Friday, August 30, 2019

Some Days...

Some days I feel like I’ve come home to a crime scene.

Yesterday, I arrived back at the apartment, to be greeted by the cats who greet me and ignored by those who ignore me. The first thing I saw after the beasts was a big piece of poop on the sitting room carpet. I sighed. The building’s manager had to come in for a minor repair at some hour, and I could imagine someone (Raleigh) being so scared as to leave a deposit. But the Peach seemed pleased to see me, so there were no permanent effects. Then I noticed that someone (Tucker) had thrown up on the kitchen floor. Aside from the stinky dump in the litter-box (Renn), someone had thrown half their contents (the litter, not the other, thank goodness) on to the floor. Someone (Tucker again) had also wet on the floor immediately in front of the store-room where the litter-boxes are; this has been a sporadic problem, so I leave a soaker-pad on the spot when I am absent. Fortunately, the urine hit that and not the carpet. And when I released Cammie from her sequestration in the bedroom, I observed that she (Cammie) had wet outside her litter-box, which she does every day that she is put in the bedroom. Then I found that another cat (Josie) had thrown up on the bathroom floor; she at least has learned to try to get to an uncarpeted spot to upchuck. When at last I had cleaned everything up and fed the felons, I thought that I could relax with a meal of my own. That’s when I noticed that someone (Renn once more) had wet in the bath-tub.

I told the animals that I was considering just leaving, locking the door behind me and moving to a new apartment with a whole new set of cats. They didn’t believe me.

Here are the usual suspects, with the only innocent one among the lot at the end…

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Dinner with Neville

My house-guest, Neville, is doing much better with regard to eating. I don’t think it was just a matter of him being in a new environment. His foster-guardian says that he is a very picky eater. But I tried something new.

While he was on my lap - he is an affectionate fellow - I offered him a small dish of food. He ate that, so I expanded the amount and, eventually, moved the dish to a spot near by on the couch. I continued to pet him as he ate. This action diminished until I was just sitting with him during his meals. Now I can leave him alone and he eats most of what he is given. When he seems reluctant, I talk to him and pet him.

Neville wants to eat, and this morning, when I brought him food, he was clearly waiting for his sustenance, and tucked into it right away, which is a welcome change from his first day or two. Last evening, he finished off almost two tins of Fancy Feast between five o’clock and ten-thirty. I left him some food when I departed for work this morning.

The solution to his problem may simply be a matter of getting him started on his meals, or it may be a matter of placement; putting the bowl on the floor gets the contents ignored. Putting it on the couch generates more interest. Certainly, petting him during the meal helps a great deal.

Neville is a grand little cat, and I would have no difficulty welcoming him as a permanent resident if he had no where else to go. But my resources, in both time and money, are stretched right now. When Parker was with me, I wasn’t spending all the time I wanted with them that the cats wanted; I still am not, but I am doing better. Even with integration, I think Neville would need a great deal of immediate companionship; in other words, he would probably be high-maintenance.

So he will have two more days with me, hopefully packing in the food he needs, and enjoying being petted on that smooth head and skinny body. As usual with my foster-cats, no matter how short a time they stay, I will miss him when he goes.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

My House-guest

I would like to introduce Neville. He will be staying with me for a few days. He is a cat in the care of a rescue-group associated with the Lethbridge PAW Society; his foster-guardian will be away until late Wednesday. Neville is diabetic, so I was asked to take care of him in the interval, as I have experience with diabetic cats.

Neville will live in my library for his time with me. I don’t feel that there is a point to introducing him to my beasts for such a short period. He has the usual accommodations for feline tenancy here: a water-bowl, a litter-box, a window with fresh air and a view. He will of course be served food but he is a bit fussy, and has not wanted what I have offered so far. That’s a bit of a concern, as he is quite thin.

You may notice his odd colouring. This is in fact due to the contours and depth of his hair. When found abandoned, he had developed very bad mats in his fur. The cutting job was not of the most aesthetically pleasing. His hair is very slow to grow back, but his window will be nearly closed over-night and he has a warm bed.

Neville is a very friendly fellow. He quickly consented to lie on my lap, and has been purring since his arrival. There are, perhaps, a few too many cats in his foster-home for his liking, so he may find the solitude here rejuvenating. I will of course be spending time with him. Hopefully, he won’t find his stay at the cosy apartment boring, and will think of it as a bit of a holiday. (You will note (if you click on the photographs to enlarge them) that he has his tongue stuck out; I trust it is not indicative of his opinions. He can fold it in the middle...)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Don't You Have a Home to Go To?

I don’t have outsider cats like I used to. As I mentioned in an entry not long ago, I haven’t seen Sable and Sablette in months. Cecil, the new fellow, is actually rare in his appearances. Not counting Winkin, Blinkin and Nod, the raccoons - who sometimes bring a fourth (their cousin, Floyd), and the new skunk, Thaddeus, that leaves Finn.

Finn likes it at my place. I think he has adopted it as his summer residence. He almost always is waiting at the screen door come meal-times, which he has learned to mark on his schedule. In between, he sometimes lies in the tube-house; often, he takes his leisure in the shade of a tree not far away. This allows him to be close at hand for food at the cosy apartment. At one point on the weekend, I announced to everyone that it was ’snack-time’; I looked out the window to see Finn trotting hurriedly toward the screen door from where he had been snoozing. He learned the appropriate words faster than my beasts had.

Finn is a nice boy. Very quiet, he is one of those cats with an almost silent meow. He enjoys being petted and when I kneel down outside and beckon to him, he hastens over for long strokes down his back and vigorous head-rubs that he enjoys so much he purrs, kneads and drools all at once.

Sometimes I feel as though I have five and a half cats…

But Finn does have a home. One of my fellow tenants knows it. Though Finn could use a brushing, his people appear to be good to him. He was a bit out of joint lately due to his humans baby-sitting a puppy, so it’s no wonder he took to spending time elsewhere. It’s good to know that he has a permanent family. He is not under-nourished by his people; he just enjoys the extra rations at my place.

But when I turn on the outside light at eleven o’clock to take one last look around before bed, and I see Finn almost pressed up against the screen, hoping for a final bite before retiring, I do have to ask him, “Don’t you have a home to go to?”

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Slight Change

As may be observed, I have changed the heading of my blog. It may be altered in detail later on, but I thought that it was time for the look to be updated. I have never worried too much about the appearance of the site, but decided that some cats needed to be included who have not been hitherto.

It would be more interesting if I could announce that a new era has been inaugurated. But, in fact, life is not very much like a calendar: few of its events occur at the beginning or end of each year or month; a century’s first period has more in common with the previous century’s last than with the new one’s later years. Life has brought me new cats, while taking away others; it has bestowed great changes on some who remain, while leaving others as they were.

But my blog’s new look represents the beasts who have influenced me, and who will continue to do so. And that, I suppose, is a good reason to commemorate them, after all.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Short Guide to Dining at the Cosy Apartment

Clerk: Hello, I’m pleased to meet you. I’m the clerk of the kitchen at the Cosy Apartment Feline Sanitarium. You’re my new assistant, are you?

Assistant: That’s right. I’m looking forward to getting to work.

C: Excellent. I should warn you that some of our residents have severe restrictions on their diets; others are, well, idiosyncratic. Because of that, we maintain a great variety of foods.

A: Oh, I worked for several years in the kitchens at Parliament. I am used to demanding diners.

C: Good, good. Take for instance Princess Camarouska Albigensia, also known as Cammie. She is blind, from a recent stroke.

A: Oh, that’s terrible.

C: Well, her serene highness is adapting quite well, but her diet is challenging. She can eat only three kinds of food, the Z/D hard and the Z/D soft, and the Orijen hard.

A: That sounds straightforward.

C: Well, yes, but if she eats even a morsel of anything else, she risks drastic allergic reactions that will require hospitalisation.

A: Good Heavens!

C: We try to keep her away from the Orijen, but it will do her little harm if she eats it. Anything else has very serious consequences. She also eats at times in between regular meals. But you will know when she asks for food.

A: How does she ask for food?

C: She sometimes will sit up and look straight ahead.

A: That seems…ambiguous…

C: Her highness also will sit and move back and forth, searching for her dish. You will need to have one of the waiters provide her filled dish at such times, placing it before her. Sometimes she will eat in bed, other times in her corner of the dining room. Then again, she may be in another room and need to be coaxed back to her lodgings before service.

A: Coaxed? May I pick her up?

C: NO! Good Lord! We’d never hear the end of it. And the noise her highness would make would disrupt all the other diners’ meals. And just because she is blind doesn’t mean she may not be able to find others’ food, or its remnants.

A: Remnants?

C: Yes. You will have to crawl along the floor and pick up any bits and pieces of soft food from around the emptied bowls of other diners.

A: That, er, wasn’t in the job description.

C: Tell me about it. As well, it’s been discovered that her highness likes a few drops of water added to her Z/D soft-food, and warm it in the micro-wave oven for a few seconds, but not if it’s from a freshly opened tin. Oh, and if she will not return to her lodgings for her meals, she can be fed where she is, but she won’t eat much; she will need to have the rest of her meal given to her once she does return to her residence. Right. Now, there’s Tucker R Poly. He’s diabetic, so he needs low carbohydrate food.

A: Well, that should be easy.

C: He will be afraid of breakfast.

A: Afraid?

C: He tends to throw up in the mornings, before everyone else is awake. So he often will not eat much right away, because he’s anxious about throwing it up. But he will eat about half an hour later, when all others are done breakfast. He also may not like what he is served, in which case you will have to offer several dishes. And once in a while, crush a treat over the portion he is refusing to eat.

A: That’s a bit time consuming, isn’t it?

C: You should see the house I bought recently with my over-time. When he hasn’t had any soft-food for a while, we will cut up some roasted chicken to tempt him, which we will also give at other times, as a treat. Now, Mr Poly is toothless, so any fare that is bulky or stringy will need to be sliced. And he is messy.

A: Plenty to clean up?

C: Quite so. He will also demand food that the staff is eating: chicken, pork, ground beef, toast, potato chips, ice cream.

A: And he’s not allowed to have any?

C: That’s right. But we give him small amounts, anyway. It’s against the rules, but Mr Poly makes such a squeaky noise when he sees human-food that he’s hard to resist.

A: Well, having two difficult diners isn’t bad.

C: Two. Yes, well… Then, there is Miss Josefina von Chubs.

A: German?

C: Austrian, but only by descent. She can be demanding. She is…mature…so she sounds somewhat like a series of gears in great need of grease or oil. But she likes a number of foods, though she may at first refuse one that she will then eat if you pick up her bowl and place it in front of her again. Or she may not. She may decide not to eat a second portion of what she just ate. And she throws up her food now and then.

A: Allergies?

C: No, just a sensitive stomach. You’ll have to learn how to judge when she has had enough, and when you can give her more; she herself cannot discern the difference. She will also demand very vocally some of the princess’s Z/D hard-food. We are permitted to give her some as a treat, but not as much as she wants. She will sometimes throw her food outside the bowl and eat it from the floor, so hers is a danger to her highness. Are you taking notes?

A: I am now…

C: Renfrew Foster works here, but dines with the residents. He eats very little. We think he absorbs many of his nutrients from the air. He will often sleep through meal-times, or simply hide.

A: Afraid?

C: No, complacent. But when he is hungry, he will be obvious about it. But that doesn’t mean he will eat anything you give him. And when he chooses not to eat it, heating it a little may induce him to change his mind. And his appetite is sometimes determined by where he is: on the table, on the dining room floor, on a couch…

A: Wouldn’t it be easier to have all the residents eating together in the dining room?

C: Hahahahahaha! It’s good to have a sense of humour in this job. Now, our newest resident, Raleigh, presents his own challenges.

A: Sorry. I missed that bit. The blinding headache I suddenly developed rendered me insensible for a moment.

C: Raleigh. He’s Dr Bellen’s charity case. He’s doing quite well, actually. Dr Bellen is confident that Raleigh won’t be a permanent resident here. He’s the only one who feels that way.

A: What’s wrong with him?

C: Dr Bellen? Don’t get me started.

A: No, Raleigh.

C: Oh, yes, Raleigh. He has FIV, and stomatitis.

A: Oh, my. The poor fellow.

C: He takes medicine for the stomatitis, and it needs to be included in his food twice a day. It is a pill, easily crushed and, thankfully, tasteless, so he eats it with his food. Most of the time, he gobbles up his first portion without hesitation, and this is followed with smaller portions, depending upon his hunger.

A: Most of the time?

C: There are exceptions. His appetite varies during the day; Dr Bellen thinks that it is influenced by the FIV, or, rather, the sometimes lowered degree of health that FIV causes from time to time. Now and then, Raleigh will not feel like eating. But this usually does not persist all day. If he skips luncheon, he will normally make it up at dinner. Therefore, we give him his first dose of medicine early, with breakfast; his second, at dinner. If he doesn’t want dinner, then at snack-time.

A: Does he have a means of letting us know if he wants to eat? Raising an eyebrow? Winking? Semaphore, perhaps?

C: He becomes very vocal and forward; sometimes he will scratch at the corner of a wooden furnishing.

A: Just at the corner? And only wooden furniture?

C: That’s right. Now, even when he wants to eat, he will not always eat what is put in front of him. He usually will, but periodically he will glance up as if what he is served is not what he ordered. That’s bad because his medicine will be in that portion, and he must consume it. When this event happens, the first solution attempted will be to place a small amount of food that you know to be more amenable to him on top of the refused food.

A: And if that doesn’t work?

C: Then replace the first course with a small, second course of the preferred food. Once that is consumed, bring back the refused dish, with the small dollop of preferred food on top. He almost always then eats the initially refused food with its medicine.

A: Good Heavens. This is a very complicated system.

C: We take pride here at the Cosy Apartment Feline Sanitarium of catering to our residents’ needs, no matter how fussy they may be. But not to worry: we have printed up this handy guide for our dining room staff.

A: I think I’m having a panic attack.

C: Ah, in that case refer to page 782.

A: What happens if you are ever absent from the kitchen or dining room at meal-times? Surely the waiters can’t know all the rules. Who would ever be able to manage all of these arrangements, aside from you?

C: What do you mean, ‘absent’?

A: If you go away for holiday, or are too sick to oversee the meals?

C: I don’t know what you mean…

A: If you simply aren’t here to feed everyone?

C:    . . .  Anyway, familiarise yourself with the rules. The guide-book is a tremendous help; we of course are constantly updating it, so please register for our weekly revisions, and the daily bulletins.

A: It seems like a tremendous responsibility. But I am sure the diners appreciate all the hard work.

C: Hahahahaha! Your humour will be a great asset to the staff. Now that I’ve described some of the routine, let me tell you about the difficult bits of the job…