Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Braver and Braver

Raleigh is making progress in his trust. Over the past week, I have had to give him eye drops, and that meant catching him. This, in turn, used to mean following him as he fled from one room to another, from one corner to another. (I didn’t chase him; I figured that would lead to more fear.) The last of the drops had to be given yesterday, and by then he was moving a little to avoid me, but not running. He still hates being picked up, flinching and wincing the whole time. But he submits to the terror with greater resignation now. I may continue to pick him up to allow him to grow used to it. He doesn’t mind being on my lap once he is there. He relaxes as I brush or stroke him. When he decides to get off, he walks, rather than runs.

Then there are the moments when he is hungry or simply wants my attention for some unfathomable reason. Then he will talk and talk and talk, and come right up to me, slowly, cautiously, but more than willing to be petted and touched. Formerly afraid of approaching me in either the bedroom or the bathroom, he has started coming up to me there, too.

The Peach will always be a timid and easily startled cat. But as he realises that he is safe, and grows to think of the cosy apartment as his home, his confidence will increase. I would like to see him adopted, of course, with a loving and permanent family of his own. But cats don’t know fostering from forever, so however Raleigh begins to feel better is fine with me.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Things That Go 'Clang' in the Night

I wake several times in the night. I often wake about four o’clock; I have to get up to start my day at about five during the week, about five-thirty on weekends. When I wake at four, I can usually fall asleep again without trouble, and gain advantage from the hour remaining. When I wake at four-thirty or so, I have difficulty returning to sleep, probably because my mind, knowing how close it is to the moment I must rise, anticipates being roused by the alarm, and keeps wondering when it will go off.

This preamble sets the stage for Sunday morning. I woke at four o’clock and, realizing that I had another ninety minutes or so in which to sleep, drifted back into unconsciousness. I was woken abruptly forty-five minutes later by a metallic clang. I am sure it wasn’t part of my dream, as much as I am sure it did not originate from outside. Something had fallen, or was pushed, inside the apartment. I got up and searched, but found nothing out of the ordinary. All was as it should have been.

The cats looked innocent of any wrong-doing. In fact, they appeared surprised that I was up so early, and wandering about the apartment in the twilight before dawn. Nothing seemed to have dropped onto the floor; there was no debris; all was in its place. I think Josie even suggested that I was hearing things. I went back to bed but - the time being so close to when I had to rise - I could not regain my slumbers, and lie awake for another half-hour. Cammie thought it a good moment to come and lie on my head.

I still haven’t discovered what made the noise or, almost as significant, who made it. But I have thoughts on the subject. Here are the usual suspects…

Sunday, July 28, 2019

He Screams for Ice Cream

More than six years ago, I wrote in this blog about Tungsten’s liking of ice cream, and how she appeared to have distracted me one time in order to lick some from my bowl. These days, it is Tucker who enjoys a taste of the dairy product.

Tucker isn’t devious; he is obvious. He has a certain cry that he emits only when he wants something that I am eating. He doesn’t make much of a sound when he is hungry in general, or when I am preparing his own food. Cat-food is not, apparently, exotic enough for comment. But when the ice cream comes out, it’s a different matter.

And it’s a different matter at the exact moment the ice cream is removed from the freezer compartment of the refrigerator. The roly poly one knows its container, and he starts crying as soon as he spies it. He is insistent.

I don’t eat ice cream often myself. I usually treat myself to it during my holidays, and I am finishing the remains of that treat. But there is always enough to leave a little pool of it in the bottom of the bowl, an amount that will hardly do a cat harm. And, if I work hard at it, I can persuade myself that Tucker is actually asking for some politely.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

In Moderation

It was the Roman playwright Plautus who suggested that ‘moderation in all things’ was a beneficial policy to follow. I agree, except when it comes to good news. In that regard, I don’t mind matters becoming a little wild, and things going to extremes. But I will accept even moderately good news, if that is what is offered.

Yesterday, Raleigh and I received moderately good news from his doctor. Firstly, the superficial ulcer in his left eye has cleared up. I am to continue putting drops in Peachy’s eye twice a day for a week, but this is a measure designed to make sure the ulcer doesn’t return, rather than to make it go away.

The more serious problem is his stomatitis. It has diminished a little, but is still evident. It is not, however, centred about his remaining teeth but, rather, farther back. In other words, removing the last of Raleigh’s teeth probably won’t have an effect on his condition. For now, therefore, more dental surgery is not being considered. Instead, his dosage of Prednisolone has been increased, from one tablet a day to one and a half, two thirds of the dose given in the morning, the rest in the evening. Fortunately, Raleigh is usually hungry enough at both times to eat enough soft-food in which to hide his medicine. (He doesn’t seem to eat any hard-food, though he had in his early days with me; therefore, he consumes nothing while I am at work.) While his stomatitis is still an issue, then, there is a plan to combat it without resorting to surgery. This is part of the good news.

There is something I have noticed about Raleigh’s reactions to going to the doctor. Though the Peach may run from me for a while, it is far easier now to catch him for both his eye drops (which is a relief for me, especially early in the morning when I have to go to work) and to put in the carrier. He cries going to the hospital and is almost literally petrified while there. But once he returns, he appears relieved and cheerful. He doesn’t hide and is rather talkative. Though he is very frightened during the appointment, once it is over, it seems hardly to have had an effect.

He is doing better over all in matters of trust. Though he may always be very timid, recovering from set-backs takes him less time than it did and, I hope, damages him less deeply. It may be a case of three steps forward and two back but the arithmetic is in his favour. And that is moderately good.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Normalcy Wanted, for Long-term Relationship

We seem to be back to normal at the cosy apartment. After Cammie’s visit to the hospital on Friday, she ate, under the stimulus of medicine, very well. She drank very little water. Sunday, the drug started to wear off, and she seemed out of sorts a bit. Monday, however, she was returning to normal. Yesterday and today, she ate her usual amounts and was drinking water again.

I am anxious that this will be repeated at some point, the frightening aspect being that it seems Cammie’s episodes are growing worse all the time, harder for her to recover from. But all I can do is be vigilant, pick up even the smallest crumb of food the others may drop and take away any opportunity she has of eating what she shouldn’t while I am absent.

As for Raleigh, he goes to the veterinary hospital today for his re-examination. I hope his stomatitis is receding once more and he won’t require further surgery. The little fellow has been through a great deal in his short life, and I’d like the rest of it to be a little easier.

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Logic of Their Own

Among the chores completed during my holidays was the cleaning of the cat-trees. Due to its shape, the most difficult, if not the most time-consuming, was the cylinder-house cat-tree. This has been a favourite haunt of Renn’s. When I cleaned it last year, it took my big boy six months to decide to use it again. His smell may have been disturbed, a new scent introduced, the texture may have been altered… Who knows why he needed so long to determine to lie in it again?

This year, he required half a day.

I used the same cleaning technique, the same type of gloves, the same curry-comb, and nothing more than water. Hours after I had brushed and combed and pulled and rubbed, surely changing the tree’s interior as much as I had last year, Renn was back inside, snoozing away. What reason there is for the difference, I can’t say, but I ascribe it to the same thinking that allows cats to eat of one variety of food in the morning and to disdain it in the afternoon. It’s nothing that we humans will ever know.

But Renn is happy and I, as when he eats the same kind of food two meals in a row, am pleased.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Once More Unto the Breach

Tomorrow I return to work, and my holidays are over. I must bid farewell to Idylland (of which Holidayland is but a province) and return to Workadayland.

As usual on my vacation, I was able to achieve much, completing all but one of the chores on my list. That was, in fact, one of three I had added after I had begun my holidays, so strictly writing, I finished everything on the list, and then some. The final chore I will complete on the next long weekend.

I worked once more on the PAW Society calendar, most of which is done. I also cleaned all the cat-trees, and am quite pleased with the results. You could now eat off those trees if you wanted; I certainly won’t, but you can. I washed the storeroom where the litter-boxes are kept (fine litter-dust gets everywhere, and is not to be noticed except upon close examination, but walls needed to be wiped and washed anyway), cleaned blinds (I at last determined how to clean those flimsy metal wands that make up a set of Venetian blinds and which collect grime and dirt so well) and dealt with a dozen other tasks too large (or too small) to do at other times.

There were, as you may recall, some issues with the cats. Cammie is still doing well in her recovery. There have been no signs of vomiting, and she continues to eat, though the effects of the appetite-stimulator may be diminishing, as her enthusiasm for her food is doing likewise. I don’t expect it to disappear, but it was pleasant to see her suck up a heaping tablespoonful of soft-food in a few minutes and ask for more.

Raleigh too is better, though his problem seemed psychological. He still runs away from me now and then, but not always. I have been giving him eye-drops, which necessitates seizing him and holding him on my lap. But after the medicine is dispensed, Peachy doesn’t jumped off; he lies still and calm while I brush or pet him. He walks away about fifteen or twenty minutes later but is not panicky about it. This may change Tuesday, as I must take him once more to the veterinary hospital, for the effects of the eye-drops to be judged. More importantly, his mouth will be re-examined. His Prednisolone dosage was restored to a full pill; hopefully this will clear up some of the stomatitis that made a resurgence when the dosage was reduced. If not, his remaining teeth may have to come out, which will be hard on the boy.

It was a busy holiday, but an enjoyable one; any time away from work is. Since I took my vacation a month later than normal, and won’t next year, there are now only 45 weeks until my next holidays, instead of 49. Bonus!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Why I Couldn't Make the Bed Until 2 p.m.

Cammie’s battle with her latest episode continued on Friday. She vomited all Thursday night, throwing up reddish green foam. I tried to feed her the following morning, but she was having none of it. I had no choice but to take her to the hospital. Several things were done for her there.

She was physically examined this time, and nothing extraordinary was found. Blood was tested, and her potassium levels were down, though this may have been through dehydration. Her kidney failure has advanced to the later phases of stage two, but this as well may have been influenced by her current conditions. A large amount of fluids was given her. She was given another injection of Cerenia, as well as a mirtazapine pill. The former was to reduce stress on her stomach and eliminate vomiting, the latter to stimulate her appetite.

I am pleased to write that things have improved. After waiting a certain amount of time, I fed Cammie and she ate a good amount of Z/D soft-food. She ate a few more times Friday night (I didn’t want to feed her too much; I was afraid of causing a rejection of her meals, and thus vomiting.) But she did not throw up during the night, and this morning she consumed more food. Since last night, she has eaten half a 5.5 ounce tin of Z/D, and it is staying down, so far.

An interesting aspect of this event is that Cammie becomes very restless when she is hungry. I wonder if the mirtazapine is strong enough to cause some discomfort, if she doesn’t assuage it with some food in her tummy. When I first noticed this characteristic, I thought she was about to be sick; she seemed in fact to be looking for the food dish. Once that was provided, and she had eaten, she settled down.

The hospital called me this morning to see how the princess was doing. Her doctor would have been available until noon, though this weekend, I would have been able to call upon none of the hospital’s veterinaries, in an emergency. Provision is made in such rare cases for another hospital to take over the responsibilities temporarily, but for a number of reasons, I did not want to resort to that. Because of this situation, a pill of mirtazapine was given, rather than a transdermal cream, which I could have given. The pill is stronger and lasts three days; I likely would have had to give a rubbing of the cream each day. So far, as I have written, Cammie is doing well, and has not thrown up.

She is resting when not eating, and seems uninterested in roaming about, as she sometimes does. I am not surprised. With two drugs in her system (three, if one counts her daily high blood-pressure medicine), extra fluids (now absorbed) and what is likely an unnatural feeling of hunger, my Siamese girl is probably feeling out of sorts. But she is eating and keeping her food down. That is the important fact.

Cammie is, however, very affectionate and needy. I noted this earlier in the week. It may be a by-product of her blindness, a necessity for comfort and reassurance. She spends most of the night on my head now, first trampling me as if I were a grape in a wine vat, to find the right position. During the day, she enjoys lying on my chest, purring, up to half an hour at a time. I am glad that I have been home these past three weeks to accommodate her.

So, while my previous entry’s hopes may have been premature, this time I think there is true improvement. At the very least, a substantial amount of nutrition has entered her system, and won’t be coming back up. And yes, it was two o’clock in the afternoon before I was able to make the bed.