Friday, May 31, 2024

It's Time for Idylland

My holidays begin this afternoon. I and the cats will be catching the 2.10 for Idylland, where there will be three weeks of relaxation and leisure. Chores will need to be completed, of course, work that waits the whole year, such as the cleaning of the cat-trees, but it may be done at a slower pace, without the demands of an employer descending every little while.

I will be adding to the blog in the meantime. Life with cats doesn’t end just because one is in Idylland; in fact, it increases. But that, too, will be better, with more time to give them and more attention to their interactions. And on that subject, I’d better make sure the cats haven’t packed anything they don’t really need on the journey: even the voluminous freight wagons of the Royal Idylland Railways have their limits…

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Explorer

I was having dinner and saw this little explorer come out of her safe-room for a brief excursion. I initially saw only her rear end and the colouring was unfamiliar – or, rather, it reminded me of my late friend, Tucker’s – and I actually spent a second or two wondering who this was. I wasn’t worried, merely puzzled that I had acquired another cat, apparently without my knowledge. That’s how the mind of someone involved in cat-rescue works…

Anyway, Indigo didn’t stay out of the library for long, but she did come out, and that is a big step. (With Imogen no doubt keeping a watchful eye out from the bedroom.)

Monday, May 27, 2024

Moving Ahead, Though Slowly

Newly re-named Indigo and I are getting along well. I can lift her and carry her; I don’t think she likes it, but she tolerates it. I was able to put her into a carrier yesterday without any trouble, which means that a new veterinary appointment can be made for her - probably next week - to give her the once over.

As regards to the other beasts, Indigo still harbours quite a bit of distrust. They come into the library - from which Indie has moved very rarely - each for different reasons. Renn comes to use the letterbox, which he prefers for some reason to those in the storeroom; Neville comes in to eat from Indigo’s hard-food bowl - which contains the same kind of food as is in one outside the library; Brazil comes to to try to make friends with the newcomer - so I believe - and Imogen comes in to assert her authority. So far, none has made contact with Indigo since Imo’s unfortunate encounter with her some time ago. But there is plenty of time for that, and getting her used to humans is the more important relationship to cultivate.

Things are moving ahead very slowly, but they are moving ahead…

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Her Touch of Class

Imogen rarely becomes ill, but she has thrown up a few times since coming to live with me. Each time has comprised just a liquidy vomit, and was followed by nothing more. I look for signs of hairballs but they don’t seem to be the cause. It has happened so rarely that it is not a worry to me.

If she is on the bed when the urge to upchuck comes upon her, however, Miss Silky gets off. This has happened twice now. This time, she even went into the bathroom, the floor of which is free of carpeting. Clearly, she prefers the lowest altitude for sickness, and I like to think that she is trying not to vomit on the bed. She reminds me in this of my late old lady, Josie, who, if she felt compelled to barf, headed for the bathroom, no matter where she was.

As strong a personality as she has, Imo still tries to be polite when it comes to puking. That’s class.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Iago Turns Indigo

I’d suspected it for a while, but it was confirmed this morning: Iago is a girlcat. A colleague from the rescue-group came by to take pictures of the newcomer and, with two pairs of hands, we were able to determine that Iago is female. Therefore, Iago has become Indigo.

Indigo did pretty well with a new person. I had to coax her onto my lap first, so that I could hold her when the other person came into the library. Indigo was fearful but not very scared. She didn’t fight me holding her; this bodes well for putting her in a carrier and taking her, at last, to the veterinary. It also suggests that another, permanent, home, with other people, will require only a normal period of adjustment before Indigo warms to different surroundings.

She may not have thought so, but it wasn’t a blue day for Indigo.

Friday, May 24, 2024


One of Imogen’s favourite spots is on top of the kitchen cabinets. There, she can feel safe from the approach of other cats (such as Brazil), and can look both out the kitchen window and over much of the apartment. It also allows her to supervise my writing when I am at the dining table…

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Big Tummy Good Pillow

After his haircut, Neville has been using cat-beds more, as well as the heated blanket on the sitting room armchair. I don’t think he is cold, since he rarely changes his location if a window is open. But he probably is feeling a little cooler right now.

That’s good news for a cuddler like Brazil, who here is taking advantage of both his big brother Nev and the heating pad. This afternoon was cool and rainy, the perfect sort of day for snoozing with a pal. Shimmer got to snuggle, and the Nevsky had warmth from several directions. I think both cats were pleased, even if Neville looks like he was asking me not to take such an embarrassing picture…

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Clever Boy

Monday, a plumber came into the apartment while I was absent and cleared an impending blockage in the kitchen basin’s drain. The building manager, who is a cat-man and knows about my cats, came with him, so I was not worried about anything untoward occurring with the beasts, especially as Iago and Imogen were locked in separate rooms.

But Brazil was still on the loose, and I knew he would be startled by the appearance of strangers. I wasn’t terribly concerned about his reaction: I knew he would try to hide, find that both the library and the bedroom were closed to him, and search for a refuge somewhere else. But where?

When I came home, I saw the answer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Life is On-going Adaptation

Renn will sometimes throw up in the early mornings, usually between three and three-thirty. Sometimes, that’s the result of his kidney issues. Cats with kidney disease are prone to puking in the mornings. Also, my big boy will toss up a hairball from time to time. He gives me a good warning of the impending upchuck. I can usually get to him before he accomplishes his feat and put a bucket or shallow box under him, so as to contain the mess.

But someone else has learned the signs, too. When we hear Renn starting to gag, I get out of bed, switch on the light, and fetch the bucket. At the same time, Imogen gets up, climbs off the bed and sits on the little bedside staircase or the small dresser near it. There she waits until Renn has finished with his extractions, after which she returns to the bed and settles down once more. I don’t know if this is a matter of Miss Silky’s rest being disturbed, or of her not wanting it disturbed any more than it must.

Whatever the reason, she has adapted to the circumstances of Renn’s old age. While she may be annoyed, she has learned to make the best of it. And I think that may the secret to old age in general.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Thinner for Spring

Now that Neville has had his fur shaved for the new season, I think he looks younger. He is still too heavy, but he does look lighter than with his bulk of fur.

In terms of how he is feeling, I am certain he feels better. His dense hair, and the fact that his diabetes is pretty much unaffected by the insulin, causes mats and stiffness, which can’t be comfortable to lie on. I worry of course that he will be too chilly, but the days are warm now, and he has the heated seat of this armchair to lie on, of which he is taking advantage. If he were too cold, I suspect he would move farther from the door to the ditch, which is open to the screen a little, for fresh air. It seems as if what little extra warmth he needs is found amply on the heating pad.

I am once again grateful to the groomer who did such a good and conscientious job on the Nevsky, worrying that he look good, as well as receive a practical trim. I believe Nev thinks himself quite handsome, now that he has shed his fur coat for the thin spring jacket.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Neville's Hair-loss

Now that spring seems at last to be here, Neville received his vernal haircut. It was performed this morning by a talented groomer, a friend of the rescue-group to which I belong. Once more, the Nevsky had a huge amount of fur taken off, and once more, he looks younger, thinner and more comfortable for it. He was a bit stressed out by the trimming, but the results are good, even if he does look rather indignant over it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Playing, Fighting, Screaming... The Usual

Bit by bit, Iago is coming around. Initially, he was resistant to playing, treating the toys as threats. Late last week, I noticed that some of the toys left with him in the library while I was at work were not in the positions they were when I had departed. Whether they moved by accident as he was passing them, or he played with them, I could not say.

But last night, I brought a string-toy into the library and he played with it. I think he was playing. He was quite antagonistic toward it, growling and hissing. That doesn’t worry me. He was not afraid of the toy, and was using it for its purpose, which is two steps forward. I will try playing with him some more this evening.

Last night, however, there was a fuss in the library. Screaming and yelling woke me and when I rushed into the library, Iago was upset and hissing. I don’t think it was Brazil; he was in the cylinder-house cat-tree, which is not where he runs if he is afraid or in trouble. I think he too was sleeping until the noise woke him. Imogen, however, was not in her usual spot. And this morning, I found small tufts of light (non-Imogen) hued fur on the library floor. I think Miss Silky sneaked into that room, and ventured too close to the Venetian for either of them to like it. I can see her attempting to sniff him and things proceeding downhill from there. Unlike Brazil, who would run away, Imo would stand her ground and battle, if that situation arose. I think it arose.

However, I will continue to leave the library door open at night. Only by seeing and, if required, coming close to the other beasts, will Iago grow accustomed to them. I may see a few more tufts of hair along the way, though…

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Meanwhile, In Europe...

Well, this is becoming weird. My book is now available through Amazon (in its various incarnations), but also through bookshops in the United States, Korea, Italy, the Netherlands and England. While this increases the visibility of the book – though not, I note, its sales – I must wonder how it arrived at these far-flung literary corners.


Since it is a self-published book, it is ‘print on demand’. This category has improved greatly since I first saw an example of it, and the fact that I work in graphic arts allowed me to set the book up just the way I wanted it. I am quite pleased with the physical results. The ‘print of demand’ feature means, I assume, that if one of these bookshops receives an order for the book, it then orders it from Amazon, and sells it, at a higher cost than Amazon did, to the customer requesting it.


But why are the bookshops offering it at all? I can guess only that someone on their staff saw it somewhere, thought it looked good – none of the entries include the description of the book’s contents that I wrote for Amazon’s display – and included it in their inventory. It seems rather a long shot that someone will see it and order it. It doesn’t appear worth the effort on the part of the bookshops.


Furthermore, there are two prices, one for ‘new’ copies and one for ‘used’. Used? How on Earth (literally) are these bookshops going to guarantee used copies when they are ordering ‘print on demand’? Is someone in the shop going to read the stories before mailing the book off to the customer?


Still, these are not complaints but observations and questions. If GreatBookPrices, and what appears to be its British affiliate, GreatBookPricesUK, want to market my book, I am pleased. Puzzled, but pleased.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Silence in the Night

Last night, for the first time, the library door was open all night. Iago was free to come and go from the room - though I don’t think he did - and the other beasts were equally at liberty. The latter was the significant point, since the two oldsters like to use the library’s litter-box in preference to the pair in the storeroom, and the youngsters are curious about the newcomer. While the litter-box was quite full this morning, there was no noise or disturbance during the dark hours.

The principal problem I foresaw - aside from the possibility of one of the cats coming too close to Iago - was that Iago tends to use the litter-box only when the door is closed, and he is assured of being alone. I think this is due to him feeling less vulnerable while doing his business if the door is closed. I don’t know if he used the box in the night, but he did not seem bothered by events.

This is a big step forward. Iago’s trust of his fellow felines is not high, but if he can go unannoyed by them at night, he may be more tolerant of them at other times.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Two Parts Progress, One Part Regress

I had just written to a friend that little was going on in the Cosy Apartment, so there was little to report on my blog. Thanks to Brazil, I can now write something on my blog…

Iago’s integration is proceeding slowly but in the right direction. He has seen all the cats, hissed at all of them, but is growing accustomed to them, like them or not. They watch him from doorways (as Imogen is doing in the picture below (that’s the tip of the Venetian villain’s head in the far background)), they use his litter-box, they try to creep closer. These are all good ways of inching acquaintance forward. Then there is Brazil.

He hasn’t lunged at Imo in quite a while. He decided to do that last night. That wasn’t a big problem. I told him in no uncertain terms to get out of the bedroom (where Miss Silky was). He ran out at full speed, into the library and up onto the carpeted bookcase under the window, where he often went when he knew he was in trouble – and where Iago was lying just then.

There was a shriek and a bellow and I ran in just in time to see Iago chasing Shimmer off the bookcase. Brazil ran out of the library and up the tall cat-tree in the sitting room, his eyes huge and his tail puffed up like a fox’s. Iago was antagonised. He has been extra sensitive to the other beasts invading the library since.

Fortunately, he did not carry that mood to me, and spent a satisfactory amount of time on my lap later that night. Nonetheless, it may be a long(er) while until my newcomer welcomes his roommates into his room. Thanks, Brazil.