Sunday, July 30, 2023

Visiting Brazil

This is Brazil, one of the ‘Nut’ kittens – though they are no longer kittens, being just over a year old. They were born outside and brought into the rescue-group to which I belong. His two brothers (Peanut and Cashew) and sister (Hazel) have been adopted, but Brazil has regressed somewhat in his socialisation. He will be coming to stay with me; I hope to welcome him tomorrow.

Brazil will of course remain in the library for a while until he comes to know me a bit, after which he will meet the resident beasts. He will pose rather more of a challenge than Percival and Dabney did, but I am confident that he will come around and eventually be ready for adoption.

(And on that subject, Percy’s adoption was finalised on Friday. Dabney is taking longer to be accepted by his feline roommate, but we are receiving constant updates on his progress and progress is indeed being made. The family who have him are doing everything right, have taken it slow, and Dabs and the other cat are starting to play. There is little doubt that he has found his home.)

Thursday, July 27, 2023

What They Choose to Like

It’s funny what a cat will like. Along with the top of her cylinder-house cat-tree, Imogen will lounge on the taller of the two sitting room cat-trees. But only on the third platform. She’s been to the top, but the view evidently doesn’t interest her; nor is she tempted by its greater width. Dabney preferred the top, while Percival liked the top of the shorter cat-tree next to this one. Each to his own, and Miss Silky has chosen the third level.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Playtime with Imogen

I will be bringing in a water-fountain for Imogen to ignore later this week. I am also providing her with another, small meal of soft-food before bedtime; aside from moisture consumed, I don’t think she eats enough, so this will put something in her tummy before she sleeps.

In the meantime, Imo plays. She periodically rockets about the apartment for its own sake, but she and I play, too. She likes a string-toy, for which she will leap and wrestle. For some reason, she enjoys playing near, and in, my shoes. She also likes charging after something that she sees around a corner. Afterward comes a bite to eat, and a few hours of earned rest...

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Feeling the Heat

It was hot today. It was hot yesterday, and it will be hot tomorrow. The temperature reached 32° (89.6° Fahrenheit) this afternoon, and will be 37° (98.6° Fahrenheit), which is perfect if you are a human body, not as good if you are the environment in which human bodies must live.

Cat bodies must live in such heat, too. I am not worried about my beasts in general. Despite being covered in fur, they seem to weather the multitude of degrees well. Even so, they are not eating as much as usual. In terms of my oldsters, that doesn’t concern me overly much, either, since Renn and Neville will graze at the hard-food, if they don’t feel like eating soft-food at meal-times. They nibble some here, nibble some there.

Ironically, my youngest cat worries me the most. Like the boys, she is a little off her food. Imogen is still eating, just not as much and, so far as I can determine, she has not eaten hard-food since she came to stay with me. Her previous person had provided hard-food of a poor quality, which I don’t want to feed, as I suspect Imo would want just that and nothing else. Her weight is excellent for her age and size, so the amount of soft-food she has been consuming has been sufficient.

The real anxiety is that, along with never observing her eat hard-food, I have never seen her drink water. I suspect that, eating only soft-food, she acquires all her moisture from that, like koalas deriving their moisture from eucalyptus leaves. However, as may be guessed, a reduction in the amount that Imogen eats means a reduction in the moisture she receives, which is especially problematic in such heat. (My boys drink an abundance of water from the many bowls in the apartment.)

I want to bring in a fountain for Miss Silky to try. Such devices have met with failure in my household previously, but I have not tried to tempt Imogen with one. She may find them interesting enough to use.

To be honest, I don’t think that the heat, and Imo’s decreased moisture intake – if there is indeed a decrease – will be a major difficulty. But I would like to solve the problem before it becomes a problem.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Counting Chickens

I thought readers might like to know how Percival and Dabney are doing in their respective prospective homes so far.

Percy has met his new feline roommate and while the latter isn’t too keen on the newcomer, they are living without strife. There were a few whaps at first but nothing untoward later. Perce’s new humans think he’s a “dream”.

Dabney has, if anything, settled in more quickly at his new digs than Percy has at his. He has quickly taken to the people there, and likes to lie on one’s feet when she is at her desk. His feline roommate was quite vociferous in her opposition to any new residents at first, but her obstreperousness has lessened, though there is still a long way to go before it reaches acceptance. Nonetheless, Dabs is doing well.

I am relieved at the good news from these two sources. Though I did not expect great difficulties, there are often unforeseen problems, and I never count chickens until they are at least at the cute, fuzzy and yellow stage. I’d say that Percy and Dabney are hatching quite well right now.

Friday, July 21, 2023

The Mind of Mr Nevsky

Cats are astonishing creatures. I note this in many ways, and the realisation is frequently reinforced.

Neville is currently having an issue with his poop. Much of it is clinging to his bum, which he wipes on a convenient section of rug. The real trouble is that his poop seems not to blame; it is well-formed and firm. Nor is his posterior hair interfering. Indeed, this difficulty does not occur every time he visits the litter-box to deposit number two there. What I believe is happening is that he has taken to squatting too low and, in some cases, effectively sits on the debris.

That is the subject of this blog-entry only obliquely. Following each dirty incident, Neville must be cleaned. Sometimes this takes half an hour or more. (Usually in the night, allowing me some time to wake up in the wee hours before attempting to fall asleep again.) He hates it, of course, and sometimes growls and hisses during it. I try to reassure him by stroking his fur, and telling him he’s a good boy, but he is eager to put distance between himself and me afterward.

Yet Nev holds no grudge. Yesterday and the day previous, he came of his own accord to sit on my lap and permit me to pet him and give him chin-rubs. He has purred and, so far as I can tell, enjoyed our moments together; these moments, so soon after being tormented by warm water, damp cloths and towels.

I have not met a cat who holds a grudge. Certainly, cats can be annoyed at human behaviour but they seem to know the difference between the intentionally hurtful and the regrettably necessary actions. Perhaps, later, they need reassurance as much as we. But in most cases, they forgive us and remain our friends.

Neville especially has had far more than his share of pokes and prods, pills and liquids, indignities and embarrassments. Yet through it all, he has remained my friend. Such is not just the mind of Mr Nevsky, but also his heart.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

This Shall the Good Man Teach His Son...

This is often where Imogen lies while I am trying to use my computer. I pet and stroke her head and face with one hand while working the keyboard and mouse with the other. It’s not efficient but it works for both of us.

I think she may have learned the advantages of such a situation from Percival, who took to lying in the same spot. He didn’t mind just sleeping while I worked, and didn’t need the extra attention.

It’s interesting how cats learn from one another. The first to walk on a regular basis from the bed to the window-ledge, using the desk as a bridge, was probably Parker. Others learned from him, and they in turn inadvertently taught others.

I wonder who in the future will see Imo lying where she is and decide to emulate her…

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Dabney, We Hardly Knew You

He won’t have been at the Cosy Apartment for long – exactly two months, in fact - but Dabney will be going on a trial-adoption tomorrow.

Sometimes it happens like that in a rescue-group. We have been having a good run of adoptions lately; even so, nobody in the group tries to push a cat on anyone: if one fits the people looking and vice versa, it is tried.

Dabney will be going to live with a couple of ladies and their lady-cat. The latter is very young, newly spayed, and rambunctious. I have a feeling that Bumps will appreciate that in a friend and roommate, though whether the potential friend and roommate appreciates Bumps is another matter. I think she will, with time.

This is, however, another matter of saying ‘good-bye’ to a cat I wouldn’t mind keeping here. Dabney opened up quite a bit after Percival’s departure, and has no problem making himself at home. He is a happy fellow, with a playful nature and an active spirit. I will miss him. Perhaps it’s just as well he hasn’t been here longer.

With both energetic young mancats gone, the apartment will seem staid and quiet. The oldsters and Imogen will like that, I think. Part of me will, too. Part of me won’t.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Different With Four

The reports from Percival’s new home are good. Though they came to me only a couple of hours after his arrival there, Perce’s reactions were as I suspected. He didn’t hide, but immediately began exploring the new environment, rubbing up against objects and people and using the litter-box. After a sudden change, cats have, I’ve noticed, can be quite excited, only to have a reaction, similar to homesickness, a little later. After this, however, they start adapting. I suspect this is what Perce will experience. I will keep readers apprised.

Once again, the departure of one cat seems to make life simpler at the Cosy Apartment – though that departure is never unregretted. While I still have four to look after, feeding times are smoother; Percy can be inconstant in his gastronomical desires.

Dabney seems to be feeling much less restricted. He spent much of the morning running about, throwing himself into the nylon tunnel and the nylon cube, racing to the tops of cat-trees and down again. I think that he, as well, sees that he has greater access to me, and is using it.

The hostility that he evinced toward Percival was personal. For some reason, he disliked Percy; that didn’t change, though Percy sometimes facilitated it by following Dabs and staring at him, when avoiding the other cat would have lessened tension. My lean, bumpy-headed cat (his outsider-cat wounds have left uneven scabs and scars on his pate) has no trouble with the oldsters here, largely ignoring them, except when they are in the path of his exuberance.

As for Imogen, she dislikes Dabney, though I see no chance of a fight. She will hiss and growl at Bumps from a distance, and woe to him if he comes too close. Last night, he inadvertently narrowed propinquity, innocently trying to get by Miss Silky to see out the sliding glass door to the ditch, and elicited a fierce hiss from which he cringed like Oliver Twist confronted by the beadle. (I don’t mind Imo showing Dabney who’s in charge; I prefer it to her being frightened in her own home.) It doesn’t help that Dabs likes the cylinder-house of the cylinder-house cat-tree. Imogen prefers the top (at least in the warm weather) and having Dabney underneath her is highly undesired.

Still, all is going well here. I can leave Bumps out all night and, assuming things go well today, will leave him out tomorrow when I go to work. It’s a quiet life again in the Cosy Apartment. For now.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Permanence Begins Tomorrow

Percival is going on a trial-adoption tomorrow. His prospective new people are a young couple with a two year old female cat. I of course hope that Percy will look upon the resident feline as a potential chum and playmate, and vice versa. Perce isn’t the pushy sort, so I have high hopes, though his staying isn’t dependent upon a friendship being made at cat-level.

I will miss him. He always has something going on even, it seems, when he is sleeping. I think he will miss me, as we have become friends. But Percy is very open to new humans, and will respond well to anyone who treats him kindly. I have no doubt that he will be a part of the family in just a few weeks.

Wishes of good luck to the heavy little adventurer would be welcomed. The permanent part of his life is about to begin.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

The Sanitarium's New Assistant

“Have the new cases of food come in yet, Renn?”

Dr Bellen was at his desk in his office. The warm sunshine outside bid him come enjoy the pleasant summer day, but he had administrative tasks to finish.

He was making certain that there were enough supplies at the Cosy Apartment Feline Sanitarium for the residents. He was being helped by his able assistant, Renn. Today, however, Renn was seeming a little less than able.

“Renn? Renn!”

Renn started and looked up from where he sat on his chair near the doctor. The friendly face, thinner than it once had been, was alert, but had not been. The cat was growing more deaf with time, though the human did not think that was the problem here.

“Are you all right?”

“Oh yes, I am. Food, right. Yes, it came in this morning. We have plenty, Doctor.”

Dr Bellen returned to the papers in front of him, but glanced up again.

“Something is troubling you, I think, Renn. What is it?”

The old cat looked a bit sheepish, and a little chagrined.

“Am I doing a good job as your assistant, Doctor?”

“Of course you are,” answered the human, surprised. “You always have been. I don’t think I’ve ever had reason to complain about your work, or your behaviour. Well, except when the pawdicurist has to cut your claws…”

“I’m always worried she’ll cut too close…”

Dr Bellen put down his pen and looked more steadily at the cat.

“What’s the matter, Renn?”

“You have a new assistant…”



“Oh, I see. You’re worried that she’s going to take your place…”

“I can still do a lot of work around here,” responded Renn. “Don’t I watch while the food tins are stacked?”

“You do.”

“Don’t I make sure everyone is alerted to spills?”


“Don’t I complain when the staff is late with the residents’ meals?”

“More often when your own meals are late,” amended the doctor, “but yes, for the most part…”

“Then why do you need a new assistant?”

Dr Bellen smiled and walked over to the couch facing the empty fireplace. In the chilly months, a generous blaze would be warming the office, but in the high summer, none was needed. He sat and patted the spot next to him. Renn slipped down from the chair and, using the little foot-stool in front of the couch, joined the doctor on the cushion.

“How long have you worked at the sanitarium, Renn?”

“Oh…” The cat mused a while, and came up with a nearly accurate figure. “A hundred years?”

“Well, close, but more like thirteen,” corrected the doctor gently, “which is a very long time for a cat. And you’re sixteen now. “

“I can still do my job. I can still be a good assistant.”

“You can and are.” The human stroked the cat’s neck and back. Renn had very soft fur for an oldster and, if it was a little thinner than it once was, it still made him look quite handsome. “But I think it’s time you were rewarded with an assistant of your own.”

“My own assistant? You mean Imogen is my assistant?” Renn was astounded. He had never thought such a thing would happen, or could happen.

“That’s right. She’ll be able to help you tell the staff when the litter has been thrown onto the floor, and make sure the residents are at their proper places at meal-times.”

“Oh…” This was different than being replaced, Renn knew, and he was impressed with his veteran status.

“But it’s quite a responsibility for you,” reminded the doctor. “You will have to show Imogen how to do everything. She’s never worked in a facility like the Cosy Apartment before. Do you think you’ll be able to do that?”

Renn nodded vigorously.

“Oh, yes, I can do that, Doctor. I will see to it that Imogen knows everything about the Cosy Apartment, from the linen closets to the laundry to the screens on the windows. You can depend on me.”

“I do, Renn, every day.” Dr Bellen regarded the cat, of whom, really, he was quite fond. “Now, what about a chest-rub before we check the store-rooms?”

Renn purred…

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Enjoying the Actualities

Neville is feeling better. I can tell by how he acts and how he looks. The inflammation that caused his gums and, more noticeably, his chin, to swell, appears to have vanished. Strangely, he is eating a bit more moderately than he had been while ill, but it is still a good amount; he usually likes to have two courses: his soft food first, followed by some hard-food. Tellingly, his mouth doesn’t need wiping as much as when he was sick.

My pleasure is qualified, though. The second doctor, when examining the Nevsky, not only gave the opinion that my cat does not have cancer, but observed that a piece of bone or tooth was still in the socket from which an entire tooth should have been removed. That is likely what caused the infection. Since the fragment remains, so does the possibility of a recurrence. There is also a chance that Nev’s jaw was damaged more than superficially by the infection. There is a plan in place to take an x-ray of the jaw if need be and, though the veterinary is hesitant, I think Neville could have another dental procedure to remove the  fragment; he spent a much fuller and longer time under anaesthetic late last year.

These are, however, potential problems, and are not facing us at the moment. We are prepared for possibilities, but are enjoying the actualities. Neville is still with me, feeling good and, I believe, content.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

A First for Us

I cut Renn’s rear claws yesterday. Aside from the fact that he let me do so without a fuss - until he realised what I was up to - it was unusual in that this is the first time that I’ve had to trim a cat’s rear claws. I do keep an eye on them and they seem never to grow so much as to require shortening. My big boy was actually sticking to the rugs and carpets as he stepped, which is normally a result of lengthy front claws; in this case, it was the back ones.

But all was completed, and Renn returned to the rest that was undeservedly disturbed.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Party Atmosphere

The mood was one of feverish celebration when news broke that Imogen would be staying in the Cosy Apartment…

Friday, July 7, 2023

A Home for Imogen

It had to happen. Imogen has been adopted. She will be staying with me.

I have no doubt that, despite being a black cat, Imogen would have had further interest in her from other people. But some factors determined that she should remain with me.

Though she is more open to meeting new people than she was, I think she felt deeply her abrupt change of home after being abandoned. Though she would come around in time, I believe it would take her a while longer to trust someone new than it would for other cats.

That leads to another factor: Imo is not a lap-cat sort of creature. She is affectionate in her own way, and shows me that she likes and trusts me. She now sleeps on the bed next to me almost every night. She rubs up against me often and demonstrates when she wants attention. But she will as many times hurry away from me when I bend down to pet her; this isn’t fear but, oddly, humour. It amuses her to play with me. She likes to jump up on the bathroom counter, and spends many hours hidden away under bedclothes. Imogen may not be easily understood.

For her part, she has come to appreciate that there are other cats in her home, and that some may come and go with what a few felines may regard as disturbing irregularity. She has become a playmate to Percy and has tolerated (sometimes with badly-concealed annoyance) Dabney’s attempts to get to know her. She is an asset in a foster-home and, further, my opinion is that she benefits from knowing other cats (some more than others.)

Then there’s the fact that I like her a great deal.

I haven’t adopted a cat since Cammie. Though I may be wrong and Imogen would adapt very well to any new home, she is certainly no Percy or Horace, or even a Hector. Like Cammie, Imo is quite particular. I flatter myself that she has come to regard the Cosy Apartment as her home, and I her human. And I flatter myself still further that she likes that arrangement. Therefore, she will stay.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023


I remain guardedly hopeful for Neville. I am a bit concerned that his chin seems to be growing a little again, as if the infection was producing puss once more. I may be wrong. And the anti-biotic, which was injected this time, has a week to run its course, so this particular battle isn’t finished yet. My lion appears to be sleeping untroubled and his appetite remains decent. I placed a call to the veterinary hospital yesterday to talk to the doctor about Nev, and made another this morning. The doctor is the only one at the hospital for this week.

Another development is with Dabney. He has taken to sleeping at the foot of the bed, on the comforter, most nights, though he rarely stays the whole time, and is gone when I wake - though he readily comes to bid me a ‘good morning’. He also enjoys sleeping on the bed during the day. In addition, he has begun demanding his meals when he is hungry. I think these are positive signs, and shows an acceptance of the indoor life that was previously only partial. Dabney has become friendlier toward me, too, which I think demonstrates not his feelings to me so much as his potential for being open to other humans, and that bodes well for his future adoption.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Hope for the Lion, Part 2

What a reversal of fortune for Neville. He went to the hospital, and is still there.

A doctor different than the first saw him, and is certain that Nev’s problem is an abscess due to infection in the hole left from a tooth extracted a few months ago. He explained how an abscess can form in the chin – due to a lack of any channel that may be used for drainage – and how it can be emptied, the cavity cleaned and the hole sewn shut to avoid it happening again.

The surgery is taking place now, thanks, I think, to most people believing that this veterinary hospital was closed today (most businesses take Monday off in lieu of Saturday’s Canada Day; the hospital closed Friday, instead.) Time was available, which obviates Nev having to be brought in for another appointment tomorrow or whenever there is an opening. Afterward, he will receive an injection of strong anti-biotic; the previous ones we used either made the Nevsky sick or had minimal effect on the abscess, because of its isolated situation.

I asked the doctor outright if he thought Neville had cancer, and he said that it didn’t appear so. His partner had noted her ‘suspicions’ of carcinoma – which is not the more certain statement made to me – but even from the look of the infected spot, it seems not to be cancerous. Once the abscess burst, the infection subsided a bit, and it appears smaller and less red now than previously. It will, of course, worsen again without treatment, which is what Neville is receiving now.

Another blessing is that, while the veterinary was very reluctant to sedate Nev with normal drugs, due to his unmanaged diabetes, there are drugs that can by-pass such dangers, and that is what he will be given. Even so, my lion survived his dental surgery not so long ago without trouble.

This is a great relief for me. I will not assume that Neville has no cancer, though it now seems improbable. But he is at the age for it, and has had every other crisis, so I won’t uncross my fingers yet. And this is clearly a tricky condition he has, so I won’t disregard the possibility that it will recur. There is still his uncontrolled diabetes; was it caused by this infection, slowly working its way into an abscess? Maybe, maybe not; the diabetes may remain a difficulty. That written, I will consider first things first. A victory over Nev’s immediate problem feels impending, and he likely does not have cancer. I am very confident of better health for my grey lion.

Hope for the Lion

Today, I was going to take Neville to the veterinary hospital to say good-bye to him. Since the previous blog-entry about him, his condition had grown worse and, instead of not giving him his daily dose of pain-killer, I knew he had to have more than what had been prescribed. He was in a bad way.

But yesterday, a great deal of blood and puss broke out of his chin, which has now been reduced to a more normal size. Moreover, his behaviour makes it clear that he is not as distressed, and is more restful than he had been. These factors have made me wonder if his recent problems have stemmed from a severe abscess. So today, Nev is going to the vet, but for an examination and, possibly – possibly tomorrow – a cleansing of what may remain of an abscess while under sedation. This will be accompanied by an injection of a powerful anti-biotic. This has the advantage of being given directly into the system, though the disadvantage is that once it is given, it is given, and any ill effects must be endured. But a surgical cleansing would, hopefully, eliminate a recurrence of the infection, which would return unless aggressively dealt with.

The diagnosis of cancer could have been in error. Then again, it may have been correct. But I feel I can’t pass this opportunity for giving my grey lion a chance at a few more years, without pain. If it is cancer after all, then he may still have months ahead of him. I think it is worth investigating. In any case, I won’t let him suffer, and my eye will be closely on him.