Friday, August 28, 2015

The Beasts Speak

A little while ago, Laura, from Trout Talkin’ Tabbies (, was kind enough to suggest that my beasts would make good subjects for an interview in Mousebreath, the internet lifestyle magazine for cats. I’m always open to ideas as to how to get more people to know my bunch, so the Funny Farmer Felines, of Jan’s Funny Farm (, sent me some questions for the cats to answer.

If you are interested in the results, go to and read what they all had to say.

While you’re there, take a look at the other articles in Mousebreath. They are informative and entertaining. The internet is a good place to be a cat!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Courteous in Her Displeasure

There was something positive about the visit to the veterinary on Monday. It was actually a double-date. Cammie went with Tucker and me. She is still very reluctant to have me cut her claws. I was able to get two of them, but thereafter, she was on to me, and was very resistant. So, off to the veterinary hospital she went, too.

The princess was attended to by a technician (her 'lady-in-waiting') while the doctor saw Tucker. I stayed with the roly poly. I was worried about Cammie being away from me during her little procedure, but when she was returned, the technician informed me that there had been no problem. It was stated that Cammie “didn’t like it, but was very nice about not liking it.” That’s my girl.

She is such a surprising little creature. When it was initially time to go into the carrier for the trip, she was, of course, wise to what was about to happen. She made a dash for the high ground (ie. the taller cat-tree in the sitting room) from which I would have been able to pry her only with great difficulty. So I grabbed her as she was half-way up. She screamed her anger all the way to the carrier, yet she did not struggle. She was going to have her sharks’-teeth claws cut and could have disembowelled me with them, but probably didn’t even think of using them, never mind actually do it. Once in the carrier, Cammie cried now and then, but otherwise was wonderfully co-operative.

When she returned home, she had a good soft-food dinner and relaxed on the bedroom cat-tree by the window, watching the sunset’s glow. She was forgiving in her attitude toward me.

Considering all that she has gone through, and what she could do, Cammie's forbearance is remarkable. I know I’ve written about this behaviour before, but she gave me a bit of good news in an otherwise discouraging day, and she deserves credit for it. Thank you, my princess.

The Aftermath of Discovery

I would like to thank all of those who commented on Tucker’s new situation and who offered advice. I will be doing research about feline diabetes, and talking to the doctor about it. In fact, Tucker and I will be having a consultation with the veterinarian late on Wednesday, September 2nd. I imagine I will be doing more speaking than Tucker, who will come along principally as a target for my first practice shots with a needle. As Brian, from Brian’s Home, pointed out, I have given sub-cutaneous fluids using a needle; if I can do that, insulin with a needle will not be much more difficult. Certainly Tucker will offer a more substantial victim for my poking than little Tungsten did.

There is much that I want to inquire of the doctor, and I am making notes. The rescue-group to which I belong is also giving advice and help, which will prove valuable. In the meantime, the roly poly’s dental surgery, necessary for the cleaning that he very much needs, has been postponed. The doctor believes that Tucker is, except for the diabetes, healthy, and able to withstand an operation of that sort, but to be safe, the procedure will occur only after Tucker’s insulin amount is arranged and stabilised. The doctor told me that this could take a few months, but averages, in her experience, about four or five weeks.

I am most grateful for all of the assistance I am receiving in this matter. Tucker would be as well, if he could comprehend what is happening. Instead, he will thank everyone by scaring the crap out of them through pretending to be dead in this picture. His demise is very life-like, don’t you think?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Of Frying Pans and Fires

After my worries over the weekend with Josie, it was Tucker’s turn.

Yesterday, I took him to the veterinary hospital. He has had terrible breath for a while, and his gums appeared red to me. I was concerned that he might have a severe case of gingivitis. My fears were justified, unfortunately, and he will need a dental operation to clean them. At first glance, the doctor did not believe that any teeth will need to be extracted, though that opinion may change upon closer examination. The cost will be more than $500; $700, if teeth need to be removed. Tucker remains my most expensive cat.

That was not the worst news, however. The roly poly one has been wetting where he shouldn’t. This I attribute to stress over Noah’s presence. But Tucker has also been dripping urine here and there, usually after he uses the litter-boxes; he does use them, he simply goes elsewhere, too. (Such as on my duvet, when I was trying to put him in the carrier to go to the doctor - but that was fear, the poor fellow.) So, considering his history with urinary tracts, I asked the doctor to run a urinalysis on him, as well.

Despite wetting immediately before being put in the carrier, and even in the carrier, there was enough urine left in Tucker’s bladder to test, and the technicians began it before we left the hospital. As I was paying the bill, the veterinary came out and told me that my cat’s glucose levels looked very high, so poor Tucker had to be shaken out of the carrier again for a quick blood test. The normal numbers for glucose are three to six (three to six what, I don’t know); Tucker’s was 23.5. Tucker is diabetic.

I will be talking to the doctor at length next week about all that this entails. Tucker will need insulin for the rest of his life, of course, but we will have to determine the right dosage, which will probably mean a few rough weeks for the roly poly one. I will have to get used to sticking him with needles. I was growing accustomed to giving Tungsten sub-cutaneous fluids, so I suppose I can do this for Tucker. I must. He will depend on me even more than in the past.

I don’t know how much this will cost; it will depend on the dosage he ultimately receives. But I hope that between the treatment for the diabetes he has developed, and the dental work, he will feel much better than he must be feeling now. That sausage of a cat has been through much, and will have to go through more. But better health lies in his future, I hope, and we will be working toward that.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Anxious Day

Having pets, one is always wary of their health. This weekend, Josie gave me cause to worry. Saturday, she didn’t eat anything. My Chubs’s appetite is less than it was, and she is choosier regarding the flavours she consumes. But I can usually count on her to show at least an initial interest. She may then turn away after sniffing something, if it is not a variety to her liking.

Saturday morning, I woke to find several cats on the bed, helping me sleep in. Josie was one of them, which is not unusual. What was unusual was that she remained on the bed even after she knew that I was preparing the beasts’ soft-food breakfast. I brought her a dish of what was on the menu, but she was less than enthusiastic about it. She didn’t even smell it, which is a bad sign. I returned a few minutes later with some Fancy Feast ocean whitefish, which the Great White always enjoys - but not on this occasion. I knew something was amiss.

I generally do nothing in such cases at first. I wait and see if the cat comes around. Dinner brought the same story, as did snack-time four hours later. Josie spent the whole day lying in the same spot on the bed. I was concerned now. I didn’t want her to go for long without eating. Her weight notwithstanding, a cat cannot starve for more than a few days without incurring damage to her internal organs. We were a ways away from that time, but nonetheless, I was thinking of having to force-feed Josie, which I had never done. I would see what Sunday brought.

Fortunately, whatever my Chubs suffered on Saturday had passed by the next dawn. She had a good appetite on Sunday and consumed her normal amount of soft-food for breakfast. I watched with relief as she then waddled over to the hard-food bowl and ate there, too. I didn’t mind. Josie was back to her old self.

I suspect this was a matter of an upset stomach, perhaps a headache, or whatever minor ailment puts a cat off her food. Humans have such days; I’m sure cats do, as well. Even so, the moment one of mine acts unusually - too many trips to the litter-boxes, sitting down oddly, refusing to eat - I start worrying, and thinking of possible causes. I know this is better than ignoring what may be symptoms of something dangerous, but it can be exhausting. I went to bed Sunday night relieved but tired. And Josie lie down beside me, her stomach full. Thank goodness.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Time's Fun When You're Having Flies

Play-time at my house has been stale. I have fuzzy mice, plastic rings off milk jugs and Kick-a-roos; a laser-pointer and an old Neko Fly string-toy for group activities. Each evening, I like to spend some time playing with the beasts, but they have been apathetic about it, to tell the truth. I think it was the principal group-toy: the Neko Fly we had been given as a Christmas gift had been a furry, simulated mouse. It has been reduced to a strip of fuzzy leather, and only Noah has summoned any enthusiasm for it. It was time for new toys.

The town in which I live did not have any Neko Flies for sale, so I ordered three new toys on-line. They came within a day; I don’t know why I didn’t order them sooner. I bought a fake fox-fur creature, a fake dragonfly and a fake tarantula (though this toy has but six fake legs; that’s unimportant, as I suspect most of the legs will be pulled off soon anyway.) I brought out the dragonfly last night.

What a difference! Tucker couldn’t get enough of the new item. He chased it here and chased it there, leaping over the nylon tunnel repeatedly to get at it. (I made him do that; he can use the exercise.) The roly poly barged into other cats’ attempts to play and seemed intent on biting the dragonfly.

Renn enjoyed it, too. He jumped to catch it - his muscular legs can throw his lean body quite a ways up; I’m always afraid that he will hurt himself coming down again. He rolled on the floor trying to catch the dragonfly and - my favourite trick of his - he plunged into the nylon tunnel when he saw that his quarry was hiding in there.

Even Josie was active, hurrying after the dragonfly - as much as she can hurry - and stretching for it on the sitting room rug. We transferred some of her play-time to the bedroom, where she wrestled with the toy on the bed.

Only Cammie didn’t join us. This had nothing to do with the toy; the princess was in one of her moods. She was feeling better later on, when she came and sat on my lap and purred for ten minutes or so, but there was no playing. I will try her tonight.

You may have noticed an absence of Noah during this play-time. That’s because he is such an active boy - and the others still dislike him - that I must play with him separately from the others. But don’t worry; he gets his own time with me before he goes to bed each night. We play in the library downstairs, and it was too late and too dim for a proper picture of him running about, so I have to settle for one of the boy eating. But he did enjoy the new toy. He liked it more than the old, and raced after it constantly. He cannot get decent traction on the linoleum floor of the library, so he skids about, his feet flailing as he continually tries to turn circles after the elusive dragonfly. But catch it he did now and then, and did not want to let go of it. He ran so much, though, that he was panting and after fifteen minutes' exercise was starting to slow down. But he remained game until bed-time.

So play-time has been rejuvenated a bit. I will try the other string-toys when the dragonfly’s novelty palls. The old toy has been honourably retired but is being kept in reserve. Noah noticed it and likes it enough to knock down a box to get at it. It started a good tradition, with its flies and bugs and fur on a string. After all, to a cat, time’s fun when he’s having flies.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Following the Bad Example

A few years ago, Tucker decided to see what the fireplace was like. There was no fire in the grate at the time - even my roly poly knew not to investigate open flames - and the ashes from the previous winter’s use were cleared away. But once used, a fireplace is never again perfectly clean, so he became a very sooty cat, and needed as close to a bath as he’s ever likely to come.

This week, Noah determined to emulate his sausage-shaped roommate. I suppose he figured that if Tucker was his superior in the feline hierarchy at my house, Tucker knew best. Tucker does not. Even so, Noah imitated him and explored the fireplace. Having none of Tucker’s timidity, however, the new boy saw no problem with barging his way through the screen-barrier, even while I was watching and telling him to desist.

Unlike Tucker, Noah did not scurry out merely because I was showing my displeasure. I had to haul him away and cart him to the bathroom, where, thank goodness, only his feet needed washing. His predecessor in that predicament was smudged from nose to tail. It’s true that I may have missed some soot on Noah; his colouring would not show it as readily as the roly poly’s. But I smoothed him down with my hands and nothing came off.

Nonetheless, he left my tub a mess and was thoroughly annoyed at having to have his paws touched, something he doesn’t like. He was annoyed…

Now, my fireplace is blocked by cardboard, fronted by aluminum foil. I have no worries about my perma-cats trying to get in there, and during my absences, Noah is sequestered in the parlour. But he is a risk for mischief while I am present, and as was demonstrated, even being in the same room is no bar to him doing what he ought not. But such is life with a youth like Noah, and there are times, rare though they may be, when he is actually still, and peaceful. Briefly.