Monday, June 29, 2015

The Body in the Bathtub

Noah continues to provide excitement and entertainment at my house. In fact, he provides a little too much excitement, as far as the perma-cats are concerned. He enjoys following them, sometimes too closely for their comfort. I often hear growls and hisses, and Josie’s peculiar little old-lady whine, if Noah gets too near to them.

But the boy is young and is energetic. He wants to play, he wants to wrestle, he wants to explore. That’s his life right now. Periodically, he does rest. It was very hot this past weekend, and I had a nap on Sunday. Noah trotted in and got up on the bed; after his presence forced my Chubs to go elsewhere (even though I was between them), the boy settled down beside me. He was actually still and quiet for a measurable amount of time.

But he has taken to lying in the bathtub. The air conditioning was on during the weekend (it was that hot), so the temperature in the house was hardly unbearable, even for cats. I don’t think Noah was in the tub for the cool feel of the steel. Even so, he spends time in there, sometimes playing with the stopper or the shower-curtain, sometimes, mercifully, lying motionless on the bottom of the dry tub. But never for long.

Monday, June 22, 2015

I Think I'm Allergic To Cats

Well, I may be allergic to Noah, at least. Soon after he arrived, I started suffering from the symptoms of a cold. I last had a cold more than a decade ago. And the symptoms I had this time were just the runny nose and watering eyes, no chills or fever or anything else that might have come from an actual virus.

I took some cold medicine but it had a minimal effect. Allergy medicine to which I then resorted had a better result, though the reactions I’ve had have been diminishing with time anyway. They were a minor irritant throughout my holidays (but still much less of an irritant than working), and seemed to increase when I was in a small space with Noah.

This is an interesting development, as I have not had allergies before, and have never been allergic to any animal. Furthermore, I think young cats are less likely to cause allergies than adults.

However, this also demonstrates that allergies can be tamed by time in some cases - and in this instance, a short time - and that cats need not always be eschewed or given up because of them. It’s true that this was a mild case but continued exposure to Noah accustomed my system to his fur, or whatever else may have been causing it trouble.

Now if I can get him off my papers when I write…

49 Weeks to Go Until My Holidays...

Today, I am back at work after a holiday of three weeks. I enjoyed myself, had a lot of fun and slept in. The cats were able to see me much more than usual, though since they slept through most of our time together, I don’t know if my increased presence mattered all that much.

Noah was able to spend the majority of each day outside of his quarantine, which was nice for him. He continues to stalk the others, especially the girls, so I have to keep an eye on him. Tucker and he got into a tussle Saturday night, and though I dislike to see cats physically disagree, I must say that I am glad that Tucker is sticking up for himself. I don’t want him to feel that he’s on the bottom rung of the social ladder again, so if he wants to remind Noah that youth must give way to experience, I won’t chastise him for it.

Cammie doesn’t care for Noah, either, but she is handling the situation better than I thought she would. She hides a little but, for the most part, just avoids Noah. I had a friend over last week and the princess had no qualms about being petted or having someone sit next to her. She even jumped up to sit on my lap, though my friend was right beside me.

Things return to a routine today and though the perma-cats - and I - need the money work brings in, I must declare that holidays are, in fact, better.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Cat-carrier From Before There Were Cat-carriers

The rescue-group to which I belong, the Lethbridge PAW Society, held its annual garage sale last week. I volunteered for a few hours, which gives me the opportunity to scrutinise the items for sale. I noticed this article and decided to buy it.

It’s a cat-carrier, and was, according to the explanation of the woman who donated it, hand-made, home-made, by her father, before cat-carriers were common. It is made of wood, varnished, and is not much heavier than the plastic carriers available these days. I think the fellow should have gone into making large numbers of them; he probably would have become rich.

The front has a door with a heavy metal grid, something repeated on the window at the rear. The door may be locked by turning the little latch.

The only disadvantage to it is that the door is a little too small through which to pull a reluctant cat at the veterinary hospital. I suspect anyone reading this has had to perform that operation. But for transporting a cat to and from places at which he feels comfortable, or for stowing a cat out of harm’s way for a while, it is excellent.

As well, I thought a well-crafted item such as this deserved to be preserved, and by a cat-fancier.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Miniature Heat-wave

We had a bit of a heat-wave here last week. The temperature soared up to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit – at least we didn’t have a fever). This was a little foretaste of August, in June. Fortunately, the thermometers recorded rather more seasonal temperatures soon after.

For the time that it was here, however, the miniature heat-wave had the cats looking for any cool surface – except for Josie, who was content with the sitting room rug. Admittedly, it was probably just as cool as the floor, but even so, that’s Josie.

When the real heat of late summer arrives, the air conditioning may have to come on. Until then, though, the beasts will have to make do with an electric fan and as little movement as possible. They usually practise the latter tactic every day, anyway.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Plan for Cammie

Not long ago, Cammie suffered an infection that produced ugly sores on either side of her head. These were defeated by a prescribed counterattack of steroids and anti-biotics. This was, however, just the latest – albeit the most severe – episode in a series of such appearances, and are probably due to an allergic reaction of some sort. Many cats are allergic to the food that they habitually eat. In Cammie’s case, that may be fish.

The plan that I have adopted is to wean her off fish in her diet. This is, as with everything related to cats, easier written than done.

The Siamese princess is very particular about the soft-food that she consumes. She will eat nothing but Fancy Feast brand, and only a select number of flavours. These all contain fish. Her favourite varieties are overtly fish-based. She will eat a couple of others but not enthusiastically. Right now, I am serving her chicken flavour, which contains fish. That ingredient is far down on the list, and is a general ‘fish’, rather than a described species, so I will count chicken flavour Fancy Feast as less fishy than others. She does eat it. Perhaps it is the fish taste – however deeply hidden it may be – that appeals to her. But a reduced amount of fish is at least a first step.

Cammie will eat nothing else in the way of soft-food. Fortunately, she does eat the hard-food I serve. It is Orijen brand, and the current flavour contains no fish. It is a very good food and gives her all the nutrients she requires. She need not eat any soft-food in regards to nutrition; I would still like her to have some, though, for the moisture content, and the variety. I think cats like soft-food.

To show how exacting my latest perma-cat is when it comes to her menu, I give this illustration. Just this afternoon, I was preparing the portions for dinner. The new foster-cat, Noah, is at the stage where he will eat anything, so I am giving him the best food in the hopes of getting him addicted to it when he eventually becomes fussy. A portion of this food fell on Cammie’s dish. It was about a quarter the size of my smallest finger’s nail, and was off to the side. When presented with her meal, Cammie refused even to dip her nose to smell it. It was sent back to the kitchen (she disdained even to complain, such was the enormity of the culinary crime), the offending particle was removed and the dish placed before her again. This time, she ate.

And so my search for something else that she enjoys continues. Every new brand, every new flavour is presented for her decision. It is always ‘nay’. I will keep trying, however, for some day I may hear a feline ‘yay’, and that will be worth everything that went before.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

About a Boy-cat

The holidays are proceeding well. It’s astonishing how much time one has when one isn’t forced to work. Well, I must qualify that: I am working, but at chores at home, on my own time, and not getting paid for them. And yet, they are more satisfying than work, even though they are work. I don’t know if that’s paradox or irony, but it’s truth, regardless.

The cats are coping adequately with my constant presence. Noah the foster-cat is out amongst the perma-cats quite often. Tucker, surprisingly, is tolerating him the best, at least superficially. There have been instances of urination downstairs, which I blame on Tucker, but so far, they have been few. He allows Noah to come within a couple of feet of him without reacting adversely. Renn dislikes the new boy even from a distance, which I would not have expected. Josie doesn’t mind Noah as long as he is out of reach, and Cammie loathes him. Noah ambushed the princess when she was downstairs, and that hasn’t endeared him to her. She is the one about whom I am most worried in regard to stress. But just today, I lie down on the bed to allow her some time on my chest. She lie there purring for about twenty minutes, getting up on the bed initially even though Renn was already there, and even staying for a few minutes when my Chubs joined us. Perhaps Cammie now thinks her old roommates aren’t so bad, compared with the new.

I think the problem may be that Noah thinks of everything as a game. I am not convinced that he was merely playing with Cammie when he attacked her; I put him in the parlour now and then to give the others a break from him, and he goes downstairs in the spare room at night.

But Noah does love to play. He looks full grown, but he’s a kitten inside. Everything is a toy to him, whether it is a tag, a string, a set of keys, a toe, a finger. Sometimes, he will even play with toys.

Here he is having subdued a fuzzy mouse (between his forepaws).

He knocked this ball down the stairs and all I heard for half an hour was the sound of it rolling about the library floor.

He fought the Kick-a-roo most ferociously.

The Trac-ball is great fun. He will hide from the ball below the rim of the track, just in case it’s watching out for him.

And on the subject of hiding, he even found the sitting room rug something with which to play.

He learned how to zoom through the nylon tunnel soon after discovering it.

And when on the bed, why not grab at the comforter?

A balled up piece of scrap paper is better than any shop-bought toy, it seems.

But at last, even Noah needs to rest. At least for a minute.