Friday, July 25, 2014

How He Thinks, What He Does

It’s always interesting to me to see the personality of a cat revealed. I’m getting to know Kola more, of course, the longer this foster-cat stays with me. He loves physical attention - up to a point. In the mornings, especially, he will twist and turn and roll until he lies still for some petting; he particularly likes to have the back of his neck rubbed. Then he is up and writhing in happiness again. It’s similar to Renn’s acrobatics of delight at bath-time. But Kola will often decide that enough is enough, and he will then swat my hand away.

Another of his characteristics is his wonder at running water. I don’t know that he was ever let into a washroom before, or if he had been, if he had had the opportunity to watch water flow from a tap. Unlike Renn, however, and my big boy’s serious study of the motion of fluids, Kola considers the movement of water principally from a viewpoint of drinking it. Every time I enter the bathroom - and I mean every time - I will hear an abrupt “er”, and a second later a little fuzzy head will appear around a corner.

How quickly they learn. Kola knows that water doesn’t run of its own accord. (Well, it does, but he likely has never seen a brook.) He understands that the human he’s living with can make the water fall from the tap, and so whenever the human goes to the room where the water lives, Kola eagerly comes to get a drink. Thank goodness he still drinks from a bowl, as well. I don’t want my newest foster-cat picking up Tungsten’s bad habit, and refusing on principle to consume standing water.

Tucker continues to try to bully Kola, running at him now and then. Nothing serious has occurred since the battle the aftermath of which I found when I came home weeks ago. Kola stays locked in the parlour while I am sleeping or away from home, even when I have a shower in the downstairs shower-room. The roly poly one has taken advantage of just a few minutes’ absence on my part. His behaviour may change or it may not. It is inconvenient, and not fun for Kola, who sits at the window of the parlour each morning and watches me leave for work, knowing that it will be hours and hours before I return to free him.

But at least he is healthy and, I believe, content. What he needs for his happiness, though, is a permanent home of his own, maybe one with an easy-going cat, ready to make friends. And a dripping tap would be nice, too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cammie on the Couch

Cammie continues to do well, and she has added a new element to her progress. She has been jumping up on my lap for pets for a long time now. Recently, though, she has taken advantage of me sitting on the couch to join me there. It’s not the same for her as when I sit on a chair. She has come up on my lap while I’m on the couch only a few times. Once, she did it when there were other cats lounging near, which surprised me; she didn’t hiss or growl, nor did she remain long, but it was a step - or rather, leap - in the right direction.

She hasn’t purred yet while she is with me on the couch, and she stays only a minute or so. Then she will drop to the floor again or move over to the other corner of the couch to lie there. But each innovation means greater integration, greater comfort with her situation, and with the other cats. There are always set-backs. The introduction of a new cat, Kola, has put her on edge a bit. Kola, astonishingly, is not deterred by Cammie’s hisses and growls, but the Siamese Princess doesn’t care for him. She was particularly grumpy yesterday, for no discernible reason. And there is her continued antipathy toward Josie.

But if her trip to Regina, now fading into the middle distance of memory, didn’t make her regress much, then I am not too worried about the odd step back that she takes in my house; there is usually a couple of steps forward to compensate. And it’s rather interesting that a cat can move ahead while lying down.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Month Called Josie

The cat-rescue group of which I am a member, the Lethbridge PAW Society, of Lethbridge, Alberta, is publishing a calendar for 2015. This will be the third calendar we’ve done. The second’s sales were better than the first’s; in fact, the calendar sold out. We are hoping to equal that result this year.

As in the past, the calendar features cats who were rescued by PAW and then adopted. The photography, for the second year, is courtesy of Tanya Plonka, of Puppy Love Pet Photography. She has generously donated her time and talents to the PAW calendar, and, thanks to her, it will show twelve of the lucky felines taken into loving homes.

One of those cats is mine. The calendar for this year (published last year) features Tungsten, my first and oldest. The new calendar will display Josie’s almost-smiling face. My Chubs is eleven this year, and hasn’t really changed in appearance much since I brought her into my home at the end of 2008. She may have gained some weight…

These are the photographs taken of the Great White. The one I’ve chosen to use in the calendar is at the end. This is my Josie, who purrs these days more often, more readily and more loudly than ever before. Perhaps she likes being a photographer’s model...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Twisted Cat

I’ve shown pictures of Renn at rest before, but the position he likes best always amuses me. He adopts this position only on furniture with arms (eg. the couch, the armchair, a loveseat). He does sleep on his back elsewhere but only on those furnishings does he lie quite like this. I saw why this weekend. He grabs the front of the arm and uses it to lever his rear end up and around, so that he can have his bum against the back of the seat.

Then he snoozes like this. Sometimes, he’ll wake enough to stretch, and then fall asleep again in an elongated position. He’s a funny beast and if I were boneless (or twenty years old), I would probably enjoy resting like this, too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Josie and the Secret of Cool

Josie doesn’t appear on my blog as much as the other cats. I think it’s because my Chubs doesn’t do anything extraordinary much of the time. She is a pretty normal cat, trying to steal some of Tungsten’s California Natural dry-food, annoying Cammie and snoozing on the floor just where I want to walk.

But she holds a place in my affections nonetheless. When she is at a window when I come home from work, she squeals and rubs her face furiously against things, then hurries to the door to meet me. And at night, she will often move from one side of the bed to the other, purring all the while, happy just to be there.

Sometimes Josie does something that gets her especially noticed. The weather has been far too warm lately. I like moderation in climate, and I would have thought that living in a temperate zone would leave summer balmy and pleasant. This is not so. Therefore, the air conditioning has been working in my house on some recent days.

The cats alternate inexplicably between lying in the blazing sun on a hot day to lying on cool hardwood flooring on equally hot days. At least two of them, Tungsten and Josie, have discovered the secret of the air vents: the orange one enjoys the heat that flows from them in the winter, and the Great White has found the cool of the air conditioning to be soothing. Witness the photographic evidence of my Chubs keeping her tail comfortable. As ordinary as she may be, she has her moments.

Feeling Better

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Tungsten is feeling much better. Some antibiotics from the doctor helped, though I think it may have turned her poop to liquid. I understand that destroying more bacteria than just the bad ones can do that. The orange one startled me on the weekend by pooping outside the litter-box, for the first time in years. In fact, she didn’t even get close to it, relieving herself in my bedroom at one o’clock in the morning. I suspect that she had to go and felt that she couldn’t make it downstairs.

The latest example of her number two that I’ve seen was firmer than that late night deposit. I haven’t seen anything that I can prove is hers since, so either she is much improved and making it to the litter-boxes, or she is holding it all inside. Since she didn’t do that Saturday night, and her behaviour now is back to normal, I think she is doing well with regards to litter-boxes again. I of course forgive her the missing of the litter-box (by about fifty feet and a house storey) because everyone is under the weather now and then.

She was enjoying the warm sunshine in these pictures, sniffing the air at the window at first, then retreating to the bed for a snooze. Thank you to all those who wished her well during her recent illness.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Where She Left Off

Cammie has settled in - or re-settled in - well. I think that she is pretty much at the stage of integration at which she was when she took her unfortunate journey to Regina. Though she continues to hiss at the other cats, it is usually ignored by them - since they keep their distance anyway. It's amusing to see the Siamese Princess walk by Tucker, hiss at him without bothering to slow down or even look at him, and keep going. Tucker meanwhile ignores her. With Cammie, that's a pretty good integration.

She spends much of her time at the open windows. She loves to lie on the cat-tree that came with her, a tall one with a curved platform at the top, just right for her size. She will sometimes lie looking out the window; other times, lie curled up facing the other way - but that position is for sleeping, not for watching.

Cammie is a smart girl. Window space in the summer is at a premium and sometimes she will find that in both the parlour and bedroom, another cat is already at the window. Cammie doesn't mind (much) if one of her roommates comes up on the cat-tree in the bedroom next to hers. But she won't join a cat already there. One evening, she found the parlour tree occupied. She trotted down the corridor to the bedroom, but that too was filled. This annoyed her, and she retreated, grumbling, but stopped at the bathroom. She walked over to the cupboard beneath the basin and opened the door there, but left disappointed. She knew closed doors sometimes led to rooms, and wanted to see if that one led to another window.

One of her favourite spots is in the cylindrical 'house' of a cat-tree in the basement, in the lobby of the library. It's cool there in the heat of the summer, and she will be untroubled by other cats. I too leave her alone - except to say 'hello' - when she is in her round house. That's her little retreat. She used it for the first time when she had a bad cold months ago, and evidently finds it congenial when she is at her most misanthropic (if that word can be applied to wishing to avoid cats).

But she enjoys other places in the house, thanks to her having grown accustomed to the other beasts. A table-top, a place in the hot sun on a hot day (from which she will then retire to the cool of the basement) or the top of the sitting cat-tree; I may find Cammie anywhere these days. And at least once a day, I find her on my lap.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Littlest Patient

Tungsten was sick over the weekend. I noticed it Thursday morning, when she woke me at eight minutes after three. She threw up, which is rare for her. She vomited more later, five times that I knew of; that’s as often as she has thrown up in the last two years. She also had no interest in food or water, and was lethargic and apathetic. I made an appointment with the doctor for Friday afternoon.

It’s suspected that she had some sort of infection; exactly what, was undetermined. She was prescribed antibiotics and a pill to settle her stomach. I also started ‘force-feeding’ her Recovery soft-food by syringe. So she was getting food pumped into her thrice a day, half an anti-biotic pill twice a day and a quarter of an anti-upchuck pill once a day - plus her twice daily ear-rub of hyperthyroid medicine. She was displeased with life over the weekend.

However, by Sunday, the Tiny Terror was much better. She was eating, both hard- and soft-food - not her usual amounts (which are never large, anyway) - but much more than in the previous few days. She asked for a drink of water last night, for the first time since Wednesday. And her behaviour is almost normal again.

Numerous tests were run by the hospital, due to Tungsten’s health problems - hyperthyroidism and kidney trouble. All told, the cost was a tidy $300 even. I cannot feel bad about the price, though, since, despite it showing the doctor very little that could indicate what was wrong with the orange one, the tests conducted demonstrated that, aside from this passing infection, she is in excellent shape, considering her health issues. The veterinary, who was a stranger to Tungsten, stated that if she had not known of the cat’s kidney problems from her records, she would not have thought Tungsten had any at all. My little queen’s weight remains steady; it has hovered between 2.9 and three kilograms for more than six months, and her T4 numbers are good.

So, now that she is recovering from her illness, Tungsten can return to being the demanding, superior top-cat she is meant to be.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Must Remember to Shut That Off

Yet another tap-drinker! The trouble is that I leave the tap on while Tungsten has her drink and then she leaves without shutting it off. She will drink, then sit back and think about things for a bit, then bend down to drink some more. There’s no point in waiting for her to finish, so I go about my business while she continues to slake her thirst. Then I forget about the running water, and someone else finds it.

Fortunately, Kola is a bowl-drinker, just as Cammie is. My newest foster-cat does like watching the water fall, a bit like Renn, but it’s merely a prelude to drinking, whereas my big boy’s observations are ends in themselves. We’ve entered upon a hot spell in southern Alberta, so I am happy with however Kola, wrapped in his big, floofy coat, wants to consume his water. Though I wish one of these beasts would learn to turn off the tap when he’s done.