Animals Archive

Cat and Mouse

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I'm still mostly out of action, having roached my back last week. As usual for the disc problem, sitting up for great lengths of time is a bit of a challenge.

In lieu of anything thought-provoking or intelligent, here's a cat video.

Packet really likes the space behind my flat screen monitor.

The Beast Emerges

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Kismet comes out to play....

I can't help but be reminded of a dragon crawling from its lair to pounce on a stereotypical tasty and nutritious maiden.

Birthday Girl

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Mycah is 15 today.

It's impossible to forget Mycah's birthday, coinciding, as it does, with America's.

Each shows signs of her age, but I love them both regardless.

Packet - Treat Hunter

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Packet knows what he wants.

Good thing he doesn't have opposable thumbs.

Gotcha!

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Two years ago today, I was lucky enough to bring home two nervous but curious bundles of fur.


Well... they didn't stay nervous long, and have made themselves right at home. They've both grown quite a bit since their arrival, and though both are handsome hunks of mancattitude, they remain kittens at heart.


I'm lucky to have them.

Birthday Boy Kismet

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Guess who's turning three years old today?

Kismet hasn't just grown up — he has GROWN up. Weighing in at 9 pounds at his first vet visit after adoption, he is now a big, strong, muscular 13 pounds, with scarcely an ounce of fat on him. (If only we all could say the same for ourselves.)

Despite his size and strength, he remains a big loving kitten at heart.


[Click for larger.]

Roast beef is his favorite. Guess what's for dinner?

Birthday Boy Packet

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Packet is three years old today. He's matured into an excellent cat.


[Click to enlarge.]

I think he's quite a handsome mancat, though happily he retains a good amount of boyish playfulness.

Tuna is definitely on the menu today.

Off... er, On the Wall

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A few weeks ago, I placed an order with CatsPlay.com for some furniture for Kismet and Packet. (I do not delude myself by thinking Mycah can climb — the years are catching up to her.)

A couple of quite large packages arrived this week; I've spent my Copious Free Time™ getting the carpet-covered shelves and tube mounted to a wall in my office, where we all hang out most of the time.

The pieces are well made, and very sturdy. Installation was straightforward, but Lordy, was it hard for me to get it all put up — especially the tube thing, the bottom of which is seven feet off the floor — I don't do ladders well at all (thank you very little, Mr. Neurology.) I finished around 4 this morning.

When I went to bed, Kismet was snoozing inside the tube. Perfect.

I'm thinking more walls around here could benefit from shelves.

Bonus: more video here.

Ta Daaa

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It seemed like a bit of a sprint to the finish line, but last night everything came together, literally and metaphorically, and I was able to complete the Black Prince in a flurry of knot-tying, rope-coiling, and loose-end-trimming.


[Click to embiggen]


[Click to embiggen]

Disaster was averted on several occasions, and I'm sure the longer I stare at it, the more things I'll see with which I'm unhappy, but for the most part I'm satisfied with the quality of my work (recognizing, of course, the vast potential for improvement) and, more importantly, with the lessons I've learned which I'll be able to apply to the next ship I build... which was rather the point of starting small, simple and inexpensive.

After it was complete, I noticed a couple of furry someones intently interested in a potential new toy.


[Click to embiggen]

Bad kittehs. Bad, bad.

Next up... well, I'm not 100% certain yet. I have a few kits on hand; I think it'll be the Mayflower, but I might go with the HMS Bounty's Launch. I may have to flip a coin. In either case, I hope to do a better job of documenting the build.

Disaster and Recovery

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It was bound to happen.

While working on the ship model a few days ago, I had to make an urgent run off to the little engineers' room for an urgent call of nature. Being in something of a rush, I left the model unprotected.

Kismet took advantage of my hurried departure, and in the two or three minutes I was away, managed to chew off the jibboom.

It was bound to happen.

After I was finished decrementing Kismet's remaining lives from nine to eight, I set about repairing the damage. If I were trying to make a perfect scale replica, I'd trash the part and rebuild it from scratch. However, as this is my first model, and a learning exercise, I opted to graft on a passable replacement.

From squinting distance, no one will ever know. Except me.

I've begun the rigging, too. The books all say that a builder ought to work from bow to stern and from the centerline out, so I began with the patched jibboom and bowsprit.


Click for larger

This is tiny work, particularly for one with hands and fingers as large as mine, so most of the time I handle the rigging, I use tweezers. To give you an idea how small we're talking about here, the round deadeyes seen below are just 5mm, or 1/5" across.


Click for larger

(Yes, they're meant to be unevenly spaced. The front three are for the shrouds, the back two are for the backstays.)

Patience, good light, magnification, and a steady hand are all really useful, as is a lack of interruption, particularly of the four-footed furry variety.

Memo to the cats

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To: Cats
From: Management

1) I understand that from time to time, you will be eager to eat everything within reach, and many things that are not. This is fine; eat what you want, as long as it's clearly designated as cat food.

2) I also understand that from time to time, you may overdo it and subsequently feel compelled to barf. Though I am not pleased with this behavior, I understand it, and accept it as part of the price of cat ownership.

3) Really? The middle of the living room floor? Seriously?

4) If in future you feel compelled to repeat this behavior, please confine such activity to areas of the house with solid surface floors.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Hint, Hint

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When I woke up today and came out to the office and sat at my desk, I noticed this page was loaded in my browser.

I'm reasonably sure I didn't leave it that way. I think maybe the furballs are trying to send a message.

Protection

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During the hiatus I took from shipbuilding, the question often occurred to me: how do I protect my project from a cat with a test-to-destruction sense of inquisitiveness?

Yes, I refer to Kismet, who gleefully gets into everything.

The last thing I wanted to do was invest a lot of hours in fiddly small details on a ship model, only to have it pushed off the work table and eaten (or at least chewed upon) by the cat, who would then suffer my inevitable short term wrath.

Really, even in the event of total destruction, I wouldn't be able to stay angry for very long. He's a nice little cat.

So the work in progress has to be protected during the hours I'm not working on it. How best to accomplish this? I can't pick everything up and store it away every time I have to wait for glue to cure or paint to dry or whatnot. For starters, I haven't got a good place to stow the project (which takes up more space than the finished product will) and of course picking up and carrying anything is an iffy proposition for me.

Then, one day while I was cruising the aisles of the Super Target looking for lonely divorcées bargains, I saw what might be the answer to my dilemma.

Et voilà:

The giant Rubbermaid bin, on its own, would not be likely to stop Kismet. He does, after all, have a habit of pushing things off tables in order to examine them at ground level. Hence the clamp arrangement seen at the bottom of the photo.

So far, it has served admirably well. Nevertheless, I am continuing my efforts to train Kismet not to get on the table at all. He keeps trying.


The next ship model I have in mind to work on is somewhat larger. I'm not sure what I'll do about the problem then. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Gotcha

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Six years ago, Mycah (and her companion, Xaxu) moved in. At first it was meant to be temporary, a babysitting gig, but over time it became permanent.

Just like my attachment to her.

The first picture I took of Mycah, the night she arrived:

Yeah... I am a cat guy.

The cats are ready for Christmas

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Kismet is eager for Christmas to finally arrive... though I suspect his motives aren't the purest.


Packet has been practicing his singing. He no doubt has visions of plump rodents dancing in his head... which makes this season the same for him as any other.


Mycah, on the other hand, takes the festivities with a boulder sized grain of salt.

To all our friends in the Cat Blogosphere, we wish the very merriest of Christmases.

Kitteh Python

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Book of Vomitus, chapter 2 verses 9-21:

And the Furball Mycah spake saying "Oh Lord, accept this offering of Hairball, that with it the carpet may be decorated hither and yon, in Thy mercy."

And her master did grimace, and the other kittehs did feast upon Temptations and Whisker Lickin's and. . .

[Skipping a bit. . .]

And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou make hurling noises.

"Then shalt thou barf three times, no more, no less.

"Three shall be the times thou shalt barf, and the number of the barfings shall be three.

"Four times shalt thou not barf, neither barf thou twice, excepting that thou then proceed to barf number three.

"Five is right out.

"Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then hukkest thou the Holy Hairball onto the carpet of thy keeper, who, having been naughty in my sight, shall have to clean it."

Amen.


Yeah... guess how many messes Mycah left on the floor. Go on, guess.


I do not agree with the humor here... but I understand it:

Photos, and a diet suggestion

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I confess to having been worse than merely "intermittent" with the cat pics. So, due to popular demand (yes, I have received requests) here are a few recent pics of the furballs.

See if you can detect a theme.

Kismet:

Packet:

Mycah:

The cats know what they're good at. They ought to be good at it; they practice incessantly.


Gateway Pundit points out the latest insanity from the eco-lunatics: Save Earth – Eat Your Pet.

My recommendation to Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale: eat me.

I know three cats who would agree.

Tolerance

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It's been over a year since the lads arrived, and in that time Mycah has hissed and growled more than in the entirety of her life prior to the aforementioned arrival.

She is, however, becoming more tolerant of their presence, though only in narrowly defined circumstances.

The lads have always, from Day 1, wanted to be friendly with her. Kismet, however, is the one who has hit on the right formula. When I am near at hand, and if they feel there is an imminent prospect of food or treat delivery, Mycah will tolerate Kismet grooming her:

It's completely predictable.

What I have not been able to capture on video, due to the unpredictable nature thereof, is Packet's ill-considered attempts to exhibit friendliness towards Mycah. He just wants to play!, but unfortunately Mycah considers his attempts to play! as an attack... due in no small part to his preferred method of play!ing, which consists of him sneaking up behind her and pouncing.

Yowling and hissing follow immediately thereafter.

Birthdays

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There's some sort of birthday celebration happening today. I can't recall what it might be....

Oh, yes. It's Mycah's 14th.


(click to embiggen)

14. Not bad for one who's had cancer, and has diabetes and hyperthyroidism.

She's been slowing down lately, but perhaps she has another year or two left in her.

Earth Day? No way.

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April 22 around here is Gotcha Day, the anniversary of the day I brought the lads home from the shelter, which as fine a place as it is, is no place for a cat to spend his whole life.

It's been a great year with the lads. Even Mycah is warming up to them, bit by bit.

Here we see Packet and Kismet waiting, lasers warmed up, for their supper.


(As always, click for larger.)

We would much rather celebrate the boys' arrival than Lenin's birthday.

Another Birthday Boy

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It's Kismet's 2nd birthday today — yes, he's just a week younger than Packet.

With Packet, he spent his first year in the rescue shelter, and has been with me almost a year now.

He may be two now, but he's still a kitten at heart — there isn't a bit of trouble he doesn't get into, he plays like he's on speed, and he's almost aggressively affectionate. He's a great cat.

Tuna is on the menu again.


Visit the Modulator's Friday Ark.

On Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats will be at When Cats Attack.

Birthday Boy

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Packet is two years old today.

His first year was spent in a shelter. Most of his second year has been with me. I'm pretty pleased about the deal.


(As always, click for larger.)

He's a pretty handsome fellow, I must say. And quite the mancat.

Someone is getting tuna for supper.

Droolworthy

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The new PC is set up. It screams.

I've managed to get the important apps installed and most of my data transferred from the old machine, though I'm still tweaking a lot of settings to get it to behave the way I prefer. Which reminds me just how much I hate Windows. With a fierce burning passion.

The cabling is slightly less of a mess than it was before, though nowhere as neat as I would have liked. There has to be a better way to wire a home office, there just has to be.

Maybe I should invent something.


While setting up the machine, a certain pain-in-the-butt cat decided he wanted to help... if you define "help" as broadly as possible... up to and including flopping on the keyboard.

Teasing Kismet with the mouse pointer probably wasn't too nice of me, but that's what he gets if he's going to park his butt on my keyboard.



Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

Carnival of the Cats #263 will be hosted by Kashim, Othello and Salome.

For your everyday cat needs, visit the Cat Blogosphere.

Bad Boy

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Kismet relaxes and shows off (one of) his very long limbs, and a few toes, too.

He isn't often so relaxed when he and I are in the same room; usually, he calms down only after a particularly heinous act of kitteh deviltry has temporarily sated his desire for attention or his need to get into trouble of some sort.

His very long legs and nimble paws serve him well when he wants to get into trouble, which is more or less all the time. He has backed off some from his need to pull things off tabletops from floor-level; nowadays, he much prefers to get up on the table and push things off.

He's also partial to walking on my computer keyboards, or even flopping over thereupon for a tummy rub. While this doesn't often result in any problems, he has twice managed to send my laptop into hibernation while I've been working.

The most common word that comes out of my mouth is "no." The most common phrase is "how many times do I have to say... oh, yeah, every time."

Bad boy or not, he's an absolutely terrific cat.


It's been a while since I've linked, so be sure to check out the Modulator's Friday Ark.

On Sunday: the 5th Anniversary Carnival of the Cats, hosted by the folks and felines at When Cats Attack!

It's official

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There are many kinds of geek. Computer geeks, Star Trek geeks, and so on. I am an admitted network geek. Heck, I'm a network Über Geek.

While picking up the monthly supply of kitty litter today, I also grabbed a copy of Cat Fancy magazine.

I am now a cat geek.

In your face

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The first thing I see in the morning, every morning, is this face:

One of these times I'll have the camera at my bedside and capture the moment while he's waking me up. It's kind of adorable, except for the nose-biting. That's not so much fun for me.

And if he seems a bit twitchy, that's his normal "awake mode" — always alert to anything that might be happening.


It's Friday — time to board the Friday Ark.

Oh, and don't miss the Carnival of the Cats, at House Panthers.

Snow Day

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Rather than the anticipated two to four inches, it appears we got about six inches of snow. It started falling sometime last night, maybe around midnight, and there were very light flakes still coming down at 2pm today.

Mycah has seen snow before, but this was a first for Kismet and Packet. I opened the sliding glass door, but not the screen, out to the deck for a minute to let them get as close to experiencing winter as possible. Mycah and Packet spent a while looking for squirrels, a favorite entertainment of theirs.

[All images, click for larger.]

This, by the way, is the best my front lawn has ever looked:

While I was snapping that picture, someone decided he wanted to get out to experience snow first-hand... er, first-paw.

The chill rapidly convinced him that perhaps the Big Room was not the place he wanted to be. Instead, Kismet curled up next to the back window to enjoy the view and keep an eye out for the aforementioned squirrels.

I clearly need to do a better job of instilling a healthy fear of the outdoors in the lads. They aren't allowed out, ever.

Just call me Seymour Krelborn

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A typical scene from my kitchen whenever the roast beef comes out of the refrigerator:

They way they act, you'd think I never fed them thrice daily.

"We don't want to be fed thrice, we want to be fed roast beef!"


A visit to the Modulator's Friday Ark is recommended.

On Sunday the Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by Nico and Cloud.

Knuckleheads

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How is it that, of all the times I open the refrigerator door over the course of a week, the cats know which is the one time I do so to get myself some roast beef?

They dance around me begging, pleading, crying for scraps. The paroxysms of glee when they happen to get a piece are astonishing, though regrettably short-lived.

Their reaction to the opening of a can of tuna probably need not be described.

After-Action Report

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A good time was had by all. Especially Kismet.

That pretty much sums up Christmas with Mycah, Packet, and Kismet.


Mycah celebrated Boxing Day in style in 2005. Not so much, this year.


Long holiday weekend or not, the Modulator's Friday Ark is afloat.

Carnival of the Cats #250 will be hosted at the Cat Blogosphere, which you are reading every day already, right?

Yep

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The horror...

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Kismet woke me up earlier than usual this morning. I have had maybe four hours of sleep.

I have no coffee in the house.

None. No instant coffee, even. Just decaf. This is a personal disaster beyond compare, beyond belief.

Sure, there's a Starbucks five or six miles from here... but a trip out of the house requires a lot of preparation on my part — which might be impossible without caffeine. I'm guessing they couldn't be bribed to deliver.

I wonder how Diet Coke tastes, hot?

Maybe I can suck on some used coffee grounds.

Faceoff

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Kismet is a certified bona fide member of the Mycah Fan Club. He doesn't try to snuggle with her, but where she goes, he often follows, usually trying to get a paw on her.

Mycah, however, merely wants to be left alone — in this case, to do her "business" in peace.

She's much more tolerant of Kismet than she is of Packet. One of these days I'll get a recording of her giving the fluffy lad a very vocal warning to stay clear.


Board the Modulator's Friday Ark.

The Carnival of the Cats #247 will be at Mind of Mog.

Sleep deprivation

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Kismet did it to me again today — woke me up well before I'd had a full and/or decent night's sleep. I think I got about five hours.

I've got to try to find a way to keep him from nibbling on my nose. Locking him out of the bedroom at night may be the only answer.

I think tonight I'll leave my camera on the nightstand and try to capture the moment if he does it again. It's annoying, but it's sort of cute, too.

Exhausted

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One of the cats has insisted on waking me up every morning this week, two or three hours before my alarm clock is set to go off. The loss of sleep is getting to me.

I'm not naming names, but... well, OK, it's Kismet, who has taken to licking my face and grooming my hair. Plus, he likes to make "happy feet" on my shoulder or chest. I have the tiny little claw marks to prove it.

I think I may have to start locking the cats out of my bedroom.

Kismet gave me a bit of a scare on Halloween.

I finished work Friday at midnight, as usual, and went downstairs to feed the cats, as usual. They ate like the greedy little pigs they are, as usual. And we all headed back upstairs, as usual. Kismet and Packet got some feather/string and laser play time, as usual. Then they disappeared for naps, as usual.

About 3am, Kismet came out looking for some attention... and I saw that his left eye was absolutely blood red and very weepy. He could barely keep it open; he wasn't really trying to do so. He seemed to be in a bit of distress — he was rather more subdued than usual.

I took as good a look at his eye as I could; this is not easy to do if he doesn't want to be caught and held, so I had to coax him close with some Temptations treats, the sound of which, as usual, brought Packet and Mycah scampering, too.

[Yes, Mycah scampers... though she does so in a much more deliberate way than the young boys.]

I could see that Kismet's eye was inflamed, but of course I couldn't tell why... so, on the general principle that you don't take any chances with eyes, I bundled him into a carrier, called the Emergency Pet Hospital, threw on some sweats and a coat, and headed out.

He was, to say the least, unhappy. He knows that a trip in the carrier means that people are going to do unpleasant things to him. His piteous meows are, either by chance or by design, enough to break your heart.

Well, the late-night vet had a good look at him, put some drops in his eye, and determined that he wasn't injured, but rather that he has some feline variety of a virus. I was too distracted by Kismet digging his claws into my arm to get the full story on that. We were sent home with some medicated eyedrops.

[During a followup call to the vet, conjunctivitis and herpetic keratitis were mentioned.]

The drops seem to be helping. His eye looks a lot better, and he keeps it open more consistently.

Sorry, I didn't get a "before" picture.

He gets the eyedrops twice a day, which purely coincidentally is how many times a day I need blood transfusions. No connection between those two facts. Nope, none at all.

Make mine O-negative, please.

Mirabile Dictu

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As hard as it is for me to believe, the Depomedrol injection Kismet received Wednesday afternoon appears to be working.

Seemingly overnight, the lumps in his skin have receded to near nothingness; his sneezing/snottiness has disappeared altogether. Remarkable.

This is what we would refer to as a Very Good Thing.

Kismet still has to have his antibiotic pills because of the biopsy wound, but otherwise he's a happy camper.

You can tell how excited he is by his recovery. . .

His behavior — poking his nose into everything, pulling things off my desk, and so on — remains unchanged.

Oh, and sleeping too. Lots of sleeping. But I suppose that's natural.


Friday. Ark. Be there.

The Carnival of the Cats will be this weekend will be hosted by Niko and Cloud.

Fallback position

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It's been an exhausting day, and I haven't got anything either terribly deep or really exciting to say. Fortunately, I have two fallback positions.

The first would be to find something interesting someone else said and make it a Quote of the Day. This might work, if I'd had time today to do any reading.

The other option is to write something about one or more of the cats, or post a picture. Fortunately, one of the various things I did today was take Kismet to the vet for an injection of Depomedrol to deal with his newly-diagnosed allergies.

It was a pretty quick trip, so his stress levels were not quite as high as they had been on his last trip, when the biopsy was performed.

On his return, he celebrated by shredding some of the paperwork from the vet.

We'll see how he's feeling tomorrow. I am, of course, hoping the injection is effective. Fingers crossed.

We get results

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Just as I was getting ready to head to the garage for a bit of lathe work, the phone rang; it was the vet. She had the results of last week's biopsy of the lumps on Kismet's arm.

The verdict: eosinophilic granuloma, which implies allergies. (Maybe that would explain his sneeziness, too...?)

Tomorrow he will have to suffer through another trip to the vet, to get an injection of some sort of cortisone or steroid something-or-other that ought to handle it. Apparently such injections are semiannual affairs. I can live with that... and I hope Kismet will be happier for it as well.

You can tell he's thrilled at the prospect.

Or not.

Home again

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Home is the sailor, home from the sea. . .

. . . and the kitteh home from the vet.


He seemed rather glad to see me when I picked him up at the vet's; as soon as we got home and the garage door was shut, I let him out of the PTU (still in the truck in the garage) — he practically leapt on me and delivered serious purrs and headbutts, and chewed briefly on my nose.

I think it translated to "I'm glad to be home, but do this again and I'll hurt you." He has stitches that will have to come out in two weeks, so I'll make sure my insurance is up to date.

Little does Kismet know that he gets to be pilled daily for the next two weeks.

Another day, another vet trip

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Packet had his annual rabies update yesterday. He took it well. They love him there at the vet's office.


This morning, a bit over an hour ago, I dropped Kismet off at the vet's office. The strange lumps in his armpits haven't responded long-term to antibiotics, so the vet is going to do a biopsy. I'll pick him up late this afternoon.

He hates hates hates going to the vet; he cried the entire way during the drive there. Once there, though, he started purring — loudly. If that's part of the fear response, then I might as well give up right now on ever trying to understand cat psychology.

I haven't slept yet. If I'd gone to bed, there's no way I'd have been able to wake up in time to get the lad to the vet.

Now I'm off to bed. Don't expect me to move before 4pm.


This has the ring of truth to it.

Vis-a-vis bathroom visits: Mycah is about 20%, Packet perhaps 50%, and Kismet about 95%.

Note to the cats

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To: Cats
From: Management

I have had a long night at work, and I'm extremely tired — due in no small part to your insistence yesterday, during the hours of the morning I tried to sleep, on having an extended verbal disagreement.

  • Mycah: the boys are just trying to play. There's no need to get so upset. Growling, hissing and spitting are not conducive to good conduct, or to my ability to sleep.
  • Packet and Kismet: Mycah is getting up in years. Leave her alone when she's trying to sleep... and especially when I'm trying to sleep.
  • All three of you: attempts at wrestling, with the resultant yowling, will not be tolerated between the hours of 4am and noon.

I have a squirt bottle full of water, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Just try me.

Nicknames

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The cats all have nicknames which I use from time to time.

Mycah... well, she's Mycah, but from time to time, she is "Your Majesty." She demands it.

Kismet is often referred to as "Trip" due to his habitual efforts to stay half a step in front of me wherever I go. He is also occasionally referred to as either "Nosey" or "OCD Boy" for his habit of poking his nose into everything and his obsession with removing objects from tabletops.

Packet is the inscrutable one, but he can't avoid being called "Fluffy Buddy" — because, let's face it, he's about as fluffy as cats get, and he does like lap time, unlike either Mycah or Kismet.

However, in moments of frivolity, he bears the moniker "Captain Fluffytoes." I'll let you be the judge as to why.

Friday cat: Packet

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Packet takes great delight in parking himself on my desk or on an adjacent work table, just within arm's reach, for a thorough head-skritching.

He usually manages to knock everything in his path off the desk or table.

And he always seems to look pretty pleased with himself.


For additional Friday cat viewing opportunities, the Modulator's Friday Ark is always recommended.

On Sunday, the Carnival of the cats is at Chey’s Place.

And of course, you can (and should) visit the Cat Blogosphere every day.

Debate

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Come, let us reason together me eat you.

Thanks to all those who voted Wednesday, the video of Kismet spotting a bug was the #1 video of the day (and #3 for the month!) on Purina's Pet Charts.

He wasn't done with the bug, though. Later in the evening, Kismet spotted it again, and tried reasoning with it.

Kismet's main argument: he wanted to eat it. The bug's counterargument: it didn't want to be eaten.

Though he made his case forcefully, I don't think Kismet was quite able to convince the bug to come down for a tete á tete.


It's time to board the Modulator's Friday Ark.

Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats will be at Artsy Catsy.

A star is born

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I uploaded a video to Youtube yesterday, intending to use it for my traditional Friday catblogging, but there's a change in plans.

It seems someone at Purina saw the video, and have added it to today's Pet Charts list of top videos. Which is nice.

Kismet spots a bug and tries to talk it down:

Do us a favor: click through to the Purina Pet Charts site, scroll to the bottom, and under "Top Videos" click on the Kismet video (currently listed as #5 — you may have to scroll to the right) and then click on the green "vote now" button.

[Update: since it's no longer the 10th of September, try going here instead. Kismet is a real attention... seeker.]

We thank you for your support.


Now what am I going to use for Friday?

(See the followup video here.)

Packet comes through

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A few weeks back, I submitted a photo of fluffy lad Packet to Monty's Doing the Q contest. It was a sort of ordinary pic of him being a Long Cat.

He... um... he won.

Packet thanks all the nice people for their votes, and congratulates the other winners.

We continue to keep Monty's family, who recently lost their beloved Sprout, in our thoughts and prayers.


This week in the mail, we received from my sister a bumper sticker:

We like, we like.


Is it already Friday? With my unusual work schedule, it's hard to be certain... but you'd better go visit the Modulator's Friday Ark, just to be sure.

And on Sunday, a visit to the Carnival of the Cats at Counting Cats would be in order.

Pokey

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I've talked before of Mycah's method for getting my attention. It has left me scarred, physically — for quite a while, I was unable to feel her efforts to get me to give out treats, and eventually she learned to meow when she wanted something... but not before she'd cut me to ribbons.

Now that I can feel her, she's again figured out that poking me is the way to get me to pay attention to her. And I finally had my camera ready to catch her in the act.

And she has the nerve to wonder why I want to keep her claws trimmed, and to complain when I do manage to get her in my clutches.


It's Friday; a visit to the Modulator's Friday Ark is required.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is at Robyn's place.

Memorandum: Housekeeping

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From: Management
To: the Cats (Mycah, Kismet, Packet)

It has come to our attention that in the past 24 hours, certain of the house rules have been, to be kind about it, overlooked. In light of this, we would like to remind you of the standards we expect our guests to maintain.

1) The litterboxes are intended to be used for certain biologically necessary functions. They are neither full of toys nor are they archaeological dig sites. Please use them for their intended function.

2) In a similar vein, the carpets are not to be used for litterbox activities. In short, don't poo on the carpet. We are not assigning any blame for the incident which occurred sometime while the Housekeeping staff was off duty this morning... but we are fairly certain it was Mycah. In future, please use the litterboxes.

3a) Though we have taken steps to avoid the formation of hairballs, our efforts have obviously been in vain. We shall redouble our efforts in this regard, but would appreciate it if, in future, hairball expulsion be carried out on a surface that is easier to clean than carpet. (See item #2 above.)

3b) In addition, it would help the Housekeeping staff immensely if, regardless of the surface upon which the hairballs are expelled, you would confine such activities to one spot, rather than making multiple attempts in multiple locations around the house.

4) As for #3b above, but substitute barf for hairball.

5) Be aware that carpet shampoo is not without cost. We would be most reluctant to be forced to choose between the purchase of carpet shampoo and a regular supply of Whiskas "Temptations" treats. Though regrettable, such a choice may be forced upon us due to budgetary constraints and your wholly voluntary behavior.

6) Please note that killing the Housekeeping staff while they are descending the stairs, though no doubt satisfying, would be a suboptimal long-term solution; as you are no doubt aware, you have neither opposable thumbs nor access to the car keys. Please attempt to avoid interfering with Staff while they are walking.

Thank you for your cooperation in these matters.

Respectfully,
The Management

From: the Cats (Mycah, Kismet, Packet)
To: the servant

Get bent. Bring on the treats.

No respect at all,
The Cats


The Carnival of the Cats this week is at The Catboys’ Realm with Kashim & Othello and Salmone.

But first, go visit the Modulator's Friday Ark.

Psych

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Mycah seems to be back to her normal self.

The tests came back normal, and there is no apparent reason for the blood spots she left on the carpet last week; I'm thinking she just did it to freak me out.

It's possible, I suppose, that the blood came from somewhere other than a UTI. I see no sign of any injury on her, but perhaps there was something — it might explain why she was moving so slowly last week.

The vet has put her on a different variety of prescription food, and she's gobbling it right down and begging for more, the little piggy.

I mentioned that when I went to pick Mycah up on Monday afternoon, I would be bringing Kismet in with me for his rabies update, and to have his sneezy sniffles checked out. There doesn't appear to be any reason for the snottiness, but he's getting lycine in his food three times a day now, so that may help.

The lumps under his armpits are back, too. Having ruled out ringworm the last time these lumps were an issue, the vet now wants to biopsy them. In the meantime, he's on Clavamox twice daily.

Fingers crossed.

This is so wrong

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It's just after 9am, and for the first time in I don't know how long, I have stayed up late enough after work — I usually finish sometime between midnight and 1am — to see a sunrise.

I didn't stay up in order to see the sunrise, I stayed up to take Mycah to the vet as soon as they opened their doors. The sunrise was merely an unpleasant side effect.

As was the morning rush hour traffic. Sure, it's nothing like the misery I endured for four years in San Jose, but it still sucks.

I've taken her in to the Cat Clinic and the wonderful Dr. Hodge early before, but I'd always done so after a couple hours of sleep. Not so today. I used the wee hours of the morning to clear my backlog of South Park and New Yankee Workshop episodes from the DVR.

Mycah is spending the day at the vet in order to generate a urine sample. She has, in the past, been notoriously uncooperative, so by keeping her all day — I won't go to get her until maybe 7pm — she ought to produce for them. She'd better — after the grief she gave me when it was time to bundle her into the PTU this morning, I'm not ready to put up with any "I refuse to pee" nonsense from her.

In the meantime, it's my day off and I'm going to bed.


Update: she cooperated, and according to the vet, there doesn't appear to be anything wrong. I'll just have to keep an eye on her for a repeat of last week's performance.

I'll be picking her up at about 6:30, and bringing Kismet in at that time for his rabies update. Plus, he's been sneezy and snotty lately — he sneezed up what looked like a banana slug the other day — so we'll have a chance to find out if he has kitteh hay fever, or if there's something else going on.

Sprout

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This has been a sad week for those of us who frequent the Cat Blogosphere.

Violette Noelle, known as "Sprout," the young daughter of one of our own, passed away after a terrible and tragic accident.

She was three months old. Her funeral is today.

I cannot imagine a more horrible thing for parents to have to endure. Please keep little Violette Noelle's family in your thoughts and prayers during this most difficult of times.

Damn

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Yesterday/early this morning, it was looking like Mycah was doing much better. But...

"Not so fast, Yakamoto." *

When I got up at noon today†, I noticed blood spots on the carpet in the area where she usually hangs out.

Damn.

Suspecting an ingrown claw, I lured her near with a treat (they don't call them Temptations for nothing, y'know) and picked her up for a look. But no, her paws and claws all seem to be on the up and up.

I put her down (OK, I let her get down — she hates being picked up, and wriggles and twists to get down the whole time) and she was departing my lap for the floor, she left a smear of blood on my arm. I couldn't tell exactly from where it came, but it was somewhere in the region of her backside.

Damn.

She apparently has the short-term memory of a guppy, because I was once again able to lure her near enough to pick up. She struggled rather a lot more this time, and I was unable to determine precisely where she bled from... but the fur on her butt is wet and matted.

She doesn't seem to be feeling any worse than usual; she's not acting sick, she's not weeing on the carpet. It's just these random spots of blood. Fortunately, they are limited to the small areas where she usually hangs out.

I called the vet, and the over-the-phone preliminary diagnosis is a possible urinary tract infection. I'll be taking her in tomorrow for another exam.

In the meantime, I have carpet that needs shampooing.

Damn.
 
 
 
* For the cultural philistines among my readership, see Monty Python's Erizabeth L sketch. Classic.
† I think I might have let it slip — oh, I dunno, maybe about a hundred times — that I work nights.

Reach out and touch someone

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Mycah appears to be back to her usual state of health, though I think she has lost her taste for the prescription catfood. She doesn't always finish her meals... but her appetite is just fine, if her begging is anything to judge by.

It's been almost four months since Kismet and Packet have arrived, and Mycah has mellowed quite a bit as regards their intrusion into her house. She rarely vocalizes at the lads these days; all I'm hearing are brief hisses, with the very rare growl.

The lads are, of course, much interested in their fellow feline resident, and each has his own particular way of attempting to interact with her.

Packet takes a passive-aggressive approach. His tactic is simply to flop down on the floor in front of her whenever she is headed somewhere — to the litterbox, away from the litterbox, to meals, and so on. She has to go past him, and as she does so, she utters a brief hiss. Occasionally, if she passes within paw's reach of him, he'll raise a paw... and she preemptively swats him.

Kismet has a different approach to Mycah. When she is on the move he will follow a pace or two behind, reaching out a paw. Usually he paws at the remains of her tail, but sometimes he gets closer. He's not swatting at her; it's more like he's trying to tap her to get her attention.

It rarely fails. A brief hiss usually ensues. Occasionally, she'll swat back at him.

She's not amused by their attempts to get closer to her, but she is slowly succombing to them. When food is involved, she doesn't care how close they get to her. I predict that by the end of the year, she'll allow them to curl up on the floor within a foot of where she is laying.


The Modulator's Friday Ark is boarding.

This week's Carnival of the Cats is at Skittles the Huntress on Sunday.

The short version

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I'm busy, due in no small part to a change in employment status. (This change, I might add, is a Good Thing.)

Mycah seems to be OK now. Her appetite isn't quite up to her usual standards, but she seems otherwise fine.

My lawn, on the other hand, is pretty much dead, despite the bits of rain we've been getting. Maybe I should go out and water it in the wee small hours every morning before I go to bed.

Feeling better

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Mycah seems to be much better today. She ate almost all of her breakfast, and perhaps two thirds of her lunch. We'll see how she does at dinner.

[Because of my work hours, we're on a weird feeding schedule. Each cat gets half a can of stinky goodness daily, in three increments, at (roughly) noon, 6pm, and midnight. On the extremely rare* occasions when I work at the office rather than telecommute, they get half up front, and half when I get home. The lads also have bowls of dry food left out where Mycah (due to lack of jumping ability) can't get to them.]

She's using the litter box... at least, to wee in. If she's pooed today, I have no idea where. There are three litter boxes available, two of which she refuses to use. She is, more than most people, a creature of habit, that habit including an insistence on having a pristine litter box with fine-grain litter in which to do her business.

I scoop a lot.

Sorry, no new pictures today... but here's a golden oldie of my best girl kitteh, back when she still had a tail... and about four pounds more flab than she has today:

* So rare that it hasn't happened in about 18 months.

Improvement

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Mycah seems to be doing better today. She ate almost all of her breakfast, and she's been drinking well and using the litterbox (or, unfortunately, the floor next to it.) She seems no lazier than normal.

Grumpy Kitty

She likes the door-less PTU as a hangout, I think because it limits any unwanted approaches from Kismet and Packet. She's more tolerant of them, but not so much that she actually wants them within paw's reach.

Got a call from Nice Lady Vet about an hour ago; the fructosamine test was within normal bounds, so diabetes isn't the issue. She did suggest broadening Mycah's diet to include regular (non-prescription) canned food; it's possible she's just bored with the same food, day in and day out, for the last two and a half years.

I want to keep an eye on how she eats; I still get the feeling she's having difficulty getting her food down, which might, I suppose indicate a problem with her mouth, throat or stomach, but she doesn't seem to have any actual pain that she's complaining about.

We'll take any progress we can get.

My sick little kitty

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Mycah is doing... not horribly bad, but not terribly well.

The lab results from Tuesday's visit came back; her blood sugar was a bit elevated, but they wanted to run another test on the sample, so I had to drop by and pony up for the additional test — a fructosamine test, whatever that is. It sure sounds like it's blood sugar related.

Mycah being diabetic, this is a concern. Her diabetes has been under control with diet alone for the past 2+ years, but perhaps she's beginning to require insulin injections.

She's moving better than she was earlier this week; she's resumed her "bunny hop" method of climbing the stairs, for instance. She doesn't appear to be limping in any way.

Her litterbox habits appear to have returned to normal, though her "output" is a bit reduced.

She's lost weight, two pounds since she was checked in April. She's still overweight at 14 pounds, but that seems to me to be too much, too fast.

She's not eating all her food at mealtimes. It looks as if she's having a hard time getting it down. I think I need to record a video and show it to the vet.

Kismet and Packet are getting pushy about the food, too. At mealtimes, I prepare the three dishes and give Mycah hers first, so she has a chance to eat — her hyperthyroidism meds are in her meals. The lads then get their meals, across the room from Mycah; they wolf their stinky goodness down, then start making eyes at Mycah's dish.

Her eating has slowed down to the point that she's not even halfway done by the time the lads finish, and I find myself standing over her to keep them away until she finishes and walks away. If the lads nose into her dish, Mycah doesn't even bother defending her food, she just walks away. She's usually a member of the clean plate club, but this past week she's been leaving food in her dish.

She spends all her time relaxing, sometimes in a PTU with the door removed, sometimes on her gizzy quilt, sometimes deep in the dark recesses of my bedroom closet.

I'm very worried about her. She's been through a lot, health-wise, and I've tried to do what's best for her all along, but at 13 she's not a youngster — I hope she has a few more good years in her.

Update, 8/10: she's not eating much at all now. I've brought food upstairs, and I put some in front of her whenever she comes out of her hidey hole, but she shows little to no interest in it. This is so uncharacteristic of her, I'm getting even more worried. I think another call to the vet tomorrow is in order.

Mycah update

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We're back from the vet. Mycah didn't complain at all about going, and in fact purred quite a bit, which is rather unusual for her. She's usually best described as "sullen" — maybe she just liked having some time away from Kismet and Packet.

She has more of an appetite than she had yesterday, but she's moving pretty poorly. She usually has a bit of a spring in her step, and "bunny hops" her way up the stairs. Not so, yesterday and today. She's slow and deliberate going up and down the stairs.

The vet didn't see any injury that might be responsible for her slow-down, and she didn't appear to be limping, nor does she have one of her periodic ingrown claws. What we did find is that Mycah's dropped some weight, down to 14 pounds. Still too heavy, but that much weight loss in just a couple of months might be a concern, given her diabetes and hyperthyroidism. And of course we need to be concerned about her kidneys, as well as the possibility of cancer.

The vet took blood to send to the lab, and tried to get urine, but as usual, Mycah was uncooperative in that regard.

The vet did say to let Mycah eat as much as she wants, whenever and whatever she wants — including human food. I'd better not catch her making eyes at my chicken dinner tonight... but if I have to share, so be it.

Monday miscellany

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Mondays. Ugh.

Most people dislike Mondays because that's when they return to their humdrum jobs.

I dislike them because Mondays are the days I do all my chores — take out the trash, vacuum the house, do laundry, and so on. I try to get groceries on Mondays, as well, but it doesn't always work out that way. So, for the rest of the day, I'll be puttering around the house.

On the whole, though, I'm glad to be able to do as much as I can. Not too long ago, of course, I was incapable of all but the easiest household task. They aren't easy for me now, but they're getting to be less difficult. I can't believe how much better I am than I ever expected, and I'm grateful for it.


Tuesday, though, I am going to try to have a little fun — I'm going to do my utmost to make a trip to the rifle range. It's been about two years since I've been able to go, and I have some much-neglected hardware that needs to be given a workout. I'm confident I can schlep my wheeled hard-shell rifle case from the parking lot into the range, and once there I ought to be able to handle the usual walking up- and down-range target placement and marking activities.

My only concerns are the temperature — the range, indoors, has fans but no A/C — and the smoothness/slickness of the concrete floor. Too smooth and/or slick, and my cane will be slipping around. That would be a Bad Thing, indeed.


I may have to postpone, though; Mycah's not being her usual self. She seemed to be a bit off her feed at breakfast time today, she hadn't used the litterbox since last night, she's not been so stand-offish with Kismet and Packet, and she's moving a bit slower than normal. I had to call her repeatedly to come down for breakfast; usually, she's there ahead of me meowing with anticipation. I need to keep an eye on her today and make sure she's just having a bad day, as opposed to actually being unwell.

She had her 13th birthday just a month ago, but that doesn't necessarily make her an elderly cat quite yet. I'm more concerned about the diabetes and, to a lesser degree, her hyperthyroidism. Kidneys are a cat's weak spot, I think, so I really need to keep an eye on her potty behaviour. I hope the old girl has a few more years left in her. Kismet and Packet need to be swatted from time to time, and she's just the girl to do it.

Coincidentally, she has a vet appointment for tomorrow for her 6-month checkup. We'll see what the vet says.

Mycah's Potty Update: She used the litterbox while I was off doing my chores. She didn't just whiz, she whi-i-i-izzed. No poo yet, though. And she refused to come downstairs for her evening feeding. Not good.

Wrasslin'

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More video of the lads.

They wrestle a lot, almost always as an effort by each to groom the other.

Maybe that's why Kismet grooms my head at night when I'm in bed — I don't fight back.


An award — this makes it two Fridays in a row. Clearly, we need to start being nicer to more people more often.

From Skittles the Huntress:

Aww... 't'weren't nuthin'.


Friday. Ark. Be there.

You've got to love the Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos, this week at Mind of Mog.

Carnival of the Cats will be hosted this week by Samantha Black & Mr. Tigger.

Mighty Hunter, redux

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Yesterday I went to do my grocery shopping. As usual, when leaving the house, I had to go out the front door and open the garage from the outside, because when I go directly out to the garage through the door that opens off the kitchen, Kismet and Packet race each other to go out to the garage, and I'm just not quick enough to get out and close the door before they get out.

When they get out into the garage, it then takes me ten minutes to wrangle them back into the house, before I can then open the garage door, start the truck, and leave. I don't often have that much time to burn.

I ultimately got home and opened the door into the kitchen. As usual, the lads had heard the garage door opener, and were waiting in the kitchen for me to open the door. I did, and they zipped out into the garage, as usual. And as usual, I wondered what the attraction was.

Just a couple of minutes later, while I was putting away the groceries, Kismet came in and showed me what was so interesting in the garage: he'd caught and dispatched a lizard. Fortunately, I'd left my camera downstairs.

At the beginning, you can see he's "on point" — I couldn't see what he was looking at, but I think it was either Mycah or Packet checking out his acquisition.

The ex-lizard had already bought the farm — kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible — but Kismet wanted to play more with his new toy.

It seems like he doesn't quite know what to do with it.

Me, I just wanted to get the little corpse away from him before he could take it upstairs and deposit it in my bed.

Eventually I distracted him (thank you, keychain laser) and was able to give the late lamented lizard a quick watery funeral.

Mighty Hunter

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Mycah is the queen huntress around these parts, but she clearly has some competition.

Kismet excels at catching flying bugs; the ground-dwelling variety, as well, have good reason to fear his attentions.

I don't know that he ate the cricket. I heard no crunching, and I haven't found any remains — but I haven't heard any chirping, either.


Well, whattya know... we've received an award from our dear friend Moki. Be sure to read all the latest news on Moki's medical matters, which are very similar to what I've had to deal with.

And I'd consider it a personal favor if you'd hit the orange "donate" button there and do a little something to help with the vet bills.

"This award was created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creativity and their talents, also for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium." *

They say that when you receive this award it is considered a special honor. It sure feels like it.

There are, of course, rules for passing this honor on, which are as follows:

  1. Pick five blogs that you would like to award this honor to. [I generally suck at this, so I'll skip this step for the moment. When I make up my mind, I'll pass it along.]
  2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone. [See previous note.]
  3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
  4. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link to "Arte y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

I'll work on my list.


If it's Friday (and you know it is!) it's time to board The Modulator's Friday Ark.

Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos is at Pet’s Garden Blog.

The Carnival of the Cats is at CatSynth with Amar and Luna on Sunday.

Bug eyed monster

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I'm convinced Kismet would be an amazingly effective hunter, were he allowed out of the house. His feather-on-a-string chasing skills are the stuff of legend.

Here we see him keeping his eye on one of the few (so far) winged bugs that has made it into the house this summer:

He later caught it mid-air in a flying leap off my recliner. Quite amazing — I wish I'd captured the moment. Then he ate it. Thoroughly disgusting.

At least he didn't leave a mess for me to clean up.


Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos is hosted by Samantha & Mr. Tigger.

On Sunday the Carnival of the Cats will be at Artsy-Catsy.

Naughty boys

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Someone has been a bad kitty cat. The fireplace was invaded and ash tracked all over the family room carpet.

Was it Packet? He's looking awfully smug about something.

No, I have no evidence that he did anything wrong.

Could it have been Kismet? I detect a bit of a guilty look to him.

His guilt is written all over his face.

In ash.


Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos is at Kashim & Othello’s.

The Carnival of the Cats is going to House Panthers on Sunday.

Lucky 13

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Happy birthday, Mycah. I know a furry little girl who will be having some tuna on her plate tonight.

I hope she has many more good years.

Bounce, 1991-2008

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Mom's cat Bounce has been unwell. She stopped eating, using the litterbox, and grooming herself.

Today is her final trip to the vet. Mom is with her there now.

So long, Bounce. Good girl.

Ravings of a fevered mind

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Shortly before going to bed last night (this morning, really) I came down with a fever and aches. Swell. At least it didn't wait until my weekend starts at midnight tonight. I can work through being unwell, but I hate losing my days off to illness. I have too much to do.

I think I need to have my shunt adjusted. When I occasionally cough or sneeze, I feel what might be described as a pressure spike in my head — a momentary pang, like a headache that comes and goes in a split second. I think there's still a bit too much pressure in there.

I keep making progress at physical therapy, and my reward is more weight on my ankles, or newer more difficult exercises.

The birds in my neighborhood are retarded. They start chirping about two hours before sunrise — right outside my bedroom window. The feathered buggers can make it hard to get to sleep.

A thunderstorm in the wee hours of the morning, however shuts them right up... and I have no trouble falling asleep if it's thundering or pouring rain.

The cats get a bit nervous, though. Kismet curls up tightly right against me, and Packet stretches out on the bed as well. Mycah would come up, but she rarely ever voluntarily approaches the lads.

They, on the other hand, continually try to make friendly with her. It's particularly noticeable at feeding time. I call "food!" and the cats know it's time to go downstairs. Packet races down to the bottom of the stairs and flops down. Kismet positions himself on the landing halfway down. Mycah follows behind me as I go down — she gives Packet a brief hiss and heads down past him... and he follows, batting at her tail. She then gets to the bottom of the stairs ahead of me, and has a few words with Packet, who lays there oblivious to her demand that he move out of her way. It's as if he is daring her to approach him... but he eventually gets out of the way.

Food seems to be the great unifier, though. When the hairball treats are being distributed, Mycah has no objection whatever to the lads' immediate presence. Once the treats are gone, though, the hissing starts again... but she's getting better. Eventually she'll tolerate the lads.

Work starts in a couple of minutes. Sundays are usually pretty quiet, but this week so far has been fairly heinous. I can work through the fever and headache... but I'd rather have a nice night where no part of the network breaks. Ya, right. We have 30,000+ routers under management — something will go wrong at some point.

OK, I just logged on and I see that it has been slow so far today. I guess we got most of it out of our system over the past week.

Have a good Sunday, folks.

Mycah vs. Mycah

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I've always thought Mycah was a pretty cute girl.

Via my referrer logs, I see there's another Mycah out there... with two M's in "Emmerson," as opposed to the just one in use hereabouts.

There must be something about the name "Mycah."

Unhappy

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Mycah has been busy fending off the lads' advances. They want to be as friendly and playful with her as they are with each other. Packet's method is to race ahead and flop down on the floor in her path when she's on the move, while Kismet's favored technique is to follow her and attempt to bat at her tail.

She, of course, will have none of it. Not yet, anyway.

Her proximity alarms usually don't go off until the lads are within swatting range, but when she does get unhappy, she gets vocal, hissing and occasionally growling, with the occasional swat. She's never made so much noise before, except when wanting to be fed.

Usually she'll just give a half-second hiss as she walks by one of the lads, or one walks past her, but I'd swear she barked at Packet the other day when he was blocking her path away from the litter box. She actually made a woof sound at him. He took the hint, and moved out of her way.

(See also.)

She's mellowing, though. When she thinks no one is watching, she'll sniff at the lads, and when daily hairball treats are being distributed, she'll tolerate being shoulder to shoulder with them. Food, of course, would be her priority.


A furry fighter's battle ends.


It's Friday, so don't forget to board the Modulator's Friday Ark.

This week's Carnival of the Cats is at Mind of Mog.

For your daily cat needs, visit the Cat Blogosphere.

Ready... Wrestle!

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Packet and Kismet can — and do — go from placid to playful in the blink of an eye.

Ready....

Wrestle!


It's Friday, so don't forget to board the Modulator's Friday Ark.

This week's Carnival of the Cats is at... the Carnival of the Cats!

And every day, you can visit the Cat Blogosphere. Make it a regular stop for all things feline.

Treed

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Exciting times here for the new guys.

I acquired — and managed to get up the stairs — a cat tree. The lads are all over it.

That thing is heavy. I hope the boys appreciate just how difficult it was for me to get it upstairs.


Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is at Kashim & Othello's place.

Every day, there is the Cat Blogosphere. Make it a regular stop for all things feline.

Packet the TV connoisseur

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Packet has become a TV junkie. Cat Sitter is his favorite DVD so far.

Rodents and birds are not the only things he likes to watch. He seems to enjoy Good Eats as much as I do, and he's a regular Red Eye viewer. He's a big fan of ombudsman Andy Levy.

He's probably hoping to get an autographed picture of Andy's cats, Pixel and Stormy.


Start your weekend at The Modulator's Friday Ark.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is hosted at the M-cats Club.

And as always, for your every day cat needs, a visit to the Cat Blogosphere is recommended.

Hi!

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Kismet says a very quick hello.

I really need to get a longer vid of him at his most talkative, but when the camera comes out, he goes quiet. Uncooperative little cuss.


Check out the neat goodies that are being raffled off at Cat Friends Helping Friends.

Don't miss the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is hosted by our friends at Artsy Catsy.

And as always, for your every day cat needs, a visit to the Cat Blogosphere is recommended.

Another day...

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... another trip to the vet.

Today is Mycah's turn. She's a good deal harder to wrangle than are the lads, if for no other reason than she's on to me.

She can tell when I'm trying to get her set to go to the vet. She can tell when the Prisoner Transport Unit is intended for actual transportation.

The fact that the Nice Lady Doctor always treats her very well means nothing to her. She simply doesn't want to go.

Her appointment is for 2pm... I'd better start herding her now if I plan on getting her there on time.


"You want me to go where?!?!?

"Certainly you jest."


Don't miss the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats this week will be hosted by a pack of Bad Kitty Cats.

And as always, for your every day cat needs, a visit to the Cat Blogosphere is recommended.

Sick lad

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Kismet had his followup at the vet yesterday. As you may recall, he developed an upper respiratory infection, with what appeared to be a swollen lymph node under his armpit.

Though he's still a tiny bit wheezy, the antibiotics seem to be doing their job. Kismet struggles against being pilled, like every cat I've ever tried it with, but once the pill is in he swallows it right down, accompanied by a round of tummy rubbing and repeated "good boy."

The vet did not, however, like the armpit lump, which appears to have expanded. It looks like it's within the loose skin, and doesn't seem to be causing the lad any discomfort, but it's grown rather a lot in the past week.

We have another followup on Monday next. The vet will perform a biopsy to try to figure out just what we're dealing with here.

I knew that taking on two new cats would inevitably lead to veterinary issues. I just wasn't expecting them quite so soon.

He's such a sweet little cat; always poking his nose into everything, playing with Packet, curious about Mycah (who is still a bit stand-offish), chatting constantly, and very affectionate. I sure hope that whatever it is under his arm isn't too serious.

Monday Miscellany

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I expected that last post to generate a bit more by way of discussion. Perhaps I should have held it for a weekday instead of posting it on Saturday.


If there's one thing I've learned recently, it's that if you want a lot of visits and comments, put up a picture of a cat. Fortunately, I now have three of the furballs to photograph, and they are photogenic... but not every day is Cat Day here.


Oddly, however, this week is Cat Week for me, as all three are making trips to the vet, on three separate days. Mycah has followup blood work to be done, Packet has his first checkup with our vet (the amazing Dr. Jennifer Hodge of the Cat Clinic of Cary — if you're in the area, I recommend them highly), and Kismet, who went in for his checkup last week, has a followup for his upper respiratory infection.

Kismet had weepy eyes and was a bit sneezy last week; when he emptied his snotlocker on my shirt one afternoon, I decided to get him checked out a bit earlier than originally scheduled. Along with the respiratory symptoms, what appeared to be a swollen (perhaps infected) lymph node was found in his armpit. As a result, he's been on a twice-daily regimen of a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

Further, blood was taken for lab work, and the results show that he's got antibodies for corona virus, but it doesn't look like an active infection, but rather a past exposure. I informed the folks at the adoption center, just in case.

In any event, he seems pretty well. He's less sneezy, but the lump in his armpit hasn't gone away. We'll be getting that checked out at the followup visit tomorrow.

All that said, here's your daily dose of cat: Mycah taking her turn on the Gizzy quilt.

Comfy Cat

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Having recently won the Cat Friends Helping Friends raffle for a "Gizzy" quilt, I was eager to see how any or all of the cats would like it.

It arrived in the mail on Wednesday; Kismet wasted no time making himself comfortable.

I'll try to find a sunnier spot for it. The upstairs hallway at the top of the stairs may not be quite the best place. Can you say "trip hazard?"


Don't miss the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is hosted by Grace and Kittens.

And for your every day cat needs, a visit to the Cat Blogosphere is always recommended.

Mancats

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Yes, yes, I know — lots of cat stuff lately. So sue me. If I were having health problems (apart from the usual rounds of physical therapy and such) I'd be posting about that.

The lads had their first night of freedom last night. Naturally, they used it to best effect by playing the Thundering Herd of Elephants game while I was trying to get to sleep. They eventually settled down around dawn.

When I woke up, Kismet was sleeping at my feet. Very cute.

I'm not going to call them inseparable, but they do enjoy hanging out together.

Mycah still doesn't quite know what to make of these interlopers. When I have had human visitors in the past, she was always pretty skittish at first, and would be "off her feed" for a couple of days. Same thing now — I can't believe I actually have to work at it to get her to eat. She'll get back to normal pretty quickly, I expect.

Introducing...

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Say hello to Kismet and Packet.

Kismet earned his name. He's an exceptionally curious lad, running around like a dog off its leash, poking his nose everywhere and sniffing everything.

"Kismet," of course, is the name of a wireless network sniffer.


Packet is a big, soft fluffball. He's more laid back than Kismet... but when curiosity strikes, he goes places Kismet hasn't yet ventured.

His frame is thoroughly encapsulated in Layer 2.


Anyone doubt my geek bona fides now?


Don't forget to board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

The The Carnival of the Cats this week is hosted at House Panthers.

And for your every day cat needs, a visit to the Cat Blogosphere is always recommended.

Day Three

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The lads are definitely relaxed in their new surroundings.

New Kitteh #1 has staked out the army cot as his turf.

New Kitteh #2 is a fan of the bed. When he stretches out, he really stretches out.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if he has a bit of Maine Coon in him.

I'm about 95% sure on their names... 100% on NK#1, 90% on NK#2.

Day Two

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The lads have been acclimating to the house, and to Mycah's presence... as much as they can, under the door.

They are a pair of serious nose-poker-inners. Here are their first few moments of freedom:

They made a break for it today — when I went in to feed them, they bolted through the open door. Mycah was right behind me, though, and the boys were startled enough to dash across the hall into the bathroom rather than down the hall and to the rest of the house.

In my somewhat debilitated physical condition, I was unable to wrangle them into their bedroom. Fortunately, they are young and as yet not jaded by shiny things, so the laser spot was successfully employed to lure them back into their room.

I think I have names for them. A few have been floating through my head, some relating to my chosen profession, but they aren't all geeky... unless you count my having been a Korean linguist as geeky.

OK, bad example. Linguists are very nearly the biggest geeks in the Army.

A couple more days. In the meantime, they're being referred to as "buddy" and "fluffy boy." They really are quite a pair.

Arrival

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Houston... Tranquility Base here. The kittehs have landed.

Naming has yet to occur.

Raffles

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We have a winnah!

Mycah and the lads will undoubtedly enjoy their new quilt.

Monday update: Here's how the winner was chosen. Nifty.

Incoming

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Mycah has no idea her life is about to get more interesting.

Earlier this week I filled out an application, was interviewed by phone and had my veterinarian references checked, and was ultimately approved to adopt, so today I went to Cat Angels before work to be "interviewed" by the cats.

I had some in mind that I'd seen on the website, but the real question was, would any of them take kindly to me?

I need not have worried.

Cat #1 was amazingly friendly. As I sat down in the room with about ten cats, he walked right over, hopped up on my knee, from my knee onto my shoulder, and parked himself there. I think that means I passed the interview with him. He's a domestic short hair, just three weeks past his first birthday. I've rarely seen such an outgoing cat.

Cat #2, who was raised with the first, also seemed kindly disposed towards me, though he was a bit less outgoing; the staff said that was his usual manner. He's a big fluffy domestic long hair who's three weeks shy of his first birthday. According to the staff, he really enjoys lap time. I expect I'll be FURminating him and vacuuming quite a bit.

The two of them have been raised together at the adoption center; they'll only go out as a pair.

I did spend time in the other rooms full of cats. The younger kittens were adorable, but none showed much interest in me. So, I decided.

Mycah is about to have two younger brothers.

The adoption center has a rule that makes a lot of sense: once you make your decision, you have to have a "cooling off" period — an hour, I think — to consider your decision. Unfortunately, since I had to leave to get to work on time, this meant that the cats did not get to come home with me today. I will be picking them up on Tuesday.

In one way, it's good that I didn't bring them home with me today: I'd have been required to name them "Lexington" and "Concord." I think it's a Federal law of some sort.

I might still do so... but there are other options. The question is, how geeky do I want to get? Being, as I am, a network engineer, I've been thinking of "Ping" and "Trace," though I also think "Packet" would be an excellent name, especially since Ping is already in use.

I did say geek. I meant it.

Are you Sarah Connor?

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I wish I could remember who recommended it, but this week while at the Petsmart, I picked up a cat-sized FURminator. Mycah is a bit of a shedder, so....

This thing is great. The results after just one minute of combing her:


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Hasta la vista, hairballs.

Now... what the heck do I do with all this hair? I suppose I could learn to knit.


It's Friday - board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

The The Carnival of the Cats this week will be hosted by Aloyisius at Catymology.

And for your every day cat needs, a visit to the Cat Blogosphere is recommended.

Late Thursday Update

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It's been a busy week here, and I find that the pace of my recovery, while slow, continues steadily. I'm walking a lot better with the cane, and haven't as much as touched my crutches in about two weeks. I'm not throwing them away quite yet... but I'm almost there. I can even walk very short distances without the cane.

Well, not so much walk as stagger. It's not the finest perambulation I've ever done, but it's better than I've managed in over a year.

Physical therapy continues twice weekly. Every time I get to be good at something, they go and add weights to my legs. I'm up to a whopping eight pounds around each ankle for the leg extension exercises.

Eight whole pounds. Inform the media.

I find that I'm using muscles that haven't been used in quite a while. They hurt, actually... but hey, at least I can feel them.


Part of what I've been doing this week has been preparation for the likely arrival of one or two — probably two — new young cats in the house. I've stocked up on all the essentials, food excepted. Since the shelter provides a bag of food with the cats, I can wait to see what it is they are used to.

On Saturday, before work, I'll be heading to the Cat Angels adoption facility to see if any of their available furballs will have anything to do with me. They have several pairs of young cats, about a year old. All the information I've seen points to the fact that when bringing new felines into a home with an older cat, it's best to get two, so they'll play with each other rather than pester the older cat incessantly. That works for me. I can give a good home to a couple of rescued cats.

How Mycah takes the news remains to be seen. I've been giving her lots of attention; I'm hoping she won't be too resentful of the time I commit to the newcomers over the course of the next couple of weeks as they get used to their new home and new Food Giver And Litter Scooper. I think she'll be very curious, perhaps a bit hostile, then annoyed, and finally indifferent.

And who knows? She might actually like the newbies. Young cats should not be threatening to her in any way. We'll see.

This explains a lot

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The find of the day: An Engineer's Guide to Cats.

"If you have one cat, you're just a guy who has a cat. If you have two cats, well, the cats are friends, so they can keep each other company. When you have three cats, you start to get to be that guy who has all those cats."

There's a good chance that, by this time next week, I'll be "that guy who has all those cats."

It's good to be an engineer.

Mycah's aspect ratio: 1.79.

(Found via Maggie.)

Mine!

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Charging lasers....


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One would be well advised to stay away from Mycah's mousie and catnip pillow.

The new cat (I might theoretically have one in the coming week) will undoubtedly learn this lesson quickly.


Be sure to see the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

This week's Carnival of the Cats is hosted at the M-Cats Club.

And for your recommended daily allowance of Cat, there's the Cat Blogosphere.

Paying it forward

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While I was in the midst of my medical problems, I received a lot of support from quite a few people. Mom, of course, came and stayed here in NC — bored out of her skull most of the time, I don't doubt, between rounds of driving me to the doctors and doing those things around the house which I was incapable of doing for myself. My sister, too, made a few stops here to help. The two of them were invaluable; without their help, I'd have had to sell my house and move to some sort of single-story assisted-living facility.

No kidding. I was unable to fend for myself.

Many others provided moral support. I can't count how many emails I received, all full of encouragement. And there was at least one church congregation praying for me regularly.

The medical care I received was top-notch. My regular doc was and is as good a GP as I've ever dealt with. The neurologist I went to is one of the best in the country, and the neurosurgeon who drilled me is arguably the best neurosurgeon in the world. Plus, there were really cute nurses all along the way. Hey, I'm a man... you didn't expect me not to notice, did you?

Further, when I had a fundraiser going here to help offset my massive medical bills (which so far have added up to over a year's pay... egads) more than just a few people made donations to help out. It made a difference.

Now I'm in a situation where my past medical bills are all paid up, where the minor ongoing treatment (physical therapy, mostly) is relatively simple for me to handle... and I have my tax refunds in the bank.

I've always tried to be a charitable guy; I could do a lot better. I want to do better. So, I've recently seen a couple of situations where maybe I could directly make a difference, where I could give someone with insanely high vet bills some of the same sort of support that I was blessed to receive when I was down.

Moki is a tough little fighter with an undiagnosed neurological condition. If you think this reminds me of my own situation, you'd be exactly right.

LillyLu is another cat with enormous vet bills... particularly since her human is getting ready to have twins of her own.

Both those linked sites have orange "Donate" buttons in the sidebars. Go on, hit them. Every little bit helps. Big bits help, too.

For those of you who are charitably inclined, but feel the need to have tax deductability, there is the newly-founded Cat Friends Helping Friends. There are plenty of people-oriented charities, but as far as I know, there's just this one that helps people with big veterinarian bills. Go help them out.

Weirdo

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Every day, I bring a beverage and a ziploc baggie full of ice cubes upstairs from the kitchen to my office so that I'll not have to try to climb the stairs with a mug full of ice. (Walking up the stairs is still rather difficult for me to do; trying to carry a full mug up the stairs would be very a bad idea.) I top off my mug with ice, pour a tasty beverage, and set the baggie on the floor. It holds enough ice to last me several hours.

I caught Mycah doing something odd with the baggie this week.

She's done it both before and since her dental adventure earlier this week, so I don't think the state of her teeth had anything to do with it. And she isn't doing it for the condensed moisture on the bag — I'm pretty sure she's drinking regularly from the water bowls I have around the house, since I top them off daily.

I suppose it could be an odd manifestation of her bag fixation.

Speaking of feline dentistry: Mycah had to have two teeth extracted this week; they were the left side upper and lower pre-molars — the ones right behind the canine teeth. She handled it pretty well, and was only a little bit feisty when painkiller dosing times came around. She has been exceptionally friendly since the V-E-T visit... which makes me wonder if she was having any discomfort before the extractions.

Makes me wish I could read her mind... but I suspect that if I could, I'd find her planning my demise.


Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

On Sunday the Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by Amar and Luna of CatSynth.

And for your recommended daily allowance of Cat, there's the Cat Blogosphere.

It's Time

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Mycah is at the V-E-T, having not-entirely-random acts of feline dentistry committed upon her. She did not want to get into the PTU this morning, but at least I didn't have to chase her around like last time.

I'll be picking her up later today, after the anaesthesia wears off. What, you think they could do anything to her mouth without knocking her out? Dream on. She emphatically does not like having things put in her mouth. Other than food, of course.


It's time, I think, for there to be another cat in the household. For most of her life, Mycah has has one or two other cats with which to interact. I've had her for four years now, and she's been alone with me for about three years; I think she could use more company.

Mainly because I suck as a playmate.

(I'd have done this a while ago, but my own health issues have prevented it.)

But first, I need to solicit some advice from cat owners, along the lines of "how do I introduce a new cat into the house?" I think there are some factors that need to be taken into account:

  1. Mycah is going to be thirteen years old this year. She's not as spry as she used to be.
  2. Mycah needs to be the alpha-cat around here — her status can't be threatened.
  3. I don't think I can handle a very young kitten, and I'm not sure Mycah would look at a kitten as anything other than a mobile meal. So I'm thinking a juvenile, a "teen" cat - perhaps six to nine months old. Young enough to be the beta-cat, yet big enough to not be completely bullied.
  4. Mycah will eat any and all food that she can get to, so a second cat needs a secure food source that Mycah won't be able to get near. How best to accomplish this?

I'm sure other questions will come up, but this is a start.

Thoughts, anyone?

Skritch magnet

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Mycah is a complete and utter hedonist.

But then, not too many cats could be described as altruistic.

Or many people, for that matter.


A visit to the Modulator's Friday Ark is required. Get thee hence.

On Sunday, it's the Carnival of the Cats — this week at Nikita's Place.

And for your recommended daily allowance of Cat, there's the Cat Blogosphere.

Dope

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Dude... huh? No, wait... dude... what...?


[Click for larger.]

Du-u-u-ude.

Mycah is on hyperthyroidism medication, which for the record does not mean she's "on drugs." Even if she occasionally looks like it.


If it's Friday — and you know it is — you have to visit the Modulator's Friday Ark.

On Sunday, it's the Carnival of the Cats at Chey's Place.

For your everyday reading, there's also the Cat Blogosphere. Make it a regular stop.

Trip to the V. E. T.

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Mycah had a followup visit today, to see how she's responding to the hyperthyroidism medication.

For some reason, she could tell there were evil plans afoot for her. Usually, when it comes time to go to the vet, she's very compliant. Not so today — as soon as she was done with her breakfast, she bolted up the stairs. It took considerable effort to find her, coax her out and back downstairs — a supply of treats can be a good thing. I stuffed her into the Prisoner Transport Unit for the trip to the vet; her meowing was non-stop.

Once at the clinic, she wouldn't come out, and had to be literally dumped out of the PTU, and while we waited in the exam room for the vet to arrive, she occupied herself with trying to get back into the PTU, as if being in there would save her from the poking and prodding.

After the requisite fluids were "acquired" from her, the vet pronounced herself satisfied with how well Mycah's doing on her medication.

Unfortunately, she hasn't been brushing or flossing well, and needs a dental cleaning, which we've set up for two weeks from today. Before then, I need to come up with a better way to herd the cat.

Mycah Speaks

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Recently, after going in with family members to get my niece a camera for her birthday, I decided it was time for me to upgrade to a new digital camera. I've had the old one for about eight years, and it was getting to be quite a bit behind the times. I hadn't really done anything for myself in quite a while, and with the amazing prices these days, it was hard to say no.

I shopped around, and decided on a Kodak. It's far more powerful a camera than the old one, at about one third the price I paid in 2000.

What I wasn't really looking for, but was pleased to find, was that the camera has the capability to capture video. Sure, it's limited to the available memory, but I'm not ever going to try to be a Spielberg.

Nevertheless, here's my first shot at making Mycah a star.

I suppose I'm going to have to get some video editing software somewhere.


Since it's Friday, you know you have to go visit the Modulator's Friday Ark.

The Carnival of the Cats is hosted this week at Artsy Catsy.

Baby Got Bag

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Like (I suppose) most cats, Mycah siezes every opportunity to perch on anything on the floor that can be lain upon. Paper grocery bags, bubble wrap, flattened cardboard boxes, stray items of clothing... and here, a plastic grocery bag that had fallen to the floor:

She really like the plastic bags, I think because of the crinkly noises they make. Not, of course, that the noise prevents her drifting off to sleep.

I wish I could get to sleep so easily.


Be sure to visit the Modulator's Friday Ark.

A visit to the Carnival of the Cats would also be in order, this week at the House of the (Mostly) Black Cats.

Worth It

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For her cancer screening, Mycah got ultrasounded and x-rayed earlier this week. She did very well — the vet called again Wednesday to say that the images had been examined by an expert, and there is no sign that the cancer removed a year ago had spread from her tail to her body.

For such good news, the shaved tummy and associated loss of dignity is a small price to pay.


Interesting... a rather clever feline Valentine's Day proposal.


The Friday roundup of pet/animal links is at the Modulator's Friday Ark.

And don't miss the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Mind of Mog.

Well, That's Different

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At the unholy hour of 7:30 this morning (I work nights, remember) I took Mycah to the vet for her cancer followup screening. Such a day is bound to be full of indignities for the cat.

The screening consists of x-rays and an ultrasound; the former requires that she be anaesthetized, the latter that her tummy be shaved. As is usual for such procedures, she wasn't allowed to eat after midnight last night, so I had to lie to her ("It's breakfast time!") to get close enough to her to pick her up and stuff her into her carrier. I did, however, make up a meal, complete with her medication, and packed it along in a tupperware container. I didn't feel quite as guilty about the lie.

We got to the vet and she was whisked away, with a promise that once she was finished and awake she'd get her food.

This afternoon, I got the call to come pick her up, so off I went again. Let me tell you, after the better part of a year of having to rely on others for transportation, it's a wonderful thing to be able to just get up and go as needed.

When I picked her up, the vet pointed out that she had not in fact eaten the meal I'd prepared for her. This is extremely uncharacteristic for Mycah, but I suppose that wasn't too surprising — immediately after my recent medical procedures, food was the last thing on my mind.

Mycah was wide awake and meowing unhappily the whole way home. I'd have liked to let her out of the carrier, but I don't think that's a particularly safe thing to do, so I limited myself to sticking my fingers through the carrier door and skritching her to the best of my ability.

We got home, I let her out (I could see her shaved tummy — the indignity!) and fed her. She was ravenous... but that's not terribly unusual for her.

The good news is that the ultrasound and x-rays looked normal. So for once, we've had a vet visit that didn't result in the diagnosis of one malady or another.

The indignities, however, have not ended... because as soon as I can, I'm going to get a picture of her newly-shaven tummy. I'm heartless.

Mycah has surely had her share of problems as she has gotten older.

Two years ago there was the diabetes, for which she is no longer taking insulin; special food has that well under control, and there's no sign of that changing.

A year ago came the cancer, which resulted in the loss of half her tail. She seems to be doing well, but she has a followup screening next week — x-rays and ultrasound — and will continue to have similar exams periodically for the rest of her life.

Last week was her semi-annual checkup. The verdict? Hyperthyroidism.

Superb.

She's lost some weight over the last six months or so. I thought it was because we had her diet (i.e., portion control) well in hand. Indeed, that may have been a contributing factor, as the severity of her new condition is actually pretty mild according to the vet, but the hyperthyroidism might well be part of the reason for her weight loss, too.

Still, though.... In nature, hyperthyroidism is a lethal condition, but it's completely treatable with medication. And it can be cured, with either radiation or surgery.

Mycah started the meds Wednesday, a quarter of a pill per meal. [That makes her medication bill about 50 cents/day. Quite reasonable.] So far she hasn't objected... but the way she snarfs down her meals, she probably never will notice that she's being dosed.

Her appetite remains unaffected.


Be sure to see all the critters at the Friday Ark.

And don't miss the Carnival of the Cats, either. This week, it's hosted at Pet’s Garden Blog.

Lazy Kitty

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Mycah now had something she can use as a bed in almost every room in the house.

In the family room, there's a towel she had previously shredded — she likes to hide in the bathroom cabinets from time to time, leading to the demise of whatever towels I used to keep there before I wised up.

Why she lets the stuffed mousie have the lion's share of the "bed," I don't know. Perhaps she is trying to lull it into a false sense of security before shredding it.


It's the end of the week, so be sure to visit the Friday Ark.

And don't miss a very well done Carnival of the Cats, hosted this week by When Cats Attack!

Adjusting

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Among the many things my Mom did while she was here was distributing Mycah's food. The cat, naturally, came to look on Mom as the Best Human In The House.

Now that Mom's gone, Mycah is having to readjust to the status quo ante. By inserting an extra meal into her routine, I've already got her back on a feeding schedule that matches the hours I keep as a night-shift worker. Last night, though, at her old dinner time, she came upstairs and asked me rather politely for her dinner now, please.

By "politely," I mean she didn't brandish a handgun.

I temporarily placated her with her dose of hairball remedy treats, but she was still puzzled: where's the Nice Lady Who Fed Me And Skritched Me And Was So Nice To Me?

Mycah then spent most of the rest of my shift plopped down by my chair, where I could reach down and skritch her or give her a tummy-rub from time to time.

Finally, my shift ended, and as I got up, she recognized her moment and dashed ahead of me downstairs and waited — meowing non-stop — until I fed her.

I think she really misses my Mom. I see her looking around, searching for Nice Lady. I suspect Mom misses Mycah too, but there's another cat back home that needs Mom's attention.

After such an upsetting couple of days of lifestyle adjustments, Mycah needed a chance to recharge:

Fear The Tuxie

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It's Mycah and her Fantastic Flying Feline Fists of Fury!


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Do not mess with the cat. Especially at nap time.


It's Friday — visit the Ark.

On Sunday: the Carnival of the Cats, at (where else?) the Cat Blogosphere.

Hunter, Prey — the Return

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Mycah continues her observation of the local wildlife... and it continues to observe her.


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I've never really thought I would want or need a video camera, but only a video would do justice to the way Mycah was thrashing the stub of her tail.

Mycah, meanwhile, has carried on her quest for some sort of way through the screen door. She laments her inability to reach the knife drawer in the kitchen; she's been trying to get to my power tools in the garage.

How she thinks she can work a circular saw without opposable thumbs is beyond me.


Be sure to visit the Friday Ark.

Later in the weekend: the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Pet's Garden Blog.

Hunter, Prey

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Mycah has always been an indoor cat. Her exposure to and experience in the Great Outdoors has been limited to her occasional tenative forays out through an open door. She'll guiltily creep out, and then go no farther than the nearest patch of lawn, where she proceeds to graze.

She loves grass; I think it's because no matter how slow she is, the grass isn't going to get away from her. In lieu of treats these days, she gets a handful of grass from the lawn. A handful of blades on a plate and she's good to go.

Lately, her plate goes near the sliding glass door. From that vantage point, she can watch the birds and squirrels that frequently visit my back deck. Sometimes, there is a close encounter.


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Seconds after this photo was snapped, Mycah lunged for the squirrel. Fortunately for all concerned, the screen door stopped her pounce in a rather precipitous manner.

I've seen her take down moths in the house, but I suspect a squirrel is beyond her capability to handle. She simply doesn't have the experience.

Later in the day, though, I saw her scouting around for a knife to cut through the mesh.

Always plotting, she is.


If it's Friday, it's time for the Friday Ark.

Over the weekend, expect to see:

Trim-Jeans Theater Presents...

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"Big Cat, Little Cat."

Mycah has been on a diet, and though it might not be obvious, she's slimmed down from her rotund maximum (almost 20 lbs when I got her) to a comparatively svelte 14 pounds.


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Svelte? Rubenesque would probably be more accurate, in absolute terms. But having lost a few pounds, she is much livelier and more active than before. She still has a few pounds to go yet.

Complain though she may about not getting as much food as she wants, it's for the best. Her health comes first.

And she'll usually accept skritches in lieu of food... for a while, anyway.


Friday? Ark!

Also this weekend: the Carnival of the Cats, at Bad Kitty Cats.

And also see Weekend Cat Blogging at Tuxedo Gang Hideout, and the Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos at Pets Garden Blog.

Doin' the Hokey Pokey

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She puts her left paw in, she puts her left paw out....


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Adding to the degree of difficulty, she can also do it with her back paws. While asleep.


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The Hokey Pokey: now a national craze!


Friday! Ark!

Carnival! Cats! Coming this week to the House of Mostly Black Cats!

'Nuff Said

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About the Vick dog-fighting/cruelty case: almost everything I might have to say, I said three years ago, with one addendum.

This is as clear an example as one might wish of what can happen when people are coddled and unceasingly told "you can do no wrong" simply because they have athletic ability.

In most cases, it merely leads to an inflated ego.

Sometimes, though, it creates a sociopath.

Nocturnal Invader

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Like most cats, Mycah hardly ever sleeps: only when she's not pooping or begging for food.

On rare occasions (perhaps six nights a week) she will decide to join me on the bed when I hit the rack. I suppose she thinks herself justified in doing so. After all, once I'm supine, she pretty much has a captive audience.

Well, not so much the audience part. She takes advantage of my recent immobility to demand — not request, but demand — skritches. She's even figured out where to position herself so that she's within arm's reach, at the right distance for effective skritch reception. Such a schemer, she is.

I am willing to deliver the skritches, but that's not the point, not at all. She is using me, just as she expects to be fed and watered and to have her poop scooped. Such a needy kitty.

And of course, a sleeping victim is so much easier to dispatch... which I have no doubt she'll do to me, once she figures out how to use can openers and poop scoopers on her own.

"Bad kitty! No homicide! Bad!" Naaaah, it's no use. Cats don't listen.

No one in my family believed that a cat would possibly spend time on something as comfortable as a Sealy Posturepedic (nature's Stoics, they are, preferring hard tile floors and the like) even when presented with evidence in the form of a Hefty bag full of cat hair collected from my sheets over the course of a week. I therefore cleverly left my camera on the nightstand, hoping to ambush my nocturnal nemesis.


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Busted.

I'll give her this much, though: at least she doesn't try to steal the covers.


The Friday Ark is ready for boarding.

The Carnival of the Cats is coming soon, to Life from a Cat's Perspective.

Duck and Cover

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Mycah has of late become much more favorably disposed towards her kitty bed. She spends quite a bit of time there — including most of the day today.


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Head down, in if-she-can't-see-trouble-it-won't-find-her mode. Thus, she has successfully avoided bad luck on this Friday the 13th.


Friday Ark. Get to it. Now.

Carnival of the Cats. Sunday, at Laurence Simon's 100 Word Stories. (Yes, I am the trivia master to whom he refers.)

Happy Birthday!

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It was a July day, many years ago, when something new was brought into the world, never before seen.

I mean, of course, Mycah — born twelve years ago today.


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She doesn't know one day from another, of course... but she's nevertheless getting some tuna today, a good brushing, and plenty of skritches.

Oh, yeah... and there was something about independence today, too....


Mycah's tuna update: Yum!


The Friday Ark is upon us. Go visit, or Mycah will go to your house and eat all your tuna.

Coming this weekend: the 172nd edition of the Carnival of the Cats — which, rumor has it, will be at Mind of Mog.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what it is about boxes and box lids that fascinates the cat. Put the lid of a box on the floor, and Mycah's in it faster than you can say "Hey, get out of that box top."

Mycah grumpily leaves no doubt that it is her box top.


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She still, however, attempts to "make nice" for a closeup.


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I plan to exhange the box for a smaller one in a couple of days; I'll give her progressively smaller box tops every few days, just to see if I can ultimately get her to perch herself on a 3x5 card.


For more feline (and other critter) goodness, I recommend regular visits to I Can Has Cheezburger?, which I found thanks to my good friend Ith of Absinthe & Cookies. Be prepared to laugh.


Friday Ark! Go!

Sunday: Carnival of the Cats! Where? This, That & The Other Thing.

Big Help

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This week I took advantage of my days off (Monday and Tuesday) to rebuild my home network and multiple-PC setup, in part because it was a 5-year-old disaster area, and in part to accommodate my work laptop — to connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse on a semi-permanent basis, since a) I'm working from home until I am physically recovered, and b) I abhor my work laptop's keyboard and display.

Here can be seen a small portion of the disaster area — "Cable Hell."

So yes, maybe the re-org was a tad overdue.

Mycah, as usual, provided her usual high degree of assistance "supervision."

Fat lot of help she was. At least she didn't get in the way.


It's time for the Modulator's Friday Ark.

And the Carnival of the Cats this week is at StrangeRanger!

When Mycah wants deep sleep, she retreats to the cabinet in my guest bathroom, or to my bed, or to a convenient pile of laundry.

When she wants to hang out, she is almost always laying within arm's reach on the floor next to my Command Chair here at Geek Central.

Frequently, however, her favorite toy mousie beckons, conveniently close to her scratchables.


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Her life is very tough.


Be sure to check out the Modulator's Friday Ark.

And of course one must not overlook the Carnival of the Cats, to be hosted this Sunday at... uh... well, we'll see.

Feline Religion

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The only traces of religion I have been able to detect in Mycah revolve around her being fed and skritched.

Her thrice-daily worship services consist of a hymn we all recognize — "Meow" — and the ritual "walking between the feet of the feeder," invariably followed by receipt of food on a plate.

When skritches are the focus, she assumes a supine position, imploring the Great Big Hand to rub her tummy.

She has a very healthy spiritual life.

Ouch

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Having noticed a rapid and serious decline in my ability to walk since being put on the Prednisone tapering-off plan, I called the doctor last week, and was "rewarded" by having my dosage set to 60mg/day, which I began on Saturday. There seems to have been a bit of improvement — I am walking a bit better already.

I'm still waiting for a second MRI appointment.

And today I had my worst fall so far. It was not the usual "legs giving out under me" fall, though, where I crumple vertically and end up on my hands and knees. This was the full "toppling like a redwood tree" kind of fall; I went over backwards and ended up flat on my back.

I think I might have dented something. Something other than my bedroom floor, I mean. I'm pretty sure I hurt something in this fall. I'm just thankful it didn't happen while I was on the stairs.

Up to this point, I haven't really had any back pain associated with my condition; at most, there were some aches as the muscles in my back worked harder to compensate for the balance problems I've had.

Right now, though, my back feels like Barry Bonds took a swing at it — and connected, right below the shoulder blades.

Codeine, take me away....
 
 
 
Update: the squirrels are here... and they're pissed. Seems their deal to play Vegas fell through; the Chumash indian casino in Santa Ynez, CA is indeed a weak substitute.

On the plus side, though, they've added Hot Chocolate to their repertoire. Awesome.

Regrowth

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Mycah has come along very well since her surgery. Her main concern: hair regrowth on her shaved tummy.

Looks like she's coming along pretty well, there. I didn't think it would take three months to get this far, but she seems happy with it.

Her tail has also regrown its hair, and now looks pretty much just like a short tail rather than a stump.

I think it's cute, but I do miss her whapping me in the face with it when she lays down next to my head at night.


It's time for the Friday Ark — don't miss it.

On Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats on its third anniversary visits Pets Garden Blog — be there.

 

Dedicated to the memory of Xaxu, my little friend.



In this 154th edition of the Carnival of the Cats, we take particular notice that even though the US presidential elections are well over a year away, there are more candidates of every faction or stripe than one can shake a stick at, running like the polls open next week.

Stupid humans.*

Cats, too, have issues they feel strongly about... though they aren't quite in such a hurry to be on the hustings. Today, we'll be examining topics of concern to the feline population, and the various positions cats take on the matters at hand.

Your hostess kitty Mycah, of course, will be taking the role of "back room fatcat."




ELECTION PROCEDURES

Elections in the US are typically held on Tuesdays. Torties think this is silly; everyone should know that Tortie Toosday is a better use of the day, as demonstrated at Missy, KC and Bear.

Also with a claim to Tuesdays is Mind of Mog's Ritzi, who shows us that Tummy Tuesdays are another great way to use the day.

We human people can forget all about moving our elections to Wednesdays — they're already spoken for: Widebody, Wacky, White, Whatefer Wednesday, at iInfidel.




CANDIDATES

On-screen charisma is one of the most useful traits a potential candidate can have. At enrevanche, we get to see Mr. Gato's screen test. Whatever "it" is, I think he's got it.

A smart candidate knows when to hold his or her tongue. Griz demonstrates the value of taciturnity, at bobbarama.

Some candidates attempt to hide their true positions. Nicky demonstrates how to do so when necessary, in Who Belongs To This Tail? at Mélange.

Candidates also have to learn how to field all sorts of questions. One could do far worse than to emulate Subbes' Real Questions Roundup #1 at Catnabbit!

Cato from Creatures of the Earth, who makes no bones about his candidacy, answers a whole lot of questions, many times each.

Cuteness counts, too, when trying to win votes. Tiny has it in spades, at Sisu.




ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Exclusively at Stereophile: a look behind the scenes as Bagheera chooses a setting to entice younger voters. Meanwhile, Huckleberry seems to be pondering the campaign's next move.

One might be tempted to think that The White Lion Roars is all about "on the stump" speechifying. One would be wrong... but it's never wrong to enjoy pics of Aloysius, at Catymology.

Speechifying is, however, the subject of this week's tale from House of Chaos... though I don't know if being labelled a "meowling motormouth in the morning" is going to help win any votes.

While out on the trail, it's important to keep well-groomed. Having a poofy tail can be a major vote-getter, especially if you can get Laurence Simon to film and photograph you.




CONSTITUENT SERVICES

Cats want to make sure that their elected officials represent them well. In that vein, Alex would like to speak to you, potential candidates. You would be well advised to pay attention, and to visit Texas Oasis.

Once in office, successful felines must conduct themselves appropriately. But as Ruse and Audace (from Momma Grace & Company) make perfectly clear, that doesn't mean they cannot have Fun in the Office.

When you want to get or to stay on a kittycat's good side, it never hurts to bring them flowers. Tigger at Val's Bien certainly seems to enjoy the daffodils.

Human politicians take plenty days off from work, so perhaps we cannot be terribly upset if there's No Friday Catblog! ("just" a Sunday one) from the gang at Composite Drawlings — especially since, of course, this carnival is a day later than normal.



HOMELESSNESS

On a serious note, I think we can all agree that every kittycat deserves a good home. If At First You Don't Succeed... thoughtfully provides some pictures and links of some who need "forever homes": Charlies. See if you can help.



FELINE DIPLOMACY

When dealing with others, it helps if you understand their body language. Music and Cats' Sasha shows one of the many ways a cat indicates one of its its many moods, in The Language of Ears.

With my own Mycah, all I could manage was a complete failure to communicate. Her communication, on the other hand, is usually rather more successful.




HOUSEHOLD SECURITY

At The Poor Mouth, Ted multitasks — he keeps a sharp eye out for... something... and takes care of some personal business, in Ted on watch and at wash.

When you make a promise, you have to deliver. KeesKennis' Mister Sassy promises and delivers — and has proof in The death of a duster.

Chocolate Chip, though we would never call him a "stoolie," keeps an eye on the backyard (and on at least one suspicious local character) at The Peach Pit.

Cats don't need Jack Bauer in person to protect them, not when they can get the gist from A Kitten's Guide to 24 Series Seven, courtesy of Chris Dolley.




EDUCATION / "FOR THE KITTENS"

It's a Baby Watch, at If At First You Don't Succeed... — drop by and wish mother and babies well!

The next generation is looking pretty good: Hey There, Georgy Girl. Gorgeous girl, I think. Glad to see you, at Pages Turned.

Reading, as they say, is fundamental... unless you're The Divine Miss Marilyn, that is — in which case books are to be considered obstacles between you and the most important thing: attention from Leslie, of Omnibus fame.

Also from Leslie, a chance to meet and learn about kittycats from near and far away: pictures from a cat show, here and here. Nifty! (I dig those Maine coons.) (I'd better not let Mycah hear me say that.)

Vocational training, perhaps as a contractor or inspector, can open many career paths to an aspiring young cat. Rico Loco gives it a try, at The MisAdventures of Rico Loco.




LAW & ORDER

Merlin is claimed to be a Bad Jealous Kitty Cat, but I suspect that's just a cover for his celebrity fixation. Maybe he's a stalker? Why not check him out yourself, at Bad Kitty Cats.

The crime: furniture clawing. The perpetrator: My Cats Are French's Mick. The sentence: well, you Gotta Do What You Can With What You Got. Most cats would think the result just and equitable, I believe.

Investigators must, by nature, be very curious. A So Very Gray Ritzi (aka Psycho Cat) engages in a very thorough round of nose-poker-inner-y at Mind of Mog.




HEALTHCARE

At Blog d'Elisson, some disapproval of traditional over-the-counter remedies, in The Love Bloat.

The lovely Miss Abby shows the benefits of massage therapy in I Knead You. Those needing a regular dose of Abby (and Ping, Boo, Jinx and Gracie) can get it at Manx Mnews.

A tale of ongoing medical matters, in Miss Scarlett Goes To The Vet, at Mélange. I know everyone will wish the lovely Miss Scarlett well.

Even Maximum Leaders, such as the one found at The Scratching Post, have to know how to be good healthcare providers, as Nurse KT can tell you.

At Elms in the Yard, a healthcare success story featuring the Lady in Red.

A "sugar kitty" sighting: Nosey of anniemiz learns that when blood sugar has to be tested, Just a Squeeze'll Do Ya. Mycah sympathizes.




HUNGER, POVERTY

At The Conservative Cat, Ferdy points out an issue of vital importance to all cats, regardless of creed, in A Serious Social Problem.

Via The Egoist, we see that kitties need their roughage — with his excellent table manners, Morris is clearly destined for YouTube stardom.

In a world sometimes sorted into the "Haves" and the "Have-nots," Kosmo very definitely has a blankie. Be sure to click through to the full story, presented by Scribblings.




STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Cats are unanimous on the subject of sleep — it's a Good Thing. Bows and Eli demonstrate, at Val's Bien.

Strange Ranger's Maddie and Ivy would probably make strange bedfellows indeed, even if only accidentally.

There's nothing strange, though, about the love affair between Grendel and Kako — they're both adorable, and they obviously love their sleep, at Xenogere.




And that sums up the current state of feline politics and the issues purtaining thereto.

Mycah (who has been riding me to get this done so I can pay her some attention) hopes that you all have enjoyed this Carnival. I'd like to thank Laurence for coordinating the Carnival every week, and I would very much like to thank everyone who participated.


Vote Mycah!

A mouse for every meal! Catnip in every toy!



* I think I've managed to keep human politics out of this. As a very wise man I know once said,

I think that loving your kittycat crosses all lines that might otherwise divide people. No matter where you stand on various issues, if you take good care of your furry friends, I'll respect you for that much.

Actually, that was me that said that.


I had to perform a bit of server maintenance last night, so if you have trouble commenting or sending trackbacks, drop me a line at the "E-MAIL ME" link in the right sidebar.

Carnival Coming Soon

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Carnival of the Cats #154 will be right here on Monday — not on Sunday as usual, because on Sunday I'll be at work, keeping the Internet running.

Somebody has to do it.

Feline-Human Communications

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Here we see an example of attempted communication between cat and human. The human (me, on the left) thinks he's being playful. The cat (Mycah, on the right) is wondering "is that finger edible?"

Clearly, a failure to communicate.


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Mycah's attempts to communicate with me consist primarily of sitting next to my foot, reaching out with a paw and very lightly poking my leg with a claw, trying to get me to notice her and give her treats.

Normally, it's a very adorable behavior. Precious, even. However, because of a nerve problem I'm having, I can't always actually feel her poking me, so I don't notice her... so she pokes harder with those sharp little claws until she gets frustrated and meows. Then I notice her.

Then I notice the holes in my leg.

Then I require a transfusion. O-neg, please.

I should probably get her claws trimmed.


The Friday Ark — you know you want to be there.

And coming up on Monday (not Sunday, as usual) the Carnival of the Cats, which will be hosted right here by Yours Truly.

(I work Sunday afternoons & evenings, so the Carnival will be a day later than normal.)

Xaxu: 1993-2007

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Though I only had temporary guardianship over him, this magnificent little cat grabbed hold of my heart and turned me into a "cat guy."

Haughty when he needed to be; loving when he wanted to be; handsome, lively and full of personality always. He was the ideal cat.

So long, Xaxu, my little friend.

Hide and Seek

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Mycah plays her favorite game: Where's the treat?


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There's the treat!


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You can see why she's sometimes known as Miss Chunkytux.


It's Friday? Well then, you'd best get your butt over to the Modulator's Friday Ark.

The 152nd Carnival of the Cats is at Pet's Garden Blog.

I enjoyed hosting the 115th Carnival here... maybe I should volunteer to do another.

Observer

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Mycah continues to regularly enjoy her video, but she much prefers the live show.


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The towel is there because those floor tiles are c-c-c-c-cold. Not shown: the squirrel hanging off the bird feeder on the edge of my deck.


Be there or be square — at the Modulator's Friday Ark.

The Carnival of the Cats on Sunday will be at This Blog Is Full Of Crap. It's sure to be super.

No Cat Blogging Today

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Sorry, folks. Mycah hasn't been at all photogenic this week.

Or rather, she has been, but not in any way that hasn't already been done.

Cuteness is fine and all, but something new would be good, too. Perhaps when I'm more mobile I'll be able to sneak up on her doing something adorably feline.

Little Miss Chunkytux*

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Mycah had another trip to the vet this week — but it wasn't actually for a bad reason. I'm not sure why dissolving stitches weren't used when her tail was amputated, but the stitches on the tip of what remains of her tail had to be removed.

In all her past vet trips, Mycah never complained as much as she did this time. I held her on the table while the vet went to work. She hissed, she growled — you know that long, low "rrrooowww" cats do — and while the last stitch was being pulled, she turned and bit my hand.†

Portrait of a biter:

"Touch me like that again, pull back a bloody stump."

It was merely the slightest bit difficult to keep telling her she was a good girl, but I did, and she calmed down as soon as she was done being handled by the vet.

She was also due for her 6-month diabetes checkup, so a blood sample was taken. The results were very, very good. Good, as in, the diabetes is so well under control that she no longer needs the prescription food to control it.

She was, however, in the higher end of the "normal" range for some kidney-thing-I-don't-understand. But she's doing very very well, overall.

* Nickname courtesy of Laurence Simon.
† No blood, no foul.


OK, people — you know the drill. Friday. Modulator. Friday Ark.

Sunday: The Carnival of the Cats at Enrevanche. Be there.

Gotcha

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I'd been without a pet for over twenty years, until three years ago today. Now, I cannot imagine being animal-less ever again.

The first picture I took of Mycah, the night she arrived:

Happy Gotcha Day, ya furball.

Sleeping on the Job

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Lately, due to some minor mobility problems (i.e., I can barely walk some days), I've been occasionally working from home. Since there isn't enough space on my normal desk for an additional computer, I've shanghaied my hobby worktable into filling in as a work worktable.

Having joined me in my hobby pursuits, Mycah has had no difficulty adapting to the break-neck pace of the high-tech work world. In other words, she has, all on her own, worked out the high-concept principle of "siesta."


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If I could figure out how to get her a regular paycheck, we'd be set.


Alternate caption: "Does this make my butt look big?"

You can see in the photo that the hair is growing back — albeit slowly — on the remnant of her tail. Not shown: her tummy, which is also re-foliating. She's doing well.


If it's Friday (and I do believe it is) then It's time for the Modulator's Friday Ark.

Coming Sunday: the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Pet's Garden Blog.

Everyone Needs a Hobby

In the wee hours of the morning, when I get home after work, I can't really go out to the garage and run my power tools — the neighbors would probably disapprove, and as much as I like our local police folks, I'm not keen on them showing up at 2am on a disturbing the peace complaint.

So, to fill my need to do something constructive as I wind down from work, and to satisfy my hobbyist urges, I've taken up ship modeling. It's really quite relaxing.

Last night, having figured out how to get safely from the recliner up onto the work table, Mycah decided to join in.


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Usually she would be begging for treats. I expected her to beg for treats. She knows where I keep them handy — in this photo, about three feet away from her butt, at her seven o'clock. I thought when she got up on the work table that she would make a beeline for them.

Nope, not this time. Instead, she plopped down in front of me and purred like a nitromethane-fueled chainsaw. She sat there purring, no begging, not even a hint of an ulterior motive, treat-wise.

She reveled in close to half an hour of brushing, skritching and petting before she decided it was time for her nightly trip to the litterbox, and off she went.

It occured to me that maybe she had just wanted to be near her human, but I'd worked from home, so she couldn't have missed me. Maybe she knows what I did for her during her recent bout with cancer and was just being polite to me in return. More likely, she just found a nice place to lay down.

Or perhaps, she's taken up a new hobby: hedonism.


Woohoo! It's time for the Modulator's Friday Ark.

Check back on Sunday for a fresh link to the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Leslie's Omnibus.

Catty Holidays

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(Bumped)

Mycah is ready for Christmas.


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"There had better be treats and skritches in this box. Or else."


The Friday Ark is boarding — go visit!

At IMAO, Laurence Simon presents a Christmas Eve edition of the Carnival of the Cats. He misses Piper. I don't think he's alone in that.

One of These Days, She'll Succeed

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On the way to work this afternoon, my brakes failed. Suddenly, the stain on the driveway near the truck's left rear tire made sense — it must have been brake fluid — and there was only one logical conclusion.

The cat did it.

I was, thankfully, not far from my mechanic's shop, so I nursed the truck there and left it. The funny thing is, I'm getting a new truck next week, so even if I'd wrecked the old Blazer, I wouldn't have been wheelless for long.

Still, I have to bear in mind that Mycah cut my brake lines. Which, you have to admit, is a pretty clever thing for a cat to be able to do. I mean, she can't even reach the doorknobs to let herself out. But given her history, can there be any doubt it's her doing?

Now I know how Clouseau felt about Cato.

Surgical Followup

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I heard from the vet today. After Mycah's surgery, they had sent off the amputated portion of the tail for a full analysis by whoever it is who does such analyses. The tumor was indeed a malignant melanoma... and they got the whole thing. Still, watchfulness will remain important in case there's a recurrance elsewhere, in case the cancer has spread but wasn't detected by the oncological screening.

Mycah continues her recovery, but I've noticed that all she does is eat, sleep, and poop. Come to think of it, that probably means she's fully recovered.

Her feline vanity and territoriality have asserted themselves fully. She won't show off her shaved bits — I'm still paying for posting that photo. And I came out of the shower today to discover that she has claimed my Levis as her own.


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So I guess we can say that she's back to normal.


It's Friday, so don't miss the Friday Ark for all your critter needs.

And you can get your cat-specific blog fix at the Carnival of the Cats, this week at the House of Mostly Black Cats.

Memo to The Cat

To: Mycah
From: the Food Provider
Subject: Pre-dawn barfing

Please don't.

One lapse in decorum is more than adequate.

Condolences

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I wish I had stayed completely away from the net today.

Laurence Simon, the king of catblogging, has offered many kind words and plenty of encouragement throughout Mycah's health problems.

Now, suddenly and unexpectedly, his Piper is gone. I wish I could adequately return his kindness.

Damn, Lair. I'm sorry for your loss.

I started thinking about something after another friend lost her cat.... We invest a part of ourselves in our cats, dogs, and other pets, and they repay us with shed fur, chewed slippers, stained carpet, scratched furniture, and vet bills. And we know they'll go before we do. Despite all that, we love them.

From time to time, these mutts and furballs pay us with affectionate tail-wagging or purring, and we love them all the more.

And then one day they're gone, and it hurts, and there's no getting around the fact that if you love your pets, it's gonna hurt a lot when they go.

And knowing that, we still have them, and we still love them.

It's worth it.


Update, 9Dec06: Strange Ranger says more, and much much better.

Recovery

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Mycah is doing very well after her tail amputation.

As predicted, the catheter didn't last — it came out less than 3 hours after she got home.

De-catheterization notwithstanding, the followup appointment with the vet yesterday morning was all good news. Her bandage was removed — the wound hadn't leaked or bled or anything like that, so the bandage stays off.

From some angles, her shaved tail makes her look a bit like a big rat.

The vet was pretty confident about the projected course of Mycah's recovery. It's remarkable how contagious a dose of confidence can be; I've been rather worried all week, but I find myself immensely reassured. Still, though, "cancer" will be on my mind if Mycah's ever under the weather in the future.

And as for Mycah, well, she's acting almost as if nothing had happened. She was never on terribly good terms with her tail — barely a passing acquaintance — so I don't think she's actually missing it. All she's really doing is eating and sleeping, with intermittent interruptions for litterbox visits. She gets two doses of painkiller a day, which, I might add, she fights against as if I was trying to squirt hot lava down her throat.

She happily takes all the treats and skritches I can dish out, though. Some things never change.


You'd best go see the Modulator's Friday Ark.

And if you miss the Carnival of the Cats at Catymology, you're a poor excuse for a human being. :-)

Amputation Day, Part 3

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Mycah is home.

Her butt is mostly unshaven, but nonetheless, Mycah is unhappy.


[Click for larger.]

They left rather a lot more tail on her than I expected — 3-4 inches, rather than 3-4 centimeters. And she has, for the time being, a catheter installed and tightly bandaged on her right foreleg.

I almost typed "right arm" there.

I say "for the time being" because, if Mycah has her way, it won't be there much longer. She's not stopped trying to extract it since she got home.

We came home with a vial of painkiller, but as she was dosed before I picked her up, she won't need any more tonight. There's a followup appointment in the morning, so I won't have to try to dose her until tomorrow night.

She didn't sleep at all today. I'm hoping she's so pooped she'll sleep the whole night through.

Amputation Day, Part 2

I received word from the vet that the surgery was complete, and that Mycah now has a "cute little tail." No word on whether her butt had to be shaved.

I went to pick her up, but by the time I got there, the vet had decided it would be best to keep her there for the rest of the day, and keep her on fluids. Mycah, being diabetic, has to have close attention paid to her kidneys. I understand that, but it's still something of an unwelcome hiccup in the proceedings.

I'll be taking a break from work [working from home... what a wonderful modern age we live in] later this afternoon to go pick her up, and she'll have to go back for a followup tomorrow morning.

Amputation Day

Mycah has been delivered to the vet this morning for her tail removal surgery. She takes being bundled into the carrier and whisked off rather well, and today was no exception, but I was sure to be extra nice to her. Especially since, when she headed downstairs this morning, she thought she was about to be fed. Fooled her again.

The folks at the cat clinic were, as always, very kind. They obviously love cats there, they like Mycah, and she. . . well, she tolerates them. She knows the clinic is where she routinely suffers indignities.

Such as, she's going to have her butt shaved today.

OK, I don't know for fact that they'll shave her butt there today, but it makes sense for a tail amputation.

I just hope she'll be OK. I know she's in good hands.

Holiday Hustle & Bustle

It's been a busy week here at the homestead — too busy to post, I'm afraid. Were it not a quiet night at work right now, I wouldn't be writing this. Having a Mom come for a visit is one thing, but having sister and niece come to stay as well, and an uncle and aunt come for a quick visit, all while maintaining my weird-hours work schedule, has really kept me hopping.*

T-day was overall a great success. Lesson 1: always brine your turkey.

Lesson 2: don't brush the turkey with butter if it's going into a 500° oven; wait until the oven is down to 350° or thereabouts. 'Twas a little smoky here for a few minutes, but fortunately we didn't have to feed the fire department.

Lesson 3: there's a use for every bit of the bird. What doesn't end up as sandwiches or soup, the cat will surely be happy to take care of. As it happens, Mycah loves turkey.

I'd have got a picture of her snarfing down giblets, liver, etc., but those bits lasted less than a second. She absolutely hoovered them up.

My sister & growing-like-a-weed niece left for home this morning. Dang. I don't get to see them anything like often enough.

Mycah goes for her tail amputation on Wednesday, and Mom leaves for her California home on Thursday. Busy times continue.

* In a metaphorical sense — my knee and back problems don't let me literally hop.

Tummy Tuesday

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At the oncologist last week, Mycah underwent an end-to-end screening, looking for any indication the cancer had spread from her tail. Part of the screening was an ultrasound examination, which required that she be shaved.

She'll never forgive me for publishing this picture, but it's Tummy Tuesday, so it had to be done.

Patient Patient-to-be

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Uncharacteristically, Mycah waited very patiently to be fed on the morning of her trip to the oncologist — usually, she vocally pesters me until the plate is on the floor. Sadly for her, however, food was a no-no before her appointment.

Take a good look at that tail. This is one of the last photos taken in which it will ever be seen in all its feline splendor:


[Click for larger]

By the time the vets were done with her on Tuesday, her tail (and tummy) had been shaved a bit. I have photos, but Mycah's dignity might strangle me in my sleep if I publish them. We'll see.

We (the vet and I) are in the process of scheduling the amputation, which we expect will happen this coming week or the week after the holiday. Once the stump of her tail is healed, Mycah should be able to do a creditable impression of Abby, though she is perhaps a bit larger.

OK, a lot larger.

Wisecracks aside, it's hard to put Mycah through all this. Certainly the tail removal won't be as invasive as what Gracie has been through, but we all know that every surgery has risks. So I fret.

I wonder: will Mycah miss her tail? Will she try to groom the tail that isn't there any more? Will she be sad when she can't find it? I don't know. But as many friends have said, better she lose her tail to a surgeon than lose her life to cancer.

I certainly won't love her any less.


As always, the Modulator's Friday Ark is recommended for a visit. Plus, the Carnival Of The Cats this week is at Mind of Mog.

O Results

Here's a sentence I guarantee you don't hear more than once a year: "Thankfully, it's only an amputation."

Mycah is going to be losing all but 3-4cm of her tail, but that's all that's going to happen. The oncologists found no sign at all that the cancer has spread.

The vets loved her; she was very well-behaved. I'm not at all surprised. She's very sweet, except when she's trying to kill me.

O Day

Today is Oncology Day for Mycah.

Thinking she was about to be fed, she led the way down the stairs this morning and waited near her dinner plate, only to realize that what actually awaited her was the pet carrier.

She was not amused.

She handled the drive to the NCSU CVM rather well, despite it being a longer trip than she's been on since I got her. She handled the wait in the clinic well, despite the presence of half a dozen large dogs in the waiting area.

The initial screening and exam, usually handled by a vet student, was done by a vet on exchange from France. Mycah behaved well, but then, someone this good looking (no lie) poking and prodding me would likely have me behaving pretty well, too.

The oncologist was called in for a brief consultation about what would happen to Mycah today. X-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests, and so on. I told them they could shave her and dye her green if that would help, but we're probably still too far out from St. Patrick's Day for that.

I'll be picking her up this afternoon, but the test results probably won't be in for a couple days. Until then, pins and needles.

Mighty Huntress

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Mycah's veterinary oncologist appointment is this coming week, but for now, life goes on as normal.



The Mighty Huntress spends a quiet afternoon lazing about on her recliner. . .


When suddenly. . . prey appears! Kill the feather! Kill! Kill!


The feather filleted, and an unfortunate bystander mousie mangled, the Mighty Huntress seeks new prey. . .


In the distance, she spies something. Would it be. . . ? Could it be. . . ?

A treat? Heck ya!


Her bloodlust sated, the Mighty Huntress ponders the future. . . will she ever hunt again?


You bet your keister she will!

But first, a nap.


Mycah has her appointment on Tuesday, an all-day screening at the Oncology department of the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine. They'll spend the day checking her from nose to tail, looking for any sign that the recently-diagnosed cancer on her tail has metastacized.

Lord, I hope not.

If you are so inclined, purrayers would be appreciated.


People to see! Places to go! Make your next web destination the Modulator's Friday Ark.

If you miss the Carnival of the Cats at This Blog Is Full Of Crap, you might find Mycah hunting you.

The Big C

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This year has been pretty tough for the extended Emerson family felines. In February, we learned Mycah has diabetes. A couple of weeks ago, sweet handsome Bubba passed, leaving broken hearts behind him.

This week, we learned that a growth on Mycah's tail is malignant.

It's not a great picture — Mycah won't hold still for the camera, and woe be unto anyone who tries to hold her tail.

Mycah still seems to be a bit bummed out by the entire veterinary experience. She has no idea what indignities await her.


[Click for larger]

The vet is certain the tumor — almost exactly in the middle of her tail — can be removed. What's not so certain is whether Mycah will still have a tail after the tumor is gone.

It's malignant, and possibly metastatic — that is, it could spread to other parts of her body. If the only way to prevent that is to remove her tail, I think it'd be better for her to be a manufactured manx than to risk potential spreading. There's no certainty it hasn't already spread undetected, so we'll be visiting a veterinary oncologist, as well. Time is of the essence.

I'm worried.

But no matter what happens, however this proceeds, she'll get the absolute best I can provide for her.


As always, the Modulator's Friday Ark is recommended for a visit. Plus, the Carnival Of The Cats this week is at Watermark.

Gone

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My sister's and niece's Bubba is gone, victim of a mauling. The vet couldn't do anything for him, mortally wounded as he was, except to relieve his pain and ease his passing.

He was a great little cat, just over two years old. He brought a great deal of joy to my sister and especially to my niece, and his loss has broken more than one heart...

... mine included.

So long, little Bubba. See you at the bridge. Say hi to Moose, Stonewall, Sam and Snowflake for me.

Now, how to heal a 12-year-old girl's broken heart?

Catwa

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For his remarks at IMAO, I hereby declare a catwa against commenter "Son of Bob."

Catwa is also declared against Professor Glenn Reynolds for quoting those remarks approvingly.

Cat pee be upon them both.

By The Skin Of My Teeth

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An attempt was made on my life this morning.

I arrived home from work at about 1am, about the normal time. As usual, Mycah was waiting, watching out the front window for my arrival. I expected she wanted to be fed.

I came in, and as I walked into the kitchen with my laptop case over my shoulder, keys in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other, Mycah darted between my feet.

Now, Mycah darting anywhere is a rarity; yes, she's the slimmest she's been since she got here, but she's still roughly football-shaped. A speed machine she ain't... not normally.

Add to the equation the state of my legs: bad knees, and sciatic nerve issues resulting in substandard (read: near total lack of) motor control.

Result: me on the floor. Groceries scattered. Laptop... well, I hope it still works. Given the state of my legs, it took no small effort to get off the floor and back on my feet.

Mycah had scampered out of harm's way and stood there unscathed, meowing to be fed, as if nothing had happened.

She did it to me deliberately, I just know it. And no jury would ever convict her, even though I have previously given warning. She seems so sweet — just look at that face:

OK, bad example. Try this one instead.

4pm Update: The first time I booted the laptop when I got to the office, it served up a hardware error before I got to the login prompt. I thought I was doomed. After a hard reset, though, it seems to be OK.

Hanging

Unlike many siblings, my sister's cats, Lou and Bubba, always enjoy hanging out together. . .

. . . sometimes in unusual places.


It's Friday — go visit the Friday Ark.

And of course, we have the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Pets Garden Blog.

La-Z-Girl

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It's taken her two and a half years of living here, but Mycah has finally discovered a use for the recliner other than as a scratching post.

Perhaps she heard what curiosity is reputed to do to cats. More likely, she was just too lazy to hop up and find out.


[Click for larger.]

Now I'll have to get another one for me to use.


It's Friday, so go see the Friday Ark.

And on Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats will be at House of Chaos.

Friday Face Time

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It's rare that I can get a decent close-up photo of Mycah without using a flash. The flash, of course, leads to green-eye, which just looks weird. Plus, I'm fairly sure it bugs the heck out of the cat.

On those rare occasions when opportunity (e.g., the combination of feline proximity, camera availability and almost-decent natural lighting) knocks, it would be remiss of me to not take advantage.


[Click for larger.]

When she's this up close and personal, she's often asking for a skritch or demanding a kitty treat, but usually she's just hanging out with her human.


It being Friday, I recommend a visit to the Friday Ark.

And don't forget the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Begin Each Day.

Burned Out, Not Faded Away

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You've heard about the death of Australian zoologist Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin by now, no doubt.

When those who willingly engage in inherently risky activities die, one often hears sentiments along the line of, "he went out the way he wanted to, doing what he loved." I suppose that might apply here, too, though I doubt Mr. Irwin meant it to happen while he was quite so young, with two young children.

Perhaps he ought to have placed the welfare of his family ahead of his own desire to get close to nature and to educate. No doubt his children will be well provided for... but I bet they would rather have a Dad.

Related: Jack M., guest-posting at Ace of Spades, has additional thoughts worth reading.

Rural Sprawl

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Regular periods of relaxation are important, even when, like our country kitty Bubba, you're definitely not part of the urban hustle and bustle, the big-city daily grind, or even the metaphorical rat race. You just have to know how to relax.

Bubba really really knows how to relax.

He does, of course, participate in actual rat races. Well, not rat races, so much as rat hunts.


See all the critters at the 101st edition of the Friday Ark.

And be sure to drop by the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday, at Catymology.

Asked, Answered - XIII

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Elvis sightings? Mycah is too easily distracted; fortunately, other cats are on the job:

Let's ask the cats if Elvis is alive.

Hiding In Plain Sight

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My sister's cat Lou (twin brother of the infamously cute Bubba) has all the makings of a fierce predator. He is equipped with the sort of natural camouflage an Army sniper would envy.


[Click for larger.]

It's a good thing for everyone that Lou is too nice to use his talents for evil. Unless, that is, you're a small rodent... in which case, tough luck pal.


The Modulator presents Friday Ark #99.

The 125th edition of the Carnival of the Cats is up at blog d'Ellison.

Dance The Night Away

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Coming soon to every cat blog on the planet: The Kittycat Dance!

Yes, it's dumb. Still, my colleagues and I couldn't stop laughing.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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Mycah might not be much of a boozehound (er, boozecat?) but she can often be found under the table.


[Click for larger.]


The Friday Ark is, as always, at The Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is hosted by Catblogger Prime, Laurence Simon, at This Blog is Full of Crap.

Uh-huh, Uh-huh

There's something you don't see every day... a pack of squirrels are out on the window ledge here at the office, doing what appears to be a performance of the "All-Rodent KC and the Sunshine Band Tribute Revue."

Right now they're in the middle of "That's The Way I Like It." Their brass section is phenomenal.

 

Now that my broken foot is pretty much healed up, maybe I should consider cutting back on the pain meds.

But not until the squirrels do "Get Down Tonight."

It's Friday, Yes. So...

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Gotta have a picture of Mycah.

"What are you lookin' at?"


At the Modulator's place, see the Friday Ark.

As of Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats is at The Scratching Post. Nicely done.

[If purrchance you missed last week's Carnival submission due to non-functional linkage, here's Mycah's Weewee Adventure.]

Asked, Answered - XII

Mycah has a slightly different take on the real meaning of "sunburn":

Let's ask the cats about the sun killing 60,000 people a year.

Cats Don't Care

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It's been about five months since Mycah was diagnosed with diabetes. Tuesday she had an all-day stay with the vet, where she had the second of her periodic checkups, during which she was sampled hourly to chart her blood glucose levels. They take readings off the edge of the ear, as I understand it.

A urine sample was also needed. Keep the cat in a pen, give her water, and wait for the magic to happen. Not a problem, you might think.

Think again.

Of the cats I've known, Mycah is absolutely the pickiest about her litterbox. She likes the fine-grained litter, the clumping scoopable kind. And you'd best scoop twice daily, or be prepared to get a surprise on the carpet.

She's a cat. She's picky. So sue her.

For the vet to get a wee sample, clumping scoopable litter is counterproductive, so they use a non-absorbent pellet-like material. The piddle drains through to the bottom and can be collected and bottled later.

Mycah, however, was utterly uncooperative, and rather than use the "substandard" litter, refused to go at all.

When I picked her up that afternoon, the vet mentioned that Mycah had refused to participate in Operation Golden Flow; we agreed that I would bring her back next week to attempt to collect a sample. I parked her (in her carrier) in the passenger seat of my truck, and off we went.

She meowed the same as she always does when she's in the carrier, but I didn't notice her dancing and crossing her legs. As I pulled out of the parking lot and into traffic, the meowing stopped. I looked, and she was standing stiff and motionless in the carrier.

Oh, no.

In fact, oh yes, she was pizzling in her carrier. As luck would have it, the carrier is plastic, and it was tilted so that the door opening was uphill... the effluvium gathered at the back end of the carrier, while Mycah attempted to scrunch up against the door, as far away from the pool as possible, meowing what was undoubtedly the feline equivalent of "Get me out of here!"

I pulled off the road and let her out, then called the vet — could they use whiz collected in a non-standard container? They said "yes," so I headed back to the vet's office, being careful not to upset the carrier. Mycah meatloafed herself on the center console as though nothing had happened, with no hint that she'd done anything improper.

Obviously, someone else had flooded her carrier. Her? Oh, no, not her.

I delivered the toxic waste to the vet. We had a good chuckle, and the staff were kind enough to wash out the carrier; cat pee can, after all, be rather aromatic. I briefly toyed with the idea of leaving it soiled and stuffing Mycah back in, but no, my conscience wouldn't let me.

Mycah, of course, was utterly indifferent. As soon as we got home and she got fed (she'd had to fast before the blood test), she immediately stretched out for a nap as though the day's misadventure hadn't happened.


[Click for larger.]

I wish I could relax so thoroughly, with such a clear conscience. But I'm not a cat.


By the way, the test results came back Thursday — Mycah is doing very well, no insulin is required, and she doesn't need retesting for another six months.


Let's not forget the Friday Ark at The Modulator, shall we?

And we'd be utterly remiss to neglect the Carnival of the Cats, this Sunday at Creatures of the Earth.

Update, 25Jul06: It's Tummy Tuesday!

One Good Scratch Deserves Another!

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back near the litterbox...

PAWS 2

Coming sooner than you think.

Another* Mycah the Cat production.


Don't miss the Friday Ark at the Modulator, or the Carnival of the Cats, coming Sunday to For The Junta.

Should Have Used The Parking Brake

Bad dog. Bad, bad dog.

Still, Ranger has a long way to go before Toonces will need to worry about the competition.

Asked, Answered - XI

Mycah engages in scientific inquiry:

Let's ask the cats about scent-capturing devices.

Coming to a Movie Theater Near You


Mycah the Cat presents:

The terrifying motion picture from the terrifying No. 1 best seller.

PAWS

Don't go near the litterbox.



Don't miss the Friday Ark at the Modulator, or the Carnival of the Cats, coming Sunday to Music and Cats.

Asked, Answered - X

Where food is involved, Mycah is definitely opinionated.

When Laurence Simon asks the cats about Code Pink's hunger strike, you know she'll be there.

Happy Fourth!

Gigolo Kitty has a Very Special Holiday Message.

Jabba the Cat

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"Bring me Solo and the Wookiee. And a case of kitty treats. I like the Whisker Lickin's Shrimp & Tuna."

Too much is never enough for Mycah the Hutt.


[Click for larger... as if she isn't large enough.]

Mycah's weight problem looks a good deal worse than it actually is, especially when she adopts this sort of pose. She's down from her initial weight (when I got her — 19+ pounds), hovering between 15.5 and 16.0 pounds. She could stand to lose another 5 pounds or so.


The Friday Ark is, as always, at The Modulator.

The Carnival of the Cats this week is at Pets Garden Blog.

Asked, Answered - IX

The queen of the extended family menagerie might just have to chime in:

Let's ask the cats about the Dead Cat Bounce.

Bounce is not amused.

Memory Lane

I'm fairly certain that there is nothing as adorable as kittens.

They're all grown up now, but I still think the pictures of my sister's Bubba and Lou at that age are about the cutest things I've ever seen.

Saccharine overdose....


You want the Friday Ark? Right here....

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted this week by the Most Beauteous Gigolokitty. [Sunday update: it's here!]

Asked, Answered - VIII

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Mycah welcomes you all to the 115th edition of the Carnival of the Cats. Not that she was going to do any of the work. Let's just say she supervised.

There are loads of great submissions this week. And so, without further ado, let's proceed to the Carnival, shall we?


Nights In White Satin

Nights? No, knights. No? Well, would you believe a bow-tied superspy in red satin? The fate of the world is in his paws — the most beauteous Gigolokitty will save us all!

Plus, a shameless GK plug at Mind of Mog.


The Day Begins

Boots and Tess get ready to party — Musings has the details.

Added: The Egoist's Morris considers exactly which day he should be celebrating.


Higher and Higher

Idempotent has a kitty that really knows how to get high. (Pretty impressive, if you ask me.)


The WordOM

Pearl at OldController provides the navel. It's up to the rest of us to do the gazing.


I Am

... too irresistable. No, not me — Mind of Mog's Bazel, of course. Bonus: Blogging with Cats, and Tomorrow.


Never Blame the Rainbows For The Rain

Kitties of many colors, at Elms in the Yard.

"Life, Florida, Whatever." Whatever? How about a fine collection of critters?


New Horizons

Breaking news — Cat Graduates from Feline School of Massage Therapy! Film at 11.. no, the film is at Catnabbit!


Lovely To See You

There are two new catblogs by new-to-blogging Elaine, Cat Care Blog and Cat Health. Check them out.


And The Tide Rushes In

Hurry, don't be late! Late? Never, for Jelly Pizza!


For My Lady

Ping does even the very mundane for his lady, at Manx Mnews.


Talkin' Talkin'

At Sisu, Babe recharges before a diplomatic mission, and has an opinion on suppertime.


Vintage Wine

Oenophiles everywhere tremble before the wisdom of Cato.


Send Me No Wine

Thirsty kitty! No drinking problem there, that's for sure.


The Actor

Bella wonders about her motivation, at Tiny Bubbles.

Music and Cats... two of my favorite subjects. Lyra does an amazing Three Stooges impression.

Butterscotch is ready for his close-up, brought to you by Mensa Barbie.

Added: Laurence Simon's mighty hunter Nardo stars in Kitty Movie Monday 8. It sounds like a slasher movie to me — I'm sure the lizards think so, too.


The Voice

Beezer understands... especially when t-r-e-a-t-s are involved. I wonder if he can spell?


Eyes Of A Child

Texas Oasis shows us an adventurous youngster. Sort of reminds me of a certain cat of my sister's acquaintance.


My Little Lovely

Michael Turner presents the very lovely Tinker. Update: now with an added audio link. Cool.

Pixel and Pasha never cease to overwhelm with their adorableness.

TsuTsu may be the cutest little thing you'll see, thanks to Personal Financial Advice.

No, it's a tie! The babies at Composite Drawlings are just precious. And, what an adventure for the little guy!


Out And In

Mostly out in this post is Nosey, an indoor cat, exploring the porch.


The Story In Your Eyes

Betsy Cat exerts her will, while Pookie Cat takes a different tack to get her way, courtesy of El Capitan at Baboon Pirates.


Nervous

At White Pebble, Lucy and Satchel are a bit under the weather. Hang in there, Patti. Mycah is a sugar-kitty, too, so I'm right there with you.

At Niobium, the Tale of the Tail. Or is the the Tail of the Tale? I can never keep that straight.


Dawning Is The Day

Happy "Gotcha Day," Rafe. And here's wishing you many happy returns.


Watching and Waiting

Just you try to get past LadyGunn's Sydney. I bet you can't.

Clover, Rhett, Nicky and Willow all pull their share of birdwatching duty.


Wherever You Are

After completing the labors of Hercules, Aloysius takes some time off to see the sights, at Catymology.


Slings And Arrows

Maddie and Ivy aren't quite bosom buddies. Yet.


Are You Sitting Comfortably?

K T Cat is hard at work at The Scratching Post. I wish I had such a great job.

Cats... couch potatoes? Say it isn't so! Well, I suppose it is so, as seen at Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Hakuna and Matata are excellent examples of felis recumbens. Plus, Matata has a good time, at Blog d'Elisson. IKEA is involved.

Miss Scarlett takes sitting to a new level of difficulty.

Rocket at KeeWee's Corner picks a perch and trains his humans.

Rondi's Orloff and Pushkin "debate" the merits of footstools.


Lazy Day

Even the Lord and Master of the Apartment A-203 likes to take a little time off.

Git a long little kitty! Mr. Gato demonstrates his summertime nap technique.


Highway

RTO hits the road, and Carlos hits the sack. Maggie Katzen has the proof.

Omnibus Driver misses her travelling companion. I would, too.


Veteran Cosmic Rocker

Elvis takes a bath. I imagine he does a better job than that guy from Graceland did.


Strange Times

When it comes to haberdashery, Chocolate Chip is a real helper.

At Val's Bien, we see that Bows knows how to turn a "Kodak moment" into a reminder of every elementary school class photo ever taken. What a show-off.


No More Lies

Bagheera asks a vital question. Think carefully before you answer, or you will have to face the wrath of Huckleberry.


I Know You're Out There Somewhere

Gryphon hides at Where The Dolphins Play. Such a master of camoflage. Sneaky kitty.


It's Up To You

And finally, at Watermark, Gracie recommends high quality reading material about our favorite subject. Hint: four legs, fur, and mouse-breath.


Someone is awful tired after all that. Not moody, not blue. Just tired... time for a nap....

Me, I'm just sorry to have kept you all waiting.

Thanks, all you catbloggers for participating, and thanks to all you who are visiting. Make cat blogs part of your daily or weekly routine!

And so, until The Day We Meet Again... take good care of yourselves and all your wonderful furballs.

Queen of Her Domain

| 2 Comments

About 15 years ago, a kitten adopted my parents. She was full of energy, a real sparkplug, so it was only natural that her name would reflect that. She became "Bounce."


Bounce, with my Dad, 1991.

As such critters are wont to do, she grew up, and 15 years later remains a fixture at the family demesne.


Bounce, older and wiser. And lazier.

She is the queen of the extended Emerson family critter collection. Long may she reign.


I don't need to tell you to go see the Friday Ark, do I?

Monday, the Carnival of the Cats will be right here, hosted by me. I think I even have a workable theme. (It'll be a day later than usual because I'm at the office until late on Sundays.)

Getting Attention

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When you're a cat, and you absolutely must pry your human bean away from the computer, there are a number of useful strategies that might be brought into play.

1) Make "I'm getting ready to hurl on the carpet" noises. Your 'bean will come running with something with which to intercept the impending mess. Follow-through with actual barf or hairball is not required, but the resulting activity can be a great deal of fun to watch... if you're a cat.

2) Sit, as usual, next to the person's leg and, as usual, lightly use your front paw to poke the leg with just the tips of your claws out. Except this time, not so lightly. Draw blood, if possible. He will initially react negatively, but he will know that you want attention, and will soon forgive you.

3) Hop from ottoman to knee to desktop and interpose yourself between 'bean and screen.

4) If the human can still operate the computer with you in the way, park yourself on the mouse.


[click for larger]

This is the most effective way to get a positive reaction. It helps if you put a dopey expression on your face and purr like a nitromethane-fueled chainsaw, as well.


It's Friday, and that means it's time for the Friday Ark.

Sunday, we've got the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Niobium. [Update, 28May06 - the Carnival has arrived.]

Next Sunday, the Carnival will be hosted here, by Yours Truly. Except (because I work Sundays) it will be a rare weekday edition of the CotC, on Monday the 5th.

Junkie

| 3 Comments | 1 TrackBack

I have to leave Mycah alone in the house for about 12 hours a day on work days. Though she may only have a brain the size of a walnut, I figure she might have just enough synapses to experience boredom.

It isn't hard to tell that Mycah gets bored while I'm away; when I pull up into the driveway in the wee hours of the morning after work, I can see her silhouetted in the front window, sitting on the back of the living room couch, keeping an eye out for my return. I suspect it's mainly because she wants to be fed the minute I walk in, but there's a strong likelihood it's also because she has nothing better to do. It's not like she has many ways to amuse herself.

I do give her a lot of attention when I am home — her favorite game seems to be "hunt the hand moving under the blanket/towel/newspaper" — but while my red cell count is recovering during my work week, she is forced to spend the majority of her time alone.

Ideally, I'd get her a playmate; I'd certainly like to have another cat in the house, and I figure it would be great for Mycah to have a companion, but unfortunately, she doesn't have a history of playing well with others.

At least she doesn't run with scissors.

Still, a way had to be found to keep her little grey cells from shutting down, something to get her attention, something to interest her, some way to keep her as mentally sharp as a middle-aged cat can be. Ultimately, I took the yuppie parent way out: I bought her a DVD that I leave running when I go to work.

Cat Sitter is a DVD that features scenes of rodents, birds, and fish doing what they do. Mice scamper in a terrarium. Birds flutter around a feeder. Fish swim in an aquarium. Squirrels run around in a park. For Mycah, it's like video crack.

No, strike that. It's like video crack, steeped in heroin, with a meth chaser.

I suspect that in her mind's eye she is a sabre-tooth, stalking a wildebeest.


It's Friday, so of course it's time for the Friday Ark. And on Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats at IMAO. [Update, 5/21: the Carnival has arrived.]

I'll be hosting the CotC here on Monday, June 5th (a day later than usual because of my work schedule.)

Asked, Answered - VII

Just Like a Kid

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You go out of your way to get something nice for your cat, and what does she do?

She plays in the box.


[Click for larger.]

Typical.

I guess she wasn't really interested in the new polo shirts, slacks and shoes. Undoubtedly, though, she'll be shedding all over them later.


Don't miss Modulator's Friday Ark, and coming on Sunday, the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Pages Turned.

Ah, and here's that Carnival I mentioned.

Asked, Answered - VI

Mycah is already making her plans....

Let's ask the cats about the request to raise postal rates.

Asked, Answered - V

Asked, Answered - IV

Where food is involved, Mycah is the cat to ask.

Let's ask the cats about cannibalistic blogging.

Asked, Answered - III

In the latest Ask The Cats, current events are the focus:

Let's ask the cats about Iran claiming to be a nuclear country.

Mycah's answer hasn't appeared yet, but it involves old sneakers and a stink bomb.

[Looks like there's a problem with the linked post.]

It's Friday, and That Means...

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You guessed it: another glimpse into the life of Mycah.

Because of her diabetes, Mycah's not allowed to have as many treats as she used to get, so each one is more valuable to her. Now when she comes begging, she usually gets two or three minutes of skritches and a mousie chucked across the room.

It's not fooling her one little bit — she knows a treat when she sees one.

Notice, if you will, the laser-like focus she exhibits when she is kept waiting, even for a moment, for her daily treat:


[Click for larger.]

Today being Friday, a visit to The Modulator's Friday Ark would be in order. On Sunday, there'll be the Carnival of the Cats, this week at KT Cat's Scratching Post.

[Update, 9Apr06: the Carnival has arrived!]

On Sunday the 4th of June, I will be hosting the Carnival of the Cats right here. Well, I would be if I didn't have to work Sundays... but I have Mondays and Tuesdays off, so look for a rare weekday appearance of the Carnival, right here, on Monday, the 5th o' June.

Asked, Answered - II

In today's edition of Ask The Cats, Laurence addresses an age-old question:

Let's ask the cats about cellphone-snatching monkeys.

Laurence Simon's Ask the Cats feature, which I mentioned Saturday, is one of the best recurring features in all of blogdom, altered slightly by the addition of reader participation since Edloe's passing last year.

Mycah and my sister's resident furballs Lou and Bubba have made several contributions to ATC, which I'll link here for posterity... and so you can go see what all the cats have had to say on the issues of the day.


Let's ask the cats about the 2012 Olympics — The answers don't always necessarily relate to the questions. That's what you get for asking cats — they'll say whatever they darn well please.

Let's ask the cats about our sex lives — Mycah apparently has a cheesecake fixation.

Let's ask the cats about the pledges so far

Let's ask the cats about the Russian sub — Bubba makes an appearance.

Let's ask the cats about minorities being a majority

Let's ask the cats if they want kitty treats

Let's ask the cats about red light cameras

Let's ask the cats about Yom Kippur

Let's ask the cats about the World Series

Let's ask the cats about not being in the top ten deadliest animals list

Let's ask the cats about lawyers defending Iraqi Ba'athhist leaders getting killed — Lou fills in for Mycah.

Let's ask the cats about the holiday travel rush — (Laurence's Frisky wins.)

Let's ask the cats about British mercenaries shooting civilian vehicles

Let's ask the cats if they've been naughty or nice

Let's ask the cats about catching burglars

Let's ask the cats about secret Portuguese synagogues — Bubba fills in for Mycah.

Let's ask the cats about the trapped miners

Let's ask the cats about obese pets

Let's ask the cats for motivational inspiration — Bubba and Lou team up for "Win - Win," but all the posters are good, particularly "Friendship," featuring Frisky and the late Edloe.

Let's ask the cats about cutting off financial aid to the Palestinian Authority

Let's ask the cats about the Winter Olympics

Let's ask the cats about renaming the 1836

Let's ask the cats about animal diseases threatening humans — Mycah had just been diagnosed with diabetes.

Let's ask the cats about the big announcement from NASA

Asked, Answered - I

Mycah has made several appearances on Laurence Simon's semi-regular feature, Ask The Cats. I've been remiss in not linking to them.

Here's the latest: Let's ask the cats about a dead white rhino. (Latest, yes, but the photo of Mycah is two years old.)

Sugar Cat - Followup

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We had some tentative good news this week about Mycah's recently diagnosed diabetes.

Mycah went in for a day-long "glucose curve" test, wherein the vets monitor her blood glucose level throughout the day, in an effort to determine what the proper insulin dosage ought to be in order to effectively treat her.

Much to our collective surprise, her levels were within the "good" range (whatever that actually is) and stayed there all day, even without her regular 2pm dose of insulin.* It appears that diet alone might be adequate to treat her.

That's good for me, because at $85/bottle, insulin definitely isn't cheap. But it's even better for Mycah, because it means the diabetes isn't as severe as it might have been. That, and she really loves her prescription catfood (which is actually pretty cheap, particularly when compared to insulin.)

Next week we have scheduled a repeat of the test. We are, of course, hoping that the first test's results are borne out. With luck, there won't be any continuing need for insulin shots.

In any event, she'll still get her occasional treats and frequent skritches.

Hmmmm... I don't recall that the vet prescribed bedrest. Lazy furball.


* Most people with sugar pets dose their kitties in the mornings and evenings, 12 hours apart — 8am and 8pm, for instance. The trouble with that is, I work evenings and nights... so Mycah was getting her shots at 2pm and 2am. It was working out well, but I won't be disappointed if the shots aren't going to be needed.


As always, be sure not to miss the Friday Ark.

Or the Carnival of the Cats, this week hosted at the Houston Chronicle's catblog, Catcall.

Conversation with the Cat

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Mycah, the Chief Furball in Residence here, has been interviewed for the Houston Chronicle's Catcall blog.

I had a word or two there, myself.

First Shot

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Mycah just had her first me-administered insulin injection.

When I got home from work 25 minutes ago I fed her, and prepped the injection. When she was done eating I called her over, "posed" her so I could aim properly, and stuck her just the way the vet taught me. Mycah didn't even flinch. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Having had that initial success, I feel much better about the future.

Mycah was very good, and got a treat and a good chin-skritch out of the deal.

Win-win.

Sugar Cat

| 7 Comments | 1 TrackBack

Mycah is as polite and sweet-natured a cat as I've ever known (as long as other cats aren't around.) She doesn't like to be held, and she doesn't park her cat butt in human laps, but she is nonetheless a very very sweet furball.

So sweet, in fact, that after the initial disappointment had worn off, the diagnosis of diabetes she received yesterday seemed — in a funny/strange way — rather apropos.

My little sweety... sick. I'm pretty "down" about that. Not heartbroken, though — diabetes doesn't have to be a death sentence. Ask a human diabetic.

There's a ton of information on the web about feline diabetes, so much that I've barely skimmed the surface of it. But one thing seems consistent in what I've read thus far: with proper care, the cat can have a long and happy life.

Proper care is, for the time being, going to consist of twice-daily insulin injections, though we're going to make an effort to control the diabetes with diet, as well.

By "we" I mean me and the veterinarian. Though it's early in the treatment, it's plain to see that when one has a diabetic pet, working closely with the vet is not optional. For instance, less than 24 hours after the diagnosis had been made, I'd had a one-on-one training session with the vet, during which I learned a bit about the disease, learned how to inject insulin, was equipped with the necessary implements (meaning, insulin and syringes) and developed an action plan for the next two months.

The cats who live at the clinic serve as training aids for neophyte needlers. They get a kitty treat for their forbearance, e.g., not clawing the arms of the injection trainees like me. Since a cat feels little or nothing when an injection is done properly, the treat isn't so much a reward for being stuck, but rather a reward for being manhandled by a stranger and sitting still for a minute. Not a bad deal, if you're a cat.

I'm not going to say it'll be easy caring for Mycah, but neither am I going to bemoan my fate. I'm not the one who's sick, after all. Sure, the care will cost some, and I'll have to maintain a strict schedule for her injections, but that's all part of the deal when you accept the responsibility of caring for an animal.

I took up this duty of my own free will, and I will see to it that Mycah's life is as happy and healthy as I, my vet, and science will allow. Being a good steward demands no less.


Forget ye not the Friday Ark at The Modulator and the Century Edition of the Carnival of the Cats at Bloggin' Outloud.

Friday Dogblogging

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In the interest of fairness, a certain canine has demanded some screen time.* Say hello to Mooch, who owns my brother and his family.


[Click image for larger.]

By all accounts, this one year old girl is as sweet as a dog can be, which, really, is pretty darn sweet. Except when she demands sporting attire — then she can be a real... harpy.

* My family could, if they wanted, have their own blogs on this domain. But no, they rely on me to do their dirty work for them. Just a bunch o' slackers, I tells ya!

Don't miss the Friday Ark.

Friday Catblogging

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That's right: another cat picture. Just because I can. And because I never get tired of cute furballs.

Mycah has not yet tired of her new box.


[Click image for larger.]

I know if I were to go out and buy her a kitty bed, she would shun it.* She's definitely in the "I found this, and claim it as my own; therefore it is superior" school of feline thought.

Plus, pretty girls almost always get whatever they want (I'm pretty sure that's a Federal law) and if she wants the box, then so be it.

* Don't ask me how I know. I just do, mmm'kay?

Be sure to visit the Friday Ark, as well as the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Pages Turned.

Boxing Day

Mycah didn't get much into the spirit of the holidays this year.

Not, that is, until someone told her about Boxing Day.

Lou's Present Creed

| 2 Comments | 1 TrackBack

This is my present. There are many like it, but this one is mine.*

You will visit the Friday Ark! And you will enjoy the Christmas Carnival of the Cats! Clear?

Lou, like Bubba, wishes all the cats and their bloggers a very merry Christmas!

Bubbas and Bows

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Merry Christmas, catbloggers!

[Bubba has a sense of humor about these things... otherwise, he might kill and eat someone.]

Don't miss the Friday Ark. And be sure to visit the special Christmas edition of the Carnival of the Cats.

Friday Catblogging

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Someone got a new scratcher... and loves it.

If Mycah looks a bit spaced out, well, the catnip might have had a little something to do with that.

[Don't miss the Friday Ark, or the Carnival of the Cats.]

Friday Catblogging

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Is it a shoe box...?

Or is it a Lou box?

Someone looks mighty darn comfortable... even if his preferred nap spot looks disconcertingly like a coffin.

"Doesn't he look natural?"

Don't miss the Friday Ark at the Modulator, and of course the Carnival of the Cats (and don't miss parts two and three.)

Friday Catblogging

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When you are the king of all you survey, a high perch is a good thing to have.

bubbatree.jpg

But when you're Bubba, the crotch of a tree is just a nice place to relax.

Be sure to check out the Friday Ark at the Modulator.

And of course one must not overlook the Carnival of the Cats, hosted this week at Mind of Mog.

D'oh - a Deer

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There are downsides to working the hours I do, as the guy who keeps the Internet running in the evenings and nights, but I knew most of those downsides going in.

Driving home during the wee hours of the morning, I expected that the biggest hazard I would face would be the occasional drunk driver. So far I haven't noticed even one that was obviously out of control; most nights on my 17-mile drive home I see fewer than a dozen other vehicles on the road at "oh-drunk-thirty."

The one I threat hadn't anticipated, though, was... well, read on:

Deer-vehicle crashes mount

Auto collisions with deer are a year-round problem. But the peak season is starting

By JIM NESBITT, Staff Writer

William Burgess had a close encounter of the antlered kind on an after-midnight drive to his Knightdale home in February.

His shiny black 2004 Nissan Xterra plowed into a big, white-tailed buck that suddenly leaped into his lane. The force of the collision popped both air bags and crushed the car's front grille, fender, headlights, radiator and hood to the tune of more than $8,000 in damage.

After the crash, at 1:30 a.m. on U.S. 64, Burgess, a veteran Wake County sheriff's deputy, felt stunned and lucky to be alive.

"I never saw that deer," said Burgess, 37. "I was literally riding down the road, and my air bags popped -- BOOM! I hit it smack dab in the middle. When I got my wits about me, I was just breathing a sigh of relief."

Almost every night on my drive home, I see deer. I usually see just one deer at a time, but I've also seen groups as large as seven or eight adults and youngsters. Most of the time, all I see is a deer butt as the critter scurries away from the road into the woods, but on occasion I see them standing by the side of the road, looking as if they are waiting to cross.

Twice so far, I've had to slow down to let them finish crossing the road. I have not yet needed to take evasive action or stand on my brakes, but I have a feeling it's only a matter of time. Consequently, I drive slower than is perhaps necessary, with a much greater degree of attention paid to the road and roadsides than if I were making the same drive during daylight hours.

I don't want to hit a deer, ever... and not just because of the vehicle damage that would result. I don't know what percentage of deer hit by cars are killed instantly, but it can't be all of them.

What does a person do with a suffering, dying animal? I can think of only one right answer, and I don't like it, but the merciful thing would have to be done nevertheless. It's a good thing I travel equipped for just such contingencies, if you take my meaning — I just hope I never have to do it.

Random Observation #8

Generally speaking, it might be the wiser course to give the cat her foul-tasting medication before getting dressed to go to work.

Cat hair – even black cat hair – does not blend in with black pants.

Glamour Puss

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File this under "just because I can."

How could you not love a face like Mycah's?

Update: Yes, I'm still at the office. I said I'd be working some unusual hours. I wasn't kidding.

Cocktails for Two

| 3 Comments | 1 TrackBack

Don't you hate it when you really really need to use the bathroom first thing in the morning, but you have to wait for someone else to finish?

Why wait? Didn't your mother teach you to share?

Lou and Bubba drink from the commode

Lou and Bubba obviously learned.


Be sure to check out the Friday Ark.

Marathon Man

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In memory of Edloe, the "It Cat" of the 'sphere, Laurence Simon is fundraising/marathon-blogging for the Cat Welfare Society of Israel today.

Check out his main page [rated R for occasional bad language] and scroll, scroll, scroll.

Update: Mycah approves.

Dande-Lou

| 3 Comments | 1 TrackBack

Lou, unlike his highly photogenic brother Bubba, has been a bit hard to get on film, except for one time when he was a little little guy.

I don't know why he should have been so camera-shy – he's a pretty handsome fellow.

dande-lou.jpg

He must have heard about the whole "dandelion/dandy lion" thing that made Bubba so popular with the ladies.

Death Watch

| 3 Comments

I am fairly certain the cat, Mycah, is trying to kill me.

Her methods mainly consist of attempts to break my neck by tripping me as I go down the stairs, exsanguination via repeatedly clawing at my leg (said activity cleverly disguised as an effort to obtain cat treats), and asphyxiation through the use of wads of cat hair.

Occasionally she tries weapons. Here, she has been photographed waiting — weapon close at hand paw — for me to come through the front door:

m-waiting.jpg

Note to the authorities: If I should happen to be found lifeless in my home, the cat did it.

She hardly looks the type, does she?

m-face.jpg

Random Observation #4

The cat just stuck her cold wet nose into the back of my knee. It makes me jump, every time, and she knows it.

I guess there's only so much fun you can have without opposable thumbs.

How to Relax

| 4 Comments | 1 TrackBack

The Norwegian Blue prefers kippin' on its back!

norwegianblue.jpg

I could learn a lesson from the cat.

[Howdy, Carnival visitors! Quick note - the cat's name is Mycah. "Norwegian Blue" refers to the Monty Python "dead parrot" sketch.]

Moment of Unbearable Cuteness - III

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While in the past I have shown off pictures of my sister's cat Bubba, I have been remiss in not posting pictures of Bubba's brother Lou. Perhaps he's just camera-shy, but there just aren't many pictures of the furry little guy.

kittiesafield.jpg

That would be Lou on the right. Differences in appearance notwithstanding, Bubba and Lou are in fact littermates.

Lou was originally named "Lulu," but when he was discovered to be a he, well, you can figure it out. Yes, the cats were named "Bubba" and "Lulu" — but hey, at least my sister didn't saddle my niece with an awkward name.

[Previous Moments of Unbearable Cuteness here and here.]

Hairy Little Furball

| 3 Comments

Cat hair shedding season has certainly begun in earnest. I have now collected enough loose cat hair to make another complete cat.

What I can't understand is how a cat can shed so much hair and still have any left on its body.

Good thing I'm not allergic (he said, tempting Fate.)

Moment of Unbearable Cuteness - II

| 7 Comments

Back in September, my sister sent me a photo of one of her kittens, "Bubba":


(Click for original [brief] post with full-size picture.)

(Not that it's that much bigger or anything....)

He looked to me like a dandelion in a grassy field. Sometimes when I need a moment of calm and cuteness, I'll go look at that picture. I find it to be very relaxing.

Well, as cats do, Bubba has grown up:

I'll be darned if that mane of his doesn't make him look almost like a real lion now.

Promises

| 8 Comments | 4 TrackBacks

About a year ago, I made a promise to a friend.


Late last year, I had begun considering getting a cat or two. After all, it's a big house for me to live in all alone — I've lived alone for most of my adult life — and at times I'm bloody sick and tired of being lonely. I was unsure, however, if I would be suited to a cat or if cats would suit me, and I just wasn't sure I'd want the responsibility.

At about the same time, a good friend had a need for temporary quarters for two of her cats, Xaxu and Mycah. She convinced me that a "trial run" with her two cats would be better than adopting one only to find that I was not suited to tending animals. My friend is a very devoted lover of animals, and the fact that she considered me trustworthy enough to tend her animals is something I will always regard as a significant honor. I had never been entrusted with a charge quite like that before.

So I promised that I would look after her beloved cats and return them to her in good condition when she was ready for them.

The little furballs arrived in Raleigh as air cargo on a cold blustery January day. I had re-injured my back a week or so earlier, and was barely capable of walking, but I had made a promise to a friend, and come hell or high water, I was going to keep it. I drove to the airport to pick up the cats.

The flight was hours late; the clerk at the cargo terminal told me the flight had experienced bad weather along the route and had been delayed in Dallas. I knew the cats were having a tough and rough trip. Rather than drive home and return, I waited in my truck (SUV) at the airport — leaned the seat back and tried to relax while keeping my eyes open for the arrival of the cats' flight. Eventually — about two hours late, as I recall — the flight arrived and the cats were cleared through the cargo terminal.

Being barely able to walk, I had to carry their carrier cages one at a time through the cold to my truck. Mycah made a lot of noise, meowing constantly; I thought she'd taken the travel badly, even worse than Xaxu, who made no sound at all. I looked in to see if he was alright — he was backed into the corner, looking out at me. Not a happy cat, I thought to myself. They had had a very long, very difficult day.

I got them home and out of their cages in the bathroom where I had set up litterboxes for them. Mycah fairly danced with glee at the opportunity to use a litterbox. She settled in right away.

Xaxu was a good deal more reluctant, but he finally came out of the carrier, used the litterbox, and as I opened the door to let them both out to explore the rest of the house, he immediately hightailed it out of the bathroom.

It took me hours to find him — he had found a couch he could fit under, and hid there for the next week, coming out only to eat and use the litterbox. Every time he saw me, he dashed back to his place of refuge. After a week, he would come out from under the couch while I was in the room, but for the better part of a month it was where he spent most of his time.

Mycah had taken the travel pretty well, and had warmed up to me within hours. Xaxu, on the other hand, had obviously been traumatized by everything associated with his relocation — the awful flight, hours upon hours of confinement to a small carrier cage, having a new person looking after him. But I had made a promise to take good care of these cats, and I meant to keep it. I talked to him, I fed him treats from time to time, I petted him whenever he demanded it. In what seems now to have been a short time, he became my little buddy. He was, of course, very cattish — would only allow me to pet him for a minute or so before dashing off to play with a stuffed mouse toy, or lay in the sun shining in through a window. But at least he allowed me to get near him, and he would come to me.

Then he had a problem.

In June, I noticed what felt like a small growth, maybe a wart, on Xaxu's ribcage. It didn't get bigger, but when I took both cats in for worming, I asked the vet about the growth, just in case. She wasn't sure what it was, but considered it a possibility that it was a skin cancer, a "mast cell tumor." We scheduled a date and time for it to be surgically removed.

I had, after all, made a promise to take care of him.

On the appointed date, Xaxu was reluctant to be put into his cage, as he had been for his first trip to the vet — a perfectly natural reaction, given his previous cage experiences. He knew that the cage meant he was going to be put through trauma of some kind. His terror was evident as I drove him to the vet for the procedure, and his piteous meows were enough to break my heart. I get misty even now remembering it. I did my best to keep him calm on the trip to the vet, but he remained terrified. I dropped him off — it was early morning — and was told to pick him up that afternoon, after the anaesthetics had worn off.

As I left the vet office to go about my business for the day, I was in a funk. What if it really was a cancer and had metastasized? What if it was inoperable? These scenarios went through my head, and all I could think was what would I tell my friend if her cat was terminally ill, on my watch? It would not have been my fault, but it would have been my responsibility. I would have failed to keep my promise to a friend. And, I realized, I would have failed my new furry little friend. I don't think I could have borne either failure lightly.

After the procedure had finished and the drugs had worn off, I was called to pick Xaxu up and take him home. The ride home — indeed, any ride — terrified him. But again, who could blame him? Every time he was stuffed into the cage, he was going to be bounced around for hours on end, or stuck with needles, or have pills forced down his throat. You would be reluctant, too.

For the return trip from the vet's office, I bought Xaxu a "comfort carrier" — a wicker basket with a cushion, and a dome-shaped cage that fit on top. Much more open than the usual carrier, and indeed I think he was more comfortable. He tried to squeeze out through the bars, but as I drove him home, I reached a finger through the bars and rubbed him, talking to him constantly, trying to offer a measure of comfort to him. He seemed to do better, but when I got him home, he disappeared under the couch for a day or two. He returned to normal quickly enough.

I was relieved to tell my friend that her cat was not going to decline and die. I had made a promise, and it looked like I might be able to keep it.

Then Xaxu got sick.

Very sick.

Perhaps two weeks after the growth was removed, he became lethargic. Almost overnight, he stopped eating, would barely drink anything at all, turned his nose up at his favorite treats. He had severe diarrhea. I was frantic. I rushed him to the vet; he complained — cried, even — all the way. It was heartbreaking. But how do you tell a cat "this is for your own good?" He was having another very bad travel experience. I think the new carrier helped — I was able to scratch him a little as I drove to the vet, talking in soothing tones the entire way.

I had the vet run every test imaginable on his blood and stool samples. I was worried that the tumor had metastasized, that he was on a terminal downward slope, but no cause was ever found for his illness. The vet gave him an IV — he was severely dehydrated [having had dysentery, I know the feeling] and I was given pills with which to medicate him and a lesson in how to give him the pills. To him, it must have seemed like torture, but how can you make a cat understand that it's for his own good? You can't, you can only try to make him comfortable.

I had to force feed him baby food and plain yogurt with a big blunt syringe, and had to give him his pills every day. I watched over him at night, not wanting to go to bed for fear I would wake to find a lifeless little body. Over the next week, he accepted my ministrations, and he slowly began to recover. He had truly been close to death, and I lavished attention on him. My mom, visiting at the time, noticed. I hope she was pleased that I treated the little guy so well.

And the whole time, every minute, I was afraid I would have to tell my friend that Xaxu had gotten sick on my watch, that he had died, and that I had failed to keep my promise to return him safe to her. To do so would have been devastating to us both. She loves the cat, and I found that in the brief time he had been with me, I had come to love him too. When he got up from his little sickbed, walked over to his dish and ate his regular food, I could have wept for joy. I think my "happy dance" scared the neighbors.

Living alone as I do, Xaxu and Mycah had become my companions. I had never before been solely responsible for the life of another creature. Sure, we had a dog when I was a kid, and we loved him dearly, but I was not the only one responsible for his health and well-being. It was different with Xaxu. It was completely and solely up to me to make sure he was healthy and happy. And after he recovered, I think he realized who had taken care of him, who had spent hours and sleepless nights watching over him; he began to truly warm up to me. He would lay on my chest when I went to bed at night while I did my customary reading; he would sometimes sleep next to me at night; he would spend time every day perched on my mousepad as I worked at the computer, getting his chin scratched. He was my little buddy, and he was happy and healthy.

I had made a promise. But I didn't count on learning anything substantial from it.

In the course of my custodianship, I learned something about myself: that I could unconditionally care about and for someone or something other than myself.

And then the time came for Xaxu to be reunited with my friend. Mycah will be staying with me for the foreseeable future, but Xaxu's time to go home had come. I think he could tell something was in the wind — he seemed to spend his every waking minute within arm's reach of me, and became insistently affectionate.

After the trip the cats had taken to get to me, I had promised that I would not put either cat on an airplane ever again. Never again would they be traumatized by being confined in a cage for hours on end with no friendly humans to comfort them. So I packed my truck, put food, water and litterbox in the back for Xaxu, and loaded up his favorite things — the blanket he likes to curl up on, the stuffed mouse toys he likes to run around with, his scratching post.

He got into his new carrier almost without resistance. As I drove west, he cried, thinking no doubt he was going to the vet again. But as the miles and hours passed, I think he realized that it wasn't the vet to whom he was going, but he of course didn't know where he was going, and that scared him. I talked soothingly to him, and let him out of his carrier, being certain that he would not interfere with my driving. We made frequent stops at rest areas. Eventually, he perched on the console between the front seats of the truck, and I petted and scratched him, and talked to him in an effort to keep him calm and comforted. As darkness fell, he lay on the center console, put his front paws on my lap, and dozed off.

I arrived at my sister's house after the first day's drive, and he retreated underneath the rear seat — he knew he would have to get out of the truck, but his past experiences had taught him well, and he was reluctant to do so. But I got him out, and brought him (and his food, water, and litter) into the room in which I would be staying. He made himself right at home, but he made absolutely certain to sleep right next to me that night.

The next morning, we again loaded up the truck and began driving. The first day had been about six hours on the road; day two was going to be 14 hours — a long stretch for a person, but an interminable hell for a small cat who doesn't like to travel.

But he did well during the trip, mostly. He curled up on the back seat and dozed on his favorite blanket, he used his litterbox, he curled up on the center console. And again, I spent most of the day talking to him and petting him when he was close enough. Frequent stops for bathroom breaks (for me) and petting (for him) probably didn't hurt, either

As the sun set, I still had hours to go, and I was getting tired. But even more than that, I knew the hour was rapidly approaching when I would return my little friend to his home. It was hard. And as it got dark, Xaxu wrapped himself around my forearm, refusing to let go, tucked his head into the crook of my elbow, and dozed. It was as if he had placed his complete trust in me.

34 hours and 1300 miles after leaving home I handed Xaxu — tired, scared and confused by the whole ordeal — to my friend.

Promise kept.


Why did I do it? Why did I spend the last ten or so months caring for a cat, taking him to the vet, making sure he was well, and then driving halfway across the country to bring him home again? Because I made a promise to a friend, a friend for whom I care. I was never before sure that I could unhesitatingly give or do as much for another person's happiness.

"Let her meet you halfway," some said. No. I made a promise.

"Just put him on an airplane — it'll be cheaper and faster." No. I made a promise.

"Just keep the cat." No. I made a promise.


A few days later, as I rolled down the highway on the way home and darkness fell, I reached down to pet Xaxu. He wasn't there....

My little furry friend has gone home, and I miss him. And yet I'm sure the loss I feel is only the smallest fraction of what my friend had felt over the past year, being without the creature she loves so much. I love the little guy too, and miss him terribly already, but I take comfort in the knowledge that he is with the only person on the planet who cares for him more than I do.


Some people make promises with no intent of keeping them. Others make promises conditionally, keeping them only if it is convenient to do so. I have, at times in the past, been that way.

No more. A promise is an oath, a contract, a covenant: not to be made lightly. If you don't intend to keep the promise, say so up front. If there are foreseeable conditions under which you might not be able to keep the promise, say so at the outset. Or don't make the promise.

It's important to consider not only the promise one makes, but to whom the promise is made. In this case, I gave my word to a good friend. There is no condition short of my incapacitation which would have kept me from keeping my word. Had it been a promise to someone else, I might have attached conditions. But to this friend, my promise was unconditional. Period. That is why I drove 1300 miles there, and then back, over the course of a week.

I discovered something else along the way. I had made a promise to my friend, but by the time I kept it, I found that I had made that same promise to a little black cat, too — that I would take care of him to the best of my ability.

Promise kept.

I'd do it all again for my friend. And since I still have Mycah — perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently — I may someday be called upon to do it again. Until that day comes, I'll be doing my utmost to keep her healthy and happy.

I promise.

Stewardship, Again

[Updated] [Bumped]

Anyone who's been visiting this site for the past six months or so might remember this item about stewardship I wrote back in June. Take a few minutes to go read it, then come back. I'll wait.

OK, I don't like being angry... but, now go here and read Kelly's story. While you're there, you can spare a few bucks to help Kelly with the medical expenses.

If such deliberate cruelty doesn't boil your blood, I can't imagine what will.

I think the right thing to do to the perpetrators of such foul deeds would be to inflict the exact same treatment upon them, and ask them how they like it. An eye for an eye.

Me? Bloodthirsty? You bet I am, towards the kind of person who would willingly surrender their humanity.

Update: Yes, I think this is important. Hence the bump up to the top.

Happy Halloween!

Sitting

For most of the past year, it's been my privilege to be a babysitter for a blog-friend of mine.

No, not babysitter... catsitter.

Meet Xaxu and Mycah:

xaxu-mycah.jpg

Xaxu is Mr. Personality — energetic (when he's not sleeping), inquisitive, highly entertaining, and a real joy to have around. He's the one I mentioned here.

He will be going back home shortly. I'll miss the little scamp, but at least I know he's going to be taken care of by the one person on Earth who likes him more than I do.

Mycah is laid back and very well-mannered. I've never seen a more calm and polite cat... except at feeding time, when she puts me in a half-nelson, wrestles me into the kitchen, and forces me to feed her. I'm glad she doesn't have opposable thumbs — if she got to my guns, I could be in real trouble. Otherwise, she's a complete, total and utter sweetheart.

I'll be keeping my eye on Mycah for the foreseeable future. She'll do well here (that's a promise, Ser!), and I'm glad to have her.

I've never been a "cat guy"... until now. After all, what is the first thing that pops into your head when someone is described as a "single 40-something man, living alone, with cats"?

Well, think again.

[At least it's not birds.]

[Sorry, Steve.]

Carnival of the Cats

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Not having a cat of my own, I wouldn't have expected to ever participate in the weekly Carnival of the Cats. Thanks for the link, Gir.

[I have to admit, though: this pic of my sister's kitten (one of a pair of little furballs) is just about the cutest darn thing I've ever seen.]

Moment of Unbearable Cuteness

| 5 Comments | 2 TrackBacks

As a break from any pretense of seriousness here, I present a pic my sister sent me of one of her new kittens, "Bubba."

(Yes, "Bubba." Hey, cut her some slack - she's a Tennesseean now.)

dandylion.jpg

That's one dandy little lion.

Stewardship

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This abominable act is one of the most utterly foul and despicable things I've read about in quite a while. Read it, and be angry.

Why is it so foul? They're only animals, you say.

Because there is no possible excuse for such behavior. Nothing could conceivably justify such cruelty. It is inhumane, and inhuman.

Let's get something straight right up front here: I'm not about to join PETA, nor am I going to splash paint on some matron's fur coat. I do believe that if there's a choice between saving a human life and that of an animal, the human wins. I eat meat daily. I wear leather. Contrary to PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk's vile assertion, a rat is not a pig is not a dog is not a boy.

Nevertheless, I believe that we, as individuals, have particular responsibilities towards those over whom [or over which] we have stewardship. If you don't bother to get your dog spayed and she has puppies, those puppies are your responsibility, just as if you sire or bear a child, the child is your responsibility. Not mine. Not society's. Yours.

Being a participant in adult society is almost entirely a function of the ability to take responsibility. The rights and privileges we have as adult humans are contingent upon that ability. I must take responsibility for myself and my actions – other adults, and maybe even the law, will hold me to account. If I voluntarily take responsibility for someone or something else, I am bound to it; I cannot then simply walk away from that charge.

To deliberately betray a responsibility towards those in your charge – be they children, handicapped relatives, elderly parents, or even animals – is to make yourself less than a full adult human. They are essentially helpless, and if you don't want that responsibility, it's too late to merely disclaim it after the fact. If the responsibility is too much to bear, the adult thing to do is to look for an alternative – a different caregiver for your parent, an adoptive parent for your child, a new owner for your animal. You don't just abandon them... or worse.

To shirk your responsibility, either by your action or inaction, particularly if it leads to harm, makes you inferior to those in your charge. As such, you should never be entrusted with adult responsibilities, nor enjoy the rights and privileges that come with the adult ability to take responsibility.

You have betrayed your own humanity. You are fit company only for brutes.

Such company can usually be found in prison.

(via Ian S.)

Works for me....

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