“I don’t always lie on the floor,” Master Rufus told me today…
…”but when I do, I do so with dignity.”
“I don’t always lie on the floor,” Master Rufus told me today…
…”but when I do, I do so with dignity.”
August 8 is world cat day. As a proud servant to two feline masters, I celebrate.
We have had at least one cat in the house for nearly 24 years. More than one, for nearly 20 years.
Never before did I have a problem with cats and wires. And believe you me, I have plenty of wires in this house, especially in my study.
A few days ago, our cat Freddy overnight decided to attack my wired earbuds that I use with my desktop computer for Skype. He completely chewed through the (thin, rubbery, and I guess tasty) wire in several places, and eventually left the scene with his “trophy”, the separated earbuds.
Needless to say, I was not amused.
And then two days ago, while I was sitting on the porcelain throne in the little programmers’ room, I suddenly heard a loud noise from my study. A few seconds later, I heard my wife cry out in anguish: “Your mouse!”
Yup. The poor mouse, completely separated from its plug, was by then hanging from Freddy’s mouth as he was proudly exiting the scene.
Was I ever pissed. Before I even got downstairs, my wife locked Freddy in the downstairs powder room. I went there with the remnants of the mouse and impressed upon him just how angry I was. No, don’t worry, I did not harm Freddy. I would rather poke my eyes out first. I love the little guy dearly, but even if I didn’t, I do not harm living creatures. Darnit, I feel bad swatting fruit flies. I would most certainly not hurt a cat. But yell at him? Oh yes. Throwing the remnants of the mouse wire at him? Yes. Smashing the mouse in front of him showing just how upset I was? Absolutely.
When I left him in the sink with the remnants of the mouse, I think he knew. When I let him out of the powder room some time later, he was not afraid of me (much to my relief) but he remained very subdued. And when I was finally talking to him again the next day, he seemed relieved.
Will he stop chewing wires? I hope so. I am now liberally applying cat repellent to the wires on and under my desk and also around my servers. We are also giving Freddy snacks rich in fiber; cats supposedly don’t need fiber, but sometimes they do. And we will visit the vet soon for a checkup, just to be on the safe side.
Silly cat. What kind of a cat steals a mous… Oh wait.
Last night was the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the demolition of the Berlin Wall.
It was a momentous event. I spent days glued to CNN, watching things unfold and wondering if I was witnessing the beginning of a new world order or prelude to nuclear Armageddon.
Yet here we are, three decades later, alive and kicking, and still no world war in sight (though looking at global politics in the past decade, I cannot say that I am not worried.)
For now, though, here is a nice picture with which to celebrate, courtesy of a Twitter account dedicated to giant military cats.
This is Master Rufus.
Master Rufus would like to wish a Happy New Year to all our family, friends, indeed all good people who stumble upon this blog post.
Between the tragic, sudden loss of our cat Kifli and the unexpected arrival of our new cat Freddy, there is also our now oldest cat Rufus.
Rufus is a gentle giant. For a few days after Freddy’s arrival, he seemed a bit depressed, but I think he mostly got over it. (Just to be sure, we had his bloodwork done at the vet; there were no concerns.) Now that they’ve known each other for ten days or so, it seems that Freddy and Rufus are getting along quite well.
Incidentally, the shredded fabric that is seen in the lower left of this picture is fabric hanging from the edge of a sofa. A very comfortable piece of furniture, to be sure; sadly, also a cats’ favorite when it comes to regular claw maintenance.
Supposedly, at one year and two months, a kittycat is fully grown.
But in case we mistook “fully grown” for “adult”, Freddy is here to remind us of our mistake.
I think this picture illustrates my point well. Although he isn’t actually misbehaving at the moment the picture was snapped, you can see it in his eyes. Something is about to happen. Soon, there will be a cat where no cat should be, or there will be things flying that were supposed to sit, undisturbed, on tables or shelves.
But this is why cats are so much fun.
It all began with a short discussion after Kifli passed away. My wife was wondering if we’d ever find a pair of kittens like Kifli and Szürke.
On a whim, I decided to check out the Ottawa Humane Society’s adoption site. They have had littermates available for adoption in the past. Not this time, though.
However, I did stumble across a photo of Freddy, a 14-month old fawn tabby not unlike Kifli.
Silly, we said. You should not be thinking about adopting a cat less than 24 hours after you lost one, we said.
Nonetheless, we decided to check this cat out. And when he was out of his cage, first thing he did, he climbed onto my wife’s back, to perch there.
How can you say no to a cat like this?
So world, this is Freddy. Freddy, say hello to everyone. And we’re back to being a two-cat household. While we still grieve over the loss of Kifli, instead of crying, we smile as we endure this new cat’s antics, while he is discovering the house.
About a week ago, our seventeen-and-a-half year old cat Kifli lost his appetite and started to have a bit of a diarrhea. Nothing too concerning, but we decided to take him to the vet come Monday.
By Monday morning, things were obviously more serious as Kifli stopped eating. He was still drinking though, so we were not too concerned. But an urgent visit to the vet was no longer merely optional. Still, our main concern at this time was to request the vet to clip Kifli’s claws, because he always managed to get them stuck in pieces of furniture (not to mention our own rather tender skin.)
But then, once the bloodwork came back on Tuesday, the vet told us that the symptoms were those of pancreatitis, quite possibly a result of lymphoma or some other form of cancer. The prognosis was poor.
An ultrasound exam was recommended. The ultrasound specialist was booked for Wednesday evening.
By Wednesday morning, Kifli was doing a lot worse, so I called the vet and took Kifli there in the morning, to make sure he is under proper medical care. He received some fluids. When I went to pick him up in the evening, his belly was shaved (for the ultrasound) and he was still very wobbly from the anesthesia. The vet, in fact, was concerned and recommended a stay at an overnight hospital nearby. However, when it became clear that the kitty may not live to see the morning, we opted to keep him home instead, closely monitoring him for signs of distress.
When we got home, Kifli was agitated. He released a few drops of urine. We presented him with a litterbox near his basket, but that was not good enough for him; though wobbly and groggy, he ambled and stumbled downstairs, to use the regular litterbox (more or less successfully.)
The night was uneventful. Kifli even seemed to recover a little. But in the morning, his condition was getting worse.
But then, a ray of hope! A cytology result arrived late in the morning, and it showed that the likely cause was a massive bacterial infection, not cancer. So suddenly, instead of planning for euthanasia, we were discussing a treatment plan with the vet. An aggressive plan involving multiple medications and a feeding tube (and no guarantee of success) but… well, a very thin, anemic ray of hope, but a ray of hope nonetheless. So I took Kifli to the vet again, to get him prepared for the mild anesthesia required to insert the feeding tube.
The call from the vet came much sooner than I expected. Not with good news. Kifli was collapsing. He already had a seizure, and he was now breathing pure oxygen, kept alive by a heated blanket as his heart rate and body temperature were dropping both. We knew what this meant. A final trip to the vet, from which we would come home with an empty cat carrier.
As we made our way through an unusually heavy traffic jam (a combination of afternoon traffic and a road closure), the vet called us again. “What would you like me to do in case Kifli goes into cardiac arrest?” His condition was that bad. I asked the vet to use her best medical judgment.
Kifli was barely alive when we got there, about ten minutes later. We had one final discussion with the vet and then agreed to the inevitable. My hand was on Kifli’s chest when he received the first injection. His little heart stopped instantly, without waiting for the second injection. It was truly his time.
What I feel right now is unbearable heartbreak, but I know that soon enough, I’ll be able to smile again as I recall his antics. He was… quite a cat, that’s all I can say.
Good-bye, Kifli. Jó éjszakát.
MJ the cat has been a regular visitor in our neighborhood in the past 13 years. Spotting him on a bright March day was always regarded by us as the first sign of spring after a long, dark, cold winter.
Alas, MJ is about to depart this world. He was taken by someone to the Humane Society’s shelter a few days ago. He has since been reunited with his owner, but we learned the bad news: he is very ill, and he will be euthanized tonight.
Goodbye, MJ. The neighborhood will not be the same without you. I can only hope that spring will still come next year.
World, meet MJ the cat:
MJ has been visiting us for many years. This is the fourteenth summer, as a matter of fact, that he shows up on our doorstep from time to time. He introduced numerous other cats from the neighborhood, including our beloved Pipacs whom we adopted 11 years ago.
We knew that MJ was alright, because we’ve seen him on his own front porch not too long ago. But we were wondering if this aging kitty would still feel sufficiently adventurous to visit us. Well… here he is again. I just hope that he is careful when crossing Cobourg Street. It’s wide, with plenty of bus traffic. I hope he has a safe journey home.
For years now, we’ve been insuring our cats with Trupanion. We picked this insurer because they offered something we actually wanted: insurance for catastrophic expenses. (We don’t need an insurer to cover routine exams and vaccinations.)
We expected professional and courteous service from Trupanion, and that’s what we always received. Even when specific claims were denied, the explanation was always clear, unambiguous, and consistent with their written policies. We never had any complaints.
What we did not expect was this level of personalized care: this postcard.
The back side, not reproduced here, contains several hand-written offers of condolences from Trupanion employees on account of us losing our kitty Pipacs.
If their intent was to generate goodwill towards the company and view them as something more than just a faceless corporation, but rather, as a group of caring people, they certainly succeeded. Thank you. I have a feeling that we are going to remain your loyal customers for years to come.
This was our not quite 12-year old kitten, Pipacs, just over an hour ago, less than fifteen minutes before he was euthanized.
It appears that we picked the right time as it was the end of the line for him anyway. His bladder was now blocked by the bone tumor that he has been battling with so bravely for the past three years, beating all odds (and using up all nine of his lives) in the past three months in particular. So quite likely, he would have died a much more painful death soon, perhaps within the next 24 hours.
We are now a two-cat household. Good-bye, Pipacska. It was a privilege to have you for the past ten and a half years.
Our oldest cat Kifli just turned 17.
One more year and he’ll be eligible to vote.
Our kitty Pipacs is still doing okay.
Today, he managed to show the oddest of faces when my wife attempted to take a picture:
Don’t worry, he was just yawning.
What we haven’t seen is any poop from him in the past 36 hours or so, and he seemed to be a bit under the weather at times. I hope it doesn’t mean that his bowel is obstructed again. We know he’s living on borrowed time, but we hope that there is still a little bit more time out there for him to borrow.
Our smallest cat, Pipacs, continues to do well.
Four weeks ago, we thought we were on a death watch: The kitty was severely ill, no longer able to poop as his intestines were blocked by an invasive bone growth. Laxatives, even several enemas were of no use.
We were convinced that the only alternative to a slow, painful death was euthanasia.
But then, he suddenly pooped. (What a relief. Especially for him.) Since then, we’ve been able to manage him with medication.
I don’t know how long he will still be with us, but for now, he is doing okay. The bone growth distorting his pelvis is quite large now, making it all but impossible for him to use one of his hind legs, but it doesn’t appear to bother him too much, except when he is trying to use that leg to scratch an itch. Just watching it is frustrating! (How do multiple amputees scratch themselves when they have to?)
But he is eating well, he is pooping well, and when the other cats aren’t chasing him around, sometimes he chases them instead.
Here is a beautiful picture of the contents of one of our litter boxes:
What makes it beautiful, you ask? Why, it is a thermal infrared image. And it shows some unambiguously fresh poop. Fresh poop produced just a few minutes prior by our kitty Pipacs, whom we were about to write off two weeks ago, as we were certain that his digestive system shut down, him being unable to poop as his bowels are obstructed by an invasive bone growth.
But Pipacs still has a few of his nine little lives left. I don’t know how long he’ll stay with us; we take it one day at a time. But with the medication he receives (a combination of laxatives and stool softeners) he is coping for the time being.
Concerned as we were (and still are) about the health of our smallest kitty Pipacs, it helps to remember that we have two other felines in the house, both in good health as far as we know (fingers crossed and all that.)
The orange tabby on the left, Kifli, will turn 17 in April. He will be old enough to vote in next year’s federal election! He has not stated his political preference yet.
And despite their similarities, the two cats are not related. The cat on the right, Rufus, was a stray. He was approximately one year old when we adopted him in the fall of 2014.
Much to our surprise, not to mention relief, our kittycat Pipacs is a lot better today.
We noticed yesterday afternoon: he began eating again. He seemingly felt better. He groomed himself. He even played with us a little.
And then this morning: a nice, big poop in the litter box.
So his digestive system is functioning again. Probably with difficulty, so he is going to be permanently on a diet of laxatives and stool softeners, but so long as he is able to poop, he should be okay as otherwise, other than the bone growth on his pelvis, he is healthy.
This bone growth is not going to go away, so we’re living on borrowed time. But borrowed time is still a lot better than no time at all.
I already called the vet and canceled the scheduled visit for tonight. Thinking of Murphy’s law, however, I asked them not to process a refund yet, just keep the amount we already paid on our account.
This beautiful creature, who has been our companion for ten and a half years, give or take, is Pipacs (Hungarian for Poppy, pronounced pi-patch or something like, with the ‘i’ as in the word hit, the ‘a’ in the word bark, with emphasis on the first syllable.)
Unfortunately, Pipacs is very ill.
He was diagnosed with a growth on his pelvis three years ago. Even back then, the only treatment option was drastic surgery: Removal of a large part of his pelvis along with the leg on that side.
Pipacs has always been a very skittish cat. He was a stray when we adopted him, probably about a year old in late summer 2007. He is very easily traumatized. This, and the very low risk of such a growth spreading to other organs led us to the decision not to opt for surgery.
One thing we did not anticipate is that the growth, which increased in size rather dramatically in the past few months, would encroach on his digestive system and eventually obstruct his colon.
Which is exactly what happened. Simply put, beyond incidents of explosive diarrhea after receiving enemas, Pipacs cannot poop anymore. And sadly, surgery is no longer a viable option.
Which is why our veterinarian is scheduled to make a home visit tomorrow with her euthanasia kit. And my heart breaks as I am writing these words.