Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cammie's New Adventure

Cammie will be leaving me. A lady from Regina saw her on the rescue-group's website and would like to adopt her. In case you are not from these parts (and most people in the world are not), Regina is about seven and a quarter hours away from Lethbridge, where I live. One assumes that that time is under ideal driving conditions and travelling at about sixty miles per hour.

Regina is, I think, twice the size of Lethbridge, and the metropolis of Saskatchewan, so a question was asked as to why a cat from hundreds of miles away was chosen. This lady (I will call her Beatrice, though that is not her name) simply likes blue-point Siamese cats. There is nothing wrong with choosing a cat based on her looks; there must always be a starting point for one's attention. I have spoken to Beatrice and I am sure Cammie will find a very good home with her. The point is that there was no other cat closer to Regina with whom Beatrice was taken.

The plan at this point is that she and a friend will be driving to Lethbridge on the first day of May to collect my little foster-cat.

This will be a hard parting for me, I think. Cammie is not like many other cats. A cat such as, for instance, Tungsten, would adapt well to a sudden change. It would not have fazed the late Bear-Bear much at all. But Cammie was very distrustful when she came to me. It has taken months, nearly a year, for her to reach the stage she has reached. This certainly does not mean that she cannot trust another person; far from it. But time must be given. Patience is needed. It may be six months before Beatrice has Cammie on her lap. It may be three months before Cammie lets a new person pet her.

I may be wrong about this. It may be that Cammie, now that she knows there are humans whom she can trust and who will treat her well, will be more open to receiving the attentions of others. In any case, I see no reason why, given time, she won’t settle in at Beatrice’s and make a home there for the rest of her hopefully very long life.

Cammie is a cat for whom one must work. She isn’t an instant pet, so time and patience is the key to winning her over. That is my worry. I can tell someone that it may be a long while before Cammie will welcome any touch, but experiencing her reticence is another matter.

Advantages to Cammie’s prospective new situation are that there will be just one other cat, an easy-going fellow her own age. I don’t worry about Cammie integrating with other cats. She will tell them how it’s going to be, and that’s that. With a feline roommate who won’t bother her much, the adjustment should be relatively simple. After all, Cammie knows from her time with me that most cats may be either ignored or put in their places. There will be more people getting to know Cammie. This will be confusing for her at first, but as Beatrice has family, her new cat will be getting to know them simultaneously to getting to know Beatrice. Cammie may soon come to trust several humans, and that will make life much more enjoyable for her.

Nonetheless, it will be hard letting my foster-cat go, especially as her departure is coming so soon after the BB’s. Of course, Cammie’s leaving is much more desirable than Bear-Bear’s, but it will still leave a space that won’t be filled. The Earth fills holes in itself with dirt and rock; the body heals wounds so that they are often invisible. The gaps among the objects of one’s affections last forever.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tungsten's Test Results are In

Tungsten returned to the animal hospital this week for some more tests. She has hyperthyroidism and may be facing kidney disease. The results have come back and they are good.

The orange one’s level from the ‘protein-creatine’ test for her kidneys was previously at 0.2, which was too high. Now it is at 0.1, with which the veterinarian professed herself “very happy”. The T4 numbers, which the doctor would like to see between 10 and 30, are at 13, which is “perfect”, the vet said. Tungsten started out her hyperthyroidism at 59. At the time, I was told that 60 is the limit for a non-hyperthyroid cat. In any case, Tungsten is sitting at good amounts for both her thyroid and kidney.

I intend to call the doctor today, and ask her if anything I may have been doing helped this situation, and if not, what may have done. I have been using a syringe to pump water into the Tiny Terror three times a day (45 millilitres in total every 24 hours), and have provided her with California Natural hard-food to bulk her up, instead of the Orijen that the others get. The latter food is, I believe, better, but it tends not to add weight to the cats. Normally, that is a good thing. Indeed, according to a recent weighing, all the cats have maintained their poundage or lost a bit. Tungsten, however, gained, and now stands, or sits, or lies, depending on her mood, at almost three kilograms again.

I have noticed that she is a bit more active, too. She doesn’t play much, but will once in a while rocket around the house, just for the fun of it. As well, she walks about more. After dinner, for instance, she would almost immediately go to her cat-bed and lie down. She has never been lethargic or even overly tired, from what I can tell, but now she wanders around before settling down; taking her evening constitutional. She has been using my lap just as much as her bed, though that may be due to a change of seasons.

Everything seems to be on the border with Tungsten: I have to be watchful she doesn’t go too far this way or that. But if she keeps on as she is right now, I will be pleased. She is heading toward what I arbitrarily proclaimed her birthday (May 2nd) and will be an estimated fourteen years old. I have a feeling she may be older. But, in any case, for a cat who has always been tiny and skinny, she is aging well.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Of Spring Sunshine

Sunshine seems to be occurring in southern Alberta. I’m not sure what the reason for this vernal illumination may be, since we haven’t had much of a spring this year, but my cats are infallible in finding and using sunshine. If I see Josie lying in bright light streaming through the sitting room window, then I know winter is ending. During the cold months (or, as one book described them, evoking images of the Middle Ages and a hostile world outside the glow of a fireplace, ‘the dark months’), the sun is too far to the south to send its rays through the big east-facing window. But come spring, the pane warms with the glow of our closest star, and my Chubs will not hesitate to take advantage of it. Otherwise, she prefers the softness of an armchair cushion, a cat-bed or even the shag-rug-like quality of a cat-tree platform. But come spring, she will be found in the sun, wherever its light falls.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Babies and Tucker

I must have shown this silly animal sleeping this way before, but every time I see it, I laugh. Tucker does sleep in other positions, but now and then I see him hunched over like Charles Laughton viewing the peasants from the top of the cathedral. And if Quasimodo wasn’t comfortable, I can’t see how my roly poly sausage would be any more so. Yet there he was, snoozing away. I’ve seen babies sleep like this in their strollers. It’s well known that infants don’t acquire actual bones until they near their first birthdays. Apparently, Tucker never will.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cheap Thrills

Cats often behave like children, I find. In particular, they will frequently find joy in the simplest things, such as the box a toy comes in, rather than in the toy itself. In this case, there has been delight over something very simple, quite cheap.

A friend gave me a circular pad that was in turn given to her, free of charge, at a pet-supply shop. This pad is not really thick; it is made of some plastic fibre, so I can’t imagine it is all that comfortable; moreover, it cannot be washed, so once the amount of cat-hair embedded in it is greater than the quantity of material, it will be thrown out.

Yet several of my cats enjoy the pad. Josie, in fact, could not wait until it was unwrapped before she found a fondness for it.

She has been the pad’s most dedicated fan so far. This does not mean that she has abandoned the new hammock, which is still being enjoyed extensively by her and Tucker. But the pad gives my Chubs a new cushion - albeit a thin one - on which to lie, and a new place in the house at which to recline. She even snoozes on it.

Tucker too has resorted to the pad more than once, and sometimes waits for his soft-food meals there. And even Cammie evidently likes how it feels. My Siamese guest-girl likes to lie on the pad and appear threatening to any other cat trying to get down the stairs. Except once in a while when she is feeling her oats, she is actually harmless, and I think merely enjoys feeling imposing.

We never know what will grab our cats’ fancy, and though the cheapest, most easily obtained toy, food or furniture is certainly not always the best, I’m beginning to suspect that the most expensive is often the least used.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What the...?

I at last bought a cellular telephone. It is, in fact, what they call a ‘smart-phone’. Since it is incapable of telling me how to make more money, nor can it describe any solution to the current crisis in the Ukraine, I tend to think of it as more clever than smart. Nonetheless…

I decided to buy one of these devices because I had no way of summoning help if I came across an accident late at night, or in a spot isolated from any other means of communication. If I could have helped a person in trouble but could not, because I had not the means of contacting an ambulance or the police, I would feel very bad. As well, it gives me a means of communication if the electricity dies and eliminates my land-line. I determined to buy a ‘smart-phone’, rather than a simpler cellular telephone because the former provides internet service, in case of a loss of electricity (or if my computer dies), and I would then be able to find information on community emergencies and the like, as long as the internet remains unaffected.

My new machine comes with many tools, one of which is a camera. I took advantage of it to take some pictures of - wait for it - cats! This is Tucker wondering what the heck I am holding and why it makes a simulated camera-sound every now and then. Just what a cat-fancier needs: another means of recording his beasts.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Crossed Eyes

Since Bear-Bear passed away, Cammie is my only foster-cat. In these two, I have been lucky. The BB’s was a very easy integration, a minor hiccough in his relations with Tucker notwithstanding. Cammie’s has also been quite easy. Oh, she hasn’t travelled a smooth road with regard to my perma-cats, but it hasn’t been as rocky as it could have been either.

This article is little more than an excuse to show off my Siamese girl. She’s doing very well. She loves her soft food, though I haven’t been able to induce her to eat anything very good; she does enjoy Orijen hard food. She eats it while crouching behind the bowl, so she can keep an eye on there cats, who, for the most part, couldn’t really care about her presence. She retains a watchfulness that she may never really shed.

Cammie has taken to snoozing a great deal on the fuzzy pad with the heating pad inserted under it. I brought that out again when it became very cold at night a few weeks ago. She loves it. Even so, she will desert her warm bed for my lap now and then, relaxing there and purring until she’s sated.

Her status with the rescue group with which I volunteer has changed a little. She had previously been listed as needing another foster-home, one with fewer cats. That is no longer the case. There is no sense in disrupting her life unless it is for a permanent home. As well, she does not need to be the only cat in a household. She has progressed beyond that requirement and, though she may never be best pals with a feline roommate, she will tolerate others, even to the number of four or five. This is good news because, as many of us know, those who adopt cats seem likely already to have one or two. Or three or four. Or more. And who knows? She and Tungsten no longer hiss at each other on sight, and even have sniffed each other’s tails. Cammie making a friend of another cat is certainly a possibility.

Don’t you love those slightly crossed eyes?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tuck'ed In

Tucker is probably my most playful cat. He and Josie chase each other, though only when I come home from work. He likes to spar with me and try to grab my finger to bite it. He will run and roll on the floor and squeal. He even incurs the wrath of the others by taking swipes at them as they pass, just for the fun of it.

Something unusual that he does is hide within the carpet when part of it is upturned. When I sweep the floor in the sitting room, the roly poly one will squeeze himself into the tube formed by the rolled carpet, turning himself into a real sausage. I’m not sure if he likes the enclosed space or whether he thinks he’s found a clever hiding spot. If the latter, it’s given away by his loud purring when I ‘discover’ him and creep ever closer, speaking his name.

Really, this is one sausage that would be eaten quickly in the wild.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

His Name was Bear-Bear

Bear-Bear was cremated after his untimely death, and his ashes were brought to me last week. I asked to have them. I’ve placed them on the bookcase in my bedroom, next to a photograph of my late friend; the picture is my favourite likeness of him. I put the BB’s little memorial where it is as none of the other cats would get up there to knock it over. They have little sense of respect at times, despite Renn’s regard in the image below.

The mortal remains of even the longest of cats are reduced to a small amount after cremation. It seems unfair, somehow. Even sick, Bear-Bear was a presence. Now, this is all that’s left of him.

But my memories of him remain. Where did he come from? Whose friend was he before he was rescued? What was he called? His name will always be Bear-Bear now. Names are important in remembrance. They give faces to the faceless, laughter to the silent and warmth to the cold. The Menin Gate is one of the ancient entrances to the Belgian town of Ypres, where the British Army fought for four years in the First World War. On its sides are engraved the names of 50,000 British soldiers who have no known graves. At Verdun, the French raised a memorial carved with the names of a quarter million of their soldiers who vanished in that interminable battle.

Yes, names are important in recalling those who pass away. Names keep them close. My friend's name was Bear-Bear. I will remember him.