Saturday, October 30, 2004

Grendel Update

Denny called me at work shortly before quitting time on Thursday to tell me he had seen Grendel in the house.

"Did you grab her and give her a big kiss?"

"No, I left her alone!" He's just as relieved as I am that she wasn't outside. I still didn't totally relax until I got home and saw her with my own eyes. She probably wondered why she was the focus of so much attention as she peered out from her den under the dresser.

So for the past two days, Denny and I have been telling each other what a relief it is that Grendel didn't get outside.

Maybe this is a good time for me to make some effort in friendly-ing up to her. She's live at the margins of our household for so long, we generally let her go her own way and aside from checking on her when I feed the cats, she is largely ignored. Not in a neglectful way--she just isn't comfortable with any kind of attention and there are plenty of other cats around here who are.

But as she ages, it would be nice to be able to handle her enough to check on her general health and to take her in for medical care when she needs it.

Perhaps some good can come from this little scare.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Escape

Damn, damn, damn...

Denny ran outside in the middle of the night to get his pills out of his truck and left the door ajar behind him. He was only out about a minute but our feral girl, Grendel, is missing today. At least we haven't been able to find her in the house.

(Yes, former English majors have feral cats named "Grendel"...)

Now, there have been times in the past where we have lost track of her of a day or two, but we looked fairly extrensively this morning. It seems too much of a coincidence that she would change her usual hiding spots today, so I am afraid she got outside.

On the plus side, she is probably the one cat we have who is best equipped to handle being outside on her own--she lived for four or five years in our area before we caught her and brought her inside. But she has been inside for the last five years, the area has changed around us and other feral/abandoned cats have moved into our area (we have three regulars that we feed).

I am thinking (hoping!) that she might have second thoughts about her break for freedom. It is cold and wet outside and I am sure the shadows are full of scary things. She is a timid creature, not used to confrontation.

She had developed her own routine in the house with comfortable hidey-holes and nights out in the screened-in kitty condo, and cats are creatures of routine. So if she hasn't turned up inside the house by the time I get home tonight, we may try closing the spare room off from the rest of the house and leaving the condo door open, so she can come back inside if she is so moved. We will set the cat trap as well, but I am hoping against hope that she will want to come back to the familiar comforts of house living.

I have harped and harped on Denny about making sure the kitchen door latches when we close it. This isn't the first time it has popped open (but I am hoping it will be the last) and I knew even as I kept reminding him about it, he was tuning me out. So if something good comes from this, maybe he will finally realize I wasn't being a worry-wart every time I would remind him about latching the door. I know he feels badly about it, so I am trying to hold my tongue.

I just hope our poor old fat feral can be brought back inside with a minimum of excitement.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The House of Many Cats

I have been working on the cats'webpages for most of these past five days--decking the main page out in Halloween splendor and struggling to resolve issues with the CSS layout.

For some reason, the text in the lengthier entries kept getting cut off. I started to think maybe the two-column layout with its "float" commands was conflicting with the footer that the website owner has programed to appear on every page. I experimented with removing the classes that used the "float" option and cleaning up the template to remove classes and ids I wasn't using, in the process actually learning what classes and ids were. By abandoning the two-column approach, I finally could get all of BeBe's entry to appear without being cut off. Now the biggest problem seems to be that when the pages load, the background color doesn't come in until I refresh the page. Haven't figured out how I screwed that up yet.

I also worked on the Memorial pages, putting the CSS instructions in the header of each individual page and coding the background color into the actual body of the HTML document. I hoped that by taking CSS one step at a time, I would better understand the process. I finally have a rudimentary or "place-holder" page up for each of the cats and most of our angel-kitties. I still have a lot of writing to do on most of them and I want to post several photos of each cat, so I will have to hold a photo shoot for those who have been camera shy up until now.

I need to get the scanner working again in order to put up a page for cats that we may have fostered but that went on to other homes--a sort of "Friends of the House of Many Cats" page.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Clarence

There were two moose munching down on the wind-tossed alders at the edge of the deck when I went downstairs this morning to get the cream for my coffee.

In the past couple weeks, it has finally sunk into Clarence's narrow little Siamese head that *I* will protect him from Frannie. That if he is nestled up against me on the bed, he is safe. So now he sticks close to me at night and rubs against me and rolls under my stroking hands in a revelry of pleasure and security.

It is gratifying to see when I remember what a frightened, unhappy little kitten he was just a year ago.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Punkin

I was petting the Punk yesterday after I got home from work and it felt as if the fatty cyst on her back had gotten larger. So, I parted her fur and took a good look at it. It had grown to twice the size it had been just a few months ago and developed another lobe.

Yikes!

Since Lucy's malignancy, I wasn't going to take any chances, so I called the vet clinic right away and got her scheduled first thing this morning.

So much for sleeping in on my days off.

So, I didn't do much today--just hung out at home waiting for it to be time to go get my kitty. I always worry a little when they go under anesthesia, even though Punkin has been there many times before and she hasn't been wheezing as much this week as last.

Dots carried Punkin out to the waiting room for me. She said she had to use extra anesthesia because after giving the usual dose, Punk was still sitting there just watching her suspiciously (well, Dots didn't say suspiciously but I know Punkin well enough to know that's how it was) so Punkin was still pretty groggy this afternoon, though she did visibly perk up when she heard me call her name.

We do love each other desperately, my fat red cat and I.

Friday, October 8, 2004

Star

I guess I haven't done an update on Star (aka Skinny) for a while.

She's living in the house now.

Denny asked me to keep her inside back in August, thinking he would have a chance to work on taming her while he was home from Cold Bay, so one evening, I invited her in and didn't let her out again.

For a few days, she asked to go outside, but as the days grew cooler and we didn't have the screen doors open as much, she settled into a routine, spending much of her time in the condo or downstairs with Lola and Clarence.

About a month ago, she began to come into the bedroom in the evenings and even venture up onto the bed while I was reading or watching television. occasionally, she would attack my feet in a manner reminiscent of the Toe Wraiths until my startled screams would send her dashing back down the hall. When Denny was home these past few weeks, she got brave enough to come up on the bed in the evenings and play with strings and--eventually--our fingers.

Sunday evening, Denny was able to stroke her paws just a bit without her jerking away and since he has been gone, she and I have been drawing ever closer that inevitable first official petting. She will peer at me from around the foot of the bed and I will make the "come here" gesture I make for Frannie and she will come up on the bed. When I go back to reading my book, she will dart forward and bat at my fingers until I put the book aside and play with her. She will let me stroke the insides of her front legs but still shrinks from letting me touch her head. But she is close, very close.

Despite the shyness she shows and whatever conditions have led her to be that way, she is a lively and intelligent little cat who seems to enjoy our interactions. I think it helps that she can watch us with the other cats and see how fearless they are around us.

What really feels good is not worrying about her being outside in the wide and wild world.