Friday, June 30, 2017

Distressed Princess

Once more, Cammie is facing hard times. She is vomiting again, and cannot keep food down, even with slippery elm. I will be making an appointment with the veterinarian to take her in to the hospital tomorrow or - if they are closed due to Saturday being Canada Day - this afternoon. I hope that my princess will receive an injection of Cerenia, as she did the last time this occurred.

I think I know what caused this. Cammie had stopped eating the only two kinds of soft-food that she will consume: Fancy Feast ocean whitefish and chicken-and-liver. I thought I would try some Fancy Feast chicken; she had eaten it before and, though it had aggravated the sores on the sides of her head, had not upset her stomach. This time, the results have been the reverse.

A similar crisis developed in April, when I tried to feed her baby-food, in the hopes of promoting greater fluid consumption. She ate well for three days, then ceased, abruptly. Two or three days later, she began throwing up. The pattern has been the same now, even down to it happening at a holiday-time.

This week, my princess has faced repeated forced-feedings of slippery elm, which doesn’t seem to have done any good, and Recovery food, which has been tossed back up. She is currently locked in the bathroom, with water, a litter-box, a bed and even a little food, if she feels tempted. Her isolation is because I want to be able to see if she throws up any further. She is not happy about the last few days.

Once this problem is behind us, I will not be experimenting with Cammie’s soft-food again. If she disdains her food in the future, I will simply wait for her tastes to return. Any thoughts you may want to devote to my princess would be appreciated.

(I apologise for the re-used photograph. I haven’t had time to take any new images.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tucker's New Diabetes Strategy

Trying to manage diabetes can be frustrating. Recently, Tucker has been alternating high and low numbers in the mornings. One day, he will start at about 20, and the next, he will be in the single digits. While the latter is good, I don’t feel that going up and down at the same time on different days is beneficial for him. I understand that his condition is one noted for its unpredictability, but it plays havoc with any kind of plan one may be trying to evolve for its control. 

I consulted with the roly poly’s doctor, and we bandied about various ideas, such as eliminating one of his insulin doses (he receives one in the morning and one in the evening), but none felt right. I suggested lowering both his daily doses to two units. Right now, he receives four in the morning and three at night. Cutting one by half and the other by a third may seem drastic, but my thinking is thus.

Right now, I am less concerned with obtaining for Tucker numbers below ten than I am with fixing a consistent pattern. I may be wrong but I think that only if we can see a stable and consistent curve can we then work to reduce the amount of insulin he is given. If a road is full of bumps and holes, it’s difficult to determine the amount of gravel one needs as a foundation for paving. I suspect that with two units given both morning and evening, Tucker’s numbers will neither be very high nor very low, but in the mid-range, and then sink upon receiving a shot of insulin. I thought two units would be enough to lower his blood-sugar if it were too high but not enough to put him in danger if it started out low.

For the next little while, I will read his blood-numbers before each morning injection, and then perform another curve in a couple or three weeks. This morning, his reading was 14.8, higher than his recent spate of low numbers (due to receiving only two units of medicine last night). His normal four units would have been out of the question with such a number.

I am combining his insulin with low-carbohydrate foods, so I hope the new regimen will stabilize this sausage of a cat and allow us to plan for a long-term solution.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Of Confusion and Routine

The repairs to the kitchen sink went well, and now water drains from it faster than it ever did. The pipes had long needed such a clearing, I think. The resident manager responded quickly to my request for plumbing assistance, which is one of the reasons I like that apartment building.

However, there was confusion aplenty at some point. Aside from the inconvenience of a stopped-up kitchen sink, I had to put the cats away for the day, to avoid the risk of them escaping when the plumber arrived.

I returned home during my lunch-break to see how things were. The plumber had not yet been to the apartment. I looked into the bedroom, where the four perma-cats were sequestered. Cats converged on me from every corner.

“The human is here! We will be freed!”

If that’s what they were thinking, they were disappointed. I cleaned the litter-box that was there for them - it had been used and no one had gone anywhere else - and gave them fresh water. I talked to them for a few minutes and tried to comfort them. They had no idea why they were locked up together, of course, and were displeased about it. But at least no one had killed anybody else. I next checked on Parker in the library. All was well.

When I came home at the day’s end, I was greeted at the front door by Parker. He tries to get out of the apartment, so I have to be on guard. But I didn’t think I would need to be, with him locked up in the library, as he should have been. I guessed that I had not securely closed the library door at noon.

As I pushed the sturdy boy back into the apartment, I greeted Josie, who was also by the door. Then I nearly did a double-take. What was Josie doing out? I couldn’t have also failed to close the bedroom door properly. All the cats were free. It smacked of rebellion!

But no, what had happened was that the manager, a cat-fancier who knows of my pets, had released them from their incarceration when he and the plumber left the apartment. I understand his motivation but I prefer Parker to be kept separate from the perma-cats, as there are still some issues to be settled among them. I don’t know how long the whole group mingled, but there was no fur flying about and no body parts to be found. Everything was well.

So we settled back into the routine. I was glad of it. I don’t care to live in transition, between two periods of normalcy. I think the cats would agree with such a sentiment. They were happy that evening.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It Was Inevitable

This was perhaps inevitable.

I am heading back to work tomorrow (while that too was inevitable, that’s not the inevitability to which I was referring). I have been on holiday for three weeks. I was able to stay home, if need be, any one of those twenty-one days. Tonight, my kitchen sink plugged up permanently, and a plumber must come in and clear the pipe.

That means I will have to sequester not just Parker, but all the cats, for the day. Parker will be in the library, as always, but the four perma-cats will go into the bedroom, with the requisite litter-boxes and water. They won’t like it, especially Cammie, but they won’t kill each other. I hope.

If this had happened any other day in June, I could have remained at home for the plumber’s visit. The cats need not have been packed away and I could make sure all were safe. As it is, I am not certain when the plumber will come tomorrow, or even if he can come tomorrow. The beasts may have to spend more than one day locked up. Timing is everything – and I didn’t have it in this case.

However, that aside, my holiday was a good one. I am not one who goes back to work ‘re-charged’, ‘energised’, or what have you. Less than one minute back at work and it will be as if I had never left. But the days off I had were enjoyable in and of themselves, and for that, I am grateful. I was able to accomplish a great deal that needed doing and I relaxed, as well. Not everyone has that luxury.

Now, I start the count-down until my next holidays. That too is inevitable.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Family Tradition

My beasts and I have a number of traditions. They were started years ago by Tungsten and myself, and each cat seems to have his own with me. One of Renn’s is enduring.

When we lived in the house, I initially installed my computer in the spare room downstairs. I thought it a convenient location. I was wrong. It was at the farthest reaches of the house; it was chilly in the winter and, in the summer, when I had the front door open to the screen, I worried about not hearing someone upstairs. Anyway, I needn’t have been concerned about not being found by the cats. At least one of them, my big boy, would journey down to the marches of our little kingdom whenever I was there and spend some time with me.

Then, when I moved the computer up to the back parlour, a much more satisfactory location, Renn moved his visits. In he would come, always when I was there in the evenings, rarely during the day.

Now that we are in the cosy apartment, the computer is in the bedroom. I usually spend a few minutes on it after I shower, a cup of tea on the table and music quietly playing. My big boy comes in, as he has been doing for almost seven years.

He hasn’t changed his approach. The first I know of his presence is his black and white form, silently wiggling to my lower right. His back is arched for attention, his tail straight up. I greet him with his name and pet his head, and he weaves and purrs. He scratches at one of the cat-trees. He retreats, then advances, wobbling and twisting. This goes on for several minutes, and then he is gone.

What determines these little rituals? Is my big boy making sure that I am here and safe? Is it his time for some reassurance? Is he just stopping by to say ‘hello’ before wandering off to study a bowl of water or a patch of rug? I will never know, but I am glad it occurs. My Renn may be a scholar, a scientist with a probing mind; he is also at heart a sentimentalist, a cat who enjoys giving attention and receiving a kind word. Our tradition is a bit silly, really, but I like it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eminent Mathematicians Agree

The feline relationships in the apartment don’t remain static. On the other hand, they don’t change to a great degree. But they do change. For example, witness what occurred a couple of days ago.

Josie and Renn were sleeping on the bed. It is not unusual for these two to be on the bed together. They are not friends, but neither do they mind each other. Then, Cammie joined them. I don’t know why. It is unlike her. She may have jumped up because I had been at the computer, and then she remained when I left. Note first, the proximity of the princess and my big boy.

While this is not common, neither is it surprising. Though Cammie will hiss at Renn if he comes too close for her liking, her action is not personal. She simply wants her personal space, which has a wide diameter. Snoozing, she is less demanding. But then, Cammie, of her own volition, rose and moved – closer to Josie.

Cammie does not like my Chubs. Their rivalry extends far back into the mists of time, and is kept alive by Josie periodically provoking her sister, just for fun. I have never known Cammie voluntarily to reduce the distance between herself and Josie. You may observe that there was a good deal of shade falling upon her when she was next to Renn, and her move placed her in greater sunshine, but even so, this is unprecedented.

I am not in a state of elation over this. Here, it isn’t a case of two steps forward and one back; it is more akin to 400 steps forward and 399 back, with the result that hardly any progress is seen to be made. The rate of adaptation is not rapid. However, I have consulted with several eminent mathematicians, including the best brains of McGill University and Oxford – well, all right, I think I talked to someone who had been to Montreal, and someone else who liked the Inspector Morse tv series, set in Oxford – and they agreed that, while it will take more than seven hundred years at this rate, Josie and Cammie may very well become friends.

I can’t wait.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Latest Hot Spot

Since the cleaning of the cat-trees, there has been a bit of a re-ordering of where the cats like to lie. The animal most affected by this change has been Cammie, who has widened her field of locations. The location most affected has been the top of the tallest cat-tree, which has widened its field of cats.

While Josie seems not to aspire to such heights, Tucker is the beast who enjoys the lofty position the most now. This may be due to his continuing wariness of Parker, as this gives the roly poly the advantage of height.

Not to be put off, my foster-cat has also visited the highest platform in the apartment. His preference, though, is for lower spots, and he can often be found asleep on the track-ball toy.

And then there is Renn, who seems to be able to make himself comfortable anywhere. In the cylinder-house cat-tree, on the bed, the couch, an armchair or at the top of the sitting room’s taller post, he is undemanding and easy-going.

Such re-arrangements of accommodations occur from time to time. Usually, they happen for no particular reason that I can discern. I think I am lucky in this case at least to know the cause.