Friday, January 28, 2011


This time, there is good news. A couple of Wednesdays ago, Tucker was again taken to the veterinarian, because the medicine given initially to help fight the infection he has developed was ineffective. This time, he was given a shot of something called Convenia, an anti-bacterial medicine designed to fight skin problems. He was also prescribed another ointment, for direct application to the problem area.

He is improving. The troublous area has healed quite a bit. To tell the truth, I don’t know if it’s healed as much as it should, but it seems to be developing a scab, which, I guess, is part of the healing process. Tucker may always have a little round scar, but as long as it’s under his fur and troubles him no more, he can live with that.

He continues to wear a funnel-shaped cone to keep him from licking the troublesome area, but I remove it when I have him under my direct supervision. At those times, he does not seem compelled to lick the spot. I know he wants to, but every cat wants to clean that area, and it is probably itchy, as well. But if these are the normal reactions of a cat, and not those of one suffering a physical ailment, then that’s satisfactory, and he’ll have to put up with them until he’s completely healed. The difficult judgement for me will be to tell when the spot is healed enough for him to do without the cone, and not re-damage the area by the normal grooming he will want to perform. To be safe, this should mean another trip to the veterinarian, but I hesitate to do that due to the extra cost. That may sound negligent - after all, it’s the roly-poly one’s health that is at stake - but anyone who owns a pet knows how expensive it is to visit a doctor just to have her say, “It’s looking good. Thanks for coming in.”

Tucker has adjusted himself to wearing the cone, though he certainly dislikes it. He endures it through the night and during the day when I’m away. He’s learned to ascend and descend stairs with it on, to eat and drink water, and is no longer as depressed with it as he was that first week. He comes into the bedroom every morning as soon as I turn on a light and squeaks to have the cone removed. He doesn’t sleep on the bed since having to wear the funnel; I’m hoping he will return once it is permanently taken off. I replace the cone when I go to work, but the half hour before that he is free to groom. His gladness at having it removed is obvious.

He is a smart animal, and knows he’s not supposed to lick a certain spot. Sometimes, I will see him move to groom where I think he shouldn’t and after scolding him, will discover that he was only near and not on the formerly infected area. I will tell him that it’s all right, and that he can continue, and he does. With the cone off, he is lively and active, and has even chased Josie and ambushed Renn. Once the collar is gone forever, the old Tucker will be back, I’m sure.

The other cats are, unfortunately, getting less attention during this time than I would like to give. Renn continues to improve in his own way. I’ve had friends over to the house on two different occasions recently. The big boy still runs to hide when someone arrives, but each time now, he comes charging out for attention not twenty minutes later, as had been the case, but only two or three minutes later. He has long since ceased to run when I come through the door. Instead, he meets me there with the others.

Josie has, I think I’ve mentioned previously, become the boss of the food bowls, despite deferring to Tungsten in other matters. My Chubs has become more vocal in recent months, when demanding that I hurry when serving the soft food, and when playing. She has also developed a fondness for a particular dining chair’s cushion. When I am sitting on it, and she wants to take my place, she will appear restless, even try another chair, but find it lacking something. When I move, she is quick to fill the vacancy. It’s becoming her place.

And Tungsten remains top-cat, though there is less of her. She went to her annual check-up a week ago. (Speaking of veterinary expenses: a ten-minute examination resulted in a bill of more than $60. It was necessary; an annual exam is as important for pets’ health as for humans, especially when we, er, I mean they, become middle-aged.) The orange one has lost half a kilogram of weight since last year. She’s tiny, so she can’t afford to lose much. The doctor said that she is still adequate for her size, but such a loss may be a symptom of kidney disease. Another symptom is increased need for water. Fortunately - at least in this case - Tungsten drinks from a tap that she needs me to turn on, so I can monitor the frequency and length of her drinks. There has not been a noticeable surge in her thirst. But I will borrow a scale to weigh the orange one every three months until her next exam, just to make sure she isn’t diminishing any further. In the meantime, she continues as she has been, bossy, quiet, cuddly and annoying at all the wrong moments. (Licking my face just as I am drifting off to sleep, for instance.)

Things have been interesting lately, but when a cat’s life gets interesting, its human starts worrying. I hope there’s nothing more interesting at the new house in the future than a fuzzy mouse stuck under a couch, or the anticipation of a tin of soft food opening.

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