Monday, January 31, 2022

Happy Birthday, Pete

It had been suggested by the blogger at It’s a Wonderpurr Life that today we honour Pete Cusack, of the blog “Tomcat Commentary by Timmy”. Pete died in November of last year; today, he would have turned 69. (His cats are safe and together in a new home, one that he had arranged in case of such an event.)

Now, the idea was that we each choose a favourite blog entry that Pete created (on behalf of Tim, his best feline friend, who predeceased him.) Trying to select one is tough, as I enjoyed so many of them. I don’t believe that Pete gave his cats the personalities they exhibited in the blog; I believe he expanded on them. These personalities were far too real - and enjoyable - to have been made up.

For instance, Rumpy and Einstein were friends; Rumpy, older, acted as a mentor to Einie when the latter was just a kitten, and they continued to play and sleep together. Rumpy was my favourite cat among Pete’s, I don’t mind admitting; his ego was far too large for what the others clearly thought about him, but he persisted in being a mischievous know-it-all. Einstein never stopped being a kitten, it seems to me, and this is reflected in that face of his, though he is now eight years old. The blogs featuring Rumpy, and him and Einstein together, were my favourite.

I hope Pete won’t mind me borrowing this image from one of his Yuletide blogs. It shows the pair proudly flanking the family Christmas tree; I think Christmas was a special time for Pete. It’s very sad to me that he won’t be celebrating any more Christmases on Earth, but I am grateful that his cats, thanks to his care and foresight, will have many more holidays ahead, before they join their dad once more.

Happy birthday, cat-dad Pete.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Slow Progress

Minuet is doing all right. I woke in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom where she was sleeping, and found that she had wet on the floor. I thought this strange, as she had, hitherto, used the litter-box without exception. I had previously noted that the amount of litter was diminishing and had planned to renew it in the morning. I did so at that moment, instead. She has since resumed using the litter-box.

Why Minuet needed more litter, if that indeed was the solution to her temporary lapse, I don’t know. Perhaps the Cat-Attract loses its effectiveness after a while, though I would not have thought a mere twenty-four hours would have been the limit. There are, of course, any number of possible reasons, though I intend not to add to the litter tonight, to see if the episode is repeated. If it is, perhaps a thin layer on top will suffice.

My other newcomer, Auric, is making slow progress in the right direction. Slow progress. Since his neutering, he has calmed down a little. A little. He sleeps more, which is a blessing to us all.

He continues to chase Hector, and this remains his biggest problem. He seems to bother Neville not much at all, while his attention toward Renn appears – and appearances may be quite wrong – to be those of a youngster looking for an older brother. He will try to lie near my big boy now and then; Renn wants nothing to do with this relationship, but is not as hostile to Auric’s proximity as he once was.

Auric is nonetheless a mischievous kitten in spirit, and I can’t yet leave him out with the others while I am asleep or absent. He will stay in the bedroom during my work-day, while Minuet is given the library. This will greatly restrict the space for the others, but they will have to live with it. At least they won’t have to live with Auric’s antics.

But the Golden Boy does have a charming side. I have learned that he enjoys extreme physical closeness if I am horizontal. My attempts at a nap today were ruined by Auric deciding that he would re-enact a part from a movie. Do you recall the scene in Alien in which John Hurt’s character is attacked by the hatchling from the egg? It attaches itself immovably to his face. That scene apparently found favour with Auric.

What is needed is the patience which I counsel others in this situation to have. With time, my two latest houseguests will integrate well. I think a decade or two should do.


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Minuet on Day One

Minuet’s first night in the Cosy Apartment went very well. She arrived at about 3.30 Friday afternoon, and went into the bathroom. She arrived with various items, the most important of which was her insulin, a different kind than Neville uses. It is delivered by syringe, rather than pen; I am currently moving her injection schedule a little time each day to correspond with the Nevsky’s.

She also came with a rather terrible ‘house’ (a covered cat-bed) that was, I was told, of great comfort to her; it was, however, where she had wet numerous times in the past. Though it had been repeatedly washed, it was in bad shape, and was not only unhealthy but encouraged Minuet to continue wetting there. When she came out for her first meal – she has had no reluctance in eating – I removed the house and threw it out. This led Min to find a substitute. Though I had hoped she would use the soft, folded blanket I’d placed for the purpose, she chose instead to lie in the litter-box.

Lacking a ‘house’ to give her, I made one from the bottom of an old, cleaned litter-box, with the thick blanket in the bottom. Some coaxing with a catnip toy brought her into the box, which she continued to use through the night.

Minuet has so far exhibited no hesitation in using the litter-box. Though her former owner had resorted to Cat-Attract cat-litter, she had merely sprinkled it on Min’s normal litter. I put only Cat-Attract in the litter-box. Minuet has used it repeatedly (as with many oldsters, of varying species, she seems needful of wetting in small amounts many times) for both liquid and solid waste. Though it is a relatively expensive clay litter, I will use it from now on, if that is what works.

Right now, Min is in the library. I thought it safe to move her there after seeing her correct application of the litter-box. She has not taken advantage of the relatively generous space of the library, after the bathroom’s confines, but the expansiveness of the room may be its own disadvantage at this stage of her acquaintance. I am, in fact, pleased with the progress of her situation: she has not only not wet outside the litter-box (so far as I can tell) but is amenable to new human friendships, purring loudly in response to petting, stroking and brushing.

Considering how her world has changed, those responses are quite remarkable, and remarkably good.

Friday, January 28, 2022


This is Minuet. She will be coming to live with me this afternoon.

She is a nineteen year old lady whose owner doesn’t want her anymore. Minuet wets outside her litter-box, and has done so for the sixteen years that she has lived with her current human. To her credit, the latter adopted her knowing that this little cat had a litter-box issue; Minuet was three years old then, and had been returned four times to the humane society in her town because of her problem. She would probably have been euthanised, if returned again.

Minuet had previously wet immediately outside the box. Now, however, she is choosing other spots in the house. The owner is moving and feels she cannot take her cat with her because of this.

Also, Minuet was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago, and her person feels that the twice-daily injections of insulin are too much to arrange around her work-schedule. Minuet is also likely deaf.

The new guest will go into my bathroom initially, which - along with the virtual destruction of her world and routine - won’t be conducive to better waste management habits. But she will be there only until I see with what she presents me, and then she will go into the library. Auric, who is not ready for full-time release from his isolation, will have to stay in my bedroom while I am absent. As may be seen, this situation is not ideal, but Minuet’s options were very limited, especially considering her wetting history and her more recent diabetic onset.

Minuet is the name I have given her. She has, right now, another which I find unfavourable but which sounds similar enough to be recognisable to her, if she is able to hear it at all. With a new name, a new setting and new views of her problems, she may yet have the chance for a peaceful and content final few years.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Free Day for Auric

Auric was released from the library last night. The results were less than I had hoped but more than I had expected.

Auric was very excited. He explored everything, even the spaces between bookcases and behind couches. He sniffed and sniffed and looked and looked. I think he enjoyed the view from the wide glass doors in the sitting room, and I know he liked being able to climb the tall cat-trees. It took him a few minutes to figure out that he could use the various levels of the platforms to climb up and down, but he mastered that swiftly enough.

He played with the track-ball, and seemed to get a kick out of it. He wrestled with some of Hector’s fabric mice and found the idea of boxes quite intriguing.

His interaction with the other cats was varied. The least bothered was Neville. A fierce growl, reinforced with a whap at close quarters, persuaded the Golden Boy not to press his acquaintance with the Nevsky too closely. I let Auric out thrice in the evening, for about half an hour each time; he first met Nev on a cat-tree, and then on the floor. The latter was not putting up with any kittenish forwardness on either occasion, and Auric respected that.

Renn found the newcomer irksome. Auric jumped up on the bed where my big boy was napping; Auric did not feel that Renn’s warnings had the same force as Neville’s, though the new boy didn’t spend much time bothering Renn. If such a situation occurs again - and it will - I suspect Renn will administer a few whaps before retreating. I don’t want Renn to fear Auric’s presence, as he seems to do Hector’s, so I will have to watch the relationship there. A few medium-strength blows by a big paw to some light orange fur won’t go amiss.

The dynamics between Auric and Hector have promise. Our dark knight didn’t care for Auric’s release, and he retreated before Auric’s advance, accompanying the action with hisses and growls. But there is more to it than that. As I wrote, I let Auric out of the library three times. Twice, Hector hid, or withdrew to a distant location, but kept his eye on the escapee. The third time, I saw that Hec was in the sitting room, at the top of the tallest cat-tree. I thought it would be a good time to bring out Auric. Though he could only hear Auric - the latter makes an almost continual chirping sound when excited - and was across the apartment from him, Hector climbed down from the tree, crossed the sitting room and corridor and sat on the bedroom’s threshold to look at Auric. I doubt that any cat would do so if he wanted nothing to do with the new situation.

The two were often close to each other and, though I stayed between them - Auric exhibited too much of a desire to rush at Hector, for whatever purpose - I ensured that Hector observed his new roommate at length, watching him play, and roll over for chest-rubs. I don’t expect Auric to ignore the others, but if he treats Hector with little interest, at least at first, it will go a long way to smoothing their living arrangements.

However, I was pleased with the evening’s results. Tonight, there will be more free time for the Golden Boy. We will see what use he makes of it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Keep Him Calm and Peaceful, They Say

Auric’s surgery went very well. He is now neutered. His ears were examined and cleaned, and his chest and the under-side of his neck shaved, eliminating all the small, tight mats he had there. He was glad to come back to the Cosy Apartment, I think.

The normal instructions of the veterinary are to keep the newly neutered cat calm and resting. That couldn’t apply to Auric. He was filled with energy. I spent time with him and, though he enjoyed some cuddling, he wanted to be on the move. When I left him, I could hear him banging about the library, chasing his fuzzy mouse and foamy sea-turtle. I later joined him and used the string-toy to try to keep him in one place while playing. That worked, but when I left again, taking his toys, he resumed his exuberant action. It turned out that, deprived of mouse and turtle, he was pursuing bits of fuzz from the scratching post. His operation, far from reducing his energy, at least temporarily, seems to have multiplied it.

He ate some food and I gave him some pain-killer this morning, as per the doctor’s instructions. I don’t think Auric needed it, though one can never tell. I would have thought that, if he had given himself any sleep - and it did sound as if he rested at some point in the night - he would be stiff and sore this morning. He didn’t act like it. As I was leaving, I could hear him barging about the library, behind its closed door.

This evening, the newest guest at the Cosy Apartment will meet his fellow residents. We’ll see what he does with his energy then…

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Auric's Big Day

Today, Auric will be neutered. The plan is to bring him back to the Cosy Apartment for one last night of isolation – and recovery from his surgery – and then to release him, to test his effect on the others, and the others’ effect on him. I think it will go well; Auric doesn’t strike me as an aggressive or hostile cat. I could be wrong, of course; a cat can behave much differently in the face of other felines than he does merely smelling them through a closed door. But there has been no hissing – though I don’t expect a complete absence of it – just curiosity.

It is important that Auric get along with the other beasts. Events will be happening here that demand a slightly accelerated attempt at integration, and space for continued isolation, even for periodic separation, will be at a premium. Though the Golden Boy’s hormones won’t settle for weeks after his surgery, I hope that the actual operation will be enough to engender ease, if not actual tranquility. We will see.

In the meantime, I will leave you with more images of Auric, who is one of my most photogenic of cats. (Well, maybe with the exception of the last picture…)

Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Catfather, Immortalised

Some may recall, though it was five years ago now, that I published a picture of Tucker that made me think of him in the rĂ´le of a Mob boss. I dubbed my roly poly ‘the Catfather’, on the basis of the image.

I suspect the title had been used before, perhaps many times, but I found it amusing. It fit in with a series of stories being written by the Trout Towne Tabbies (see the link on my side-bar), called the ‘Coddmother Saga’, and the Food Service Girl in Trout Towne asked if she could include Tucker, in his Mob guise, in the saga. Permission was granted and I laughed over the blog-entries that resulted.

When Tucker died, I received a gift certificate, in honour of my Tuxter. It took a while for me to determine on the right purchase with the certificate; I wanted it to be in memory of Tucker, and something unique to him. I found an artist who reproduces images of pets as royalty or aristocracy, and asked her to create a portrait of Tucker with the suitable addition of garb.

This is the result – though a photograph does not do it justice (click on the picture to enlarge it.) Below it is the picture from which Tucker’s likeness was taken.

My Tucker had many sides to him. I will remember him as the baby of the family, the roly poly, my constant dinner companion – and as the Catfather, now immortalised on canvas.