Since Harris and Toffee had their dental surgery for tooth resorption on January 19, I've noticed differences in their behavior — all good, of course. They are eating faster and with more gusto. They have an easier time gobbling their dry treats, like freeze-dried chicken and salmon; before, they would drop some, which would get instantly snapped up by another greedy cat. They run around and play more with each other and Lion, and are more interested in playing with me.
Different energy, different habits . . . and yet I had no idea there was anything wrong with them when they were suffering silently with painful teeth that had exposed pulp. Each cat had two lower premolars removed, and Harris had an upper tooth that showed signs of deterioration on X-rays, so that was removed, too. I figured they were just slowing down because they were getting older. I was wrong. Take your cat for annual vet check-ups — it's so important. Cats do a great job at hiding their pain and problems.
One more notable change is Harris's fierce attachment (literally) to our new Neko Flies Original Kittenator pole toy. This is a little mouse-sized fox-fur toy with a tail:
For years we had the fake-fur version, but I'm here to tell you to leave your principles at the pet-shop door and get the real-fur one if you love your cats. Our fake-fur one has been around for years and looks as good as new. I replaced it only because of the string : Lion prefers chewing it to bothering with the toy, and he made too much progress. And, as we know already from Lion and his love of the string on Neko Flies, endoscopies are expensive.
Anyway, check out the real-fur Kittenator now, after just about two weeks with Harris. It's at death's door:
Harris is mad for it. He greets me every morning when I wake up with an expectant look, and then he herds me to the corner where we keep the toy out of his reach. If I ignore him, he goes to my desk and commits vandalism. When he gets tired of me shooing him off and protesting, he attacks the coats hanging near his toy. Eventually he gets his toy, and I'm getting better at playing with it and holding a mug of tea at the same time.
He races around chasing it and will leap high into the air, as he did when he was a kitten. But his favorite thing is to sit with it clamped within his jaws, growling and occasionally hissing in ferocious triumph. He will do this happily for as long as 20 minutes. He has spent a few hours since his recovery sitting around, dissolving the toy with his saliva and emitting cute bass rumbling.
Grrrrrr. Grrrrrr. Grrrrrrrrr.
The toy is now known as Harris's Growly. Toffee and Lion are interested in it, too, as it's flying around the room and Harris is after it. But when they manage to get it for themselves, they quickly lose interest. It's too tattered, and smells too much like Harris's breath. Lion still wants to eat the string, of course.
In the beginning, I'd be stuck standing a few feet from wherever Harris caught it and hunkered down to growl and hiss. Then we learned he was portable:
So I park him and his Growly next to my chair and do email, make calls, surf the web, and so on as he grrrrs contentedly. I keep a little pressure on the pole and jiggle it a bit to keep him happy.
And life is good. That is, life with cats is good. As far as Life, with a capital "L," well, don't get me started.