Monday, December 31, 2018

Welcome to the New Millennium

Well, no, the new millennium is some ways away – or past – but I didn’t have a blog eighteen years ago, so I missed using this dramatic title. I’ve decided to use it now. Catchy, eh?

2018 is counting down, even as I write this. I can’t say that it has been a good year; in fact, whenever I mention it to people, it seems the best they can come up with is that they hope 2019 will be better.

The year was a costly one for me in terms of money. But the results of the spending have been satisfactory.

Tucker had all his teeth removed. Recovering from this ordeal was tough for the little sausage; he didn’t eat much soft-food, and he refused to eat hard-food, as it hurt his tender gums. However, he has since rebounded, and now eats from the hard-food bowl as he once did. His last hurdle, eating Temptation Treats, has been crossed. In themselves, these items are unnecessary. But I tried to tempt the roly poly with them when he was refusing any other hard food. Lately, he has been consuming them whenever presented with them. As a symbol, they mean success.

This year brought me a new temporary cat. Raleigh was captured and fixed as part of the trap / neuter / return programme I initiated at my work-place. Very tame and suffering from FIV, I felt he could not be returned to the concrete wilds, in which it seemed he was not faring well anyway. He was first placed in a foster-home, but it proved rather too crowded for him, and he looked unhappy. So I brought this peach-hued boy to the Cosy Apartment to live temporarily. It was determined that he had stomatitis, which meant most of his teeth had to follow Tucker’s. This did not end the stomatitis, though, and so he has been placed on steroids, which are proving effective. Once his condition stabilises, and he sheds the cold he is currently suffering, and becomes much less timid, and can stand other humans, Peachy will be available for adoption through the rescue-group to which I belong. When people get over the goopy eye, the runny nose, the frightened introversion and the stigma of FIV, Raleigh will be snapped up in a heartbeat and taken to his permanent home. Until that day, he will stay with me, temporarily, and be a part of my family.

Parker unfortunately continues to be a worry. His appetite has diminished again, so he will be going to the doctor in the new year. He is eating enough to stay alive, but he will undoubtedly lose more weight. As well, according to his latest ‘curve’, his blood-glucose numbers, though adequate, are not what they have been. Until a diagnosis can be given, my sturdy-boy will receive whatever food he will eat. Right now, a full stomach beats a smart menu.

But I cannot complain too loudly. Despite my concern over Parker, and the money chewed up by Tucker’s and Raleigh’s teeth, we in the Cosy Apartment are doing well. I am still employed, we are housed in warmth and comfort; we have food and entertainment. Others, even those whose blogs I follow, have reason to curse 2018 much more than I. Yet they don’t. They remain hopeful and helpful, and others, human and animal, benefit from their positive attitudes.

I have already received from my internet friends many wishes of a happy year to come; any who have visited this blog with such messages need not repeat them. I appreciate each, and will reciprocate individually. In the meantime, allow me to hope, on behalf of all the residents of the Cosy Apartment, that the year to come is peaceful, fruitful and happy.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Ordinary is Good

This is a propitious time at which to write a little bit about Josie, because it was at Christmas time that she first came to live with me. It was, in fact, Christmas Eve of 2008, I believe. We’ve been together ten years.

Josie is not quite as welcoming to stranger-cats as is Renn, but she has contributed her part to a smooth integration. I’ve watched her with Raleigh: Peachy barely acknowledges other cats sometimes, trotting right past them as if they were not there. Josie doesn’t mind this. Whereas Tucker will periodically feel a whap is in order, Josie just lets the new boy go by.

The Great White prefers to live and let live. She won’t sniff body parts, as Renn will. There is no investigation of any newcomer. Raleigh has been rather forward in the instance of food, and this will trouble Josie now and then. But other than that, the advent of the cosy apartment’s sixth cat has barely been noticed by our senior feline.

I often think that I don’t give Josie enough time. She is rarely sick (crossed paws that she remains so), and fusses little. She doesn’t stand out. I was tempted even not to write anything about her; there is nothing to relate. But she is my steady one, my barometer. Her calm makes me calm. She may be an ordinary little cat, but I for one have always loved ordinary.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Feeding the Borg

I am not a Trekkie, or Trekker, or whatever fans of the different Star Trek series call themselves. I did watch the original television series, as well as most episodes of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, however, and, thanks to my memory’s phenomenal capacity for recollecting anything that has little value to my life, I can remember the majority of what happened in each.

In one episode, the crew of the Enterprise fought the Borg (the imaginatively named race of cyborgs intent on conquering the universe, as cyborgs usually are.) The crew found to their dismay that the Borg had developed individual force-fields (if that isn’t an illogical item for a race of collective beings to possess) which protected each Borg from the fire of hand-phasers. Picard et al. were forced to adjust their phasers to shoot each time at a different frequency, thus being able to penetrate the force-fields that one time. The Borg would modulate their force-fields, only to be confronted by a phaser-beam with a different frequency the next shot.

I realised that this is how I feed my cats soft-food.

As every cat-fancier knows, a cat’s inclination to eat a specific flavour or brand is in inverse proportion to how much of it the fancier buys. What feline tastes enjoy today, they will not like the next day when presented with the first of two dozen tins of what had been, until then, their favourite. Furthermore, a cat will often change preferences during a day, disdaining in the evening what she thought the greatest thing since sliced cat-nip in the morning. Not satisfied with that, a cat will sometimes decide it wants nothing to do with even a second helping of what it consumed with such gusto a minute previously, though it will find plenty of room for another flavour thrust upon him a moment later.

So it is that I find myself repeatedly alternating foods during any one meal-time. It is as if I were under attack by a race of small, furry Borg, and my only defence is continually to switch the frequency of brands, varieties, flavours and mixtures to keep them provided with something they don’t expect.

My tactics don’t always work. Now and then, a cat will like nothing given to him. For the most part, however, I am able to feed, one way or another, all six of the beasts, not only keeping them alive, but keeping them interested, to an extent, in their nutrition. I save the galaxy one meal at a time.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Renn the Friendly

I hope everyone’s Christmas is going well. In our era, the Season doesn’t last long, so many of us are returning to work, returning to routines. I’m afraid that that includes this blog.

So, just to remind readers that my collection of cats includes more than Raleigh and the sugar twins, I thought I would present Renn.

Renn is a significant part of a new cat’s integration. That’s because I can always count on my big boy to be friendly to a newcomer. He doesn’t go out of his way, making a ‘welcome’ banner to hang on the wall or inflating balloons. But he will be the first - sometimes the only - cat to sniff at the stranger’s nose (and the other end), and will not fuss if the new boy or girl, unaware of the cosy apartment’s ways, transgresses a little.

Renn is not flawless, of course. He does hiss or growl at times. He likes to have the sitting room couch to himself and will whap at someone who jumps up to join him - but he does that with long-established roommates, too. And new boy Raleigh does raise the big boy’s ire by intruding into his food-bowl now and then.

By and large, however, Renn is an inviting sort who takes things as they come, and that includes new arrivals. I view his easy-going attitude as essential in smoothing the transition of strangers when they come to stay with us. He’s the cat who makes a newcomer feel that the changes he’s experiencing may not be bad after all. And that’s a cat all of us could use.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Merry Christmas to All!

This will be my final entry before Christmas Day. As I usually do, I illustrate this post with the Christmas card I have made for the occasion. The first picture is the outside (unfolded) and the second is the inside (also unfolded). Click on the images to enlarge them.

I hope everyone has a warm and happy Christmas. I know several people, both in person and through the internet, who have reason to grieve this Yuletide. There is never a good time to lose someone dear, but, as Dickens wrote in his classic, it is during this season that “want is keenly felt”. I wish these individuals especially a restful Twelve Days, and hope that Christmas brings them peace.

To all of you, a merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Over-bite

While I am trying to give the other cats their due – Josie and Renn seemed sentenced to obscurity by their good health – some of the beasts continue to intrude into my blog by virtue of their cuteness.

Raleigh is battling a cold right now. He is of course susceptible to illness because of his FIV. As well, he is being given Prednisolone, which, I believe, further depresses immunity. Peachy is currently blowing bubbles with his nose, and his left eye, the goopy running of which diminished considerably in recent weeks, has begun extruding again. I am not too worried, as colds will probably often assault someone in his condition. I will nevertheless keep watch on his symptoms.

But something else I noticed was his over-bite. Look at that adorable little face. He’s like a little boy perpetually biting his lip, hoping he will be liked. Well, he must have found an appreciative place to stay while awaiting his permanent home: he fell asleep on my lap, and I couldn’t move to chase Parker off the kitchen counter when the latter took advantage of my indisposition to look there for food. I couldn’t even yell at the orange-boy, for fear of waking Raleigh.

You don’t think they planned that, do you?

Well, anyway, look at that face…