rose_cat: (cats adorable trio)
The Adorable Trio has landed!

We got back about seven hours ago. The cats have settled down, more or less. Jackson and Jillian are sacked out in cozy places, but Rudy is about ten inches away from me, on the desk. He's still purring and nuzzling; he's been an insatiable love sponge since he walked out of the carrier, about five minutes after we got home. The cats are of course exhausted from six hours in the car. So are the humans. (Although we only had to do three hours of it, thanks to my late cousin's awesome friend, who brought them from Coarsegold to Santa Clarita.)

More details tomorrow.
rose_cat: (cats adorable trio)
The day is fast approaching for us to collect the Adorable Trio. We'll be going up to Santa Clarita probably Saturday so we can stay the night, pick up the cats from the way station around 1 PM Sunday, and zoom back home. My dear cousin in Albuquerque has been, and continues to be, awesome. She's set most of this up and reassured me that the cats will handle this just fine (she has some experience in this area).

I think the house is ready. (Not that I won't be doing more stuff anyway.) Naturally I'm still worrying, but that's what I do.

Anyway, CATS! I feel my mood lifting already.

My apologies for people whose comments I haven't responded to. I'll catch up. It's been a little crazy here.
rose_cat: (cats adorable trio)
Guess what?

B and I are adopting the cats of a cousin of mine who sadly passed away several weeks ago. His sister (who lives in New Mexico) cleverly e-mailed me several photos of the trio while I was trying to decide if it was a good idea to do so. It worked.


Jillian (top), Rudy (center), and Jackson

seven more photos and the full story )
rose_cat: (missy cat)
I alluded in a previous post to Missy’s “old tricks.” Here’s an instance from a few months ago.

I was eating dinner on the couch while watching TV (yes, I eat on the couch) with B and Missy. Missy was in her customary spot, on the bolster between us. (Convenient for petting on demand.) I got up for some reason or other and left the room.

During most of her life, Missy was uninterested in almost all people food. We’d even allowed her to get up on the dinner table while we were eating, since she caused no problems while she was there. (I’ll write about why she started getting away with that in the first place some other time.) In the past few years, however, that had changed, probably around the time we put her on a diet. In fact, she’d started trying to get at my plate whenever I ate on the couch. After some gentle correction on my part, though, she mostly behaved.

But I’d learned that if I left the room – or even moved a few feet away from my seat – that Missy was most definitely not to be trusted. If B was there, I’d remind him to keep on eye on things; otherwise, I’d pick up the plate and carry it with me.

I don’t know why I didn’t think to ask B to keep Missy in check this time.

B: Oh, Dear?

Me: Just a minute; I’ll be right there.

B: Dear, you really need to come and see this.

Missy had, true to form, helped herself. She’d pulled the thick slice of tri-tip off the plate when B was looking the other way. She was standing on the seat of the couch, her paws on her prize, just staring at it. It was a third of the length of her tail.

I couldn’t help but imagine her dragging away her kill, pulling it between her legs, like a leopard on the savannah. But she was just standing on it – as if to keep it from escaping – and looking confused.

“Well, I caught it…now what?”

I had to remove the cat and what was left of my dinner, as B was no help at all. He was laughing too hard.
rose_cat: (missy cat)
I'm taking Missy to the vet for the last time this afternoon. Time to let her go.
rose_cat: (cat rose)
Well, what do you know? I found a food Missy wants to eat! I got a few cans of Sheba to try, and she not only ate, but shoveled it in. I haven't seen her eat like that in weeks! She's a lot brighter and happier. So am I :)

I'll update in more detail later on.
rose_cat: (cat rose)
Stop this ride, I want to get off. And take my kitty girl to solid ground.

progress, such as it is )
rose_cat: (missy cat)
Missy is home and doing well. When I first brought her in, she was in a bit of a daze, but when I picked up a can of food, she focused immediately. She sucked that stuff in faster than I've seen her do in weeks -- hell, maybe months. This was the free sample from the vet -- it's a CKD diet that's supposedly better long-term than what she's been getting, and she did eat it in the hospital -- but we don't have much of it, and I don't know if she's likely to stay with it. So I just opened a new can of her usual stuff, hoping she'd still eat it. And she did. I mixed in a little water, and she seemed to have an easier time slurping it in. I kept sweeping it with my fingers back into a little hill as she pushed it around the plate, and she ate a good amount of that. Then she sat down, licked her chops, looked at me and purred.

Another good sign is that Missy's getting up to some of her old tricks, which I'll try to write about in the next post, among other things. The test results I'm worried about weren't available today. So that other shoe is still hanging up there.

Right now, B and I are focusing on keeping her as happy as possible, and loving her for as long as we can. Even at 3 AM. *sigh*

And now I hear meowing from the couch. Excuse me, my Miss-tress calls :D

(And then I'm going to collapse, if Missy leaves any room on the couch, that is.)
rose_cat: (missy cat)
Me, not so much.

First off, I want to thank all of you who've commented and PM'd and offered me support. I love you all so much, and I'm not sure how I'd get through all of this without you.

holding it together )
rose_cat: (missy cat)
...which, under the circumstances, is the best place for her to be. Which I know, but I'm not really feeling it right now.

details )
rose_cat: (missy cat)
We took Missy -- who, as several of you know, has had chronic kidney disease for over three years now -- for her regular (as in every few months) checkup. veterinary details and general sadness )
rose_cat: (missy cat)
We took Missy for her six-month checkup a couple of weeks ago. Things look good. Not great, but good.

more about Missy and her mom )
rose_cat: (damselfly)
Monarch count today: 28 eggs, 60 caterpillars. 59 of the cats ranged from about 3-4mm; one was about 31mm. That's 22 fewer eggs than three days ago, but only 5 more cats. The 31mm cat has got to be one of the ones that were 25mm on Monday, but the other two are gone. Aside from that, how many eggs hatched into caterpillars, how many died, and how many cats died is anybody's guess.

I wish I knew a good way to mark the caterpillars. Even if there was something that was harmless and could be applied to a soft-bodied creature as small as 1mm, it would just be molted off with the old skin. A microchip would be good, since I could just wave a scanner over the plants. A very small microchip... Dream on, I guess.

It was after 10 PM when I finished the count. By then I had a desk lamp out there, but because the cord is so short and the electrical outlets so few and so oddly placed (who the hell designed that?), the sliding door had to be open quite a bit. This being the time of year for June bugs (which are actually not bugs, but a type of scarab beetle), several showed up and thunked off the lamp. Of course some of them ended up flying into the bedroom.

When B gives Missy her nightly treats, he throws them up and down the hall, in various rooms, etc. Tonight one toss ricocheted off a door frame and disappeared. Missy hunted all over until she spied a spot on the rug. It wasn't the treat; it was a confused June bug. Missy sniffed at it and then turned to stare at me expectantly. Sorry, Missy. Mom will do almost anything for you, but even she can't turn beetles into treats.
rose_cat: (cat rose)
Missy went to the vet recently. She did not want to go to the vet, but I insisted. Her yowls were heartrending. And that was before I even got her into the carrier.

Missy's doing well. She hasn't lost any more weight since her last appointment in May, and her condition looks good. It seems that we caught the kidney problems in time to stop further damage, for the moment at least.

She does have fleas, which I'd expected (having discovered flea dirt a couple of days before), and have now treated with Advantage (one of the best inventions ever). What I didn't expect was what looked to the vet like early signs of resorption on one of her teeth. Missy isn't showing any signs of dental pain, and, with her age and kidney disease, Dr. Yank is recommending conservative treatment. What that means is keeping an eye on it for now and probably taking X-rays at some point. Missy will be back there for routine blood tests in a couple of months and the tooth can be reexamined then. Dr. Yank thinks it's possible that the tooth could be completely absorbed over time -- that happened with one of her own cats -- in which case, it wouldn't be necessary to pull it. I'd really rather not have her put under general anesthesia if I can help it.

Also: thirteen monarch chrysalises around the yard! *happy dance* There might even be more over the next couple of days. If the weather stays warm, they might even start emerging during the next week. Fingers crossed!
rose_cat: (tardis)
Brought to my attention by my awesome brother.

Crane lower that rover )

Also posted to [livejournal.com profile] lolscience.
rose_cat: (blergh)
I woke up at 1 PM (PST) this morning to see B looking through his T-shirts. Having washed his dress shirts the night before, my first thought was “oh shit, he just found them and they’re not dry yet.” (Uhh, casual Friday, dear?) Or maybe he was going for a walk first?

“Going for a walk, honey?”

“Um, no, my car’s still up the hill...”

(our street was resurfaced yesterday)

“…and it’s 102 outside.” (Fahrenheit, of course)

“A hundred and WHAT?! Are you kidding?”

I really thought he was kidding -- I was still under a light blanket and didn’t feel the least bit hot – but, no, he was not.

“It’s already eighty in here.”

The Santa Ana winds had arrived.

A few minutes later, B left, his work clothes in a bag. I leapt out of bed and raced outside -- almost burning my hand on the outer doorknob -- looking for a way to shade the tiny monarch caterpillars in the big milkweed pot from the blasting sun. (The last batch was lost to heat and wasps, and damned if I was going to lose another.) Reassured that I wasn’t too late by a couple of caterpillars vigorously chomping away, I put something together with patio chairs, an old tomato cage, and a towel.

Then I noticed that -- even though I’d watered them yesterday and they were in partial shade -- the milkweed plants in the ground were desperately limp. I turned on the hose and suddenly it was raining. Hard. HUH? But – the sun’s still shining, and this isn’t Seattle, and – OH. I’d been wondering when that crack in the hose was going to give way. And it felt pretty good, anyway.

It was a little awkward, though, watering with a loop of hose.

I was worried about the three large swallowtail caterpillars, but when I poured a bucket of water around the fennel plants, one of them charged out of a tuft of grass. (I hope that’s where the others were hiding.) As it climbed up the wooden fence, I worried that it was going to get too hot before it could get into the shade, so I gave it a gentle boost. It stopped dead and bobbed its head at me like a stubborn donkey or something. So I just leaned over it to keep the sun off. Eventually it got going again and got itself into the shade.

Let’s see: high temperatures, low humidity, hillsides covered with brush as dry as a bone, Santa Ana winds. All we need now is a spark.

It’s supposed to be hot tomorrow, too, but by Sunday it should be starting to cool down.

Like Velcro

Feb. 6th, 2008 05:00 am
rose_cat: (cat rose)
It all started with my first volunteer position at a small nonprofit animal shelter. I  had recently cared for a tiny kitten that had been brought to the shelter after he'd been found on somebody's lawn. Mickey, as I called him, was about one day old, and with no mother, the odds were against his survival. But I fell in love with him in less than two weeks. His death was devastating, and everyone at the shelter knew that I was longing for another kitten to foster.

One afternoon, two employees, Susan and Caroline(not their real names), found me in the cattery. They were grinning mischievously. "We have a surprise for you!"  I could hear the frantic squeaking all the way back in the office. At the front desk (and on the front desk) was a tiny tabby-and-white furball. As I walked in, she launched herself at the Good Samaritan who had rescued her and clung to the front of her sweater. By then, several employees had appeared. They were all laughing. I plucked the little one off the woman's sweater with some difficulty. It was like removing Velcro. The kitten immediately latched onto my shirt. I cupped my hand over her and hurried to the kitchen to find her something to eat.

The animal technicians estimated the kitten's age at about four weeks. She was a month too young for adoption and had probably still been nursing from her mother. As I looked through the cupboards with one hand while holding the squirming kitten in the other, I discovered that the shelter had no kitten formula and no suitable soft food on hand. There were, however, a couple of jars of baby food. When I offered her strained beef in a spoon, the kitten's desperate cries stopped and she licked and gulped it greedily. When she was full, she climbed up my shirt and head-bonked me, rubbing her sticky face against mine. I heard the soft buzz of kitten purring and fell hopelessly in love. Again.

When it comes to kittens, I'm easy.

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