Monday, October 5, 2015

Tucker on Pins and Needles

Tucker endured his first curve this weekend. I started poking him in the ear with a needle at 5.30, Saturday morning, and repeated the procedure every two hours until 5.30 in the afternoon, from one insulin injection to the other. The blood from each stab wound was read by the glucometer, but his numbers did not descend below 20. This was a bit disappointing to me, but the information the veterinarian required has been sent to her, and I will hear from her tomorrow.

What a good cat Tucker was through the whole day. It was an ordeal for him, I know. More than half the time, I could not draw blood immediately, which necessitated poking him a second or even third time. When I did produce blood, I brought forth too much of it. By the penultimate stabbing session, he was moving his head away from the needle; he had had enough. But I don’t know who was more relieved at 5.30 p.m., Tucker or myself.

Though his ears must have felt like he had traversed the Canadian Shield in the late spring of a heavy mosquito season, my roly poly one was in good spirits Saturday. He is weaker in the rear now, though this should improve once his insulin is regulated. The surprising thing is that he is using the steps at the bottom of the bed at least once every weekend morning. That’s when we sleep in (after first getting up for his 5.30 insulin shot then going back to bed.) Tucker likes to come up on the bed, and I would know if he were jumping or trying to jump onto it. One feels sixteen pounds of cat when it lands. But instead, I notice that he is softly stepping into a place at the end of the comforter. He is learning.

I am learning, as well. Tomorrow, I will know what the next step is in fighting Tucker’s diabetes. Each day brings me more knowledge and experience in the battle, and soon, each day, Tucker will feel better.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Caution: Curves Ahead

The veterinarian wanted me to read Tucker’s glucose level at noon yesterday. That is right in between his insulin injections, which are given between 5.30 and six each morning and each evening. I was off work yesterday (my work-place is going through a very slow period right now, so I was given a day off (unpaid, of course)) so I was by chance home to take the reading at mid-day. The reading was 16, down from his last reading of 27.

Now, this is an isolated reading, so the next step is perform what is called a ‘curve’. My roly poly will be poked in the ear with a needle every two hours from just before he receives his first insulin shot at 5.30 until he receives his second in the early evening. This will draw blood (considering my skill with the needle, I suspect Tucker will be poked twice or thrice as many times, just to get enough blood) for a reading. My poor roly poly. He is very good about this, though he flattens his ears when I touch them. He also never looks in the direction I need him to look. But he is very co-operative, really.

Along with the glucometer reading, I will note the time it is read and what and when Tucker eats during the day. This ‘curve’ will give a full account of how he is doing. Based on the single reading that I took yesterday, however, the doctor is pleased and has decided, for the moment, not to change the sausage’s dosage, which remains at two units of insulin, twice a day.

So far, Tucker’s experience with insulin management has not been bad. He is eating well and playing, and he purrs a great deal, which I love to hear. Maybe one day, the ‘curve’ that will be performed on Saturday will be the start of a 180 degree turn back to being free of diabetes.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Lion and the Lamb

It’s interesting that a cat’s progress is often two steps forward and one back. Cammie is a good example of this. She will do something that she has not done before; it will surprise and delight me - but she won’t do it again for a long time, and until then, she will actively fight against doing it.

I hope that won’t be the case in this instance. The princess has been on my lap frequently. That is an established thing now. The steps are definitely forward in that respect. A while ago, she started jumping onto my lap even while I was on the couch, which was another progression. But as you can see from the first couple of photographs, she was wary of any other cat approaching.

Then, yesterday, she did something unprecedented. She leaped up onto the couch and settled onto my lap while two other cats were also on the couch. Tucker did not pose a great problem for her, though having him so near while Cammie relaxed was a victory. Even more so was that Tucker didn’t swat at Cammie while she was next to him. That was a real danger, as the roly poly one doesn’t care for cats being too close to him, though his views in this regard are less obvious than Cammie’s. But both stayed put.

But Noah was at the far end of the couch - which isn’t that far away. Even with space between them, Cammie usually becomes annoyed, angry, and absent, in that rapid order, if another cat - especially the boy - also claims a spot on the couch. Not this time. Everyone became comfortable and relaxed. Eyes closed. At one point, Cammie even dozed.

I had things to do, but this was too good a situation to ruin, so I stayed still for as long as the princess did. After about twenty-five minutes, the party broke up, Cammie dropping to the floor first.

Perhaps this will be a unique instance, but I don’t think so. It may not happen again for a while, but I am confident that it will repeat itself at some point. My cats may never become friends, but if the lion and the lamb can lie together, I will be happy.

If Only in My Dreams

A few weeks ago, I dreamed about Tungsten. I think it was the first time any of my cats has shown up in my dreams. That surprises me, considering the amount of my life that they occupy, though it may be that my subconscious sees my dreams as my one avenue of escape from them!

Anyway, in my dream, I was in some sort of work-place - not my real work-place - in a cubicle that was carpeted. Tungsten came walking across the open back of the space, not toward me but nonetheless approaching me. I picked her up and was very glad to see her. I don’t think in my dream she had died, but I know I hadn’t seen her for a long time. In reality, her left eye was damaged a bit; there was a tear in the pupil or something similar. It never seemed to bother her in the slightest, either in terms of comfort or vision. In my dream, however, her left eye was permanently almost closed. It’s funny how dreams interpret real-life. I don’t recall anything from the dream after that. Perhaps there was no more. But in my dream, I was very happy to see the orange one again.

On Saturday the 26th, it was six months since she died.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Most Expensive Cat-toy

Though Undercover Mouse is popular with some of my beasts, there are other toys with which they like to play. And with respect to Noah, there are some things with which he likes to play that aren’t even toys. Take, for instance, a balled up paper receipt.

This is him grappling with it initially. Sometimes, I will throw it; other times, I will simply toss it to him. Noah being Noah, he will not infrequently simply try to steal it.

He carries it from room to room, when he isn’t knocking it from room to room. He may start out in the sitting room, where it inevitably slips under the couch, and I usually have to pull it out for him. Periodically, he wrestles it on his own.

Then, it’s out to the kitchen, where, no surprise, the ball get stuck under more furniture. But the boy’s energy is such that he can usually work it out into the open again. The linoleum on this floor is better suited for that than a rug that interferes in the sitting room.

And it’s always fun to use the hammock as a springboard for attack. It also moves more easily than a couch or micro-wave oven stand, so it can end up travelling all over the house.

But really, what’s the fun of catching your prey when the delight is in the chase? So, if the ball goes up on top, Noah will go down below.

Now, one would think that a crushed wad of paper is a fairly cheap toy. Intrinsically, I imagine, it costs about a penny to make and print. I actually got it for free. But what it cost to get it was more than $75 in cat-food. So that makes this ball of paper probably the most expensive cat-toy in the household. And the boy will simply tear it up and throw it away later. Not to worry, though, more cat-food will need to be purchased, and more receipts accepted. The fun will continue.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Having Fun Together, Separately

The toy called Undercover Mouse was given to me some years ago by a friend. The cats enjoy it, though I don’t have it out continuously. I want it to be something special that they are permitted to play with once a week or so. As well, there is the fact that some of the cats are not interested in it, or, perhaps, not interested in it while other cats are.

Not unexpectedly, Noah enjoys the toy. It is a mechanical device in which a wand revolves under a circular shroud. The wand will stop periodically and swing back the way it came. Sometimes it will pause, only to start again. There are several speeds. Though I was not surprised by Noah’s exuberance over the game, I was by Tucker’s participation.

The roly poly one doesn’t care for Noah. Well, I suppose it is more accurate to write that he is annoyed by the boy’s presence and now and then tries to beat him up. I think that has more to do with hierarchy than with personality. The instances of combat have decreased, and it was nice to see the two of them playing with the same toy at the same time. That’s as close as they will likely get to playing together.

Even so, a good time was had. Renn came by at one point. He rarely played with Undercover Mouse previously, and this time contented himself with observing the fun. The girls were uninterested in playing, though Cammie grumpily made her way through the ruckus, hissing at everyone. I suspect she enjoyed that more than any game.

It was an entertaining Saturday afternoon, for the boys, and for me, watching them have their fun. By dinner-time, Tucker was tuckered out but Noah could have gone on for several more hours - the energy of youth. He seemed to derive as much pleasure from lying in the path of the wand - which creates an endless noise resembling a child’s toy machine-gun - as from chasing it. I eventually put the toy away, in time for dinner to be served. And afterward, even Noah was ready for a nap.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Josie in the Foreground

Josie is my background cat. I hate to think of her that way, but she is unobtrusive, despite her size. She doesn’t invade one’s space, she tries to stay out of the way. Now and then, she will imitate Tucker and waddle over to me to tell me that she likes me. But normally, her behaviour is nondescript.

Even so, I marvel at her sometimes. She has a sensitive stomach. She will throw up her food once in a while, usually very soon after eating it. I feed her hairball remedy, and I know to keep her away from certain fare that exacerbates the condition. And it is rarer now that she regurgitates than it was.

I mention this distasteful topic because my Chubs does something remarkable when she is about to upchuck. She does her best to reach hardwood or linoleum flooring. I thought at first this was mere coincidence. But for some time, whenever she is making that rather horrible noise indicative of nutritional reappearance, whenever her body convulses like John Hurt in the most memorable scene from Alien, Josie hurries, as much as she can, to a patch of smooth and uncovered floor. Most recently, she was on the bed, where she sometimes is served her meals (yes, I give her food there; if that’s where she eats it, that’s where I serve it; let’s move on). I heard her heave and hastened in to the bedroom (running just frightens her) to observe her trundle down the steps in time to throw up on the floor.

She has jumped from the bed in order not to sully the covers, she has trotted from the sitting room rug to the hardwood floor, she has even descended from a cat-tree to unload at ground-level. (This last feat is difficult to achieve in a hurry, and may result in the most spectacular release of post-consumption material, dropped from a height onto several platforms in succession.) She doesn’t always make it, and periodically, she doesn’t try, but perhaps my exasperation, probably displayed too many times when washing sheets and comforter covers, scrubbing rugs and wiping upholstery, made an impression on her. I try not to let my negative emotions show around the beasts, but I’m sure they know my reactions on some level. I have, in fact, taken to complimenting the Great White when she empties her belly on an easily-cleaned surface, rather than on fabric; this probably confuses her more than anything else…

So Josie does her part for the harmony of the household, in her quiet, unassuming way. Now and then, my background cat comes to the foreground. And throws up on it.