Tales of the
Moggy Horde
cat face
How I learned
To Stop Worrying
And Love Bast

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cat line drawing
1 Jan. 2007
It is time for Mojo to lose his balls. He's been giving Zebedee a hard time today, playing roughly with him, mainly trying to hump him. I was planning on doing it soon anyway. He's certainly old enough.

Zebedee is a dumpster diving kitten. I've had to pick up the overturned bin several times and hauled him out of it a few times. He is, shall we say, enthusiastic about food. It took me months to get Mojo interested in taking a treat. By the second day, Zebedee had that down pat. "What's that? A treat? Yeah, gimme!"

Lolette sent me home with two weeks of canned kitten food. He scarfs down a can of that each morning. Naturally, this drives the other cats nuts, as they know the sound of canned food being opened. I was forced to dole out canned food to everybody yesterday.

Ariel is faring the same, meaning not great. Zebedee has bounced into the Cave a couple of times while I was cleaning it out. Ariel growled him away. As I feared, when I gave her the canned food, she didn't touch it. She is convinced that all canned food is now tainted with the hideous tranks. I waited for a while, then I put the food right under her nose to make her have a strong whiff of it. I gave her my absolute guarantee that it was plain food with nothing in it. She licked at it slightly after that, mostly going after the juice and leaving the chunks behind. I hope she gets past the mistrust.

I left out a tape gun with a roll of plastic tape on it that I was using to seal up a box. I no sooner set it down when wacky-girl Jetta was after it, wanting to eat the plastic tape. No matter who many times I shooed her away, she'd come right back. She's totally mental about plastic tape.
Dumpster-diving kitten is foiled by my cunning Cardboard Protector Device.
Zebedee discovers the catnip fishie.

Thurs, 4 Jan. 2007
It was a day of "firsts" in Mojo's life, all of which he would have happily done without. His first time inside a carrier. His first trip in a car. O' The Piteous Meowing! His first visit to the vet where he must unfortunately spend the night. And he's really not going to like what's coming up for tomorrow. Poor baby Mojo-kitty.

We were visited by a very sweet cat named Scooter who belongs to the same people that have Sabina (Mojo's mother) and from whom I got Mojo. He lives up the street a short ways and around a corner. He's never come into the yard before. He was badly hurt as a kitten and was left with an extreme limp, but it doesn't stop him. He hung around all day and sat on the steps to my office like he wanted to come in. Finally, when I was setting out for a late afternoon walk, I hauled him into my arms and gave him a lift home, just in case he'd gotten confused about where it was.

Zebedee is enjoying the respite from Mojo's over-enthusiastic "attentions". He's funny when he gets his fangs on the catnip fish. He runs off with it and growls at any cat that comes near. "MY fishie!" It's the only time I've seen him be possessive. I was happy to see him snuggled up with Jetta when I came into the office tonight, especially after she was one of those giving him a hard time at first.

Zebedee is way too smart. He's already got the daily routine down pat. When I go to get his food bowl for the canned food, he suddenly teleports from wherever he is to a spot clinging just below my chin. He knows all about getting treats and is right there with the rest of the Horde demanding his share.

I think it's time to pick him up for a cuddle and listen to that great purr-machine of his.

Thurs, 5 Jan. 2007
I have a large carpet mat inside the door to my office. When I stepped on it this morning, it went crunch. It doesn't usually go crunch. It's not supposed to go crunch. I lifted the mat and discovered that the moggies had found a small glass vial to play with, which they batted under the mat and forgot about. I got to sweep up the shards.

Jetta likes to squeeze herself inside the child gate of the Cave. She doesn't bother Ariel and Ariel doesn't seem bothered by her, thank Bast, so I usually leave Jetta there until she wants out a minute or so later. This time, I decided to let her figure out how to get out on her own, so she might think twice about doing it again. It took her a good five or ten minutes to finally squirm her way up and out of the gate, though all she really had to do was push it open a bit. I don't keep it latched during the day.

I'm worried about Zoe. Not just Zoe, actually. I was cleaning the cat boxes last night when I saw her leave a loose, bloody stool. She has dropped weight recently. A number of the mostly young cats, but also even Theseus, seem to be losing weight (he needs to lose weight badly, but not for unknown reasons) and I've seen a couple of them have blood in their stools from time to time. I put some of hers in a stool sample kit that vet gave me a while back. I'll have to ask the vet to test it for parasites and worms. I suspect something might be going around in the Horde, possibly brought in by Mojo.

Speaking of which, I must pick up the unhappy Mojo this afternoon, who has suffered An Unfortunate Series of Events. It began to snow last night and I was worried about being able to get down to Bakersfield, but there was only light snow. The house was heavily buffeted by high winds during the night and there's a layer of ice beneath the snow, but the sun is out and I have a Subaru. No problem.

Ah, Zebedee has discovered the Heights, the walkways I placed across the upper shelves near the window and the open spaces on the shelves. I left those open spaces as those are the only spots where the cats can see out the window or soak in some sunshine, as they're doing right now. Since this is a refurbished garage, I'm lucky there's even one window, though I wish I had more for the benefit of the mogs.
Zebedee and Puck
Zebedee says, "Hey, it's fun up here!" Down below, Puck wonders what the kid is up to.
Kitten gets to look down on human
" does this thing work? Anti-grav?"
Zebedee & Saffy
Sapphire let Zebedee hang out with her, though she did give him a pre-emptive whack a minute later.
Simon says, "What?"

Sun., 7 Jan. 2007
I was in disfavor with Mojo for most of Sat. morning. He gave me the cold shoulder when I tried to pet him and even took whacks at me. By the afternoon, he decided to forgive me and curled up in my lap for some lovin'. Today he's back to his bouncy self.

There was a mess to clean up this morning. One of the waste bins was knocked over, CDs, books and knicknacks were strewn on the floor. I told Zebedee it's lucky he's so adorable or I'd feed him to the tigers. I don't think he believed me.

Zebedee has decided that THE place to be when I'm cleaning cat boxes -- when he's not sprinting through them at speed -- is in my lap. He can do this because I sit on a small footstool while cleaning the boxes. This gives him a ringside seat for the fascinating process of scooping litter.

Jetta located the box that I sealed up with the plastic tape and methodically removed the tape a section at a time. What a looney.

Last night at a party, I met a woman with 15 cats. We spent much of the night talking about...well, cats, of course. I proselytized on the virtues of using chicken feed as cat litter. The chicken feed business should hire me. I could double their sales.

Mon., 8 Jan. 2007
Zebedee managed to get the claws of both front feet snagged in the metal grill that protects the side fan on my computer. He was so thoroughly snagged that I had to go and unpry him from it.

Scooter came back. Reminding him that he has a home doesn't seem to work. I guess he likes the food on our front porch better.

Something fairly amazing has happened. One of our long-time feral cats is a black female that we call Natasha. She was one of the first to start showing up after we moved in, along with Bowie. We trapped her early on to have her fixed, but when I got her to Lolette's, Lolette looked at her and said, "Someone has already has her fixed. See, she has a tipped ear." That's when I was new to the whole tipped ear business. So I brought her home, let her go and she's hung around ever since.

We've been commenting lately how much she reminds us of Pippin, and speculating on whether they could be related. She's been acting less and less afraid of us. Yesterday, Randy came in very pleased and said that Natasha had actually come up and sniffed his fingers.

Today, I came home from some errands and Randy had an even better story to tell. He had gone outside to sit on the front steps in the sun for a few minutes. Natasha began scooting past him and remaining close by. He put out his hand. She didn't merely sniff his fingers. She butted his hand and demanded scritchies! He had a ten minute love fest, scratching her ears until she was purring and drooling.

I decided to see what would happen if I went outside and sat on the steps while Natasha was still around. She began doing the coy dance of darting past me, going a short distance, coming back, darting past me, circling around, etc. I held out my hand. She came over and instantly we were into full-on scratches from head to tail. She purred and purred. She butted me and rubbed up against me.

This is NOT the behaviour of feral cat! Shy and skittish, yes, but hardly feral. We're wondering what on earth her story could be. An abandoned cat that someone TNR'd by mistake? Of course, now we're going to worry about her even more when the bad weather hits.

Poor Natasha! All this time she wanted to be petted and we never knew.
Zebedee: I'm in ur binz, eatin' ur foodz!
Zebedee & Puck
Zebedee and Puck.
Mojo as a young teenager.

Tues., 9 Jan. 2007
We continue to make progress with Natasha. We both had chances to pet her today. Randy was even able to pet her while standing up rather than sitting on the steps.

Zebedee knocks over the waste bin several times a day. Yesterday, I finally had to squirt him with the WMD (Weapon of Moggy Distraction). Now he dashes away the minute he sees me aiming the squirt-gun in his direction. Precocious little imp. He simply waits for me to leave, then he gets into the bin.
Zeb poses for his fans.
Jetta craving birdies. "They're right outside the window!!!"
Simon and his fluffy tail.
Zebedee & Theseus
Young and old orange boys: Theseus and Zebedee.

Wed., 10 Jan. 2007
Slowly, but steadily we make progress with Natasha. We're petting her every day and I feel confident she'll grow more and more comfortable with getting close to us. I wish there was a way a cat could tell you her life story. I would love to know how she ended up a stray with a tipped ear.

Zebedee continues his reign of terror against the trash bin. I've propped a bag of chicken feed against it, so we'll see what happens next.
Big fat Theseus struggles to give himself a bath. "Hey, at least I try."

Thurs., 11 Jan. 2007
Zebedee made a dash for the door when I opened it this morning. I barely managed to catch him around the belly before he made it past me.

My worries about the general condition of some of the cats has been confirmed. I left Zoe's fecal sample at the vet's last Friday, but no one had called me with the results. Today I called and was told they found coccidia, a protozoan parasite. I expected something like that. It's contagious, so I will have to treat ALL of the Horde, with the exception of Pippin and Opal, as they are in the house. And the exception of Ariel because it would be flat out impossible. She's been isolation though, so she may be free of it. The vet has a GIANT, expensive bottle of the medicine waiting for me. Oh, joy. Another trip to Bakersfield.

I don't know how they could have gotten it. My one guess is that Mojo brought it in with him. The timing would be about right.

Fri., 12 Jan. 2007
Mojo's residual testosterone was acting up this morning and he was giving Zebedee a lot of grief. I had to resort the WMD big time, until Mojo finally got the message.

And now I'm back from B'fld with a humongous jar of Albon that cost me $90.00 and I was warned I would probably have to buy more because I'm dosing so many cats. Great.

I have to cater the dosage to the size and weight of the cat, so I'm creating a chart for myself. Thank Bast I only have to do this once a day, but without a chart, I could never keep track, not only of doses, but who I've gotten and who I may have missed and need to chase down later. Here I go. Pray for my soul!

Sun., 14 Jan. 2007
I'm surprised at how well the medicine-giving has gone so far. Even on the second day, they didn't give me too much trouble, except Puck who had to be caught, re-caught and wrestled a bit, and Simon who cussed me out as I was giving it. The first day, I made a mess and the stuff is horribly sticky, so my fingers were sticking together and it was a general comedy routine. But today it went fairly smoothly. This may partially be due to giving them canned food afterwards, as a way to make up for the meds. It takes about half an hour to get the meds into the eleven cats who are getting it. We'll see whether this cooperation trend continues for an entire week, though.

It's been bitterly cold the past few days, getting down to well below freezing at night. I can barely keep part of this office warm with the two oil-radiator heaters. I worry about Ariel because the Cave isn't very close to the heaters and she doesn't have the option of coming over to lie near them like the other cats do. So when I leave for the night, I roll one of the heaters over to the gate and leave it right next to the Cave. That way she can at least get some warmth as she needs it.

We continue petting Natasha as much as we can, however Randy got a better look at her nether regions...and he thinks we have a fixed male instead. I'm still not sure, but she/he isn't ready for that kind of a close-up inspection. Pending further confirmation, Natasha has morphed into Sasha the He.

Zebedee has been here for the allotted two weeks. I gave Lolette the official word that he's staying and joining the Horde. Oddly enough, she was not surprised.

Mon., 15 Jan. 2007
Once again, Puck turned out to be the most difficult cat to dose with meds. It went smoothly and easily except for him, and all he did was fight me a bit. Unfortunately, Simon threw up after getting his meds, for the second time since I began. I hope he's getting enough of the Albon to do him some good. He was extremely playful today, so he might be feeling better.

Randy visited with the cats this afternoon for about as long as he can manage (around ten minutes). Zebedee was all over him, making friends and purring loudly. He's Mr. Personality.

I was petting Sasha and he forgot himself for a second and started to roll onto his back. He jumped back up within a split-second. "What was I thinking?!" I'll bet I get to rub his belly one of these days.

Tues., 16 Jan. 2007
The moggy roundup was a bit more difficult. This was the morning they finally got hip to the new routine. "OMG, she's got a syringe full of that damned yellow goop again! RUN FOR IT!" Puck thought he could escape by going to the tops of the shelves and ducking inside a box. Sorry, buddy. I've worked out techniques to make the process less messy, but I have to be sure to clean up the spilled droplets which turn into a sticky mess then harden into dots the consistency of gummi bears.

Zoe brought me a soggy mousie and wanted me to throw it. Clearly, it had taken one of its periodic swims in the water bowl. Soggy mousies are not fun to throw. I found her a dry mousie, added some fresh catnip and off we go.

Scooter, the neighbor's cat, is becoming a pest. He thinks he owns our yard now. He sprays the house and he gets into confrontations with Sasha and other cats. He's a very nice people cat, but I'll have to discourage him from hanging around.

Zebedee has been added to the Horde page and there are links from there and here to his personal page. This makes it official. ;)

Wed., 17 Jan. 2007
Mojo and Simon had a romp session, with Simon letting Mojo chase him around the office.

Unfortunately, Simon has thrown up three of the six doses of meds that I've given him. I called the vet and they're giving me pills for him instead. Wait a minute. Pills? They could have given me pills?! I really have to chat with them about why they give me this horrid liquid crap to contend with when they could have given me pills! Yeesh. Anyway, it means a trip to Bakersfield, whenever I can manage that. Forty miles of I-5 is closed due to ice and snow, so it won't be today.

Randy gave Sasha some catnip. Sasha looved it. He rolled around and snurfled it up. He didn't let us get any closer because of it, but he sure enjoyed it.

Fri., 19 Jan. 2007
It was progressively more difficult giving out the meds this morning. Zebedee and Zoe are the easy ones. They come right up to see what I'm doing each time and give me no trouble. Simon continues to cuss me out, but quickly forgives me. I was finally down to the last two. Puck retreated to the high box again, so I turned my attention toward catching Kate. You wouldn't think an old cat could be so elusive! I followed her around the office for ten minutes hoping she would get herself cornered. By that time, Puck was lounging in the sun at the window, so I abandoned Kate and grabbed Puck. In the time it took me to dose Puck, Kate had retreated to a hiding spot and let down her guard. I was able to grab her, but she sure fights me every inch of the way. Thank Bast I only have a couple of days left of this.

I haven't gotten around to introducing myself to the new neighbors across the street, but they have a small black and white dog. Not sure what it is, but it has the general build and nervous energy of a Jack Russell Terrier. Everyone over there was gone during the day with the dog left in the fenced yard. Somehow it got out and began running around the neighborhood in a panic. It's scared of people, so neither Randy nor I could get near it. Twice I managed to get it back in the yard by opening the gate and waiting until it had returned to the house and went inside the yard, then I shut the gate. But two minutes later, it would be back outside again. I had to give up and go inside my office.

The neighbors came home a little while ago and the dog was gone. I heard them calling for it ("Panda Bear" is her name, which fits her markings). I went out to the let the woman know what had been going on during the day, but this time there was no sign of the dog. She went off searching in her car, though I don't think she found it yet. I hope it turns up. Unforunately, there wasn't any more I could have done.

Sasha is soaking up the newfound love. Last night I was able to massage his neck and scratch his back while he was at the food bowl. He PURRED with great happiness. He remains skittish some of the time, but twice now he has shown interest in following Randy inside the house. We feel more and more sure he's an abandoned cat. We've made a cozy bed for him on the porch for these cold nights. It's a large Rubbermaid container with a thermal-foam cushion on the bottom and a nice, thick blanket he can snuggle in. He seems to really like it.
Sasha in his bed. You might just be able to see that his right ear is tipped.

Sun., 21 Jan. 2007
Someone decided that I was being stingy with the treats. I found an unopened bag of treats on the floor, a hole torn in the side and treats on the floor. Oh, Simon....

No more liquid meds! Praise unto Bast that I survived that wretched experience. Yesterday was a struggle. I had to have Randy come out to the office and help me capture Kate, who was NOT going to cooperate. Giving the pills to Simon is easy as anything. He took today's pill inside a treat. No muss, no fuss.

Mojo is reminding me more and more of our beloved, lamented Unicom. Not only does he have the orange target on his side like Uni, he also plays rough the way Uni did. Uni was and Mojo is a lover, but I'll have to break out the leather gloves to play with Mojo, and that's how it was with Uni. My scratching and bleeding hand tells the tale. I have one scratch that goes halfway around my wrist. Randy called Mojo a "ruffian". That fits. A ruffian, a roughneck and a rapscallion. But so cute.

I received a very nice piece of email from a gent in the U.K. who quite independently created a site called Afterwards, he found my site and wanted to make sure I wasn't upset about the similar name. I assured him that had I been concerned about it, I would have locked up the domain name before this. I never really thought about it. Anyway, he has an attractive cat site, so feel free to check it out.

I treated the Horde to some "pixie dust" and sure enough, Zebedee has proven to be a catnip junkie jr.
Zebedee gets down on the catnip.

Tues., 23 Jan. 2007
I forgot to mention that the neighbor's little dog came back the next morning having spent a cold night who knows where. The neighbors and I spent some time getting acquainted (nice people) and when I mentioned that I have cats, she said, "Want to see something cute?" She proceeded to introduce me to a male orange and white tabby named Tiger and two mama cats each with a litter of kittens! One litter is five weeks old, at the adorable bouncing-ball-of-fluff stage, and the others are only two days old. She's already finding homes for them, thank Bast.

Mojo was being a total bully and snot yesterday. He was harrassing Zebedee badly. I chased Mojo around squirting him, but it wasn't enough. He kept picking on one cat after another in spite of more squirting. The final straw was picking on poor old Kate. I grabbed Mojo and let him have a time-out inside the multi-level cage. He was profoundly unhappy about that. By the time I let him out (after maybe five or ten minutes), he was a chastened moggy.

Thurs., 25 Jan. 2007
All is quiet on the Moggy Front. Mojo has behaved. Simon takes his pill packed inside a treat with no demur. Everyone else is behaving nicely.

Randy has made tremendous progress winning Sasha's trust and affection. I had a major set-back. I went out to pet him several days ago and a strong gust of wind jerked the screen door from my hand so that it made a terrible bang. Sasha has been out of reach for me ever since. The past few nights, I was able to pet him a little by taking out a bowl of canned food for him. He's thawing, though today when I was petting him, I made some move with my hand that he didn't like and he gave me a solid WHAP with one paw. He didn't use his claws, didn't hurt me at all, just made sure I knew he was displeased. I'll have to take slowly and carefully with him.

Sun., 28 Jan. 2007
Cleaning the catboxes has become almost a delightful chore with Zebedee around. He'll come racing over, leap into my lap, turn his prodigous purr-machine on full blast and curl up in a contented ball as I clean the boxes. The day will come when he doesn't do that anymore, or when he becomes too big to make it practical, and that will be a sad day indeed.

Sasha is thawing toward me and I've been able to pet him fairly regularly now. He is easily spooked by a wrong hand movement or today by the large black down jacket I was wearing, but in general it's going well. I wish wish wish we had a spare room where we could let him be inside.

Pippin goes crazy watching the birds through the bedroom glass doors, so Randy thought we should get him a feather toy. So we did and he absolutely adores it. It's the most active I've seen him in a long time. When he gets hold of it, he likes to carry it off in triumph,
Pippin loves his "birdie".
With his trophy.
Opal has her turn with the birdie.

Wed., 31 Jan. 2007
I should have a webcam on in my office at night to monitor the insane wackines that must take place. Every morning I have to pick up the objects that have been knocked down. The tower of cat carriers is repeatedly toppled. Flat boxes knocked from storage on top of the shelves. Various other boxes and stray objects knocked onto the floor. Towels pulled off shelves and made into comfy heaps to lie on.

Thurs., 1 Feb. 2007
I'm making nice progress with Sasha, but Randy and I have both learned not to move a hand toward him when he feels trapped in a confined space, such as the bed. He gave me a couple of small scratches over that. Otherwise, he's happy to see us and purrs when being petted.

I've taken to leaving Ariel's door open during the day again to encourage more interaction with the other cats. Sometimes it goes all right, sometimes not so good. She doesn't like Mojo who insists on going in there anyway. And I continue to have significant antagonism between Zoe and Ariel which is the #1 problem in the whole situation. It bothers me that poor Ariel spends nearly every minute in her bed. The only time I see her move around is to get into a niche to eat or drink, or to use the catbox. That can't be good for her. Unless I can solve the Zoe problem, though, I'm stuck with things the way they are.

Fri., 2 Feb. 2007
I was descended upon by a gaggle of girls, the daughters of my new neighbor across the street. They range in age from seven to fourteen, all very nice and polite, all cat-lovers. They heard about my cats and wanted to meet the Moggy Horde, so in they came and a cat-petting orgy ensued. Half the cats were all over them and the other half vanished through quickly opened portals into alternate dimensions. Zebedee was startled by the first onslaught, but quickly recovered and became a big favorite. Puck sucked up the attention like the lover-boy-slut that he is. He couldn't get enough. Simon and Tosca graciously allowed themselves to be petted and adored. Zoe worked up the nerve after a while. The oldest girl remained behind a bit longer and I finally coaxed Saffy out of hiding. Once Saffy made the girl's acquaintance, it was roll-in-the-lap and rub-my-belly time much to the young lady's delight.

We were worried about Sasha this morning, as there was no sign of him when we first went out with fresh food and water. We have a large bowl of the not-expensive cat food out for the ferals, but we gave Sasha his own small bowl for the better cat food we give to the indoor cats. His own food was barely touched, while the other food was totally gone. Lately, the feral cats have hardly been coming around, possibly because Sasha lives on the porch now, so the other food has barely been touched for a couple of weeks. We're speculating that it was a raccoon. I noticed grit in the water, too, a fairly good indicator of raccoon presence. The raccoon might have scared Sasha away. Happily, he showed up around noon and was glad to be petted.

Zebedee has been doing a non-productive hairball cough for a couple of days. Last night, I got out the Petromalt to give him. I figured it wouldn't be a problem getting Zeb to lick it off my finger, given that he's still in the Kitten-as-Hoover stage of eating where he inhales everything in sight and he nearly takes my fingers off when I offer him a treat. I was right. He would have eaten the entire tube if I'd let him. This roused the interest of several others cats, so I found myself giving out finger-servings to the others as well. I'm sure they can all benefit from it.

Mon., 5 Feb. 2007
Zebedee didn't sit in my lap while I was cleaning catboxes because he was too busy going ZOOOOOM around the office, though he is sleeping in my lap and purring at the moment. I found one of his baby teeth on the floor. He's getting his adult fangs.

Yesterday, while putting away laundry, I had my underwear drawer open and Opal discovered something I'd put there a long time ago - a squishy pink fabric mouse that she had adored. It wasn't durable and had been coming apart, so I stashed it in my drawer thinking I would try to repair it. I never got around to that. So Opal found it and happily made off with it under the bed. "My favorite mousie from when I was a kitten!"

This morning, she brought out the mousie's skin. I found the mousie's "guts" under the bed, bunches of white fluffy stuffing. I fear the mousie of kittenhood has met its final end.

Thurs., 15 Feb. 2007
I'm alive, the Horde is fine. Life has been crazy-busy. We were gone on a short business trip, then other business things cropped up and I never quite seemed to find time to update the Blog. Simon showed his happiness at my return by throwing up. Actually, there's been a lot of throwing up lately, don't know why.

Zebedee tried to make a head-first dive into an open bag of chicken feed. Fortunately, he didn't quite make it, or I would have had a Shake'n'Bake coated kitten.

We've made excellent progress with Sasha, who is now very happy to have us pet him, even the two of us together. He's much more relaxed around us now. He even talked to Randy the other night. Someone told me that feral cats won't talk to you. Anybody know whether this is always true?

Mon., 19 Feb. 2007
"Scooter needs a rescue," Randy said. The original Mr. Soft Touch. But he was right. Scooter has been acting homeless, limping around in all the bad weather and creeping onto the porch for food. For those who may have forgotten the details, he was badly injured as a kitten and has a front shoulder that is totally out of whack so that he hobbles when he walks or runs. Actually, I'm not sure how he would run.

A day ago when we took our walk, I picked Scooter up and carried him home. The man of the house clearly doesn't like cats and could care less what happens to them. He didn't seem thrilled to have Scooter back. Nor did he seem like a pleasant person. I suggested it would help to have Scooter fixed. He shrugged it off.

Last night, we had a small amount of snow, only about an inch, but it's very cold tonight. This morning Randy found Scooter curled up in the snow on the exposed back steps, trying to get a nap. That's when Randy uttered the fateful words. We quickly set up the spare cage with a nice comfy bed and the other amenities and that's where Scooter has been all afternoon and tonight. The other cats have been quietly curious. They're all in WTF? mode. No major hissing or confrontations...yet. Scooter issues a subdued growl now and then. He's happy to have me pet him though. Mainly, I think he's been catching up on some badly needed sleep.

We don't want to keep him permanently or anything like that, but we can let him be warm and protected until the cold snap passes. Then I suppose I'd better have a serious talk with the woman of the house, if that will do any good.

We'd love to bring Sasha inside, too, but he doesn't seem quite ready for that. At least we've given him a weather shelter and warm bed. He seems to be doing fine. He's had years as an outside cat, so he's acclimated. We have no idea how old he is, but bare minimum he must be four since he was full grown and fixed when we moved here three years ago.

Pippin has become addicted to the birdie toy and has been happily ravaging it. We bought a replacement feather piece for the toy today. But he really is addicted. He'll lie at our feet making piteous meuw pleas until the birdie goes into flight.

Tues., 20 Feb. 2007
The snow is gone and it's been a sunny day. Not exactly warm, but not terribly cold, so it seemed okay to set Scooter out. Scooter hadn't touched any of the food or water during the night, so I carried him outside and set him down at the food on the porch. He was quick to start eating. I haven't seen him since. I'm afraid the poor moggy must be confused at the mixed signals he's getting from us. First we chase him off, then we take him in.

Tues., 20 Feb. 2007 - UPDATE
I came outside to give Sasha his canned food treat for the night and I found Scooter on the porch with the temps dipping downward and more snow predicted. They either aren't letting him inside their house any more, or he's refusing to go there for some other reason. I'd already decided that if he showed up here at night, I'd check him into Hotel Moggy and that's what I did. He's very good about being picked up, doesn't struggle when I carry him, but he wasn't thrilled about being surrounded by these cats again. We'll see where it goes from here. I certainly won't toss the poor thing out in the snow if we get more.

Wed., 21 Feb. 2007
Hotel Moggy was a mess this morning. The litter box was knocked askew, with litter and food scattered on the floor of the cage. Scooter doesn't seem at all interested in getting along with other cats. He was more than ready to come out of the cage. I quickly picked him up and deposited him right outside the office. He promptly rolled over and begged for a belly rub which I gave him.

Fri., 23 Feb. 2007
I haven't seen Scooter again since I let him out on Wed. We've since had about an inch of snow, which is not very much, but it's bitterly cold. I hope this means Scooter is warm at home. I wish we were further along winning trust with Sasha so that I could make the attempt to bring him inside. Why couldn't he have had this change of heart last spring? At least he's well fed, healthy, has a thick coat and seems to be in the prime of life. All the same, I'm determined that this is the last cruel winter he'll have to spend outside.

Well, crap, wouldn't you know it. As I sat here typing this, I heard a cat fight about to erupt outside my office. I found Sasha facing off with muddy-pawed Scooter, both of them POUFFED UP and ready to go at it. I petted Scooter until I was sure it was safe to pick him up, so he's back in Hotel Moggy, growling at all and sundry. I need to have a serious talk with his people, I'm afraid, and that will not be fun, nor do I have much hope that it will bring a happy resolution.

Opal is an Imp from Hell. She's adorable and loveable, but a total imp. She gets onto every surface, such as the stovetop and countertops and top of the fridge, even though she knows blasted well she's not supposed to be there. It's become unsafe to leave pills of any kind (like vitamins) out on a counter. Last night, I left a couple of pills in a plastic lid covered with a plastic container. Randy found the plastic pieces on the floor. One pill was only Lysine, which had been partially munched. The other pill, however, as an antibiotic. That had us worried, but I found the pill on the bedroom floor. It had a bunch of toothmarks, but it didn't look like she'd gotten beyond the capsule coating. She's cunning enough to wait until we're not around to carry off her mischief, but we really need to find a way to discourage this behavior, the little snot.

Zebedee remains in that famished state of kittenhood in which the very sight of can of food in my hand turns him into a Bouncing Moron. Trying to dole out bowls of food with this deranged kitten bouncing off the walls to get at it is a challenge.
Zebedee at six months.
Pippin's favorite sleeping position.
Pippin and Opal
Pippin sleeps on the bed, Opal makes like a lump.
Theseus under the influence of catnip.

Sat., 24 Feb. 2007
It's a gorgeous day out, 60+ degrees and sunny. Consequently, Scooter was checked out of Hotel Moggy, but this time I carried him up to the corner of his street. It's a short walk from there to his house. When I set him down, he immediately plopped over and begged belly rubs, which I had to give him. Sigh...he's such a sweet people cat.

Randy carried out another stage in giving Sasha a more sheltered bed. We're using a large Rubbermaid bin turned on its side. That gave protection on three sides but left the opening (otherwise the top of the bin) wide open to the wind and cold. Now that Sasha feels secure using it, Randy has cut a cat-door hole in the lid and put the lid on. This creates a nice cave for him and provides some relief from wind, at least.

Sasha loves it! He's such a happy boy. He's been soaking up tons of attention all day from both of us. I tried an experiment after I'd been petting him for a while and I carefully lifted him about six inches off the deck and set him right back down. He had no reaction! He didn't struggle or freak out. When I set him down, he went right back to the purr'n'pet routine. Later, I did it again, lifting him about a foot up and right back down. He was exactly the same. I don't want to push it too much, but that's a good start.

He did roll over and bare his belly one time, but when I tentatively reached out to try a belly rub, he made it clear we hadn't reached that point yet. While sitting on the porch with him, in a certain angle of the sunlight, I can see his hidden tabby markings. His fur is really a dark, dark, dark red with black stripes. I could even see the "bracelet" around his neck.

Zoe is in the mood to fetch. Must. Keep. Throwing. Fishie.

Mon., 26 Feb. 2007
Those cunning, devious moggies have somehow broken the Water Squirtgun of Doom. They've only knocked it off my desk a gazillion times, but being a simple plastic device, I didn't think it could hurt much. However, it has utterly ceased to work for no reason that I can figure out. I think I'll replace it with a squirt bottle. I needed the blasted thing yesterday when Jetta was driving me crazy in her fetish for eating plastic sticky-tape.

Kate and Zebedee decided they had to occupy my lap at the same time. I ended up with a double-layer moggy cake, Zeb on the bottom and Kate layered over him.

Then Zoe decided to do a head roll on my keyboard. I was playing an online game, World of Warcraft, at the time and suddenly I lost all of my sound. I discovered that my keyboard has a "mute" button, something I hadn't so much as suspected. But no matter what I did, I couldn't get the sound back. I finally had to reboot the computer to fix it.

Mojo continues to have bad diarrhea, along with a couple of other cats, ever since the treatment for coccidia. I got a fresh sample from Mojo this morning, Randy dropped it off at the vet's for me early this afternoon and they already called to say that they couldn't find any worms or parasites. One test they can't do there is for giardia, so they're sending it out for that. I should know by tomorrow.

For you long-time readers, hold onto your seats. I have earthshaking news. Ariel let me give her scritches under the chin! I've been gradually leading up to it by letting her sniff my fingers each time I deal with her, and getting my fingers closer and closer to her cheek and chin. I gave her several seconds worth of scritches. Mind you, she may simply have been too discombobulated to know what to do. She certainly had an odd look on her face. Still, I'll take whatever small victories I can where Ariel is concerned.

Thurs., 1 March 2007
The results for Mojo showed giardia, so the poor boy has it and ALL the cats in the office will have to be treated for it. Randy kindly picked up the Panacur from the vet's office today. I have dozens of packets of powder that have to be mixed into wet food and given to each cat once a day. I bought jars of baby food, as I figure that will be even easier and more alluring. I'll have to mix up one dose at a time, put the food and the cat into the spare cage and carefully track who has gotten dosed. For five days. Oh, the joy.

It might explain why Mojo has been cranky lately and very unhappy about being picked up. He probably feels bad, poor little guy.

I had to fax the vet a complete list of cats and their weights to have the dosage figured. I got out the weight scale and once again thank the generous donor who gave it to me (you know who you are). Mojo has actually lost weight, which is not a good thing in a young, growing cat. Zeb was 4 lbs. a month ago and is up to 5.5 now. Simon weighed in at a hefty 14 lbs.

Randy and I are developing a solid bond with Sasha. He talks to us, he purrs for us, he's happy to see us and shows it. When I get up in the morning, I open the blinds in the front of the house and he is usually right there on the porch waiting, his jade green eyes fastened on the blinds because that lets him know that we're up and will be out soon. He gets so happy sometimes when I scratch his ears that he grabs my hand with his front paws or gives me harmless "love bites". I wouldn't risk trying to pick him up and carry him into my office just yet, but we're well on the way to winning his trust.

Fri., 2 March 2007
I thought giving the cats the Albon was bad. This is worse, much worse. At least with the Albon, I could wrestle it down their throats and it was done. This takes longer and you can't force a cat to eat something it doesn't want to eat.

The first problem was The Return of the Bouncing Moron aka Zebedee. Actually, he's very smart except when his brain goes on holiday, which happens the minute there is food involved. As soon as I opened a jar of baby food, Zeb was bouncing off the walls to get to me. There was nowhere I could go in this office to escape him. On one bounce, he bonked me in the mouth and gave me a piece of fat lip and that really hurt. I love the little guy, but I came very close to throwing him against a wall. I tried locking him inside the Cave with Ariel. He was out in ten seconds. I locked him in again and enhanced the barricade. He was out in twenty seconds. Ultimately, after I gave him his dose of Panacur in baby food, I had to lock him inside a carrier for most of the morning while I handed out one dose at a time to the rest of the Horde. I kept him somewhat distracted by giving him the empty jars of baby food after I finished with them.

I'll be going through more baby food than I thought because the Panacur powder doesn't mix that well. Zoe came in a close second in harassing me each time I mixed up a new batch, but she's not a crazed as Zebedee though she did keep knocking things off my desk.

Mojo was no problem and he's my primary worry. Most of the cats ate the food without much demur, with two notable exceptions: Simon and Jetta. I tried putting Jetta in a carrier with the food while Simon was in the cage with the food, but they refused to touch it. I finally put their batches of food into plastic food containers and I've put all the dry food away. I'll attempt to get them to eat it again tonight after they've gone most of the day without food.

It was a time-consuming process, I have to say. I think I'll have to revise my tactics. Although I risk life and limb, I'm going to put away the food when I leave at night. By the time I come out in the morning, they should all be so hungry, they'll eat whatever I give them. That's the theory. On the other hand, if I never post again, you'll know I was set upon by a horde of ferociously hungry and annoyed cats.

Argghh, I just had to chase Simon off with a broom because he was cornering and attacking Jetta. I have no idea why. Odd, since they are the two cats who wouldn't eat the food. Simon might be cranky already. Well, good, so am I.

I also had to run outside earlier and rescue Sasha from Scooter. I haven't seen Scooter for a few days, but there he was fully pouffed up and ready to start a fight. He had Sasha on the run, too, which is amazing for what is essentially a three-legged cat. I finally nabbed Scooter and hauled him all the way back to his house where I plonked him inside his own yard. Like that will do any good.

Ah, bless my next-door neighbor. She has this minute gifted me with dozens of cans of cat food, including small cans of Iams and Fancy Feast. Her sister buys a ton of cat food for her cats, then when they won't eat something, she gives it away. I've been the lucky recipient for the past few batches. I may have more luck getting Simon and Jetta to finish their dose if I open one of these cans. At which time, the Horde will gang up on me and....

This is Simon. I've been delegated to finish this entry to the blog with a warning to all humans -- do not withhold food from your cats. We demand our food. Resist our demands, and suffer the consequences. Oh, and don't forget the catnip while you're at it.

Sat., 3 March 2007
Today was another tough day of getting medicated food into cats. Simon stubbornly refused to eat the food all night and most of the day, so he stayed in the cage. He finally relented and ate it after I added a bit of fresh food to it, and so he went free.

The big battle of wills is with Jetta. She ate part of it and refused to eat the rest. She goes nuts over being in the cage, absolutely hates it and drives me crazy when I keep her there. I've been putting her in the cage with the food while I put out dry food for the other cats. I figure she should be considerably more hungry by tomorrow. She's been hitting me with her strongest Cute Beams in the hope of melting my heart, but knowing I need to get the meds into her helps me to resist.

Three more days. Just three more days. I can survive this. I hope.

Two small, but nice developments with Sasha. I sat down crosslegged on the porch with him to have a prolonged petting session. Then I picked him up and put him in my lap. He got off my lap immediately, but he had no negative reaction to it whatsoever. He kept purring and rubbing like nothing had happened. And Randy discovered that Sasha loves to play with string. Sasha was a bit hesitant at playing with the string with a human at the other end at first. He got hold of the string and proudly carried it around a corner of the porch to play with it by himself. I briefly got him to play with the string while I was holding it. He is so definitely not a feral cat.

Mon., 5 March 2007
One more day, one more day of Cat Hell. I made the mistake of letting Zebedee out when I had to mix one more bowl. I tried standing in the middle of the room, but he simply found the closest flat surface and launched himself across the distance to make a four-point landing on my chest. Mind you, I had already given him his dose of food, plus half a can of food on top of it.

Today went slightly better only because I've reached the point where I'm refusing to wait for a cat to decide to eat. Most of them were plenty hungry this morning and ate their doses with no problem, but once again it was Puck and Jetta who were the hold-outs. In Puck's case, I grabbed him by the ruff and fed him by putting the food in his mouth with my fingers. With Jetta, I took a suggestion someone sent me, mushed the food into a large-bore syringe and gave it to her that way. It worked! It was messy and I made the mistake of mixing up too much food, so I had to refill the syringe three times, but it worked. Not only that, she forgave me quickly and has been sucking up to me since then.

I discovered that His Grace Lord Simon wants to be hand-fed. He ate part of his food and was going to leave the rest, but ate it all by licking it off my fingertip when I served it up to him that way.

Tues., 6 March 2007
Dear Bast, I am a loyal servant. I have saved many of your kind. I am devoted handmaiden to the Horde. I think I have earned a break from these tortures and a long run of health amongst the moggies. Thank you.

This was Day 5 and the last of the Panacur. Even with my streamlined procedures and force-feeding Puck and Jetta, it still takes a good two hours to do it all. I ended the fast and rewarded the cats with cans of fresh, untainted food. No additives! And great was the rejoicing and much was the eating in Moggyland.

I came outside after lunch to take my walk and found Scooter on the porch. He hobbles off quickly when he sees me now, but he allows me to catch him anyway. Since my walk takes me that way, I carried him home yet again.

Now that I can pet Sasha from stem to stern, I've discovered that he has a tiny kink at the very tip of his tail.

Wed., 7 March 2007
Found in the water bowl this morning: a sunken catnip fish and the plaster wrapper from a jar of baby food. Found on the floor: more wrappers, an empty baby food jar, and shreds of paper towels.

The morning cat chores seemed like a snap compared to the past five days. A couple of the cats, like Theseus and Tosca, were asking me where the yummy food was. They didn't care what it had in it.

I think the Horde must be feeling better as they've been running and bouncing around and jumping on one another. Jetta's sitting here, inches from my face, talking to me, but I have no idea what she wants. To be force-fed again? I kinda doubt it.

I haven't managed to catch Mojo at work in the catbox to see how he's improved. This will gross some of you out, but before this I knew when he was using the box because of the horrid sound, and I haven't heard that in days now. That's a good sign.

It could be my imagination, but it seems like most of the cats are feeling better. They were racing and bounding around and pouncing on one another. Puck was being the Lord of Mischief again.

For some mysterious reason, the WMD (Weapon of Moggy Distraction) has decided to work again. I needed it several times today. Zebedee would NOT stop with the dumpster diving, but a few squirts of water got the point across.

Sun., 11 March 2007
I was worried to see that Mojo still had diarrhea Thursday night, after finishing the Pancur on Tuesday. It's not as bad as it was, but it wasn't good. I called my vet Friday and was told to wait another couple of days for the medicine to fully take effect. I haven't been able to catch him in the act since then. He must be feeling better because he was beating the crap out of Zebedee and I had to chase him around the office with the Water Squirter of Doom.

Sasha is such a happy boy now. He's learned the joys of taking treats from my hand. I suspect he's fairly young because he gets quite playful playing with the string. He's looking healthy, sleek and well fed. He was so widly happy about being petted the other day, his usual love bite on my wrist was hard enough to just barely break the skin. I suppose I should give in and add him to the general Moggy Horde page. The real test is whether we'd leave him behind if we were to move, and I can guarantee we'd take him with us.

Speaking of getting carried away, Zebedee got nuts over some bits of turkey lunch meat I was handing out and stabbed my finger tip. The rest of the cats got treats seasoned with my blood. They didn't mind, I noticed.
Horde on food bag
"An empty food bag! How interesting!" Says Zebedee, Theseus, Zoe and Saffy.
Pippin and reflection.
Opal wonders what I'm up to.
Zebedee the trash bag kitty.

Mon., 12 March 2007
I tried something daring with Sasha last night. I had been petting him for a few minutes until he was happy and relaxed. I snapped up my denim jacket (as a protective precaution), then I picked him and held him in my arms. His head was near my left shoulder. I kept giving him the scritchies under the cheek that he likes. He didn't struggle, squirm or resist at all. He simply let me do it. I held him for maybe half a minute and the instant I felt what might be the slightest tension, I put him back down. He stayed at my feet taking more petting and continued to purr. What a good boy!

I continue to give Ariel scritches on the cheek and chin, too. She has been letting me get away with it, to my amazement, but the look on her face is priceless. It's the look of a prim and proper high society dame from a 1930s movie who has been affronted by the improper manners of some low-life. If I could bottle that look and market it as a perfume, the tag line would be: "AFFRONT - the perfume that screams Don't Touch Me!"

Wed., 14 March 2007
It's one step forward, two steps back with Ariel. Last night she let me give her scritchies under the chin. This morning, I tried to give her scritchies and she gave me a puncture and hiss for my efforts. Sigh....

Sasha is a rosemary-scented cat. He likes to run up against the potted plants on the porch while he's being petted. One of the plants is a rosemary that is brittle from the winter, so Sasha ends up with dried rosemary on his fur.

Zebedee tried to eat a button off my shirt. He nearly succeeded.

Sun., 18 March 2007
It's been warm enough to open the sliding glass doors in the bedroom. Pippin and Opal love to lie there at the screen and watch the outside world. Sasha came around to the back steps and they were checking one another out, but I made a wrong move and the cat grenade went off. Opal jumped Pippin's ass because, y'know, he was there. I guess one black cat looks like any other black cat when you panic.

I had a tech guy in the office for hours yesterday trying to get a new hard drive installed in my computer. Poor guy is like Randy in that he loves cats and has a cat at home, but is allergic to cats, so he was wearing a dust mask. Naturally, this meant the Zoe had to be in his face as much as possible. Puck and Zoe were all over him, rather literally. Not that he minded, actually. He gave them lots of petting. But Zoe was being a total slut-kitty.

There's been news of a cat food recall going around. For those who haven't seen the info, you should probably check out this site. It relates to canned and moist pouch food, but there are a lot of brands on the list, including big ones like Iams and Eukanuba.
Recalled Cat Product Information

Mon., 19 March 2007
Randy and I were completely boggled when we went outside this morning to take care of Sasha and discovered that Tom has returned.

Tom the Limping Tabby is the cat with a deformed front paw who used to belong to the crazy neighbors across the street. They moved away months ago and supposedly took Tom with them. A short time later, Tom showed up at our house. I tracked the people down and told them. They finally came for him. That was a few months ago. Suddenly, he's back. He has the same old collar on, but no tags whatsoever. He's not in bad shape, so I don't think he's been on his own for too long.

I've run down the list of possibilities:
a) He traveled for 3 to 4 miles through desert wilderness to get here from where I last heard they were living.
b) They've moved to somewhere in this vicinity again and Tom came a shorter distance to the house he remembered.
c) They could no longer keep him and secretly dropped him off here knowing he would be taken care of.

I think he showed up last night. This is a hunch based on the fact that Sasha was reacting to something in the yard last night, but I couldn't see what it was.

We had a long discussion about what to do. From this point on, as far as we're concerned, he's an abandoned cat. It's pretty obvious that whatever the situation is, Tom would rather be here than with them.

However, Tom is a lot like Scooter in that they are both sociable with humans, not so friendly with other cats, and territorial. We definitely don't want Tom driving away Sasha. It would be quirky to see what happens if he runs into Scooter, who keeps coming around. I wonder how two cats with a front-paw disability would take whacks at one another? Not that I want to find out.

I haven't seen Tom since this morning, so I don't know where he is now. I really don't want to take him in, but that leaves trying to find a home for him. This is the last thing I need on my plate right now. Sigh....

Tues., 20 March 2007
No sign of Tom since yesterday morning. This is mysterious.

Sasha was a happy, bouncy boy this morning. He was racing around the yard, then he attacked his "snake" (piece of string) and tossed it around the porch. He is opening up in a beautiful way.

I brought some more old turkey lunch meat to the Horde as a treat and Zebedee instantly turned into the Bouncing Moron again. More like a pinball, actually, as he made furry ricochets off the desk, off the supply drawers, off the toolchest, off the cage, off the other desk. I swear, he bounced off everything but the ceiling. He would have bounced off me, but I took evasive maneuvers.

I'm fairly certain that the only reason Ariel doesn't bite me when I give her scritchies on the cheek is that she hasn't yet figured out how to do it. I can hear the gears grinding in her head, though. She's working on it.

Mon., 26 March 2007
It's getting crazy around here. Early this evening, it was a re-enactment of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on the front porch. Randy called to warn me of a cat fight about to break out between Sasha, Scooter and Tom. Then I heard it and ran out of my office. All I saw was the aftermath, bits of white and black/brown fur on the steps and some freaked out cats under the porch. Sasha was doing his best to stay out of it. He's a pretty mellow cat who seems willing to get along with other cats just fine.

Scooter is the main culprit. We hadn't seen a sign of Tom in the past week and had no idea where he'd gone. Scooter, on the other hand, has apparently moved in with us and is living under the porch. I see him frequently, but the minute he sees either one of us, he runs off under the porch. He's probably sleeping in the igloo we set up under there for the ferals. He chased off an unknown cat last night. I caught up to Scooter and petted him, trying to soothe him down, but he kept growling -- not at me, at cat unknown and no longer present.

After this tiff, Randy and I managed to coax Tom to us. I picked him up and had the vague notion of bringing him into the office and into the cage while we debated what to do with him. But Tom was in no mood to be held for more than a few seconds and I had to set him down. A bit later, I found Scooter at the food bowl. This time he didn't run far and I was able to pet him, but he's uncertain of me. He wants affection, the poor thing.

We're in a weird bind with these cats. We can't take them in and it's hard to find a good solution for them. I have to assume Tom is either a runaway or abandoned at this point. Scooter's people have abandoned him, to all extents and purposes. If I had the money to spare, I'd get Scooter fixed. That might help calm things down.

Meanwhile, the other ferals who used to come around have pretty much vanished. We very rarely ever see Bowie any more. Smokey has stopped coming around. Peaches, a pale orange tabby, comes by now and then, but he's about the only one. I suspect that Scooter is driving them off. He truly needs a new home.

Tues., 27 March 2007
I saw Scooter briefly this morning. Since then, we've had snow, rain and freezing temps. It's bitterly cold tonight. I hate the thought of any cat having to be outside tonight. At least we've provided Sasha with a warm, enclosed bed/house. Maybe Scooter is curled up inside the igloo under the porch which is also filled with cat beds. It's been so cold all day, that I've had to replace the outside water bowl three times because the water kept freezing over. It should warm up tomorrow and stay warmer. I sure hope so.

Two wonderful things happened yesterday. As I was getting Ariel set up for the night, I did the usual thing and gave her little scritchies on the cheek. I carefully moved to scritch behind her ear. She closed her eyes and actually leaned into the scratching! She didn't suddenly jerk herself away or react badly. She let me give her a scratch behind the ear!!! I was thrilled. Of coure, today she is acting as though it never happened. ;)

Just before we went to bed, Randy decided to make a last minute check on Sasha. He went onto the porch, petted him up, then as he came inside, Sasha followed him through the front door. Luckily, we had already put Opal and Pippin to bed for the night and they were upstairs in their room. Otherwise, Opal would have been in his face hissing and probably attacking. Sasha prowled around the kitchen and living room yowling. After a few moments, he calmed down and let himself explore. We were able to pet him and even got a purr out of him.

The problem was that we couldn't let him stay inside for a couple of reasons. The only cat box is in the room upstairs and we certainly couldn't put him in there. Nor could we simply let him roam free in the house. The big problem is the allergens. Unless I can give him a rubdown as I do with Opal and Pippin, we can't let him spread allergens in the house. That's bad news for Randy (and I spent this morning vacuuming to clean up the area).

I suggested that Randy try to coax Sasha back outside with food, but that didn't work. It was getting later and later, so I finally coaxed Sasha over to me and picked him up. He allowed me not only to pick him up, but also to carry him outside and he was perfectly quiet until the last minute when I put him down next to his food and house. He got squirmy then.

He's such a good cat. Eventually, we will bring him inside my office where he'll have to get along with all of these cats. I think he'll be able to manage that.

Wed., 28 March 2007
Zebedee's latest trick is to perch on top of my monitor. It's not a good place for him to be for a number of reasons, and when he jumps up there and settles on the back end of it, the monitor tilts upwards. This forces me to get up, remove him and readjust the monitor. Then Zoe decided if Zeb liked to do, she would like to do. It got to where I was having to readjust the monitor a dozen times a day. I'm trying to break them of the habit. Wish me luck.

Something new to worry about -- one of my cats is bleeding. I found blood splotches a couple of days ago, but thought it might have been the result of a cat tiff. But last night, I found a fresh new splotch on the plastic floor mat behind my chair. I have no idea who it's coming from, or where. I started examining every cat that was nearby, but couldn't find signs of blood. I hope it's not a sign of continuing intestinal problems, which is what I suspect. I finally was able to catch both Mojo and Zebedee doing their act in the catbox yesterday and they both continue to have borderline problems. I'll have to keep watching until I get a better clue who the bleeder could be.

We had a rare Bowie sighting this morning. Sasha is acting twitchy, though he comes to us to be petted. Scooter hasn't reappeared yet, or at least not when we're around. Haven't seen Tom again.

Poor dear old Diva has a bad cold. Her nose is running, she's all congested, sneezy and wheezy. Her health has never been especially great, in general. She has bouts of severe skin allergies. She has what is probably a virus that makes her eyes constantly runny and gooey. I give her Lysine twice a day for that, which seems to help a little. Many years back, the vet found calcification on her liver (no explanation for that!). She's at least 11 years old, but could be older. She's such a sweet, loving, quiet girl that I wish I could do more for her.

Kate the Ancient is closing in on 16 years old next month. I'm pleased to say that since the giardia treatment, she has put on a small amount of weight. She had gotten too skinny, so I'm glad to see that.
Zebedee peeks in the Windows.
Theseus, Kate & Puck
Beware, it's the Hydra-Cat! (Okay, it's really Theseus, Kate and Puck.)

Thurs., 29 March 2007
I discovered the bleeder. It's Theseus. I saw blood on his chest last night and found that it's coming from that nasty cyst/growth/whatever in the corner of his mouth. I examined his mouth carefully in case it was a tooth problem instead, but it's definitely coming from a crack or sore on the cyst. It must scab over and then he reopens it every other day or somehow makes it bleed again. The vet was fully booked for today, so he's going tomorrow.

The Scooter situation is resolved and I'm left officially embarrassed. I had a long chat with Scooter's mom and have to recant my previous opinion. She is caring cat mom who clearly loves Scooter and has spent hundreds of dollars on him. The embarrassing part is that she has already had him fixed. I started by asking for her permission to have him fixed at my expense. She said, "No!" I thought I was in for an argument, but instead it turns out that between the last time I spoke with her (probably a couple months ago) and now, she had it done.

In fact, while we were talking, Scooter heard his name, came over, rolled around at our feet and gave us a Full Display of his Snippery. Thus once again I am beaten over the head with a 2x4 on the evils of making assumptions. I hadn't bothered to look. I am such a doofus.

She apologized more than once for Scooter causing a problem and we both had good laughs over the tricks that cats pull on humans. She's going to try to keep him inside more, especially at night, though he's good at getting out. Randy and I will go back to our previous policy of discouraging him from coming around. He's not a poor neglected moggy. He's a blasted con artist.
Puck perfects the circle.

Fri., 30 March 2007
So I'm running late to leave for the vet's, a 40 minute drive, and I race into my office hoping to scoop Theseus up from his usual place on the floor. But noooo, I find him roosting on the top of the highest set of shelves he can get to. Gaaahh. I didn't have time to coax him down. I had to perch on an unstable chair and grab him. He did NOT want to go. On the way down, he dug his pitons into my arm and back. Owowowowowowch. He complained pretty much the whole way there.

The vet was more harried than I've ever seen. I asked him if he had seen a lot of problems from the pet food recall. He said he can't be sure, but he has had five suspicious cases of sudden kidney failure, all in cats. And about five million phone calls. I felt for him.

Theseus has lost more weight, as I could tell. He went from 22 lbs. to 20 lbs. and now down to 16 lbs. He's still a hefty boy and needed to lose the weight, but I don't know why he's lost the weight. He may have had coccidia and/or giardia that caused it. Or it might be something else, which is what worries me. The vet took a biopsy of the growth on Theseus' mouth. He saw some abnormal cells when he looked at the slide, but didn't recognize what they were for sure, so we'll have to wait for the pathology report.

Tom was back late this afternoon. I petted him while he was eating and saw that the abnormal claw on his deformed paw was way out of control again. I got the claw clippers and Tom and I danced a minuet for about five minutes before I finally managed to snip it. I also had to grab Scooter for the second time in two days, carry him up the road to the corner, and send him scooting back to his own house.

I finally figured it out. Ariel is practicing Feral Fang Shui. If she's in her bed facing north, she enjoys having her right ear scratched. Today, she not only leaned into it, she made a little sound of pleasure. Mind you, she only allows this for a few seconds. But if she's lying in her bed facing south with her left ear toward me, forget it. My best guess is that facing north, she has her back to a corner of the Cave and is facing open space. When she's lying south, she's facing the corner and may feel more trapped.

Or she's just nuts. Take your pick.

Mon., 2 April 2007
I didn't hear from the vet today about Theseus. It was such a busy, runaround kind of day, it totally escaped my memory.

Diva has passed her cold on. Now Jetta is the one sneezing and wheezing, poor girl.

We don't have enough to worry about, so naturally this is when Pippin decides to develop diarrhea. We had switched to a cheaper dry food and we're hoping it might only be a reaction to that. Randy brought home the higher quality food today, so we'll see if there's any change.

I was making wonderful progress with Ariel. She's been actively enjoying having her neck and head scratched, and careful strokes on the head. Last night, I think I may have even heard a low level purr. I was thrilled. Today -- it's as though the past week never happened. I reached in to do the exact same thing I've been doing. She gave me hisses and spits. She's been like that all day, too, though I'll try again tonight. Either something has her terribly upset in general, or possibly she's not feeling well. She's a feline version of Russian roulette.

Tues., 3 April 2007
Good news. The biopsy report showed that what Theseus has is...a benign cyst. Just as my previous vet told me years ago. Technically, my current vet said it's an epidermal inclusion cyst. If it were located elsewhere or not so large, we could simply have it removed. My vet doesn't favor doing that to Theseus since it would take out a significant part of his mouth. He would only advise it if the cyst were to become a major problem. I haven't seen any sign of blood from the cyst since before I took Theseus in. There doesn't seem to be much else that can be done for it. One possible option is a steroid shot to calm down whatever inflammation there might be, but even that won't do much to change it. I'm afraid Theseus is simply stuck with it.

Anybody remember when we used to get daily visits from our cat-friend, Bob the black cat? His people moved away several months ago. Bob showed up the other day to say hello! His people have moved back to the same house. Humorously, we have new neighbors next door who have a dog named Bob.

Tom is here every day and we're having debates on what to do with the poor guy. He needs a home, a good loving home. Anybody reading this in the L.A. area that could take him in? Otherwise, I may have to take him to Cause4Cats and let him live in a cattery. I don't think he could adjust to the Horde and we can't afford to take in more than we have.

For the past couple of days, I've been going across the street to take care of my neighbors' three cats while they were on a short trip. Tom would follow me over there, to where he used to live, would sit outside and cry and cry. It tore my heart out.

We've had to carry Scooter home three times in the past two days. His people can't leave food outside for him because they live across the street from the House That Is The Source of All Cats, and if they were to leave food out, they'd have a hundred cats in their yard. That's why Scooter keeps coming to our place for food.

Speaking of T. and her house, it seems she's been doing quite a job of TNR'ing more of the ferals around her place. I was about to borrow a trap for Peaches, a pale orange tabby that's been coming here since he was young, but I got a good look at him and realized his ear is tipped. He's already been done!

I also discovered there is more than one pale orange tabby, both with tipped ears. Peaches is entirely orange, the other has a spot of white on the chest, so he's become Peaches&Cream.

Bowie is back. Now that the warm weather has returned, he's moved into his summer home. The pattern is that he must live at T's place during the winter, then comes back to live with us for spring, summer and fall.

I managed to get a brief scritchie with Ariel this morning, though she remains twitchy for whatever reason. Maybe I'll have better luck tonight.

Thurs., 5 April 2007
Jetta continues to sneeze from her cold.

Pippin is doing much better now that we've changed him back to high quality food. It may be a coincidence, but I suspect he had a problem with the other brand of food we tried.

It's that time again. Ant season. I found ants all over Ariel's food bowl. The battle has begun.

Speaking of Ariel, she has turned her Feral Response Mode up a couple of notches for some mysterious reason. I'm continuing to give her scritchies, but she's being twitchier about it, nowhere near as relaxed as she was last week. I'll gently persevere and try to make up the lost ground. I sure would like to know what happens to make her switch off like that.

Sun., 8 April 2007
I managed to get past another barrier in Ariel's Feral Fang Shui and gave her a scritch behind the south-facing left ear! Wheeee!

Jetta is mostly better, but the cold has been passed on to Lord Simon who is sneezing miserably.

I almost never mention Tosca. That's because she is so close to being a perfect cat. She's affectionate without getting in my face, never gets sick, is playful, happy, talkative, fat & sassy, and mostly gets along with everybody. Once in a while, she gets into a minor tiff with another cat, but that's the exception. Such a good girl. I even named my giant black-with-white-spots pet sabretooth in World of Warcraft after her.
Saffy says, "There's a golf ball in my water!"

Tosca says, "So?"

Wed., 11 April 2007
Diva gave me a scare last night. She's usually one of the first to respond when I call out that it's treat time. When I located her, she didn't respond to me. Her head lolled in my hand. For a few terrifying seconds, I thought she had just died or was in a coma. Finally, she snapped out of what must have been a deep, deep sleep and reacted normally. I've never seen a cat sleep THAT deeply.

Saffy found a piece of bubble wrap to carry around the office. It's an odd sound to hear and when I looked around to see what it was, Saffy meeped at me as if to say, "What?"

Meanwhile, her sister Opal found the empty skin of her favorite kittenhood mousie again and took to carrying that around the house.

The yard and front porch have become cat central once more with the usual gang of ferals showing up in force. It's amusing to see Sasha welcome them into the yard and lead them around. Smokey and Peaches seem to be good buddies of his. It reminds me of some young, rich noble's son inviting his poor friends to dinner at his estate. Sasha is so mellow, he gets along with all of them.

Tom hung around with me while I was watering plants and weeding. He demanded attention, which I gave him, but when I returned to the weeding, he complained. If I didn't respond to the complaint, he would hiss and whack me on the leg! Then he chased Scooter out of the yard. Scooter keeps coming back though, and we're getting tired of carrying him home.

Poor Simon continues to sneeze and wheeze. I'm waiting to see who catches it next.

I'm regaining lost ground with Ariel. She let me scratch her neck, pet her head and she even purred for me!
Scooter at the food bowl. As you can see, he's a pretty boy. This pose hides how messed up his left shoulder is.

Puck asks Theseus, "Does this bed make my butt look fat?"

Thurs., 12 April 2007
We had a sprinkling of teeny-tiny snow pellets this morning, a cold day and high winds. The winds tossed the trees around and made the outside cats get weird. Sasha raced around the yard like a rocket-butt.

The cold virus in the office has spread. The new sneezing victims are Zoe, Mojo and Ariel. Mojo goes into the Cave a lot and eats Ariel's food, so I'm not surprised she caught it.

Good news! Tom is going home! One of my guesses was correct -- his people moved back into this area and he wandered away from the new house. I was at the post office when his people spotted me and came over to ask if Tom had shown up. L. was very happy to hear that he was okay and was at my place. She said she'd been keeping him inside with the other cats, but had let him out a couple of times to become familiar with the new yard, then he disappeared. They're living about a mile or so away. She gave me her cell number so that when he shows up again, I can nab him and we can do a prisoner exchange. I haven't seen him yet today. I called Tom a few times, to no avail. It would be nice if he could show up and go home before tonight, because it's going to be another freezing night.
Tom-Tom: "Pet me, you fool."

Fri., 13 April 2007
Last night, we heard a cat fight in the yard. I rushed outside and found Tom chasing off one of the ferals. Tom retreated to his old house across the street, but he let me pick him up and carry him over here. I had a carrier on the porch waiting for him. He was NOT happy about being put in the carrier! From there, I transferred him into the cage in my office, which I had set up in advance for him. I was surprised by how well everybody tolerated him and how peaceful and quiet he was about the situation. No growls, no hisses, no yowling. He had a comfortable night inside, out of the cold.

This morning, I tried to call his people, but I remembered L. telling me the minutes had run out on their cell phone. They had given directions to their current house, so early in the afternoon I drove over there and we made arrangements for them to come by later. Around 3, they showed up, we had a petting fest (Puck polished their shoes) and Tom was on his way home. Yay!

With Tom gone, Scooter is back and picking fights with the ferals. Sigh....

Very little sneezing going on today, so the cold may not have run its course already. That would be good. Nothing worse than an office full of miserable moggies.

Mon., 16 April 2007
Mojo is energetically trying to wrestle a button off my shirt. Earlier he was playing too rough with Zebedee and I had to chase him off. He has a street brawler's energy.

Ariel continues to enjoy the neck scratching and head petting, in spite of herself. A new twist -- the last couple of times when she decided she'd had enough, she got up and went over to her food, an amazingly relaxed thing for her to do.

I've received some kind donations recently and they've been a tremendous help. Cynthia M. referred to one of her cats as a "LapFungus". I can't tell you how hard I laughed over that. A LapFungus! What a perfect word.
Opal and her mousie take a nap.

Zebedee keeps a tub of food from floating away.

Tues., 17 April 2007
The current LapFungus-in-residence is -- tah dah! -- Zebedee.

I made the mistake of being casual with Ariel and moving my hand too quickly from the wrong direction, so we had a Feral Moment. She is determined to remind me on a regular basis that she is still a feral cat.

Sasha covered with dust and plum blossoms.

Scooter dreams of tulips.

Wed., 18 April 2007
Happy Birthday to my old girl, Kate! She's made it to 16. This isn't her precise birthday, but it's a pretty close approximation of it. She and her brother, Knobby, were brought to me when they were only two weeks old and had lost their mother. I had a very small tabby, Neddie, who had given birth to three black kittens and she wasn't thrilled about having another two kittens nursing on top of the three. Because Neddie was so small, I supplemented Kate's and Knobby's food by hand-feeding them with a dropper. I hadn't planned on keeping them, of course. But here is Kate, 16 years later, still with me. She is also the only cat that was named by my late husband, Peter. He complained that he never got to name any of them, so I told him to come up with name. He came up with Kate. Neither one of us could have imagined that Katie-cat would outlive him by 13 years.

She's curled up next to the heater sleeping, her favorite activity of her later years, though she does still get in my lap from time to time. Tonight, in honor of Kate's birthday, she and the Horde had some canned food. She was quite happy about that.

Soaking up the heat.

Thurs., 19 April 2007
Kate says thanks for the kind birthday wishes. ;)

Now I must heave a heavy sigh. Tom is back. He showed up this morning. I called his people's cell phone, but they may or may not have bought more minutes for the phone, so that could be useless. We have a 70% chance of snow tonight. I will do my best to get Tom inside before nightfall in case we do get the snow.

Today's featured moggy is Jetta. You can't tell it very well in these photos, but she has developed some extra markings that I love. Besides the patch of white lace at her throat, she has light gray streaks behind each ear and gray stripes between each of her toes. She remains as scruffy as ever, in spite of best efforts to brush her.
Jetta is too big to hang over the monitor, so she decided to hang over the computer itself.

"What?" she asks.

Sat., 21 April 2007
There was no sign of Tom again since Thurs. morning and the weather took a nasty turn. Yesterday we had a snowstorm from morning until mid-afternoon, though none of it stuck to the ground. I had spent Thur. calling for Tom and looking for him, but no sign. Then Friday morning, Scooter showed up muddy, wet, cold and hungry in the snow, so I took him inside and checked him into Hotel Moggy. I called his "mother", R. and left a detailed message.

R. didn't get back to me until this morning. She refers to Scooter as "totally an outside cat", meaning gee, so what if he's out in a snowstorm. I can't take that cavalier attitude, I'm afraid. But today was sunny and upper 60s, so I carried Scooter up the road to go home.

When I got back to my yard, who should be there but Tom. Randy came out of the house and as I was saying, "Guess who's here?", I looked off to my side and there was Scooter, back at our house, rolling around in the dirt like a fool. I put Tom in Hotel Moggy and left a message for his people and haven't heard a word from them.

I'm spending way too much time taking care of other people's cats.

My mogs nearly gave me a heart attack last night when one of them knocked a couple of ceramic food bowls onto the floor where they shattered with a sound like the apocalypse. Good thing I buy lots of bowls like that for fifty cents apiece at the Salvation Army thrift shop.

Sun., 22 April 2007
Still no word from Tom's people. I don't want to lock him up in the cage indefinitely, so last night I let him out for a brief ramble. There was a moderate amount of hissing, but no major hissy fits. Today, he's been out for most of the day. He found a cubbyhole on top of a box on a shelf and slept there most of the day. Tonight, he prowled and yowled for a bit, but things have been remarkably calm and quiet overall. I think he can sleep inside the cage tonight as a precaution, until I'm sure there won't be unexpected fights. I have many moggies clustered around me at the moment, possibly to avoid him.

Sasha is best buddies with the other feral cats, but three of them in particular are super best buddies -- Sasha, Smokey the Siamese, and The Desert Peach (previously called Peaches&Cream, a pale orange tabby with white chest and paws -- his new name is an in-joke based on a favorite comic book series). Smokey and Desert Peach are almost inseparable. They loooove one another. A couple of nights ago when it was colder than usual, all three of them crammed themselves into Sasha's little house-bed. It was so endearing.

Mon., 23 April 2007
Cuteness to die for. Two Sleepy Kittens.

I let Tom out of Hotel Moggy first thing this morning and all has been peaceful. He spent a few minutes during the say yowling his confusion and he got up to visit me on my desk briefly, but generally he's doing even better than I expected.

Opal managed to slip out the front door, but fortunately didn't go more than a few steps. She wants to go outside something fierce. After what happened to Nefreet, it's our biggest nightmare. She so quick and slippery, we have to watch ourselves at the front door every minute.

Tues., 24 April 2007
Things remain peaceful within the Horde. Tom continues to have his moments of asking loudly, "Why am I here? Do I have to live with all these other cats?"

Pippin keeps having bouts of diarrhea, even after we put him back on the expensive food. Looks like another vet bill coming up.

Zebedee is eight months old now and I'm sure he must have grown, but it doesn't seem like he's grown much. He's awfully small for his age, or so it seems to me. Maybe he'll do a lot of growing at the last minute.

Sat., 28 April 2007
A couple of days ago, I discovered that Tom had two bites on his right cheek. I hadn't noticed them before because the hair had matted over and hidden them. I cleaned them up and the wounds look fine. Judging from the amount of healing, I'd say it happened before I brought him inside. I haven't put him back in the cage for days, not even at night, and I haven't seen any indications of trouble or fighting with the other mogs. Tom has a VOICE and he's not afraid to use it. He still yowls from time to time, and gives an obligatory hiss if he feels cornered, but otherwise he's getting along fine. I tried him out with a cat toy this morning and it turns out he's quite a playful boy, too.

Pippin's tests came back negative for giardia or anything else, so the vet's best guess is that he has IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome) or a food allergy. We have him on Innova, some of the best food you can buy, so we'll see what happens from here. Pippin has turned in to a HUGE cat, possibly the biggest cat I have. Looking at his paws when he was a kitten, I predicted that he would be big. He's about twice the size of Opal. He's also getting fat, so we've gotten the "diet" version of the cat food.

Zebedee continues to get into my lap when I'm cleaning cat boxes. He loves to rub up against my dust mask, causing it to pop inward or knocking it askew on my face.

Scooter keeps coming around on a daily basis, eating our food, hanging out in the yard. There's a large orange fluffy cat that appears every once in a while and gives Scooter a hard time. I don't know if this is another feral or someone's wandering pet. Scooter's getting along better with Sasha, which helps keep things calm otherwise.

I had another win with Ariel last night. She definitely enjoys the neck scritchies and we haven't had another Feral Moment recently. I put a fresh bowl of food in the Cave, then began to give her neck scritchies. After several seconds, she calmly stood up to begin eating, without moving away from me. I decided to take a chance and began lightly scratching her butt and stroking her back. She let me!!! After half a minute of that, she moved to her usual eating position where she's backed inside a cubbyhole, but she actually did let me scratch her butt! That's a major trimph where Ariel is concerned. I'm not happy that she continues to hide out in the Cave and doesn't feel safe to come out, but one side benefit of having her in that confined space is that it's given me closer access to her where I could keep trying to make these physical connections. From that point of view, having her in the Cave has worked out really well, I just don't want it to be a permanent situation for her.
His Grace Lord Simon holding court.

Zebedee and Mojo
Zebedee and Mojo hanging out.
Bowie peeks around the corner of my office. His fur is a total mess these days as he sheds his longer, thicker winter fur in large matted patches.

Mon., 30 April 2007
The past couple of days have been worrisome and annoying. Once I got a better look at the large, fluffy orange cat, I realized it was Tiger, who belongs to the new neighbors across the street. Besides Tiger, they have two, very pretty little females, both of whom had litters of kitten a couple of months ago. Well, Tiger has more or less taken over the porch and he is a WAILER. He yowls and yowls. He won't go away. And even though I petted him a few times over at his house, he's afraid to come over to me when he's here.

Tiger's been driving us crazy. Then one of the females came to the bedroom doors and wailed and cried. Opal went ballistic and tried to attack her through the door. This evening, I finally had to call my neighbor and have her send one of her daughters over to fetch Tiger. It gets better. Tiger isn't fixed. The two females aren't fixed. My neighbor claims she can't afford to get them fixed. I warned her that she's on her way to having more litters of kittens if she doesn't do something IMMEDIATELY. Sigh....

The worrisome part is that during the past couple of days with all this going on, besides having to break up fights between Scooter and Tiger, I think Tiger may have driven Sasha and friends away. Usually Sasha is at our place all the time, but for days we've hardly seen him at all until one appearance late at night. Today he did show up a couple hours after we'd gotten up, and has been around a bit more along with his boon companions, Smokey and Desert Peach. But he's been absent an awful lot and we're not happy about that.
Perp caught at the scene of the crime: trash knocked over, empty treat bags dragged out, part of bag dumped in water, assorted odds and ends scattered. Zebedee tries to look innocent. Sapphire beats a fast retreat (see tail lower left corner).

Tues., 1 May 2007
Happy May Day! And Happy Arbitrary Birthday to Zoe, who has turned two. I missed some cat birthdays in April, I think. Opal, Pippin, Sapphire and Jetta also turned two. Mojo was one year old on the 24th of April.

No sign of Tiger, Sasha or Scooter today, though I did see Bowie this morning. The yard has been eerily quiet.

Tom-Tom has found a cat bed in a nice, secluded spot on the storage shelves and made it his. He looks quite happy about it, don't you think?

Wed., 2 May 2007
There's been no sign of Tiger and Sasha is behaving more like his normal self. Last night, he soaked up attention like a sponge. This morning, he was waiting for us the way he used to do, and he was around most of the morning.

I really should take a vow not to keep styrofoam peanuts anywhere in my office. The cats had another peanut party. I had a peanut clean-up party.

Tom is a quick learner. He has already gotten down the treat-giving routine and is showing up demanding his share.

Tues., 8 May 2007
I've been crazy busy for the past few days. I may have another major round of medicine-giving ahead of me because Tosca and Jetta and possibly some other cats continue to have severe diarrhea problems. I sent in a sample from Tosca and am waiting on the results.

Opal is such an imp. She is obsessed with getting into dark hidey holes. She keeps trying to pry open cabinets and crawl into opened drawers or open the closet doors. She has those tortie traits of being too smart, too energetic and too easily bored. We did have a nice session of fetch-the-mousie the other morning. She must have fetched it at least a dozen times. That's a record.

Pippin, on the other hand, is rather a slug. We're having trouble getting him to do any kind of exercise at all and he's getting fat. He was wildly enthusiastic about the birdie toy for the first couple of weeks. Now he barely deigns to notice it. He wants real birdies, like the ones he chatters at through the bedroom screen door.

When I enter and leave my office, I change between my cat clothes and my house clothes in order to keep the allergens to a minimum. I have a coat rack in one corner to hang the clothes and I use one of the "branches" to hang my keys. Zebedee decided the keys were a prize to be had, so he climbed from the cat furniture onto the bookshelves and deftly lifted the keys off the rack. I caught him in the act when I heard the keys hit the concrete floor.

Tom is doing well, though he's not showing any interest in making friends with the other moggies. He comes onto my desk to say hello and get some petting once or twice a day.

I'm making nice gains with Ariel, too, as long as I keep the Feral Fang Shui in mind. Now I can stroke her back and she does a pronounced Elevator Butt. She loves butt scritchies and holds her butt as high as she can when I doing it. What a change!
Zebedee, the Key Thief

Thurs., 10 May 2007
We had a Drama the other day. Scooter showed up for the first time in about a week and this not-so-conveniently coincided with Tiger gettting out and coming over to mix it up with Scooter. I called my neighbor who promptly came over with three of her girls. Tiger was nabbed, but in the process Sasha fled for the hills from the onslaught of the Preteen Girls. He didn't come back until late at night. Oh, and as I predicted, one of her females is already pregnant again.

The result from Tosca's fecal came back negative which made no sense to me. I questioned the tech about whether freezing the sample overnight might have affected it. You see, I was told earlier by another tech at the vet's that I should freeze Pippin's fecal sample until I could bring it in. It didn't sound right to me and I questioned her on it, but she assured me I could do that. She was flat wrong. That means that both Pippin's and now Tosca's samples were ruined. To their credit, the vet's office said they would redo the sample for free, but now I have to watch Tosca so I can catch her in the act again. Last night, when I sat down to clean the cat boxes, I called out, "Tosca, come over and take a crap for me." She immediately trotted over, squatted in the box and tried to produce! I was amazed. She didn't manage to get anything out for me, but she tried.

Sat., 12 May 2007
Another funny cat site -- cats and Shakespeare...sort of.

I haven't seen Sasha all day. He wasn't out there this morning and I haven't so much as glimpsed him. I can't help but worry when he disappears for a whole day, though he'll probably show up tonight. After all, he knows the good food (canned food) is served out in the evening.

I had a Feral Moment with Ariel because she was lying in her bed facing south. I'm trying to get her accustomed to letting me pet her when she's in that position, but she's resisting. Instead, she got up, turned around and settled into the bed facing north and lo! suddenly I can give her all the scritchies in the world and stroke her back and scratch her Elevator Butt. I figure this is the first stage toward really being able to pet her any time any place. I also figure reaching that goal is a long ways off.

Tom is on my desk right now, giving me that "Pet me, you fool!" look. It's that right ear of his that cocks differently from his left ear. It gives him a certain rakish quality. The scars on his face add to the effect, too. He's a scar-faced boy.

Speaking of scars, I was petting Scooter yesterday and discovered a very nasty injury on his neck, or what was left it because it was a large v-shaped scab by this time. It looks like he had a bad bite there which luckily has healed up. That may explain why he didn't appear for a week.

Ah, Mojo has settled into my lap, which makes typing a challenge, especially when he's trying to eat one of my buttons.

Mon., 14 May 2007
Sasha didn't show up Sat. night until midnight and we made sure to feed him. He hasn't wandered off for too long since then. Sasha rarely uses his cat house/bed during this warm weather, but we often see Peaches in there.

Tom has taken to sleeping on my printer when I'm working at the computer so he can be close to me. He almost had a confrontation with Puck. They were facing off and making sounds, but I took care of that in a hurry.

Somehow, somewhere, Zoe has found a styrofoam peanut, much to her joy and my distraction because she's batting it around at the base of my office chair.

Opal apparently didn't care for a program we were watching the other night. She stepped on the remote and turned it off.

Tues., 15 May 2007
I was petting Scooter this morning when I discovered a fresh bite on his flank. It was clean and not deep or serious, but I put some Neosporin on it as a precaution.

I haven't been able to catch Tosca in the box at the right moment. I'm toying with the idea of putting her in Hotel Moggy overnight. That way I might be able to get the sample I need by morning. I know how much she's going to hate it, but it might be the best solution.

Saffy brought me a golf ball so we could play fetch. That's a first. I buy the plastic practice golf balls. They're great for cats not only because they're fast and lightweight to bat around, but also they have holes in them and cats can carry them around by hooking their fangs in the holes, which is what Saffy did. Tom batted the ball around later, being quite the playful boy.

Wed., 16 May 2007
How to vacuum your cat. It helps that the cat is deaf. What's amusing is how many more videos there are of cats being vacuumed!

Thurs., 17 May 2007
I found Ariel in her bed this morning, but the bed was moved halfway across the Cave. It was positioned almost in front of the gate, in fact. I wonder what she was up to in the night? Maybe she was having a par-tay.

Tiger was being a major pain yesterday. He was fighting with Scooter (yet again, again) and he viciously chased Peaches out of MY yard. I was totally fed up with it, so I chased Tiger out of the yard with the garden hose. Didn't actually get him wet, but it sure got the message across. They've added a bell to his collar which helps a lot in tracking him down.

My neighbor came by and knocked on my office door. The Puckster, ever alert to the opening of the door, seized the opportunity and dashed out. I let him eat some grass and roll in the dirt, two activities he adores. Ten minutes after bringing him back in, I got to clean up the obligatory Grass Upchuck.

Mojo succeeded at his button wrestling and popped off one of the buttons on my shirt. It clattered to the floor and I had to leap to retrieve it before it became a hockey puck. Then Mojo went to work on another button. One down, four to go.

Sun., 20 May 2007
Interesting. I'm seeing a change in the quality and feel of Theseus' hair. It's gotten softer and he no longer gets the matted dreadlocks that he always had. I can get a regular comb through his fur for the first time ever. I'm not sure what caused this, unless there's something about the recent food that is better for him. I've been feeding them either Felidae or Chicken Soup for Cats (more the latter these days). He continues to stay at his lower weight and hasn't gone back to being the giant Sumo wrestler he was before. That's good for his overall health, though I would feel better if I knew why he lost so much weight.

Puck was playing with Zebedee and Puck tends to play rough, so I was keeping an eye on them. At one point, I gently intervened. Puck started to walk away and a small orange streak leapt out of cover in a high arc and landed on Puck's back and off they went again. I guess Zeb wasn't all that intimidated after all.

I continue giving Ariel her scritchies, twice a day if possible or even more. It's been going well, but today she had a Feral Moment and whacked my arm to the point of drawing blood. About a week or so back, I instituted a new policy where I no longer back off when she has a Feral Moment. I withdraw only slightly for several seconds. I talk to her encouragingly whenever I give her scritiches, so I keep talking, then I go right back to the scritchies again. So far, I'm able to keep scratching and petting her right after a Feral Moment. I don't stop until she's content and purring again, so that I'm ending on a positive reinforcement.

I keep trying to evaluate what brings on those sudden feral reactions. My best guess is that is has to do with whether she can see my arm hovering over her. When I scratch her head and ears, she puts her head down and leans into it, so she isn't looking at me. She's enjoying the sensation. When I run my hand down her back and scratch her Elevator Butt, she also has her head down. But sometimes when she gets happy, she rolls over on her side and suddenly she sees and is aware of a human and a human arm looming over her. That seems to be when she has the reactions. I think we made a big mistake by sending her off immediately to be fixed after we trapped her. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to have established a relationship at least for a brief time before doing that. Instead, all of her very first experiences with humans involved being trapped, being terrified and suffering pain (from surgery). I should probably count myself lucky to have gotten this far with her.

Tues., 22 May 2007
Tom has now been here for one month as a "guest" cat. It's beginning to look as though he may be a permanent guest. He hasn't made any friends yet, but he's doing all right otherwise.

This morning, the porch was covered with cats, nearly all of the regulars. There were the Three Mouseketeers (inseparable buddies) -- Sasha, Smokey, and Desert Peach -- plus Bowie, plus a possible new regular. Starting a couple of nights ago, the Mousketeers have been accompanied by a D'Artagnon, an attractive young tabby who looks like he's around five months old. He's a highly spotted tabby, more spots than stripes, with pale green eyes.

A short time later, I saw Opal and Pippin fixated on something in the back yard. It was a strikingly pretty young calico that I've never seen before. She had unusual face markings. She looked as though she was wearing a black bandit's mask. Typical Opal though, she couldn't get at the cat outside so she turned and whacked her brother right next to her instead. Poor Pippin! He was just minding his own business.

Wed., 23 May 2007
Argghh, I was right about Tosca, that she wouldn't be happy about being locked up. I put her in the cage last night and she trashed the place. The cat box was turned ninety degrees and there was litter EVERYWHERE. I'm lucky she left some litter in the box. The cat bed was crumpled and folded over, the cat food was a soggy mess on the cage floor -- it was a disaster. On the plus side, I got the sample I needed and that goes to the vet tomorrow morning. I sure had some cleaning up to do, though.

Mojo is getting a new nickname -- The Button Maniac. With the warmer weather, I'm wearing more shirts with buttons and that cat is determined to pull off every one of them!

Thurs., 24 May 2007
It's the spring batch of new moggies. Randy spotted an even younger black kitten on the porch, about half the size of D'Artagnan, still in the Giant Bat Ears phase. D'Art is extremely shy of us, of course. He scampered off to the driveway one time when Randy went outside, then sat there crying like a lost kitty. Smokey and Sasha quickly ran over to make sure he was all right.

Saffy played fetch-the-fishie for a little while this morning. She hardly ever does that any more.

Besides her mousies, Opal's favorite toys are ping pong balls. She moves like lightning and ping pong balls are great for that kind of play. Except that she keeps losing them. Randy found four of them, perfectly lined up in a row, under one end of the sofa. If they were any smaller, they'd all be under the oven.

Diva's right eye had extra goop in it this morning, so I wiped her eyes with a tissue. She hates it when I do that and you'd think she'd appreciate have the goop removed. Late afternoon, I saw that the eye was seriously gooped up and I worried it might have been an injury or infection. Fortunately, I keep eye ointment on hand, so I put some in. Diva hates that even more. But tonight the eye is looking pretty good, so I'm relieved.

Sat., 26 May 2007
I forgot to relate that the vet's office called yesterday with the results of Tosca's test and everything came back negative. Now I'm seriously perplexed. Tosca, Mojo, Kate and other cats have diarrhea, but I have no idea what could be causing it if no parasites or worms show up. They're getting very good quality food, so it shouldn't be a food problem. Lolette has offered to provide me with safe anti-diarrhea meds which I need to pick up from her. Otherwise, I'm out of ideas on what to do.

I treated the Horde to some catnip and wasn't surprised to see that Tom is a Nip Fiend. The moggies rolled around in happy delirium for a while. Now they're sleeping it off.

Fri., 25 May 2007
Diva's eye looked goopy again this morning, so I put in more ointment. Very soon now she will run from the sight of me and the hated tube of ointment.

I realized that Tom has another claw on the deformed paw that is longer than normal and he can't entirely retract it so that it catches on the ground. He won't sit still for letting me trim his claws. I have to chase the claw around with the clippers and then, with speed and dexterity, snip it before he notices. And I did! If only that was worth a merit badge.
I managed to grab a shot of Smokey, the feral Siamese. Isn't he a beautiful boy? And so cross-eyed.

Sun., 27 May 2007
Henh, Zebedee threw caution to the wind after facing Puck down. Puck started to wander away and once again Zeb leapt into the air and landed on Puck's back. Trouble is, Puck ends up playing rough and Zeb soon had tufts of fur pulled out of his back. Not that he seemed too worried about it. A few minutes later, he was rolling around on the floor with Mojo and losing more tufts of fur.

I found a soggy, drowned mousie in the water bowl for the third morning in a row. I wonder if the guilty moggy would try to drown an actual mouse like that? Then again, I doubt any of these youngsters would know what to do with a live mouse.
Jetta's ear tufts.

Wed., 30 May 2007
Opal has won the title Queen of Mischief in the household. Her latest bad trick is getting onto the kitchen counter, mainly because she wants to look out the kitchen window that is over the sink. Last night during dinner, she kept going after a small container of vitamins on top of the toaster oven. She was getting into similar mischief last night when Randy and I were trying to play World of Warcraft. He had to chase her down from trying to get onto the top of a torchiere, but then three minutes later he heard her meep and found she had brought him the Mousie of Apology to make up for it. She is an Imp from Hell, but a totally adorable one.

Meanwhile, her sister, Sapphire, has taken responsibility for being the new Broomslayer. Simon lost interest in it months ago and Saffy seems to think that somebody has to do it.

Another first with Ariel -- she let me pet her while she was eating. I was giving her the usual scritchies and she was doing the Elevator Butt. She decided to move over to her food, as she's done a few times before, but this time, instead of moving into her normal secure position where I can no longer touch her, she stayed in her Elevator Butt position near me and let me continue petting her. Wow.

Thurs., 31 May 2007
The cats keep dragging my sweatshirts off the shelves to nest and play in. I washed a batch and put them away this morning, but an hour later, half of them were on the floor again. Here is Zoe with her head inside a wool sweater saying "I'm invisible!"

Mon., 4 June 2007
Gopher snout and hairballs -- that's what awaited me the other morning. The gopher snout was in the yard and was the good work of Sasha or one of the feral posse. Go moggies! They can catch all the gophers they want. I was considerably less happy to find feathers in another part of the yard. I would like to spare the birds.

The hairballs have been lying in ambush on the mat just as I come inside the office door. So far, I've managed by sheer luck to avoid stepping on them.

Puck got past me and out the door and the first thing he did was spot Sasha and chase him out of the yard. Puck was smart enough not to jump over the fence or leave the yard. I was able to scoop him up and bring him inside immediately. Sasha came back a while later, but I sure hate to have him chased away.

Tom has finally realized that the door is The Way Out. I have to be on guard to block both Puck and Tom when I'm going in and out of the office.

And now, for your titillation, a bit of hot and heavy cat-on-cat action:
Theseus & Puck
Puck thinks Theseus makes a soft cushion.
Theseus thinks Puck is a heavy blanket.

Tues., 5 June 2007
The Button Lunatic aka Mojo is hard at work trying to pull off all my buttons. I will have to break him of that particular fancy.

It's a peaceful afternoon and the office is filled with furry piles of contented, sleeping cats. It's almost enough to make me curl up in a ball and take a nap.

Zebedee is partial to the printer. It's just the right size for him.

Wed., 6 June 2007
Aaaaggghhh! I caught Zebedee spraying in a corner. That is not good, not good at all. The time for snippage has arrived, as soon as I can manage it. I do NOT want him to turn into a sprayer.

Thurs., 7 June 2007
I heard thumping and bumping and the sound of things being knocked off a shelf. This is what I found (was there ever such a guilty look on a kitten's face?):
Zebedee caught in the cat of pilfering cat treats after deciding I was being too stingy with them. He had figured out they were in the container, knocked half the items off the shelf so he could get the lid off and was trying to munch his way through the plastic bag to help himself.
Simon says, "Mom, there are toys in the water bowl again!" Gee, I wonder how that could have happened?

Mon., 11 June 2007
I made a run over to Cause4Cats to pick up the vaccination records for Zebedee. I can't take him to my vet for neutering without proof of vaccination. Poor Lolette is inundated with kittens that people have been dumping on her with no consideration whatsoever. They just leave carriers of cats and kittens on her property. No money or donations, no responsibility taken. She has a batch of four adorable kittens that need human socialization, so I spent half an hour with them, holding each kitten individually for petting and human contact. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. Such are the sacrifices I make as a Servant of Bast.

Tues., 12 June 2007
I found a mauled roll of paper towels waiting beneath my desk. It was only lightly mauled, so I was able to salvage most of it.

Opal has developed a new passion...BUGS. She is gaga for bugs. She sits on the stairs and pleads for a bug to come down from the high walls so she can pounce on it. I saw her staring intently at a moth. I nabbed the moth and put it on the floor for her where she pounced, ran off with it and ate it. Randy gave her another moth last night. She looooves the moths. They are the ultimate cat toy -- they move on their own! And they double as an hors d'oeuvre. Opal thinks we should buy her moth-flavored cat food. Yummm.

I have an unhappy feeling that Tom isn't going to fit in with the Horde. He refuses to get along with any of the other cats and he's getting subtly more aggressive about it. He goes out of his way now to take whacks at any cat that gets near him. I'm worried that it will escalate into fights. It's a shame because he's an affectionate, playful cat, but he would do much better as an only cat. For now I'll watch and wait and hope it works out.

Mon., 18 June 2007
I haven't posted for a while because I've been out of town and life is suddenly quite complicated. It looks as though I'm making a major life change, one that will have an enormous impact on me, my lifestyle and the Moggy Horde. I'm excited, but anxious at the same time.

I looked out the kitchen window and saw Bowie tossing around something with wings. I hurried out in case it was a baby bird and I could save it. He had gotten himself a yellow butterly, I think a Swallowtail of kind. And it was way too late to save it.

Zebedee is scheduled for his transformation from a tom to a tim tomorrow. It will not be a happy day for him, poor little guy.

Ariel got annoyed with me and gave me a whack on the arm leaving one small puncture. I had been petting her and all was fine, but then I tried to put her food bowl back in place while Zebedee was in the way. I moved too much over Ariel's head for her comfort, and that was the reason for the whack. I immediately began petting her again and she was fine.

Sasha also got annoyed with me because I wasn't petting him just right or something and he gave me a bout of soft whaps on the arm. No claws, more like shadow boxing. He was perfectly happy to be petted again right after that, too. I've been getting more than my fair share of cat discipline.

Tues., 19 June 2007
Zebedee was perplexed by being locked in the cage overnight and then put into a carrier. He meeped for the first part of the drive to the vet's, then settled in to nap. Everyone there thought he was a handsome boy.

I paid extra to get him a pain shot. None of my other vets in the past offered such a thing when I took a male cat to be fixed, but I figure the poor cat is having enough trauma as it is and getting him a pain shot is a reasonable kindness.

Randy picked Zeb up after work. Randy has one of the softest hearts on the planet, so he was deeply moved by Zeb's plaintive meows and had to come out into the office with me to make sure he was all right. The instant I opened the carrier door, Puck dove right in. Wacky cat. I finally had to haul Puck out of the carrier so that Zebedee could get out. He's pretty knocked out tonight. He passed out on top of the monitor, totally exhausted. Usually I chase him right off the monitor. Not this time. I didn't have the heart to bother him, but I did take pictures. Shortly afterwards, he got tired of the picture taking and climbed into my lap where he is right now, fast asleep.
Zebedee's had a tough day.
Zeb tries to become one with the monitor.

Thurs., 21 June 2007
Zebedee is back to his energetic, bouncing self, but I'm still worried about him. He's had ongoing problems with diarrhea and he had a bad case of it last night. I don't think he's been growing at anything like a normal rate and I feel he's on the thin side of normal. I'll have to get his stool sample tested as soon as I can manage it.

Another thing I'm not happy about is that the cyst on Theseus' mouth breaks open and bleeds every once in a while. I don't know whether it's happening by itself, or whether Theseus scratches at it until it bleeds. It's not wildly serious, but it bothers me.

I tried to get a photo of Jetta with her tongue sticking out as she was sleeping, but she woke up when I picked up the camera and reeled in her tongue.

Fri., 22 June 2007
I'll be out of town for several days and the Horde will be in the care of my petsitters. I'm unhappy that I wasn't able to deal with Zebedee's problem before we had to leave.

I'm also slightly concerned about Sasha. I noticed something odd on his lower lip a couple of days ago as though he might have scraped it. He seems perfectly fine, eating and bouncing around as always. Today I held onto him to have another look at it and I don't like what I'm seeing. It's not something I recognize and I have a suspicion he may have been gotten a couple of snake-fang nicks on the mouth. If it was a rattlesnake bite, he'd be in much worse shape by now, but if it's not better when we get back, he's going to the vet.

No moggy posts until I get back, not to worry.

Fri., 29 June 2007
Don't worry, nothing is wrong! Well, other than the total chaos of finding a new place to live. The Moggyblog is going on a sabbatical for a few weeks while we pack up and move from southern California to the Bay Area.

I'll return to blogging once we are resettled, so don't lose the bookmark! Feel free to email me privately as well. Wish us luck!

Wed., 15 Aug. 2007
I've been putting off this post for a long time because I have difficult and painful things to relate. The past several weeks took a heavy physical, emotional and spiritual toll. During that time we had to find a place to live, pack, endure a 300 mile move to the San Francisco area, and I started a new, full-time job. Given the time-crunch, it proved to be impossible to find a house to rent where we could have 16 cats. The best we could manage was to find a landlord who was willing to accept two cats. Consequently, Pippin and Opal are in the new house with us, as they were in the other house.

That leaves the rest of the Horde who lived in my office. It was the most heart-wrenching moment I had to face when I realized the choices I had to make.

I was only able to bring four other cats who are in a much smaller space than before, a separate space where I also have my home office. The four I brought were Kate, Puck, Zebedee and Sapphire. I'm now working a full-time job, so I only get to see these cats briefly in the morning, briefly at night and during the weekend. It's not an ideal situation, but at least they're here.

I couldn't leave poor old Kate behind in anyone else's care. She's too old and probably doesn't have much time left. She's with me until the end.

I adore Zebedee and Saffy and they get along well. I was also concerned about Zebedee's health. A couple of weeks before the move he continued to be seriously underweight, undersized and have bad diarrhea. The fecal tests came back negative. With help from Lolette at Cause4Cats, I treated him for two weeks with an anti-inflammatory and the equivalet of Kaopectate. That seems to have helped a lot. I'm seeing normal stools and I think he's slowly putting on some weight, though he continues to eat as though he's half-starved. I don't think he'll ever be a normal-sized cat, but he sure is a sweet one.

I plan to adopt Puck to a new home that is actually an old home, back to the hill on which he was born and where he spent his first few years -- meaning my old house, the one I sold to move south to the L.A. area three years ago. I sold the house to a sweet, animal-loving young couple who have a mini-farm going on there now with goats and chickens and dogs and cats. They're willing to take Puck in. He has been miserable for the past three years at being locked up inside. Previously, he had the free run of that entire property (almost 11 acres perched on a hill). He could roam and hunt. I think he'll be a much happier cat if I return him to that place and that life. We've been trying to make arrangements for the transfer for the past couple of weekends, but either their schedule or mine hasn't worked out. It's about a 3.5 hour drive from here, so it's not a short trip. With luck, it will happen during this week or by next weekend.

Here's a rundown on the other cats:

ARIEL: Ariel was adopted out to Tyler, the woman who has been taking care of all the ferals around the corner from me in The House That Is The Source of All Cats. She and another cat rescue friend have done a remarkable job of getting the ferals fixed and adopting out dozens of kittens that were born in her house by ferals who are allowed to enter. She's put a stop to letting the ferals roam inside as she gets the population under control. Ariel almost undoubtedly came from that house originally and they were kind enough to take her inside. She's in a big room by herself in order to acclimate to the new situation. She was traumatized at first, but is gradually settling in. Tyler tells me that Ariel chose a new name for herself and is now Gabrielle.

TOSCA, THESEUS, MOJO: were taken in by my petsitter in Frazier Park. I was thinking of it as fostering, but she has already become so attached to them, I think it's permanent for all but Tosca. I'm planning to bring Tosca up here to be adopted by a good friend who lives relatively nearby. Tosca is such a social cat that it will be a better situation for her and it means I'll get to see her from time to time.

ZOE, SIMON, JETTA, DIVA, TOM: had to go to Cause4Cats in Frazier Park to be fostered until such time as I can find a way to have them back. We're attempting to adopt out Tom and Jetta, though I'm not counting on much happening. Lolette gave them their own private cattery area that is both indoor and outdoor. They can sit outdoors on the cat furniture, then go to the inside part to escape weather or just hide out. A few days ago, Lolette advised me that she'd brought Diva into the house because of an upper respiratory problem. Once I get Puck resettled, I plan to bring Diva up here where I can take care of her. She's also an older cat and has always had certain health problems. She was benefiting from getting Lysine twice a day, so I'd like to be able to continue that.

I have more to say, but I think I'll go ahead and post this now. I've been depressed and deeply upset about having to leave some of my cats behind. If anyone has ever thought about donating to Cause4Cats, now is the time to do it, and tell Lolette it's a donation for Christy's moggies. Thank you.
Sun., 19 Aug. 2007
I appreciate the many nice emails I've received sending me sympathy and encouragement. It does help.

Last time, I posted about the Horde. I was also extremely sad to leave behind the ferals, especially Sasha. We had established such a lovely bond with him and it truly broke my heart to think of leaving him behind. I tried to bring him into the Horde before the move. I brought him inside the office and set him up in the cage so that he could become acclimated. It was a disaster. He was terrified, pathetic and miserable. He couldn't cope with being locked up. Worse yet, he was surrounded by strange cats, especially Puck. At least three times when Puck got past me and got outside, he attacked Sasha and chased him out of the yard. Being inside the cage, Sasha was face to face with this enemy with no way to escape. He hid beneath the cat bed I'd put in the cage.

I could quickly see that it simply wasn't going to work, so I let Sasha go. Once he was outside again and free, he was fine. He has his territory, his feral friends and he will always have food and shelter at Tyler's house. I'll have to be content with that. I talked to Tyler about him in detail, so she's been keeping an eye out for him. I also received email from my next door neighbor that she is continuing to put out food for the ferals on the porch of the old house. I don't know what will happen once that house sells and new people are living there, but I hope that they like cats.

I do miss seeing Sasha, Bowie, Smokey, Peaches, Desert Peach and the others who would come around.

This information is from Grist, "gloom and doom with a sense of humor".

Flame retardants linked to thyroid disease in house cats

Thyroid disease in house cats may be linked to common flame retardants called PBDEs, according to U.S. EPA researchers. In a small study of 23 cats, all the felines had blood concentrations of the chemical 20 to 100 times higher than average U.S. adults -- who, it oughta be noted, carry the highest human PBDE load in the world. PBDEs first began to be used about three decades ago; at that time, feline hyperthyroidism was rare, but has now become one of the most common diseases in older cats. The fireproofing chemical is used in TVs, carpeting, furniture, and mattresses; kitties easily take the substance in by grooming themselves after lounging about. (Food for thought: pound for pound, a 2-year-old child ingests about as much dust as a feline.) While the link between PBDEs and kitty sickness is still a hypothesis, researchers urged further analysis. PBDEs already have a bad rep when it comes to health, and two of the three main types of the chemical have already been banned in the U.S.

Sun., 19 Aug. 2007 - Part 2
Puck is on his way home - his new home which was his old home. Kris and Mandy picked him up early this evening. We had introductions, they cuddled Puck and I said my farewells. As soon as they opened the carrier, Puck did his typical thing and dashed inside, then settled in as though it was the limo he had ordered.

This will be a much better life for him. He has two sweet, loving new people who will give him a wonderful home in the very place that was his home for the first three years of his life. He'll be free to eat grass and hunt gophers and roll in the dust to his heart's content. It was hard and I shed tears, but it was the right thing to do.

Mon., 20 Aug. 2007
I think Zebedee and Saffy were slightly perturbed at the sudden disappearance of Puck. I'm not sure how much Kate takes in these days. I'm thinking I should take her to the vet for a check-up, given her propensity for kidney infections. She's quite thin and has been throwing up. I haven't settled on a vet up here yet. There's one very close by, which is convenient, but he's on the expensive side. Then again, all the other vets I called around here were equally expensive. I suspect that's just the way it is in this area. Everything is more expensive around here.

Tues., 21 Aug. 2007
The space I have for Zebebdee, Saffy and Kate is rather dark. My previous home office at least had one window, but this has none and no source of natural light. I bought a full-spectrum light bulb and leave that on all day to simulate daylight as best I can. I probably need something much better than that. I need to research daylight bulbs and see what would be the best substitute, not that any bulb can adequately make up for real daylight.

Sun., 26 Aug. 2007
Every morning I have to pick up the wastebasket from under my desk and clean up the stuff that Zebedee has spilled from it. He's obsessed with the empty packets of treats, I guess. He remains obsessed with food in general.

Saffy continues her odd habit of leaving a catnip fish in the water bowl. Zebedee drops in pieces of plastic wrapper or other odds and ends he gets from the wastebasket.

I had given up hope of ever getting to play fetch-the-toy with Saffy again because the new space is smaller and not set up for that sort of play. But to my absolute delight, she played fetch with me the other day. She brought me the plastic mousie shell that she still loves and we had several rounds of fetch.

Thurs., 30 Aug. 2007
This morning's "gift" in the water bowl was an unfortunate spider that ended up as a cat toy. Zebedee meanwhile has perfected his technique for picking up and carrying off jars of baby food. I have to pick them up from all over the office.

After playing phone-tag for several days, I finally connected with Kris and got an update on Puck. The short story: Puck settled in immediately and is a happy, happy boy. Kris said that Puck came out of the carrier totally relaxed and seemed right at home from the first instant, which makes sense given that it was his home originally. Puck made friends with their other two cats with no problems, not so much as a hiss. He's been spending most of his time outside, coming to the door when he wants to be let in.

That is exactly what I was hoping for. I'm so relieved to hear that it's worked out as planned. I miss Puck, of course, but I can visualize him at my old house, romping in the spacious yard with plenty of mice, gophers and lizards to hunt, and a warm home inside when he wants it.

Mon., 3 Sept. 2007
Opal continues her ways as an Imp from Heck. She is determined to get into every cabinet, upstairs and downstairs, and into the towel closet, etc. Unfortunately, this is an older house (though nicely maintained) and it has many nice wooden cabinet doors...with no latches or handles and no way to make them stay shut. Many times we've been awoken by the BANG-BANG-BANG of the wooden doors as Opal paws at them to get inside. The towel closet has a sliding door that glides smoothly and easily and is no challenge to an Imp like Opal. I can tell she's working on the clothes closet door and given that it's a lever handle rather than a regular doorknob, I'll bet she eventually gets that worked out, too. We are Doomed.

Sun., 9 Sept. 2007
Randy engages in play with Opal and Pippin almost every night letting them chase the "Red Bug" -- the red glowing dot from the laser pointer. Both of them love to chase the Red Bug, though Opal is by far the more energetic of the two. She's astoundingly fast. Pippin is more the slow juggernaut, but he has his moments. Last night, they were both chasing it on the stairs, with Pippin at ground level. Opal leapt up and bounced on the Red Bug and since her body was then blocking the laser pointer, she had a Red Bug on her behind. Pippin saw that and had the most baffled look on his face. I swear, he turned to us with his ears askew and said "OMG! She has a bug up her butt!" Randy and I were falling off our chairs laughing.

Not so funny was something that happened this morning. Pippin suddenly turned on Opal and was giving her such a hard time that she was squealing. Randy quickly broke it up, but during the scuffle they managed to break both the wings off our favorite gargoyle statue. This was completely uncharacteristic behavior for Pippin. He has never done that before. They've always had a perfect sibling relationship where they play together, sleep near one another and get along great. The incident has us mystified.

Thurs., 13 Sept. 2007
It's amazing how much Zebedee can eat. He's the Bottomless Hoover Cat! I put out a can of food for Zebee, Saffy and Kate and I think Zeb eats at least half of it, then he finds the can and spoon and licks them clean. At one year old, he remains the size of nine month old kitten with the appetite of ten cats. Kate has also been quite good at chowing down the canned food, which is why I've starting giving them one can a day. She needs to put on some weight and I'm hoping this will help.

I've been trying to arrange a trip south for over a month now to pick up Tosca and Diva. First I had to get Puck settled into his new home, then it became a matter of scheduling and finances. I'm making the trip this Sat. Tosca will be going to an excellent new home close by me up here.

I've been wanting to pick up Diva because of her health. A couple of weeks ago when I talked to Lolette, she was treating Diva for URI (upper respiratory infection). I talked to her today and Lolette said that Diva isn't doing well. Apparently, Diva continues to have the URI and Lolette thinks she needs a blood test. This makes me all the more anxious to have Diva with me so that I can take care of her, not to mention relieving Lolette of yet one more burden she doesn't need.

To my great sorrow, I can't bring Simon, Zoe, Jetta or Tom back with me. They'll have to remain at Cause4Cats until I can find a way to have them with me again.

It will be a long, tough trip (about five hours each way). Randy doesn't think I should try to do it in one day. He may be right. I'll see how early I can manage to get out of here on Sat. morning and I'll take everything the cats might need in case I have to stop for the night. I'm not very good at getting an early start for trips. :P

Sun., 16 Sept. 2007
Yesterday was a long, long day. I drove five hours south to Frazier Park and went straight to Cause4Cats. Lolette and I had a long talk about Diva's condition. Diva is not doing well at all. She's thin and has the look of a very sick cat. Usually when I see a cat looking like that, it does not bode well. It means cancer or another wasting illness.

I then spent time visiting and playing with my four babies that Lolette is fostering for me. Zoe and Simon came right over to me and soaked up the love and attention, especially Simon. Jetta has been weirded out by the entire change of situation. She hid from me and barely let me touch her. I called for Tom, but he didn't show. He was on the indoor side of the cattery. I finally went around to the inside and once he realized it was me, he came outside and demanded lots of attention. I cried when I had to leave them behind yet again.

Lolette gave me the meds (Baytril) and fluids I need for Diva. Diva has been dehydrated, so Lolette has been doing subcutaneous fluids. I was halfway to the car when Diva threw up in the carrier. Lolette kindly traded me the dirty towel for a clean one. Diva didn't make a sound for the whole trip.

From there I went to Michelle's, my petsitter. Tosca greeted me in her usual outgoing way. Mojo (who she now calls "Red") ran and hid and that was that. Theseus has half-forgotten who I am. He also hid, but he did at least let me pet him up after a while, though he continued to behave oddly toward me. I think Theseus and Mojo are definitely Michelle's cats now. She said Mojo/Red gets in her lap and Theseus comes out for her attention. So I packed up Tosca, grabbed a quick sandwich for dinner and headed home...another five hour drive.

Tosca lectured me LOUDLY for the first hour. For the next hours, she had to take breaks to let her voice recharge. This period of blissful silence would be broken by a loud "WAH!" followed by more lecturing. She took all of 30 seconds to adjust to being in the new space here.

I've set Diva up in the half-bath downstairs, in isolation for now. I have an early appointment at the vet for her tomorrow. She isn't eating. I tried canned food and warmed up baby food. I tried getting her to lick the baby food off my fingers. Nothing works. I've been giving her the fluids and she's excellent about that. I've cleaned up her fur and brushed her, but her coat is in bad shape. She has one of her old cat beds back and has no energy for anything except to curl up in the bed and sleep. She does seem happier to be here with me. She got into my lap briefly at one point, but I think it wasn't comfortable enough for her. I hope I can do something for my dear, old girl, though she's not really that old. Somewhere between 11 and 13. It would be nice if it were something simple to treat, such as thyroid or diabetes. Otherwise, I don't think she has much time left, especially if she won't eat. But at least she's here with me and I can do whatever needs to be done.

Mon., 17 Sept. 2007
We made the new vet considerably richer today. I like this vet a lot. He has a warm, pleasant manner and is cautious about treatments, rather than charging ahead into drastic treatments. Nor did he prove to be unduly expensive, which was one of my concerns because everything in this city is more expensive than elsewhere.

He saw three of our cats today. I took in Diva early this morning. Randy took in Pippin and Opal this afternoon. Pippin has had bowel problems off and on since he was a kitten, but lately it's gotten worse and we were seeing more and more blood in his stools. And Opal suddenly began having a problem urinating. She'd sit in the box for ten minutes before finally managing a small bit of pee.

DIVA: She didn't have a fever, which surprised me. He was concerned about her condition, especially that her liver was hard and enlarged and it clearly bothered her. We had a blood panel done and we gave her a force feeding. The vet called by the end of the day with grim news. Diva is extremely anemic, her liver functions and some other readings are very bad, and she has a high white blood cell count, indicating some kind of infection. And that's after a week on Baytril, a powerful antibiotic. This is not good.

Some of the bad readings could possibly be coming from the kind of liver problems created when a cat doesn't eat. The critical push right now is to get food into her. I have special food and liquid vitamins for her and have begun the force feeding at home. She's on Clavamox (he's not a big fan of Baytril). If I can get her turned around in the next few days, eating on her own and responding, she might have a chance. Otherwise, she is probably suffering from liver failure or a serious underlying disease, such as cancer. We are also checking for leukemia/feline AIDS as an added precaution, though he thinks that is less likely.

PIPPIN: He's guessing/hoping the cause is colitis because that is treatable. For the moment, he's having us feed both cats a special food and give the liquid vitamins and see if it helps, before trying something more serious.

OPAL: She's also on Clavamox, operating on the assumption that she does indeed have a urinary infection, and she's getting the special food and vitamins.

Randy said that they growled and hissed when he put them into carriers, growled and hissed the whole time there, and when he let them out of the carriers at the vet's office, Opal hissed at Pippin who promptly whacked her across the head. Now, even back at home, she hisses any time Pippin comes near her. This is the complete opposite of how they usually behave. She's being a nutso Tortie.

Oh, and Pippin weighed in at 16 lbs. with almost none of it being fat. He's just a hefty cat.

Tues., 18 Sept. 2007
Pippin and Opal seem to be doing better, but the news is not good on Diva. I fed her this morning and she immediately threw it up. I waited several hours and fed her again around 1 pm. She immediately threw that up. I consulted with the vet. We're taking her off the Clavamox for now to see if we can keep food in her and I gave her the rest of the fluids I had.

After dinner, I gave her half of the normal amount of food. She didn't immediately throw up. Now I'm off to check on her and give her the second half of the food. I devoutly hope she hasn't thrown up in the meantime.

Wed., 19 Sept. 2007
Now that I've stopped the Clavamox, Diva has stopped throwing up. I got a large amount of food into her last night and twice today. Better yet, she left a solid deposit in the cat box overnight, indicating the food is going through her system. Today I came home for lunch and the vet called to check on the three cats. I'm impressed with this man! Based on our discussions, I raced down to his office (which is two minutes away, luckily), picked up a new bag of fluids and gave her some fluids as a precaution. I should probably give her more fluids tonight before going to bed. Diva seems slightly more responsive when I open the door, though she really has no strength to do anything but curl up in the catbed.

Thurs., 20 Sept. 2007
When I checked on Diva this morning, the small bathroom was a mess. She'd taken a crap, which was good, but she'd left it on the wall, in the box, on the floor.... Let's say I had major clean-up to do. She had her food and fluids and did well with that. When I got home from work tonight, I opened the door to check on her. For the first time, she sat up and then got out of the catbed and walked around on the floor to greet me. She hasn't had the energy to do that before. She tried to talk to me, but her poor little voice is all messed up and she can only croak a bit.

I'm beginning to hope that she can pull through this. My big concern now is that I have to go out of town in a week and I don't know what condition she'll be in by then, which will be significant in how I plan her care while I'm gone. I would dearly love for her to be eating and drinking on her own again, but there's no way to predict that. Having her hospitalized would be terribly expensive, but Randy won't be able to take care of her. He's already having major problems with his asthma. I've been investigating possibilities, including trying to find a petsitter who could handle a cat that is this sick. I put a notice up on craigslist and am hoping to get a good recommendation.

Pippin, unfortunately, still has blood in his stool, but he's only been on the new food for three days. We'll have to give that a few more days to see if he'll improve.

Sun., 23 Sept. 2007
Diva is making steady progress. I forgot to mention that I've been adding milk thistle to her food. Randy did some research and came up with milk thistle as beneficial for cats (and people) with liver problems. He kindly picked some up for me at Whole Foods. I've been giving it to her for a couple of days.

She's feeling well enough to groom herself, which is a good sign. And YES! she actually ate some food on her own this morning! I keep offering her the food first and only then do I forcefeed. This morning I gave her a long session in my lap and offered her the food while I had her nice and relaxed. She took a few bites from it. Not a lot, but it's a start! And I think she may have nibbled on a piece or two of dry food during the night. I've backed off slightly on giving the fluids, as I really need to make her self-sufficient as soon as possible.

Again I am impressed with the new vet. He called us Sat. morning to inquire about all three cats. Opal is doing well. Pippin still has blood in his stool, so if that doesn't improve in the next couple of days, we'll have to try other treatments. The vet sounded pleased and surprised to hear the good report on Diva. He mentioned the antibiotic, as we need to get her back onto the Clavamox when we can.

With that in mind, I tried giving her Clavamox last night. She didn't throw up, thank Bast, so I'm giving it to her again in the hope that she can tolerate it now.

Meanwhile, I'm sick with a cold and sound like hell. Such timing.

Randy's sister visited yesterday. We warned her that Zebedee loves to jump onto anybody's back who happens to bend over even slightly, so she was being careful not to give him the chance. Zebedee wasn't happy with that, so he simply launched himself at her! He was on top of the washing machine and launched himself toward her shoulder across a distance of about four feet, the little lunatic. I caught him in mid-air just before he landed. What a nut. He's in my lap right now, his favorite place to be. One of his other favorite places is perched on Randy's shoulder. Randy can't spend much time around these cats because of his allergies, but he loves to let Zebee ride on his shoulders. Zeb settles in and nibbles on Randy's ear. I must try to get a picture of that!

Mon., 24 Sept. 2007
Damn, I've had a set-back with Diva. She threw up last night and she threw up again during the day. I stopped the Clavamox last night as a result, but I had huge messes to clean up. She still won't eat on her own, either. Very frustrating.

I keep the cleaning supples in the cabinet under the sink and Diva wanted to hide in that nice dark space, so I brought out a hooded, enclosed cat bed for her. She seems to like that a lot more than the open cat bed. She also made a mad dash out of the bathroom door. I wasn't expecting that and had to chase her and grab her before she got too far. She's showing a little bit of her old spunk, even though she remains bone thin and weak.

The new sitter was going to come by tonight, but she has a bad cold, too. We've rescheduled for Wed. night. I came home at noon today and made a quick run to the vet's office to get a new feeding syringe and needles for the fluids in preparation for what the sitter will need while I'm gone.

Thurs., 27 Sept. 2007
I have to pack for my trip and it's already really late at night because I was trying to decide whether or not Diva is going to make it. It's not going well with her. I'll have to evaluate her condition in the morning, but if she continues throwing up and remains this weak and letharigic, then I'm only being selfish to prolong her misery.

Tosca went to a new home Tues. night, but that's proving rather problematic. They are good friends who have one female cat. They lost a male cat a while back and thought their female would like having a friend. Tosca is so outgoing, friendly and used to a lot of cats, I figured it would be a good match. The other cat doesn't feel the same way. We'll have to see where things stand when I get back from the trip.

Thurs., 4 Oct. 2007
born circa 1995-1996
died 4 Oct. 2007
While I was away for six days on the trip, I received daily reports from Randy on how things were going with Diva and the petsitter. It became obvious that Diva was continuing to decline. Randy took her to the vet yesterday morning. In spite of the forcefeeding and all our efforts, Diva was as bad as ever and had lost another pound, a pound she couldn't afford to lose at all. I made an appointment even before I got home from the airport. When I saw Diva last night, I knew she had reached the end. In all honesty, I should have acted sooner. The poor girl tried so hard to live, but whatever was killing her had won. Most likely it was liver cancer. She hadn't been healthy for a long time and had something wrong with her liver even at a young age.

I held her for a long time this morning before taking her to the vet's. She passed quietly and peacefully and I cried a lot.

Diva was a sweet, loving, friendly cat. She and her mother (or daughter?), Tosca, were the first to greet a visitor and demand attention with their operatic voices. Diva never fought, got along with all the other cats, and was forever affectionate. When she was happy, she would vibrate her tail.

May she romp in sunny fields of catnip filled with fat mice, slow lizards and low-flying birds.

Speaking of Tosca, I heard from Randy on the second day of my trip that Tosca had returned. I am utterly baffled by her behavior, but at my friends' house, Diva turned into a holy terror against their other poor cat, who hid in a closet and wouldn't eat. The final straw came when Tosca chased the cat and tried to bite her neck. They were sorry it didn't work out because they quite liked Tosca, who loves people. But I'm happy to have Tosca back because I love her a huge amount and she doesn't cause a problem with the cats here.

Sat., 6 Oct. 2007
Zebedee is back to knocking over the wastebasket every night, the darling little snot.

I was having a problem with my wireless keyboard. It would suddenly become balky and stop working. I finally realized it was because Tosca had plopped her plump body on top of the transmitter unit! It doesn't work so well through a big chunk of well-fed moggy.

It took me over an hour to thoroughly scrub down and disinfect the bathroom in which I had kept Diva quarantined. I've taken great pains not to pass along the URI and other viruses she had as secondary problems to the liver failure. That's where we normally had Pippin's and Opal's catbox and we needed to get it back there, instead of Randy having to suffer with it being in his bathroom.

The other wrinkle that I haven't had to face before is that there is no easy way to part with a deceased cat's body in this city. I've lived in rural areas for 20 years. It was never a problem leaving the body with the vet and never cost anything beyond the euthansia. But here, the only options were to find a way to bury Diva myself (which isn't actually legal here), take her to the Humane Society where she would have been rendered into soap, or leave her with the vet to be cremated. I went with the cremation, but damn, what would normally have been a reasonable cost ballooned to $150.00. Well, what can you do? The poor little beastie deserved better than being turned into soap.

Sun., 14 Oct. 2007
Opal has two cloth mousies, but one in particular that she loves. Several days ago, her mousie went missing and we went a-searching. We searched high and low throughout the house. It was in none of the usual places. We looked under sofas, chairs, oven and in closets and cabinets. It was nowhere to be found. Until I pulled the top blanket off the bed to wash it. And there was the mousie! I LMAO. Opal must have taken it with her for one of her afternoon naps as The Lump beneath the blanket, then forgot it was there. She's been happy to have her mousie back.

Dear old Kate is doing better with a regimen of canned food once a day. She's managed to put on a bit of weight and generally seems to be feeling well. However, her fur is becoming slightly ragged around the edges, as it were. That's a sure sign of an old cat, as their grooming abilities begin to fail. Maybe their tongues wear out. Kate has always kept her fur in immaculate condition until now. She has thick, plush fur. I try to comb her twice a day and you should see the amount of fur piling up in my wastebasket! Fortunately, she loves being combed. She purrs for me when I do it.

For those of you familiar with the lolcats phenomenon, a little something to amuse you, especially if you were (like me) raised Catholic. If you aren't familiar with the lolcats humor, go to and laugh.

Oh hai Mary!
Grais. U has it.
Ceiling Cat iz wif u.
U da best momcat evah!
Ur kitn Jesus da best! lol!

Holee Mary, mom uv Ceiling Cat,
Prai for us sinrs k?
Naow and wen we go ovr Rainbo Brij. Srsly.

Wed., 17 Oct. 2007
Zebedee seemed to not be feeling that great yesterday. I have an appointment to take him to a new vet tomorrow morning. Their office is only a block away from where I work, so I'm hoping I can make the logistics work. It's way past time that I had him carefully examined to see why he's undersized and over-hungry.

Sat., 20 Oct. 2007
Mixed bag of news on Zebedee. First off, I loved the new vet I saw and loved the feel of the facility and the people working there. It was more of a practical, less fancy place, but something about it simply felt good. And the vet was terrific. Her approach, attitude, attention to detail, way of handling a cat, sense of humor -- everything clicked for me.

Everyone there fell in love with Zebee, of course. There's something about this little guy that wins hearts at first glance. I do mean little. He weighed in at 6 and bit pounds. He was squirmy and bouncy and wouldn't hold still for a minute, but he got a thorough exam in spite of it.

She did a full blood panel and called me with results yesterday. There's a mild indication that he was explosed to FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), probably in the first three months of his life before I got him. It's a virus and detected by titrates in the blood (I haven't quite figured out what titrates are yet) and his were slightly high. Because he is energetic and generally healthy, this didn't worry her much, at least not yet. Most of his other blood work was also pretty good, except for a couple of proteins. One protein was low and one was high, which was indicative to her of what she suspected, that he has an intestinal problem that is keeping him from assimilating his food properly and getting full nutrition from what he eats.

In other words, it looks like I have a second Pippin on my hands. She was more concerned about not being able to feel a fecal sample in his guts and she wants me to bring her a sample as soon as I can for testing. As she put it, "You're on Poop Patrol." Depending on how that looks, I'll either strive to control his problem with diet or we may move on to medications. She also wants to retest the FIP results in two months to make sure it's inert and not something that is progressing. If he has active FIP, that would be extremely serious.

I've been feeding Zebedee, Kate, Saffy and Tosca the Science Diet for sensitive stomachs for a few months now and the vet was happy about that. Next I go searching for a canned food that is forumlated for easy digestion. She has really expensive stuff she could sell me, but I'm hoping to find something more affordable.

I need to add this cat to the Horde! Really, truly! Can anybody read Russian?

Mon., 22 Oct. 2007
We bought Opal a new mousie over the weekend. Her old beloved mousie was becoming threadbare. Or should we say furbare? She was thrilled with the new mousie and promptly ran off with it and tossed it around. Pippin was equally happy to get the second mousie in the package to play with. And so the mousie quota is maintained.

This morning I was standing next to the cat box with Zebedee at my feet looking up at me. "Zeb," I said, "I need a stool sample. Would you mind giving me one?" He immediately jumped in the box, squatted and gave me a sample! I swear, they either understand English perfectly or they're simply plucking the images out of our brains. At any rate, what I saw looked fairly healthy and I dropped the sample off at the vet's on my way to work, so we shall see what the results have to say, if anything.

Oh, and thanks to the several people who sent me info and links on the big cat from the previous post. It's an Asian Fishing Cat.

Tues., 23 Oct. 2007
We just can't catch a break with the cats. It's one thing after another. We've been trying to ascertain which of the house cats, Pipppin or Opal, has been throwing up for the past week or so. We finally figured out that Pippin is throwing up a lot and Opal also has thrown up intermittently. The two results are different, though. Pippin is especially throwing up huge amounts of dry food shortly after he eats.

Then last night something happened that scared us badly. He threw up and walked a few steps over to Randy. Pippin's eyes rolled around in his head, he fell over on his side and lost control of his bladder. After a few seconds, he picked himself up and slunk off behind a chair, but we were worried sick about him. Ten or fifteen minutes later, he ate more dry food and threw that portion up. I left an urgent message at the vet clinic.

They called early this morning and were able to get Pippin in this afternoon. My boss kindly let me pop out to meet Randy at the vet's, which is a five minute walk down the block from where I work. The vet is doing a full blood work-up on Pippin and then we'll see what, if anything, turns up. Meanwhile, we're taking him off canned food to see whether he can tolerate just the dry food. He mainly throws up at night after Opal and he get their serving of canned food.

Tonight, we have them only baby food. Pippin threw up a bunch of dry food again, which he must have eaten after the baby food. We need to figure out what in the hell is going on with him.

There was also a screw-up at the vet's with Zebedee's fecal sample and I have to do it over again. I hope Zeb will be as cooperative a second time.

Thurs., 25 Oct. 2007
We are becoming less enchanted with the new vet clinic as it's taken them two days and phone calls from both of us before we finally got a call tonight. And it was from the first vet that I saw there who I really liked rather than the one we just saw.

At any rate, Pippin's blood work was totally normal. No problems there at all. Everything negative that should have been negative (like FIP, FIV, etc.) It keeps looking like a food allergy or IBS/sensitive system problem. We had Pippin and Opal on only canned food for a couple of days and started back on dry food today. So far, no throwing up.

The vet and I discussed Zebedee as well and we're going to put him on Metronidazole for a while and see if that helps. I need to get some weight on him. Also, one of the four non-house cats is throwing up about once a day, but I have no idea who it is. Sigh....

Sun., 28 Oct. 2007
Friday night, I saw Zebedee in the box and was going to get another stool sample, but he had such severe diarrhea that I gave up on the idea. Seeing that reminded me that I had forgotten to stop by the vet's office earlier to pick up the Metronidazole. I went by Sat. morning to get it...only to find the building tented up for fumigation. They had posted notices about it, of course, but I had forgotten. I won't be able to pick up the meds until Mon. at noon. I am highly annoyed with myself. I'm a bad cat mother.

In the meantime, I've put him on the prescription dry food we have for Pippin in the hope it will help him somewhat. I can tell the poor little guy isn't feeling great.

The female cats in my office are wrestling with a pecking order. Saffy wants to be dominant, but Tosca isn't willing to let her have her way entirely. Both of them pick on Kate, unfortunately. It's sporadic, but I really give them hell when they do. What's interesting is that they mostly leave Zebedee out of the equation, though Saffy occasionally takes a whack at him. He never picks on anybody.

Thurs., 1 Nov. 2007
Quite a few people showed up at work in costume for Halloween, but by far my favorite was the woman who came as a LOLCAT. She donned cat ears, a tail and wore signs on front and back that read "I can has candy?" and "KTHXBAI". LOL!

I was upstairs getting ready for bed last night when I heard a loud CLATTER-CRASH that sounded like half the house coming down around our ears. I raced downstairs to find a mess in the kitchen. The dry food bowl had been overturned and cat food scattered across the floor. The heavy ceramic water bowl couldn't be overturned, but all the water was in the large puddle on the floor (with the cat food) and splashed across the walls! Randy had been downstairs and said when he raced in, he saw Pippin tangled in the vertical slats over the sliding glass doors in a panic, trying to fight his way free of them. We tried to puzzle out what on earth could have happened to spook Pippin so badly and how he managed to empty the water bowl with such force, but an explanation eluded us.

Zoe and Simon, who are being fostered by Lolette at Cause4Cats, were nearly adopted today. I received an email from Randy at work that Lolette needed to get in touch with me because she had a woman who had fallen in love with them and wanted to adopt them. By the time I was able to get back to Lolette, it was took late. The woman had adopted two other cats. I have deeply torn feelings about this. On the one hand, it would break my heart to have them adopted out. On the other hand, I have no idea how long it might be before I can get into a living situation where I could have them with me again and it would be better for them to be in a good home as soon as possible. So I gave Lolette my permission to let them be adopted if the chance presents itself again.

Sat., 3 Nov. 2007
I think Zebedee is slowly getting better. He's acting more like his bouncing little self. Last time I caught him in the catbox, he still had diarrhea, but not quite as bad as it was. He hasn't been on the Metronidazole all the long, so I hope to see more improvement.

I noticed organic pumpkin puree while we were shopping at Whole Foods today and it reminded me that pumpkin is supposed to be very good for cats with diarrhea. I bought a can and gave a dollop of it to Zeb tonight. He gobbled it down with his usual enthusiasm.

My computer has a Thermaltake case, which has a door that covers the on-switch, DVD drawers and so on. Then there's a second door with a filter in it that protects the front fan. I periodically open the second door to clean the filter. I hadn't done it in a while, ahem, and I was staggered by the pads of cat hair that had somehow managed to work its way through both doors *and* the air filter to plaster itself against the grill of the fan. Cat can infiltrate ANYTHING.

Saffy was sitting in such a way that the tip of her tail was poking up between her hind feet, and of course it was twitching. She kept biting at this irritating thing that was tickling her, silly girl. I wish I could remember the definition I once read of a cat that went something like this: "CAT: a small furry animal with a separate lifeform attached to its butt."

Tues., 6 Nov. 2007
We seem to have hit a plateau with Zebedee, in that I'm still finding fairly bad diarrhea in the catbox, but he seems to be doing okay otherwise. He decided he didn't like the pumpkin anymore, so I had to give up on feeding him that. I won't be satisfied until he gets over the runs and starts putting on some weight so I don't feel his bones when I pet him.

I made the mistake of storing a new bag of birdseed in my office. Zebee would not leave that bag alone. He ripped it open and I had birdseed EVERYWHERE. There went my spare moments tonight, sweeping up the blasted birdseed.

We finally got around to putting up the bird feeder in the back yard, but it's been up for a couple of days and we have yet to see a single bird. We don't get any birds coming here. So far, I've only seen a hummingbird visiting the flowers on the rosemary bush in the back and some other flowers in the front yard. I hope some birds eventually discover the feeder. I love a bit of casual birdwatching, and Pippin really loves it.

Wed., 7 Nov. 2007
Saffy has been more into playing fetch recently. Usually she brings me the plastic mouse husk which she loves to chase. Tonight she brought me the shredded remnant of a furry ball toy that remains firmly attached to the string and stick it came with. What cracked me up is that she would chase it and drag it back with the stick trailing along behind. Zebedee loved that. For a while there, Zeb played with the stick which would jiggle the furry blob and Saffy would yank on the furry blob which would jiggle the stick and so they kept one another occupied. Then Saffy ran off with the furry blob and Zebedee went bounding along after the stick. LOL!

Sun., 11 Nov. 2007
We passed a pet store that was going out of business and had everything marked way down. Randy bought an enclosed cat bed thinking Opal would like it. But she prefers to stick to burrowing under the blankets, so I brought the cat bed to my office cats. Zebedee loves. Part of the time he lies inside it and part of the time he mashes it down and lies on top of it.

It took a week, but we finally had a house finch visit the bird feeder much to Pippin's combined delight and frustration. He didn't chatter at it, but he did meep.
Tosca has to check out the new bed first.
Zebedee makes himself at home.
Pippin says, "I has two mousies."
"MY mousies!"
Opal pursues the Red Bug.

Sun., 18 Nov. 2007
Slowly, the bird congregation is growing. I think the big count so far has been a whopping three birds in the yard at one time, but the word is getting out. At first, it was only finches. I've now seen a couple of sparrows, one Towhee, One Junco, and a blue jay. Oddly enough, the only birds who seem to understand using the feeder have been the finches. The rest of the birds have been scrounging on the ground.

Pippin has been lying by the glass doors chattering away. Oh, and the other day he got to chatter at a squirrel who also came by to scrounge some seed.

After two weeks on Metronidazole, Zebedee still has diarrhea, so I took a sample to the vet for the additional, specialized stool tests she wanted. I had severe sticker shot paying for them, I'll tell you what. I don't understand why the cost is so outrageous. The main thing is, they came back negative. The emphasis now is trying to get Zeb under control with diet, so I'm going to keep him (and the others) on the Science Diet dry, while Zeb gets this nice, ultra-expensive canned food to himself. The others get to have regular, off-the-shelf canned food.

Zeb nearly got tossed into the washing machine. There was a blanket left piled on top of the machine. I grabbed it to toss it into the washer and felt a heavy lump. Zeb was happily curled up in the depths of the blanket. I felt bad having to roust him out, but he relocated to my lap once I settled down in front of the computer.

Sun., 25 Nov. 2007
We're getting a dozen birds or so at a time, causing Pippin and Opal to do much chattering.

Zebedee has been getting his new diet, which at $1.75 a can I can't afford to feed to the entire crew. I started giving him his bowl inside a carrier because he doesn't mind being in a carrier. Now he's so hip to the routine that he dashes into the carrier as soon as I open the door because he knows the food is coming.

Get this, his choice of meal is venison, duck or rabbit. Talk about a gourmet diet. The venison smells so good, I'm tempted to eat it myself, and the duck makes hungry for pate. I haven't been able to catch him in the act in the catbox, so I have yet to know whether there is improvement, though I suspect there is.

Thurs., 29 Nov. 2007
I'm worried about Zebedee. I'm still finding diarrhea in the cat box, he seems to be getting thinner instead of gaining any weight, he's lost interest in his treats and he doesn't seem to have as much energy. I think I may try yet another vet in this area, one that was higly recommended by cat lovers. The only reason I haven't tried them yet is that they aren't located as conveniently for me to get to and that adds complication to my work schedule, but Zeb is worth the extra effort. Tomorrow I need to buy more of the special food and I'll ask the current vet to give me a copy of the tests they did so I can show them to the next vet. It's not that I expect another vet to tell me anything radically different, but it can't hurt to get another opinion.

Sun., 2 Dec. 2007
We started putting out unshelled peanuts to attract bluejays. Instead, we have five crows who sit in the peach tree or one of the juniper trees and spend a lot of time working up the courage to swoop down and snatch a peanut.

Opal cannot BELIEVE the size of the crows. She chatters like crazy when she sees those. What drives Pippin crazy the most is the hummingbird because it tends to hover close to the glass doors.

I brought home a new mousie for Opal that was made of lambskin. It was soft and lovely and I figured she might like it. I left it on the kitchen table to wait for Randy to get home so we could give it to her then. When I came back from an errand, the mousie was already on the floor of the dining room. I went ahead and let Opal have it. She enthusiastically trotted off with it and the next thing I know, it's floating in the water bowl. It had a proper cat christening. Since then, she has ripped half the fur off it. We find tufts of lamb "fur" all over the house. Now we know why she was doing the hairball hack-up last night. Somehow I don't think we'll be buying more of these.

I opened a can of the gourmet food for Zebedee that was rabbit meat. He wouldn't touch it! I have never, ever seen Zebedee reject food. He usually inhales whatever I put in front of him. I tried giving the rabbit dinner to all of the other cats. The only one who would even eat a small amount of it was Saffy. The rest outright refused to have anything to do with it, including major Hoover-cat eating-machine Tosca. Silly moggies.

Tues., 4 Dec. 2007
I believe I've found the vet I've been looking for. I probably should have gone here first because this was the clinic some cat people recommended. I went to the other two places before this because they were extremely close and convenient. This one isn't as conveniently located, but it's not as far as I thought either. They seem mostly focused on cats and I was impressed with the vet. He knew his stuff, no messing around. He was straightforward honest with bad news, tempered with obvious compassion.

As I feared, Zebedee is declining. He's lost nearly an entire pound in the past month and he was only a little over six pounds to begin with! Looking at the previous tests, the vet is pretty sure he's an FIP kitty. Zeb developed a wheeze and congested nose over the weekend, so he hasn't been eating well. He has a fever. It all adds up to a bleak outlook. The vet is retesting the FIP titres and redoing some other blood work. I think it's not a matter of if, but of when.

He's curled up like a little orange angel in my lap. My heart is breaking.

Thurs., 6 Dec. 2007
All of the test results came back and together they have confirmed that Zebedee has the dry version of FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) and the results have gotten worse over the past month. It means there's nothing I can do to save him. I've been crying my eyes out for days and will do a lot more crying before this is over.

He is thinner, anemic, still wheezy and not at all the bouncing ball of energy he once was, but he's not ready to go yet, nor am I ready to let him go yet. Mostly, he wants to curl up in my lap. I figure he has a week, maybe two weeks, maybe more before he reaches the point where I have to make that terrible decision. My main concern right now is for my other cats. I figure they've been exposed to him for a year. They've either caught it from him or they haven't and they all seem to be healthy and doing well. I suppose it would be more responsible of me to have Zebee put to sleep right away...but I can't bring myself to do it. I adore this little cat so much. After only a year, he has a powerful hold on my heart. I'll give him all the lap time I can with the time he has left.

Sun., 9 Dec. 2007
His bright little spirit is gone. I listened to him struggling to breathe with the bad respiratory infection and knew that it would be selfish and cruel of me to prolong what had to be done. He was so thin and weak that he didn't want to do anything more than sleep.

I held him in my lap for hours on Friday night, and held him in my lap for hours Saturday until it was time to go to the vet. He had as much love and caressing as I could give him. There was a kind woman in the waiting room with her own two cats. She immediately saw what I was going through. She came over with a tissue, comforted me, talked to me about Zeb, and was just wonderful in helping me get through those moments of waiting. I didn't allow Randy to come with me. He loves animals so much and is so sensitive that doing something like this is even harder on him than it is on me.

Zebedee went very quickly, almost instantly. I've had to endure this tragic ritual many times and I've never seen a cat pass so quickly. The spirit had been willing, but the body had reached the end.

Saffy and Kate climbed into my lap the minute I saw down at the computer after I got home as though sensing the emptiness that was left there. Saffy has been in my lap a lot to give me comfort, and she's been crying and looking for Zebedee. I hadn't realized she'd formed that much of an attachment, but clearly she had.

Even in his short, short life, he sunk himself deeply into my heart and there's a gaping hole now that he's gone. He was a special, unique being and an endless fount of love and affection. May he romp forever in sunny fields of catnip filled with slow, fat mice and low-flying birds.

Mon., 10 Dec. 2007
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who sent me such kind email of sympathy and support.

I'm taking old Kate to the vet tomorrow morning to have her checked out and tested for FIP. She's been getting thinner, but that could well be a function of her age. At 16 1/2, she's getting up there. She might also have a kidney infection. She's prone to getting those, so I'll have her checked for that.

I'll be getting the FIP test done on Tosca and Saffy, too, just as a precaution.

Tues., 11 Dec. 2007
The only time Kate has a voice is when I take her to the vet.

I had one of my main suspicions confirmed. Her loss of weight and her enthusiastic interest in canned food are the result of her teeth being quite bad. Part of her gums are infected, so she's now on Clavamox. I'm having a full blood panel and urinalysis done. If the results are good enough, I'll have her teeth cleaned, but I won't risk putting her under anaesthesia if she might run into a problem.

The vet explained the FIP test to me in greater detail. The reason it's not conclusive is that it's really a test for exposure to a coronavirus. FIP is the deadly end of the coronaviruses, but there are plenty of others that are far less dangerous, like something that is the equivalent of a common cold in humans. Unless there are other signficant indicators on the blood work, it doesn't seem to justify the considerable extra expense.

That leaves me in a quandry where Tosca and Saffy are concerned. I wish they had a definitive test for FIP that didn't involve having to cut open the cat and take a biopsy. I'm slightly more concerned about Tosca because she's been having borderline diarrhea. Once my budget recovers from Kate's expenses, I'll have to do the same routine for Tosca. Saffy seems completely healthy, so I may hold off on taking her in for any tests.

Sun., 16 Dec. 2007
Good news on Kate's tests. Her blood work and urinalysis came back with very good results, especially for such an old cat. There were a couple of minor points to watch, but weren't unsual for her age. So in general, she's in good shape, which means I can get her teeth cleaned. The vet suspects she may have to extract one or more teeth in the process. I was absolutely staggered by the price. When they told me, I almost fell off my chair. It's going to cost OVER FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Plus it has to be paid at the time in one chunk. How can it possibly be that expensive? How can people afford that? I called one other clinic to confirm that this is a standard rate and their price was the same. Good grief. There's goes another chunk onto my credit card. It's a lucky thing I have a job now and starting tomorrow, Randy is also going to be working at my game company, so that will help. And it's not like I can let the poor girl live with rotting gums and teeth.

She's thrown up a few times on the Clavamox. I suspect it upsets her stomach. Fortunately, she's almost done with it. Unfortunately, I can't get her in for the teeth cleaning until after Christmas. Meanwhile, I'm giving her canned food three times a day as often as I can. I bought a new type of canned food from Innova called Evo which they're touting as being a formula that is more like what a cat would get in the wild. They sure seem to like it.

And now, for some Opal cuteness. She decided that Randy's Polartec shirt was THE best place to burrow in.

Tues., 18 Dec. 2007
Last night I gave Kate the last pill from this course and I can't say which of us is more relieved. She hates pills with a passion. For an old cat, she can put up a lot of resistance, so every pill is a struggle. Unfortunately, I'll probably have to go through this all over again when they do the teeth cleaning. Sigh....

Sat., 22 Dec. 2007
A joyous Solstice and happy Sun Return to you all. We're off to visit Randy's sister for a couple of days. We have a new petsitter coming by this time around, someone recommended via the new vet clinic. They gave me business cards for two petsitters, but both of those people were booked up solidly for the holiday. Fortunately, they had people to recommend who handled their overflow and the new sitter is one of them -- a kindly woman who is a true animal lover. The cats all took to her when she came around to meet them.

Enjoy the holly daze!

Wed., 26 Dec. 2007
The new petsitter worked out nicely. No problems and she was able to get Kate to eat for her.

Long-time readers of the Moggyblog may remember Artemis, the Princess of Thumbs, the polydactyl girl that Randy's sister adopted. Artemis has been on a diet for years, so she is down to a more manageable weight, though still fairly hefty. She is also such a scaredy-cat that I hardly got to see her at all during our visit. She hid the entire time. I reached into her hiding place and gave her a scritch under the chin one time, but other than that, I left her alone. It would seem that she's completely forgotten who I am. That's okay. She has a person who dotes on her, so it's a good life when she isn't hiding from strangers.

Kate goes to the vet first thing tomorrow morning for her teeth cleaning/extraction. She's a little bit dehydrated, so I tried getting some fluids into her before I left on the trip. You would have thought I was committing vivisection! I managed to get some into her, though not as much as I wanted. She seems fine today and I'm going to refrain from more torture.

A couple of obligatory adorable moggy photos.
Pippin & Opal
Pippin and the Lump aka Opal.
The green-eyed Pipster.

Sat., 29 Dec. 2007
Dear old Katie-cat came through her dental work with flying colors. In fact, it went much better than I expected. They didn't have to pull any teeth, hoorah! She did so well that the vet didn't need to do everything that was on the estimate, so instead of costing over $500 it came in at under $300.00. I'm happy about that, but I'm even happier she didn't have to lose teeth at her age.

She came out of the carrier looking quite chipper. I gave her a mix of canned food and baby food, lightly warmed up, and she ate enthusiastically. Her appetite has been good since and I'm hoping she realizes soon that she can eat dry food again as well.

However, she's not thrilled about taking the antibiotics (again) and the first pill required prying her resisting jaws open. She ended up biting me in the process, not badly and not on purpose. It was more a matter of saying, "Do not want pill! Do not want pill! DO NOT WANT!" The following pills have been a bit easier with no blood shed.

Kate forgave me instantly and was eager to be in my lap the same day. She was in my lap a few moments ago as I began writing this entry, then got annoyed that I dared to move my arms to type and left. She has much competition these days from Saffy who as taken over as my Lap Ornament. She's doing a lovely job of filling the void left by Zebedee.

Pippin and Opal, being brother and sister, have the oddest way of drinking water. They drink it in tandem, in ways that look utterly uncomfortable to the watcher, but they insist on it. Here's what I mean. Note Opal's ears pinned back as she drinks under Pippin's chin, while he has to crane over her head for his drink. Silly moggies.
Pippin & Opal
Opal and Pippin sharing water.

Sun., 30 Dec. 2007
Saffy continues to crack me up with her devotion to her favorite toy, scraps on a string. She will drag the entire rig back if I throw it, like a proud lioness with her prey. The brand-new version of the toy is ignored. Here's a pictorial essay. First, meet Mr. Fuzzy Ball and his predecessor, Mr. Scraps.
Mr. Scraps & Mr. Fuzzy Ball

To the discriminating cat consumer there is no choice...

Mr. Scraps wins again!












Puck with ball