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

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cat line drawing
Fri., 2 Jan. 2009
Pippin, Sapphire, Opal
It's New Year's Eve. Let the catnip orgy commence! Top to bottom: Pippin, Sapphire, Opal.

Things start to get silly.

The silliness escalates!

Saffy decides it's even too silly for her.

Pippin stays above the fray, practicing his "Mr. Cool" look.

Jetta, Pippin's sister at about one-third his size.

Jetta also likes to look down from on high.

Zoe: No, I will NOT look at the flashing light.

Sat., 3 Jan. 2009
Grand Dame Kate.

This is actually Kate's favorite bed, right next to the heater. Tosca and she compete for it.

Zoe: "Why do you plague me with that flashing thing?"

Sun., 4 Jan. 2009
Here's a first. Jetta is trying -- in her own peculiar way -- to become a lap cat. This is new behavior for her. The first step was that she would stretch from the desk top to knead my lap, so she was sort of half-in/half-out of my lap. Finally last night she got all the way into my lap...with a little bit of help from me, I'll admit, but she stayed there for maybe ten minutes! What a brave girl she's becoming.

Tues., 6 Jan. 2009
Jetta continues trying to be half a lap cat, which leads to the other half of her doing unpredictable and often perilous things to my keyboard.

I gave her a mousie stuffed with fresh catnip. She played with it for a while, then drowned it in the water bowl, the silly moggy.

Wed., 14 Jan. 2009
It's been peaceful at the old homestead. Although I don't like keeping Zoe on the tranks, it's doing the job. Tosca is back to her old self. She comes out to greet me at the door with her purr motor running. Zoe and Tosca sniff noses and interact normally. The vet said to give it a few months, so we'll see how it goes in the long term.

Zoe spends the evening in my lap while I do my computer stuff, although she sometimes gets fed up and leaves when I'm playing World of Warcraft. I can't seem to get through to her that mommy must use her mouse and keyboard or she will die.

Thurs., 15 Jan. 2009
Poor old Kate is not feeling well today at all. She threw up a lot this morning. She barely wants to move and showed no interest in her canned food tonight. I"m seeing diarrhea in the boxes, though I don't know for sure if it's from her. I suspect it is. She looks so frail and thin. I'm wondering if she'll make it to her 18th year.

Fri., 16 Jan. 2009
Kate's a tough old girl. She bounced back today and was behaving normally, eating well and coming out to greet me as usual.

Opal woke us up way too early with plaintive meowing that went on and on. Randy thinks it's because she was annoyed that he didn't wake up and praise her for bringing him the mousie that she carried to the bedroom from downstairs.

Sat., 24 Jan. 2009
Kate continues to do well. She's done with the treatment of steroids, so I'm watching now to see whether her appetite remains good or drops off.

Opal and Saffy
Opal and Saffy: "What? Us? Sniffing catnip? Don't be silly."

Pippin, large and sleek.

Sat., 31 Jan. 2009
I never thought I'd see the day when Jetta would be a lap cat, but last night she actually got all the way into my lap and settled there for maybe a whole five minutes.

Right now Jetta and Zoe are having fun with the new corrugated cardboard scratching post I picked up today. They love scratching at cardboard, so I figured they'd like it. I sprinkled it liberally with catnip, and they definitely love that. The holder is lightweight plastic that holds the scratcher at a slant. Unfortunately, they keep scratching at it from the side and flipping it over.

Here's your chuckle for the day. A pile 'o' kittens meets the Roomba. Scroll down to the second image to find the video file.

Sun., 8 Feb. 2009
Randy told me a sweet story. Opal was cuddled up in his lap while he was working at the computer. When he stopped petting her and tried to concentrate on the screen, she would reach up and ever so gently touch his lips with her paw. He'd give her some loving and try to return to what he was doing, but each time she would repeat touching his lips. She wanted him to give all his attention to her, not some silly computer.

Thurs., 12 Feb. 2009
Saffy is a cat burgler, a furry klepto. There's a certain category of objects that she especially likes to steal. She's made off with my pens, lip gloss and eyebrow pencil. She even made off with an inhaler once! I never know what she's going to make off with next.

Sun., 15 Feb. 2009
I weighed Pippin and he's sitting at exactly 22 lbs. I don't know what it's going to take to get his weight down. A treadmill? (laughing hystericall)

Sun., 22 Feb. 2009
I have finally found some treats that Kate will eat. Not only will she eat them, she's enthusiastic about them. They're called Feline Greenies Savory Salmon. But of course, Jetta turns up her nose at them and won't touch them. Jetta loves the Goodlife Recipe salmon treats...and Kate refuses to come near them. Zoe and Tosca, meanwhile, will eat anything you put under their noses. This is why I have two sets of treats to give out at night because one must cater to one's moggies, right?

Sun., 1 March 2009
Kate has been terribly upset and out of sorts lately. I did come out to find Zoe harrassing on one occasion, but I've found Kate in a state of mind where she's growling at everybody, including Tosca. She'll sit inside her enclosed cat bed and growl for minutes on end. But then later she'll come and have treats alonside the cats she was growling at. I don't know what I can do for her really, but I hate to see the old girl this upset.

Along with the crows, bluejays, sparrows, finches, towhees, chickadees and squirrels, we have a bold Norway rat that comes out into the back yard to grab peanuts and seed. Below you see Pippin, Opal and Sapphire lusting after the rat. If only the invisible barrier wasn't in the way!
Pippin, Opal and Saffy
Her Ladyship Opal holds court...and she is not amused.

Sun., 8 March 2009
Jetta has done a good job of shredding her favorite toy, the plush "tentacles" on a stick and string. She is lightning fast chasing it around and once she's satsified with catching it, she proudly carries it off with the stick trailing behind.

I replaced it this weekend with a new one and it occurred to me as she paraded around the office with a mouthful of plushy tentacles that she looked very much as though she had just caught and was about to eat Cthulu.

And a fitting end for an Elder God, if you ask me.

Sun., 15 March 2009
Pippin loves to "help" me do my stretches in the morning. A few months back, I had severe tendinitis in the Achille's tendons of both legs and had to do stretches twice a day. I've continued doing that and added some additional stretches.

When I do the stretches for the Achille's tendons, I stand up braced against a wall. Pippin will stretch up the wall toward me as though doing the same exercise. When I sit on the floor in a split to do more stretches, he cruises from one of my feet, across my face, trailing his tail under my nose and rubbing against the other foot.

The basic message is, "I love you, but I would love you even more if you'd stop stretching and go downstairs to get me some food!"

Sun., 22 March 2009
I came home last night from a wedding party and found that my office moggies had left me a gift -- a baby rat. I don't which of the girls did her duty, though I'm guessing it was most likely Jetta or Tosca. We can rule out Kate, who doesn't do much these days except sleep. Jetta is incredibly fast on her feet and loves to chase things. Tosca has previous experience as a hunter. Zoe would probably be up to it if not for the tranks. I praised all of them just the same.

When I took the rat outside to the garbage bin, I saw a large skunk in the yard, with his two white stripes and big fluffy tail. He waddled off in a hurry when I came out of the door. After smelling them several times over the past year and a half, this is the first time I've actually sighted one.

Zoe and baby rat
Zoe stands by the thoughtful moggy gift.

Sun., 29 March 2009
I weighed Pippin this afternoon. He's down from 22 to 21.4 lbs. I'm hoping this is actual weight loss progress and not some natural variation.

I've cut back Zoe's doses of Amitriptyline by half and am watching closely to see how this goes. It's only been a couple of days and no fights so far. I really don't want to keep her on tranks indefinitely.

Mon., 30 March 2009
I had to bring the recycling bins out of my office, through the house so they could be left at the curb for pick-up. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that Saffy had cunningly managed to sneak past me and get into the office. More unfortunately, I left immediately for my walk which takes half an hour.

On the very lucky side, Randy didn't go on the walk with me, so he was here when Zoe began to beat the crap out of Saffy. He raced into my office and had a terrible time getting them apart. Then Tosca had to help him find where Saffy was hiding.

By the time I got home, Randy was deeply upset. He said it took him fifteen minutes to get Saffy calmed down again. She appeared fine by the time I saw her. Neither Saffy nor Zoe seem to have any injuries, but I sure hope this discourages Saffy from doing that again. As for Zoe...I'm really thinking I should find her a home where she could be an only cat.

Thurs., 2 April 2009
I made one of those terrible errors of judgement, but I have an excuse. It was early in the morning and my brain hadn't woken up yet. I had staggered out of bed and was in the bathroom washing my face when I heard a cat getting ready to hork up a hairball. I rushed out and saw Opal about to throw up on the bed. I grabbed her and made a frantic dash for the bathroom -- too late. Had I left her on the bed, she would have thrown up in a nice neat pile and I could have easily tossed the blanket in the washer. But nooooo...instead I had an arc of splotches across six feet of carpet that I had to painstakingly scrub with spot remover. That'll teach me.

Sun., 5 April 2009
Apart from the incident with Saffy, I haven't had signs of problems with Zoe on the half-dose of tranks so far. Tosca seems happy and outgoing, which wouldn't be the case if they were fighting. I'm seeing a few signs of increased aggression in Zoe that I'm trying to nip as they appear. The one bad sign is that Kate is agitated and growly whenever Zoe gets close to her. All I can do is wait and see.

Sun., 12 April 2009
Things were going so well until last night when Zoe once again began to attack Tosca and drive her into a hiding hole. I had to immediately give Zoe a full dose of the trank to get the situation calmed down. Tosca left a large puddle of pee I had to clean up afterwards, fortunately left on the concrete floor rather than the carpet. I'm deeply disappointed that I haven't been able to modify Zoe's aggression toward Tosca after all this time. I'm going to try giving Zoe half a pill in the morning and a full pill at night in the hope of finding a better balance in the dosage. The sad reality is that I can't keep Zoe on these meds indefinitely. Currently, Tosca's health seems excellent and she could easily live another three or four years or more. I don't think having Zoe on tranks for that amount of time is feasible, nor is it good for her quality of life.

I've also had to move the catbox that I'd put up by the front of my desk to make it more easily accessible to Tosca and Kate during the worst of the problems. The dust from the catbox was becoming dangerous to my computer and other equipment. I've moved it way to the back of my office to a different, but sheltered corner. That seems to be working all right so far, provided I can keep Zoe under control.

Tues., 14 April 2009
Peace has been restored. Zoe has calmed down again and there's no sign of fights. She's snoozing in my lap at the moment.

Pippin actually romped last night. He romped and chased a ball around. That's rare for him these days. I hope it's the result of losing a little bit of weight and that we can keep up the progress.

Speaking of Pippin, I missed some birthdays! They're approximate birthdays because the precise ones aren't known. Happy Moggy Birthday to Pippin, Opal, Sapphire and Jetta who are four years old this month!

Sat., 18 April 2009
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO KATIE-CAT! Her brother and she came to me when they were tiny two-week old orphans. My nursing queen wasn't happy about having more kittens to feed, so I had to hand-feed them in addiiton to their nursing.

And here she is, 18 years later. She's a loving girl, thinner, feeling frail, but hanging in there.

Sun., 26 April 2009
Saffy and Opal were chasing a fly around the house. Saffy chased it up the stairs, made an amazing Kung Fu move, snatched it right out of the air and ate it. I was impressed.

Mon., 25 May 2009
The rather large gap in the Moggyblog is due to a couple of reasons. The main one was that my desktop computer totally crashed and burned and it's taken a while to replace it. I had a machine specially built for me, but we ran into a couple of glitches in the process that dragged it out. The other reason is that in the middle of that process, Randy and I took a week's vacation. I finally have my new machine and have gotten the software and hardware mostly all installed again, including the html authoring program I use for this site.

Nothing major in the lives of the moggies, other than having to do without us for a week. The petsitter tells us that Opal hides from her, which means we can't risk keeping Pippin on his diet while we're gone. We had to leave food out for free feeding, otherwise Opal might not get to eat. To moderate it somewhat, we left out only the special diet food that Pippin eats. Unfortunately, he managed to gain a few ounces in spite of that. He's been good about adjusting to the diet again, but he's a well-behaved boy in general. Except when I have to rub him down with the anti-allergen liquid. That's the only time I've ever had him hiss or snap at me. But Randy's allergies can barely endure having three cats around, so I'm afraid the Pippymeister will simply have to put up with it.

Sun., 7 June 2009
There was another round of work on the computer that resulted in having to go back and reinstall all the programs I had just painstakingly installed before. It's going faster this time, partly because I already know what to expect. The system should theoretically be stable and set this time around.

Jetta managed to find a box that had Styromfoam peanuts in it, knock it off the high shelf it was on and help herself to the new toys. I didn't have too many of them to clean up, but Jetta shares that water-dunking gene with her sisters, so I found two peanuts floating in the water bowl.

Kate's appetite is waning again. She's eating pretty well, though she remains too thin, but she's not finishing off her portion of soft food. I've also had more trouble getting her to show interest in her treats. This is hardly surprising for a cat her age, but I'm thinking of taking her to the vet to see if he'd be willing to do another round of Prednisone. That helped her for a long time after the last treatment.

Thurs., 11 June 2009
Last time I took Kate to the vet, he clipped her claws for me. They'd grown so much, a couple of them had curled around into her feet. I noticed recently that she's been getting her claws caught slightly in the carpet as she walks, a sure sign they need to be clipped.

I can't tell you how much fun it is trying to clip her claws. She hates it with a passion. She squirms and fights and cusses at me as best she can. I did finally manage to get both front feet and it was a good thing because one of them was at the point of curling back into her foot again. She wasn't happy with me, though, I'll tell you that. Not at the time, anyway. At the moment, she's back to being a lapfungus.

Sun., 14 June 2009
I've been cleaning up a lot of vomit today. I found four places to clean up including one large pile of canned cat food. Later in the day, I caught Kate throwing up and I've found a couple more spots to clean up since. That's a lot of throwing up in one day. I suspect it's all from Kate, so there may be a visit to the vet in her immediate future.

I also ran into a problem trying to buy more of Pippin's prescription diet food at Petsmart. The prescription had expired. I have to go back to the vet for that, too. What sort of idiocy calls for a prescription for cat food? You'd think I was trying to get medical marijuana or something. Yeesh.

Anyway, we've been wanting to have Pippin's blood work done again to see if his red blood count is still super-high. I'm sure the vet was missing our money, but there's some coming his way soon. ;P

Mon., 15 June 2009
Kate was eager for her canned food this morning, but five minutes later she threw up all of it. I got lucky. The vet was able to take her in immediately and by 9:15 I was there with my unhappy girl. The vet thinks it's most likely a bowel problem as her intestines were packed with some hard stuff. I had to leave her there for some blood work and an enema. In a few days, we'll start her on Prednisone again. In the meantime, I need to keep her on baby food and some special bland canned food.

I picked Kate up around 1:30. When I opened the carrier back at home, she didn't budge from it. That's the opposite of her usual pattern. I had to get to work and I didn't want to force the issue, so I made sure the door was propped open in a way that she couldn't be trapped inside and left her to come out on her own.

When I got home from work, Kate was asleep in her bed and Zoe was sleeping in the carrier! Kate's not doing well. The whole process took a heavy toll on her. She has no energy to move. I tried putting baby food literally under her nose, but she won't touch it. I guess it's better for her to sleep it off, but I'm worried about the food situation. The vet didn't want her to have dry food for a couple of days. I'm thinking I might set up the large dog crate for her tonight and leave baby food out for her where the other cats can't get to it.

Poor old girl. This feels like one of those cases where the cure was as bad as the disease.

Tues., 16 June 2009
Last night, I set up the crate for Kate with a small cat box, water, food and moved her in the bed into it. When I came out this morning, she hadn't moved at all. She didn't touch the food or water and had no strength to get up to use the cat box -- she urinated in the bed. Both the bed and she were drenched. I transferred her to clean towel and carefully cleaned her up. She could barely stand.

It was clear she wouldn't eat on her own. I mixed up baby food with some warm water and syringe-fed her. She didn't really want it, but I fed her about three syringe-fulls. I talked to the vet who didn't like the sound of things anymore than I did. I left Kate in a new bed in the crate when I went to work.

When I came home at noon, it was obvious to me that Kate had reached a crisis point. She was barely responsive and hadn't moved at all. The second bed and towel were covered with urine. I transferred her to another clean towel in the bottom half of my large carrier and called to alert the vet that I was bringing her in. He kindly stayed at the office even though he had been about to leave and even though he could have left it to another vet at the clinic.

I frankly thought that was the end. I'd already caressed her at home and mentally said my good-byes. I was crying by the time I got to the vet's. He recommended that we at least try fluids for 24 hours to see if she could pull out of the crisis. Her blood work had not indicated any reason for such a severe crash, but at her age it's hard to be sure what's going on.

At around 3:15, the vet called me at work to say that she had died. She'd had just enough energy left to give him a growl when they did the fluids, but shortly after that her heart slowed down and she passed on. It sounds as though it was quick and peaceful, though it grieves me that I couldn't have been there with her.

There's another sense of passing involved with losing Kate --- she was the only cat named by my late husband, Peter Ledger. He complained that I got to name all the cats, so I let him name this girl and what he came up with was Kate. She's the last cat I had who was alive when Peter was alive.

Wed., 17 June 2009
It feels a little emptier without Kate around. It's quieter, too, because she used to pace restlessly back and forth across my desk as I was preparing the canned food. She was too anxious to stand still and wait.

Tosca has been especially attentive to me since yesterday. She's spending more time on my desk. I think she must have been deferring to Kate before. Meanwhile, Zoe has decided she likes the catbed that Kate used to sleep in. That's where she's curled up now, giving herself a bath.

Sun., 21 June 2009
It's a lifesaver to have other loving moggies around when you lose a dear one. Tosca and Zoe have been highly attentive. Jetta is doing her part, too, though not to the same degree. Jetta's favorite thing is being perched in the highest spot she can find in the office. I put a piece of cat furniture on top of a large filing cabinet and she loves to curl up in the little catbed way at the top of that. That puts her about nine feet up, a good place to keep an eye on everything.

Pippin weighs in at 21.5. We had gotten him to down to 21.4 in March, but he gained weight while we were gone on vacation and went up to 21.10. He goes to the vet this Tues. for a check-up and to see whether his red blood cell count remains abnormally high. If it is, we're contemplating taking him to the vet school at UC Davis, which is renowned for dealing with unusual animal problems. We suspect he has some other underlying problem that hasn't been found yet, possibly something that interferes with his nasal passages, like a deviated septum. We're theorizing as to why it's hard to get him to exercise or be active, which would help with getting his weight down.

Moggy-lover Alex Burr sent me this link back in Jan. It got buried in my email queue, but the link still works and it's a delightful moment. A cat wanders onto the set while a German weatherman is delivering the forecast.

Wed., 24 June 2009
Here's what I need for Pippin. Think I could get him to use one? (laughing hysterically)

Pippin's visit to the vet was mainly in order to get a refill on his prescription for the diet food. He got a general check-up and was pronounced a fine, healthy, big, fat cat. The vet took a look at the previous blood count readings and didn't think there was anything there to worry about, so Pippin escaped the needle this time. No blood work.

I began reducing Zoe's dosage of amitriptylene after Kate died. You never know what subtle shifts can occur in cat relationships when the composition of moggies changes. So far, so good. Tosca seems happy and outgoing. I haven't seen signs of trouble yet. Let's hope it holds.

Sat., 27 June 2009

It's hot in my office. Hot, hot, hot. The cats and I are inert puddles. Zoe is splayed belly-up to the right of my keyboard.

So far, I've only seen one incident where Zoe was showing aggression and that was against Jetta. I broke that up and am keeping a close eye on how Zoe's doing on the lower dose of tranks.

Pippin gave Randy a bite while Randy was trying to work out the mats that are forming on Pippin's hindquarters where he's too fat to groom himself. Pippy hates having anyone comb back there. Not a bad bite, nothing serious, but we're debating the best way to deal with his matted fur problem in the face of that resistance.

Saffy managed to get herself locked inside the walk-in closet for a few hours today, the silly twit. Fortunately, it hadn't gotten hot in there by the time I accidentally discovered where she was.

Sun., 12 July 2009
Alas, the experiment in weaning Zoe off the tranks has failed. After about a week or so, her agression level shot back up and I've had to go back to the dose she was on before. She was going after both Tosca and Jetta. It's deeply disappointing.

From the Secret Cat Diary
We have found a method guaranteed to wake up the humans. Sound like you're about to hork up a giant hairball on the bed. You don't have to actually do it. The sound alone works fine. If that doesn't quite get them out of the bed, knock over a wooden folding chair downstairs. One of them will be forced to go down and find out what the disturbing noise was.

Mon., 13 July 2009
This should come as no surprise to those of us owned by cats....
Cats 'exploit' humans by purring

Wed., 15 July 2009
Opal has learned a new trick. Yesterday, I caught her squeezed inside a small drawer in the kitchen where we keep the hand towels. I thought I'd accidentally left the drawer open.

This morning, I came into the kitchen and found the drawer pulled open with the towels nice and rumpled. Blasted clever little moggy imp.

When I came into my office tonight, I found Jetta perched on the washing machine, absolutely intent on the base of the water heater. The water heater sits on a large, hollow wooden box and the rats live inside the box. I now think it was Jetta who caught the two baby rats that dared to venture outside that box. As I stood there next to her, I saw a little rat nose poke out of a hole in the box. Jetta was vibrating with eagerness, but didn't get her chance that time.

She's still over there on guard. I hope a rat gets unlucky and she gets lucky.

Sun., 19 July 2009
Someone's silly moggy eating cob of corn.

Zoe had a fit of jealousy and jumped Tosca the other night because Randy came into my office and gave Tosca a bunch of love. I think Zoe's true state of bliss would be living in a situation where she's the only cat and people dote on her alone.

Tues., 27 July 2009
I have to share two photos I came across by a Swedish photographyer, Bee Thalin.

This one, a close-up of a black cat, is truly stunning. One of the most beautiful cat photos I've ever seen.

This one, a profile of the same cat (I think) is also gorgeous.

Wed., 29 July 2009
A new Simon's Cat video, and it's absolutely wonderful!

Pippin is giving us some cause for concern. He's crapped three times recently in the same corner of Randy's office. Things have been quiet in my office, with Zoe once again under control on the slightly higher dose of tranks, so there shouldn't be anything to spook Pippin badly enough to keep doing that. We'll have to block him from using that area and Randy will have to keep his office closed up more often until we're sure Pippin is over this oddness.

Tues., 4 Aug 2009
I've been worried about Tosca's health for a while now and she was due for check-up, so today was her day for a visit to the vet. Lately, she's been lying around on an old green blanket on the floor, not coming up onto the desk or hanging around with me while I'm working. This isn't normal for her. I can chalk some of it up to the problems with Zoe, but I suspect something else is going on, too.

For one thing, even though Tosca's always that bowling ball around her middle, I could tell she's losing weight. The vet confirmed that. In fact, the vet is quite concerned about how much weight Tosca has lost since her last weigh-in. Because Tosca has a chronic cough, we ended doing a chest x-ray along with a full blood panel and the three virus tests, which includes retesting the FIP titres. I had to leave Tosca there for the morning and pick her up at noon. When she got home, she headed straight to the food...after complaining about her rough morning.

The vet called this afternoon to say that the x-ray showed some opacity in the chest area, but it's identical to what was there when she had an x-ray a year ago. It could be cysts or granulomas, but it hasn't changed and that's a good thing.

It might be Thurs. before I get the results of the blood tests. I'm worried about the weight loss. It could be tied to the thyroid condition, I suppose. All I can do is hope for the best.

Sun., 9 Aug 2009
The vet and I played phone tag on Thurs. and Fri., so I never did manage to connect with her. She was kind enough to leave a message with some of the basic info and it was all good. Tosca's results were, as far as I know at this moment, entirely within normal ranges, including thyroid. And here's the kicker -- her FIP titres came back negative!

Once again, I'm faced with baffling results. I hope I can talk with someone in more detail tomorrow. How on earth could her FIP titres go from sky-high to nothing? False readings? The vet said that in spite of the good results, she's worried about Tosca's weight loss. We need a way to explain that. Is it stress and maybe interference from Zoe keeping her away from the food? I've put a bowl of dry food right next to Tosca's blanket just in case. I tried giving Tosca her favorite cat bed in that spot instead of the old green blanket. Tosca made it clear that she wanted the blanket, thank you, not a cat bed, so I switched it back.

One thing I need to talk to the vet about, that I realized after the visit, is that Tosca has been obsessively licking her nether regions. I've been catching her at it far more frequently than should be normal.

In other news, Saffy has learned how to say "Right now!" She says it quite clearly in English rather than Meowese, usually when demanding food.

Fri., 14 Aug 2009
One of the vets called me on Mon. and we had a long chat about Tosca. He confirmed the results, including the negative titres on the FIP. In fact, he said the results were more like that of a seven year old cat instead of one who is at the bare minimum thirteen years old. He said the thyroid is under control. The titres would indicate that the virus is under control. He said that the virus can be "walled up" inside the body, such as in the spleen or bone marrow, where it's not active. They don't know much about FIP or why it will suddenly appear when a cat is thirteen or so years old after a lifetime with no sign of it, or why some cats will develope it and others won't. It's unpredictable.

That left discussing the weight loss. I also mentioned the excessive licking. He said that kind of grooming can be another sign of stress. At this point, I need to monitor Tosca's weight to see whether I can get it back or hold it steady, or whether she continues to lose weight. She's enjoying the food bowl I put next to her and eating from it a lot. I think the other cats do as well, but as long as Tosca gets plenty of food from it, I don't mind.

A day or so after talking to the vet, I decided on my own to give Tosca a low dosage of the tranks for maybe a week to see if I can relieve her stress symptoms. I feel safe doing it because she's gotten such a clean bill of health.

Meanwhile, she produced the longest Giant Monster Hairball Snake I've ever seen out of cat. It's a good thing she likes Petromalt.

Tues., 18 Aug 2009
Opal decided that last night while we were trying to drop off to sleep was the perfect time for a round of ping pong soccer on the wooden floor downstairs. She loves ping pong balls.

Wed., 19 Aug 2009
Giving Tosca a mild course of Amitriptyline has done exactly what I'd hoped it would. I wanted to take the edge off her anxiety so she could get over the recent incident that has left her feeling threatened. Instead of hiding out on the old green blanket, she's returning to her normal places. She slept in one of the cat beds yesterday, ate from the regular food bowls and tonight she's up on my desk hanging out and sleeping on my printer for the first time in weeks. I'll finish weaning her off the tranks this week. I'm so relieved to see her behaving like her old self.

Sun., 23 Aug 2009
The good results for Tosca vanished the minute I weaned her off the tranks. She's taken up residence on a shelf to the side of the office and I can't get her to budge. She's not even coming out for the canned food or the treats. Her excessive scratching and licking is causing scabs all around her neck and chin. The vet can't get her in until Thurs. Meanwhile, I'm giving her some anti-histamine, but it doesn't seem to be helping much. She's never had this kind of problem before and never behaved like this before. I think I'll have to put some effort into looking for a new home for Zoe, as much as it would break my heart.

Mon., 24 Aug 2009
Opal had a trip to the vet this morning. She's been squinting her right eye for a few days, so it was time to have it checked. No scratch on the eye and nothing in the eye, but her inner eyelid is infected. I'm betting a nick from a claw. She and Saffy occasionally romp and take whacks at one another. We have drops to put into her eye for a week. She made unhappy noises in the car, but was sweet and well-behaved at the vet's, who commented on how good-natured she was for a tortie. But Opal still did the hiss-at-everybody routine when she first got home, silly girl.

Thurs., 28 Aug 2009
It was as I suspected -- the girls have fleas. I've seen both Zoe and Jetta scratching furiously in addition to Tosca. When I got Tosca to the vet for her appointment this morning, the vet quickly found the fleas on her. I had looked, but not seen them myself, but I guess I didn't look well enough. Also, I'm surprised that I haven't been bitten. In the past, if there was a flea within a mile of me, it bit me.

Because these are indoor cats with no contact to other cats, that leaves one source for the fleas and that's the rats. They've already caught and killed two baby rats. A month or so ago, I saw Jetta staking out a hole where a rat poked out its nose. Nastyrottenbuggers. Plus with fleas coming from rats there's the additional worry of Bubonic plague and crap like that. That rathole is getting plugged up pronto. We've been derelict in not dealing with it sooner.

All the cats are being treated with Frontline. Already tonight, I've squashed four fleas that jumped from Jetta onto me, most of them twitching in their death throes. Die, fleas, die!!! I must also get some diatomaceous earth to treat the carpet. I'll be reapplying the Frontline every month indefinitely. The vet said there's been a major outbreak of fleas in the past couple of weeks and she doesn't know why.

The more worrisome news from the vet is that since her last visit on 8/4, Tosca has lost nearly another whole pound! That's a serious weight loss in such a short time. The vet narrowed it down to a couple of most probable causes: IBS or lymphoma. Plus possible complications if Tosca has been afraid to eat when I'm not around. The vet has put her on Prednisolone to help with both the skin problems from the fleas and possible IBS. If we can't get her weight loss turned around pretty soon, I'll have to take her to a specialist for further tests.

Meanwhile, Tosca's new place to hang out is a corner shelf next to the washer and dryer. I put her up there the other day to feed her and she loves it. So now she has three bowls on the dryer for canned food, dry food and water. She drank a LOT of water when she came home from the vet. I'm increasing the amount of canned food and the vet wants me to weigh her once a week. Think good thoughts for my dear old girl.

Sun., 13 Sept. 2009
The cats are doing much better after being treated for fleas. However, I made the unhappy discovered Friday night that Zoe has a tapeworm. Which means I can safely assume Jetta has tapeworm. Tosca was already treated, but could be reinfected. With that in mind, I went to an alternate vet clinic that I've used several times before which has the benefit of being open on Sat. and Sun.

So at 9 am, I was at their doorstep with Zoe and Jetta. Everything looked fine during their exams. Two dying, twitching fleas jumped off Zoe while we had her on the metal table. I admit to viciously squashing them with my thumbnail. The two girls have had their tapeworm meds, with a second dose to be given a couple of weeks from now.

The vet was one I hadn't seen before and she was excellent. We talked about many subjects, including Zoe's aggression. Her take is that Zoe probably won't change and that keeping her long-term on the Amitriptyline is the most reasonable solution. Fortunately, she seconded the opinion of my first vet that it's a benign drug, though we need to test her kidney and liver functions once a year or so.

I also bought Capstar, a second flea-killing treatment, this one a pill. All the cats will get that today to bolster the Frontline.

Tosca has already gained half a pound! I'm relieved and happy to see that. She's gone from 10.5 to 11.12 lbs. Yay!

Pippin, however, is losing no weight at all. He's still at 21.5 lbs. I discussed that with this vet today and she recommended a different diet food, Purina MO. She said she's seen much better results with it, including a 32 lb. cat that is now at 18 lbs. I bought a bag and we'll give it a try.

Sun, 20 Sept. 2009
The Imps From Hell, otherwise known as Opal and Saffy, decided it would be fun to play with something that would make a lot of noise on the hardwood floors downstairs at an absurdly early hour of the morning. They found a AA battery, which was eminiently suitable to their needs. Not only did it wake me up, it left me lying in bed wondering what on earth they could have gotten hold of that would a sound like that. This forced me to go downstairs in a sleepy daze to find out just in case they were, y'know, engaged in something fiendish like building a Death Star.

On a different note, please read this post from Marilyn Krieger's blog for Sept 18th. She's helping with the rescue of 35 beautiful Bengal cats north of the L.A. area. If you can help with an adoption, money or donation of cat carriers, please contact her.

Sun, 4 Oct. 2009
Tosca is continuing to do well and though I haven't weighed her again, I can tell she's putting on weight. Lately, Zoe has taken to sleeping on the shelf next to Tosca, often supplanting Jetta to so do. They've been getting along without a problem, I'm relieved to say.

I received an email from a site called BellaLife Studios that has published a "10 Top 10 List for Cat Lovers". It's an ebook with ten categories about cats and list of the top ten sites in each category. They listed me in the top ten personal sites about cats. The categories are: cat artists, free stuff, health, humor, newsletters, on-line communities, "other stuff", personal sites, shopping and taking action.

The book is a quick and easy download, for sale on their site and they say that they donate a full 50% of sales (not profits) to cat rescues, shelters, charities and groups. They asked me to name the charity to which I'd like to contribute donations, which I've done. Please check out their site and see whether the ebook catches your interest.

Mon, 26 Oct. 2009
I don't usually go much into our personal lives in the Moggyblog, but what happens to us affects the cats. On Oct. 15th, both my husband and I lost our jobs. The computer game project we were working on was shut down. This isn't uncommon in the game business, which tends to be rather volatile all in all. We're both actively looking for work, of course. In the meantime, we're at home with the cats.

The change in routine threw the cats off at first. Now I think they're delighted to have their body servants around full time. Zoe has become a total lap fungus, enormously content to spend hours in my lap while I'm at the computer.

Not so fortunately, both Opal and Pippin have developed infections in one eye. I had drops left over from Opal's last bout of eye infection, so I'm treating her. I need to take Pippin to the vet asap. What I have won't be enough for both of them. I'd like to know why they're having so many sudden eye problems, though.

Fri, 13 Nov. 2009
The job search continues. Zoe continues to occupy my lap with great contentment when I'm at the computer, which is for hours a day. Pippin, Saffy and Opal will often let us sleep in as late as 8:30! They're keeping us on an honest schedule. But they're ever so gentle in how they wake us up. It usually consists of subtle techniques such as staring intently at the sleeper's face until the sleeper feel the laser-beams of cat eyeballs. Or pawing at the covers to get underneath them. Or making soft little meeps or chirps. I could think of worse ways to be woken up.

Opal does have one other technique I could do without -- crawling way under the bed and throwing up. Because all I can think about after that is that I have to crawl under the bed and clean it up.

Mon, 16 Nov. 2009
I was in the dining room when I heard a loud clatter-bash sound from the kitchen. I raced into the kitchen, wondering what on earth could have made that sound. There are long, slatted, vertical blinds over the sliding glass kitchen doors to the back yard and Pippin was amidst the blinds, which were in disarray. Then I looked at the screen door on the other side of the glass and there, at my eye level, about five feet up from the outside steps, I saw a young squirrel spread-eagled and upside down on the screen. All his claws were hooked into the screen, his tail was as straight as a bottle-brush and he was frozen in place. It was easy to guess that the sound I heard was from Pippin making a mad leap against the glass trying to get the squirrel.

The squirrel and I were only inches away, separated by the glass, and I got a long look at him. Yes, I can definitely confirm it was a him. Finally, I took pity on the poor little guy and moved away, letting the blinds fall back into place. He instantly scurried down to the ground, but didn't run off. He investigated the garden hose and bounced around a bit before taking to the trees. Pippin was quiet the rest of the time. He didn't meow or chatter. He knows that the squirrels are normally beyond reach, but seeing one so close was obviously more temptation than he could resist.

Wed, 18 Nov. 2009
Pippin had a visit to the vet yesterday. For weeks, he's had goopy eyes on and off. I had a hunch about what might be causing it, but wanted a professional evaluation. The verdict was "allergic conjunctivitis". Which could mean a number of things, but my hunch is that he's having a bad reaction to getting dust in his eyes from the cat box. Often when he uses the cat box, he comes out with dust all over his head (or tail, etc.). I continue to think that chicken feed is a fantastic solution to cat litter, but the particular chicken feed I have to buy now is horribly dusty. It's worse than other brands I've bought in the past. He's getting eye drops for a week and I'm going to use saline eye drops (like Artificial Tears) when I see too much dust on his face. Hopefully, that will clear it up.

The vet also thinks we need to slowly wean him down from one cup a day of the diet cat food to only half a cup a day. By slowly, she means over the course of four months. Poor boy. I don't think he's going to be happy about this.

Fri., 20 Nov. 2009 -- SIMON'S CAT BOOK CONTEST!
If you aren't already a fan of Simon Tofield's brilliant animations of SIMON'S CAT, you're missing a treat. You should immediately visit the official SIMON'S CAT page and watch the videos:

Now SIMON'S CAT has his own book and five lucky readers of the Moggyblog can qualify to win a free copy!

Thanks to the generosity of the publisher, Hachette Book Group USA, I can give away five copies of SIMON'S CAT. Below you'll see the front and back covers, and a couple of pages from the book. It's completely delightful.

The one restriction placed on the contest is that they will only mail copies of the book to addresses within the United States and Canada.

I debated the best way to pick the winners. It didn't seem fair to award the first five people to write to me because I'm sure people don't check in on a daily basis. Some people might only check in on the Moggyblog once a week or even less.

With that in mind, I'm going to let the contest run for three weeks: from 20 Nov. to 20 Dec. 2009. If you want to enter to win a book, send me an email requesting to be entered into the contest. At the end of the three weeks, I'll toss the names into a hat and draw five at random. Or maybe I'll let one of my cats make the selection. However I do it, it will be a random drawing.

There's a permanent page with this info: SIMON'S CAT CONTEST PAGE

Write to me at:

Simon's Cat front book cover

Simon's Cat back book cover

Simon's Cat sample page

Simon's Cat sample page
Wed, 25 Nov. 2009
The SIMON'S CAT BOOK CONTEST is off to a nice start. Don't forget to enter! Follow the link for all the details.

Jetta is a darling, but strange little girl. Her continued obsession with gnawing on any kind of plasticized tape (like duct tape or packing tape) has nearly caused me to break my neck. I have a place where I have to run an extension cord across a narrow path and unless I keep it securely taped to the carpet with duct tape, I trip over it.

It was too delicious for Jetta to resist and she chewed the tape to pieces. After nearly going on my face yet again, I pulled out the duct tape and restuck the cord to the floor. I was trying to think of some way to discourage her from eating the tape. Then the Evil Thought struck. I have doused the tape with Tabasco sauce. If that doesn't keep her fangs off it, nothing will.

Though with my luck, I'll have the one mutant cat in all Moggydom that likes Tabasco sauce. We shall see.

Fri, 27 Nov. 2009
Oy. It seems that Jetta is impervious to Tabasco sauce. Either that, or the stuff loses its punch after it dries out. I found the duct tape munched on this morning.

Many years back, Diva had such serious skin allergies that she was literally scratching bloody holes in herself. The vet recommended Bitter Apple as a way to discourage her from biting at herself because of the taste it leaves. I guess I'll have to track down some Bitter Apple and give that a try.

Be sure to enter the SIMON'S CAT BOOK CONTEST! Follow the link for all the details.

Sun, 30 Nov. 2009
I may have spoken too soon when I said the Tabasco sauce didn't work. Jetta hasn't touched the duct tape since the initial noshing took place. Mind you, it may have been the Tabasco sauce that discouraged her, or it may have been the cayenne pepper that I sprinkled on it afterwards. Jetta crept up to the tape after I finishing sprinkling some cayenne on it, took an unhappy sniff and gave me such as "WTF?" look. At any rate, there has been no further noshing on the tape, so I may have succeeded.

Fri., 4 Dec. 2009
The place we're renting has slighty old-fashioned doorstops. They're like a thick spring capped with soft plastic to stop doors from slamming into a wall. Pippin discovered one of the doorstops the other day, whacked it around with his paw, and thought it made a wonderful musical instrument. THWANG! "Oh, that sounded pretty good. Let's see what sort of rhythm I can get." THWANG! THWANGITY-THWANG! THWANG! Fortunately, he got bored in short order.

Sun., 6 Dec. 2009
Opal in laundry basket
Opal: Can't a girl have some quality time alone
with her mousie in the laundry basket?

Opal in laundry basket
Opal: "I'm ready for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille."

Pippin: She's doing that annoying thing
with the camera again.

Sun., 13 Dec. 2009
Here's a current photo of dear old Tosca. As you can see, by comparing her face to the photo in the right margin, she's thinner than she used to be. She's as affectionate as ever and turns on a loud purr machine at the slightest touch.

Tues., 15 Dec. 2009
To his profound displeasure, Pippin was unceremoniously hauled off to the vet's this afternoon. He's been sneezing for nearly three weeks and it was time to have it checked out. I felt fairly certain it would be diagnosed as allergies and it was. He's obviously feeling all right, eating well, and has been unusually playful the past couple of days. The vet okayed giving him chlorpheniramine for the allergies. I used to give it to Owl for his allergies.

The vet was pleased to see that Pippin's lost another half a pound -- down from 21.10 to 21.4 -- since his last visit about a month ago. Yay! Finally seeing some progress on the diet.

Wed., 16 Dec. 2009

Sun., 27 Dec. 2009
I found the office moggies clustered around the pathetic remains of...something. At first, I suspected the leftover guts of a rodent. Upon peering more closely with a flashlight, I was surprised to discover it was a small newt or salamander. It had the blunt, rounded head, smooth glossy skin and solid coloring of a newt-like creature. How on earth it found its way into my office to meet its sad fate is beyond me, though the thunderstorm may have had something to do with it. It's not like my office (previously a garage) is even remotely airtight or watertight.