Friday, May 17, 2019

6th of June: D (Dental) Day

Next month is a significant one for my cats’ health care. Three of them will be going to the doctor for their dental procedures - two of them on the same day. Cammie and Josie will go together on 6th June, while Renn will follow a week later on the thirteenth.

I am glad I could get the girls in as soon as possible (three weeks from now is as soon as possible). I think Josie is suffering the most of the trio and, while Cammie likely needs the least amount of work, I want the doctor to check her anal glands while the princess is at the hospital. I saw her dragging her bum across the carpet one day last week. I have already started giving her Restoralax to encourage and soften her stools. Unsurprisingly, that is a more difficult operation than giving it to Tucker, who is also receiving it. Cammie has pooped since then, so she is not constipated, and yesterday’s specimen was exactly the consistency I like to see. Still, if Cammie is going to the hospital, I may as well have one end looked at as the other.

Having the girls go in on the same day will also save on a separate taxi-ride to deliver and pick up one of them. This is a not unimportant financial consideration. As it is, the three procedures will guarantee that the Mediterranean cruise I had planned for my summer holidays will have to be postponed. Or was a boat-trip up the Rhine and down the Danube? A rail ride across Canada? Well, in any case, I will staying close to home.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Dividing by Half to Reach Zero

I thought it was time to report on Parker’s condition, as it’s been more than two weeks since he last appreared in this blog. Each time that I write about him, I note a deterioration in his condition, and yet he remains with me, and has not given me an indication that he wants to leave. He reminds me of the process of trying to reach zero by continually dividing a number in half: one keeps coming closer, but never gets there.

There have been some changes to Parker’s behaviour in the interval. He still enjoys his walks outside. We went for a couple last weekend; the weather was perfect, and we spent rather longer than usual in the outdoors (such as it is in a small city neighbourhood). Much of the time, Puck simply lie on the concrete, smelling and seeing the scenery. (I can’t let him on the grass because he constantly wishes to eat it; he throws up enough without assistance, thank you.) But now, he wants to go out all the time. He lies by the door, and scratches at it. I suspect that outside is the only environment in which he feels very good. I wish I could take him out more often, but numerous cats, and other non-feline responsibilities, limit our time there.

The orange boy has a desire to lie in new places about the apartment. Initially, it was on the large cat-carrier temporarily (one of those long-term temporarilies) in the corridor. I keep a half-box on it, one of several I have about the residence for quick use when I think someone is about to throw up. Parker decided that it a good place to lie.

Then, I found him on top of the litter-box in the library. This was certainly new, but did not last long. He later lie beside the box for a while.

More recently, he has taken to snoozing on top of the bookcases. This is not a novelty, rather a resurgence of interest. To reach the bookcase that he now prefers, however, means walking across one that is a little wobbly, and it sounds, strangely, just like a cat heaving before a good puking session.

But Parker is searching for new spots at which to rest. This may be an element of a need for comfort that he is not finding elsewhere, but when he lies down, no matter where it is, he does not appear to me to be in discomfort. There is rarely constant movement, no real restlessness, and his tail is usually still, not slapping in annoyance or dissatisfaction.

Another change is to his nose, which is darker than it once was, and seems to be losing fur. This may have something to do with his hygiene. That remains good, both in terms of his cleaning himself and in visiting the litter-box. But a spot he does not wash is his nose, which often has a residue of soft food stuck to it. I clean that off myself.

His vomiting has changed. It is no longer explosive, nor is it mostly liquid. It is of a smaller quantity, but a thicker quality. I would like to think that the calmer upchucking is an improvement but, given my sturdy-boy’s condition, that is improbable.

While Parker’s appetite has lessened, it is still impressive for an ailing fellow. Whenever the menu no longer appeals to him, I change it, so that there is always the possibility of something else for him. He now again enjoys a Royal Canin variety, and does not hesitate to eat a Nutro ‘loaf’ for senior cats. He has also, surprisingly, taken to Merrick turkey, which has not been a big hit in the apartment in the past. He finished off a three-ounce tin for breakfast this morning, which approximates his old appetite of eating half a 5.5 ounce tin at one sitting.

I am pleased by this, of course, and not just because it means Parker is receiving much-needed nutrition. I believe that cats enjoy their meals more than the average human does, and that they derive great pleasure from them. After all, in a life in which sleeping, watching and the odd play-time are the biggest parts, eating takes on a wider importance. If my cats don’t enjoy their food, I feel that I am depriving them of something to which they look forward. Parker continues to look forward to his meals. I have the feeling that his appetite will continue strong until immediately before he dies, or perhaps will even be unfazed by his condition. I hope so. A full belly works wonders on moral, human or feline.

My remarkable friend continues to defy mortality, if only for a few more days. Next week may bring disaster, but that’s next week. When I left him this morning, he was resting, content with his breakfast, and an earlier visit to the litter-box. We measure his life in hours, and these recent hours have been, all things considered, pretty good.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Beggars Can Be Choosers

I have recently learned that my newest outsider cat, whom I have named Hugo, may have a home. Speaking to some of my neighbours, one is certain that he lives in a house down the alley by which he usually comes to and goes from our apartment building. I myself watched him finish a meal and amble down the lane, to turn in at the house mentioned. He very likely, therefore - considering his condition and friendliness - has people caring for him, though they may not feed him soft-food.

Then again, they may. Hugo is a very fussy fellow. He has left food more times than he has consumed it all whenever I provide him with something to eat. It’s true that these portions are often leftovers or experiments for which my beasts did not care. Even so, it shows that Hugo is hardly starving, and is in a position to be picky. He reminds me of a family I’d heard of who went to the soup kitchen on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days for the free meals given then, even though they were well-off. I may limit Hugo’s servings in the future; not eliminate them, but perhaps keep more for needful cats.

On that subject, I have yet to learn much about Polydora, the white and dark-tabby cat who has come around Café Cosy now and then. Her visits are not frequent, which suggests that she too may have either a home or at least another source of food. I will keep an eye out for her - or ask Renn to do so.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Something Smelly This Way Comes

Saturday night is the only time of the week when I can relax for more than half an hour at a time. After feeding the cats their snack about eight to eight-thirty, I have a bath, then sit down with a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie.

Renn is a big part of Saturday evenings. That’s his night with me. He loves bath-time. When I tell him it’s bath-time, he becomes very excited and sits with me while the water plunges into the tub. After it is full, he leaves to see to matters important to himself.

Last Saturday, I stepped into the tub and lie back. It wasn’t long until I smelled something unpleasant, and strong. It was like a gas line had ruptured just outside the bathroom door. I knew what it was, but it was intense, almost overwhelming.

It was so bad, I actually yelled out, “Is someone going to bury that?!”

Alas, no one heeded. My options were limited. I could submerged my head - and nose - until the stench faded, which, being a poor imitation of Buster Crabbe, I did not believe would succeed, or abbreviate my bath and deal with the problem myself. I reluctantly chose the latter.

I looked in the store-room, where the litter-boxes are kept and found the contents undisturbed from when I had scooped everything prior to my bath. I was puzzled, and a little alarmed; I hoped someone had not done his business outside a box. Then I recalled the spare box I had set up in the library. Sure enough, there were Renn’s results. His are often big and smelly. Rarely as bad as this, but then, I am frequently absent when he feels the need to relieve himself. I quickly dealt with the offence.

Unnecessary though it may be to write, my big boy was untroubled by his actions, and settled down next to me to watch - or, in his case, sleep - through the movie. Though not a grade ‘A’ film this time, it at least wasn’t the stinker Renn was that night.

Monday, May 13, 2019

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Raleigh has again decided that I am someone to fear. He seems to have reverted almost to the stage at which he came to live with me. He doesn’t come onto my lap anymore, and scurries away from me whenever I walk near. It needn’t even be in his direction; he takes fright and runs.

While this is a set-back for the Peach’s integration into the household - which was proceeding rather well, in my estimation - it is not a complete reversal. At meal-times, he will often advance toward me as I carry the food-bowl to him, and he rarely runs at those times; on other instances, he goes back to hiding in the corner behind an armchair, and waiting for his food there. He also still comes out to play. He will sometimes expect the string-toy to come to him, wherever he has placed himself out of the way, but he is more involved with me at those times. He also enjoys rushing into the tunnel and fighting the string-toy from there.

While this is a frustrating development, I must remind myself that rescuing a homeless animal is about the animal, not the human. As I tell others, it may be months, even years, before a cat is fully comfortable in his new environment. He may never become comfortable. I don’t think that will be Raleigh’s fate. I believe he will find that he is safe and welcome in the cosy apartment. It will take time and patience. It will take his time, and my patience.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Great White Iceberg

Josie’s test results were reported to me yesterday, and they were not as good as I had anticipated. My Chubs has some kidney issues.

The doctor stated that Josie is in stage two kidney failure, which isn’t disastrous, but isn’t good, either. The SDMA test’s ‘normal’ range ends at 14. Josie came in at 15. She may need to go on a special diet, but not yet. We are on a watching brief right now, and I will take Josie in for a re-examination in three to four months.

This affects her prospective dental surgery, but does not eliminate it. Some of her teeth are bad; they are causing her discomfort, so that she chews on one side of her mouth only. Her mouth must be seen to. If not, she will be in pain for the rest of her life. Neither her teeth nor her kidneys are going to improve, so it is best to tackle the former while the latter is not in a dangerous state. She could have as many as six teeth removed, but the extent of the procedure won’t be apparent until it’s begun, and the doctor can see what’s what inside the Great White’s mouth. Josie will be on fluids for the whole day that she is at the hospital, before, during and after the operation. I will set a date for the surgery today.

I suppose diminishing kidney function is to be expected as my cats age, but Josie has been changing - aging - so gradually, so it seemed to me, that I didn’t expect her to be suffering, either from such bad teeth or from incipient organ failure. As with all cats, she is an iceberg when it comes to health, or, rather, ill health: there is much below the surface.

Her problems, however, will be attended to, and she will feel much better, heading into the last quarter of her life. And I hope to make those years worth living, no matter how many she has left.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

My Own Little Sultan of Swat

My cats generally get along with each other. Cammie hisses and snarls if one of the others inadvertently comes too close to her, but aside from that, there is little hostility shown. What Tucker does from the dining table doesn’t really count, in my opinion.

His favourite location for relaxation is a chair at the dining table. Initially, he disliked the thin cushions with which I equipped the seats, but he eventually changed his mind, and now curls up on the central chair very often. It’s his chair, not only due to its comforts, but because of its location. From here, the roly poly can whap any cat going by.

Tucker is not a violent animal. He will eschew confrontation if it arises. But now and then, he will strike a passing cat. That is especially the case if that cat is passing under or near his chair at meal times. When he does it, I will remonstrate with him, and he will look fittingly contrite. And then whap the next cat who comes near his chair.

He is my own little sultan of swat.