Thursday, January 29, 2004


Smoothing a blanket over the newly-cleared half of the sofa upstairs, I noticed a pink stain--a small smount of dried liquid--and my heart twisted. Amoxicillin. A spill left as evidence of the fight to save Rosie's life, just a year past. (I haven't washed that blanket in a year? I guess being folded in the laundry basket didn't give it much use but still...)

For years after Kisa died, I kept--unwashed--a jacket that still bore the blurred, muddy imprints of her paws...

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Max temp: 23 degrees F
Min temp: 10 degrees F

There was a new face outside at the food dish this morning. I looked out the kitchen window while rinsing off my hands and a pale face was looking back up at me. "Hello, Kitty," I said, ever ready with the witty repartee. I opened the door to offer him some fresh (ie, unfrozen) wet cat food but he scurried off under one of the trucks.
I think--from the glimpse I got of him--he is an orange tabby. (And I use "he" because orange cats run about 75-80% male due to feline genetics that I won't bore you with here.) Maybe when he learns we mean him no harm, he will be less skittish. Maybe he's just a neighbor, making his rounds. One can only hope...

I dreaded getting up this morning, so set the coffee pot on auto-brew so there'd be coffee and set the alarm to allow me an hour and a half to leave the house. I taped SNL (Elijah Wood) but still sat up 'til damned near one watching TV anyway. And with one-two-three-four-five-six cats on the bed clustered around and on top of me in various constellations, I had to wake up numerous times during the night to negotiate any change of position.

Still, after the alarm rang and I had downed a cup of coffee, I didn't feel half bad.

It is getting noticeably lighter by eight-thirty in the morning. We are just over a week away from Candlemas /Groundhog's Day--the half-way mark between winter solstice and spring equinox. Halfway there, though that doesn't mean much this far north, since spring doesn't really get here until May...

I do wish Pickle would start looking better. I suppose I will be taking him back to the vet this week but I don't have anything new to show them. I could try to come up with a stool sample but in a multi-cat household, that isn't as simple as it sounds. I mean, coming up it some cat crap is no problem at all, but being sure that said sample belongs to Pickle entails following him around for hours at a time...

Damn, I have such a glamourous life!

Friday, January 23, 2004

Max temp: 29 degrees F
Min temp: 17 degrees F
Oh, and there's probably eighteen-to-twenty-four inches of snow on the ground...

I saw our pheasant around noon today, enthusiastically eating the sunflower seeds I had thrown out for the birds and ignoring the chicken scratch feed I had bought Just For Him.

In related news, the stray cats indicate that they Would Rather Starve than eat the Precise dry food I bought for them. Probably because it has real cranberries... (Don't fret--they had access to their usual Iams Active Maturity dry food as well...)

Glad I didn't buy big bags of the stuff. I suppose someone in our crowd will eat it...

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Max temp: 38 degrees F (just after midnight)
Min temp: 30 degrees F
Wind southwesterly at 36 kts

I heard something that sounded like rain but then turned into ice falling last night after I went to bed.
I woke up with a splitting sinus headache--almost sick-to-your-stomach intensity. I crawled out of bed long enough to start coffee, feed Sunny and Toby and then grab some Benadryl tablets. It took two cups of coffee and a second dose of medication before I felt like I could function. I had all the cat boxes to clean as I had skipped them yesterday. I also needed to give Toby and BeBe some change of scenery from their separate confinements.

Picky's eyes are still veiled. I wish I knew what was bothering him. He eats and plays as usual. He absolutely hates the medication Elaine gave me--the big horse-sized pills I have to cut in half. Even the halves aren't that petite. He foamed at the mouth and drooled so badly after the first dose that I haven't repeated it.

So on the chance that he is suffering gastic distress, I cooked up some slippery elm syrup and dosed him (and Punkin too while I was at it.) In good faith, I suppose I should try to get one of the pills down him this evening, just so I can give it a fair trial. His ailment doesn't appear serious but we don't know, do we?

I filled out a cat survey yesterday. I hadn't realized that we have 21 cats aged eight years or older.

Lola and Clarence are the youngest of course. Then Frannie and BeBe are probably the next youngest... Sunny, if the information we got from her previous owner is correct, is eighteen. The vet clinic's earliest record for her showed either her birthdate or first clinic visit was in October 1986.

It would seem there is a shit-load of grief waiting for us down the road.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Max temp: 42 degrees F
Min temp: 30 degrees F
Winds easterly at 25 kts

Up early this morning (7:30, early by my lights) to go to the Shelter. This is the last week that I will be covering PD's shift but I may continue to get up early to do my volunteer bit even when I am back to my regular schedule. The work goes much faster without the social component, and since the Shelter doesn't open until 11, I can work undisturbed.

I opened the door to plug the Chevy in and rain was pouring off the roof. The temperature was near forty, so plugging the Chevy in was probably not necessary... I thought about it for a few minutes then decided that I'd drive the Suburban today. If the road got too soft, I might need the 4-wheel-drive option. So I went through the shop ("Good morning, kitties...") and plugged the Suburban in. Because it had been sitting in the sub-zero temperatures since the last time it had been run.

I made some coffee, then checked the woodstove, and watched the morning news while I drank two cups. About 8:30, I headed into town.

It wasn't a bad morning at the Shelter. There were three empty cages and the cats in residence were all very nice. People have been trapping and bringing in strays during the cold snap, but we have finally had some good adoptions so the population hasn't increased.

I sang to the cats as I worked in the quiet morning--the songs I had made up for Kisa and Newt and some others that came to me.

We seem to have hit a run of white kitties lately--there were four currently in residence. It is funny how it seems to go in spurts. A few months ago, all we seemed to get were black cats. Then it was black-and-white cats. I told Sherry we should have a January White Sale...

I got all the cats done by eleven, then Sherry showed up and we chatted for about twenty-five minutes. Then I had to head to Save-U-More for dry cat food (I forgot it when I went shopping on Monday). I bought two small bags of Precise dry cat food--will see if the strays like it. It seemed like a high quality food and I want to give them the best nutrition I can during the winter. And three big bags of Iams for our cats. And some Jonny Cat for the Shelter. And a couple of boxes of Litter Perfect for me. And a bag of dry kitten food for Clarence and Lola...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Max temp: 39 degrees F
Min temp: 25 degrees F
Wind northeast at 25 kts

In the past 48 hours the temperature has gone from minus ten to near 40--the bank thermometer showed 42 degrees in the heat of the day. MH is right--if the temperature would stay 20 degrees all winter, life would be good.

Saw the gray-and-white stray heading for the brown van this noon. I think there is still a box full of insulation covered with rags that I put out there for Wild Red many years ago. There is something that makes the van attractive to strays at any rate, so I trust he is staying sheltered and warm enough.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Max temp: 35 degrees F
Min temp: -10 degrees F
Winds easterly 25-35 kts

The wind started blowing this morning, when the temperature was still below zero, but by the time they began to really howl, driving fine, dry snow out of the east, the temperature had risen to sixteen degrees or so. The gain in air temperature was off-set by windchill, but it was good to see the cruel cold begin to abate.

I saw the tracks of the gray tabby this morning, so he has weathered the cold, and the black cat was by this evening to eat so I know he is okay. I haven't seen any sign of the pheasant since Denny and I watched him on Friday.