Monday, October 21, 2019


Tucker ignored the cylinder-house cat-tree for so long that I assumed he either had no interest in it, or could not climb into it, or both. Eventually, he showed me that he could hoist himself into it, and quite handily, too. Even so, he generally left it to Renn, as seen here.

But lately, the roly poly has been enjoying the curved comfort of the cylinder-house. He also likes the fact that it provides plenty of prospects for playing peek-a-boo. Yes, Tucker, long thought of as the baby of the family (though Renn is younger) becomes quite happy playing that simple game. Whether I use the partition that separates the dining area from the entrance vestibule, or whether I look in one side of the cylinder-house and then the other, Tucker seems to get a kick out of it.

The cylinder-house, however, gives him scope to twist and turn, looking at me sideways, then upside down, first to the right, then to the left. His purrs at such fun can become quite loud, and he squeals when I grab the top of his head unexpectedly. His stubby forelegs can barely reach my fingers, which merely makes him squirm all the more.

Though the cylinder-house cat-tree has never faced a window, it has rarely lacked for occupants. Indeed, its structure makes it rather disadvantageous for viewing the scenery, and is much better to use for slumber. And, as Tucker demonstrates, for playing.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Lazy Eater

My new foster-cat, Neville, is doing well. I will be checking his blood-sugar every fortnight; I had been reading it every week, but with consistently good numbers, I have decided to reduce the exams, which he heartily dislikes, to every two weeks. He has not received insulin in nearly a month.

He is also no longer confined to the library at night. This was the next step in his integration, as I would be able to wake and confront any situation that might result. There has, however, been no untoward incidents with the other cats. Indeed, I think he spends almost the whole night at the top of the highest cat-tree. There, he is safe from the other beasts – who are mainly apathetic about his presence, anyway – and from which he can view the outside through the room’s glass doors. He nonetheless climbs down to use the litter-box (he still uses the one in the library), regardless of the time.

The Thin Man is eating well, and he is, to judge from how his body feels, not as thin as he once was. I am concerned that he likes only one type of soft-food. Despite attempts to interest him in others, he restricts himself to a single variety. He also consumes hard-food, but with cats notorious for suddenly and – from a human’s point of view – unreasonably deciding no longer to like their favourite kind of nutrition, I like to have others ready.

But Nevsky’s biggest characteristic in regard to food is his laziness. He is a lazy eater. He enjoys his indolence and lies horizontal so much that he refuses to rise even for his food-bowl. He will eat a commendatory amount, but I must insert the bowl under his chin in order to generate interest. A few inches away, and he will decide that he can do without sustenance. It is, after all, all the way over there.

I am not too concerned about this, but it does mean that he ends up with bits of food in his fur. His fur, tremendously soft, is growing out now in a satisfactory manner, but will be that of a long-haired cat, I believe. His mane now starts collecting bits of food, which I have to find and pull out afterward. If Neville would sit up to dine, this would not be a problem. He is not too weak to do so. Even when bone-skinny, he had plenty of strength to run and climb. He is just lazy.

However, like a sudden alteration in what a cat wishes to see on his menu, how he consumes his chosen fare will also sometimes change. I am not concerned. In the scheme of things that could go wrong with a cat, Neville’s eating habits are a very minor concern.

But even those who breakfast in bed sit up for it…

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Well at the World's End

Cammie appears, once again, to have recovered from an episode of her illness, brought on, to the best of my knowledge, by an allergy. Yesterday, she ate well at dinner, but almost immediately threw it up. Her behaviour suggested to me, however, that she was not suffering a relapse, so I hesitated to call the doctor. Since then, Cammie has eaten and drunk more food, not in great amounts but in sufficient quantities to prove that she is, for the time being, well again.

Part of the princess’s usual behaviour is searching for water to drink. One would think that, being blind, she would take advantage of the closest source. Indeed, when she remained for the most part in the bedroom, on the towel in the corner, the little cup that was near by served that purpose admirably. Now that she spends much of her time in the sitting room, a small bowl on the ledge under the doors to the outside provides her with water – sometimes.

The curious thing is that she still prefers to drink from the cup in the bedroom. Bypassing the water-bowl in the hall, and that in the library, and even the large one just past the bedroom’s door, Cammie will continue to the farthest reaches of our little kingdom. In the most distant corner of the remotest province, even on the marches of our land, she finds her little well with its water which I keep abundant and fresh, never knowing when she will begin her trek from the more central districts to the frontier. Neither miles nor obstacles deter her; she will have her drink from her favourite fount.

For whatever reason, then, this is one of her habits, and if habits mean health once more, then I will indulge them.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Rocky Road to Recovery

Cammie went to the doctor yesterday and received an injection of Cerenia to settle her stomach and prevent her vomiting. It appears to have worked. I heard no upchucking during the night, and saw no evidence of it in the morning. I can tell from her behaviour that she is feeling better. When she was ill, she lie in unusual places, and hid. Now, though not fully recovered, I think she is on her way.

But the cessation of vomiting is only half the battle. Now, Cammie must resume eating, and that she is reluctant to do. I can tell that, to an extent, she wants to. When I brought her home from the hospital, I fed everyone, and she was interested in eating. But she would not. She did not last night, nor this morning. I believe that, though her stomach may be empty, the smell of food turns her off.

In any case, I left food for her when I departed for work. The princess is sequestered in my bedroom with all the necessities, including both hard- and soft-food. If she does not consume anything while I am gone, I will need to feed her by syringe. That will be pleasant for neither of us, but her survival will require it. It’s been done before, and has been effective in re-starting Cammie’s appetite - if only because she doesn’t want to be force-fed any more.

In the meantime, my wonderful little Siamese will enjoy as much lap-time as she likes - and, as unlikely as it would have seemed a few years ago, she is enjoying it a great deal these days.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Worse Late Than Never

Well, evidently writing about Cammie yesterday cursed her, because she is going to the doctor this afternoon. She is suffering from one of her vomiting episodes. She barely made her usual deadline of being sick on a long weekend.

This time, I am more certain than ever that she did not get into any food that wasn’t her own. But who know how her diet can be contaminated by items she shouldn’t have? When one of the other cats drinks from a bowl, they sometimes leave bits of food in the water. Cammie will drink from it later and perhaps take in invisible particles of food that are bad for her. Then again, maybe one of the others leaves something in a cat-bed that the princess later picks up. Or it may not even be in the food; her allergy may, after all, be connected with dust or something similar. And if it is in the food, it may be in a marginally impure tin of her own.

I can but try my best to protect her from anything that may make her sick. I understand that our defences cannot be universal. Nonetheless, I stand by what I wrote yesterday: I am thankful, because when Cammie becomes ill like this, there is help for her, and I can, so far, afford it. That’s something that not everyone can do.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned that Cammie and I will be going to the veterinary hospital within hours to have her injected with Cerenia. It has always helped in the past. I am afraid, though, that one day it won't.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Thanksgiving Thoughts

As is traditional here in the cosy apartment, I like to write, each Thanksgiving Day, an article regarding my gratitude. I certainly have much for which to be thankful this year.

The cats are doing well. Josie is my oldest. Yet, at fifteen, she shows few overt signs of age, and her last medical examination found nothing more serious than the beginnings of kidney trouble, something not uncommon in aging cats. My Chubs has had all but three of her teeth removed, it is true, but this has not decreased either her appetite or her physical action of eating. She is ever so slowly losing weight, something on which I keep my eye, but she eats well, drinks a good amount of water, and can still jump from the cat-tree by the bedroom window on to the bed, and vice versa.

Tucker too is losing poundage, but at his recent check-up, the veterinary was not worried about it. I am beginning a treatment of salmon oil to help the roly poly’s coat. Otherwise, he is doing well: his diabetes is being managed, his numbers are constant. He is reasonably active and definitely alert. At fourteen, he is set fair to enjoy further years.

Of Renn, I have few concerns. He has one or two habits which I would like to see ended, but they are neither serious nor indicative of anything worse. He has always been my healthiest cat and, with luck, will continue in fine fettle. He too lost some teeth at his last dental procedure, but retains most of his God-given number. He consumes very little food, yet has never appeared anything but fit and lithe. If I discover his secret, I could make a fortune in the weight-control industry.

My little princess, Cammie, suffered a stroke at the end of May. Its results were severe, but not as bad as they could have been. She lost her sight. Since then, she has shown her determination to live a normal life. She finds her way around the apartment, with many dead ends and bumps on the head, but that doesn’t deter her. She enjoys the scents and sounds of the outdoors, just as she used to enjoy the sights. As well, she has, remarkably, become rather a lap-cat. Spending most of her time in the sitting room now, Cammie will listen for me to sit on the couch; she will then make her way to me and, climbing up her own little staircase, crawl onto my lap for up to half an hour at a time. She purrs and rubs her face against me while I pet her. Five years ago, she barely liked being touched. Now, she is a lap-cat. It may be out of necessity, an insecurity requiring assurance. If so, I am grateful to be able to give it.

Raleigh too has changed. He has been with me now for more than a year, and is still skittish and timid – but less so. The alteration is subtle. For much of the past year, he has run from me when I approach him, whether I am coming to pick him up (for whatever reason) or merely passing by in his general direction. He still does this, but to a much lesser extent. Sitting at his favourite place on the carpetted ledge by the door to the concrete ditch, he formerly darted away when I came to put water or food outside for the neighbourhood cats. Now, Peachy keeps his place, and I sometimes must actually nudge him to get him to move. As well, when he is hungry he will talk, incessantly, to me and come up for petting. I can even lift him – which he normally fears greatly – and when I put him down again, instead of running away, he will come back for more attention. I have grown to know his habits, when he wants food, and when offering him nutrition will be pointless. His meal-times are more erratic than the other beasts’, probably due to how his FIV influences him, but he has gained two pounds in the last eleven months, so he is likely not hurting for food. For all of this, I am thankful.

And lastly, my newest resident, my foster-cat, Neville. I am coming to know him, too, though it is early days yet. Even so, I see improvement in his condition. I feel that the Thin Man has added some padding to the skin and bones that were all he seemed to be some weeks ago. (I haven’t weighed him in a month, so his precise poundage is a mystery to me yet.) His integration with the others has been good: he ignores them and they ignore him; this appears to satisfy him. Other than some hissing and huffing, there has been no hostility. Nevsky plays, preferring the shoe-string, and likes to view the outside from the top of the tall cat-tree in the sitting room. Still confined to the library while I sleep, that will likely change next weekend, and his sequestration in the same room during my absence at work may not continue as long as I initially thought it should. Best of all, his diabetes seems to be in remission (knock on wood). His numbers remain very good, and I have not given him insulin in three weeks. If he still flinches sometimes when I touch him, it is because he fears being poked in the ears with a needle (my means of drawing blood for his glucose testing) and that will, I suspect, fade with the need for testing. His coat, once sloppily shorn of mats, is growing back; it is smooth and soft. Soon, he will be advertised on the PAW Society’s website, and be available for adoption.

And I am thankful for my own good luck. I remain employed and, if my income is not what I want, it is enough for what I need. I have friends, both near and distant; one delivered, unexpectedly, a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner to me yesterday, while another, a fellow blogger, was kind enough to inquire after my health when I hadn’t published anything on the blog for a week. Certainly, life could be better. But why bother with more blessings when one has too many to count as it is?