Sunday, June 16, 2024

Feeding My Oldster

Having cats is a matter of juggling their culinary desires at the best of times. It can be especially trying with an oldster.

Renn has been eating Recovery, a convalescent wet-food, for some time. He has done very well with it and, though expensive, I have been happy to serve it because it is concentrated with nutrients. It is also excellent as a medium for hiding and mixing medicine. But lately he has shown reluctance to eat it.

I have offered instead various flavours of Fancy Feast, which my big boy is eating. This was a selection to which I returned when he determined not to eat his Recovery any more. Fortunately, he still wants soft-food, and he also takes in some hard-food. But he is someone whose diet I must continually watch, for he is not only aged but very thin. I am sure he is not eating as much as he should, but syringe-feeding wouldn’t put much more into him, and might even put him off eating on his own. (It is a viable option when he doesn’t eat at all.)

Each day can be a challenge when one has an oldster. I feed Renn whenever he expresses a desire for food, and sometimes offer him something even when he has not asked for a meal. These small portions through the day help keep him going. One day, he will not want anything; his desire will be gone. Until then, however, a changeable menu will be offered and, hopefully, accepted.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Nonchalance May Be the Key

Indigo still isn’t comfortable around other cats, but she is progressing, slowly. I think that Brazil will be the key to her integration in that regard. Given Shimmer’s relations with Imogen, one might be hesitant to use him as a strange world’s envoy to a newcomer. But how he interacts with Imo is, I believe (and hope) unique. He is quite different toward Indigo. He watches her and then moves away. As may be seen here, Indie is not alarmed by Brazil’s presence. She hissed at him, then turned her attention toward water. While my oldsters would show Indigo that other felines mean her no harm (Imogen excepted), they aren’t good examples of actual interaction, while Brazil is. Therefore, the weighty duty of bringing Indigo into other cats’ lives appears, for now, to rest on his shoulders.

In other news, following my exposition of the mystery of the water-bowl, I believe that Possumlady and Jackie, from Memories of Eric and Flynn, are correct in their theories. Larger birds, specifically crows, may be the ones depositing food, probably unwillingly, in the outside water-bowl, when they stop for a drink. I have noticed this fellow hanging about, and even drinking (sans food) from the bowl. But where he finds chunks of cooked meat, bread, and even toast, remains unknown. Some human must be missing substantial parts of his meals…

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Mysterious Case of the Water-bowl

There has been a recurring mystery outside my apartment, by the ditch. I leave a water-bowl there for the outsider-cats – and any other animal – to use for refreshment. I have seen cats, raccoons, skunks and birds use it, often after they have their fill at the food-bowl on the floor of the ditch.

Lately, I have noticed a strange additive to the water in the mornings: pieces of chicken. This has happened several times, twice this week in succession. The first time the chicken was a piece about a cubic inch in size. It was cooked, either baked or roasted, I think. To be honest, it might not be chicken. It could be turkey or pheasant or snake (“tastes like chicken”) for all I know; but I think it is chicken. The second piece was smaller. Aside from this, I have noticed lumps of bread floating in the water on some mornings.

How this food comes to be there, I don’t know. Certainly, it is not there every day. I can’t see any cat bringing a piece of edible meat and, rather than eating it, dumping it in a water-bowl. Raccoons have a reputation of dunking food in water (‘washing’ it), which I think comes from a desire to soften food, rather than clean it. The argument against this is that I almost always know when a raccoon visits. They are noisy eaters and they will eat every kernel of cat-food in the food-bowl. On the instances in which they have deposited something in the water, much of the food remained unconsumed. Furthermore, the water is always dirty (I mean with actual dirt.) Again, I can’t see a raccoon leaving such a morsel as a chunk of chicken behind.

I think it may be birds carrying the food to the bowl and dropping it in when trying to drink, though why they would do so, I can’t imagine. And why they would not pick out the food again is also unknown. The greatest stretch for an answer is that a human is the cause. Yet again, however, the reason for such odd behaviour is elusive.

This mystery then, remains just that. The chicken I have tossed on to the lawn for less picky animals to find, and the bowl is washed, its contents re-charged. And I wait for the next installment of this enigma.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Celebrating Too Soon

Indigo had some blood taken for analysis yesterday, while she was at the veterinary hospital. A rescue-group likes to know as much as possible about a cat, especially an older one, if asked by a prospective adopter. The results came back today. Indigo had a blood-sugar level of 22. The normal range should be from 4 to 8. There is a chance that the high number was caused by the stress of the veterinary visit; Indigo was shedding badly at the time. It is also possible that she has diabetes.

She will be taken in again, assuming that I can put her in the carrier a second time so soon after the first, on Monday. More blood will be taken and her fructosamine will be measured. This will give a reading of Indigo’s blood-sugar levels over a period of a week to a fortnight, thus showing what her numbers are under normal conditions.

If she is diabetic, this will cause some troublous times for both her and me, as I will have to give her numerous injections of insulin at different doses to find the right one. That in turn will require ear-pokings to collect blood. I have no idea how she will react to these, especially as she doesn’t really know me well. This of course will have an effect on her adoptability, fewer people wanting a cat with diabetes, even if it is managed.

We will know more come Monday.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Indigo's Surprise

Indigo went to the veterinary hospital for her initial examination. I was handed a surprise during the procedure: Indigo’s age is estimated to be about ten years!

I was thinking five at most but probably three. No, she’s a senior. Her teeth are very good for a cat of such an age, but nonetheless are those of an older feline. She also has cataracts developing, and the possibility of thyroid trouble in the future. But none of these are big problems right now, and she is in good condition for her suddenly advanced years. Those years explain her reluctance to play to any great extent.

Her heart and lungs are healthy. The little bumps on her head, near her ears, caused some puzzlement. The doctor does not believe they are dangerous; they may be akin to warts. Even so, I will keep my eyes on them. We also found the wound where Imogen had put her claw into Indigo’s scalp. That too I will have to watch, for signs of abscess.

All in all, though, Indie did well. She behaved well, also, giving the veterinary and her staff no difficulties, allowing herself to be carried about, poked and prodded.

Now, I have a middle-aged cat, who may not be as easy to place as one a few years younger. On the other hand, it makes me feel better that I have Indigo living with me, not having to forage or scavenge for food outside, less able to cope than a kid. Her appetite is good, her litter-box deposits excellent. She has her vaccinations and, for good measure, received de-worming medicine. The rest of her lifetime is open to her, and it appears promising.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Cats Are the Mother of Invention

Renn is will finish his anti-biotic tomorrow. It appears to have helped him with his infection; he is back to wetting adequate amounts readily, without sitting in the litter-box for minutes, and there is no blood in his urine. The situation has been aided by a small increase in his dosage of anti-inflammatory medicine.

But the anti-biotic reduced his stools to near-liquid, and made him feel poorly, decreasing his appetite, among other things. This was bad in itself, of course, but also diminished the ability to give him his medicine in the first place, since it was provided with his food. Upon speaking with someone at the veterinary hospital, it was suggested that I introduce pro-biotic to Renn’s food, something I should have thought of priorly. I had some in stock, and the advice was followed, but my big boy still didn’t eat much of his meal. After all, if he doesn’t feel like eating, why and how would he eat the cure that was put into his food?

For some reason, I thought of a soup that I have for cats. I knew from previous use that no one really ate the shredded chicken that came with the broth – which is a waste but was not about to change – but liked the broth. So I mixed the powdered pro-biotic with the broth. Then, I thought, why not add the anti-biotic while I’m at it? It is largely flavourless, so if Renn will eat the pro-biotic soup, he will consume the anti-biotic with it.

This is what in fact occurred. My oldster licks the bowl clean. I give him only a small amount of broth, as I want it all gone, and the smaller amount assures that the pro-biotic and the anti-biotic are concentrated in what is consumed. I don’t know whether it is the taste of the broth or the pro-biotic that Renn likes, but he eats it all.

His stools are firmer now and his appetite has returned. His litter-box visits remain satisfactory. There is only another day of anti-biotic medicine to go, and my big boy is doing well.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Far-flung

It’s interesting, the wide exposure my book, Inductions Dangerous, is receiving in the international market-place. It is now available from German, Norwegian, Dutch, Korean, Italian, Chinese, English, South African and American sources. These do not include the various incarnations of Amazon, which make it available from Canada to Singapore.

But if you would like a copy, you needn’t order it from Europe or Asia; you can buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Inductions-Dangerous-John-Bellen-ebook/dp/B0CR6QPVPD