Saturday, January 21, 2017

Recent Adorableness: Lion

This was Lion's bed when he first came to us, but then he moved on to sleeping on our velvet chair and never looked back. So I put the bed away. I got it out the other day, thinking someone might like it  since Possum had been feeling poorly last week and Harris and Toffee are still not quite back to normal after from their dental surgeries. But it was Lion who curled up in it to recover after his own terribly traumatic vet exam — where he was admired, weighed, gently checked over, petted, and declared healthy. Then he was given a rabies shot in his tail, which I don't think he noticed.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dentistry Was Done

It's been a busy week: Lion went for his checkup on Wednesday, and Harris and Toffee had some teeth removed yesterday. Lion hates being in the carrier and rubbed his nose so hard against its mesh windows that it is red and sore. He got a clean bill of health and then didn't want to eat for 36 hours, partly because Harris and Toffee weren't around for most of that.

Those two were diagnosed with tooth resorption three weeks ago, to our horror. Here we've been brushing their teeth every other night and never noticed that each cat had two tiny lower teeth that were deteriorated to the point where the enamel was gone and the pulp exposed — certainly painful. Our vet told us that brushing doesn't prevent tooth resorption; it has nothing to do with dental hygiene and no one knows what causes it. We were eager to get them scheduled for surgery (about $800 per cat) but our hospital was booked until March. We were added to the cancellation list.

I hated the idea of having to wait more than two months to remove those painful teeth. So I called Angell to see if they could do the surgery sooner, but they were booked into March, too. They recommended an animal dentistry center 45 minutes away, in Boxborough. I called; they sounded great, and they were able to schedule us in early February. . . and then they told me it would cost $2,200 per cat.

I wish.

I had begun noticing that both cats were eating more slowly than they used to. Toffee seemed to eat "carefully" and sometimes didn't finish his food. He was also having trouble eating treats, as was Harris. It was so hard to watch and wait, so I kept finding weekly excuses to call the cat hospital and ask about the cancellation list. It was such a relief to take them there yesterday.

It was too quiet in the house yesterday. Even though Harris and Toffee sleep a lot during the day, their absence was powerful. Since Lion and Wendy hide during the day, we looked and felt like a one-cat household. It was weird: I'd put something down somewhere, and it would stay there — Harris wasn't there to knock it on the floor for me.

Possum had missed the ordeal of our stuffing his brothers into carriers early in the morning. When we returned, he was waiting. And wondering. When I went to put something away under the bed, he joined me, clearly hoping his boys were hiding under there behind the storage tubs. I waited while he checked. Then I watched him walk around, looking for them, and tried to tell him they were gone but would be back. He gave me a look that said he was trusting me, and settled down for a nap.

They were dazed and tired when they came last night. Whenever anyone goes to the vet, I always ask her for a paper towel sprayed with cat pheromones (Feliway or whatever). When we get home, I have to rub it all over all the cats AND me several times, so we all smell like each other and not like the vet.

Even so, when Lion came home and I did the paper-towel thing, Harris wouldn't stop hissing at me. I'm pretty sure he thinks of me as a big, ugly cat, so it's kind of cool as well as upsetting when he hisses at me. (I should mention that Possum never hisses at anyone. He likes cats no matter what they smell like.)

Last night, Harris and Toffee were not interested in hissing or in food. They were wobbly and dazed. We gave them antibiotics and painkillers, and they settled in to sleep. This afternoon they were finally more like themselves and ate well. Harris rolled around and purred as I stroked him between naps. Toffee wanted to play with a new pole toy and I was thrilled when he grabbed the little furry critter in his mouth and sat with it, refusing to let go. It had been a long time since I'd seen a toy in his mouth. It must mean he is already feeling better, in less pain. But it's interesting that I hadn't noticed their tooth problems until they were pointed out to me by our vet.

Take your cats to your vet for checkups even if they seem fine. Go once a year if they are young and twice a year or more as they get older. Get their teeth checked. Tooth resorption is extremely common and it's got to hurt, not that your cat will ever tell.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Being Like Possum

 Classic Possum

I've decided that one way to get through the next four years is to be more like Possum. As I've written before, Possum thinks that President Obama's campaign motto, "Vero Possumus," is Latin for "Hey, Let's All Be Like Possum." Others translate it as "Yes, We Can," and I see their point. But Possum says I can keep two ideas in my head at the same time. So when I'm not following Mr. Obama's instructions from his final speech, I'm going to follow Possum's example.

That means I'll be spending much of my free time hanging around with cats, napping, thinking deep thoughts, and reading. Cats can absorb knowledge by having physical contact with reading matter, a phenomenon I call "literary osmosis." It's unfair that we have to stay awake and turn pages.

(By the way, it is still October 24 in Old New Yorker Land. I'm reading a short summary of conservative thought and it's a better sleeping pill than the article about Marx was.)

Possum puts a lot of store in grooming and always looks his best, so I will have to make more of an effort. He is always giving me disbelieving or disapproving looks, and suggestions that indicate that he thinks I need improvement work in this area. 

It's important to note, though, that cats never care a whit about other cats' fur color or other traits, including weight, size, age, gender, disabilities, income, background, or orientation. They judge each other by other criteria, such as manners and fragrance, which are harder to argue with. We can all follow this example. Possum doesn't care if I'm young, old, fat, skinny, plain, or beautiful. He just wants me to be the best "me" I can be (and to not smell like the vet). 

So I suppose I need to Do Something About My Hair, since combing it is not enough. And invest in some night cream since I'm not going to wash my face with my own saliva, as he does. And he wants me to get over my antipathy toward exercise, not that he's setting much of an example. 

When I pointed out how lazy he is, he told me there are intense exercise routines, similar to interval training, that produce big results with just a few minutes of effort. He says he does them when I'm not looking. I'm going to get a spy cam.

But I'm not getting a fur coat, so instead I got these soft pointelle long johns from Boden for lounging around the house:

They are striped and so it Possum. And they are so comfortable that they really are the cat's pajamas

These have navy stripes, like many of my favorite tees, but they are outlined with a fine metallic gold thread for a slightly sparkly effect — cats also shimmer. I could have ordered gray and white with silver thread, but I don't want to be mistaken for Possum. I can imitate but I can't duplicate; I won't be using a litter box or eating in a bowl on the floor, either. However, I plan to agitate for treats every chance I get.

I ordered a second pair of PJs, in pink, when they went on sale, and they are now on clearance, so you can be Vero Possumus, too, for about $26.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Take Time to Eat the Roses

First Harris pretended to be napping.

But these roses smelled really good.

He had to sniff them.

Then he wanted to eat them. The whole time, I kept saying, "No! Stop that! Don't eat the flowers! We talked about this! No, Harris!"

Harris doesn't like to be bossed. Look at this face:

But I kept at it. It wasn't just to save the roses. Roses can make cats sick. (I learned this the hard way about 30 years ago, when I had an indoor rosebush, a severely ill cat, and a vet who was baffled by Truffalo's seemingly incurable diarrhea.)

I told Harris it was for his own good. He still wasn't happy.

But he prides himself on being our most perfect cat. So he settled down.

A Find

A strange thing happened on Saturday. We went to an open house in our neighborhood. We went out of habit, curious to see why it was so overpriced. There were three fireplaces, high ceilings, and bay windows, so we should have loved it but we didn't. It had a grand living room; a big, awkward kitchen; a large bedroom; and a teeny-tiny one that worked better as a closet.

The agent had left the place empty instead of going to the trouble and expense of staging it with safe, neutral furnishings, fresh flowers, and so on. She and the sellers were betting on a quick sale. 

I was in the bathroom, which was tiled in a fussy way I didn't like. I don't know why I opened the medicine cabinet in that empty apartment, but I did. I often check out closets to see how spacious they are but I rarely open medicine cabinets or even kitchen cabinets unless I'm seriously interested.

The cabinet was mirrored inside and empty, except for a pair of diamond earrings in the corner of a shelf.

I have always dreamed of finding 1) diamonds, 2) a body floating in the Charles, and 3) a valuable painting or antique selling on the cheap. Those are my three remaining life goals for found objects, since I've already found a great husband and some amazing deals on Ferragamo shoes. (I've also found four or five wallets and purses, which were always easy and gratifying to return.)

The diamonds were middle-sized studs, maybe a carat or so in total weight, so worth at least a couple thousand dollars if they were real, and I think they were. They looked a lot like my own studs. It would kill me to lose them.

I felt both pleased and disappointed. I'd always imagined finding a (huge) diamond in the dirt, or on a sidewalk or a beach, where I had a better chance of being able to keep it. The earrings would be a cinch to return to their owner.

I found the agent and asked her if she knew there were diamonds in the medicine cabinet. I led her to the bathroom and showed her. She had no idea what they were doing in there, in an empty apartment. She took them, thanked me, and said she'd ask the seller about them. Then she said that, if there was a reward, she'd "split it" with me. How generous!

Now I'm wondering if she will talk to the seller. She seemed as amazed that I didn't steal them as she was about my finding them in the first place, so I'm a bit dubious of her good intentions. I will call her later this week and ask how the story ends. I could also locate the seller and ask if she got them back.

 I'll keep you posted.

PS: I wondered briefly if the earrings were fakes, planted to catch a thief who robs open houses, but why put them in a totally empty apartment where a thief will quickly see there's nothing to take and leave for better pickings? And if they were planted, the agent should have said so, rather than act surprised.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Possum Is Possumy

Thank you to everyone who joined me in worrying over Possum and shared stories and remedies. He loves being fussed over, and it meant a lot to both of us.

Having a nap beside me. 

He seems fine. We still can't identify who has done what in the litter box but he has a good appetite and he smacked a ribbon around with me today. He is also back to being affectionate, particularly with my husband; I caught Possum sitting in his lap this morning and both acted guilty. This was shortly after I stepped on a Gift with Purchase hidden beautifully on the carpet, while I was barefoot and talking on the phone. My feet a way of finding those things.

Here is Lion trying to give Possum a workout. Lion knows that exercise is important for a healthy digestive system. Lion is both smart and kind.

I have a short movie that really shows Lion's boxing technique but Blogger won't let me post it no matter how I try.

I've given Possum slippery elm bark and he doesn't love it but will eat it if there's food stuck to it. I'll try mixing it with water next time before mixing it with his food. And I may get some psyllium or Miralax.

All this has me thinking that I should figure out how to feed everyone some raw food at least a few times a week. Some is better than none. I will research how we might do that given our tiny, packed freezer. We are lucky to have Mayflower Poultry nearby, in Cambridge. They are a good source for fresh birds and meats of all kinds and will grind to order. I just need a little more time to research supplements and figure a few things out.