Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Young Like Hector

Hector misses having a playmate, I’m sure, and though I make time for him, he largely finds his own fun. He enjoys boxes. A large box is usually set on its side as his ‘cave’. But sometimes he will knock it over, or I will tip it upside down, and he will hide under it. He seems to derive great enjoyment from that.

Then, there is the box’s lid, which is as entertaining. He flattens himself under it, though of course it’s almost impossible for him to hide; I think he understands that, and that’s part of the fun. Watching my dark knight play is as amusing to me as it is to him, and I believe he enjoys me observing his antics and commenting on them.

I have a feeling Hector will stay young a long time.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Back in the Saddle Again

I begin my holidays at the end of this week. I will have my usual three weeks off. They may seem redundant after a fortnight away from work following my surgery. I also had a few days off due to illness subsequent to that. But my holidays will be much more normal than those days, which, though I was free of having to go to work, were not quite a holiday.

Adding to the vacationary feel of the next few weeks will be the fact that I will be able to ride my bicycle again. I rode it to work today. I took it easy but there seemed to be little effect on anything to do with my surgery. My legs felt old and week, however; the deterioration one experiences after seven weeks without exercising is, if not surprising, nonetheless consternating. But this will soon be remedied.

As for the actual journey on wheels, it posed no problem, though I hadn’t been in the saddle for almost two months. It turned out that it was just like riding a bike…

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Cats Helping Cats

There is a cat who has a Facebook page and, I think, a blog, though I have seen him primarily on Facebook. (I suspect his humans help him with that, though…) He was very recently diagnosed with FIV.

Feline immunodeficiency virus is serious but not a death-sentence for cats. It suppresses the immune system, making it easier for a cat to contract other illnesses, and harder for him to fight infections. But cats who have it can live a long time – my late friend Raleigh had it – even the whole regular feline lifespan. It requires vigilance and care, but is not fatal.

What made me wonder about this cat on Facebook – I shall call him ‘Templeton’ – is that, though he was an outside / inside cat, I could not recall him associating with other cats, and certainly not figthing with them. FIV is spread almost exclusively through bite wounds, deep, ugly wounds received in life-and-death battles; scratches won’t do it. And for Templeton to be diagnosed with FIV at this point seemed odd to me. And it struck a chord in my memory about another cat.

Knox was brought into the PAW Society rescue-group in August of 2017. He was found in a rural campground, very friendly but ragged, hungry and dirty; probably dumped there. He was accepted into PAW. A ‘snap’ test for FIV was negative, but one for feline leukemia was positive. We wanted to make sure, so Knox’s blood sample was sent to another laboratory in a near by city. Tests conducted there came back negative for both viruses. To clear up this discrepancy, his blood was examined in a third lab, subjected to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. This determines whether the actual dna of a virus is present. There is no hiding by a virus from the results of such a test. Knox’s health was confirmed: he had neither FIV nor feline leukemia.

This made me think that the oddity of Templeton suddenly coming down with FIV might be confirmed or denied by a PCR test. I suggested to his family that this be done, and they did so. The results showed that he did not have FIV. His humans and all those who love him were very pleased.

I write all this not for any credit for suggesting the test – others did the same, I believe. (Indeed, my recollection was that Knox was thought to have FIV, which is why I suggested the PCR test; in fact, as mentioned above, it was feared he had leukemia. The PCR test will work for both.) Rather, I wanted to show two things. One is that ‘snap’ tests can give false-positives. They are not infallible, so if there is any doubt, further tests should be conducted, culminating if need be in a PCR test.

The second thing I wanted to show is that even through time and distance, Knox was able to help Templeton. The latter’s family now has peace of mind and comfort in knowing their boy is healthy. For Knox, the test’s negativity gave him greater availability in being adopted; many people think that FIV is too dangerous in a cat for him to be taken into their family. This is not the case; cats with FIV can live very well with other cats and, as I explained, the chances of the virus’s spread are small – almost non-existent, if there is no vicious fighting (and there rarely is in socialised cats.) Even so, Knox could be promoted as healthy and strong.

Alas, this status did not last. Another, worse, feline disease – FIP – struck Knox in September, 2018, and he died on November 1 of that year. He was a sweet-tempered fellow, loved by his foster-guardians and doing well with his feline roommates. He not only gave joy to those who knew him, but was able to help even a cat who never met him.

Thank you, Knox.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Fewer Teeth, Less Discomfort

Renn’s surgery was a success, but it was more complicated than expected.

With the assistance of an x-ray, numerous teeth were found that were being resorbed, crumbling away and soon to be big problems for my big boy. Aside from the tooth that needed removing, six other teeth were taken out. As well, a tooth at some point in the past seems to have broken off from the a root, which was jagged. The gum had healed over it but it must have been uncomfortable at best. That too was extracted. I feel very bad that I didn’t have these seen to earlier, but without an x-ray, most of the problem-teeth were impossible to find.

Yesterday afternoon, Renn came home and wanted to eat. I like to feed a cat at such a time because he needs the nutrition, after having been starved since the night before, and the pain-medication that he was given at the hospital is still effective. Moderation must be used, though, so the anaesthetic, still in his body, doesn’t combine with too much food and cause him to throw it all up. Renn ate well, and kept it down.

That will stand him in good stead today, because, this morning, the pain-killer he was given after his surgery has worn off, and he is clearly feeling poorly. I gave him a dose of the medicine with which he was sent home; that will make him feel better for the next twenty-four hours. Even so, he ate very little for breakfast, as his mouth was probably smarting quite a bit. Hopefully, the pain will be dulled enough for him to eat something later today.

I was told by the veterinary technician not to feed Renn hard-food. This is good advice, as particles might get into the wounds left by the surgery, no matter how well they are bound up by sutures. However, Renn prefers hard-food and only licked at the soft-food I provided. I had a feeling about how my big boy would eat and decided to risk the hard-food. Sure enough, he ate a good amount without chewing the kernels. He may not have enough of the right teeth - or teeth placed rightly enough - to chew anymore, so he swallowed the kernels whole. It took him a few minutes to figure out how to do it, but I didn’t hear a single crunch while he ate. Even more rapidly than Tucker, my toothless roly poly, Renn adapted to the new circumstances. Thus, he was able to put something in his stomach, a deposit that will give him some strength while he recovers.

Now, it is a matter of providing pain-relief while he heals. After that, I expect Renn will be in good spirits, with fewer teeth, but less discomfort.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

No Breakfast for Renn

My big boy, Renn, is at the hospital right now, having a tooth removed. I informed the doctor that I would like to have removed any of Renn’s teeth that look like they may give trouble in the future. At fifteen, and with second-stage kidney failure, I don’t want him undergoing any more medical procedures. He was started on fluids as soon as he was admitted, and will be on them for a couple of hours before his operation, and then all afternoon, until I pick him up about 4.30.

I felt very bad for Renn this morning. He doesn’t wish for breakfast every day, but he was ready and eager for it today - and I had to deny him the food that he wanted. The picture above depicts him waiting for service (which he gets before I make my bed); today he had to do without.

But the mornings when he has little appetite are also mornings in which he feels off, and sometimes throws up. Kidney issues often produce a morning illness. His alert attitude today boded well for his surgery; I wouldn’t want him going under anaesthetic while feeling poorly.

I am worried about my big boy, but he is in capable hands. The doctor with whom I am most familiar at the veterinary hospital - and, more importantly, who is most familiar with my cats - is performing the surgery. I will be called when all is done, and will bring my friend home soon afterward.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Age and Youth

This could be a cartoon in an old Punch magazine…“Age and Youth”.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Week That Is

Renn did not go to the hospital this week. I had to re-schedule his appointment due to unforeseen circumstances unconnected to my big boy. I hope to take him for his surgery next week; it has been re-set, tentatively, for next Thursday. Though he seems no more troubled by his tooth now than he has been, I suspect that it is hurting him, and I feel bad that it could not be rectified. Soon, however, I hope all will be well with him.

As for the others, Neville is fine, and Hector continues active and, periodically, annoying to the other beasts. He takes an interest in the outdoors, especially now that windows are open quite often. This morning, he observed another of his kind outside. This is a neighbour-cat, well looked after, who now and then goes for short walks. I don’t think either knew what to make of the other.

And Minuet decided to explore earlier in the week, while I was cleaning. She should have had her shirt on, as the day, while pleasant, was a little cool. But the last time I saw her, she was snug on her heated blanket in the library, enjoying the warmth provided by the heater. This was apparently unnecessary, and she wanted to take some air. Furthermore, when I tried to put her shirt on, she objected, and spent the rest of the day without clothes, on the cool of the library couch. Madame knows best.

As may be seen, there is little of note going on in the Cosy Apartment, though the beasts can usually find and provide something of note.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Cat for All Seasons

Minuet is doing very well following her bout of diarrhea. In fact, she has entered into the spirit of spring. After at least a month of ignoring her cat-tree, she has taken to climbing it again, often lying down on a mid-level step that gives her a fine view through library door, or relaxing on the carpetted top of the bookcase under the window, where she can see outside.

Min also spends less time in her little corner, less time on her heated blanket. She uses Tucker’s Tuffet to step up onto the library couch to snooze there; indeed, she spent last night on the couch. She even kept me company through the movie last evening. I like that because I can pet her without having to compact myself into her corner to spend time with her. Instead, she lie near me for an hour and a half, sometimes sleeping, sometimes wanting her peach-fuzz fur stroked.

She has even ventured out of the library all together more. I just missed taking a photograph of her in the sitting room with the three boys. I was able to get a couple of her leaving, after giving Hector what-for.

This change may be due to the progress of the seasons. Though the spring here has been rather cool, it is noticeable, and, in the past, I have seen my cats alter their behaviour with the months, even if we humans can’t perceive much difference in the weather. Then again, a friend wondered if the prescription of anti-biotics Madame received recently helped clear up something other than her more obvious diarrhea-causing infection.

Nonetheless, as she came to me in the depths of winter, it will be interesting to see how she reacts to the seasons as they come and go, and whether or not Minuet continues her new behaviour, she seems to be enjoying the wider parameters offered by the spring.