Monday, February 8, 2016

Positive Energy for the Princess

The move to the new apartment has, as I have mentioned, been taken in stride by the cats. But I think it has been actually beneficial for at least one.

Cammie seems to be a little - a little - more tolerant of her roommates than she had been in the house. For the first few days after the move, she didn’t venture far from either the bedroom or the library, though she became ill soon after, and that undoubtedly had an effect. But now, she regularly comes out to the sitting room, even with the other cats present. She will likely never be sociable with them, but she is taking steps toward greater, if grudging, tolerance.

Last night, she was snoozing on the bed with Josie, who is as close to an arch-enemy as the princess has. They weren’t close, but they were on the same bed. There is less hissing when the boys pass her, too, though I still hear it now and then. (Once, on the weekend, Renn had to slip by Cammie in a straitened passage. He knew she disapproved of proximity and didn’t want to get hissed at or whapped, so he passed her at a run. Cammie thought she was under attack and Renn got the hiss and the raised paw he was hoping to avoid.)

An example of her slightly more out-going nature is her playing. She more often than not engages in a little fun at play-time, which is the opposite of how it used to be: previously, it was rarer for her to play than not. She is quite energetic for a ten year old cat.

As well, she will periodically zoom about the apartment. She did this in the house, as well, but her long claws (yes, time to get them cut, again) and the carpetting and rugs everywhere allows her to turn and stop suddenly, which I think she likes.

As Kari commented on an earlier article, the move may help Cammie feel like less of a new cat. I’d heard that such changes could have this effect, and I think that the new apartment is doing just that. The princess may always wish she were an only cat, but from now on having siblings may be a little easier to take.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Intimidator

The hard-food bowl fills. There may still be some food remaining in it, but when the sound of it being filled reaches feline ears, they come, especially Josie. She always seems to have eaten first. Even Tungsten allowed my Chubs to eat first. And when someone else gets to the food mat ahead of her, or is already there, the Great White stares.

I move her on, but she returns. And stares. Not many cats can withstand it. Cammie crouches low and tries to ignore her sister, but doesn’t eat, and eventually bounds away with a hiss. Tucker doesn't even bother trying. Renn attempts to eat; I encourage him. But someone is watching, and he doesn’t like it. It’s unnerving.

Eventually, my big boy gives up. He leaves, and Josie has her fill. Sometimes, she doesn’t eat much. It’s just a matter of status. She has always eaten first, she always must. Cats have a great sense of tradition. And intimidation.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fresh Air

Though it snowed for a while yesterday, the day’s temperature made it seem almost vernal. Certainly until nightfall, the air was pleasant enough to open the windows slightly. This brought the cats to see - or, rather, smell - what was new. Initially, just the girls were interested, and that is when I took these pictures.

My camera needs batteries, so I used my telephone for these photographs, from which the results are not as good. I took many of them, as it is difficult to determine at the time which will be acceptable and which will be, in fact, rather fuzzy. Most turned out to be useable, so I have included all of them. If you run through them quickly, they may appear as animation…

Friday, January 29, 2016

Less Efficiency, More Fun

One of the keys to living in an apartment, especially if one used to live in a larger house, is to make the most efficient use of one’s space. I have rationalised my storage of those things I wanted to keep but don’t often use. Closets are packed high and shelves are filled. I have just purchased a small rack of several hooks to hang on the bedroom door so that clothes into which I will be changing may be hung there instead of on the back of a chair.

But sometimes efficiency must be sacrificed to enjoyment. And yes, that refers to my efficiency and the cats’ enjoyment. The nylon tunnel has returned. Well, a new one has been brought out. When I bought the previous red-and-grey nylon tunnel, it was a good price and, unsure whether I would find another, I purchased a spare. Moving to the apartment was a good time to exchange them. The red-and-grey nylon tunnel was becoming rather ratty (catty?) with hundreds of punctures and dozens of tears. So after a couple of weeks of becoming accustomed to the new home, the cats received their new, blue-and-yellow nylon tunnel.

As I expected, it has proved popular. Tucker likes to lie in the tunnel while battling my hands. Renn enjoys rushing through the tunnel and Josie’s favourite activity in it is, well, not an activity; she just lies there. But I think she has fun doing that. Cammie was never a tunnel-cat, though she has used it to sneak up on the others. She may yet again.

The fact is that the nylon tunnel gives the beasts another toy with which to play, and another space in which to lie. Yes, it takes up room, and I am continually stepping over it, but it is light and cheap; it requires no maintenance, and it is harmless. So I suppose it has its own efficiency.

As for the old nylon tunnel, it has, I believe, gone on to provide fun for other felines. In our town, we have ‘big item pick-up’, by which a call to the municipal Waste Management Department (garbage men) may arrange the disposal of large articles that don’t fit or are not allowed in regular trash collections. In preparation for this, I set several items, including the red-and-grey nylon tunnel, behind my house before I moved. But before I could even call for them to be picked up, they disappeared. Among them was the old nylon tunnel. As well, the first cat-tree I possessed vanished. It was Tungsten’s; a simple scratching post with a platform on top. It was becoming very ragged and, with an aging population of pets, I thought a cat-tree without steps was less desirable than others.

This sort of informal recycling goes on a great deal here. I don’t know if it is the case in other towns, but anything placed in the alleys is fair game, and everyone is glad to have it provide some extra use. I like to think that other cats, who may not otherwise have had a nylon tunnel or a cat-tree, are now using my old ones; there is still plenty of wear left in them.

And so my four beasts find themselves in the completed home, with nothing more to be provided. Then again, I find myself wondering what else I can add. Efficiently, of course.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Something New on the Menu

There is rather important news in the household. For as long as she has been under my care, before and after she became a part of the family, Cammie’s sole type of soft-food has been Fancy Feast. In particular, the ocean whitefish variety. She has eaten other flavours but prefers this one, and has never cared for any other brand, turning up her tiny nose at each offering. Fancy Feast is good, but I have continued to try to interest her in other kinds of soft food, always unsuccessfully.

Then two days ago, I put a dish of Merrick turkey before her. I expected the usual non-reaction. Instead, she sniffed it, nibbled some and then ate the whole portion. I gave her more, and then more. The princess consumed three portions all together. They were not large, but constituted about the same amount as she would have eaten had it been Fancy Feast. In fact, she ate as much as she would have on a day when she was rather hungry.

I thought this most strange, and so I repeated the process the next morning, and she repeated her performance. That tin of Merrick turkey was finished, so yesterday evening, I opened up the next tin. It was beef. I didn’t think that would do as well, nor did it. Cammie’s reaction was one of disappointment. However, turkey will be next on the menu after beef. Then we will see if the first incident was unique. If not, it will be on to chicken, and surf ’n’ turf, and any other flavour the princess may like. With luck, this turn of events will become routine.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The First Weekend

Well, it was not really my first weekend in the new apartment, but in some ways it felt as if it was. Though the possession date for the purchaser taking over the house was January 15th, a week ago last Friday, my fraction of the price, and the papers documenting the sale, and completing it, in my mind, did not come to me until this past Monday. This most recent weekend, therefore, was the first during which I felt that my connection with the house was finally over, and the apartment was my home.

So how is it feeling, this new residence of ours? It is smaller than the house, of course, so I have to be a bit more thoughtful regarding storage space. To be honest, I think it doesn’t have much less storage space than the house. I noticed that when a house’s basement is developed and finished, it becomes living space, rather than storage space. There was storage under the stairs and in the furnace room - which, by the way, is mostly taken up by furnace. Everything that I intended to keep has been kept and packed away with a bit more rationality than it was. I was not able to retain one bulky cat-tree, though it has gone into storage with the rescue-group of which I am part. I am glad that I kept the ‘cylinder-house’ cat-tree, as that has become Renn’s favourite spot in the apartment. It is not meant for putting by a window, so placing it in the corridor doesn’t make it less useful.

The apartment is, on average, warmer than the house. I think that has to do with less space needing heat, but also with the fact that there are other heated flats piled around mine. The cats still use the heated beds, even so, but find other places in which to relax. Tucker seems able to collapse anywhere and enjoy it.

The beasts’ transition to the new home has been almost without noticeable stress. Cammie did become ill but has recovered fully. I don’t believe that had something to do with the surroundings. My princess is a sensitive creature but I would have thought she would be more affected by the actual move; a delayed reaction is not unreasonable, however.

In terms of location, the apartment is central in the city in which I live, but farther away from the lower-priced and discount grocery stores I use. It is also more distant from my veterinarian, but in any case, I would ride in an automobile to the cats’ appointments regardless, so that makes little practical difference. Josie’s surgery was unaffected by our new location. My Chubs bounced back very well from that ordeal and, though she is still taking the last of her pills, seems largely unfazed by it, especially now that she is able to eat her hard-food again. The Great White is once more in fine, if rotund, form.

I am pleased with the new abode. There are disadvantages (I would prefer an upper, rather than ground, floor; an upper floor is, I feel, more secure, and suffers less from dust and dirt in the spring and summer), but these are out-weighed by the benefits. It costs less than my house did. Even were I to lose my job and have to survive on unemployment payments (roughly reckoned to be about 55% of one’s previous wage), I would be able to squeeze by - barely, but definitely. I like that my library, albeit small and constricted, is on the main (only) floor of my home. That is convenient for me.

The utilities are included in the rent, which is low, relative to other apartments’, so I need not worry about leaving a light on, or raising the temperature. And of course, this particular apartment building allows cats at no extra charge, which cannot be said for any other rental property I considered before my move. I am not the only tenant with cats, nor even the only tenant with four cats.

I was lucky, both to sell my house in a period of economic descent, and in finding the new apartment. It feels like home to me, a cosy refuge for me and the cats. This first weekend saw the foundation of new routines. I look forward to many more satisfying days in our new home.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Of Determination and Routines

Josie’s recovery continues well - too well, in one respect. I’ll tell you about that in a moment. After my complaints of yesterday about my Chubs refusing the food into which I had crushed her medicinal pills, some readers rightly suggested that I should have asked for liquid anti-biotic. Very true. Tucker too needs a dental procedure. His mouth is not terrible but it is worse than Josie’s was. Any surgery for the roly poly was delayed until his diabetes was stabilized. It is, so his dental will probably be scheduled for late February or March. I will be demanding a liquid medicine for him.

In the meantime, Josie is eating soft-food only. But she is suspicious of it, as it quite clearly smelled of veterinary trickery to her. I have stopped crushing up the pill in her food. As put forward by Flynn’s mum and dad, I have begun dissolving the pill in a very small amount of water, and injecting it into her mouth. I crush the pill and set its remains in the water overnight (for the morning dosage) and through the day (for the later application) so that it is as dissolved as possible. It is a bit of a struggle to give the Great White her medicine, especially as I am conscious of the tenderness of her mouth, but everything went in this morning, which is probably an improvement over the incomplete consumption when hidden in food that is not all eaten.

But Josie likes having the hard-food available for when she is peckish, and I am sure she is hungry much of the time. She can’t have any hard-food until Saturday, though she thinks otherwise. The other cats still get the hard-food when I think Josie is sleeping or too comfortable to try to steal some, so a bowl of it is kept on top of the refrigerator. Last evening, I was reading in the sitting room and heard a ruckus in the kitchen. Josie had leaped up on to the top of fridge, via the counter, which is three and a half, maybe four, feet high, and in turn two and a half or three feet below the top of the refrigerator. She was determined to have some hard-food, which her little but powerful nose obviously had smelled. She saw that I was just as determined to stop her, so she leaped still farther up, onto the top of the cabinets. I seized her, only to have her latch onto the edges of the cabinetry where it joined the wall. I managed to pry her from there and set her on the floor.

The poor cat. She doesn’t know why she is being starved. And she is receiving plenty of food. It’s just not to her liking. Because I cannot leave the hard-food down on the floor for any who want it - not until Saturday; another reason to long for the weekend - I have been coming home during my lunch-break (not as long a trip as it was when I lived in the house) and giving the beasts an extra soft-food meal. The last time I would come home early was when I would prepare the house for a viewing. I wonder if the cats think I’m selling their home from under them again…

Josie and the others are coping very well, all things considered. If they are not eating as much as they normally do, or as much as I would like, they are eating nevertheless, and come Saturday, routines will be re-established. By then, my Chubs may be just a little bit less chubby.