Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Go Ahead

Stick your hand in the cat tree...

Bart on guard

I dare you....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On The Mend



Mr. Twitch is back to his usual routine, on the mend from the cat flu. He gets a pass--for a while--on being yelled at for sharpening his claws on the box spring.

As you can see, he has already appropriated the dining room table.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Twitch Update

In case you haven't been following my main blog, I just wanted to let you all know that Twitch is recovering.

I took him to see our vets again on Tuesday last week and he was spiking a one-hundred-and-four degree temperature. Dr. Sherwood decided to try another type of antibiotic--injectable medications since he was having trouble swallowing--and he began to feel better within hours.

I was cautious in hoping because he has been up and down with this cold but he has been pretty much back to his usual self for a couple days now--just resting to restore his reserves.

So we are all relieved about that.

The only two cats who came down with this strain of cat flu are two that I know have never been vaccinated for upper respiratory viruses. All other nineteen cats have had a flu shot at some point or another in their lives and it would seem to have been well-worth the investment.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Twitch Update

Today was taken up mostly with Twitch. After a disrupted night--too many cats, no Dennis--I got up at five to drive to Soldotna. There is veterinary clinic there that has endoscopy ability and I was half-convinced that Twitch had something lodged either in his airways or gullet. I called yesterday and got an eight-o-clock appointment.

So shortly after six, Twitch and I were on the dark and lonely Sterling Highway, heading north. I was so wrapped up in worrying about Twitch that I took little pleasure in the drive, the scattered holiday lights of isolated homesteads, the peacefulness of the long distances. I have been fighting a feeling of helplessness in regard to Twitch--nothing seemed to be bringing back the strong young cat I have grown to love. I don't want to lose him.

Denny, who has been up in Nikiski ice-fishing this week, met us at the Soldotna Animal Hospital. Twitch, stirred up by the two-hour drive, was actually looking pretty good. The vet who examined him seemed to feel so as well. He didn't think endoscopy was warranted at this time and wanted us to give the medications more time. In the exam room, Twitch didn't seem to be as distressed as he had been yesterday morning and hearing the vet confirm most of what our vets in Homer had found quieted the fear in me that I wasn't doing enough for our kitty. the vet ended up drawing blood for a re-check on those values and suggesting a few additions to our approach--a vaporizer and nose drops.

So, I left feeling both reassured and a little silly for panicking.

We said good-bye to Denny about nine and headd back home. Along the way, we were treated to a beautiful sunrise over the Kenai Mountains.



We got home shortly before eleven. I gave Twitch his morning meds and let him find his secure hiding spot for the day--in this case, back out on the mezzanine where he spent most of the weekend. then I ran to town to return his x-rays to the vet clinic and let them know the upshot of our consultation and then to the drug store for nose drops and a cool mist vaporizer. I hit the grocery store for some gourmet dry cat food, as Twitch isn't much of a wet food eater and some quick meals for me.

Then, back at home, I set up the downstairs bathroom for Twitch so I can monitor his eating and drinking overnight. That meant moving BeBe into the entryway for a day or two but he didn't seem to mind. The entry has a screen door and he prefers to be there anyway where he can interact with the other cats.

I set up the vaporizer in the bathroom, prepared several bed-spots for Twitch and put out fresh water and food, then dug him out of his cozy hole and installed him downstairs. The last time I checked, there were a few of the fancy crunchies on the carpet, so I know he has been nosing around in the food dish and that makes me feel better.

Then I took a two-hour nap.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Photogenic Mimi



Another picture of Mimi, who is always photogenic, at repose on the sofa.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Twitch Update

Mr. Twitch

We were up early to take Twitch back to town. Depending on how he responded to the steroid shot, we faced the possibility of having to drive up to Kenai-Soldotna to have a scope put down his throat to see what is going on.

But Twitch seemed slightly brighter to me this morning, and Denny remarked that he was breathing better. It wasn't until we heard both vets say the same that we felt we could trust it wasn't wishful thinking.

So we brought Twitch back home and are trying a course of steroids. Twitch is good about taking the pills but I still haven't seen him eat or drink on his own. I am guardedly optimistic but I won't relax until he is feeling better.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Twitch to the Vet



I woke up to Punkin nestled on the pillow above my head--her traditional sleeping spot. It has been weeks since she has spent the night on the bed with us. It was a sweetness I had missed and gave my day a nice beginning.

The temperatures warmed up overnight. Denny went outside to plug in the truck this morning but didn't since it was almost thirty degrees.

We got up about eight-thirty and got the cats fed before heading into town for a busy day.

Twitch wasn't doing any better so we dropped him off at the veterinary clinic so the vet could check him out at her leisure. He hasn't responded to home nursing and I am getting concerned.

Unfortunately, the vets didn't have much to offer on what is ailing Mr. Twitch. The x-ray showed nothing wrong but his throat and airway seemed inf lammed, so he was given a steroid shot and some antibiotics and scheduled for a re-check tomorrow.

It is so depressing when one of our cats is sick and we can't help them.

lights from the driveway

With Twitch and his carrier settled on my lap, I was happy to see the lights of home as we pulled in the driveway. Here's hoping tomorrow has better news for us.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cat Update

On the cat front, Punkin has perked up a bit over the last few days, seeming more like her old, gregarious self. I can read the writing on the wall but am grateful to see Punkin having good days.

On the otherhand, I am worried about Twitch. He spent all day Thursday sleeping in the dining room. It wasn't like him but you can't really call the vet clinic complaining that your cat is sleeping all day. That's sort of what cats do, after all....

On Fiday, however, Mr. Twitch upped the ante by up-chucking. This--of course--is also fairily normal to a point, as any cat owner could testify> But I draw the line at vomiting of foam--that tells me the stomach is in distress.

I gave Twitch a quarter-tablet of Pepcid to settle his tummy but he brought it back up about an hour later.

So we went to the vet clinic for an exam and blood work. About $200 later, the most I learned was that his blood work was "text-book" perfect and there weren't any signs of plumbing obstructions. He was given some anti emetic injections and sub-cutaneous fluids before we came back home.

My mind was a bit relieved that his internal chemistry was looking normal and the shots stopped his vomiting. But he found himself a cozy den on the mezzanine and stayed there.

He came out this morning for a while, while I was feeding cats. I didn't see him eat but he stayed around the food dishes for a while. His eyes were watery and he was sneezing, so I am hoping he is just fighting off the cat flu. He was mouth-breathing this morning but aside from that wasn't showing any signs of discomfort. I gave him some fluids to help with his hydration and a little later, I found some feline antihistamines and gave him one. I hope it helps with his congestion.

Aside from that, it is just a matter of time. Twitch is young and healthy and if it is the flu, he should start feeling better in a day or so. All I can do is watch him and try to keep him comfortable.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Frannie by Tree-Light



A simple picture but I love the warmth and peace of it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Twitch at the Door



Twitch watched from the back door while I was outside scattering bird seed. He is an avid wildlife watcher but I think he appreciates being able to keep his paws warm and dry while doing so.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Fluffy" Went Home Today!

I checked the log book when I got in to the Shelter today--hoping against experience that *someone* was looking for one or both of our two most recent newcomers. There was only one "lost cat" listed--an eight-year-old neutered male, orange.

The name of the owner looked familiar so when Sherry came in, I asked her from whereabouts this cat was missing. It turns out the cat was missing from the next road up the hill from ours...

Now I was never able to tell "Fluffy's" gender with certainty--the coat was just too thick. Given Black Jack's continued hostility, I had to concede that "Fluffy" may indeed be an eight-year-old neutered male. Sherry said the people were very concerned about their kitty--not only had they called but they had paid a visit to the Shelter to see if their cat was there. If there was a chance that I had their kitty, I wanted to get it home to them.

When I got home, I gave them a call and arranged a meeting. And, yes, our Miss Fluffer-nutter was their missing "Pumpkin."

I know their little girl was thrilled to have her kitty back. And I know Pumpkin is happy to back in familiar surroundings with the people he loves, and who love him.

And our shop seems a bit more tranquil without the vibes of competing male egos.

Everyone is happy with the outcome.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baby Punkin



Fourteen years ago, in November of 1994, Punkin was a hard-headed bit of orange fluff.

I had no way of knowing what she would become to me.

I am saddened to see her now, reduced to a tired, old cat.

Driven by the terrible thirst of her disease, she wanders the house, going from water bowl to fountain to sink. I tempt her with newly-drawn water or with fresh-fallen snow but that isn't what she seeks. Nothing we can offer seems to be precisely what she craves, though she will sip a little before moving on in her quest. She gets ample fluids under her skin every evening, keeping her hydrated. That satisfies her for a while.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful



Black Jack is obviously thankful for his new home and his new bed. We are glad that he's no longer out in the cold.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Red Girl



The newest cat is relaxing in the big cage but soon will be given the run of the shop. True to her Persian blood, she is mellow and confident, with no interest in confrontation.

We haven't settled on a name for her yet. For now, I refer to her as "Fluffy" or "Fluffer-nutter" just because we have to call her something.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Frannie



Frannie found a spot for herself between the window ledge and the as-yet-undecorated tree. The perfect place for bird-watching.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Flame in the Night



We finally trapped the shaggy red-haired cat yesterday morning.

After we got the cat from the trap to the cage, we were able to ascertain that it was not only quite tame but a female as well.

I seem to have a karma for those red girls...

She is a mellow and friendly girl. Like Sally, she is in very good shape.

I put both of the newest cats in the newspapers, hoping maybe someone is missing them. But since they were out hunting food in the middle of the night and in single-digit temperatures, I suspect no one cares for either of them.

For now, they are both safe and warm. I hope these are all of the lost cats wandering in our area. How I hate seeing little paw prints in the snow outside on bitter winter mornings.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

His Own Bed



Black Jack has chosen as his own the convergance point of the pathways through the shop. We find him hunkered down at the foot of the cat tree keeping an eye on our comings and goings. So I brought him out a couple of our "cat-bed" rags to make him a nesting spot and he seems quite happy to have a bed all of his own.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tabby Girl



She is in the house now.

We trapped her a couple days ago.

She spent two days in the cage in the shop, adjusting to her change of circumstance while we took stock. She is friendly and apparently spayed--which means she has been someone's kitty at one point in her life. Her shyness speaks of a long time on her own, scrounging for a living, but she is in good shape, except for a healing wound on her forehead, above her left eye. It is circular--the impact of a tooth or small projectile (pellet gun?)--and healed over. What had happened to her? Had she been shot and left for dead? Had she had a narrow escape from a dog or coyote?

I doubt we will ever know but she is safe now.

She proved so friendly that we let her out of the cage after a couple days and let her come into the house. She has claimed the cat tree in the spare bedroom as her spot and is happy to recieve our attentions there.

I don't know why she was abandoned but so far, she has been no problem at all. Regardless, she has a home here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cats and Sun



Punkin and Bart catch the afternoon rays.

We are saddened to see Punkin grow thinner as her kidney disease progresses. Her time is drawing toward its close. She seems drawn out and restless. I treasure each moment we have with her, counting off the dates--will she last until Thanksgiving? Christmas? Will she see the dawn of 2009?

Love lasts forever. Life doesn't.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ghosts

Just days after we trapped Black Jack back in September and brought him inside, another cat began making nocturnal visits.

On our monitor camera, it appeared white but when I crept downstairs to peek out the window, I saw the cat was actually a vivid orange.

I have a weakness for orange cats. He reminded me of Wild Red, the feral father of Frieda and her littermates. He vanished thirteen years ago, undoubtedly victim to the cruelties of the wild.

Then, on the evening of Halloween, another cat appeared on the scene--a plumpish, shy-acting tabby who looked for all the world like the late Fat Sally. On the monitor, the resemblance was enough to give me chills. Was it the ghost of Fat Sally, come for an annual visit? It wasn't until she showed up the next night that I believed she was real.

And she was obviously a "she", timid and looking hesitantly around before snatching a few mouthfuls of cat food, quick to skitter off if startled.

I tell Denny that the stray cats around here are like sharks' teeth--pull one inside and another is quick to show up. I suspect that these two cats have neighboring territories and only the presence of Black Jack in our yard kept them from coming by earlier. But they are here now and the temperatures are dropping--so we have to start trapping again.

Until there are no sad little paw prints in the cold, cold snow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peaceful



Has she forgotten the cold, dark days of her life as a stray? I hope so.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tummy Tuesday

Jackie rolling in the shop

Black Jack--aka "Jackie"--enjoys the security of an indoor life.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Black Jack

Jackie

Another picture of our newest addition as he relaxes in the shop.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Raider



Raider--one of the "Boys in the Back"--has been venturing out into the main house in the last couple days. He behaves himself--as always-- and seems to be trying very hard to fit in.

Each evening, about supper time, he asks to return to the back rooms to spend the night with familiar companions.

Here he is napping on a convenient parka.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Feral Cats



Some time ago I got tired of reminding people not to stand in the doorway talking on their way in or out.

In fairness, Punkin or Twitch or any other of the house cats are more prone to "door-dive" than our former-ferals, who devote their days to skulking and hiding. But chasing down any escapee is time-consuming and puts them in danger, so I made up reminders to post on our doors.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Snickers



The violas are finally being worn down by our steady sub-freezing temperatures but Snickers remains as lively as ever.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Quiet Moment


Punkin does a little sun-bathing upstairs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bart Relaxing



Easy-going Bart takes in some mid-day sunshine.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Burnished



The low-riding sun of November gilds a watchful Twitch.

He is feeling more at-ease in the house now, though he still ends his hours-long forays into our world by asking to go back out into the shop.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Out and About



I thought I would post a recent photo of Black Jack--the cat formerly known as "the black-and-white stray."

Since his surgery in September, he has become calmer and happier. He is feeling safe enough to dash around the shop in "play-mode" when he is let out of his cage. We guess him to be about five years old.

We still keep him confined when Twitch is in the shop. The two young males have yet to sort out their relationship. In a perfect world, they would eventually become friends and playmates but for now, there is too much insecurity and fear.

This is Black Jack under some shop equipment. He cleans up nicely.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Me and My Shadow....



In the face of Black Jack's presence in the shop, Twitch asked to come into the house. Despite his size, Twitch is rather timid and the prospect of having a stranger in the shop disquiets him.

So we began letting him come into the house for ever-increasing lengths of time. He is not aggressive and the house cats don't see him as "foreign" so the transition is going smoothly.

Except that Bart is very protective of his status as "man of the house" and for the first few days followed Twitch around. He kept a discrete distance of two or three feet but made sure that Twitch appreciated his status.

I bet they will be sleeping together by Christmas...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Spark of Sacred Fire

Punkin, napping at the edge of a stray sunbeam, glowed like an ember against the dark bedspread.



Her kidney disease is slowly eroding her down to a tired, old cat. I notice that she perks up considerably on the days that I give her sub-cutaneous fluids but she hasn't come to terms with that yet and still fights me.

It will be a sad day when she is too weak to do so.



For now, I treasure each day I can share with her.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Snowy Sunday



Cozy inside despite the snow that greeted us this morning. Punkin and Lena enjoy the best beds in the house.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Then and Now

I took the first photo at the end of March, through the upstairs window . The black-and-white stray was skittish and would disappear if he thought he was being looked at. Although we kept dry cat food available, we didn't notice that he seemed particularly hungry when he came by our house. Sometimes we wouldn't catch sight of him for weeks on end, but he kept coming back over the course of three years.



I kept hoping to see some evidence that he had a home, that someone somewhere in our neighborhood cared about him. But over time I realized that if he had a home, it wasn't a very good one. He was un-neutered and--to judge from his coat--sleeping outside. So when I finally trapped him last week, I was really expecting him to be feral. But during the course of transferring him from the trap to the cage, I was able to touch him in passing--very briefly--without drawing a hostile response from him. After he calmed down, he let me--very tentatively--scratch behind his ears.

This photo was taken a few days ago. He is adjusting to his confinement under protest. He wants out of the cage and to be outside. Neither of those things are going to happen for him. He has to stay in the cage for a few more weeks and he may never be allowed the freedom to roam that he once had.

But he has warmed up to me. I hope that means we can work him into our household. It will just take time.



He is scheduled to see the vet for a check up and surgery on Thursday.

Melted Kitties

A sure sign that fall is in the air, I finally put a fire in the wood stove yesterday. It has been a cool summer. There have been times when my hands were cold as I worked at the keyboard. But generally our house holds heat very well.

Still, nightime temperatures are dipping below forty now and the lower rooms were beginning to feel noticeably cool, so I built a fire. Once I get a fire going in the stove, I try to keep it going until I have to shut the stove down to clean out the ashes--two or three times a year. So hauling wood is once again part of the daily routine.

You can trust cats to know the wamrest spots in the house, so I wasn't surprised to find the downstairs littered with dozing cats. The radiant heat of the stove seems to melt them.

Frannie on the bookcase

The top of the bookcase, with its old Army blanket, is one of Franie's favorite spots to nap.

Slippers, melted

Slippers likes to stay close to the hearth.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Snickers and Violas



Snickers saw me off to town this morning, meowing from the can run. If this photo looks vaguely familiar, maybe it is because I caught her in a similar pose back in May.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bart



Bart is one of those cats that it is a joy to live with. He is always in a good mood and gets along with nearly everyone in our household.

I am so glad he decided to come in from the cold and join us three years ago.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Ferals

Bart and Skinny

Bart and Skinny in the "cat-condo." Shot through glass so sorry it is a bit smudged.

Grendel

Shy Grendel.