Saturday, July 31, 2021

A Step Not Taken

I think I have mentioned that lately Tucker seems hesitant to jump up onto his favourite chair at the dining table. I suspect that he is feeling his age, especially in the joints. I would like to give him some joint medicine, but he is already burdened with a number of pharmaceutical additives. He has his insulin twice a day, his kidney powder, his salmon oil and his Restor-a-lax. Thrice a week, he receives sub-cutaneous fluids. I didn’t want to put another on the menu just yet.

So now he has a small step-stool to assist him in reaching the chair. He still needs to use his muscles and joints, but the stress of jumping has been replaced. I hope this will ease his aches a bit.

The trouble is that Tucker is very set in his ways. He may actually lack the intelligence to understand a step-stool, but I prefer to ascribe his reluctance to use it to an innate conservatism. He does use the steps at the bottom of the bed, and he comprehends the point of the steps up to the couch in the sitting room, I think. It took him years to master the former, and even longer to conquer the latter.

In any case, I am encouraging him to use the new tool, showing how he needs to approach it and take advantage of it. I believe he will enjoy its benefits eventually. For the moment, though, he appears rather dubious.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Even When I Sleep

I frequently dream when I sleep. I imagine most people dream, but I recall most of mine. They usually form a lucid story - or reasonably lucid, given the nature of dreams. There is a storyline, however truncated it may be, a progression of events, one causing its sequel, and so on. Now and then, I dream of cats.

On the weekend, I dreamed that I was riding my bicycle toward my home. It was not the home I live in now, but was in a familiar part of my town. I passed three kittens walking on the sidewalk. The first turned out to be a puppy but looked like a baby hippopotamus; as is the way with dreams, even though it resembled an African animal, I knew it was a dog. That it was more hippo than dog, or cat, was not surprising: I had watched King’s Solomon’s Mines a few hours before.

The scene switched to my home, to which, predictably, I had brought the kittens. One was orange, and kept changing size. When he was on the carpeted floor, he was about an inch long; in my hand, he was six or seven times that size.

I was trying to find boxes to put them in. I don’t normally put kittens in boxes, of course, but the scene may have been influenced by the time when I had to take a kitten, soon to be named Echo, home from my work-place. I put her in a box (with air-holes punched in the top) for the short ride. In my dream, I could not find an empty box. There were dozens, hundreds, but all filled with items.

And then I woke up.

While this dream is unique, it is typical of its type: there is usually something happening, something interesting - not uncommonly, it is more interesting than real life - and influenced by events that happened in the waking world. Someone asked me if this dream was prophetic. Considering the constricted space in the Cosy Apartment, it probably will not come to pass. But, compared with some of my more fantastic dreams, there is always the possibility.

After all, our rescue group receives calls all the time regarding baby hippos being found on sidewalks…

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Portia On the Other Hand...

Lest anyone think that life with my new foster-cat, Portia, is all about inconvenience, bewilderment, frustration and anxiety, I should remind them that that is life with ALL cats.

But seriously, folks…

Portia has actually made great strides in her behaviour. She and I spend at least one period a day together, which is not easy when I work most hours of the day and have chores most of the rest - and three other cats to give time to. But she looks forward to our time, I think, hurrying in to the library ahead of me so she will be ready to lie on my lap when I sit down. She sometimes stays there for half an hour, purring, while I pet and brush her. When she ceases purring, it doesn’t mean our time is over. That’s when I stop petting her and she usually stretches out for a few more minutes. I let her determine how much time we spend together.

She is also doing better with the other cats. They avoid her, but that reflects more the memory of her past behaviour than it does the current situation. She does still swipe at them, and even run at them, but these instances are rarer than they were. And, as always, if the victims of her actions would just stand their ground or, in the case of Renn, just ignore her, things would improve pretty much over-night.

She used to hiss at me quite frequently, whenever I did something of which she disapproved. That too is less common now, though she will open her mouth as though to hiss - but no sound will issue. It looks like she is breathing with her mouth open, but she is not. It’s almost as if she is threatening to hiss at me which, I don’t intend to explain to her, does not convey the same impression.

She plays, with me and by herself. The other day, she played in and out of the nylon tunnel and attempted to do what many cats have accomplished: slip in through one of the holes in the top. She is not quite as lithe as Xanadu was, or even Renn. She became stuck.

Portia is improving.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

More on the Floors

For almost a whole week, Portia returned to using the litter-box for wetting. The covering of most of the library’s floor with vinyl seemed to force her back to where she ought to go. But some days later, she figured out that a small portion of the floor near the door was uncovered, so she wet there. It is, unfortunately, a small square of space near the threshold which has never been covered even by a rug, so she wet on the apartment’s fitted carpet. She has now done it twice.

I have temporarily put a cheap mat over the spot - and she’s wet on that, too - until I can get some more plastic. I can foresee having to cover the entire apartment’s floor with vinyl eventually, if Po doesn’t start using the litter-boxes again, and permanently. For the moment, she is restricting her misbehaviour to the library. But if I cut off that venue by laying out vinyl, she may take her show on the road, and visit the sitting room or bedroom.

First things first, though. We will see what covering the latest trouble-spot does, and go from there. Nonetheless, I think she would make a happy and entertaining friend for an adoption-minded human - one who had bare floors in his home, for preference.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Height of Apathy

It occurred to me that in the two and a half months in which Portia has lived in the Cosy Apartment, she has never been on any of the cat-trees. I think she may not have had any in her previous home, though I would have thought she’d climb the ones here just from curiosity. I decided to place her on one.

Po’s reaction was one of mild interest. She sat on the top platform of the lower cat-tree in the sitting room and looked out the glass door. She stayed there for about half an hour, then dropped down to the floor. She has not climbed up on her own in the several days since.

I get the feeling that if she could speak, her words on the occasion would have been something like, “Well, yes, I suppose…”

Saturday, July 24, 2021

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

I don’t do much promoting on this blog of the rescue-group to which I belong. I find advertising to be tiresome, whether it be on radio, the internet or television (it being one of the reasons I no longer watch the latter.) I’m old enough to remember the days when watching a film at the cinema did not involve sitting through half an hour of loud, juvenile commercials. But I think the cause in this case is a good one, and one or two ads every decade isn’t too great a number.

The Lethbridge PAW Society, a cat-rescue group in southern Alberta, is having an internet 50/50 Cash Raffle. The goal is to sell $10,000 worth of tickets, the winner taking half of that and PAW receiving the rest, minus some administration fees for the company that arranged the raffle. The latter is due to the fact that it is exclusively an online affair: tickets are paid for by credit card only and the winning ticket chosen by a government-sanctioned Random Number Generator. Tickets may be purchased in different ‘packages’ for different amounts, and there is a guaranteed prize of $2,000 (Canadian).

The limitation of this raffle is that it is for Alberta residents only. This is due to the fact that gaming regulations are controlled at the provincial and not the national level. It of course reduces the number of this blog’s readers who can participate, if any wished to do so. However, I thought I would advertise the cause regardless. I suppose someone outside of Alberta could ask an acquaintance to buy them tickets, but most of those who join the contest will nonetheless be from this province.

What might be of greater assistance is spreading the word through social media. If anyone reading this wants to do so, I would be obliged to them. If not, don’t worry; I won’t be checking. The raffle lasts until the end of September, but two months is not too long a time for something like this. If you would like to read a bit more about the raffle, the link below will take you to its web-page, which is also the venue at which tickets may be purchased.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled cats.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Breathing a Trifle Easier

It’s been forty-eight hours with no sign of Portia wetting outside the litter-box. Indeed, I have today witnessed her actually inside the litter-box when she wet. Despite the invasion of privacy that this entails, I was quite pleased at the observation. Though it is early days yet, the new ‘flooring’ in the library seems to be achieving what it was intended to do.

I suspect that Po thought for some time that she should urinate on the soaker pads. I don’t know why she reached that determination suddenly, after months of restricting such actions to the litter-boxes. But, unlike Tucker, who occasionally used a soaker-pad immediately in front of the box, and who usually did so in the initial stages of a new cat’s arrival, Portia would pull up the soaker pad after she was finished. This may have been the equivalent of burying her waste in litter, which would suggest that she was merely doing something natural in the wrong location.

While the new surface to the library floor will resist any liquid deposited on it, thus making cleaning easier and cheaper than soaker-pads, the object is to keep my girl from putting it to the test. A cat who wets outside the box is not going to be adopted, no matter how simple is the cleaning of her mess. Therefore, we in the Cosy Apartment have our eyes on the long-term. Even so, this is a very good start.