Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Easter

Though much of the continent may not look or feel like it during this wintry last week of March, spring is coming. Its herald is Easter, the holiday that is about rejuvenation and resurrection, the promise of better things to come, the promise of possibilities.

From all of us in the Cosy Apartment – still cosy during this chilly weekend – may you have a happy Easter, and may it be the start of a flourishing year.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cammie in My Calendar

The rescue-group of which I am a member, the Lethbridge PAW Society, is devising its new calendar, this one for 2019. Each year features twelve cats who were rescued by and then adopted from PAW. There is not a competition to be in the calendar; anyone whose cat qualifies can apply. This year, the last of my perma-cats, Cammie, will be shown in one of the months.

I had no idea whether the photographer would be able to take any pictures of the princess. Cammie must have known something was up, because she hid when the visitor came to the apartment, which she doesn’t usually do. She is never pleased about guests but she rarely hides. After being coaxed out from under the bed, she hastened to the top of the tallest cat-tree, and that’s where the photos had to be taken.

Considering what I expected, Cammie presented herself well. When it comes to a photo session, though, she is no Tungsten. But she is my princess, and whatever develops will be wonderful. Or as wonderful as Cammie permits.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Memento Mori

Memento Mori is medieval Latin for ‘a remembrance of death’. It was meant to put everything in perspective, to remind people that what we do in life is transient and, in view of what comes afterward, relatively unimportant. But, in recollecting death, we must, almost by definition, recollect life, as well.

Three years ago, my friend, my first cat, Tungsten, died. Each year, I write something in commemoration of that occasion. Though I don’t mention it as often, I think too of my foster-cat and friend, Bear-Bear, who died in 2014, after spending ten months with me. I remember the deaths of these two cats; they are very strong, unpleasant memories. But I also remember their lives, and what they brought me.

I know I am not alone in the knowledge that a first cat suffers from ignorance. Tungsten was my test-subject, though neither of us knew it. I learned much from her. I saw for the first time a cat’s bum-wiggle, when she was about to charge something; that made me laugh, and still does. I watched Tungsten pretend, to conjure up a situation in her mind and then act upon it. I experienced with her the tribulations of second – and third, and fourth – cats, and how they interacted, or didn’t. I learned that a person can grow very fond of a cat.

Bear-Bear came along after I knew much more about cats – though not enough, of course. He was cheerful and unworried about much that trouble others of his species. Even during car-rides to the veterinary hospital, he chatted away as if on a Sunday drive. I witnessed how a cat can love people, when his very last act was to try to crawl onto my lap. I placed him there, and that was where he died.

Yes, I remember that death came for my friends, Tungsten and Bear-Bear. But before then, they brought me happiness and surprise, frustration and accommodation, mystery and realization. This, I remember, too.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

From Renn, When I am Trying to Clean

Tell me not, human, I am lazy,
That from the place I lie
To be cleaned like crazy,
From vacuum’s noise I fly.

True, a racket will try to chase
First from bed to the chair;
But with an apathy embrace
Continued sleep right there.

Yet this constancy is such
That your pleas shall ignore;
I will not move, human, so much,
For I love comfort more.

                              -- Not Richard Lovelace

Friday, March 23, 2018

Foiling the Roly Poly

Tucker does not like Parker. The roly poly and the sturdy-boy have been in a few fights, and while Parker may be of a more forgiving nature, Tucker does not seem so inclined. Keeping them separated is not a great inconvenience. I certainly do not need to give up one to satisfy the other, and I wouldn’t do it in any case. But I have had to arrange the household to accommodate their disagreements.

Tucker has a bit of a vindictive streak in him. You wouldn’t know it by looking at that infantile moon-face of his. He’s all innocence and virtue, you would think. But, for a while, that feline sausage has been visiting the library, where Parker stays when I am absent or asleep, and wetting just outside his litter-box.

At first, Tucker wet inside, and sometimes pooped, without covering it. This was, I assume, to show Parker who was boss - at least boss of Parker. Then Tucker started thinking outside the box. In the library, I have the same pattern of floor coverings as elsewhere: over the apartment’s fitted carpets I’ve laid large rugs. In addition, in front of the litter-box, to make cleaning easier, I’ve put a smaller mat. Though the cost of those mats add up, I was not so concerned about retaining them. I can buy others at the bargain stores. But the urine would penetrate them into the rug and, possibly, then into the carpet.

And so, in my continuing quest to prove that I will not be outwitted by a cat, I have purchased a couple of incontinent pads - ‘soaker pads’ - one of which will always be placed immediately in front of Parker’s litter box, under the mat. These are re-usable, after a good washing.

I am doing this because I don’t want to deny Tucker entry to the library. When Parker is loose, the roly poly one has every right to wander at will into that room or any other. I don’t want him to fear my reaction when he goes there, which may have been the case if I continued to shadow him every time he walked into the library. Sometimes, he goes in just to sniff. Other times, he wants a drink from the water-bowl there; this especially I don’t want to stop.

We will see if this works. Tucker has not tested the pads for me, and I would not mind if they never received their practicum. But if they do, I am ready. I am determined not to be foiled by a furry sausage - no matter how fond I am of him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Night of the Leapist

No cat in my household likes food as much as my foster-cat, Parker. I’m sure he tells strangers that I starve him, because that’s how he acts. His weight hovers around a sturdy eight kilograms. Certainly, his frame suggests that he can handle a good amount of poundage, but in fact he could lose a little weight and still be healthy. Even so, he is hardly doing without, when it comes to food. Yet it remains his preoccupation.

Cammie, you may know by now, is on a special food, Z/D. Because it is, apparently, tasty, other cats want it, too. It is expensive, however, so I reserve it for the princess. I put it on a cloth, rather than in a dish - because it is easier for her to eat it that way - and I keep the cloth, with the food on it, handy - for me - to give to her whenever she wants it, or when I think she will eat it. Sometimes, I put the food on the micro-wave oven, sometimes on a cabinet, sometimes on a shelf of a bookcase; close to wherever Cammie is at the time.

Enter the sturdy-boy. Parker doesn’t let distance or height stop him when it comes to food. He saw or smelled the food I had left on a bookshelf. It was only a couple of feet from the end of the bed. Surely such a length is nothing to an active fellow like Parker.

I was in the sitting room when I heard a crash from the bedroom. Running to the scene of the fracas, I thought immediately that a fight had broken out, especially as I watched Parker trot out of the bedroom, followed by Cammie. Then I saw this.

What I suspect happened was that Parker launched himself at the bookshelf with its tempting supply of hard-food kernels. He misjudged the depth of the shelf not covered by books, and thus available for landing. He also misjudged his aim. He hit the shelf next to the food, realised that he had a surface about one tenth of what his body required to stay aloft, and plummeted to the floor amid a scrabble at books. I have this image of Wile E. Coyote hitting a rock-wall next to the target he painted for himself, and slowly subsiding to the ground.

Fortunately, my own Wile E. was not hurt. As soon as I guessed what had occurred, I checked Parker over for injuries. He was unhurt. Cammie had followed him simply because she chases any noise or disturbance in the apartment. For my own part, I learned to keep the princess’s food even farther from the covetous grasp (or covetous attempt-to-grasp) of foster-cats, especially when their appetites can leap greater distances than their legs.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Disrupted Sunday

The building in which I live had to have its cable system examined. This meant a technician entering each apartment and checking the wiring. Originally, they were scheduled to come to my apartment last Wednesday. That was postponed until Sunday. Though this was a day off for me, I preferred the visit then, as it meant that strangers would not be in my home while I was absent. (The resident manager, who knows about my cats, and is a cat-man himself, would have seen that none of my cats escaped, but, as every cat-person knows, that’s not the point of one’s concern.)

The technicians arrived at eleven o’clock, which was considerate. I had wondered if they were going to show up at eight or nine. Sunday is the one day of the week in which I can sleep in and make up for the remainder of the week. But I had breakfasted and was ready for the intrusion.

Fortunately, the work required was restricted to the sitting room, at the corner from which the cable enters the apartment. There was no need to go into other rooms; working in the library would have meant moving not only books but bookcases. I was pleased at the limited work needed.

The beasts were not. Though they (except Cammie) are friendly to visitors and are not overly anxious about them after the first few minutes, a large man with jangling and clanking hardware and equipment is another matter. Most of them made for the bedroom - Josie was already there. Parker, who likes to meet every new person, was so welcoming that I had to put him in the library, to keep him out of the way. This did not please him.

The episode lasted only about fifteen minutes, and all soon returned to normal. Parker was disappointed, and the others were relieved. Recovery from their ordeal could begin. A relaxing Sunday lie ahead.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Return of the Sun

Though we in southern Alberta - and many other places, it seems - have been hit with one snowfall after another this winter, the year is advancing and spring is nearly here.

With the change from daylight saving time - or to it, possibly - there is more sunlight in the afternoon. More importantly - because it is beyond the control of mankind - the Earth is tilting in our favour again, and we are receiving the rays of our personal star more directly now. The cats are enjoying this development.

The sun is shining into the cosy apartment in greater abundance these days, and the beasts are not slow to take advantage of it. Cammie, in particular, is enjoying it. She seems to spend half of her time snoozing in the warmth of the heated cat-beds, and the other half snoozing in the warmth of the sunshine. These are the days when I envy the life of a cat.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Daylight Wasting Time

The change from (or to; I can never keep that straight) Daylight Saving Time last weekend resulted in the usual inconvenience and confusion at the cosy apartment. It would not have been as troublesome if I didn’t have two diabetic cats.

Every day, I wake at 5.35 a.m. On weekdays, it is because I have to go to work, so I inject Tucker and Parker with their insulin about half an hour later, after the insulin has warmed sufficiently to be given. I also scoop the litter-boxes and feed the beasts. On holidays and other days off, I wake at 5.35 a.m. as well, because I need to give the insulin at the same time each day. When I needn’t go to work, I normally go back to bed for a couple of hours.

This past Sunday, I woke at 5.35, according to my bedside clock, and began my routine. You can no doubt see where this is going. I soon realised that it was indeed 5.35, but the new 5.35, which meant that, by the ‘insulin schedule’, I was an hour early. I was told when Tucker was diagnosed with diabetes that the insulin could be given within an hour on either side of the correct time for the injection. But I thought this morning that a full hour might be too much. So I went back to bed, for half an hour.

I rose again at what my bedside clock told me was six a.m. - five a.m., by the ‘insulin schedule’. I left the insulin out to warm to room temperature; that takes about half an hour. I then administered it to the boys at 5.30 by the old schedule - only half an hour off - and then went back to bed, again. That evening, their doses were given at six p.m. It was an hour behind the schedule, but it had arrived there by two half-hour increments, which I felt would be a sufficiently mild change.

In fact, I probably could have given Tucker and Parker their medicine an hour early right from the start with no ill effects. But I didn’t want to take the chance. However, my actions resulted in a disruption of the day at its beginning, and I don’t think it - or I - recovered properly. Sunday was followed by the work-week, which of course destroys any attempt to catch up on my rest, so I will sleep properly only this coming weekend.

As I like to say at this time of year, “Only two and a half months until my holidays…”

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Josie and the Water-bowls

Josie likes to see the water-bowls filled. She will drink from them immediately they are recharged. When I initially noticed this propensity on her part, I was mildly worried that it represented an increased consumption of water. But, in fact, my Chubs does not drink an inordinate amount, from what I can determine. She merely likes freshness.

When she sees me filling a bowl, especially the big one kept in the bedroom by the door, she will come over to its spot and await its descent, often with one of her little scratchy cries. She then helps herself to some of the cold, clean liquid. She almost always drinks from a newly charged bowl, though she rarely consumes much at such a time. She does now and then take a long, satisfying draught, but usually after meals. Other instances are just for the taste.

As are other cat-owners, I am continually concerned with my beasts’ drinking habits; cats never drink enough water. I don’t want to see them take in too much – a possible sign of physical issues – nor do I wish them to imbibe too little, as cats chronically cheat themselves of what they need. So I am pleased to watch the Great White drink whenever she likes. Small quantities add up, and drinking a few swallows just for the enjoyment of it is fine with me.