Thursday, April 18, 2024

And On the Other Side of the World...

 Apparently, my book is going for 15 per cent off in Korea... (Click on the image to enlarge.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Débâcle, with Accents

Unfortunately, Iago did not go to the veterinary yesterday. He has been amenable to being touched lately and I thought I could pick him up and put him in the carrier, which I had done in the bathroom. I was mistaken. He took fright and fought to free himself; I wasn’t going to be able to put him in any kind of container after that, and he hid behind the library’s bookcases for the rest of the day, hissing and growling.

It will take quite a while until Iago can go into a carrier, I’m afraid. It’s as well that visiting the doctor is not a necessity. I blame myself for his fright. I could have lured him into the carrier with treats, but that would have created an uncertain timeline; perhaps he would have gone in quickly, perhaps only after a long period. He may not have gone in at all while I was present. I will try other strategies.

Such are the ups and downs of rescue.

Monday, April 15, 2024

An Attack on the Oldsters

My oldsters experienced a bit of illness several days apart last week.

Renn was the first to suffer it. He started throwing up at about 3.30 one morning. This is not unusual; cats with kidney problems tend to vomit in the mornings, and 3.30 is his normal time. It wakes me up, and is too close to the time I have to get up and start my day for me always to fall back asleep. The point is that Renn’s upchucking so early in the morn was not extraordinary. But he continued it through the day, being unable to keep anything down, and his feces were runny. I determined to give him Cerenia, if this condition remained in place the next day. I don’t like to give Cerenia too swiftly in response to sickness, but Renn cannot afford to lose much more weight, and needs his food. Fortunately, he not only kept food down the following day, but wanted to eat. After this, he was back to normal.

Then, a few days later, Neville started bringing up his food, beginning immediately after his breakfast. He too could not retain anything in his stomach, and threw up several times that day. His litter-box deposits were runny. Though the Nevsky could stand being sick for longer than my big boy, I readied the Cerenia in his case, as well. But, as with Renn, Nev’s condition improved, and he was feeling as he always does, with a good appetite and more solid waste, the next day.

A touch of ‘cat-flu’, perhaps? A stomach ailment? Something that was too weak to affect the younger members of the household? In any case, it had come and gone reasonably quickly, for which I am thankful. But what it was that came and went, I will never know.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Movie-night with Iago

I like movie-night in the Cosy Apartment for a number of reasons. One is that it gives me and a new cat a chance to get to know one another. I close the door and he and I are alone. I can gauge how he reacts to me, a stranger; how far he needs to come in socialising with strangers; how he shows anxiety, affection, curiosity. There is of course no wrong thing that a cat can do in such a situation. Nonetheless, it is always pleasing when a cat shows that he is the trusting kind, the sort who wants to be friends and isn’t too wary of a new human.

Iago and I watched a film last night, and he decided to give me a try. He sat on top of the carpetted bookcase for a while. I urged him repeatedly to join me on the couch, and eventually – probably in spite of my urging, rather than because of them – he descended Min’s cat-tree, walked down an arm of the couch and lie beside me. From there, he decided to test my lap.

Iago lie on my lap for about fifteen minutes, purring for most of the time. Then, he moved off and lie on the soft blue blanket beside me. I liked that because it told him that here was a comfy spot for him, if he wanted it. He is not a frightened fellow, and, I think, is eager to make friends, though not incautious about it. He meets me at the library door when I bring him his soft-food meals.

He dislikes his legs being touched, though this may be something that will be overcome, once he grows acquainted with me. However, I have noticed that he has a slight problem with one of his rear legs, the right, I believe, in that it sometimes causes him to stumble. It does not appear to hurt him, and may be an old injury. He also has two tiny pink nodules, one on the rim of his left ear, the other behind it. All these concerns will be addressed at the veterinary hospital Tuesday.

For now, though, Iago has made good progress, and will make more.

Friday, April 12, 2024

That Book Again

At the very start of this year, I remarked that my first book, Inductions Dangerous, had been published. Readers of this blog are probably tired by now of seeing it mentioned, but I would like to report that it is now being stocked by Analog Books, an independently and locally owned bookshop here in Lethbridge, Alberta (at 322, 6th Street South). I would like to thank Analog’s owners, Penny and Scott Warris, and hope all those within walking, driving or flying distance (and remember, China is within walking distance if you give yourself enough time) will visit Analog and see what books are on offer – and there are a lot of them! And if walking distance really is too far, you can visit them online:

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Iago in the Open

Iago is spending most of his time out in the open now, while he seems to feel most secure up on Minuet’s cat-tree. He lets me stroke his head and back, though I can’t tell if he enjoys it at this stage.

He is eating well, too, though some time last night, he regurgitated his food. I had been feeding him Fancy Feast, which he ate readily enough, and then moved him onto Merrick chicken. This  change may have precipitated the vomiting. While the Fancy Feast varieties have chicken, the processing may be different. I will revert to a less risky food for the time being, then try again with the Merrick, to determine if it is that which caused his upchucking. It may have been caused by any number of things.

Iago will visit the doctor next week, and then I will start to integrate him. So far, he is taking things well, and is adapting successfully to his new surroundings.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The New Boy Grows Braver

Iago is becoming braver. He is showing himself more, and last night and this morning, he didn’t hide from me, and allowed me to pet him. He didn’t eat his soft-food breakfast, though; I don’t think he came down from the top of the bookcase even to sniff it. But he has hard-food during the day, and I will try again tonight. I am a long way from knowing his likes and dislikes, though he is eating most of the time and using the litter-box a couple of times a day. That and his willingness to learn about his new surroundings and me are positive signs.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

First Water, Now This

In the fourteen months that Imogen has been living with me, she has not, to my knowledge, eaten hard-food. I am pretty certain that it has not constituted part of her diet at all for most of that time.

Since she and Brazil do not get along, and I cannot control their interaction while I am at work, one or the other is locked away for the day. When I sequester either of the cats, I leave them with water and a litter-box, of course, but also hard-food. Shimmer usually munches at his supply during the day. Imo, even with two flavours to choose from, did not touch hers - until recently. I started noticing that the supply of the ‘dietetic’ hard-food - which I believe is tastier than others (most of the other cats like it, too) - was being disturbed in its dish. Sure enough, on some days, an amount equal to a dozen or two kernels would vanish.

This morning, Miss Silky, throwing caution to the wind, ate hard-food right in front of me.

I don’t feel that this is necessary. Indeed, I would prefer the perma-cats to eat only soft-food. Nonetheless, I like the idea that a cat will eat a variety of food, in case the inevitable happens and she decides suddenly and without discernible reason that her favourite nutrition no longer appeals to her. Having options is always comforting. The problem with this option is that the ‘dietetic’ food is expensive, coming from veterinaries only, and, having slowly withdrawn it from consumption by the others, it is not worth buying for the odd nibble that Imo takes of it. But if she acquires the habit of sampling the hard-food during her incarceration, then it may be transferred to one that is still good for her but not as dear as the ‘dietetic’.

Aside from that, it seems curious that I am seeing so much about Imogen all at once. First the drinking of water, then the provocation of Brazil, and now the eating of hard-food. Perhaps she thinks that she is finally home, and, like the university professor who has tenure, can do what she likes without fear of repercussion.

I might have told her, if she had asked, that she could have let herself go right from the start. I wouldn’t have minded.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

At Last, a Newcomer

This is my new guest. I have named him Iago. I don’t know for certain that he is male, really, but he looks like one. He was found wandering a park in my town. Nothing has been seen regarding him on local lost-and-found sites, though I will keep looking for a while. It is likely that, as with many strays, he was abandoned when his family moved.

He is socialised, but frightened. He started, as most do in the Cosy Apartment, in the bathroom, where he hid behind the toilet and turned his head away. But he allowed me to pet him, which caused him at least to turn about, and, eventually, to come further out of hiding. After a couple of hours, he used the litter-box, which is a newcomer’s ticket to the library, where there are better hiding spots – as well as a window, a comfy couch and high spots on which to lie.

Iago has also eaten. That and using the litter-box are always the two big worries with newcomers. The trauma of being captured or shifted about from one place to another, from human to human, can lead to reluctance to do what is in their best interests. But we needn’t worry about that now. This fellow clearly had a home and people who interacted with him at some point. Soon, he will graduate from scared to timid, and then I will start to come to know him. For now, he can relax without pressure in the library, and hopefully enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Saturday, April 6, 2024


Part two of things I haven’t known about Imogen…

I have noted Brazil’s behaviour toward Imo in the past. He sometimes rushes at her and there have been times when they’ve contacted, resulting in bits of black fur being pulled out. I have seen at least one instance. Fortunately, this happens rarely now, though I am always on the watch for it.

Yet Brazil is not always at fault. Miss Silky has frequently hissed at Shimmer when the latter has clearly no intention of running at her. And yesterday, I witnessed something more provocative on the part of the Cosy Apartment’s sole female resident.

I saw her observe Brazil in the storeroom, using a litter-box. Imo quickly ran and placed herself behind the door to the storeroom. I was ready for trouble, but let things proceed, as I didn’t think anything physical would occur. When Brazil came out, Imogen flattened her ears and hissed at him. Brazil froze, but I broke up the scene before more could transpire.

It’s bad enough when Brazil starts something. Now, Imo seems to be to blame at least now and then. It’s tough when the children don’t behave.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Water, Water Everywhere

It’s taken only fourteen months, but I at last have witnessed Imogen drinking water. I can’t write that I am an eye-witness, since I didn’t see her do it. It was at night, after I had crawled into bed, and turned out the lights. I heard the tiny sounds of lapping, like water dropping rapidly from a tap and falling a short distance onto the porcelain of a basin. I knew that Imo had been squatting by the water-bowl at the bedroom door a moment before. I turned on the light, but that of course stopped her drinking, and she merely looked at me. I am certain the sound was that of her drinking.

Has she drunk previously at night? While I have been at work? Perhaps, even probably; yet it is strange that in more than a year, I can claim only once to have been present when it has happened. However, her litter-box routine shows regular and good-sized urine-deposits; since she eats almost exclusively soft-food, which is principally water, she has obviously been ingesting enough moisture. Nonetheless, I am pleased to know that Miss Silky sometimes resorts to the direct approach.

Having seen this unlikely event, the next on the list is catching her cuddling with Brazil…

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A Breathing Space

There hasn’t been much happening in the Cosy Apartment lately, so I haven’t published a new blog-entry in about a week. Right now, there is stability.

Brazil appears to be over his troubles. He is eating well - not ravenously, but decently - and his litter-box visits are satisfactory. The hairball medicine I gave him seemed to be successful in dislodging anything waiting to come out from his intestines. The results were quite soft, and lasted for several days. But this morning, he pooped and, while the deposit was a little too hard for my liking, it, similar to what is happening at his other end, is satisfactory.

Renn, for his part, is doing well. He is eating - principally Recovery, which is fine with me: plenty of nutrients and easy for him to lick up in good quantities, though expensive - and each day, I am giving him one and a half units of anti-inflammatory medicine, for his bladder. Previously, it was three, and I disliked the effect that was having on his kidneys. At half the original dose, he is nonetheless visiting the litter-box less often than when he started taking the medicine, and the amounts he is wetting are adequate. The open question is whether he is still losing weight. I will get him weighed soon to answer it.

Several readers have asked about any new cats coming in. I have been holding off on that until Brazil and Renn were in better condition. That seems to have been achieved. I will look to welcoming a new foster-cat in the next week or two.

And lastly, I need to buy a new nylon tunnel. The old one is coming apart, and not just at the seams. Brazil appears to be embarrassed to be seen with it…

Friday, March 29, 2024

Making a Deposit

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Good Friday. Here, despite the promise of renewal that is implied in the Easter season, the weather is still wintry: overcast, just below freezing, and ice pellets, alternating with light snow.

However, there is better news inside. Since his return from the hospital, Brazil has been eating well. He has not continued to consume food as if ravenous, but he is eating. I offered him some Merrick chicken from a tin, when his enthusiasm for Fancy Feast faltered, and he is liking that; he has had it before, and I will move his offerings about when needed.

But he had not deposited any solid waste in a litter-box since that hospital visit. As it may have been a day or so prior to that when he had left something in the litter, it was a cause for worry, especially since the veterinary had seen, via an x-ray, an amount of poop awaiting its chance to appear.

Each night, Brazil has been locked in the library, so I would know that it was his product in the box come the morning; I did the same when I went to work. A telephone call from the hospital to check up on Shimmer led to the doctor’s declaration that Brazil should come in again on Monday, if nothing was forthcoming. Considering his reaction to this last visit, I wanted to avoid that, if possible.

Yesterday, I gave the reluctant crapper a dose of hairball medicine, in the hopes of coaxing the reluctant interior to give up its loot. That seemed to do what was needed, and a decent amount of poop was awaiting discovery in the litter-box this morning. It was flattened, so I suspect that it was softened due to the hairball medicine. I will give Brazil another dose of it today.

That in itself is a bit of good news, too. Like catching Brazil for incarceration in a carrier, capturing him for the hairball medicine was easy. He allowed me to inject the substance by syringe into his mouth, and did not resist. Afterward, he didn’t run or hide. This is quite a change even from the last time I had to give him something by mouth. It bodes well for future necessities, if providing medication.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Shimmer's Day at the Hospital

Brazil’s veterinary visit was, I believe, beneficial. True, it did not lead to any great discoveries, though that was probably all to the good. His blood was checked, and found to be in good shape, except that his sugars were very high, in the diabetic range. This did not concern the veterinary, nor did it worry me. Neither of us see Brazil as a diabetic cat. The cause need be nothing more than Shimmer’s fear – terror, really. He was more scared than any cat I’ve ever seen at a veterinary visit, and the adrenaline this put into his body was likely more than enough to account for the high blood-sugar numbers. He was, in fact, so hopped up with adrenaline that the sedation didn’t even knock him out, and he remained conscious, though manageable. The doctor had never seen that before.

X-rays showed that Brazil has some gas and poop in the intestines, waiting to come out. But it is not enough to suggest constipation; the doctor doesn’t see that as the cause of Brazil’s lack of appetite. He believes that is just a matter of an upset stomach. He was given an injection of Cerenia.

Since coming home, Brazil has eaten about half a tin of Fancy Feast. Further, he was enthusiastic about wanting it. I was taking a risk giving him so much after days of so little, and he may bring it up again. But I decided that the odds were worth it.

For now, things are looking up. Cerenia’s history with my cats is a good one, and I think its effects will continue even after it has worn its way through Brazil’s system. I will be watching how food goes into Shimmer at one end, and what comes out at the other. So far, I am pleased with the day’s results.

Shedding fears in the sunshine.

A wonderfully empty bowl.

And some lap-time for reassurance.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Brazil Under the Weather

Brazil will be going to the doctor tomorrow. For several days, he has been ignoring any and all soft-food. He has been nibbling hard-food, so he won’t starve, but I know he is hungry. At meal-times, he rubs up against me and waits for food, but then walks away from anything served to him. I have tried all sorts, even the sauce-and-bits kind from a pouch that got him eating the last time he stopped eating. There is a difference this time, in that when he has eaten some soft-food, he has thrown it up.

The rescue-group has decided to give Shimmer a full physical. Considering his great fear of strangers, we are going to have him sedated. This will enable the doctor to examine him closely and slowly. If necessary, an x-ray can be taken while he is knocked out.

Initially, it seemed to me to be something psychological, perhaps related to Emori’s visit. But if Brazil is throwing up, there may be more to it. Since he has not before had such a complete examination, this will be useful in any case, even for future comparisons.

The trouble is that there is nothing definite to look for, so I suspect that everything will come back negative - nothing sinister discovered. I suppose that will eliminate possibilities, but it won’t point us to an answer. But we will see what results.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

They Have Faces

Brazil loves the company of his fellow felines. He’s a cat’s cat. He enjoyed snuggling with his younger foster-siblings, especially Chiff, and he will do the same with his older brothers, if given the chance. The trouble is that neither Renn nor Neville are cuddlers. They tolerate other cats well enough but if they were loners, that would be fine with them. Unfortunately, at least in their minds, they are not loners. They have roommates. They have Brazil.

As Norma Desmond said, “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.”

Friday, March 22, 2024

Emori Leaves the Cosy Apartment

Emori will be going back to her regular foster-home today. It was a pleasure meeting this sweet cat. She is very friendly, loves being petted and likes being picked up and held. She is very quiet; except for purring, she has been silent.

I didn’t integrate Emori with the perma-cats, as she was staying only the six days. She is strong and tough in regard to other felines so, while integration would eventually be successful, it would have taken time, and therefore was not worth the effort, and the stress to the cats.

We do have someone interested in her, and it would have been nice to take her straight from my apartment to a new home, but any adoption is still in the future. Emori is an adaptable little creature. Back and forth among homes is confusing for a cat - which is why we don’t like doing it - but she would suffer little from it, I think, before she found herself enjoying her new surroundings.

In any case, I am glad to have met her. She has been through a great deal in her short life, but has shown that she will certainly make the best of all that is to come.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

At Least Someone Likes It

I watched my oldster, Renn, one day last week, and he looked a little chilly. The poor fellow has no fat any more, so I thought he was suffering from the cool air we were experiencing that day. I therefore set up a cat heating pad on the chair that he likes in the sitting room. With a couple of layers of towels, it is warm, not hot (of course heating pads made for cats never grow too hot, anyway). I placed him on it, so he would realise there was added warmth there.

Since then, he has preferred the bedroom’s saddle-topped cat-tree. When he is in the sitting room, he climbs to the top of the taller cat-tree and lies there. He has ignored the heat.

Who has enjoyed the heating pad? Brazil. He will be two years old in April, is full of vigour and health, yet feels the need for some snug warmth, especially after heating himself up by rocketing about the apartment. Cats are perverse creatures.

Well, at least someone is enjoying it…

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Enjoy the Day

On the weekend, we had a preview of a real spring day. It’s true that the trees are some time away from budding and the grass is still brown, but we had beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures, up to 20° C (68° F). Furthermore, because of the time of year, the sun’s direct light is beginning to fall into the apartment once again.

However, because this is southern Alberta, this happy state of meteorological affairs will soon change. The temperature is already near freezing and for the next week, it will be below that point, falling to -7° C (19.4° F), and there is snow predicted for tomorrow and the following four days. I should not be surprised, as this is only the first day of spring; heavy, wet snow usually falls once or twice in large amounts in March or April. Still, it is a bit disappointing after such a fine weekend. Certainly, Brazil and the other cats enjoyed it, feeling the warmth of the sun on their furs for the first time in months.

But soon, it will be too hot, and I will be anticipating autumn, and in any case, time moves too swiftly now. So I will enjoy the days regardless - no matter how much they try to persuade me otherwise.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Emori in the Morning

Emori was silent during the night. She is used to spending the dark hours in her own room in her foster-home, due to altercations with another cat there; her foster-guardian thinks that Emori rather looks forward to the quiet and solitude of a restful night. When I came in to the library this morning, I found Em on top of a bookcase.

She has no trouble at all in getting about. Lynn (of Lynn and Precious) gave another example of a tripod-cat, her Angel Peepers, whose mobility seemed unimpeded by the loss of a leg. I think that animals, once confronted by a situation that they instinctively know will not change, simply adapt; unlike some humans, they don’t worry about what might have been or what was. If they can cope, they cope; if not, they don’t. Mostly, they cope.

Emori would do well with the right cat, but she is a good candidate for those people who want only one. She is friendly, highly adaptable and, if her current situation is a standard, largely untroubled by change. She is eating less than I would like, but that, I think, will change - or would change - with time. In the meanwhile, she is a good weight, and is eating, so I am not worried. Her litter-box visits have already been satisfactory, and she makes little mess, which surprised me; I expected her disability to mean that she would have to throw some litter about in her exertions. That isn’t the case.

This little cat is one appealing roommate.

Marietta wanted to read my previous entries about Emori, so here are their links: