Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Catfather, Immortalised

Some may recall, though it was five years ago now, that I published a picture of Tucker that made me think of him in the rĂ´le of a Mob boss. I dubbed my roly poly ‘the Catfather’, on the basis of the image.

I suspect the title had been used before, perhaps many times, but I found it amusing. It fit in with a series of stories being written by the Trout Towne Tabbies (see the link on my side-bar), called the ‘Coddmother Saga’, and the Food Service Girl in Trout Towne asked if she could include Tucker, in his Mob guise, in the saga. Permission was granted and I laughed over the blog-entries that resulted.

When Tucker died, I received a gift certificate, in honour of my Tuxter. It took a while for me to determine on the right purchase with the certificate; I wanted it to be in memory of Tucker, and something unique to him. I found an artist who reproduces images of pets as royalty or aristocracy, and asked her to create a portrait of Tucker with the suitable addition of garb.

This is the result – though a photograph does not do it justice (click on the picture to enlarge it.) Below it is the picture from which Tucker’s likeness was taken.

My Tucker had many sides to him. I will remember him as the baby of the family, the roly poly, my constant dinner companion – and as the Catfather, now immortalised on canvas.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

"Sanctuary! Sanctuary!"

Two weeks ago, Hector received his new box, which he turned into a cave. But it has become more than that for our dark knight. It has become his sanctuary.

Hector will hide in the box - ‘hide’, in this case, is a relative term - and grab at my ankles as I walk past him, a little black paw shooting out from around a cardboard corner. When we play with the string-toy, he will seize the end in his mouth and carry it proudly back to the cave, his home-base. (What he thinks to do with it there is never explained; I don’t think that he knows.) And when he is in trouble, after spilling water or chasing Neville or Renn, and I speak sternly to him for it, he hurries to the cave.

Since Hector doesn’t have a ‘safe zone’ - with the closing of the library for the duration of Auric’s isolation - the cave serves as Hec’s sanctuary. I respect that, and do not pull him from its confines, or go after him there, if we are playing. If he runs to the cave after having done something bad, I will let him know I see him there, but will do nothing else; he will know he’s misbehaved, and that’s enough.

I think it’s important for Hector to have an inviolable spot. The others don’t seem to need one; they’ve been here long enough to know that they can ride out a storm without such a location. Hector, doing something he shouldn’t more often than the oldsters, benefits from his sanctuary. I believe it gives him confidence and a sense of belonging.

I just wish his cave need not be in the centre of the apartment…

Wednesday, January 19, 2022


Both Renn and Neville are doing well. The latter is once again talking as his food is brought to him and sometimes mumbling as he eats; these are good signs. He is putting away a satisfactory amount, though not as much as he had been. That is probably good, too, considering his size and weight. Renn has shown no signs of rejecting his food after it is consumed, and I am preparing to try a new medicine on him that has proven effective with other cats of my acquaintance.

My older cats’ most recent troubles started me thinking about the affinity I have for them. It’s rather like other relationships humans have with other people, with animals, objects and less tangible items. When I was young, I would consider my parents and people of their generation as rather out of touch with current modes. As I myself aged, I have come to realise that they weren’t out of touch, they just had more in common with the past, or, more accurately, with what was contemporaneous with them.

Those with whom we grew up, with whom we lived through the same eras, speak the same language, in terms of slang and idiom; we comprehend the same attitudes, even if we disagree with them; we have experienced the same events, and know the same references. The chances are good that the best - or at least the most vibrant - parts of our lives were earlier, and we are entering that long period of slow bodily decline - though not necessarily of dissatisfaction or sadness - that seems to occupy the greater portion of our physical lives. And we of a generation are entering it together.

Just as did those who came before us, we have a fondness for what we knew and liked, the music, the movies, the clothes. We see the actors we grew up watching at the cinema or on television and, because they were usually already established when we came to know them, we are shocked that they are so old now, or have died. We think that there is no one comparable to replace them. The films and music are of different styles, and not what we enjoyed, so we enjoy those of the present - if we enjoy them at all - less.

I understand my parents much better now - now that I can’t tell them so - and I understand relationships better now. That includes relationships with cats.

I have written about my First Four, the Old Guard, of whom Renn is the last survivor. But Neville is included in a similar group, due to his age. These are the cats who have lived a long time, in cat-lives. They play less, if at all, and sleep more. They move more slowly than they did, and they complain about more. They and I have these traits in common, and so we have a bond that I don’t have with younger cats.

I seem to be able to develop affection for most cats who come to stay with me. There is always something unique about each, and each has its own character that creates affection. Hector and Auric have vitality and energy, and it’s fun watching them play and run; I enjoy their closeness when they snuggle with me, and I am grateful for their trust and affection. It is easy to love them.

But they are not of my generation. That is missing. It may be similar to how one feels about one’s children; there may be no limit to one’s love for them, one may enjoy their company and even revel in it. There is pride and protectiveness and a sense of family. But there is rarely that camaraderie, that fellowship that comes from being of the same generation, a fellowship that need not even be accompanied by friendship; two enemies of the same generation will roll their eyes in unison at the antics of the young.

I suspect that, as the young cats in my care age, they too will fall into ‘my generation’, their shorter lives causing their ages eventually to ‘catch up’ to mine. They will become slower and complain more, and we will have that affinity that I once had with their elders. And together, we will look askance at the silliness of youth. These are the dynamics of generations, how they come and go, and how they understand each other, no matter the species.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Cox and Box

In the 1860s, Burnand and Sullivan premiered their stage farce Cox and Box, about two lodgers who are rented the same room by a landlord. One tenant works during the day and one during the night; when one is in, the other is out, and they are long unaware of the landlord’s chicanery. It’s a play that is still quite popular. I know that because it’s occurring in the Cosy Apartment, though it’s not as funny on my stage.

I came home yesterday hoping to find that Neville had continued to improve. He had. His behaviour was good and he was ready for some food. But someone had thrown up during my absence. I could tell from the colour and location of the refuse that it had been Renn.

Renn continued to be sick all night, throwing up so much that he was eventually vomiting reddish bile. At last his stomach quit revolting, and I was able to to put into him a dose of Cerenia, with as little water as was necessary to dissolve it in the syringe; I didn’t want the water causing a renewal of his vomiting. For a while, it seemed that he would chuck that up, too, but it stayed down, and he was calm and even in good spirits by bedtime. He was not unwell during the night and even ate a few kernels of food this morning.

Though it seems as if we are seesawing from my big boy to the Nevsky and back again, I hope that, at the least, the latter’s problems were an aberration. Renn, I perceive, is my bigger worry. I think the Cerenia helps him, but he can’t be on that drug forever. I am researching irritable bowel syndrome in cats, and have a call in to Renn’s doctor, to discuss another, possibly more promising medicine.

In the meantime, I hope to be writing about things other than sickness and puke. I think that will be a welcome change for both author and readers.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Neville's Unsettled Week

Neville went through a rough few days last week. He vomited five times in four days, which isn’t like him. He started refusing food which may have reflected the upset of his stomach or, as with Cammie, a simple anxiety over relating consumption of food with its return the same way. He was also acting out of sorts.

I tried different food, different incentives, but nothing would induce Nev to eat more than a few nibbles. I brought out my precious reserve of Cerenia (of which I will get more, just in case) and gave him two doses. This eased his insides somewhat, so that he has not thrown up since Thursday. Even so, I was forced to feed him by syringe a couple of times. This, and the Cerenia, given by the same method, he hates more than does Renn and much more than did Tucker, but it had to be done. An appointment with the doctor was to be made today.

But last night, there was, at long last, a change. I had stopped offering him food after snack-time, but, late in the evening, when Renn and Nev were both on the bed, Neville watched Renn eat some of his new food. I knew the Nevsky wanted to try eating. I put in front of him some of the kernels that I give as treats, and he ate about a dozen, which is more than he has eaten at one time since Thursday. The amount of food eaten was less important than that he wanted to eat.

This morning, he ate some more hard-food. But more significantly, he ate some Recovery, his usual soft-food. It wasn’t more than a level tablespoon-full, I’d say. But he wanted it.

I will postpone the doctor’s appointment for now. The tests that could be conducted might not show what is troubling Neville. Renn’s suspected i.b.s. wasn’t indicated on his recent tests, and if Neville has that, I know what to do in any case. I am going to try to get Neville to switch to the gastro-intestinal food, and see if that helps him. If I see that Nev has thrown up again when I return home, then he will have to go to the doctor. However, if he has gotten over his troubles (at least for now), there is no point in subjecting him to a visit.

Wish us a puke-free day.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Auric's Busy Saturday

Auric had a busy Saturday – for someone cooped up in one room until his quarantine ends. He spent much time playing. I brought him the sea-turtle toy. Unbeknownst to me, it had catnip in it. Now, catnip and I have had an ambiguous relationship since I realised that it made my first cat, Tungsten, surly and irritable. I generally keep it away from my beasts. But Auric, who has little to do while in the Cosy Apartment’s isolation ward, seemed to enjoy the toy.

He wrestled and fought, knocked and chased the sea-turtle, and had a great deal of fun. The catnip did affect him, however. Last night was movie-night, and while I watched the film, Golden Boy lie against me. He didn’t cuddle with me as usual, didn’t try to get close. He was friendly but gone was his habitual purr. Not a sound came from him all night. He did take an interest in the evening’s film, though.

The next day, when the effects of the catnip appeared to have waned, he was once again a snuggly fellow and his purr was deep, loud and constant. He was, evidently, pleased by the previous night’s activities, but just as pleased to have my company once more in the morning.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Two for the Doctor

Renn and Auric had their veterinary appointments yesterday. The results are mostly good.

It turns out that I was half-right about Auric: he’s a boy, but is not neutered. He does have an upper respiratory infection, but is receiving medicine for that. The doctor figures it will be cleared up in about a week to ten days. I was told that he will always have the infection (I think it is viral) but that it will stay dormant until times of stress. He also had ear-mites and was treated for them. He did not like that, receiving a squirt of liquid in each ear. But the ear-mites liked it even less, so it’s working.

Auric’s heart and lungs sound very good and, though he has lost a few of his small front teeth, the rest are in excellent shape. I saw that they are bright and white, and the doctor aged my new cat at about ten to twelve months.

I made an appointment for him to see the doctor again in a week’s time, though that may be too soon, and the infection may need a few more days than that. But in about a fortnight, the Golden Boy will receive his vaccinations, be neutered and stand ready to join the other beasts in the Cosy Apartment.

As for Renn, he probably has irritable bowel disease. Blood and urine show that his kidneys are in stage two failure, which means they have not worsened in two and a half years, since his last tests. The doctor prescribed a special gastro-intestinal food, with Fortiflora pro-biotic added. I don’t know that Renn will like that fare. If he doesn’t, there is a reserve plan, first involving Metronidazole, and then, if necessary, Prednisolone; we will try the food first. There is a chance that my big boy has gastro-intestinal lymphoma, and, while that cannot be cured with drugs, Prednisolone can help make him comfortable. The possibility of lymphoma is less likely than i.b.d.


Conditions were diagnosed, medicines and treatments dispensed, and the patients returned to the Cosy Apartment tired but relieved. We all had a good night’s sleep.