It’s been a while since I last presented to the world our cat, Master Rufus.
World, please meet Master Rufus.
It’s been a while since I last presented to the world our cat, Master Rufus.
World, please meet Master Rufus.
For the record: The Viktor Toth who has recently become quite popular on YouTube by placing his pet rat into a virtual reality harness and letting him play Doom is not me.
Even if I were inclined to do such an experiment with a live animal (I am not) it would be one of my cats, and the retro game of choice would be Duke Nukem.
You see, I was never really a fan of Doom.
Today, I saw a funny post on Quora about how to pet a rabbit. Apparently, rabbits should not be picked up (fragile skeletal structure, bones that break easily) and also hate it when their tail is touched. I was about to make a cheeky comment on pulling either a rabbit or a cat by the tail. But first I wanted to fact check something quickly on Google, and that’s when I came across this article about tail pull injuries that cats sometimes suffer.
I admit I pulled our cats by the tail every once in a while. It’s funny, but also effective when you need to pull a cat back when he’s about to run out of the house or do something he’s not supposed to do.
Except… Except that, as I now learn, cats’ tails get injured relatively easily, and the injury can be devastating, affecting the bundle of nerves that exit the spinal column, which control much of their lower body. The least devastating consequence is losing mobility of the tail, but the injury can also lead to paralysis of the hind legs and incontinence. In short, ruining a cat’s life.
I did not know this. I am glad I never inadvertently caused injury to one of our cats. But I will never pull a cat by the tail again.
Fergus was a cat. A beautiful, beautiful gray cat, who belonged to my cousin and her husband.
This is Fergus, just a few days ago.
This photo shows just what a beautiful creature Fergus was. Yet perhaps it also reveals that he was not well. Though he still enjoyed the late morning sun in the backyard, he was already very unwell, sickened by leukemia.
Fergus departed this world Tuesday evening, euthanized by the same mobile vet who euthanized our long-haired cat Fluffy six years ago.
Even though I did not know Fergus well, I am deeply saddened by his passing. I am rather fond of cats. Every time I look a cat in the eye, I sense a miracle as I contemplate how those little eyeballs see this magnificent universe in which we live. And whenever a cat leaves us and walks away into the great unknown, the world that they leave behind feels like a much duller place in their absence.
World, please say hello to Freddy.
Freddy has been with us for more than two years now. He is a very funny cat. Strong-willed, to be sure; he might even bite you if he disapproves of your behavior. (No, he has not bitten off any fingers or earlobes yet.) And he likes… green peas. Or kernels of corn. And like one of our past kitties, Pipacs, Freddy also stole a freshly cooked potato from the kitchen not too long ago.
Last but not least, I should mention that his favorite toys are small pompoms. We have many of those, on account of my wife’s knitting. So I have a box of pompoms right here, next to my desk. Freddy often shows up here and, after carefully sniffing the pompoms, selects one, takes it from the box, puts it down on the floor and sits down proudly next to it, quietly meowing a few times. That is my cue to pick up the pompom and throw it down the stairs, with Freddy sprinting after it. Often, he then spends a good half hour playing with that pompom.
He also occasionally plays with his somewhat larger buddy, Rufus. I suppose Rufus looks just like a big gray-and-white pompom…
Courtesy of The New Yorker, we now know the history of Lawyer Cat, otherwise known (as we now know) as Eldest Mouse.
“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.