3 Jan. 2004
A mournful way to welcome the New Year, perhaps, but I've added a photo of Uni's grave to his webpage.
8 Jan. 2004
Puck has been quite a lover boy lately. He's been spending a lot of time in my lap. After lunch the past couple of days, I've let Puck come inside into the back hallway (pantry/laundry room combo), then Randy comes back there to give Puck a bunch of love and scritchies. Puck has a lot of the qualities that Uni had, so it's helping Randy get over the loss. If it weren't for Nefreet Psycho-Kitty, we'd let Puck become a house cat, but she even tries to attack him through the glass doors.
The ants discovered Nefreet's food the other day. Her bowl was covered with them. They had come in from below the house, up through a window in the living room, through the spider-plants, through the living room, through the dining room and to the kitchen. Determined little buggers. Her bowl now has a moat around it.
Owl is coming along well. The leg remains somewhat wobbly, with the knee and foot at slightly odd angles, but he's walking around fairly well, albeit it with the limp. He's been quite interested in getting outside. I'm afraid his outside days are over. I know he mainly wants to eat grass and throw up, so I've started a big pot of oat grass for the office. That should make him happier.
I'm worried about Querida (who will be 17 next month). She's been drinking a lot of water for the past few days, enough to be a sign of something going on. I also noted that she's walking far back on her hind legs. Both of these things together could indicate diabetes, and when she was checked a couple of weeks ago, the vet did find a rather elevated blood sugar. Since stress can also cause that, he couldn't be sure if meant anything. Then there were the indications of possible kidney problems. I've just finished weaning her off the Prednisone which may or may not be affecting things. I suspect Querida may be in for another trip to the vet very soon.
13 Jan. 2004
I've come to the conclusion that there is absolutely only one thing I can do about Theseus as winter approaches -- shave him. I swear, in no time he'd have a thick growth of fur again, but it might keep it from turning into this solid mass of dreadlocks that is, quite literally, impenetrable. Neither wire brush, nor comb, nor scissors -- *nothing* can unknot this mess. I despair.
Diva has taken to scratching raw spots on her head and neck again. She periodically gets into this skin or allergy problem, whatever it is. I've put her back on the anti-histamines and hope that will do the trick.
14 Jan. 2004
I brought a large pot down to the office and planted a crop of wheat grass. It's amazing how quickly that stuff germinates. After only a few days, the grass has sprung up a couple of inches. I figured in another couple of days, it might be tall enough to put the pot on the floor and let Owl chomp on it.
Untl this afternoon, when I looked over and realized that Puck was taking a nap on it. Sigh...
I removed him and I think the grass is recovering from the shock of being a moggy mattress.
16 Jan. 2004
I had planned for a short visit to town this afternoon because I needed to have Querida checked out. She's been drinking far too much water, plus there were the worrisome results that showed up on the tests the vet in Fresno did two weeks ago.
They were running behind, so I waited a long time. Then they needed 40 minutes to get the results on the blood test. I left the poor girl there (she *hates* being put in a carrier) and did a whole batch of errands, by which time it was late in the afternoon. Then I waited some more and had a wonderful chat with a mirror image of myself -- a woman with 12 cats. We exchanged war stories and vet stories. I told her about the chicken feed cat litter and the Nature's Miracle anti-allergen liquid, both of which were of enormous interest to her. And I got a big, sloppy kiss from a sweet Labrador.
Querida has a bladder infection that may also be affecting her kidneys. Or she could have other kidney trouble (such as a tumor). She has borderline pancreatitis which is affecting her blood sugar. No more canned food for her. She's on heavy-duty anti-biotics in the hope that this will clear up the full range of problems.
We've been worried about Nefreet, trying to figure out what's going on with her. The past couple of days, I noticed she made an odd noise when she went to eat. Tonight, she tried to eat a piece of dry food and made a growling-pain-complaint noise which told me she must have something seriously wrong with her mouth. Maybe a bad tooth. She doesn't seem able to eat the dry food and it's possible her bad temper of late is a combination of being hungry and having pain in her mouth. I gave her some canned food which she inhaled.
And I left a message for the vet's to see if they can get her in tomorrow. They're only open half a day on Sat. and usually booked solid, but I must get her looked at.
One damn thing after another.
17 Jan. 2004
I was jolted from sleep by the phone. My pettersitter was working at the vet's this morning. Her worried voice said, "What's wrong with Nefreet?" I explained. "We can get her in at 8:40." I looked blearily at the clock. I could just barely make it. I threw on clothes, stuffed a quick breakfast down my gullet, eased Nefreet into the carrier and headed off into a mist-enshrouded morning.
As I came down the mountain pass toward Oakhurst, there was a sight I never see, mainly because I'm rarely on the road at that hour -- a river of fog had flowed into the valley and completely hidden the town from view.
It took the vet and an assistant to hold Nefreet still for a tooth exanination. Nefreet was actually quite good until the vet had to really start probing. Sure enough, she has either a root abscess or maybe a fractured tooth. We're trying a course of strong anti-biotics first. If that doesn't work, we'll have to take out the tooth.
Oh, goody. Querida just threw up a big hairball, which means she probably threw up all the pills I gave her an hour ago.
18 Jan. 2004
I ran out of Fancy Feast to give to Nefreet, so I had to open a can of the regular 9 Lives food that I give to the rest of the Horde. But noooooo, that's not good enough for the Princess of the Universe. She turned up her nose and walked away. Guess we'll see just how hungry she gets before she lowers her standards.
I decided to put the pot of grass on the floor for Owl. I brought him over, made the introductions and Owl wasted no time. He began to graze like a herd of cattle. Ten minutes later, he threw up a *huge* pile of grass. Happy cat. The natural order is restored. Yeesh.
19 Jan. 2004
Nefreet is already eating dry food again and is clearly feeling better. Thank Bast! I think I've avoided dental surgery on this one.
Not so sure about improvement in Querida, though. She's still drinking a lot of water. The old girl doesn't do much these days except sleep.
23 Jan. 2004
My life is about to undergo a major change, as I am moving at the end of February. I'm going from owning a house to renting, which means that moving with the entire Horde is a big, big challenge.
Randy's sister, N., very much wants to have a cat, so she is going to adopt Artemis. As much as I love the Princess of Thumbs and will miss her, I think this will be an excellent move for everyone. N. loves animals and will pamper Artemis. Artemis will get personal attention, have all her needs looked after, will be put on a diet, and will no longer be bullied and harrassed by Blue. And I will have one less cat to move.
N.'s sending me money for a full set of vaccinations ahead of time and the changeover isn't taking place until mid-Feb. We talked for an hour last night going over every little detail of grooming, claw clipping, food, water, cat box, cat litter, how far Artemis can jump (not very) and so on.
I have no doubt Artemis will be a much happier cat once she adjusts to the change, and Bast knows she needs to have help with her weight. Plus, since she's going to a family member, I'll still get to see her from time to time, and will always know how she's doing.
25 Jan. 2004
I love it. I told N. how much Artemis loves to drink from flowing water, so she has already purchased one of those cat fountains with a running stream of water. I think Artemis is about to be royally spoiled.
30 Jan. 2004
After dragging in late at night from a two-day trip, Nefreet was ecstatically happy to see us. She raced around the house like she had a rocket up her butt.
I was denied the night's sleep I so desperately needed when Nefreet had a nightmare or an anxiety attack at 2 am and came crying and scratching at the bedroom door. I had to get up to soothe her and get her settled on the sofa again.
All the other moggies were happy to see me, too, except for the taking pills part. Happily, Querida is done with the anti-biotics and she has bounced back very nicely. She was even playing with a piece of paper yesterday. This is the first time in weeks she's felt that well.
Owl is coming along on using his leg, though I suspect he'll be left with a significant limp. It's taking forever for the hair to grow back and it's growing back in an odd patchwork of dark and light areas. Now that he's getting anti-histamines regularly, he's stopped pulling out the fur on his back. I may have a nice looking Siamese again in a couple of months.
Thanks to the excellent suggestion from a Moggyblog reader, I purchased a dematting tool and am slowly working my way through the thick tangles of Theseus' fur. His hair defies even this gadget, but it works better than anything else I've tried.
1 Feb. 2004
Don't you love it when a cat throws up in the food bowl? Good old Blue was the culprit. There goes half the dry food in that bowl. Sigh...
N. sent email to tell me about the wonderfully perfect piece of cat furniture she has bought for Artemis. It has platforms low enough for Her Blimpness to get onto and will provide her with a viewing position for Cat TV, aka the aquarium.
5 Feb. 2004
Artemis to the vet a few days ago to have her shots and to get her claws trimmed prior to going to her new home. She was truly pathetic. She stuck her head into the back corner of the carrier and did her best to convince herself THIS IS NOT HAPPENING TO ME.
We had to all but pry her out of the carrier. And she weighed in at a whopping 20.5 lbs.!!! She's gained 2 lbs. since the last time the vet saw her. Yeesh.
I'll admit I laughed a lot when I got her home and she shot out of the carrier and waddled off as fast as a 20.5 lb. blimp can waddle.
8 Feb. 2004
My cats have decided to have a Vomit Marathon. Artemis led off, followed by Tribble, then Owl and I'm not sure who else. I swear it's their favorite hobby.
11 Feb. 2004
I've been worried about Artemis for a couple of days. She's been mopey and inert, no interest in food or treats, and throwing up clear, frothy liquid. The clincher was yesterday when she didn't come over for her drink of running water in the morning. So I hauled her off to the vet again. She burrowed her head into the newspapers and went into a total state of denial.
She's lost nearly two pounds since I took her in for the shots. Not good. The vet thinks most of it was water. I was worried about Artemis getting dehydrated and so she was. However, the blood work up came back almost totally normal. No indications of infection or anything serious. Most likely, it's a vague gastrointestinal something or other. She had one of thes flare-ups about a year and a half ago which was fixed with a cortisone shot. She got another cortisone shot, plus is getting anti-biotics in case there's some low level inflammation going on.
She wasn't doing too well last night. The vet gave me some easy-to-digest canned food and wanted me to get Artemis to eat it. No such luck. Artemis wandered off and threw up instead.
Fortunately, she seems to have bounced back today, though she chose to eat dry food rather than the special canned food. Nor is she happy about the hot pink anti-biotics being squirted into her throat.
I had a wonderful moment while I was hanging out in the waiting room area at the vet's. A little girl of about 3 was acquainting herself with the other pets, giving out hugs when she could. She wanted to know about Artemis, so she got next to me on the bench and looked at the furry headless blimp (head inserted deep into newspapers). Then this little girl threw her arms around me, hugged me and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. "I like to hug," she said. I gave her a big hug and planted a big messy kiss on her cheek. She was delighted (and her mother was having the best time watching all this).
She then wanted me to kiss her dog. I said it would make my cat jealous. She stared at me with big, brown eyes and I could hear the cogs churning as she worked through this. She wanted to know why. I explained that my cat was scared of dogs and if I kissed her dog I'd smell like a dog and my cat would be scared of me. She wanted to hold Artemis, but I said my cat was big and fat and weighed too much. She held up her little three year old arms and declared she had muscles.
She was totally adorable. I can't remember when I've had so much fun with a small child. I hope she can retain that warmth and confidence and fearlessness for the rest of her life.
12 Feb. 2004
Artemishas bounced right back and is doing great. She ran over for her Water Ritual this morning, sucked up to me while I was cleaning the cat boxes, and even jumped onto my desk. Jumping is something she doesn't do too well anymore and it takes a lot of effort, so she definitely has to be feeling better.
18 Feb. 2004
Sunday was a bad day for Artemis. My stepson and I were making much noise and mess in the office, which drove Artemis deep into hiding. I'd managed, with great difficulty to get some anti-biotics into her in the morning, though half of it went on to her, leaving her mottled with hot pink medicine droplets.
Later in the day, after a lengthy search, we finally located her in a cunning new hiding spot. I had to move several sets of old skiis, boots and poles to get to her for the purpose of rubbing her down with anti-allergen liquid. This isn't something I've done to her before, plus there was the whole STRANGE-PERSON-IS-HERE crisis. The result is that I finished the rubdown, but not without damage -- a big scratch on my chin and a painful bite on one finger.
Things were back to normal Mon. morning. Artemis showed up for her drink of water ritual, then I petted her and rubbed her belly. However, when I went down to the office later to put her in the carrier, she had vanished. I searched for ten minutes. Randy came in to help. After another five minutes, I finally found her in yet another cunning hidey hole.
She was not at all happy about the carrier, of course. She was pretty good about it, though. It was a two-hour drive to N.'s house (Randy's sister), made even longer because we had to take the extremely winding road at a much slower pace than usual. Even so, any time Randy took a sharp corner just a little too quickly, Artemis would meep out a complaint. I sat in the back seat next to her, so she could see me and get her ears scritched.
N. had the house all set up for Artemis. She'd installed a special gate to keep Artemis herded to one section of the house and to make sure she didn't accidentally get out the front door. She'd put up signs on all the other doors that read "WHERE IS ARTEMIS?", so they wouldn't forget and leave a door open. She had a nice new piece of cat furniture, food, a running-stream water bowl, a new cat bed, toys...the works.
I had suggested letting her out first in a small room where she wouldn't be able to immediately hide. N. and I settled into the laundry room, where she's put the cat box. We sat and chatted until Artemis had calmed down enough to come out of the carrier, though I still had to "help" her a little bit. We petted her up and reassured her. Artemis crawled behind me to hide. When I had to get up and leave, she crawled behind N. to hide. That was a good start.
Randy and I took his mother to lunch, while N. stayed behind to continue bonding with Artemis. We went back to her place after lunch and spent another hour helping Artemis become acquainted with her new home. She's going to be in hiding mode for a while, but she's not doing all that badly. She even ate a few pieces of food while we were there.
Since then, I've been getting long, detailed email updates. Artemis is mostly hiding under the sofa, not eating or drinking much, but she is taking treats from N. and even played a little bit with a couple of her new toys. Pretty soon she'll realize that she has the whole house to herself, that there are no other cats to bother her, that she has new doting humans, and she will be a spoiled princess.
26 Feb. 2004
Artemis is doing great in her new home.
The rest of the Horde is greatly perturbed at seeing their space taken apart and replaced by stacks of boxes. They prowl, complain and crawl into my lap for reassurance.
The real fun begins at dawn on Sat. If I survive this, it will be a miracle.
22 March 2004
I have learned two important lessons from having to move 12 cats a distance of 200 miles.
1) Don't have 12 cats.
2) Don't move.
Oh, yes, lesson #3:
3) Individual carriers are better than stuffing multiple cats into large cages.
Here is the epic ordeal of Moving the Moggy Horde.
Saturday, I lined the guest bathroom with cardboard on the floor and against the walls, put in a couple of catboxes, water and food. Then I hauled the entire Horde up, one cat at a time, opened the door a crack and quickly shoved them inside. Nefreet was confined by herself to the main bathroom.
Here is where I had my first surprise. The cats I figured might be a problem were fine and the one cat I didn't anticipate having trouble with -- Sly -- went totally psycho on me. He howled and carried on the entire day while the movers were removing everything from the house. Given that there were 10 other cats with him in a confined space, the psychic fallout was not good.
During the afternoon, as the movers worked, Randy and I drove to Fresno where I rented a van with all the seats removed. As soon as the movers had completely emptied Randy's office, I lined that room with cardboard, added catboxes, etc. and began to transfer one cat at a time out of the guest bathroom and into the office where they had much more space. I left Sly to be freaked out by himself in the bathroom. Poor Diva was in the throes of a nervous breakdown after a day trapped with PsychoSly. Puck was his usual carefree self. "Oh, a new room. Cool. Check it out. What's over here? Interesting. Say, is that an open carrier? Cool, I'll just get inside it and look around. And there's a cardboard box. Cool, I can play in that, too."
I drove another 20 minutes north of town to borrow a couple of large cat cages from a woman who runs her own cat and dog rescue home, to go along with the five carriers of my own.
It was evening before the movers and Randy headed south to the new house (about a 200 mile drive). I spent the night in the empty house with a lot of upset cats confined to their respective spaces, except Nefreet who got to hang out with me. Sly howled non-stop ALL NIGHT. It was so bad, the only way I could sleep was to shut the bedroom door, go into the main bathroom and close that door, and from there into the walk-in closet and close that door. I slept inside the closet (which thankfully is quite large).
Sunday morning, I set about packing the van with a large amount of left-over stuff. I laid down plenty of cardboard on the floor and against the walls to protect the van. I spent a long time considering who to put in carriers and who to combine inside the cages. After many permutations, I decided that Nefreet, Sly, Knobby, Theseus and Divawould go into individual carriers. The largest cage held Owl, Querida, Kate and Tosca. The smaller cage held Puck, Tribble and Blue.
Then began the catch and capture phase. Fairly soon, I had the five cats in their carriers, though Sly was berserk about being confined. I had the large cages placed inside the van. I would catch a cat, walk outside to the van and insert cat into cage. This went fairly well until I tried to add Blue to the cage with Puck and Tribble. Blue went medieval on me. For a full minute, he twisted and bucked and fought while I tried desperately to maintain a hold on him as he inflicted damage on my wrist. It was like trying to hold a dervish covering with razor blades. He got away.
With the rest of the cats in the van, I was faced with what to do about Blue. I was so stressed, I was ready to tell the new owner he had inherited a cat. I continued packing the van and about ten minutes later I caught a glimpse of Blue under the back deck. I sat down on the steps to the deck where I spent about ten minutes gently talking to Blue until I had coaxed into the open. He came up to me, I gave him to scritchies, waited until he had relaxed, then carefully picked him up, took him to the van and got him into the cage before he had time to think about it.
I wish I would have had a tape recorder for the drive that followed. I heard every single sound a cat can make, in abundance. Howls, yowls, mrowls, screeches, squeaks, cries, complaints, demands...you name it. For three hours. There was one five-minute pause near the end of the drive, but that was it.
Much later than intended, I finally pulled up to the new house. The movers were gone, but the house and my new office (the garage) were stuffed to the gills with boxes. The cats were SO ready to be set loose. Sly quickly returned to normal once he was free and able to move around. I have to say, all in all, the Horde adjusted to the new space pretty well. Nefreet, as before, is the sole cat in the house. We let her sleep with us the first night, given how uncertain she was about everything.
Mon. we had to turn around and make that long drive again, first to return the cages I'd borrowed, then to return the van.
For the first few days, the cats gathered around the office door to make a break for it, though the only one that actually succeeded, about a week after we moved in, was Tosca. She darted past me and into the yard between the garage and the house. She quickly came to a stop, perplexed by the strange surroundings, and I had no trouble picking her up to put her back inside. She hasn't tried again.
They have one window, unlike my previous office which had four. I've set up shelves in such a way that they have an open platform for looking out the window, for those that can reach it. As soon as I get more boxes unpacked and things moved around, I want to set it up so that even Owl (who can no longer jump), will have the means to get up there.
My other first order of business was to locate the nearest vet. It turns out there's only one. Her office is about 5 miles away, which is good, but for after-hour emergencies, we'd have to drive about an hour, which is not so good. When I asked around for a vet, I was told that this one was very expensive. Other people swear by her and say she's really good. I've been told she's so attuned to the animals that she'll remember the cat's name but not the cat's person's name.
I located her office and stopped by one day, so I would know where it was, get the hours, etc. It's a gorgeous place, with a good-sized atrium in the center of the receiving area containing unusual birds that she's rescued, including one bobwhite pheasant that apparently arrived having been packed along with a truck transmission. At any rate, it's the classiest vet office I've ever seen with a very dedicated staff. Her standard office visit didn't strike me as terribly expensive, only slightly more than my previous vet. I've brought with me the medical records for the entire Horde to have handy for the new vet. Sooner or later, I'll be meeting her.
3 April 2004
I debated what was appropriate for this blog. It is, after all, intended to be about my horde of cats. But it's also my blog and may be whatever I want. Rather than go into detail, I will only mention here that I've been in Tucson for the past several days dealing with the untimely death of my best friend, Katherine Lawrence. To read more of my thoughts and feelings on this painful loss, you may read my obit posting at sff.net.
Immediately after I got home from Tucson, I discovered that Querida had an eye infection, so the poor old girl was hauled off to the vet that afternoon. This was my first experience with the vet since moving here and so far I'm impressed. Nice woman with a great attitude. Very meticulous and thorough. We have Querida on anti-biotics and I'm supposed to get her some L-Lysine since the vet thinks the chronic eye problem may be from a Herpes virus. The Lysine is supposed to combat that.
Amazing news -- twice today I've found Owl up on my desk! There's only one way he could have gotten up there and that's to jump. Which means he's able to jump again! I'm astounded. I want to actually catch him in the act to convince myself he's jumping and hasn't simply developed anti-gravity levitation skills. Wait, here he goes.
Ah, the mystery is solved. I had completely forgotten that I temporarily placed a large rubber container down at the far end of the lower branch of my desk which provides him with two short jumps up here. Still, they're little jumps and that has to be good for him. It also means I won't be moving that container away.
Birthday greetings: sometime earlier this year, Querida reached the ripe age of 17. Puck's birthday is unknown, so I've assigned him April Fool's (so appropriate) and he is now 3. My "little girl" of the group, Diva, is now 7 (at best guess).
3 April 2004
Owl is such a happy boy now that he can get onto the top of my desk. He's hanging out here much of the time. I even saw him jump down from the very top level. I was worried about him doing that, but he landed very easily with no apparent problem for his knee. I've very happy about that.
Querida's eye looked terrible this morning, crusted all around. I had to get a washcloth and spend a few minutes cleaning her up. Which she hated, of course. I really need to get hold of some lysine for her.
This house has come with its own troop of the neighbor's outdoor cats. The most frequent visitor is Salem, a black cat, who comes around to drink from the birdbath. He's extremely shy and won't let me get near him. Then there's Duncan, who's black and white, who has sniffed my fingers. The big brown tom, Harley, who was more than willing to let us rub his belly, but who also starts fights with the other cats. There's another big brown tom, Tom, that I haven't seen yet. I caught a glimpse of a gray cat today, name unknown. I don't mind if they hang around, since I'm not letting my cats out, and this well-fenced yard keeps them safe from the roving dogs, but it's rather amusing that we have a "shadow horde" around.
6 April 2004
Owl truly has amazed me now. I saw him jump all the way from the floor to the highest part of my desktop. That's a regular sized cat jump, which means he's using that knee pretty well, even if he does want to keep holding it out straight when he's lying down. He's spending a lot of time on the desk, purring up a storm, even climbing into my lap. Happy moggy.
9 April 2004
It was the unfortunate Diva's turn to go to the vet today. I was hoping that her constant running, goopy eyes problem would go away once I moved to a new locale and Diva was no longer going outside. But yesterday, her eyes looked really goopy. That pretty much rules out the allergy theory, unless it's an allergy I brought with me from old office to new office.
Off she went and she was a very good girl, sweet thing that she is. I have eye drops for her, but the vet was insistent that since Diva's had this problem for so long and it never clears up, I need to take her to eye specialist to find the underlying cause rather than continuing to treat the symptoms only. She's given me the names of three specialists, all over an hour's drive away. I'll see how things go after this round of treatment.
10 April 2004
Here's a more detailed report from CNN about the ancient cat burial (it has a photo, too). It's been a fascinating story to follow.
(CNN) -- Archeologists say they have evidence that a bond between cats and humans was forged thousands of years before previously thought.
An elaborate Neolithic burial site uncovered in the Shillourokambos settlement on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus reveals that the friendship between cats and humans may go back 9,500 years. Prior to the discovery, Egyptians were thought to be the first to keep cats as pets, around 2,000 to 1,900 BC.
Scientists, who published their findings Thursday in the journal Science, say a skeleton of a young cat was found just a few inches from the remains of a human, buried in a similar fashion.
"We don't know if the human was a male or a female, but we do know that he or she had a special status in society," said Jean -Denis Vigne, vice president of the Scientific Council of the Museum of Natural History in Paris.
The cat was the Felis silvestris species, a wildcat, a bit larger than modern domestic cats. It was about eight months old when it died.
Researchers found many items not often found in other graves, including flints, a small green stone axe, and two dozen shells. The cat skeleton was just 15 inches from the human skeleton. Vigne said the animal skeleton showed no sign of having been butchered, and its proximity to the human suggested some respect or reverence. It is possible, he said, that the cat was killed to accompany the human in the afterworld.
Vigne said there is no way to know if this cat was a pet. But he said the burial find in Cyprus indicates that the relationship between cats and people involved spiritual links.
Stone and clay figurines of cats have also been found at archeological sites in Syria, Turkey, and Israel from the Neolithic period, the latest period of the Stone Age.
Archeologists examining early bonds between cats and humans usually describe the benefits to the pet owners as rodent control. The cats would benefit from easier access to food, the researchers said.
But in the case found in the Cyprus dig, the cat would likely have been brought to the island from a mainland location, some 35 to 50 miles away.
Vigne said other animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs, were probably also transported from the mainland around the same time.
"This is an important site for the whole of western Asia," said Vigne. "Because it has told us this civilization crossed the sea to this island both for culture and to domesticate animals."
Until this Cypriot excavation, the Egyptians were long considered the earliest civilization to both tame cats and to show a great reverence toward them. The Egyptian goddess Bastet often appears with a human body and a feline head.
Along the Nile River, cats were viewed as protectors of the home, keeping the household free of pests. The Egyptians even bred a new species of cat 3,900 to 4,000 years ago.
The Cyprus site was first excavated in 1992. Vigne expects about two more years of study there, which will probably mean the French scientist will put off owning a pet cat for a bit longer.
"Perhaps when I retire," he laughed.
13 April 2004
There is nothing worse than a bored, young cat full of mischief. I knew being forced to stay inside would be tough for Puck, but it's also proving to be tough for me.
His antics over the past few days have include knocking a large box of bubblewrap off a high shelf; methodically knocking large bags of wadded packing paper (leftover from the move) off the top shelves; trying to climb into a carrier up on a top shelf, which he knocked off and both he and the carrier came crashing down six feet to the floor. I was scared to death he'd really hurt himself this time. He looked rather shocked. I checked him out very carefully and couldn't find any damage. A minute later, he was back to playing energetically with a feather toy.
When he's not knocking things down, he harrasses other cats and I have to keep jumping up to play cop and break it up. I wish I *could* let him outside, but it's not safe around here.
16 April 2004
Nothing much to report in the moggy world, so I've posted some photos instead.
19 April 2004
Nefreet's behavior has changed a lot in this new house. For the better, I should add. I think it's a combination of finally settling in and the realization that she has the house to herself.
She no longer has to share her humans or her space with Unicom, and she doesn't have to worry about unexpectedly running into him, or being harrassed or getting into a fight. Her Dread Nemesis is gone.
This has freed her up to become more energetic and playful. I swear, you wouldn't know this was a older cat. She races around the house and up and down the stairs like her butt was on fire.
Her favorite toy -- she's totally addicted to it -- is a sphere made of brightly colored plastic suction cups. It was one of those tech convention giveaways, I think designed to be thrown and stick on walls. She loves to bat that thing around.
Another funny thing she's doing these days is hiding under a corner of excess drapery of the cover we put over the sofa to protect it from cat hair. She becomes The Lump and lashes out at those who dare to tease her from the Outside. Sometimes she simply grabs a clump of the extra fabric and disembowels it.
She's certainly a happier moggy than she used to be.
20 April 2004
Oy. Puck is determined to live up to his name as the Prince of Mischief. It wasn't bad enough that I had to keep breaking up his attempt to start a fight with Tosca.
During the afternoon, he crawled *into* a large box of styrofoam peanuts that I thought was well out of his way on top of a set of shelves. But noooo, not satisfied to merely muck around in them, he knocked the entire box onto the floor. And onto the cat food and into the water bowl and into white drifts on the floor...sigh...
Randy, the dearheart, came out to the office and helped me pick them up. Which also gave him an excuse to grab the feather toy and play with His Mischief and the other moggies for a while.
23 April 2004
Puck continues to make mischief, but right now he's cuddled in a cat bed with Kate and it's terminally cute.
Theseus has a big scratch on his nose.
Randy came out for a visit and was mobbed by furry attention-sponges. They're so neglected.
24 April 2004
We ordered a blind for Randy's office window and the box and packing it came in became cat toys. I opened both end of the long square tube, thinking Puck might like a cat tunnel, but the box is just a little too small for that.
But the packing! It's some kind of cushy cardboard stuff cut into accordion-like lattice. I put that on the floor and the moggies, every single one of them, went crazy over it. They had a Smellathon!
Photos of Smellathon.
I swear, Tribble stuck his nose into it and didn't come up for air for ten minutes. I think he was getting high.
25 April 2004
Kate is a sadist. She loves to get in my lap and knead. The problem is that her claws go right through my pants and inflict me with ten needlepoint incisions. She's always so happy about it, too.
I keep a special towel around to whip onto my lap as soon as I see her coming, but every once in a while she catches me unprepared and inflicts happy pain.
27 April 2004
Now that Owl is able to access my desktop again, he's turned my big HP printer into his permanent bed. This, of course, means that I'm SOL if I need to print something.
What? Disturb the cat? Unthinkable!
Tosca and Diva had a mutual grooming fest that was very sweet. See for yourselves.
28 April 2004
If you're reading this blog, you probably don't need one of these. A Synthetic Animated Moggy.
30 April 2004
The bluejays have been having words with cats today. A scrub jay perched on the fence outside the office window and screamed at the cats. Later, I went to the house and a stellar jay was screaming obscenities at Salem, the neighbor's black cat who drinks from the birdbath a couple times a day. I'm sure the jay didn't appreciate a cat using *his* pond.
Tosca was talking in her sleep. It must have been some dream because she was moan-yowling quite loudly, with her feet and tail twitching.
The feather toy has lost its last vestige of being a feather toy, thanks to a final pounce by Theseus. It is now a slithering snake-string toy, which the moggies seem to enjoy every bit as much.
2 May 2004
I came outside the office in the dark and saw a shadowy shape lurking nearby. I said, "Hello, Salem," naturally assuming it was the neighbor's black cat. But instead of running away, this cat ran right over to me to be petted. It was a lovely gray cat and the same neighbor has a gray cat that I've only seen from a distance, so it may the same one. He (I'm assuming, since all their other cats are male) was on the skinny side, and was behaving very oddly in that he was obviously friendly and more than willing to be petted, but he kept growling the whole time.
Of course, the growling may have come from smelling the other cats on me, not to mention smelling the plastic bag of cat droppings that I had brought out to put in the garbage bin. We visited for a while. I petted, he growled and rubbed up against the stair railing before vanishing into the night.
He might be one of the culprits who fights regularly somewhere near the office. Almost every other night, there's a short, vicious cat fight usually between 9 and 10 pm. This doesn't exactly promote harmony and peacefulness within the Horde, some of whom tend to jump up and run around trying to figure out who's fighting and what should be done about it.
Things are peaceful this morning, though. Puck went bubble-wrap diving. Pills, treats, water and food have been given. Nap time is in progress.
Nefreet was a Happy Sofa Lump this morning. Pictures ensued.
Nefreet becomes the Sofa Lump.
4 May 2004
I did one of those really stoopid things. I sliced open my thumb while opening one of those peel-back-lid cans of cat food. Bled a whole lot.
When I came into the office this morning, I once again found the large box of bubble wrap lying on the floor, courtesy of Master Puck's bag of mischief tricks. There was also a goodly amount of shredded bubble wrap lying on the floor. I went to pick up the box and it was heavy! I looked inside. There was a very happy Owl in his new cave, sleeping on his bed of shredded bubble wrap.
8 May 2004
Nefreet got up into the kitchen window, which is above the sink, and gave some cat outside a stern hissing at. Probably Salem come to drink from the birdbath, but whoever it was had vanished by the time I ousted psycho-kitty from the window.
9 May 2004
Something I have feared for weeks has happened -- ants have found the cat food bowls. We have a big ant problem in this new house. I thought we'd just brought a batch with us in the jasmine plant, but we have ants in the walls behind the shower and are constantly battling invasions.
I figured with ants in the house, they were likely all around the property and if they ever found their way into my office with all the cat food bowls, I would be in trouble. That's what happened last night. I went to give the mogs their night-time treat of canned food and found ants on one of the bowls. Disaster! Catastrophe!
Fortunately, they'd only found one bowl. I doled out the food, removed the ant-infested bowl and washed it, and sprayed along the wall where they were getting in. I haven't seen any new ants this morning yet, but I know this was only one battle in a war. These are the tiny black ants that go crazy over meat and protein, and cat food is an irresitible lure.
THE GREAT CAT LITTER CHICKEN FEED EXPERIMENT: One year later, I declare this experiment to be an unqualified success. The lay crumbles work great, are cheap as all get-out, and I haven't had one single insect of any sort result from using it. It is dusty, but it's no worse than dust from clay litter, while being a lot more environmentally friendly than clay. I wear a dust mask anyway, but I've also learned to close my eyes when I'm pouring out a large amount of it.
Speaking of matters of the cat box, one of my cats has had a problem that's been going on for months now. I keep finding single, hard "tootsie rolls" outside the boxes. Almost every morning I find one close to the boxes and then I usually find one somewhere else in the office. I have no clue who's responsible, but I sure would like to find which moggy it is and figure out why he/she has this problem.
13 May 2004
Here's a site of terrific wonderfulness. Enjoy.
The Infinite Cat Project.
15 May 2004
Owl has lost some weight, maybe a couple of pounds. Which is not bad, because he was carrying a bit more weight than he needed. I'm wondering if the anti-histamines could be the reason. At any rate, his fur is looking lovely and thick because he's not pulling it out and he looks very good at the lower weight. He looks trim and fit.
Of course, if he keeps losing weight, I'll have to do something about it, but for now he seems to be doing great. He's become outgoing enough to actually come out and greet strangers who visit the office and he's always happy to see Randy. He's still not sure he likes it when I kiss him on the head, though. Owl, I mean, not Randy. ;)
21 May 2004
I missed celebrating Tribble's birthday! He turned 15 on May 1st. And he is a bright and bouncy as ever. He mugs me for treats every morning and every night. Tosca and he do a tag-team mugging for treats.
I have a big, purring pile of Siamese in my lap. He's found a way to squeeze his entire bulk into a compact shape that doesn't interfere with typing, amazingly enough. What a happy boy.
22 May 2004
I gathered up a large handful of white goose feathers at the pond in the park, which I will turn into cat toys. String, gaffer's tape and goose feathers -- what could be more perfect? They're in my office now and Puck is doing his best to destroy them first. The other moggies have found them to be most interesting to sniff.
Tosca likes to reach out and grab the other cat's tails. I haven't seen a single cat yet that actually appreciates this, oddly enough.
27 May 2004
Poor Knobby. I rarely mention him because he's such a pathetic little boy. He's neurotic and timid, so he spends his time hiding out. I usually only see him when he and Puck have a noisy, yowling confrontation that I have to break up, or when Knobby is unleashing several quarts of cat spray, which does not exactly endear him to me. Fortunately, he uses the same piece of cardboard each time, which I put up specifically for that purpose.
But the past couple of days, Knobby has been coming around and begging for attention. This consists of giving him head and ear scritchies, which he loves. Today I thought I'd try putting him on my lap, in case his desire for attention was really that strong.
A big N-O to that. He freaked, spun out and disappeared. He is so not a lap cat.
Unlike the big, happy Siamese love-sponge I have in my lap right now.
31 May 2004
Tosca is not happy that I rearranged my desk. The big HP printer is now in an entirely different location, on the left-hand wing of my desk, rather than to the right of my monitor. That was one of her favorite sleeping spots. She jumped up there yesterday and stood on the right side of the desk going "What th--?!" Her tail whipped back and forth in Extreme Disapproval.
I started to point out to her the new location of her napping spot, but discovered it was already occupied by Owl.
Poor little moggies. How they suffer.
2 June 2004
Tribble's favorite thing to do when sitting in my lap is to rub against my right hand, which doesn't do much for my ability to type.
This morning, while lying abed before forcing ourselves awake, we heard an odd thumpathumpa in the back yard. We couldn't identify it, but we were too tired to investigate.
About ten minutes later, Nefreet when to the sliding glass doors and growled. A bit more awake by then, I got up and discovered we had two, young tabbies curled up in contented sleep on the back deck. The deck is really no more than a landing with several steps down to the thin strip of back yard and the high wooden fence that separates us by not very much from the neighbors behind us.
I had seen one of these tabbies yesterday in the yard and was confused because I could tell it wasn't one of the two tabbies from across the street. Harley is bigger and more sandy-brown, while Tom had some sort of leg or foot injury and has what seems to be a permanent limp.
These two were nearly identical, very pretty dark tabbies with big green eyes. They were in good shape and looked well enough fed. I didn't get a good enough look to know their gender, so I'll guess they're a pair of brothers from the same litter. What they look like are thinner, younger versions of Puck. Two young pucksters!
One was much more skittish than the other and upon seeing me, ran down the steps, jumped over the fence and headed for the hills (literally). The other boy was more casual and hung around longer. He jumped onto the ledge of the fence and sat there a long time as we talked to him and meowed-mrrrred at him. Finally, he strolled through our yard toward the front of the house and probably vanished under the deck, since I couldn't see where he went.
We are definitely the Cat Nexus for this area, for easy reasons:
a) our yard is entirely and solidly fenced off, inititally for the original owners to keep their dogs in, but it works equally well to keep dogs out, making our yard about the only safe and dog-free space for miles.
b) we have a water bowl aka the birdbath.
c) we provide food-on-the-wing aka birds (since I put out birdfeeders and seedbells). Randy found the feathers of some unfortunate bird in the yard when he was cutting grass.
I wonder if these pucksters are the cause of the frequent cat fights we hear behind our house.
Speaking of pucksters, I bought a toy yesterday that I thought might keep Puck occupied. It's a catnip mouse inside a wire ball. I gave it to him this morning. I think it took all of five minutes, tops, for him to get the mouse out of the wire cage. :P
I put the mouse back inside the ball and tried to close up the wider sections. Puck played with it a bit more. But now, a few hours later, Owl has found it, removed the mouse in about two minutes and is having a wonderful time tossing it around. I may as well leave it that way.
4 June 2004
I thought I'd never find the catnip mouse again, but I did accidentally come across it, rather battered now and minus a tail. I put the nipmouse up on one of the high walkways I made out of 2x4's. Puck eagerly bounced up there, grabbed the mouse and made off like a tiger-with-prey. He carried the nipmouse down to the floor and tossed it around.
I"ve decided to try cutting Owl's dose of anti-histamines in half. If he starts pulling out his fur again, I can bump it back up, but I'd like to find the lowest possible dose that will work, just in case it's behind his weight loss. He looks very trim and fit at this weight, but I wouldn't like to see him lose any more than this.
He must have known I was "talking" about him. He got onto the deck, purred in my face, walked across my lap a few times and has settled down on the right side of the desk, purr-motor in cruise control.
Randy came in for a brief visit. He was met with a loud chorus of moggy greetings, led by the chorus-mistress, Tosca.
Over dinner with N. (Randy's sister) and her husband, D., I was delighted to hear how happy Artemis is in her new home. D. said that when he's relaxing on the sofa, she will climb onto his chest and rev up her purr. He also showed me a nice big scratch she gave him when he didn't pick her up quite right (she hates being picked up). She's lost a few pounds, which is very good, but seems to have a bad touch of arthritis. She always walked rather oddly. I thought it was due to her polydactyl feet, but it may be a joint problem. N. is taking her to the vet for x-rays soon. They're doing an outstanding job of doting on her, so I am content.
6 June 2004
There's not much left of the catnip mouse. A snout and half a body, that's it. My moggies are merciless nip-addicts.
I've given up trying to grow the oak grass inside. Puck simply will not leave it alone long enough to grow more than half an inch. I now have three pots of oat grass and a pot of catnip set up just outside my office in a spot where I hope the other stray cats that visit the yard will miss. I saw a new one today, a fluffy orange and white patched cat that took off fast over the back fence when I talked to him.
I'm fairly sure now that Theseus is the one who's been leaving the "tootsie rolls" around the office. His big furry butt is a total crap magnet. I've been trying to carefully trim away some of the unpleasantness and excess fur back there, but it's not an easy job. He is understandably uneasy about having me clip things back there. He'll hold still for about ten seconds, then squirm away (imagine a tank squirming), then turn around and come back for more. It's not easy getting anything accomplished that way. I have a very small electric trimmer that is completely useless against his thick, tough fur. I need something far more powerful.
Querida has another eye infection, poor girl. I have drops on hand and am debating taking her to the vet. There doesn't seem to be much the vet can do beyond the drops, which aren't good to use on an extended basis. Querida wasn't able to tolerate the anti-biotics the vet gave me last time. At 17, I suspect there are limits to what we can do for her.
8 June 2004
Thanks to Alex Burr for pointing me to this one. It was found at: http://www.tlcpoodles.com/catbath.html
CAT BATHING AS A MARTIAL ART
by Howard "Bud" Herron
Some people say cats never have to be bathed. They say cats lick themselves clean. They say cats have a special enzyme of some sort in their system that works like new, improved Wisk--dislodging the dirt where it hides and whisking it away.
I've spent most of my life believing this folklore. Like most blind believers, I've been able to discount all the facts to the contrary, the kitty odors that lurk in the corners of the garage and dirt smudges that cling to the throw rug by the fireplace.
The time comes, however, when a man must face reality: when he must look squarely in the face of massive public sentiment to the contrary and announce: "This cat smells like a port-a-potty in July."
When that day arrives at your house, as it has in mine, I have some advice you might consider as you place your feline friend under your arm and head for the bathtub:
--Know that although the cat has the advantage of quickness and lack of concern for human life, you have the advantage of strength. Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield. Don't try to bathe him in an open area where he can force you to chase him. Pick a very small bathroom. If your bathroom is more than four feet square, I recommend that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding-glass doors as if you were about to take a shower. (A simple shower curtain will not do. A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker than a politician can shift positions!)
--Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to dress to protect yourself. I recommend canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army helmet, a hockey face mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.
--Prepare everything in advance. There is no time to go out for a towel when you have a cat digging a hole in your flak jacket. Draw the water. Make sure the bottle of kitty shampoo is inside the glass enclosure. Make sure the towel can be reached, even if you are lying on your back in the water.
--Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule. If he does notice your garb, calmly explain that you are taking part in a product testing experiment for J.C. Penny.)
--Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival. In a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and squirt him with shampoo. You have begun on the wildest 45 seconds of your life.
--Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and the problem is radically compounded. Do not expect to hold on to him for more than two or three seconds at a time. When you have him, however, you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy. He'll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three latherings, so don't expect too much.)
--Next, the cat must be dried. Novice cat bathers assume this part will be the most difficult, for humans generally are worn out by this time. Drying is simple compared to what you have just been through. That's because by now the cat is semi-permanently affixed to your right leg. You simply pop the drain plug with your foot, reach for your towel and wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of your army helmet. If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him loose and to encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach down and dry the cat.
--In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg. He will usually have nothing to say for about three weeks and will spend a lot of time sitting with his back to you. He might even become psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine.
--You will be tempted to assume he is angry. This isn't usually the case. As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide to give him a bath.
--But at least now he smells a lot better.
11 June 2004
I keep stepping on the pathetic remnant of the catnip mouse, which is unnerving because after years of living with cats, my feet have developed unique sensors entirely of their own which instantly send messages along the lines of "You may have stepped on some part of a cat!" or "You may have stepped on a gopher snout!" or "You may have stepped on a large, firm hairball!" or "You have just stepped in something really disgusting you don't want to know about!"
One of these is usually correct. Except no more gopher snouts here, of course.
Tribble has a worrisome elevation in a key liver enzyme, so I'm starting him on two medications. One I have to pick up at the vet's office and the other is, as she put it, "at the human pharmacy."
Puck had one of his ga-ga moments over my hair this morning. I had just washed and dried it. Came into the office. Began the morning round of handing out pills and treats. I knelt down to take care of Owl under my desk. Next thing I know, Puck has walked off the desk, onto my shoulders, settles on my back, wraps his front legs around my neck and rubs himself all over my hair. Then, totally high, he chases Kate around the office. I swear the secret ingredient in Pantene must be catnip.
14 June 2004
Poor dear Tribble. I feel so bad having to give him these two liquid meds, one of which (the vet warned me) has a terrible, bitter taste. Plus he already has bad diarrhea from them after only one day. I put in a call to the vet wondering if I can give him acidophilus to help deal with it. I'm lucky that he's such a loving, forgiving cat, but that just makes it harder to do the evil deed.
16 June 2004
I just had to break up a full-on bloody fight between Puck and Knobby. Puck really has it in for Knobby. Knobby often ends up as the "pariah cat" in the Horde. Fortunately, there was no actual blood but I had to visit some severe discipline upon the blasted Prince of Mischief.
Theseus is such a bull-in-a-china-shop. He can't help it. He's built like an aircraft carrier. A very furry aircraft carrier. He gets on my desk and simply turns around and knocks over half the objects I have there, sending me searching for scattered pens.
Tribble has taken to hiding from me when I come into the office. Sadly for him, I know all his hiding places.
My vet recommended L-Lysine for Diva to treat her eye virus (250 mg twice a day). I've been giving it to her in chunks inside treats. She was taking these without demur until last night when she finally said, "Yuck on these." I had to give them the old-fashioned way. Happily, she took them in the treats this morning. I think it's already helping, as her eyes are looking better (less weepy and gooey) and her fur looks like it's improving as well.
I'm also giving it to Querida. I don't see a big change in her, but she does seem to be feeling pretty well these days, which is good.
18 June 2004
Kate is stretched out to the right of my keyboard trying to have a relaxing nap, and Tosca, who simply cannot resist the sight of a twitching tail, keeps batting at Kate's tail and pinning it down. I'm waiting for the inevitable backlash, as it were. Kate is staunchly ignoring the pestering and this seems to be working. Yes, Tosca is losing interest. What's the fun of batting your sister moggy's tail if you can't get a rise out of her?
Tribble has taken to going into hiding as soon as I come into the office and he's found some truly cunning new hiding places that have wasted a lot of my time as I wander around the office muttering and peering behind, under, over and around various objects.
I should mention that there are some new contenders in the Silly Sleeping Pose Olympics, so check it out.
22 June 2004
I had to tear apart a corner of my office to find and nab Tribble this morning. The man who put the drywall up to convert this space into my office left behind a large pile of rubbish and stray bits of drywall in one corner that I haven't had time to deal with. Naturally, Tribble found a way to ooze back in there totally out of reach.
He comes by his hiding ability genetically. Querida found a hiding spot the other day that gave me fits. Took me ten minutes of serious searching to find her.
24 June 2004
Getting Tribble's medicines out is a slightly complicated affair. I have to put a piece of paper on my desk. Set out the thyroid pill. Get the two bottles of liquid medicine from the mini-fridge (one white, one hot pink). Shake them up. Draw up the two syringes of liquid med. Lay them on the paper. Put meds back in fridge. Find cat (a 2 to 10 minute process). Grip cat firmly. Impart meds. Let cat run off and hide. Toss out paper. Wash out syringes. Wash spit-up and foam off plastic floor mat. Repeat at night.
Yesterday, I had everything laid out, but when I returned with Tribble, I found that Theseus, CWAC (Cat Without A Clue) had laid his enormous, furry body all over the meds. ACCKKK! I went. He jumped up and ran off, scattering the syringes. I somehow managed to gather them up and shake off the bits of hair without losing hold of Tribble. So now I have to add an extra step and put my large rolodex over the syringes for protection until I get back.
I will be soooo glad when we're done with this.
25 June 2004
Yesterday, while running errands in Bakersfield, we went to a Petsmart (big chain of pet stores). I mainly went looking for a powerful shaver to use on the Evil Butt of Theseus. I found the one the vet recommended but it was $80.00 and I just couldn't justify spending that much. I settled for a special pair of clipping scissors at $8.00 instead.
Meanwhile, Randy got into serious trouble. He had found a room set aside for an organization that tries to get cats adopted. There were about 8 large cages with batches of kittens and about 6 adult cats. Randy fell hard for a white cat with orange tabby patches that was a total sweetheart. The only thing that saved us is that person who handles the adoptions is only there on Sat. Otherwise, I greatly fear that cat would be home with us right now. We had a narrow escape.
I vascillated about it, but ended up buying a $20 catnip "spa" for the cats, a tub of catnip, more oat/wheat grass seeds, and Randy bought a new catnip toy for the moggies, since the catnip mouse is long gone.
The catnip spa was a big hit and I have photos to prove it. A whole batch of photos, actually, of that and other tidbits. The main nipheads were Puck, Owl, Tribble and Theseus. Puck and Owl teamed up to make it very difficult to put the spa together while they went bonkers on it.
I put the unopened tub of catnip on top of a bookshelf about 4 feet tall. Owl astonished me. Not only did he detect the sealed tub up up there, he JUMPED to the top of the bookcase. I honestly didn't think he was capable of a jump like that with his metal knee. But driven by catnip lust, he can do it.
There was much rubbing, sniffing and lolling about. Tribble and Puck exchanged a flurry of blows after trying to snarf up the same piece of catnip.
Randy came in and had great fun getting the mogs to play with the new catnip toy, a furry thing on a string. I was surprised at how incredibly playful Owl got with it. Owl is learning rather late in life how to play, and it's nice to see.
The toy was carefully wound up and put away on a much higher bookshelf, but this morning I found it unwound and knocked down into the trash bin.
Of course, today the catnip spa is being ignored. They only like the stuff when it's really fresh, the spoiled brats.
Yesterday, I also picked up some L-Lysine in capsules, trying to find an easier way to give it to Diva and Querida. Unfortunately, they only make a dosage in a large capsule suitable for human throats, and is twice the amount I'm supposed to give at one time. My cats would choke on those capsules. I tried sprinkling it into food, but both girls decided they didn't care for the taste of it, so that's not going to work. I went to the pharmacy today and bought some much smaller sized gelatin capsules. I'm going to empty the Lysine powder from one large capsule into two small capsules and give those. Bast owes me big karma points for this.
26 June 2004
Converting the big Lysine capsules into the two small capsules has proven to be relatively easy and painless. Neither Querida nor Diva seem bothered by swallowing them. I'm a happy cat-mother.
I'm sprinkling a bit of fresh catnip on the spa in the morning and last thing in the evening, making for a batch of happy moggies.
27 June 2004
I couldn't resist taking more cute cat pictures: Diva, Puck and Blue this time.
28 June 2004
Poor Tribble. He keeps searching out new hiding places and I keep finding him.
Only 6 more days to go, thank Bast.
29 June 2004
Tribble has developed this cunning method of floopy quasi-passive resistance to taking the liquid meds. He turns into a floppy furry ragdoll with coils of refusal lurking underneath.
Only 4 more days to go, though one of the meds doesn't look like it will last that long, and he's supposed to have both of them together. I'll have to check with the vet on whether to continue the bubblegum pink liquid if the bitter white liquid runs out first.
I think Diva might be benefitting from the L-Lysine. It's all rather subjective, of course, but her eyes don't seem quite as bad (though still a little runny sometimes) and her fur seems to have improved (more gloss, less dandruff).
1 July 2004
The vet wants me to keep Tribble on the Hideous Meds for the full 21 day course, so we stopped by there today after having lunch out and I picked up enough of the Bitter White Gunk to last until the final dose on Sun. night.
Only five more doses to go!
2 July 2004
Tribble put me through my paces this morning. I searched all his previously used hiding places. No luck. I started in on all other possible places and finally found him lurking behind a couple of pieces of old bed headboard. I'd been meaning to finish cleaning out one corner of the office and put those pieces back there. Since I couldn't reach him as he was, I went ahead and tackled that task.
As soon as I moved the second piece of headboard, Tribble darted off. I had to finish up what I was doing, then began round two of Find The Tribble. He'd done a very good job this time and it took me a while to locate him in a teeny place that I didn't think he could squeeze into. This required moved a very large, but thankfully lightweight box and the Hideous Meds were duly administered.
It isn't giving the meds that takes the time. It's the finding of the cat for the giving of the meds that is time-consuming.
Only 3 more doses to go!
3 July 2004
WE'RE DONE! We're done, thank Bast. This morning, Tribble got his claws into my thumb so that I had a bloody thumb while giving him the meds. This evening, he didn't even bother trying to hide, though he still fought me over taking it. But that's the last dose and I felt a great satisfaction in throwing out the hateful bottles and dosers.
I must admit, Tribble looks good. He's gained some weight and feels more solid than he has in a long time, his fur looks better, and he seems to generally be feeling pretty well.
Likewise, Diva and Querida both have improved fur quality from taking the L-Lysine. And they both seem to be feeling pretty well these days. If I could just find a way to clear up Querida's permanently stuffy, snurfly nose, that would be great.
5 July 2004
Someone, whose name probably begins with Puck, disemboweled a roll of paper towels during the night and left the remnants all over the floor.
Then I found that half of the remaining "lizard" toy had been amputated. It's actually a wand with a long piece of plastic string that used to have a bunch of feathers at the end. One by one, the feathers were destroyed, leaving only the long plastic string. This turned out to be Puck's favorite toy -- chase the lizard! Now, alas, even the "lizard" is too short to do much with. I must find a replacement.
6 July 2004
We made the mistake of letting Puck have five minutes or so outside, under our strict supervision, several days ago. Ever since, he has made mad dashes out the door as soon as I open it. Fortunately, he doesn't run off or try to avoid me, so I have no trouble catching him, but I'm thinking that giving him a taste of the outside then denying it to him again was a bad idea, poor boy.
8 July 2004
Tribble has forgiven me pretty quickly, now that the Horrible Meds have stopped. He's on my desk, to the left of the keyboard, looking quite happy.
Puck keeps scooting out the door. If we have the time, we'll stand outside with him for a few minutes, but it's made getting in and out of my office a whole lot trickier.
One of the neighbor's tabbies was hanging out in the yard the other night. The next morning, we found the remains of yet another bird -- just the head, wings and feet. I'm not terribly happy about this, but short of trapping the cat, I can't see what to do about it. As Randy pointed out, that would certainly justify her accusations of me being a cat-napper. [g]
Speaking of Randy, I came inside and saw a bandage on his hand and indications he'd been bleeding pretty freely.
"What did you do to your hand?"
"Nefreet got me with a dull tooth."
"Ah, you were annoying her."
"We were annoying one another."
12 July 2004
Owl was sleeping peacefully to the left of my keyboard when Puck plopped himself along the top edge of the keyboard and used Owl's butt for a pillow. After a few minutes, Owl scrunched sideways. Puck buried his head in Owls' stomach. After a few more minutes, Owl got in disgust and stalked off. Puck hasn't budged, of course.
Puck has also taken to helping me put the Lysine capsules together in the morning. His "help" consists of batting the gelatine capsules around and sticking his tail in the Lysine powder.
14 July 2004
Puck decided to "help" me with filling the Lysine capsules again this morning. He grabbed one of the small, empty gelatin capsules and made off with it.
Okay, I thought, if he wants gelatin capsules, why not give it to him? I took one of the large capsules from which I'd emptied the Lysine, put the two halves to back together and when the Merry Puckster showed up for more mischief, I tossed it to him. I figure it can only benefit him to eat a bit of gelatin with Lysine in it. He leapt happily upon it and chased it down a table top and onto the floor. I found half of the capsule later, so he might not have found it all that palatable after all.
I had to fight off another ant invasion in the cat food and sprinkled boric acid around the outside of the office to see if that would help. The ants don't seem interested in the sugar-baited type of boric acid I had to buy. These ants want protein.
Which is why I'm perplexed over the major ant invasion in the house where we have Nefreet's catbox. There were ants all over the box and in the litter and they seemed to be after the cat crap. I've never seen ants interested in cat crap before. It took me forever to get that taken care of and get all the ants out of it.
18 July 2004
The new catsitters came by today, a very nice older couple and die-hard animal lovers. It was their second time here, but I didn't have spare keys for them the first time. Today I gave them the keys, along with some documents I'd prepared for them. I wrote up a chart of which cat gets what medicines, plus a bunch of other relevant info on where to find things, what the routine is, etc. I also gave them several pages with color pictures of each cat, with name, age, temperament, health issues and whatever else I thought they'd like to know. I've already done paperwork at the vet's authorizing these people to bring my cats there in case of emergency, so I let them know about that.
I walked them around to everything, where cat food is, etc., and reintroduced them to the moggies. Most of the Horde will come forward to greet new people. Theseus, Blue and Kate hid in a heap in a corner behind a box, and Knobby vanished into some other hidey-hole. The rest demanded or allowed as much attention as could go around.
We'll only be gone a few days, so it'll be a good test run.
19 July 2004
New rule -- never leave a pile of packing paper lying around for too many days. I mainly left it because Puckaroo Banzai likes to play in it and hide under sheets of crumpled paper. But last night, I caught Tribble peeing in it, much to my dismay. I suspect Blue may have done the same earlier, now that I think back on his behavior. I saw him coming out of the papers, then scratching at them as though trying to cover up something. At least there's only concrete underneath, rather than carpet.
20 July 2004
One of the small pleasures of life I missed immediately after moving was the lack of birds. At my house up north, we had tons of birds and a great variety of them. Juncos would arrive by the dozens and bluebirds by the handful would splash in the birdbath.
When we moved here, we brought a birdbath with us and immediately set it up, and I hung seed bells and then a feeder. Then I waited. And waited. I began to despair of ever seeing a bird in this yard.
Months later, we finally have a fair number showing up. Nothing like the old place and nothing like the same variety. The most common visitors are the red house finches and the titmouse. There's also a more unusual golden-orange house finch. There are black-chinned sparrows that are striking to look at. We get scrub jays and once in a rare while a couple of Stellar jays (with the black topnotch).
There are none of the hordes of acorn woodpeckers we had before. I've spotten one type of woodpecker that I haven't seen before. I'll hear a loud metallic rat-a-tat-tat and I know he's trying to peck through the metal banding at the top of the power pole. He can't seem to figure out that he's never going to get through that metal. I forget what type he is.
Yesterday, a new pair of birds arrived. A very pretty and somewhat large black-headed grosbeak. The male looks like a calico. He has a black head, bright cinnamon on his chest and part of his neck, black and cinnamon streaks on his head, black back with white bands on the feathers. Similar colors to Nefreet, in fact, though his orange is deeper. They have huge beaks, in keeping with their name, for eating seeds. Unlike the other birds who come and go nervously, the grosbeaks take up residence on the feeder for ten to fifteen minutes at a time, methodically devouring the seed. Sometimes the smaller birds sit on a wire nearby and swear at them.
Then today, a pair of robins visited. The male had a rollicking good time taking a bath in the birdbath.
We also had to run off Tom, one of the neighbor's tabbies, who was crouched by some bushes near the tree with the feeder, watching lasciviously and chattering to himself. I'd say it's pretty clear that he's been the one catching birds in our yard.
27 July 2004
The moggies were very happy to have us home again. The sitters said everything went fine and all pills were given.
We got in late Sun. night and immediately had to battle ants. The sitters had accidentally not closed Nefreet's tub'o'food tightly enough and the ants were having a par-tay! Food! Food! Endless food!
I had to take care of the Horde before we could collapse. There was much joy in Hordeville because Big Mother Cat was back.
Nefreet, feeling insecure, meowed at the bedroom door at 6:30 am the next morning. We weren't ready for that.
I let Puck come outside with me this morning while I dumped the water bowl contents onto the apple tree and refreshed the birdbath. Puck's first order of business was to roll in the dirt. Then he had to sniff everything in the universe. I stayed on the porch with him a few minutes longer, but had to work to do so I slung him over my shoulder and brought him in. The next thing he had to do as a result of that was harass Tosca because he had, after all, been Outside.
28 July 2004
Puckaroo Banzai had TWO visits to the Outside today, the lucky boy. He has quickly glommed onto my willingness to let him come outside with me when I empty the water bowl. This morning, he bounded out, rolled in the dirt and immediately went to sniff everything on the front porch.
Late this afternoon, when Randy got home from the gym, he came out to say hello to me and the moggies and he took Puck outside for a while.
Meanwhile, Theseus is once again a major stinkybutt and I despair of dealing with it. So mainly, I try to pretend it isn't there. Except I can smell him as soon as he's within two feet of me. Feh!
31 July 2004
I think I'll have to reverse my policy of letting Puck go Out. The brief time he gets outside isn't enough to satisfy him, but seems to be just enough to get him all hepped up and riled and frustrated. He spent his first year as a totally outdoor cat, his second year with a lot of access to the outside, and now suddenly in his third year, he's forced to be an indoor cat. The very short tastes of the outside must reawaken the wild boy inside him.
Whatever the reason, he jumped Sly last night and they had a series of short, vicious battles where they were biting one another around the neck and fur was literally flying. Puck was the aggressor. I had to chase them around the office until I finally managed to get hold of Puck and whack him a good one on the head to express my displeasure. I held onto him until he had calmed down and stopped huffing, then I checked him over carefully for bites. Didn't find any.
After that, I found poor old Sly and massaged his neck and shoulders checking for bites. Sly thought that was wonderful and turned on his purr machine. As near as I can tell, they pulled out tufts of fur, but didn't inflict actual wounds. I hope.
At any rate, Puck did not go Out today.
2 Aug. 2004
Courtesy of my friend, Marty, take this link and under "Cats Falling Down", click on the video link. It's hysterical.
Poor Nefreet's catbox was overrun with ants again, blast the miserable things.
Puck is frustrated at not going out. He stretches himself full length at the door where tries and tries to figure out how to work the doorknob. He knows that round shiny thing is the means to opening the door. If he had thumbs, I'd be in big trouble.
4 Aug. 2004
Although Puck has gotten wise to it, I still manage to distract him briefly by flicking the large empty gelatin capsule into the air so it bounces and makes a fun thing to go chase.
This morning Puck bounced after it and mauled it in his mouth a little bit, just enough to make the gelatin sticky. I looked up and there is Puck, only a teensy bit perturbed, with a gelatin capsule glued to his bottom lip. This necessitated (between howls of laughter) grabbing my camera to get shots.
After about five minutes he got it off by himself, then pretended it never happened.
Since I had the camera out, I grabbed a couple of other shots, too.
8 Aug. 2004
Nefreet is in the doghouse where Randy is concerned. He was petting her, then stood up and walked past her whereupon for no apparent reason she lashed out and gave him a nasty set of claw marks on his foot. I think she's very lucky that she didn't become a football at that moment. Punt!
Yesterday, I heard Diva having a wonderful old time batting something around on the floor. It turned out to be one of the extra Lysine capsules I had set aside for the evening dose. Both capsules were missing from the corner of my monitor stand. I rescued the one from her and only managed to find the second one later last night.
Tribble spent yesterday methodically puncturing my two guests in the legs. It remain the most effective attention-getting technique I've seen used by a cat. "Hi, pet me right now or I will stick this fish-hook into your calf."
I found Salem (neighbor's black cat) munching on bird feathers in the front yard this morning. I hope it was an old kill and not a new kill. I confess, softie that I am, I bought some cheap cat food and put out a bowl of it on the front porch a couple of weeks ago. The neighbor's cats all look skinny to me. Besides, I was hoping that having food handy might discourage some of the bird-eating and might tame them down a bit so that I could get a chance to pet them. No such luck so far. They are very spooky cats.
Here's a new batch of photos of the Demon Glowing Eyes Brigade.
10 Aug. 2004
I've been worrying about Owl's knee for a couple of months. He walks and even jumps apparently using it, but as I've commented before, when he sits or lies down, he holds it straight out. When I've tried to get him to bend it, he reacts badly and gets away from me as fast as he can.
When I had visitors over a few days ago, Owl wanted to run away from them and wouldn't even use the leg. He went three-legged instead. That was the tipping point of worry. I thought that maybe he was being a stubborn Siamese (is that redundant?), but it could be more than that.
For peace of mind, I took him to the local vet and had the knee x-rayed. She hadn't seen him before, so she did a full exam. The general exam looked good. But the x-ray news was as bad as it gets.
The wire holding his knee together has broken and the bones have shifted out of place. This means he *can't* bend his knee. It also means he must be in constant pain from the way the bones and cartilage are now jammed together. Plus who knows how much the broken wire itself might hurt.
Which means...another round of surgery to fix it. Damn! Once again, I'm looking at really expensive surgery I can't afford, but it's not like I can leave him in this condition.
The local vet is showing the x-rays to a radiologist this evening. She's going to call me with specific details tomorrow so that I can begin to call the list of orthopedic surgeons she gave me and decide where to take him. They're all a long way from here in West L.A. or Ventura or Pasadena (not a single one in Bakersfield). The ones in Ventura are supposed to be extremely good, but also twice as expensive as anywhere else. Sigh...
He was such a sweet, quiet, good boy about all of it. I was told not to let him have any food since this morning (which meant none of the moggies got to eat), so the first thing he did when he got home was stick his face in the food bowl. That was another nagging clue that had me worried -- I could see he was losing weight, even though he eats well. He's down to 13 lbs, a good weight for him, but down a couple of pounds from last Dec. If he's in constant pain, that might make him lose weight.
Poor Owl. The sooner I can get help for him, the better.
12 Aug. 2004
News about Owl: the vet took the x-rays to a radiologist and reported thusly -- the radiologist doesn't think the broken wire is the problem and thinks the joint has fused with scar tissue, a condition called arthodosis. There's a surgical procedure of arthrodesis which uses metal plates to fuse a joint that is too badly damaged to be repaired.
However, my biggest concern right now is that Owl might be in constant pain. My vet thinks he probably does have discomfort of some sort, if not outright pain.
By amazing luck, the vet has an orthopedic surgeon visiting her clinic tomorrow afternoon and he will look at Owl and the x-rays for free to give me a second opinion. I will take action depending on what I learn tomorrow, but I feel that something will have to be done and I don't see how it could not involve surgery.
13 Aug. 2004
The Owl Report is about as dire as it gets.
I dropped Owl off at my vet's around 12:30 pm to await the arrival of the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Rooks. Dr. Rooks has a surgical practice in Orange County, a two-hour plus (depending on traffic) drive south of here. He comes up once or twice a month, as I understand it, to consult at my vet's clinic and places in Bakersfield.
Later in the afternoon, my vet called to give me the results of Dr. Rooks looking at Owl and the x-rays. Yes, he agrees that Owl is probably having a lot of pain. The only option is to go in surgically and see what can be done. If there's a sufficient amount of cartilage remaining, it might be possible to reconstruct a working knee. It's more likely that he'd have to perform a procedure called arthrodesis in which the knee is permanently fused. It would no longer move, but it would also no longer cause pain. Given how well Owl has been moving around here, including jumping up and down from my desk, only using three legs, I don't think a fused knee would be much of a disaster.
Mainly, I want this to be the last damn knee surgery this poor cat and his poor (about to be impoverished) owner have to suffer through.
My vet gave me a list of four clinics that have licensed orthopedic surgeons she would recommend. We're looking at a *very* expensive surgery. Dr. Rooks estimates the cost between $1900 and $2400. Two other places estimated anywhere from $2500 up to $3200. I didn't even bother calling the place in Ventura because my vet said that when she priced them, they charged twice as much as anyone else. Since she took her dogs to Dr. Rooks for surgery, and since he has seen Owl and has the best price, I opted for him.
I'm driving Owl down tomorrow to have him checked in, to consult with Dr. Rooks (who I didn't get to meet today), and Owl has his surgery Sunday morning.
I picked Owl up late this afternoon, along with the x-rays and some morphine-based pain medication. At the moment, Owl is feeling pretty good (IOW a stoned moggy). He's not gonna be too happy about a two hour plus car drive, stoned or not.
I am deeply touched and appreciative and wish to thank Marty and Eva for sending money to help Owl without me even going into cyberbegging mode. I have been extremely reluctant to cyberbeg again after people were already so generous for the first surgery Owl had. But the price of that was nothing compared to the price of this. So, dear moggophiles, if you have money burning a hole in your wallet (hah!), Owl and I would be eternally grateful.
14 Aug. 2004
Tremendous thanks to Shannon Muir who may have just saved Owl's life. I was in such a rush and too trusting and didn't do the kind of research I should have done. But Shannon googled on Dr. Rooks and the All-Care Center and discovered a very unsettling lawsuit against him. Numerous counts of malpractice, including having someone whose background was a heavy machine operator giving out anesthesia and performing surgical procedures!!! And passing off people as specialists (such as neurologists) with no such background, not keeping proper records, and so on.
I immediately cancelled the appointment. I'm still shaken by what a close call that was and the thought of what could have happened to Owl at the hands of unqualified people. Rooks may be a great surgeon (he has a good rep), but the person administering anesthesia is every bit as vital.
Rooks was supposed to have had his license to practice revoked, but has gotten a stay which allows him to remain in practice. That's not good enough for me! There were also other lawsuits, including lawsuits All Care brought against previous patients who complained about bad care or the loss of a pet, and All Care lost all of them, as far as I can see. Apparently, his clinic also tends to give a lowball figure up front, but charges more later.
I realize that things can go wrong with the best of vets. It's hardly a perfect science. A brilliant and caring vet will still lose patients. But the number and type of items listed in the lawsuit after a 11/2-year investigation by the California Veterinary Medical Board is enough to keep me away.
I spent the morning researching a place that looks very good and is recommended on a couple of websites that do animal rescues and adoptions. It was one of the other places my vet gave me to check out, Animal Surgical and Emergency Center in west L.A. I've made an appointment for Monday to have Owl evaluated there.
Deepest thanks to Shannon and Joyslin for contributing to the Owl Surgery Fund.
15 Aug. 2004
Puck is determined not to let Owl have all of the attention. He got onto the top of a bookshelf, knocked some empty boxes down onto Blue (who had been sleeping peacefully), then decided the wall clock could be used as a stepping stone, resulting in the clock and Puck tumbling to the floor.
I have been forced a couple of times today to stop what I'm doing and play with Puck before he explodes from excess energy.
Special thanks to Elizabeth B. for her donation to the Owl Surgery Fund.
16 Aug. 2004
By Bast's Whiskers, it's been a long stressful day.
I had to get up at omigod o'clock, an hour at which I am not yet a sentient being in order to have breakfast, give cat pills and get on the road for a trip I estimated would take about an hour and a half due to traffic. I'd had to put all the food away last night because Owl couldn't have any food after midnight, which meant the entire office Horde had to go without food overnight. The food went back out as soon as I had Owl outside.
I had a slight delay because while I was giving the morning pills, Owl's telepathy kicked in and he went off to hide. He was very unhappy about being in the carrier and panted a little during the drive (meaning he was quite stressed himself).
Owl is one of the sweetest, gentlest cats I've ever seen, so it's not that he struggles or makes noise or does any of the things other cats do. He just looks at you with those big, blue saucer eyes and that's all it takes to melt your heart.
I got started a bit late, but still got there within a few minutes of the appointment time...then got to wait for about 50 minutes. It's a good-sized place, very busy and extremely pleasant and upscale, just south of Westwood. I was amused by the chit chat in the waiting room. One young woman's father produced American Gladiator and other reality shows. Another young woman is the assistant to a TV writer and ended up with his dog because he never has any time.
They took Owl to the back for weighing, etc. while I waited in another room. Then the surgeon came in with the x-rays and we consulted. I have to say, I am very, very happy with the people there. She was terrific. First, she has a Siamese herself and really loves them. We discovered that we both have Siamese cats with the same plastic bag-eating fetish and the same obsession with eating/throwing up grass. So right off the bat, she was in tune with Owl.
She went over everything in thorough detail, with no false promises. She was very honest about what might or might not come of this, what the various procedures could be and the possible outcomes. With a big cat like Owl, it's harder to make this type of repair work as well. The main thing is that the bones had moved out of alignment and were being held that way by scar tissue, so the only thing she could do was to go in surgically and see what could be done in terms of a repair.
I had called ahead to the vet who'd done the first surgery and had him fax the records down, so they had a blood panel to look at. There was a question about the high blood sugar he had then and the fact that he's lost weight. We decided she would do a new blood panel before we made a decision about surgery. I hied myself off for half an hour while that was done.
The blood panel was excellent, blood sugar normal, everything indicated he's in good health otherwise. I left Owl to have the surgery, but I asked to see him before I left. They brought him into one of the rooms and I spent about ten minutes soothing him and telling him what a good boy and that everything was going to be all right. He wasn't buying it.
The tech who had drawn the blood came in to chat and tell me what a nice cat Owl is. The guy was warm and sweet. I could tell that he genuinely liked Owl. Another big plus point for this place. He nicknamed Owl "the gentle giant".
The bad news -- it's going to cost between $2,200 and $2,800...and there's no way to make payments. It's half up front, half when I pick Owl up. Aaaagggghhhhhh.
The surgeon wasn't sure if she would be able to get Owl into surgery today or have to wait until tomorrow. She said she'd call. I got home by late afternoon and went out to finally clean the cat boxes. To add to the worries of the day, I discovered that Querida's left eye is infected and nearly swollen shut. I found some ointment to put in it, but I'll have to check it carefully in the morning in case she requires a run to the vet.
C'mon, Bast, show a little mercy here.
Six o'clock came, 6:30 crawled by. I called and was told the vets were all still doing surgeries. Around 7, the surgeon called to assure me that it went well and that Owl came out of the anesthesia just fine. She said there was a lot of scar tissue they had to remove. They took out the pins and wire, got the bones aligned properly, did some suturing, and have put on an exterior rigging to hold the leg rigidly in place until the new scar tissue can form and hold things things in place. When she first described it to me, I called it scaffolding, so that's the only word I can think of for it now.
The idea is for the knee to heal in a certain position, with the hope that he might get some flex in it, but at the very least, he'll be able to stand on it and use it a little. That's what we have to hope for, because if this fails, we would probably have to consider amputation. And I DO NOT want to think about that.
She emphasized that it will be vitally important to keep Owl quiet and still for weeks. She wants me to either get a big cage or dog crate and keep him in that, or create some kind of enclosure so that he can't possibly try to jump or do anything that will dislodge what has been done until it's thoroughly healed in place. I'm afraid that is the most likely explanation for why his first surgery failed. He jumped or did something that screwed up the bones while the scar tissue was in the process of forming, and it formed with the bones out of whack.
Owl will be in the hospital for observation for another couple of days. The surgeon expects there to be a lot of swelling at first and she wants to keep a close eye on him.
About five minutes after we hung up, the phone range again. Instant paranoia! I was worried it was the surgeon again. To my surprise, it was a woman from my local vet's office calling to inquire how things went. I was impressed with that. I filled her in and told her about the need for a large crate or enclosure. I meant to call them in the morning to see what they might have. She said she thought they had something, but she would check on it and call me in the morning.
I feel optimistic about the surgery. I'm highly impressed with the surgeon and the clinic. I appeal once again to all you angels out there who can contribute to the Owl Surgery Fund. This is going to be a tough one to cover.
17 Aug. 2004
I spoke with Dr. Wilson this morning. She said Owl is "subdued", which is to be expected right after surgery. There's some swelling, also expected, but he generally seems to be doing all right. He's on pain meds, of course, so that would also keep him subdued.
She said to keep checking every day and I might be able to bring him home by Thurs.
I didn't ask about the total cost. I don't think I'm prepared to hear it yet.
Enormous thanks to Alex B. for his donation.
For those who can, please consider contributing to the Owl Surgery Fund. Thanks so much!
Oh, yes, Querida's eye looks better this morning. I'll keep using the ointment and see how it goes.
18 Aug. 2004
I wasn't able to connect with one of the surgeons until late in the day. Owl is progressing all right. He doesn't want to eat, but she says that's pretty normal. She guesses he's the kind of cat that will do better back in his own environment, and and I quite agree. They've given him a box to hide in. She said he likes it.
Meanwhile, Randy and I spent much of the afternoon getting an enclosure made to keep Owl confined in comfort. The surgeon stressed again today how important it is to keep him from doing anything that could mess up the healing process. She said I'll have to keep him more or less confined for two months, not two weeks.
The other keel-over-heart-stopping news is the final bill. Over $2600.00. ::THUD::
20 Aug. 2004
It's been a tough couple of days. Backing up:
Thurs. 8/19: We arrived at the clinic around 5:30 pm after finishing our other meetings and such in L.A. The bill had gone up because the person who gave me the total the day before hadn't figured in the overnight hospitalization costs, roughly $300 a night! So the final total was $2920.00, a figure I can barely bring myself to think about. And there will be more expense down the road. The follow-up visits are included, but not the follow-up x-rays. I'm going to stop talking about this now before I go mad.
I was given the anti-biotics and pain meds, and detailed printed pages of instructions. I was impressed with their thoroughness. They covered everything I need to do or not do or watch for, as well as when I need to make follow-up visits, what those visits would do, what costs would be incurred, and so on.
They brought Owl out in the carrier. The tech commented that he is an "awesome cat". I think he made some fans.
He wasn't a happy camper on the long drive home, though. He fought with the carrier a little bit, which isn't like him, and he even complained plaintively a few times. He's usually silent. Shortly before we got home, he peed in the carrier and then complained quite a bit about that.
For various reasons, we didn't get home until pretty late. I needed to spend some time in the office with him, plus I had to give him the meds. We put the cat box, food and water bowls into the enclosure. Then we took the carrier apart so we could simply lift the unhappy moggy out. I wiped him down as best I could. Once inside the holding pen, Owl flopped around a bit, being pretty unsteady as you might expect, and he's got this metallic scaffolding jutting out from both sides of his knee. Almost immediately, he stuck his snoot into the foot and ate a little bit. I was told he didn't want to eat at the clinic, so this was a good thing.
But he was Not Happy about the pen. No, precious, not one bit. There was one tiny air slot at the bottom of the desk that we hadn't blocked off because we thought there was no way in hell he could get out there. That was the first thing he did. We turned around and to our shock found him squeezing and pulling and oozing through this low, narrow gap. We had multiple heart attacks on the spot. The last thing you want to do in that situation is interfere with what the cat is doing, so we had to stand by while he dragged his scaffolded leg out through this space.
I immediately put him back in the pen and investigated his leg with a flashlight. I couldn't see any outward signs of damage. Randy blocked the space with a brick and the large tub of cat food (to keep him from pushing the brick out).
By this time, Randy's asthma was reaching critical levels, having been in the car with a cat for two hours and now in the cat-filled office. He had to vacate for a while. I gave Owl his meds, which make him foam profusely. He hates that.
I was checking my email when I heard a loud thump from the back of the pen. I had blocked off other open spaces around this angled desk using spare shelves from some bookshelves, held by bungie cords. They seemed quite secure.
Not with the Siamese Hulk around. He had forced his way out and was making off for the back of the office. I put him back inside and stacked up three heavy boxes against the shelves. Randy, who had come back in again, placed a heavy toolchest against another shelf and brought more bricks inside.
We put a couple of heavy boxes against the child gate that forms the front of the pen, to hold him in for the night.
Fri. 8/20: I came out before breakfast to check on Owl and give him the morning meds. I was relieved to see he hadn't found some cunning new way to escape, Houdini-cat that he is. He's also very damned unhappy about being in prison. The pain meds are not keeping him nearly as sedated as I expected they would. He has one, sharply focused imperative in his furry brain -- ESCAPE. That is, after all, the duty of any good POW.
One of the techs cautioned me that the morphine-based pain killer might give Owl constipation. Instead, we had a messy case of diahrrea that required some unpleasant clean up on both cat and pen. I am not having fun.
Every time I have to open the gate to clean the box or give him food or whatever, he makes a break for it. He wants to be anywhere but there. I wish I could give him that simple freedom, but on one of his jailbreaks, he tried to get into a narrow space where he could easily get that leg caught. If he screws up this operation, we've reached the end of the road. About the only alternative after this is amputation. I remind myself of this to harden my heart while I keep him locked up.
But he really, really hates it.
Here's a batch of photos, mostly of Owl, but a couple of other moggies as well.
A big thank you to Lois T. for her donation.
21 Aug. 2004
Owl has gotten himself so pre-conditioned that last he started to foam at the mouth before I gave him the pill! And it isn't even the pill that tastes so bad, it's the liquid antibiotics.
He seems a bit more resigned to incarceration today, though he was quick to come out when I had to release him briefly in order to sweep up the litter on the floor.
LATER: I just got back from running errands. It's the middle of the afternoon. All I did was say hello to Owl and tell him he was a good boy, and he has already started foaming at the mouth as though I were about to give him the meds. Yeesh. Talk about Pavlovian conditioning...
22 Aug. 2004
Once again, I had to let the Owlmeister out briefly while I cleaned up the pen. There was a lot of litter on the floor and in the water bowl. I always replace the water in the morning, refresh the food, remove the litter pan and sweep out the area.
I have to sweep with one eye on Owl the whole time. He wandered over to food bowls, but didn't eat. I'm rather worried about the eating. I can't tell that he's eaten any dry food, and he hasn't been touching the canned food at all. Normally, he's enthusiastic about the canned food. I can tell from the litter box that he's drinking water, but I'm worried that he isn't eating.
He then wandered around my desk and squeezed himself into the tiny carrier on the floor that Querida likes to lie in. Fine, I thought, let him stay here nice and quiet. The next thing I know, he has pulled himself out of the carrier and *jumped* onto the director's chair. At least it's a low-slung canvas chair, so it wasn't a big jump, but the last thing I want him to do is jump!
I immediately went over there to stand by him and pet him. I got him to purr for me. Then Puck decided to jump Kate. She took off with a squeak that spooked Owl who did exactly what I feared and tried to launch himself from the chair. Thank Bast I was standing right there and was able to catch him instantly. Back into the pen he went. I swear, it must be like having a 2 year old.
I rearranged where the food and water bowls are to get them as far away from the litter as I can. I'm also going to change how I give him the meds in the hope of encouraging him to eat at times when he's not foaming at the mouth so much.
23 Aug. 2004
I gave out the canned food at the usual time last night, while not giving Owl his meds until later. I was really hoping that would help get some food into him. He showed a little bit of interest in the canned food, then threw up. Since he didn't have anything in his stomach, he only brought up liquid. That left me pretty worried. I had to go back to the office an hour later to do the meds and it looked like he might have touched the food, just a little bit. I decided to call the clinic in the morning if I didn't see improvement.
But this morning -- praise Bast! -- he had eaten the canned food and a portion of the dry food. I am so relieved. Randy, who is a saint, is now coming out with me before breakfast to babysit Owl while I do the housekeeping chores with the enclosure. He kept Owl under control, but he commented that although Owl was purring, he was also whacking his tail around in that way that says, "I may be purring, but I'm not really happy about this."
24 Aug. 2004
Last night, I ran out of Clavamox, the liquid antibiotic, which they wanted me to give to Owl for 7 days. But they only gave me enough for 4 days. Color me confused. I left a long, detailed message on their voice mail asking them to contact my local vet and authorize me to pick up some more Clavamox from her.
That was the first thing I followed up on this morning and, of course, nothing had been done. I finally found out that the surgery clinic had not even gotten the voice mail. I was hard pressed to bite my lip and not snarl "Why do you bother having voice mail if you don't bloody bother to CHECK it?"
Anyway, after several phone calls and wasted time, I got things arranged, had breakfast, ran down to my local vet's office and picked it up. My local vet, bless her, gave me pills instead of the awful liquid, so Owl won't have an excuse to keep foaming.
I was very happy to see this morning that Owl had eaten every bit of his food -- all the canned food and every spec of the dry food. Randy did the baby-sitting with Owl while I cleaned up. Owl just wanted to escape, though he tried to put Randy off his guard by purring. I put some catnip on the catspa, which kept Owl occupied for part of the time, along with several other catnip fiends. Then I also put some catnip on Owl's cushion in the pen.
The poor boy looks so bored being cooped up. I asked the clinic if it would be all right to simply let him out and walk around a little bit, but they said absolutely not. I need to keep him contained, quiet and moving as little as possible. Sorry, Owl.
25 Aug. 2004
Owl has been crying today and I don't know why. It may relate to his guts bothering him. I gave him acidophilus this morning and really hope it will help him. I keep sitting down to give him pets and atteniton, but I think mainly he's just agitated and wants to get out and about. Definitely not a cat who likes to be caged.
26 Aug. 2004
I suspect part of Owl's crying may be to say "I don't want to use the same cat box for two jobs." He complains a bit when he's using the cat box for the second time, I notice. The acidophilus has helped with the gut problem.
He's also pulling fur out. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. It wasn't from the usual place on his back. Then while Randy was babysitting him, he saw Owl pulling out fur along the edge of the shaved area on his leg. Maybe the fur growing back is irritating him, so he's licking it hard enough to pull out the fur. Randy said Owl was also licking the incision, which I hope is a good thing, as in keep it clean vs. having a problem with it. It looks all right superficially. The stitches come out next Tues.
I have a new type of eye ointment for Querida, though I haven't used it yet. The inflammation in her eye calmed down with the last oinment I used. Considering how much she hates having stuff put in her eyes, I won't use it unless I really need to. She was drinking a lot of water this morning. I cut back her thyroid meds just a tiny trifle starting a few days ago. Drinking a lot of water could mean I need to go back to the original dose, so I will.
27 Aug. 2004
Mr. Owl has been slightly quieter today. He complained to me quite a lot yesterday. I spent several sessions in the pen with him to give him love and attention.
While I was gone for lunch and running a couple of errands, Owl got a raw pink spot about the size of a nickel on the inside of his knee just below the bottom part of the rigging. He had something similar on the outside of the knee at the same location relative to the rigging, but this one is a bit more raw. I don't think he could have simply scraped the skin away, so I'm thinking he must have licked it raw.
I called and conferred with the surgeon. She said it's not uncommon, but if it gets any worse or yucky looking to bring him in. She also said it was okay to put Neosporin on it, which I've done. I didn't discuss it with her, but I'm thinking it must hurt somewhat for Owl to want to lick it that severely. Since I still have some pain meds from my local vet, I went ahead and gave him a dose of that, too. From the nice nap he's having, I think it helped.
28 Aug. 2004
Owl is being an excellent boy. The raw spot on his leg looks better (the vet said the Neosporin tastes bad, so that would also keep him from licking it).
Querida, OTOH, was so badly congested this morning, that she was having trouble breathing while we were doing the pill routine. I've decided to make a second try at giving her the course of antibiotics that my vet wanted me to try on her. I stopped the first time because she developed such bad diarrhea, but the acidophilus is working so well for Owl, that I'm going to give it to her and hope that keeps it under control.
I have a tall narrow box in my office that a camera tripod came in. It's standing up right with the top open. I heard a lot of commotion and a big THUD!, so I went to check. I peered down the long box and Puck the Merry Prankster's big eyes stared up at me. I tipped the box over so he could extract himself, but he stayed inside near the opening and casually sniffed the edges to make it clear that he could have gotten out any time he wanted.
I'm sure I've already mentioned this in the past, but I have a large tattoo on my forehead that reads "SUCKER!". It's in glowing letters that only cats can see. Which is why I bought a cheap bag of cat food (barn cat food, the man called it) and set out a bowl of food on the front porch. The neighbor's cats from across the street were looking skinny and given all the drama that goes on over there, I figured she might not be feeding them regularly. Not that it's my problem, of course, I told myself as I put the food out.
But there are also plenty of other half-wild moggies around the area and they've finally discovered the food. The bowl is being emptied at a quicker pace. There's a dark tabby coming around now, very pretty and quite young. I'm guessing 9-10 months. I saw her (him?) creep behind the bushes, across the open space and onto the porch.
I looked out the front window a little while later after she had eaten. She must have heard me talking to Randy because she looked up at us for a few seconds before running off. She had ENORMOUS green eyes, big bat ears, a white chest and white mittens on her paws. Very pretty moggy.
29 Aug. 2004
Owl continues to complain about his situation, on and off. He had rubbed the raw spot on the outside of his knee to hot pink again. More Neosporin was applied.
Diva entertained herself by batting around the rubber tarantula.
Either Puck or Blue (both deny responsiblity) knocked over the tripod box, then they played hide & seek with it.
After such exhausting play, Puck needed a nap. He settled into the director's chair, apparently oblivious to the fact that Tribble was already sleeping there.
See for yourself (third photo down).
30 Aug. 2004 revised
Last night, Owl used his sumo ninja skills to sneak past me when I was cleaning up spilled litter. I was inside and there was Owl on the outside. He mainly wanted to roll on the catnip spa, so I let him do that for a few minutes before he want back to the pen. Doing hard time in Kitty Alcatraz.
When I came in this morning, Owl had removed almost every bit of litter from his box. Such a helpful boy. So I changed out the box, swept up the mounds of litter (I bought a small hand whisk broom that works great) and put the freshly cleaned box back in the pen.
Owl immediately climbed into it, threw half the litter out and used it. Sooo, more cleaning up, etc.
He's pulling the fur off his back again, so I have a query in to the surgeon to find out whether I can return to giving him antihistamines.
Shortly after I gave him the last of his several pills, he horked up a giganto hair ball, along with lots of food and at least one pill. Sigh...pardon me, I have more clean up to do.
The vet said antihistamines were okay, so I've started Owl back on those. I think Owl has figured out that emptying the litter from the box will make me come visit him, because he's sure been doing it a lot today.
I had an amusing moment when I was inside the pen with Owl cleaning up. Tribble came up to the gate and stood there pondering me inside. He said, "Murf? Murf?" He was thoroughly perplexed. Then he began sticking his paw through the grid openings and sticking his claws into my feet, the patented Tribble Method of Getting Attention.
Next I have to put the cat carrier back together pending Owl's return visit to the surgeon tomorrow.
The little tabby with the white chest is hanging around a lot now and getting bolder. He'll stay on the porch and eat while we talk to him from 6 feet away or so, and he lurks around the yard. Still not sure if it's a he or she.
With the rise of cats coming to eat the food, there is also a rise in the number of cat spats, unfortunately.
31 Aug. 2004 revised
Today was mostly eaten up by taking Owl to the clinic for his first follow-up visit to have his sutures removed. I had to get up at an evil (early) hour and went out first to do all the cat stuff. Having given pills and cleaned boxes, I put the carrier inside Owl's pen in the hope he would get inside it himself of his own free will and hide out.
I had a quick breakfast and found that my idea worked perfectly. Owl was already inside the carrier, comfy and relaxed. All I had to do was close the door and we were on the way.
I left around 9:15 and arrived around 10:40. I dropped Owl off along with a note that had some questions on it for the surgeon. I did major grocery shopping, had lunch and went back for Owl. I didn't get to talk to the surgeon, but I was given a printed report that addressed my questions.
She said the incision has healed nicely, not to worry about the positioning of the fixator (I thought it had shifted, but it was an illusion caused by the swelling in his leg continuing to go down), to keep putting Neosporin on the hot spots but not worry about them unless they get worse, and that she's pleased with how well Owl is using the leg after only two weeks.
The bad news -- I have to keep him confined another month! Aggghh!
I got back around 3 pm. Owl did NOT want to go back into the pen when we got home. He complained a lot about it. I was in the pen visiting with him when my phone rang, so I had to hurry out and just "latched" the gate using the bungie cord. A short time later, I heard the gate go BOINGGG! as Owl muscled it open and escaped. He didn't get anywhere, but he was very unhappy with me for returning him to Kitty Alcatraz. And now I have to take more care to put the doorstopper bricks in place so he can't do that again.
His next recheck is on the 14th, when they take another set of x-rays. Which I have to pay for. Sigh...
1 Sept. 2004 revised
Owl seemed terribly out of sorts and disgruntled with me this morning. He wouldn't even take a treat after getting his pills. I changed the cushion in there, putting in one of his favorites, and he seems happier about having that, but all in all, he seems rather depressed today. I wish I could make him understand how important it is to have his leg heal properly.
5 Sept. 2004 revised
Owl is back to being mostly resigned about not getting out of the pen. Note I said mostly resigned. I was inside the pen the other night cleaning it out and had my leg across the opening to keep Owl from escaping. He simply jumped over my leg! The brat! He's not supposed to do things like that!
To give him credit, he did it beautifully without using the rigged leg and without landing on it. But even so...
He's eating well, though he did throw up last night. The antihistamines have gotten his hair-pulling under control again.
I'm having less luck with Querida. The past couple of days, she has thrown up quite a lot about 20-30 minutes after I give her the morning pills. Which means I don't know how whether she's getting the benefit of any of the medicine, blast it. She has hairball problems and is shedding profusely, and that doesn't help.
I went over to comb Querida. As usual, Theseus waltzed up (and he really does dance over) because he loves to be combed. I have all but given up trying to keep his fur under control. It is beyond any tool I've found, including the dematting tool.
He loves to let me groom his head, neck and front end, tolerates me grooming his mid-torso, but the minute I head toward the rear quarters (where desperately *needs* the work)...fuggedabouddit. Somehow, I will simply have to come up with the money for the heavy-duty shaver and shave his rear end. There's no other viable solution.
Excuse me, I must go and save a roll of paper towels from the Puckaroo.
6 Sept. 2004 revised
The petsitters came by so I could show them Owl's set up, display his bionic leg, and go through his situation with them, since we have to make a sudden overnight trip. I hadn't spoken with them since the end of July, so they didn't know about the surgery.
Tribble made sure to stick double sets of claws into both their legs to ensure that they remembered him. They did. He's such an attention sponge.
I've tried spacing out Querida's pills rather than giving them to her all at once, and this seems to be helping. I give her the antibiotic right away, wait ten minutes or so, and wait a while longer before giving her the Lysine. I hold off on the acidophilus until the middle of the day. So far, so good. She hasn't thrown up since I started doing this.
There's a scrawny little white cat coming around for food now. White with blue eyes. I thought it was completely white, but once I got a closer look I could make out a very faint orange blush on its nose, ears and tail. It showed up with a big, scruffy orange tom that just might be daddy since they clearly knew one another.
We haven't seen the lovely little tabby with the white-chest for several days now, ever since it was jumped very badly by one of the neighbor's big old tabby toms. I ran outside where the fight was raging under the front deck and yelled, but they both ran off without me being able to see if there was damage. I wish the little tabby would show up again, so I would know that it's all right.
7 Sept. 2004 revised
Last night was a whole load of Not Fun. The ants had found and invaded Owl's food bowl and water bowl. I've been worried about this since Owl is trapped in there and has no recourse if he's plagued by ants. Blasted little six-legged monsters. I tracked them to the source and dealt mercilessly with them, but this left a lot of clean up to do.
Randy came out and babysat Owl in another part of the office while I cleaned out the bowls and vacuumed out his pen. Owl was delighted and promptly curled up in his favorite cat bed under my desk. I hadn't thought the cat beds would be comfortable for his leg, but he was so happy there, I've taken out the cushion and put the cat bed into his pen.
Of course, I think he was mostly happy that he was under my desk, rather than in Kitty Alcatraz, but them's the breaks.
Puck has been a Major Snot lately, chasing Tosca around and giving her a lot of grief. Right now, though, everyone is curled up in happy moggy piles for the afternoon nap.
11 Sept. 2004 revised
Owl and the rest of the moggies fared just fine with the petsitters for a couple of days.
I was a bit worried about Owl's leg because on Thurs. night, there was an especially raw, nasty looking spot next to the rigging. I slathered Neosporin on it.
I was prepared to take him all the way to the clinic (hours of driving into L.A. and back), but it looked much better in the morning. He has a regular appointment next Tues., so I'm doing my best to hold out for that.
I think I'm finally seeing some improvement in Querida from the antibiotics. Her eyes are much better and the congestion seems to be easing some. The acidophilus is helping at least a little with the negative effects. I need to contact the vet about getting a few more days' worth, since I'm short on the amount I need for a full treatment.
During our short trip, we stopped in at Randy's sister's place where I attempted to say hello to Artemis. She's been with her new people for going on 8 months now and is quite happy. And she has completely forgotten who I am!!! She hid under some covered chairs, wouldn't come out for any amount of coaxing, would barely let me touch her at all.
That's either a really short memory, or she was afraid I was going to take her away from paradise! ;)
15 Sept. 2004
Owl had his second follow-up visit yesterday. I tried the same tactic of putting his carrier into his pen ahead of time, but he's too smart for that. "Oh, no, I remember what happened last time I crawled into that thing. You fooled me once, you're not fooling me twice." When the time came, I had to gently help him inside.
He was very quiet on the long, tedious drive, while I was tense because I was supposed to have him there by 10 am and the traffic was beyond horrendous. I called at 10 to let them know I would be late because I was stuck on the freeway. "Ah, the 405 parking lot," she said, "Our favorite." I got there at 10:20 am, which was okay but meant I'd have to wait until later to pick him up because they wouldn't release him until the sedative wears off.
They had to sedate him to do his first set of follow-up x-rays.
I went off and did a ton of errands in that part of L.A. The surgeon called to give me a report after the x-rays. She said that he has managed to slightly shift the bones -- even with the damned fixator! -- but the knee is in good shape and the bones are still in alignment, so it's okay. However, she was once again adamant about having to keep Owl confined and as still as possible.
So the unfortunate Mr. Owl has been sentenced to another month in Kitty Alcatraz. His next check-up and x-rays will be in Oct.
I picked him up at 5 and began a two-hour battle with traffic to get home. Owl was agitated on the trip home, plus he got into a wrestling match with the towel on the bottom of the carrier. He ended up with the towel sort of wrapped over his head, so I finally had to pull the car over and take the towel out.
He was NOT happy about going back into his pen when we got back. He spent an entire hour bitching me out non-stop until I gave him some canned food. Then he busied himself with that and gave me some peace.
This morning, though, he made it crystal clear he's unhappy and wants out, so I'm having to be very careful when I get in there to clean things up.
15 Sept. 2004
I just heard a kitten crying outside the back of the office. Puck was up in the window going crazy. I mewed out the window and it mewed back, so I called Randy, grabbed my flashlight and went looking.
I quietly stepped outside the door, sat down in the darkness on the steps and mewed. A minute later, a white kit appeared atop a short piece of fence between the back of my office and the taller back fence that encloses the property. It stopped dead when it saw me, then went back the way it had come.
By this time, Randy came out and by shining our flashlights around we saw kittens everywhere! By "kittens" I mean very young cats, maybe 6 months or so. There was a tabby, a black one, a white one and others that scurried off before I could get a good look. They were taking off in all directions.
Obviously, they've gotten the word that there's food around here, but Holy Bast, the amount of free-ranging cats is getting ridiculous. And I just don't have the money to trap and neuter them, nor is there a program up here to do it.
16 Sept. 2004
Nothing much to report on the moggy front, so I've committed Photo.
6! - count'em 6! new additions to the Silly Sleeping Pose Olympics.
See Owl and Puck plotting, Diva squinting, moggies holding paper down so it won't escape, and gaze deep into the eyes of Theseus.
18 Sept. 2004
Kate is a world-class panicker. As with many aging cats, she sometimes gets a claw stuck in something and then she wants to panic. Unfortunately, the "something" she often has her claw stuck in is my pants leg. She did that last night and I had to wrestle with her while she's trying to go in ten directions at once in panic mode so I could disengage her claw.
Her most spectacular panic attack was a very long time ago when she somehow managed to get a shoe attached to her butt. I think the shoelace got wrapped around her tail. It was hard to say for sure because all I saw was a terrified brown streak going at warp 9 with a shoe bumping along at her rear end. She finally dislodged the demon shoe by rocketing through the cat door.
20 Sept. 2004
I walked into a solid wall of cat urine stench when I came into my office this morning. Yowsa! I searched around and found the origin. It was the big, very sturdy cardboard box that the air conditioner came in. I hadn't quite figured out how to dismantle it, so it's been sitting there. One or more of my moggies decided it was the ideal place to pee a lake. I hauled it outside, let it dry for a few hours, and tackled it with an Exacto knife. Not a fun job.
The small white cat and small white-chested tabby have been hanging around the yard more and more, along with occasional visits from what are likely their brothers and sisters. However, I think last night the bowls of food and water on the front porch were visited by a raccoon. The evidence? First, the snap-on lid of the plastic container of cat food had been carefully removed and set aside, while the container itself was still upright. Secondly, the water bowl was filled with sand and grit from the ground, which could only get there by means such as a raccoon washing its paws in the water.
This means no more leaving the cat food container out at night, and trying to time it so there's no cat food either. The strays will have to show up during the day.
Meanwhile, I came across the local Totally Crazy Cat Lady (Every community has to have one. It's Bast's Law.). She will help trap and neuter strays, and takes them in. I worry about these lovely little guys around as winter sets in, and have been getting more serious about trying to catch them.
Step #1, however, is to locate the woman in the neighborhood from whence they supposedly originate. I need to at least consult with her about dealing with the cats. Maybe she'll help cover the neutering part if I do the trapping. We'll see. Step #2 will be to contact the cat lady, get the traps, etc. Watch out, mogglets. Your dinner is about to cost you your repro organs.
20 Sept. 2004
I came out of my office a bit after 6 pm and was deep in thought as I came up to the front porch. I looked up just in time to see two cats lounging on the front porch. Apparently, they didn't hear me coming because in the next split-second, they hit the rockets so fast, I could hear them skidding around the corner of the porch deck.
Then I walked over to talk to Mrs. S., the neighbor the next street over (behind me) who is the main person feeding the cats that belong to a woman that lives across the street from her. That woman, T., is the source of all the stray cats. T. inherited the house, but mostly lives somewhere else and is only there for a few days at a time. According to Mrs. S., T. tries very hard to keep the population under control, but this time there's been a kitten explosion.
T. is supposed to be back later this week and is planning to take a whole batch of kittens with her to a shelter that would love to have some kittens. I left Mrs. S. my number, so that she can help me connect with T. and see if we can coordinate some efforts to deal with the strays.
On the way home, I stopped to peer past the gate of T.'s house and saw the most gorgeous little Siamese kitten, maybe 4 months old. I talked to him and he watched me with wary eyes, but didn't run away. I'd be tempted to nab that one. They should have no trouble getting him adopted.
I knew there had to be Siamese blood running through her cats because the young white one with the orange blush and blue eyes is very much like the orange-point kittens Querida used to have in her litters.
24 Sept. 2004
I simply can't find the time to catch up, so instead here's a fun batch of Moggy Horde photos.
25 Sept. 2004
Tribble decided to get inside Owl's pen the other day while I was cleaning things up, so I decided to leave him in there with Owl to see if having company would lift Owl's spirits. Hah! Instead, Tribble whined incessantly and when I looked over, I saw Owl taking whacks at Tribble. So much for that experiment. There's only room for one, I guess.
The white with blue eyes and the white-chested gray tabby strays have become semi-regulars here. I came up to the porch when the tabby was lounging there, so I sat down on the steps and sweet-talked him for a few minutes. Then the white boy came around the other corner of the porch. It was instantly obvious they didn't like one another. White boy went into that funny arched stalking mode males will use when they want to intimidate another cat. I chided him and he suddenly realized I was there. For some reason, rather than run back the way he'd come, he decided he had to go forward. He dashed past the tabby and then cruised right past me. Not slowly, but not at a mad dash either. I probably could have grabbed him, if I'd really wanted to.
I tried to catch T. during her brief visit to her house, but she took off again so quickly, I missed her. I think I may go ahead and trap these two youngsters regardless. Since she's so rarely here to take care of them, I don't see how she could object.
I came out the other morning and found Salem finishing off the last of a chipmunk in our yard, with Limping Tom hanging around trying to get whatever Salem left behind. He ended up with the guts.
Puck is becoming quite the lap potato. It interferes with typing a little bit, but not too much. Not like Tribble, who doesn't so much want to lie in my lap as get attention. What he really wants is for me to give up typing completely and give him scritchies, and he'll keep bumping his head into my hands until he gets them.
26 Sept. 2004
The Swedes are invading! I've been inundated with submissions to the Silly Sleeping Pose Olympics for the past few days and about half of them have been from Sweden. I love the international reach of the net. We are all one in our love for silly sleeping moggies.
Anyway, a whole bunch of new contestants have joined the page.
28 Sept. 2004
There's another fine addition to the Silly Sleeping Pose Olympics.
As I came outside this morning, I saw the young white cat hanging around. I got the bowl of food and set it a short ways from the bottom of the porch steps. Then I sat down on the porch steps about four feet away and tried to coax him over. He spent some time sitting under the spruce tree watching birds, then cautiously headed my way.
He made a close run skirting around me and ducked under the front porch. I sat still and waited. It was lovely out with a cool breeze and sapphire sky. After a couple of minutes, he came out from under the other side of the steps and went to the bowl. He ate a good breakfast and didn't run off when I talked to him. He only ran off when he'd had enough food.
I've decided to give up trying to connect with T. If she's hardly ever there, she can't be that attached to these couple of cats. I'm going to trap these two that are coming by regularly, get them taken care of and into a shelter, then I'm going to stop leaving food out. I just can't deal with taking care of too many moggies.
I get inside the pen to visit with Owl several times a day and to sweep up the cat litter he tosses about with abandon. Puck wants me to play with him a lot. Tribble demands attention. I try to make sure each cat gets a bit of attention every day, which explains where a lot of my time goes!
28 Sept. 2004
I decided to get a short walk in before dinner. It was Randy's turn to cook and I assured him I'd be back in 20 minutes.
But as I got a short way from the house, I looked down the street leading to T.'s house and realized she was there. I debated it for about half a minute and headed to her house instead. As I walked around to the back deck where the door was, a veritable slew of kittens and young cats hurtled away in a thousand directions! Lots of pretty Siamese mixes and every other color of the cat rainbow.
T. was a terrific woman and we hit it off instantly. We had a long, wonderful talk. These aren't actually "her" cats in that they began just as neighborhood strays, then she started feeding them and down the slippery slope she went. I wouldn't know about that, ahem. But now she feels she's responsible for them, since they mostly live in her yard. She's a bit overwhelmed at the explosion this year, I think. She said she counted 35 young and adult cats showing up for food, and she's just discovered 3 brand new litters!
She gave me her absolute blessing to do what I will, offered to help out a little financially if she can, and loaned me a Haveaheart trap. I was just about to try and find one, so this long-term loaner is perfect. I invited her to come over and meet the Horde next time she's in town.
I got home late for dinner, which Randy wasn't terribly happy about. He was in the driveway about to come looking for me. I couldn't believe T. and I had spent that much time talking. The trap is on the porch, not baited or set. I need to work out the rest of the logistics before using it. In the meantime, I want the strays to become accustomed to the trap as an object.
Operation Stray Roundup is poised to begin...soon.
29 Sept. 2004
Hooboy. 4:03 pm. We had a small earthquake. Made my office rock very slightly for a few seconds.
Made my heart pound for longer than that because you always wonder, "Will it get worse?"
BTW, the cats slept through it. So much for the animal senses. :P
I talked to a woman who has a local cat orphanage/shelter. Once I trap the cat youngsters, I can bring them to her and she handles taking them to a vet who gives them a realy good deal on neutering and shots. There are a few places locally where I should be able to pick up vouchers that will cover part of that cost as well. I'm planning to visit with the woman this weekend, see her shelter and get the final details worked out. Then...let the trapping begin!
30 Sept. 2004
Owl had been having a grand old time today tossing the litter out of his box. I cleaned up a huge batch of it about 30 minutes ago, and now it's all over the floor again. Yeesh.
3 Oct. 2004
After lunch, I drove down the road to meet Lolette and her husband who run Cause4Cats, their own
private cat rescue service. We'd spoken by phone about taking in the
cats when I trap them here, but I wanted to meet her in person ahead
of time and see her situation. She's in the middle of incorporating
and becoming a full-fledged non-profit so she can get grants and
3 Oct. 2004
Also, a couple of new entries in the Silly Sleeping Pose Olympics.
4 Oct. 2004
We had an entire flock of robins show up this morning. Usually we see
one or two at a time. I saw four or five on the birdbath at once with
others on the ground and in the trees. They had arguments and aerial
chases and mini-battles over the water rights, but it looked like
everyone got to have a drink, or in some cases a bath.
4 Oct. 2004
Things have been hopping in Moggyville.
5 Oct. 2004
The stray moggies are mine! Bwwaaa-haaa-haaa!
7 Oct. 2004
Lots of catch up to do.
8 Oct. 2004
I had a bad moment with Owl a couple of days ago. I was visiting him in the enclosure as I try to do several times a day. He was trying to change his position in the cat bed and somehow got the injured leg
twisted in some position that was so bad, he actually cried with pain.
And this is a cat who very rarely ever cries! Fortunately, since I
was right there, I immediately picked him up so his leg was freed from
that position. I've been watching carefully since then and hoping
like hell he didn't do some kind of damage. Only a few more days and
he'll get his second set of follow-up x-rays.
9 Oct. 2004
Randy and I headed over to Lolette's around 10:30 this morning. I had
great fun wrestling with an adorable orange and white kitten, and
petting lots of sweet moggies. It's a miracle I didn't come home with
a couple of those kittens in my pockets.
Here is St. Randy with Puck and Tribble (who is draped over Randy's leg for a nap).
10 Oct. 2004
Last night, Randy came out to give tabby-girl her bowl of the dry food when I doled it out to the Horde. She polished off every speck of it.
11 Oct. 2004
We make progress little bits at a time. Randy spent another bout of time next to the cage this morning. Tabby-girl sniffed my fingers and didn't react when I ever so carefully stroked the fur on one of her paws. She sat up for us once, rather than lying in a defensive posture. And Randy even got her to play for a minute with one of the cat toys. Nothing too extreme, but it indicates she must be relaxing slightly.
13 Oct. 2004
Yesterday was another long day in L.A. I left early enough in the
morning, but it took me nearly 2 hours to get to the surgery clinic
because the traffic was so bad. I dropped off Owl to have his second follow-up set of x-rays. I had lunch, did various errands and picked
up Owl at 4 pm.
14 Oct. 2004
Not only has Ariel learned the sound of canned food being opened, she is getting excited enough about getting her food that she even speaks! It's the only time we've heard her use her voice...if you don't count
15 Oct. 2004
Ariel is getting more talkative. She seemed to think we might give out the Good Food this morning, too, so she asked about it. She is becoming more outward-oriented, taking in more of the world around her
and becoming more playful. During the morning play session, we gave
her some catnip and that REALLY got her going!
16 Oct. 2004
Emergency visit to the vet this morning. It began early yesterday
evening when Nefreet developed a sudden, inexplicable limp and wouldn't walk on her left front paw. But the real moment of alarm came when she jumped into my lap where she usually likes to curl up
after we've had dinner. Instead of relaxing, she began to snarl and
hiss and behave as though she was going to attack me. This was
because she was in some kind of terrible pain.
17 Oct. 2004
Nefreet continues to have intermittent problems with her leg. Randy
managed to videotape her limping and having a milder attack of the
pain. I have pain medication leftover that the vet gave me for Owl,
and she told me it was perfectly good to use on Nefreet.
18 Oct. 2004
Tough day that began with a major setback with Ariel, but which may have turned out all right after all.
20 Oct. 2004
Nefreet is now completely asymptomatic. No limping, no indications of the problem. It's weird. I cancelled her appointment for tomorrow, though the vet would still like to see the tape we made when she had
the symptoms. When we aren't so tight on finances, I still want to
get the x-rays done, but we've been hit with too many other expenses
at once to do it right now.
22 Oct. 2004
I knew this was going to happen. I managed to talk the vet out of it
since July, but this time she put her foot down. She wouldn't renew
the Tapazole unless I brought Tribble in for a blood test. It's a damned expensive test, hence trying to avoid it. I made the appointment, but then faced the problem that he had to fast from 10 pm
onwards. Short of taking the food away from the entire Horde, I have no way to keep him from eating.
24 Oct. 2004
Three more days to go until Owl's next check-up (no x-rays this time, thank Bast) and with luck, Owl may be released from captivity after this visit.
26 Oct. 2004
This was a much shorter day in L.A. I left earlier this time and got
Owl to the clinic by 10. I had a moderate wait, then got to consult with the surgeon who is quite happy with the results. While the bones aren't perfectly aligned, they're very solid front-to-back which is
her main concern. And he's gained some weight, though he looks to me
like he needs to gain another pound before I'll be satisfied. I'd
like to see him stay around 15-16 lbs.
27 Oct. 2004
It takes a lot to gross me out, but it happened last night. I was
sitting very quietly next to Ariel as she ate her canned food. She was reluctant to come over by me at first, so I needed to keep things
28 Oct. 2004
Blue is recovering from the abscess just fine. Lucky for me it opened before getting too severe.
29 Oct. 2004
I got a couple of hisses from Ariel today, but overall she seems to be calming down. She was happy to get her canned food from me this morning and came right over, even though I kept my hand on the edge of
the bowl. I get her to sniff my fingers two or three times a day, but
I haven't tried petting her again. The timing doesn't feel right yet.
30 Oct. 2004
Last night, Ariel was so excited about her food, she came out of the cage and crouched right next to Randy while she ate. As soon as she was done, she dashed back to the safety of her cusion in the cage, but
still, that's a pretty big step for the little girl.
31 Oct. 2004
To my relief, getting Ariel moved into the new cage went easily and well. I did it in stages, with time inbetween the changes to let her adjust. First, I opened the two ends of the cages and put the
openings together. Then I removed her food, water and cat box.
1 Nov. 2004
Things are not going well with Ariel. Something happened during the afternoon that has left her traumatized. When I came into the office around 5:30, I found her cowering in the corner of the cage next to
the cat box. The new cat bed was flipped upside down.
2 Nov. 2004
Nefreet's having more discomfort with that front leg. She doesn't limp, but she holds it up now and then, so it clearly continues to bother her.
3 Nov. 2004
Imagine my amazement. Ariel didn't hiss at me this morning, or put her ears back and barely did Squinty at me at all. She even meowed prettily for her canned food.
6 Nov. 2004
Ariel pulled a switcheroo on us last night.
7 Nov. 2004
Ariel had regressed a lot toward me this morning, probably because I insist on petting her. I got the full range of hiss/ears back/growl and she refused to come near me to get her good food.
9 Nov. 2004
Ariel has been with us a whole month now. On the whole, it doesn't feel like we've made a lot of progress. Yes, we can play with her if we're very, very careful and don't look her in the eyes. But touching
her is still out of the question. Even the very suspicion of being
touched makes her cringe in a corner.
11 Nov. 2004
Ariel was just playing with the tip of Owl's tail through the child-gate. Poor Owl was terribly disconcerted. Ariel also has a small scratching pad now, in the hope that it will help her get her
claws under control and not catch them in fabric so much.
12 Nov. 2004
When I brought the cat carrier back into the office yesterday, I set it on the floor with the door open. Puck took up residence and stayed there for hours and hours. When he took a break, Owl moved in. When Owl moved out, Puck moved back in. Crazy moggies.
Ariel and Puck are playing footsies through the gate, both being coy about it.
Earlier in the day, I was trying to get Ariel to play and Owl sauntered into his old pen and settled into the cat bed. Ariel didn't seem bothered by this, so I let Owl stay there and played with both of them. When she got tired of it, I closed the gate and left Owl in there with her for about five minutes. No trauma ensued, but when he moved in on her food, I opened the gate and he sauntered out again.
I'd cut back a little on Owl's anti-histamines, but he's pulling out the hair on his back again, so it's back to the previous dose. And he's just horked up a huge hairball with a sound like turning his lungs inside out.
I was talking to Randy's sister and was delighted to hear that Artemis has lost 6 pounds! She must be almost svelte now. We'll be visiting them for Thanksgiving, so I'll get to see for myself.
13 Nov. 2004
I went through the same routine with Ariel this morning where she was back in her niche and wouldn't come out for the Good Food. I took it out and a few minutes later saw that she was in the front part of the
cave and this time she took the food readily. I think she got the
hint from yesterday that she has to endure being near the human to get
the Good Food.
13 Nov. 2004
This morning Ariel was far more ready to get her Good Food instead of hiding out. I made some changes in her Cave to open up the space a bit more for her. I took out the high-sided cat bed, moved the small
scratching pad alongside her food bowls, and put in the flatter cat
bed we bought her. She refused to lie on the high-sided cat bed for
days now, possibly because of getting her claw stuck in and then
pulled way, hurting her.
15 Nov. 2004
The moggies are patiently sitting around, waiting for the hour to arrive when I will turn off the computer, dole out the pills, and hand out the Good Food. Turning off the computer is The Big Sign. Then the excited meowing and demands begin in earnest. Diva's post is on top of my printer where she gets her pill and treat. Tribble and Tosca get on top of the rubber box I put over the keyboard and get right in my face. Querida, if she's cognizant enough, tries to hide because she knows the pills come first. Ariel perks up in her cave. The rest mill around various parts of the office or get underfoot, apparently not understand that causing the human to fall flat on her face will not make the Good Food arrive any faster.
16 Nov. 2004
Had a wonderful play session with Ariel this morning. We must have
played for twenty minutes, until Puck Prince of Mischief decided to
keep bounding in and out of the cave, thereby distracting everyone
17 Nov. 2004
Ariel has great fun playing with her ball. It's a plastic practice golf ball, the kind that has holes in it. I saw her with her claw
stuck in one of the holes and she was holding up her paw with the ball
dangling from it as though not quite sure what to do about it. This
morning, I found the ball floating in her water. Tonight I found it
lurking under her new scratching post. I can hear her when she bats
it around and bounces it off the wooden sides of her niche and other
parts of the cave.
19 Nov. 2004
There was a message from the local vet who said that the oddities in
Nefreet's x-rays aren't all that odd. She's seen that before. The
heart and chest look good. No sign of cancer or other problems.
There were two bones that look scrunched together, so it seems more
and more like we might have a pinched nerve happening. The blood work
also came back very good. In all other respects, Nefreet seems to be
a healthy old girl.
21 Nov. 2004
Puck and Ariel played footsies through the gate. Puck seems to veer
from wanting to play nice with her and wanting to harrass her
depending on whether he's bored or jealous.
22 Nov. 2004
Poor Ariel. She really wants to play, but is still intimidated about playing with me. She stretched out, belly up, on her side of the closed gate and stuck her paw through at Puck, but he wasn't much help. Puck and Theseus both went bounding inside her cave when I was trying to play with her with the string toy. That doesn't help
23 Nov. 2004
There was a nose-sniffing moment between Ariel and Tribble that was sweet to see. Tribble has been all over me lately as though he simply can't get enough attention. He's such a love-sponge.
27 Nov. 2004
We were greatly relieved to return from our trip and find that Ariel did perfectly fine in our absence. If anything, she may possibly have seemed happy to have us back. She's having a rollicking time chasing the ball around her cave right now. Earlier, I caught her sticking her entire front leg through the one open slot of the cave, trying to get at Tosca.
28 Nov. 2004
Puck was an extremely bad boy this morning. He jumped Kate, an absolutely quiet and harmless cat. He had her down in a bear hug and was raking her with his back claws. I was on my way when Sly ran over to the rescue, but that just made him the new target. I found myself chasing Puck and Sly around the office until I got Puck herded off. Then I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and had Stern Words with him punctuated by a few good whacks on the head.
A few pictures: Randy, Puck, Artemis.
1 Dec. 2004
Nothing much new to report amongst the Horde. Ariel continues to regard my hand with suspicion since I keep trying to pet her.
3 Dec. 2004
Ariel went exploring this morning! Randy was commenting the other night that we can't keep her locked up in the "cave" forever. I'm still worried about the fact that nobody can touch her, let alone catch her or pick her up, if the need should arise.
4 Dec. 2004
Last night, Randy came out for some play time with the moggies. Ariel did a short piece of exploring, but Randy had to keep Puck literally off her tail.
5 Dec. 2004
The Letting-Ariel-Explore experiment took a downward turn last night when she skittered over to the far side of the office, which is filled with nothing but shelves and boxes, and therefore lots of hiding places. And she promptly hid.
7 Dec. 2004
Ariel had her first taste of chicken tonight. As far as I know, anyway. She quite enjoyed it. I made a chicken pie for dinner and brought out the skin and remnants for the happy Horde.
8 Dec. 2004
Ariel played some serious mind games with me this morning. I came into the office, said hello to the moggies as usual, and went over to unhook the bungie cord from Ariel 's gate and say hello to her.
9 Dec. 2004
Like most cats, Ariel is a mind-reader. I've made no secret of my intention to start petting her, though I'm biding my time about it, so she's resorting to pre-emptive whacks. When I even think about trying to pet her, she whacks me. Gently, so far (no claws), but firmly. Ariel stubbornly refuses to accept me as alpha cat. [g]
10 Dec. 2004
More throwing up from Blue. I got out the hairball remedy gel to see if that will help him. Naturally, he didn't like it enough to lick it off my finger and I had to force it on him. Meanwhile, half a dozen other moggies gathered round and nearly bit off my fingers to get some as a treat.
13 Dec. 2004
I came into my office this morning, said hello the moggies as usual, turned on my computer, changed from my house clothes to my cat clothes (to keep the cat hair off the clothes I wear in the house) and did all the usual things I do when I first come in. Then I went over to say hello to Ariel. There was no sign of her, but I assumed she'd gone hiding in her covered niche again. I left the door to her "cave" propped open.
14 Dec. 2004
Ariel was hanging out in her cave when I came in this morning. When I gave out the Good Food, she wasn't content to wait for me to bring her own bowl to her. She came out to get some for herself. I was able to get her to come over to me and eat from her own bowl, but once she finished that small portion, she went back to the other bowls to help herself to more. She seems to be getting along just fine amongst the other cats. She retreats to her cave when she needs a break. At one point, she was back in the covered niche, so I uncovered it to give her easier access and to keep her from hurting herself climbing through the tiny hole at the top. At the rate she's eating, she won't remain svelte for long!
For your amusment, moggies (not mine) helping set up a xmas tree.
15 Dec. 2004
Ariel was cute last night. When I got out the Good Food, she first went to join the other cats. I called her name, not really expecting a response, but she came over to her cave and ate her own portion of food next to me. As soon as she was done, she sprinted past me, went back to the other cats and stuck her head into the bowl from which Theseus was eating. He looked at her, perplexed, then moved away like a gentleman.
17 Dec. 2004
Once in a while, when things get too intense,Ariel will dart into the tripod box to escape, but I'm pleased to note that she also comes right back out again, usually in less than a minute. She didn't run away when Randy came in for a visit last night, either, and I think that's the first time Randy has come out since Ariel was given her freedom. She still comes over to me for her portion of the Good Food, though she continues to be wary of any attempt I might make to pet her. All in due time, my pretty, all in due time. (If you heard the Wicked Witch saying that, give yourself ten points.)
18 Dec. 2004
Ariel was inside the tripod box when I came in this morning, though she did come out of it right after.
19 Dec. 2004
We were proud ofAriel last night. Randy's sister and husband came to visit, and when they first came into my office, Ariel hid waaay down at the end of the tripod box. A few minutes later, she scurried out, darted around a bit, then settled down and let them have a look at her...from a safe distance. But she let Randy get close enough to sniff his finger, and he was able to get her to play with a string. We think that was quite brave of her, with strange people around.
21 Dec. 2004
I was quite pleased this morning. Ariel showed up with all the other cats to greet me this morning. Usually I have to go looking for her after I change into my cat clothes, but this time she actually showed up on the other side of my desk where I was greeted by the rest of the Horde. She did some friendly rubbing against a footstool and chair, though she came no closer to me.
24 Dec. 2004
Puck, Lord of Mischief, was struck with a fit of boredom which he alleviated by jumping repeatedly onto my desk and making off with whatever he could carry from the tray of my monitor stand. First it was a small cat's head magnet, then it was the cat claw clippers, then a metal frog click-clacker doodad. I finally let him carry off the frog, which is fairly impervious to harm, but Puck was bored with the frog in half a minute and came back to see what else he could carry off.
And a very moggy xmas to all who celebrate it! A very moggy hannukka, kwanzaa, solstice and so on to the rest of you! May your stockings be filled with catnip!
26 Dec. 2004
Nefreet was adorable this morning. She cuddled herself into a lovely little lump inside her green blanket, as cozy as cozy could be.
31 Dec. 2004
We were hit by a winter storm, buried in 18" of snow, and went without power for 3 days and 3 nights. In the house, we did all right because we have a gas heater, but the unfortunate Horde in my office had to endure 72 hours of chilling temps because the only heat out there is from electric oil-radiators.
Puck and Blue, the Tabby Mafia.
Nefreet the psycho-kitty
Puck says, "Could I get any cuter?"
Owl says, "Can't a guy lick his crotch in peace around here?"
Diva displays her adornment of burrs.
Theseus and Tribble
Theseus enjoys the sun.
Kate the Wild Abyssinian
Artemis the Great White Belly
Artemis shows her thumbs.
Theseus & Owl demonstrate why I have trouble getting work done.
Tosca the golden-eyed.