Sunday, February 25, 2018

Get Away from My Home!

My foster-cat, Parker, of course thinks of the cosy apartment as his home. That is as it should be. And that being the case, he wants to defend it against any cat he feels might be intruding. This applies to the outsider-cats who come by just for the food I leave for them.

The interesting thing is that Cammie used to behave in much the same way as my sturdy-boy does now. The princess still shows an interest in any cat who may be seen through the windows, but she does not become excited about their presence, unless they approach very close and she can smell them through an open window. Parker, however, will sometimes challenge a strange cat, whapping the window-panes to warn him off. Even if it doesn’t go that far, his tail flicks furiously, like a stick on a drum-skin. Perhaps Cammie, no longer the newest, has little anxiety over being displaced – that is Parker’s worry now.

That is how he behaved when the two black cats came by on the weekend for a daylight meal. They did come quite near – but, as I tried to reassure the orange-boy, they were not intending to enter his home. They were just enjoying a meal at the cafĂ©.

(You may note my solution to having the outside food-bowl exposed to the elements. It is a nylon shopping bag, stiffened on the bottom and sides to create a kind of box. It is on one side, facing away from snow, sleet and wind, and weighted with a flat stone, on which is the food-bowl. I placed the bowl nearer and nearer the shelter, until, now, it is inside. These two felines, at least, have overcome any fears of it being a trap. I think others may have, or at least will. So far, this solution is working. Though Parker may disagree all together with the point of leaving food for outsider-cats…)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Cats Permeate My Life

Cats permeate my life, especially my cats and my routines with them.

There is a colony of unsocialized felines behind my work-place. Lately a new cat has appeared amongst the regulars, who are mostly white and black, except for a tabby with white socks. This new fellow is all-black and is still making his place. I left work one day this week and saw him slip behind a pile of wooden pallets. He evidently met other cats, as there was hissing and growling. I immediately said:

“Hey, hey! It’s alllllll right, it’s alllllll right… Calm down…”

This is what I do when my own beasts act up. What did I expect these community cats to do?

Then there’s the fact that when I see dust-bunnies on floors outside of my own apartment, I stoop to pick them up, automatically thinking them to be cat-hair. When I hear anything that sounds like a cat retching, I look up to see if it’s Cammie. I could be in the local grocery store…

And as if that’s not enough, I was at the pet-supply shop where, on the second Saturday of every month, my rescue-group shows off a cat available for adoption, and watched a dog come in with his people. He was a big, cheerful fellow. He came over to greet me and his people told me that he was very happy to be there. Though I could see his tail wagging, I nonetheless put my hand against his side - so I could feel if he was purring.

Cats permeate my life.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Scare from Cammie

I would like to thank those who commented on the award the Eastside Cats gave me. Such gestures from them and you are appreciated. It’s always encouraging to have one’s words read.

Now, I would like to relate how Cammie frightened me the day before yesterday. As some of you may know from reading this blog, my princess has digestive problems, probably due to an allergy. Recently, she suffered two episodes of vomiting within a couple of weeks. I am fully alive to any sounds of stomach upset. When I came home from work on Tuesday, I prepared the beasts’ dinners; Cammie was on the top of the tallest cat-tree. I heard her becoming sick.

I was appalled, as I knew that the last thing she needed was another few days of throwing up, not eating, weakness and the inevitable journey to the veterinary hospital. I wanted to see what the spew looked like, as it would tell me what had been brought up and how long ago she had eaten. Whatever the case, it was a disaster. What could possibly have caused it this time?

It was a hairball. It was a long, thick, disgusting, viscous mass. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen. Cammie had thrown up an ordinary hairball. She likely couldn’t comprehend why I was telling her how good a girl she was for such an action. I’m sure she thought she was going to be taken to the bathroom - where all medicines are dispensed - and then to the hospital.

I didn’t relax entirely, since I am not completely certain what causes her episodes. I suspect allergies, but with such a sensitive stomach, a hairball may trigger something, too. But I was relieved. Indeed, soon after, the princess was dining well, and, after eating again later that evening, kept everything down.

Cammie continues to eat her new Z/D hard-food, and to enjoy it. Because she eats so little at a time - she has always been like that - I feed her whenever she wants, or whenever I think she will accept some nutrition. This means waking a couple of times during the night to give her something to keep her tummy from growling, but that’s all right. I would like to have her on an all-soft-food diet - I’d like that for all the cats - but she disdains the soft version of Z/D, and even her previous favourite, Fancy Feast. I am fearful of giving her anything she had consumed before now, as I’ve no idea what may have caused an allergic reaction, though I suspect fish. She likes the Z/D, is eating it, is drinking plenty of water (I don’t think the small amount of soft-food she had previously condescended to eat provided much moisture anyway) and is acting healthy and happy, or as happy as she ever does.

Things are going well for Cammie right now and, if she will keep from scaring me, they will continue well for me, too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

In Which I am Presented with an Award

Today, I am pleased to announce that the Eastside Cats ( have given me a Supawstars Spotlight Award, because they enjoy my blog. While I write my blog for my own entertainment - and to tell everyone about my cats - it is nonetheless gratifying to know that it brings some pleasure to others. Thank you, Eastside Cats.

I now will list five other blogs that I feel deserve to be given this award. These are not the only blogs I like or frequently read, but are, perhaps, the ones I like which I believe deserve a bit more attention for different reasons. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Feral Cat Behavior ( is the effort of a woman in the United States who is practically a one-woman cat-rescue operation. Mary Anne does remarkable work helping cats, and does so on a necessarily minuscule budget. Lately, the local businesses that have supported her in a half-hearted way have done away with the other half of their hearts and money is scarcer than ever. She doesn’t blog every day, as she is coping with family health issues, too, but if you can drop by her site to say ‘hello’, and maybe donate, if you can, I know it would be appreciated.

Just Cats ( is a fellow Canadian blog which, despite the title, isn’t just about cats. It’s about cats and dogs, family and homes, and even a friendly chipmunk. Deb is a part-time cat-sitter, and she and her husband are in the process of building their new house on property that is practically ancestral land.

Musings on a Small Life ( is another Canadian who, in addition to her two cats, writes about work and life in general. Her views of the world are entertaining and often insightful, and the pictures she takes are interesting and vey often beautiful; she has a good eye for colour, especially in flowers.

Strange Company ( is a treasury of the weird, unusual and inexplicable. Undine (cat-lover and fan of Edgar Allan Poe) writes of disappearances, ghosts, unsolved murders and the generally odd. Her ‘weekend link dumps’, featured every Friday, are huge selections of the bizarre with something to satisfy everyone’s curiosities.

Tomcat Commentary by Tim ( always has something funny going on. Pete is dad to half a dozen felines, who usually tell their own tales. The photographs accompanying them are perfect illustrations of the adventures.

These are among the blogs I read and, though I don’t read many blogs regularly, they are not the only ones. I hope no one feels left out if I didn’t mention them. All of those I frequent - and even more that I don’t - are entertaining and fun, and one can always find something appealing somewhere on the internet.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Parker and his Roommates

Parker’s integration may be as far advanced as it is going to get. He and Tucker still exchange blows at times, and their fights can become quite heated, so I must supervise them. The other cats vary in their reactions to the sturdy boy. Sometimes there is little discord and there are scenes such as this.

Renn seems least bothered by my orange foster-boy. Periodically, he will hiss at him; other times, he will sniff noses and walk away. He seems undisturbed by Parker’s presence while snoozing. Parker, for his part, seems content to live under such conditions. He doesn’t try to push himself on the others, and, though he avoids them sometimes, is not frightened by them.

While he still lives in the library by himself when I am absent or asleep, Parker is not, I believe, unhappy. He is always glad to be released from what I consider to be his mild solitary confinement, and though his integration may have reached a plateau, I am gratified that it has been successful enough to result in this: Parker, leaning against his favourite animal.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Play-time on a Shoe-string

Interesting my beasts in playing can be a bit of a chore. I have tried mechanical toys and wobbly toys, toys that sit and toys that roll, toys that I operate and toys that operate by themselves. Sometimes they generate fun, sometimes they do not. The truth is that my cats play when they want to. But I continue to try to motivate them. Parker is the most active and will charge the Trac-ball and push a fuzzy mouse about quite a bit. Tucker likes milk-jug rings and Cammie will battle a stick, while Renn will run through the apartment, though I don’t know that this is playing.

They do like the basic string-toy, but even that can pall unless changed a bit. So I thought I would tie a shoe-lace to the string-toy. Then I thought I would simply use the shoe-lace. What a difference that made.

Everyone was interested in playing, even Cammie. Tucker found it intriguing before the others, and wrestled and rolled with the new string. Josie actually got up and fought with it (though in the photograph, she has retired to the bedroom, still playing but sedentarily). Cammie would try to bite it as it landed near her. (Parker is still amused by the other string-toys and has no need of the shoe-lace yet). But Renn was the most excited, jumping and chasing and grabbing. He even rushed into and out of the tunnel in his pursuit of the shoe-lace.

The shoe-lace is a success, but I won’t resort to it every play-time, as I don’t want the cats to become sated with it too soon. But every second evening or so, it may make an appearance - whenever I don’t have to wear my shoes…

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Night of the Strange Parker

Thanks again to all those who commented on Cammie’s well-being. The princess is doing well so far. She is eating the Z/D hard-food, and seems to like it. I still haven’t found a satisfactory way in which to leave it for her during the day, as Renn, who enjoys it as well, has learned that I put it at the top of the tallest cat-tree… Well, I can still give it to Cammie when I see that she wants it, and she is drinking a little more water now, probably to compensate for the drier intake of food.

On another subject, my orange foster-cat, Parker, was behaving strangely last evening. It wasn’t strange in a bad way, but it was different. First, he climbed to the top of the tallest cat-tree and had a lie-down. It may be that he, like Renn, smelled the Z/D up there, but he wasn’t looking for anything when he arrived; he just lie down for a few minutes.

Then he tried out the hammock, which Tucker favours but no one else does to any great extent. Parker had not used the hammock previously.

After that, it was to the top of the cabinets in the kitchen. He is a very active fellow, but this time, he couldn’t get down safely, and called for help. I lifted him down.

At last, the sturdy boy settled for a while on the platform under the cylinder on the cylinder-house cat-tree. He has not reposed there before, but seemed to like it. It was the least adventurous spot of the night, so I was content to let him rest.

My sturdy-boy is an inquisitive cat; not as scientific as Renn, as Parker’s curiosity comes and goes, and has less to do with learning than with fun. But that’s all right; a cat should never out-grow his sense of fun - or his periodic strangeness.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Same Question, Different Answer

It’s been more than a week since I’ve published anything here, I think, and in the meanwhile, Cammie had yet another attack of her allergy. This one was an unpleasant surprise, as it was just two weeks after the last one.

It was a little different this time, so initially I didn’t think it was another of my princess’s episodes. She threw up once on Sunday night, then again the next day. Usually, she is ill three times in quick succession. This time, the retching was more isolated. But eventually, it resolved itself into the normal routine, and Cammie couldn’t keep anything down. She and I went to the veterinary hospital Thursday afternoon.

There, Cammie received an injection of Cerenia, as well as 125 mL of fluid; she was very dehydrated, and the fluid didn’t even make a bump under her skin, it was absorbed so needfully. She was not pleased. It took the doctor, a veterinary technician, me and a towel to keep her in place while she received her fluids. I think this time was especially upsetting to her as it was such a short period since her previous visit.

In the aftermath, I have decided to try for a new answer to this problem. I believe that my girl’s problems are an allergic reaction, probably to fish. (I may be completely wrong in this, but this is my working theory.) I have been feeding her Fancy Feast chicken-and-liver as a soft-food, and Orijen Regional Red hard-food. I think the latter is a very good cat-food, but it does contain the fish pilchard, though only in small amounts. If Cammie’s troubles lie in fish, then it may be enough to trigger an attack. So I have started feeding her a hard-food, Z/D,  that is supposed to be good for cats prone to allergies.

The first obstacle to clear was her preferences. To my surprise, however, she likes the Z/D. She comes forward to meet me when I bring it to her. This may be the novelty of the food, so we will see if it stands the test of time. The second obstacle is my absence during much of the day. I do not want to keep the Orijen from my other beasts, nor do I want to lock Cammie up all day, like Parker. With the limited number of rooms in my apartment, that is not practical, anyway. I have taken to putting a dish of the Z/D on the  top platform of the tallest cat-tree. The others rarely go there, except in the evening (when I will be present to hand out the Z/D, anyway), so hopefully Cammie will have the dish to herself, and eat enough of it to keep her from wanting any of the Orijen.

As for soft-food, the Fancy Feast chicken-and-liver claims not to have any fish in it, but I don’t know that I trust the manufacturing methods of cat-food companies to keep each variety or flavour pure, so there may be danger to Cammie from that direction. But she eats little of it anyway. Her water-consumption is very good - except during her episodes when she can’t keep it down - so in her case, however desirable soft-food may be, it may not be contributing a great deal of moisture.

That is my newest strategy on the food-front. As well, I brought home from the hospital a bag of fluids and the necessary accoutrements for its delivery into Cammie’s system. If she develops vomiting again, I want to be able to give her fluids independent of the hospital, and, possibly, to give her fluids regardless of her vomiting. Though it took three to persuade her to accept the fluids in the hospital, I hope to accomplish this alone: I theorise that her violent reluctance previously was due to the stressful setting. Having me administer fluids at home may be different. Then again, I may be fooling myself. I can call on assistance, but as Cammie dislikes and distrusts every human but myself, that may not solve the problem. We will see about that at the time.

This is where we stand now. Cammie is enjoying her new food, which should be much less of an irritant to her little body than other nutrition, and her consumption of any other food is diminished. If her episodes are the result of allergies, this should help. If not, you’ll be reading more about this sort of thing in the future. I hope not to write its like again.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Renn's New Route

In September, I wrote about how Josie learned to use the desk in the bedroom to walk from the bed to the window sill, and vice versa. This saved her the trouble of descending to the floor and then climbing the cat-trees. I don’t think that the latter route caused her difficulties or discomfort, but the new one is easier. I am certain that she learned this from Parker. You may recall the images I used to illustrate this tale.

It seems another cat has benefitted from Parker’s eye for the landscape. Renn, who is certainly neither weak nor infirm, has taken to using the new route. I have witnessed it twice. He shows no hesitation in walking that way, and has the confidence of somecat who has been walking it for years. I suspect he learned indirectly from Parker, and observed Josie using the desk short-cut. Being Renn, he still leaps from the bed to the cat-trees from time to time, but seems to enjoy having this other option.

I don’t mind it since, unlike my orange boy and the Great White, Renn does not cross the breadth of the desk while I am actually using it. Not yet, anyway. But if a cat has learned to do something, it is only matter of time before he does it without regard for his human…