Thursday, October 31, 2019

Finally, Phineas

My luck has held, and the last of the kittens from my work-place’s feral colony has been captured. This is Phineas.

As you may remember, a concern was trapping Rhombus again, and thinking he was Phineas, as the pair, undoubtedly brothers, resemble each other closely. But I had two others here at my work-place confirm that I had someone different. In the picture of Rhombus, below, you will note the narrow black patch under his chin, like the tiny beard that used to termed a ‘thumb-piece’. As well, the white patch above the bridge of his nose is wide. Phineas has the narrower patch of white and a completely white chin. By the end of today, all five youngsters will have been fixed.

But the story doesn’t end here. An individual has come forward to take in four of the kittens and socialize them, so that they will stand a chance of being adopted. Medallion, whose progress has been such that she acquiesces to being petted - warily, but without strong signs of fear - will stay in her current foster-home. This new situation developed only after Rebus, Rhombus and Philo were released; this couldn’t be helped. Now, then, Operation Doctor Moreau is replaced by Operation Déjà Vu. I have three more kittens to trap - again.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Just One of the Gang

When I arrived at work this morning, I saw no sign of the ‘feral’ kittens, not even their paw prints in the snow. But there were three adults waiting for breakfast. I served them and that’s when the kittens came out. I saw at least the two black ones - Rebus and Philo - and possibly one of the black-and-whites, though it is hard to distinguish them from a couple of the adults when everyone is running away from a human’s sudden appearance. But I know they are ready to be trapped again - well, available to be trapped again - and I will prepare accordingly tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I’ll share with you how one of the former members of the feral colony is doing at the cosy apartment.

Raleigh has never been bothered by the other beasts, and, except for when Cammie bumps into him, neither have they been bothered by him. Peachy tried to be friends with Neville but the Thin Man - less thin all the time - didn’t reciprocate and spends most of his time at the top of the tall sitting room cat-tree; there is little opportunity to foster friendship. So Raleigh contents himself with finding comfortable spots about the apartment, one of which is the bed.

As you can see, his integration is complete. It was, to tell the truth, an easy one, as has been Nev’s. I have been fortunate with these two. Raleigh’s main concerns seem to be nothing more than a full tummy, a warm bed and a human who treats him decently. Fortunately, I have been able to provide all three for this little Peach.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Stare

My plans to catch the last of the kittens in the feral colony today have been postponed. It snowed this morning and, though the ferals come out in the cold, they stay in - wherever they may be - when it snows. There isn’t much snow, but there is enough to make it uncomfortable. Only Bijou, the long-haired grey and white boy, neutered last year, ventured out for breakfast. He ate and was gone again. His are the only tracks in the snow, so I know I won’t have luck in catching anyone. I will see about tomorrow.

Though today’s postponement is disappointing, I do have this to show you. This is how Josie is able to eat when someone else is already at the food bowl. She sits and stares at the cat currently enjoying a nibble. She won’t move, and eventually her target becomes unnerved by her eyes, even if he is not looking at them, and moves on. I’ve seen it happen with most of the beasts here. My Chubs has practised it for a long time.

I suppose it is an improvement on the more intrusive action that she had previously used. This was to come up behind the dining cat and place her chin on his shoulder. This appeared to be startling, as well as disruptive, so the stare is, at least, a gradual, rather than a sudden, tension.

It nonetheless gets the job done.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Philo Ends the Week

I caught the second black kitten this morning. I’ve named him Philo. I was especially pleased to catch this one, because, with a black cat and a black-and-white cat still to catch, and a black cat and a black-and-white cat already caught and neutered, I would have had trouble distinguishing the pairs, and wouldn’t be sure that I had the unfixed animals until I made the trip to the veterinary hospital. Now, I have only the remaining black-and-white kitten to trap (along with an adult), and I should be able to tell him apart from Rhombus, already neutered. It helped that I kept Rebus and Rhombus at my apartment over-night, thus allowing only one black one to be free and liable to be trapped.

Philo, like his brothers (I am assuming for convenience that Philo is a boy), was panicky when caught, so he is calming down under a blanket. I expect him to go for his surgery later today.

With one kitten remaining, and three to be returned this weekend, I will have to arrange my battery of four traps so as to catch whichever kitten strays into them on Monday. Hopefully, the last kitten, whom I am calling Phineas, will be among those caught, even if others enter the traps, too.

Medallion, however, won’t be with them. She is in a foster-home to see if she can be tamed. She was the most out-going of the five kittens and the most likely to adjust well to life with humans. She did not panic when caught, and has accepted her captivity stoically. If she can be tamed, she will eventually be offered for adoption.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Rebus and Rhombus

My luck is holding: I was able to catch two young cats this morning. The first is an all-black kitten, with a little bit of white on his chest. He went in, enticed by the aroma of sardines, not long after I set the traps. I have named him Rebus.

I had noticed another cat sniffing after the bait in the other trap, so, after I brought Rebus into the building, I decided to be optimistic. Even as I opened the back door of the building, I saw and heard the trap being sprung. This fellow is black and white. I call him Rhombus.

Both were terrified, much more than Medallion was. That girlcat had been the most out-going of the kittens before the trapping, and these two new ones, whom I am assuming to be boys until I learn otherwise, are much more skittish. They were banging themselves against their cages in panic until I covered the traps with blankets.

They will go to the veterinary hospital today for their surgeries. Hopefully, they will be in and out and, if male, not have to spend the day and next night at my apartment recovering. (Medallion is there now, to be released later this afternoon.)

While my luck has been in, there is a complication. I have now caught a black cat and a black-and-white cat. remaining to be caught are…a black cat and a black-and-white cat. I will have to note careful any distinguishing marks Rebus and Rhombus have so I don’t re-trap the poor beasts and take them unnecessarily to the veterinary.

But, so far, so good. I will check later to see if the veterinary hospital can perform a surgery tomorrow. If not, I will conclude the operation for this week, and begin again the next.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Good Luck, Bad Luck

This is Medallion. She looks to be about five months old, a female calico. And she’ll never be a mother-cat.

I had a feeling that I would have an early success with these youngsters. I thought that, as they kept away from the older cats, socialised only with each other, they may not have learned feline ways just yet. Traps are new to them, and sardines on a dish look like free food without consequences. Medallion now knows better.

While I am pleased to have caught this little girlcat so soon into the operation, I am frustrated, as well. I set two traps and the second one’s bait was eaten without the trap being triggered. It happened a second time - and a third! Upon inspecting the trap, I saw that the chain connecting the ‘false floor’ trigger to the trap door was jammed. Great pressure could have been exerted on the trigger without the trap being sprung. Thrice, I could have captured another cat. My only consolation is that now, perhaps, the other four kittens will feel that there is no danger to entering the trap, even though it is now adjusted and ready to do what it should.

Medallion will be safely spayed today, and then spend the night at my place to recover. She will have to remain in the trap, as I can’t risk not capturing a feral five month old cat, even if she were released in a confined space such as my bathroom. But she will have food and water, warmth, and soaker-pads in case she feels the need to use them. Tomorrow, she will be returned to her brothers and sisters - never to give them nieces and nephews.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Operation Doctor Moreau

After last year’s successful Operation Slim Pickens, I was hoping that we wouldn’t need to implement any more attempts to trap cats at my work-place. But, as every rescue-group and individual rescuer knows, there always seem to be more cats.

The feral colony behind my work-place had been reduced to five or six regulars. Now, there are, in addition, five youngsters. They are actually quite large now, and may be about four months old. I wish I could have captured them earlier, but they have been extremely shy, and are only now emerging in a predictable pattern. At the same time each day, they eat breakfast, provided by the feral colony’s care-giver, at a specific spot, away from the older cats. This regularity and their relative isolation, as well as the facts that they are both now more accustomed to humans moving about the vicinity and are unused to traps, will, I hope, allow me to capture them. I would also like to trap an adult, whom I have named Bauble, who may or may not be their mother; she may already be spayed and, in truth, may be a male, for all we know.

Where did the kittens come from? If Bauble is not their parent, then they were dropped off at the site. They did not make their appearance until they were fairly advanced into their kittenhood; unlike Beulah, from last year, Bauble is uninterested in being their mother, and has never been seen in their company, which encourages me to think that she is unrelated. In any case, the attempt to trap them starts tomorrow.

Monday, October 21, 2019


Tucker ignored the cylinder-house cat-tree for so long that I assumed he either had no interest in it, or could not climb into it, or both. Eventually, he showed me that he could hoist himself into it, and quite handily, too. Even so, he generally left it to Renn, as seen here.

But lately, the roly poly has been enjoying the curved comfort of the cylinder-house. He also likes the fact that it provides plenty of prospects for playing peek-a-boo. Yes, Tucker, long thought of as the baby of the family (though Renn is younger) becomes quite happy playing that simple game. Whether I use the partition that separates the dining area from the entrance vestibule, or whether I look in one side of the cylinder-house and then the other, Tucker seems to get a kick out of it.

The cylinder-house, however, gives him scope to twist and turn, looking at me sideways, then upside down, first to the right, then to the left. His purrs at such fun can become quite loud, and he squeals when I grab the top of his head unexpectedly. His stubby forelegs can barely reach my fingers, which merely makes him squirm all the more.

Though the cylinder-house cat-tree has never faced a window, it has rarely lacked for occupants. Indeed, its structure makes it rather disadvantageous for viewing the scenery, and is much better to use for slumber. And, as Tucker demonstrates, for playing.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Lazy Eater

My new foster-cat, Neville, is doing well. I will be checking his blood-sugar every fortnight; I had been reading it every week, but with consistently good numbers, I have decided to reduce the exams, which he heartily dislikes, to every two weeks. He has not received insulin in nearly a month.

He is also no longer confined to the library at night. This was the next step in his integration, as I would be able to wake and confront any situation that might result. There has, however, been no untoward incidents with the other cats. Indeed, I think he spends almost the whole night at the top of the highest cat-tree. There, he is safe from the other beasts – who are mainly apathetic about his presence, anyway – and from which he can view the outside through the room’s glass doors. He nonetheless climbs down to use the litter-box (he still uses the one in the library), regardless of the time.

The Thin Man is eating well, and he is, to judge from how his body feels, not as thin as he once was. I am concerned that he likes only one type of soft-food. Despite attempts to interest him in others, he restricts himself to a single variety. He also consumes hard-food, but with cats notorious for suddenly and – from a human’s point of view – unreasonably deciding no longer to like their favourite kind of nutrition, I like to have others ready.

But Nevsky’s biggest characteristic in regard to food is his laziness. He is a lazy eater. He enjoys his indolence and lies horizontal so much that he refuses to rise even for his food-bowl. He will eat a commendatory amount, but I must insert the bowl under his chin in order to generate interest. A few inches away, and he will decide that he can do without sustenance. It is, after all, all the way over there.

I am not too concerned about this, but it does mean that he ends up with bits of food in his fur. His fur, tremendously soft, is growing out now in a satisfactory manner, but will be that of a long-haired cat, I believe. His mane now starts collecting bits of food, which I have to find and pull out afterward. If Neville would sit up to dine, this would not be a problem. He is not too weak to do so. Even when bone-skinny, he had plenty of strength to run and climb. He is just lazy.

However, like a sudden alteration in what a cat wishes to see on his menu, how he consumes his chosen fare will also sometimes change. I am not concerned. In the scheme of things that could go wrong with a cat, Neville’s eating habits are a very minor concern.

But even those who breakfast in bed sit up for it…

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Well at the World's End

Cammie appears, once again, to have recovered from an episode of her illness, brought on, to the best of my knowledge, by an allergy. Yesterday, she ate well at dinner, but almost immediately threw it up. Her behaviour suggested to me, however, that she was not suffering a relapse, so I hesitated to call the doctor. Since then, Cammie has eaten and drunk more food, not in great amounts but in sufficient quantities to prove that she is, for the time being, well again.

Part of the princess’s usual behaviour is searching for water to drink. One would think that, being blind, she would take advantage of the closest source. Indeed, when she remained for the most part in the bedroom, on the towel in the corner, the little cup that was near by served that purpose admirably. Now that she spends much of her time in the sitting room, a small bowl on the ledge under the doors to the outside provides her with water – sometimes.

The curious thing is that she still prefers to drink from the cup in the bedroom. Bypassing the water-bowl in the hall, and that in the library, and even the large one just past the bedroom’s door, Cammie will continue to the farthest reaches of our little kingdom. In the most distant corner of the remotest province, even on the marches of our land, she finds her little well with its water which I keep abundant and fresh, never knowing when she will begin her trek from the more central districts to the frontier. Neither miles nor obstacles deter her; she will have her drink from her favourite fount.

For whatever reason, then, this is one of her habits, and if habits mean health once more, then I will indulge them.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Rocky Road to Recovery

Cammie went to the doctor yesterday and received an injection of Cerenia to settle her stomach and prevent her vomiting. It appears to have worked. I heard no upchucking during the night, and saw no evidence of it in the morning. I can tell from her behaviour that she is feeling better. When she was ill, she lie in unusual places, and hid. Now, though not fully recovered, I think she is on her way.

But the cessation of vomiting is only half the battle. Now, Cammie must resume eating, and that she is reluctant to do. I can tell that, to an extent, she wants to. When I brought her home from the hospital, I fed everyone, and she was interested in eating. But she would not. She did not last night, nor this morning. I believe that, though her stomach may be empty, the smell of food turns her off.

In any case, I left food for her when I departed for work. The princess is sequestered in my bedroom with all the necessities, including both hard- and soft-food. If she does not consume anything while I am gone, I will need to feed her by syringe. That will be pleasant for neither of us, but her survival will require it. It’s been done before, and has been effective in re-starting Cammie’s appetite - if only because she doesn’t want to be force-fed any more.

In the meantime, my wonderful little Siamese will enjoy as much lap-time as she likes - and, as unlikely as it would have seemed a few years ago, she is enjoying it a great deal these days.