who had been nosing about, went in at some point, ate the treats and left the sardines. Clearly, he was wary of the cage, and not sufficiently enticed by the sardines. Today, I used only the treats. They are small enough so that I was able to place them on a piece of stiff paper actually under the hard mesh ramp that acts as a trigger for the trap’s door. Sunrise could not resist.

I hope to have Sunrise neutered today. It’s possible that he is already fixed; I have never been able to take a good look, though my colleague at work, who feeds the feral colony, says that Sunrise is ready for his surgery. I credit my co-worker with bringing Sunrise to the point at which the orange fellow comes more often for food, and for allowing him to grow accustomed to people. Sunrise doesn’t run when the food is being doled out; indeed, he waits near by. This permitted me to re-orient a trap even as Sunrise was watching me, then to retreat and watch the proceedings.

In the trap, Sunrise did not panic. I wonder if he is only feral by situation, and not behaviour. My thoughts in this regard may be influenced by Sunrise reminding me of Raleigh. He has the same melancholy expression. Part of me regrets having to trap adult feral cats, especially those who have grown to trust, to an extent, the humans who care for them. Capturing kittens or youngsters doesn’t weigh on me as much, for they have not developed any trust. Sunrise is different. But I am hopeful that, like Bijou, Haff and the others who have previously been captured, fixed and returned, Sunrise will see that all ends well. He deserves at least that.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Enemy is Always at Our Gates

There seems always to be something threatening my cats’ health. It is an on-going war against disease, injury and various uncategorized conditions. Battles are won and lost but there is no peace. At best, there is a cold war.

And, on the subject of ‘cold’, Tucker’s is, at last, more gone than present. He sounded quite bad for a couple of days, gurgling and snurggling, snotty and grotty. I thought he must live with George Jefferson, because he was wheezy. Fortunately, he never lost his appetite and, being my roly poly, he kept purring, his tail mostly up, through the worst of it. He would have sneezing fits and, if I was at home, I would pet him and try to calm him; that seemed to help. The malady is on its way out, but the scrape on Tucker’s nose is not healing, probably because, as I have witnessed, he keeps rubbing his face. I know the tingling that comes with a sneezy nose myself. Plying him with Lysine to fight the cold has reverted to giving him fish oil, alternating with Restoralax to keep him regular. And, of course, he continues his course of insulin.

Josie too is receiving Restoralax thrice a week. I realised a few weeks ago that I had not seen evidence of her solid waste deposits lately, so I began giving her small amounts of laxative. It softens stools, too, and at her age, a little help with her regularity won’t hurt. Indeed, I believe it has been having beneficial effects. But my old lady is starting a new medicine. I watched with wistfulness as she seemed somewhat frail compared to how she had been, slower moving. Though Josie is in very good health for her age, and actually moves rather spryly, her efforts seemed to be a little greater than formerly. There was no specific concern, but I thought a little assistance with joints and bones would not be amiss. She now receives joint-medicine on the days when she doesn’t get Restoralax. The new concoction’s taste is clearly not to her liking, as she hurries to a water-bowl immediately after its delivery, but hopefully its effects are more enjoyable.

I recently reduced Neville’s insulin dosage. His last curve started rather low (14.5) and fell to 3.2, which is too low. Based on this, and surveillance of his behaviour, I decided to decrease the amount of insulin he receives from three units twice a day to two. This may be too much of a diminution; I will determine its effects with another curve in a month’s time. I dislike the idea that the Nevsky may have to go up again, even by half a unit, but practical application of a change is really the only test of its efficacy. Diabetes is a tricky condition; each patient’s case is different. Tucker receives less insulin than Nev, and his numbers are consistently higher. Yet the roly poly’s clinical symptoms, such as the strength of his nether parts, are good, as are his curves. There is more to consider than the numbers, though these are a good guide. They will guide me in Neville’s case in three or four weeks.

Lastly, there is Renn. My big boy continues to be in good health. At thirteen, he remains active and strong; I hope this is not deceptive. All signs, however, point to things being good and untroubled with him.

All recent attacks made against my beasts have been repulsed; the defences have been repaired and manned. We are enjoying a respite, for the moment, but our spies are ever-vigilant and the citizenry stand ready. We can never relax, it seems, for the enemy is always at our gates.

Monday, July 6, 2020

A Word in Their Ears

Two of the kittens I have been trying to trap look very similar. I have caught Shasta; he was neutered and returned to his family last week. This morning, I trapped another black and white kitten. This is him, immediately below. Right below him is Shasta.

You can see the similarity. I had to consult to of my colleagues at work to help me differentiate them. The cats’ faces are too close for contrast - looking at Shasta’s photograph, I began to doubt that the dot on his nose was permanent, and therefore doubted that I could rely on it for identification. We at last decided that their flanks had differing patterns.

Then, I recalled that the doctor performing the surgeries now tips the ears of the ferals whom he fixes, rather than tattoos them. The efficacy of that practice was demonstrated when I saw that today’s kitten’s ears are intact. Much the better method of knowing cats than trying to find a visual difference in twins. All I have to do now is remember to look for it...

I've named the new one Fresca. I’ll say that he is another boy, and brother to Shasta. He will be fixed today.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Cammie's Cup

When Cammie lost her sight, I tried to make living as easy and convenient for her as possible. Among my actions were to place a small bowl, a cup, really, on a shelf of my desk close to the floor in a corner of the bedroom, near Cammie’s heated cat-bed. After numerously directing her attention to it, by tapping the bowl and stating ‘water’, she soon found it – probably through smell, and not my efforts. She resorted to it all the time; it was just a step or two from her favourite napping spot.

When Cammie died, I removed the bowl. There were six others in the apartment, two in the bedroom alone. No one was suffering from water-deprivation.

But when I started to notice Josie’s slower movements and considered the possibility of arthritis or other discomfort affecting her joints, I decided to replace the little bowl. To my satisfaction, my Chubs has begun to drink from it, quite as often as she does from the bowl placed on the ledge below the window above, or the large one by the door. If the Great White is taking her ease on the floor, or a lower platform of a cat-tree, it is a much easier route to a drink than having to climb for one. Renn, too, likes the bowl, from which he had now and then surreptitiously drunk when Cammie was alive.

Now, Cammie’s cup comes close to running dry each day, and is actually drained of water, if I am not on top of things. Renn drinks infrequently but deeply, while Josie finds herself thirsty several times a day. I am pleased that they are using the cup, though I doubt that my princess would be as delighted. I can hear her hiss and growl, bumping into the interlopers daring to drink from her little well. After all, it is Cammie’s cup but, perhaps, she will forgive me for loaning it to her siblings.

Friday, July 3, 2020

A Typical Week

There is a cold making the rounds among the feline residents of the cosy apartment. Renn had it first, though, as is his way when he has a cold, it manifested itself principally through explosive sneezes, a few sniffles and nothing else. My big boy wasn’t slowed down and his appetite, such as it ever is, was unaffected.

Next struck was Josie. My Chubs had plenty of sneezes, firing little bursts out of one side of her mouth and screwing her face shut like Popeye. Considering her age and growing frailty, I was afraid for her, but my old lady seems to have overcome the worst of it with no lasting effects.

Tucker is the real victim of the cold. He has been hit hard, having contracted it a couple days ago. His sneezing is messy and I can hear him wheezing a little. I worry about the cold developing into an upper respiratory infection, though, if it is coming, it won’t show up for a few days yet. Tucker had a decent meal at snack-time last night, for which I was grateful. This morning he ate little, but the roly poly one isn’t a breakfast kind of guy.

He is also suffering from an abrasion on his nose. This was a simple scratch before his cold, probably received in a disagreement with Renn. The brothers have spats now and then; Tucker usually starts it, and usually gets the worst of it. Since then, however, he has been rubbing his leaky nose, and irritating the scrape. I will keep an eye on that, too.

Colds, fights, contusions and trapped kittens: thus ends another typical week in the cosy apartment…

Thursday, July 2, 2020

July's First Kitten

This is Shasta. He’s the second of the four kittens I have to capture at my work-place. He fancied some sardines for breakfast, but realised he was trapped before he ate. Much more exuberant in his efforts to escape than was his sister, Fanta, he is calm now and awaiting his fate, which, I hope, will be a neutering today. (I am guessing that he is a boy.)

After two days of heavy, uncharacteristic rain in our part of the country, and then the Canada Day holiday, I was hoping for some luck with trapping. Shasta has provided it. There are two more little ones to catch, and two adults. I don’t know how fortune will smile upon me with the adults, but the kittens are a grey one and a fourth who is either grey-and-black or white-and-black. Either way, the little black dot on Shasta’s nose should differentiate him from a similarly-hued sibling.

This is a good start to July.

Monday, June 29, 2020

A Blep on the Radar

Neville sticks his tongue out more than any other cat I’ve had as a roommate. Usually, just the tip protrudes. Once in a while, it is more. I don’t know why he does it; I don’t know why any cat does it. Perhaps Nev is using it to test the temperature, his fur preventing him from attaining an accurate reading otherwise. Perhaps it’s a hint that he is hungry, and that I should feed him. Perhaps he is expressing his opinion of me, his surroundings, or life in general. Perhaps he thinks he’s a snake.

Whatever the cause, I find it amusing. I captured the moment in a slightly blurry photograph. I intend to show it to too many uninterested people.