Monday, October 31, 2022

A Change for Neville

Neville’s status in the rescue-group has undergone a change. He is no longer available for adoption, and has been included among the ‘sanctuary-cats’. These are cats who are, and will be, cared for by the group until the end of their days, and who will not be available for adoption, due to physical or emotional issues that render adoptions difficult.

It took some thinking on my part to ask for this change on the Nevsky’s behalf, but I feel that it is right. In truth, Nev has not elicited much interest from potential adopters in the two and a half years since he came to live with me. I think just two people have inquired after him, and neither was suitable for him. Diabetic cats receive little attention from people looking to adopt. Unlike cats who are missing a leg or an eye, those with diabetes involve on-going costs and may become worse, leading to more serious problems.

But the second inquiry, quite recently, made me think that it is best to protect Neville by making him a sanctuary-cat. Neville might have found the perfect home, but it would have been a miracle, really. Aside from his diabetes, his reaction to his treatments have become worse. He growls and hisses when I have to lift him or carry him anywhere (which is why I have changed tactics and now take his blood where he is, rather than moving him to a table); I am not afraid that he will bite or scratch, though people new to him might fear so.

As well, he is an unsocial feline. He would, to be honest, prefer to live without other cats and with only minimal involvement with a human. Very rarely, he will express some affection for me; a little more often, he will want a chin-rub. But he prefers to be left alone. He spends his days sleeping or looking out the window. He doesn’t play, despite efforts on my part to interest him. He enjoys his meals; they, and naps, seem to be all he likes in life.

I feel bad for Neville. I don’t think he’s ever been happy in the Cosy Apartment. But I believe that unless he were to find himself the only cat in a house whose human fed him and otherwise left him alone (and no one is going to adopt a cat with those results in mind), his current location is probably the best he will find. Certainly, the changing assortment of foster-cats has been an ordeal for him, but I don’t feel I can limit my fostering for him. I keep the new residents away from  Nev as much as possible until the time I think he can tolerate them. The only cat who seems not to bother him at all is Renn.

And so, Neville will live out his life with me. He is about thirteen (his exact age is unknown); therefore, he may have six or seven years ahead of him yet. He’s over-weight and diabetic, so that estimate may be optimistic. However much time he has, though, will be spent in a sympathetic environment, with food, soft beds, sunshine through the windows - and as little bother from other cats as possible.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Their Playground

Both Horace and Zofia have found a fun playground amid the support-bars and legs of the dining table’s chairs. Ivory likes to have a string-toy sweep in and out under the chairs, while Little Miss Zed doesn’t need anyone to play with her to enjoy the environment. I’ve watched her take about ten seconds to decide how best to attack a fuzzy mouse on the other side of a chair: jumping over a bar, or zooming under it? In both cats’ cases, though, they grapple with the bars and legs to a degree far in excess of what is needed to secure victory in the struggle with a toy. The fight is fun in itself. I think they view the setting as a feline equivalent of a jungle-gym.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Friends and Relations

After a very busy week – it’s astonishing how much a job interferes with what’s important in life – I have at last been able to write another entry on the blog. Unsurprisingly, it describes Zofia’s continued integration in the Cosy Apartment, a process which is going well.

Her biggest challenge is Neville, who did not like her advent and has only grudgingly, and slowly, come to understand that he might have to accept her presence. The Nevsky no longer growls at the sight of the baby, and even acquiesces to her lying on the bed – at some distance to himself. For her part, little Miss Zed will avoid the big grey uncle; when she climbs up onto the bed – she’s discovered the softness of the folded comforter at its foot – she makes a wide circle to go around Nev.

Her relationship with Horace is better but still progressing. As may be seen, it has its very pleasant moments, when Ivory finds his little sister near him and draws her close for some cleaning. Zofia enjoys the attention; when Horace finishes washing her head and moves to her body, she sticks her head back under his tongue. She clearly prefers the feel of her fuzzy pate being groomed.

When all is placid, Zofia will be, too. But when they meet on the floor, the baby is just as likely to want to scrap with Horace as cuddle with him. It’s not play; I think his size is a bit intimidating to her. It needn’t be: when faced with such infantile opposition, Ivory backs away. He’s not a fighter.

Meanwhile, Hector and Zofia’s play now includes wrestling, as well as chasing. I worry about the former, since Hec is so much larger than Miss Zed, and I know that she feels overwhelmed at times. She will growl and hiss when he presses his advantage too heavily. I keep an eye on them and, when I must, break them apart. But Zofia doesn’t let Hector’s ignorance of his own strength end their good times. She is frequently urging the Turk to play.

The rescue-group is now promoting Zofia for adoption. Ordinarily, I would predict her rapid removal from the Cosy Apartment as a result. But adoptions have slowed greatly in the last couple of months, probably due to the sudden and rather frightening increase in the cost of living. I don’t believe ours is the only rescue-group in North America so affected. We have a number of kittens quickly passing their most adorable stages because of a lack of interest (to be precise, a lack of funds with which to take on a new family member). Zofia may be one of them. She is, of course, welcome to stay in the Cosy Apartment for as long as she likes.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Zofia Finds Her Voice

Zofia arrived at the Cosy Apartment with no voice at all. Hers was a silent meow. The mouth would open, the expression suggested that she was yelling, but no noise emerged. Now, she has a sound. It’s still not as loud as her purr; in fact, she may be the one who put the pip in squeak. Imagine the cry of a fledgling hawk, a thousand feet up in the air and five miles away, and that’s Zofia, amplified a bit.

Until she has more to say - or more to say it with - enjoy this video of Hector grooming his little sister.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Autumn Turned Chilly Today

The balmy weather that has dominated our autumn here so far has ended. It couldn’t be described as an Indian Summer, or Saint Luke’s Summer, as it is sometimes termed, since that comes after a period of chilly days. Our temperate weeks were merely a softened version of August; very pleasant and most welcome.

But today is grey, wet and cold; it will no doubt drop below freezing tonight. All the beasts in the Cosy Apartment are finding their cosy spots. Even Horace, who seems to enjoy a bit of fresh air, shows no sign of indulging in more; having been brought in before the autumn arrived for real, he likes the warmth of the indoors as much as the others.

Neville is doing well. He was given Mirtazapine on Tuesday to increase his appetite. He was scheduled for another dose last night, if required, but he has continued to eat on his own, though he is still reluctant to eat hard-food. (An appointment for his dental procedure will be made on Monday.) Even so, his consumption of the soft is satisfactory. He and Zofia are being kept apart and he finds the other beasts less objectionable than he did last weekend.

I have decided to draw his blood, when it’s necessary, wherever he happens to be at the time. For years, I have been bringing him to the dining table, where the height is perfect for me and my ear-poking. This, however, has caused the Nevsky increasing misery. I have already tested him today (not a curve but spot-checks at a couple of times), and he was much less put out. It will be inconvenient for me in terms of positioning, but better for him in terms of morale.

Renn is having a slightly off-day, but nothing that worries me. He has been comfortably curled on his favourite saddle-topped cat-tree for most of the day.

Zofia continues to acclimate herself to her foster-home, and she has had little difficulty doing so. She and Hector play a great deal, though less today. I wonder if the weather has something to do with it; both are more interested in snoozing. Nonetheless, they woke long enough to take a look outside, and for big brother to give little sister a bath.

I think this has been, as Mr Parker would say, a splendid day.


Thursday, October 20, 2022

Talk is Chirp

The situation is improving at the Cosy Apartment; I think keeping Zofia away from Neville has improved the latter’s mood without inhibiting the former’s freedom. Nev seemed more relaxed last evening, knowing he needn’t worry about seeing the baby about. Why she bothers him, I don’t know, but she may represent too rapid a change in things.

In any case, she and Hector are fully-fledged playmates now. It’s funny to see the tiny kitten chasing a cat four times her size and ten times her weight. Hec will chase her, too, but is usually careful about touching her. I keep an eye on them to make sure no one gets carried away. I hope to have a video of them at their fun soon

In the meantime, Horace, who views Zofia as a curiosity more than a friend, finds other sources of amusement and interest. Here he is telling the magpies outside what he would do to them if he had the chance. (As if he would…)

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Mea Culpa

I took Neville to the veterinary hospital yesterday. He had been acting oddly: growling at everyone, including me sometimes, not eating and generally behaving unusually. I thought it had something to do with Zofia, as it began the day she was released from the library. Nev growled at her on sight, then transferred his annoyance to other cats. It didn’t help that I poked his ears on the weekend to test his readings; it’s a process he loathes. Then he stopped eating hard-food, even his favourite ‘dietetic’ snacks, and yesterday, he ceased eating soft.

Because the Nevsky receives an on-going prescription for insulin, the rules dictate that he must see the doctor every once in a while, and he hadn’t, so the timing was right, anyway. He was examined, and the only physical problem that he had was the need for a dental. Though his mouth was a bit angry, the doctor did not feel that it would have prevented him from eating. And though a sore mouth might have contributed to his grumpy moods, I don’t believe it was a major cause. A dental procedure will be arranged very soon; in the meantime, blood tests were performed; in addition to telling us immediately if anything was amiss, they would be necessary for his surgery.

Neville is otherwise well, physically. After conversing with another blogger who rescues cats, I feel that I rushed Zofia’s integration. The baby is doing very well with the other three. Hector and she play, Horace is able to sniff her now and then (which seems to satisfy his desire for interaction) and even Renn has accepted her rather placidly. This made me feel that the kitten’s introduction could be expedited. I think I was wrong.

So Nev and she will be kept separate for a while longer. I think Miss Zed’s time with the younger cats is successful; Renn can take her or leave her. So, while I won’t restrict her free time, I will close the door on Nev in the bedroom when she is out and about. He spends a good amount of time there anyway, and my big boy was the one cat with whom he had no issue, so Renn, who usually hangs out in the bedroom, anyway, will stay with him. My coming and going, and working on the computer there, will assure Nev that he is not being punished. And I will, of course, give as much time as possible to the others, including the baby.

I hope that not having to see Zofia will return some equilibrium to Neville’s life. He was given some Mirtazapine for his appetite; he ate last night and this morning, enjoying some of his ‘dietetic’ treats. As I lie for twenty minutes on the bed, he lie on my chest, which he has not done before, and purred. Glad to be home from the hospital, he seems to have forgiven me much, as cats will. I hope he will forgive me my error in judgment, and eventually accept Zofia.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Play's the Thing

Hector and Zofia are playing.

Hector has, I think, wanted to play with her since he realised that Miss Zed was some kind of cat. He’s been trotting after her wherever she goes when she is out of the library. It’s never a chase; he lopes, rather than runs. And when Zofia turns and lets him know he’s stepped beyond the bounds - her bounds - he backs away.

Last night, I watched her chase Hector from the kitchen into the sitting room, where Hec rolled on his back; Zofia darted into the nylon tunnel. She has also leaps out of the tunnel at the little Turk, who jumps back. They trade whaps now and then, but there is no force behind them.

As is the way with cats, they may not show me playfulness again for a while, or it may come again tonight. Hector wants to play with Zofia more than Zofia wants to play with Hector. But I suspect that will change; after all, she’s a kitten.

Horace meanwhile has managed to sniff noses with the baby, which has been his ambition since she arrived. He watches her and follows her to an extent, but not as much as does Hec. If this keeps up, there may be wrasslin’ and chasin’ around the clock; I wouldn’t even mind losing sleep to hear it at night.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Where the Boys Are

Briefly yesterday, and for a longer period today, Zofia was out and about in the apartment. Things went well.

Horace and Hector took an active interest in Miss Zed. They were curious but respectful, even recoiling a little when the tiny beast hissed and growled at their proximity. Hec followed her as much as by sight as by presence, but Ivory liked to be close to her; in some of the photographs, it looks as if he’s stalking her with evil intent. He was merely trying to get close enough for a good sniff. I made sure no one inadvertently cornered her.

Renn ignored the newcomer, while Neville hissed and growled, though this unexpected response may have been influenced by my taking some of his blood, which he hates, and which can put him in a bad temper.

I am pleased with Zofia’s progress. She is eating well; at her previous foster-home, she would consume her meals if only attended by a human, who had to urge her on now and then. By placing her food bowls closer to where she lies, I am trying to reduce that dependence; so far, so good. Her stools have become liquidy once again, but I have no doubt that this is due to the change of fare, rather than the fare itself. I’ve seen this occur in several new cats as they adapt to a different menu.

Zofia is a long way from having unrestricted and unsupervised freedom in the apartment. But her start is promising.