Friday, April 23, 2004

Spring Fever

Lucy was behind the coal stove this morning and although I went out to the shop at least a dozen times during the course of the morning, she ignored my gentle pleading to come out and see me. So her dose of Metacam went undelivered. If she doesn't come out at supper time this evening, I will have to find a way to extricate her so I can offer at least some relief for her discomfort.

The medication is a blessing. For so long there just weren't any effective pain medications for cats and this seems to be both fast-acting and effective. Within minutes of her dose last night, Lucy was out and about the shop and even nibbled some food. We shared a sweet moment when I checked on her before going to bed--she let me rub her head whle she purred and pushed against me.

On a lighter note, the other cats have had serious spring fever. They must sense that the first fresh shoots of grass are not far away. Punkin has been insistent on trying to get outside and Frieda meets me at the door, asking if I have any grass for her.

When I was at the Shelter on Wednesday, Tony mentioned spreading hay in their home dog run to combat the mud and how much their cats enjoyed playing in the hay. So I got the idea of pulling up the old, smelly indoor/outdoor carpet in the cat pen and replacing it with a couple of inches of hay. I have had a gift certificate from The Wagon Wheel just sitting here since Christmas--I had thought to get some starter plants once the greenhouse was moved and refurbished--but buying the cats some hay seemed like a better use of it.

So I went downtown in my little pickup and checked out the hay options. I was able to get two compressed bales of Washington-grown hay for about $30 and it only took about 2/3rds of a bale to carpet the cat run. So I put some hay in BeBe's cage and in the cat porch the house cats use also, and still have some of the first bale left over.

We'll see how it works out. The lovely smell of fresh hay certainly beats what the cat run smelled like before. The cats seemed excited by the novelty of having the grass to play in. I like the idea of just changing out the hay when it gets wet or muddy rather than dealing with that old carpet. There are litterboxes in all the pens so I don't think there will be any problem with inappropriate use of the hay. Perhaps come fall, we can cut our own blue-joint rye and use that over the winter.

I wondered if there might be any potential problems in using hay but cats and barns have gone together for centuries and I can't recall ever seeing anything in the literature about health issues arising from hay. I worry that my grass-fiends like Cissy and might make themselves sick with eating the stuff--or worse yet, plug themselves up with it--but I will just keep my eyes open for any problems.

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