Still Life, With Cats

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R is for Rough

Some house guests came to stay with us today.

We weren’t actually expecting them until next weekend (and it was only this morning that we decided we were okay with taking them in in the first place), but circumstances changed, and suddenly now we’ve got visitors – a very nervous young lady and her six infant children.

They say house guests and fish start to stink after 3 days. However, this little family will be staying with us for a couple months.

Normally I might be really anxious about opening up my home to visitors, especially such a large number all at once. But, well, I think you might be able to tell why we’re both really excited to be providing a temporary home for these seven homeless souls.

Without further ado, let me introduce our temporary houseguests. Meet the Supernatural Kittens. Mom’s age is uncertain (although she seems pretty young and she’s quite small), while the babies were born somewhere around last weekend. As usual, click the pictures to embiggen.

2015-04-18 houseguests

Mom, Ruby, is extremely nervous. She’s not feral, but it’s clear she’s fearful and uncertain about humans. We can reach in and pet her, and she’ll purr and knead on her blanket, but that’s about as much as she’s willing to tolerate right now. We’re pretty sure, though, that it won’t be long before she relaxes and figures out that humans can be pretty awesome.

As for the babies, here’s a better shot. As far as we’re able to tell right now, they’re all boys.

Supernatural Kittens

You might notice that the five orange ones all look exactly alike. I’m hoping as they get a bit older they might develop some distinguishing characteristics; otherwise we’re going to have to dab some food coloring on their tummies to tell them apart until they’re old enough for collars. The orange ones are, in no particular order, Sam,Dean, Rufus, Bobby, and Castial. The little black lump to the right of the pile of orange fuzz is actually a tiny little tuxedo, who has been dubbed Crowley.

I have to tell you, this is going to be a really hard couple of months. Having to socialize half a dozen itty bitty teeny weeny kittens.

I mean, look at this. Who’d ever want to spend time with this?

2015-04-18 TinyKitten1

Yeah. Hosting these house guests is going to be rough.

The letter R is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

C is for…


It isn’t a surprise. Not really. We wanted it to be something else but I think we both knew before the appointment this morning what the vet was going to say. There is more going on than just the tumor (likely bone infection), but really, the actual diagnosis doesn’t make a difference. What matters is that it’s eventually going to kill her.

We’ll pamper our elderly little tortie cat as much as we can over the next few weeks or months or however long her good days will last, and we will monitor her quality of life. At her age there isn’t really anything else we can do. Right now the vet doesn’t think it’s bothering her, but that’s only a matter of time. And when it looks like she is starting to feel bad, then we will make the hardest decision and we will help her go.

The letter C is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

V is for Veterinary

So we thought things were doing pretty well with Rosie, after the initial diagnosis of the oral fistula. But then she started slowly refusing to eat, and we realized she was losing weight, so back to the vet we went again, this time for blood tests. Naturally, they came back inconclusive, because apparently nothing with Rosie can ever be cut and dried. They gave us some medication to help calm her gut, we bought out the stock of beef baby food from every grocery store in the surrounding few miles (since that’s the only flavor she showed any interest in), and we settled in to see if things would improve.

And thankfully, they did. Slowly. Of course, she now refuses to eat the brand of cat food she was eating before, but we’re used to that kind of ‘fun’ (because it would be cheaper to buy cans of food by the case, except when the cat for whom you buy it is known to be picky and suddenly decide that a flavor she’s been eating for months is no longer acceptable, thus leaving you with a largely untouched stack of cans that are now useless). Luckily we found a brand she *will* eat, and over the past two weeks she’s been steadily improving, even gaining back nearly half the pound she lost in the two weeks prior.

Alas, along with the returning appetite came the returning mouth issues. We’ve been monitoring it for a couple days to see if it might clear up on its own, but no such luck. Our regular vet couldn’t get us in until some time next week, so we decided to bite the bullet and take her to the one that’s really close to our house (we don’t go to this one normally because they have this annoying tendency to push lots of expensive tests and treatments that are completely unnecessary, and sure enough, they did it this time too, ugh. Lucky we’re both very good at saying no).

Thankfully, instead of sending her home with a bottle of medicine (because while she’s super easy to pill, dosing her with liquid medication is a nightmare), they gave her a single shot that will supposedly do the trick. So now we get to sit back and wait, and keep an eye on hole in her mouth to see if it gets better.

And whatever we do, we are not going to Google oral cancer. Nope. Not again.

The letter V is brought to you by the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Cat tales

GargoyleCatEvery morning for the past few weeks, as soon as I sit down at my desk, Nutmeg comes tearing into the office, dashes up the cat tree, and then proceeds to flail around wildly on the top of my desk. Occasionally a little head peeks (often upside down) over the edge, but primarily the only way I know she’s there is the sound of her sliding around on the wood.

At some point she then decides it’s time to see what I’m up to, so then I look up to see a fuzzy little gargoyle peering down at me.

I’m not sure why the top of my desk has suddenly become the best place to play in the morning. But when one lives with cats one learns that it’s really pointless to ask ‘why’. And at least if she is flailing around being cute up there, she is *not* gnawing on the corner of the ledge over the window. No, I have no idea why she does *that* either.


Rosie-closeupSo – an update on Rosemary and her weird mouth hole.

I took her to our regular vet on Wednesday, as per the instructions of the emergency vet. They’d faxed over all the info so our regular vet would have a heads up, and he was, I think, prepared for something really awful. But he opened her mouth and peered in and seemed more than a bit surprised that it wasn’t as bad as he was expecting.

We still have no idea what caused the hole in the first place. She had a bunch of teeth extracted back in November, but it’s not anywhere near where those came out. It is most likely a fistula, although he doesn’t think it goes all the way through to the nasal cavity (and after being extra snuffly and sneezy the few days prior to the vet appointment = because when one’s human is nervously Googling oral-nasal fistulas, and oral abscesses, and oral tumors (for the love of all that is holy do *not* Google oral tumors!), it is important to try to work in as many extra symptoms as you can just to mess with her head, after all – she’s no longer doing that either). The sides of the hole look smooth and clean – no sign of infection at all, so clearly the antibiotics have been doing their job. And bonus, he said it looks as if it’s actually trying to heal up.

So – current plan is that she gets to finish out the 10 days of the antibiotics (which isn’t any fun for us humans because Reasons that you really do not want me to go into more detail on, although I will say that i am SO VERY GLAD WE DO NOT HAVE CARPET), and we’ll keep an eye on it, but right now, the news is all good. Phew.

Sandy Claws is coming to town

So while we were pulling out all the Christmas stuff this weekend, I stumbled across something I’d picked up at last year’s after-Christmas sales – something that made me stop what I was doing and immediately go try to track down some unsuspecting cat in order to snap a picture for this year’s holiday recap letter (which we are actually going to remember to do this year, unlike last year when it never happened).

I got a lot of not-very-good shots, like these:

Sherman tries to hide in a box

Rosie refuses to pose

And one semi-decent shot like this:

Picture 15

which would have worked if we’d thought to defuzz the tree prior to pulling out the camera. Oops.

But then I finally managed to catch a cat who was just waking up, and too sleepy to do more than just glare at me, instead of immediately trying to remove the offending hat. And I also managed to capture the perfect shot. The fact that the gargoyle in the background also sort of looks like it’s trying to flip you off is icing on the cake.

So here. Sherman has a very special holiday message for all of you. Happy Catmas!

‘Tis the season for Holidailies!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Catmas

We decided that today was the day to put up the Christmas tree. Naturally, we had feline assistance (click any of the pictures below to embiggen).

Here is Sherman, looking oh-so-cute and innocent.


The second Richard started pulling down the ladder to the attic, however, he knew something was up.


Richard went up to the attic. I stayed below, camera at the ready. Sherman did not disappoint.


Yes, he climbed that all by himself. Shortly after I took this picture, he was unceremoniously removed from the ladder, and the room, and the doors were shut, so that we could extract all the Christmas items from the attic without also having to extract a cat.


Nutmeg, meanwhile, found the entire process boring and wished we would quit banging around in the room so she could focus on the birds outside.

Picture 5

We dragged the tree box out to the living room. 0.1 nanoseconds after opening it, this is what we had.

Picture 6

I’m not sure what he thinks might be in there. But then, this *is* the cat who is convinced that every single thing in the universe is a Thing for Cats.

Picture 7

Once we’d pulled out a few sections of the tree, Rupert joined the party.

Picture 8

Poor Azzie. He got so confused by the whole process, and sat by the open box trying to figure out what he’d missed.

Picture 9

Richard stuck the first section of the tree into the stand. Sherman waited all of about 2 microseconds before climbing aboard.

Picture 10

He was quite pleased with himself for having scaled the tree.

Picture 11

He was not as pleased when we tried to convince him to get out of the way so we could put the next section into place.

Picture 12

Of course once part 2 was up, he had to inspect our construction techniques, and also see if it might possibly now be tall enough to get to those shelves above the windows.

Picture 13

Sorry, Sherman, we’ve got one more section to go. Time to move, little buddy.

Picture 14

Luckily, there was a giant empty box, perfect for distracting him long enough so we could get the final piece assembled.

Picture 16

Next came the decorating. You can see that one of the ornaments put itself on the tree. You might also notice that every other ornament on the tree is of the non-breakable, safe for cats kind. Some people can put all sorts of fragile, pretty things on their trees. Those people do not live with Sherman.

Picture 17

And here it is, our fully decorated Catmas tree, complete with (if you make the picture larger you can see him) cat.

Picture 18

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.

Passing through

Sherman, at some point in the last week or so, ate some yarn.

I know, I know, I am a hard core knitter and there is yarn everywhere so really, this was inevitable, but I do try to keep it away from prying paws, and in the decade I’ve been knitting (has it been that long? I really have no idea) it has never been this kind of issue.

Anyway. The point is that Sherman ate some yarn. I did not realize this, however, at the time it was actually being eaten. I have my suspicions as to when this occurred, because his very best buddy and primary instigator of all things naughty, aka Rupert, likes to ‘liberate’ yarn from the very top shelves from time to time and there was one moment fairly recently when a ball of dark green sock yarn was discovered on the office floor, and two grey boys were sitting innocently nearby. However, I did not actually discover that yarn had been eaten until it started to be…..well how do I put this? When an item is eaten, eventually it will work its way through the gut and come out the other end. The eating of yarn was discovered when the yarn began to emerge, which happened Sunday night.

I know better than to simply pull the yarn, because I had no idea how long a piece we were dealing with, and string can be pretty deadly if it gets wrapped knotted up in the intestines. So instead I called the vet, grimly figuring that this was going to be expensive.

The vet, however, simply said that we didn’t need to bring him in; that as long as he was eating and drinking and using the litter box normally, that we should just wait and hopefully things would…pass…on their own. Considering that the yarn-eater in question had only moments prior to the call been tearing around the house like a wild thing with his partner in crime, I figured he wasn’t being bothered by his…uh…temporary extra tail. But still, it was a bit unnerving.

At lunch yesterday I went home to check on Sherman, who was still bouncing around completely undeterred by the fact that there was yarn dangling out of his nether regions. I was a bit worried that it would get caught on something, so I did manage to sneak up behind him with some scissors while he was distracted with food and trim it back a bit. This, by the way, was not the only time I had to do this yesterday. He managed to ingest quite a shockingly long piece of yarn.

I would just like to pause for a moment to point out that this a thing that never, ever, would occur to you when you get a cat – that at some point you might have to be sneaking up behind it with scissors to trim off yarn that is working its way through its gut.

Anyway. Thankfully by the time we went to bed last night, Sherman’s hind end was finally yarn free. Meanwhile I am pondering new methods of yarn storage. And also the best way to sterilize a pair of scissors.

I might end this tale with the hope that perhaps he has now learned his lesson, but really. This is a cat we are talking about here. More specifically this is Sherman. So instead I will simply say that this morning he bounced right onto my lap as if nothing at all had happened, and demanded scritches for nearly ten minutes before bounding back off to go wreak mayhem somewhere else. And I guess that is good enough.

Not a creature was stirring

The cats, apparently, are doing their best to see if they can make me have a heart attack. The other day I came home, dropped my purse on the table, placed my keys carefully and deliberately on TOP of my purse so I would see them and know right where they were, and then dashed off to gather things together before running back out the door to an event. I left things alone for a a max of five minutes. When I returned, ready to scoop up my purse and head out, my keys were nowhere in sight. I searched all over the table; checked my coat pockets more than once, dumped out my entire purse in my frantic race to find them, and then, finally, heard the sound of them clinking from below. Somehow my keys leaped off of my purse, scooted two feet over to the edge of the table, and then fell off, all on their own. Mmm hmm. Sure they did.

And then this morning, I was working on a knitting project – a project that has been beset with issues to the point where I am starting to feel a bit frantic because it is due back to the company in early January – and I realized I was missing a ball of yarn. I distinctly remember putting it in my project bag, after I ripped out the entire thing this past Tuesday (the fact that I am not telling you how many stitches that was is primarily because to do that calculation and actually figure it out would lead me to weeping) and wound it all back into balls. I cast on (again!) with the first ball, but the second ball had somehow mysteriously disappeared. The fact that I have had to shoo Rupert away from my project bag (he remains convinced that it holds Things For Cats) plays no part in the yarn’s disappearance, I am sure (</sarcasm>).

I panicked. Richard and I tore the house apart, looking under furniture, digging through trash,  checking under pillows and boxes and cats, but there was no sign of it. It wasn’t until several hours later, after we’d been out of the house for errands and had returned and commenced a fresh search, that it reappeared, lurking innocently underneath the loveseat.

Meanwhile, in the less-trying-to-induce-heart-attack mode and more in the seriously adorable mode, Nutmeg is apparently on a mission to denude the tree completely. She has been systematically removing the jingle bell ornaments one by one. Then she chases them all over  the house, before shoving them underneath a bed or some other piece of furniture where it’s harder to get to them, and then she goes back to the tree to repeat the process.

Note to self – buy a whole lot more jingle bell ornaments at the after Christmas sales this year.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.