lydy: (me by ddb)
Days since I adopted Lady Jane Grey: 367 (more or less, I forget if there was a leap year. Maybe 368. Any gate, Sept. 7th of last year. I didn't know I was adopting her at the time.)

Days since Lady Jane Grey has bit anyone: not sure, but many, many months.

Days since Lady Jane has pissed on my boyfriend's head: 8

Days since Lady has pissed on my bed: 3

So, um, a work in progress.

I had to buy a new comforter. I loved my old comforter, a very well-constructed, 100% down-filled, Calvin Klein comforter with a really high fill factor. Which needs to be dry-cleaned. At $40 a pop, I just can't do it anymore. So, I bought a down-alternative comforter which can be washed and dried at home. It's not as fluffy, it's not as much like cuddling into a cloud as the other, and it isn't as cool in the summer as my other, but it's launderable. Haven't decided what to do with the nice comforter. It's badly stained (coffee, fountain pen ink, sweat), and in a plastic bag after the last incident. I should probably just throw it out. But, you know, if you put a duvet cover on it, you don't seen the stains, and it's ever so nice... yeah. Well. Should just toss it.

I don't really know how to resolve what ever issue there is. LJG spends most of her time hiding in the kitchen under the dishwasher door. She really likes being petted, but doesn't come out from her cave very often unless there's a person, right there. I'm annoyed with Nuit about this, but don't have a good answer. I wish I could afford a good cat psychologist.

Still, LJG is a lovely, funny, friendly, fluffy cat. And when she's not pissing on my bed, she's a marvel. I love her a lot. I just wish we could resolve her issues with Nuit so that they were both happier.
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, my work week shifted from Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights to Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. Which makes Thursday mornings the new Friday. My patient bagged it at five this morning, so I ended up leaving quite early. Too early to go to the liquor store to buy champagne, which I really should have done yesterday, but forgot to. Which means that it's Thursday not Friday, and I am drinking gins and tonicses instead of mimosas, but there are still cats.

Lady Jane has leveled up several times since I last wrote about her. She really, really likes getting petted. About six weeks or so ago, she finally figured out how to signal that she's getting over-stimulated. She has both a quick head-jerk and a warning chirrup that she's started using. This means that I can stop petting her before she feels the need to scratch or bite me. It also means that she's developed some understanding of how to communicate with humans. I've always thought that she demonstrated the desire to do so, but she has developed a vocabulary that I can understand, and that's huge. There is probably also some learning behavior on my part, although I'm less aware of it. But we are developing a rapport, and that makes me so very happy.

About two weeks ago, it was warm and I opened the window in my bedroom. I have a king-sized waterbed, and it is flush against the wall, so to get to the window, you have to get up on my bed. Lady hads been in my bedroom a couple of times, and once she actually got up on the bed, but has always eschewed it in favor of the chair in the media room. But the window... oh the sweet, sweet window. She got up on my bed, got in the window. And somehow, that changed her conceptual space, and now she gets on my bed, even when the window isn't open.

Initially, she'd get on the bed, and then loll on my laptop. One of my favorite LOLcats is a kitten sitting on an open laptop with the caption, "If not for sits, why made of warm?" I let her do this a couple of times, because I wanted to encourage her to think of being on the bed and being kind of sort of on my lap as a good thing. She would purr and roll and loll, and my screen would go crazy as she pushed All The Keys. Then I started gently rolling her off the keyboard and onto my lap. And this worked. She's at the point now where, when I get home from work, she jumps up on the bed and demands pets. If I don't pet her when she wants them, she will either oosh onto the keyboard or, if that is too much trouble, she will just reach out a paw and push a random key. It's desperately adorable. Just at the moment, she's curled up next to me, sleeping. She will sit on my lap, sometimes. And she's clearly figured out that I don't actually want her on my laptop.

The other cats are less than entirely pleased with this development. Arwen, who has always considered my bed her territory, is very unhappy about this. I do encourage her to come up when Lady Jane Grey is there, but she usually declines. She didn't like it when Naomi started getting on my bed (ten years ago?), she was completely unhappy when the little black kittens started getting on my bed, so I guess I'm unsurprised that she's unhappy about Lady Jane.

Ninja is perfectly delighted with all things Ninja, and rather unimpressed with all things not-Ninja, so he doesn't care if Lady is there or not. He often gets on my lap when I'm dicking around on the internet before work. Last night, he jumped up on the bed, and came and sat in my lap, as per normal. Lady was also there, sitting right next to me. Lady found this upsetting, and hissed at him, and Ninnie just kind of looked confused. Then Lady was confused, and left, and Ninja settled down to purr and be cute.

Naomi continues to be difficult to feed. I continue to make homemade chicken broth each week, and buy more and weirder premium foods. She continues to insist that food that was perfectly scrumptious yesterday is, in fact, not food at all today. She has recently decided that all fish is emphatically Not Food. She also doesn't think that beef is food. She is still (usually) eating chicken and turkey. I haven't tried her on the kidney food. She's so picky that I don't see the point. She has stopped crouching when she pees, which means that she stands in the litter box and pisses outside the litter box. I have no idea what to do about this, so I clean up after her. I guess if I could get a litter box twice the size...but I don't know where I'd put it, so I haven't.

Nuit is her own little personette, and continues to have petting emergencies. She isn't as aggressive towards Lady as she was, but she continues issue challenge songs and occasionally charge her for no reason. On the other hand, she was up on my bed the other morning when LJG was here, and there were no words. She also romps with Naomi, which is delightful for all involved. Naomi, at sixteen, still has a playful streak. Arwen, her sister, has never been that playful, and after Aristophanes died, Naomi had no playmate until Nuit took up the role. Ninja plays a bit too rough for her tastes, but Nuit is just right.

And that is enough cats for now. If you made it to the end, I am impressed by your patiences. Next, I will natter about Neko Atsume.
lydy: (me by ddb)
There actually were mimosas on Friday, but more importantly, Friday was the day that I took Lady Jane Grey to be spayed. None too soon, she'd gone into heat again, and was regularly interrogating me about where she could find BOYS! So on Thursday, right before I left for work, I locked her into the media room with no food, since they didn't want her to have any food before abdominal surgery. Makes perfect sense.

I am told that Lady Jane gave a several hour long, operatic performance on her plight. She performed the arias "Where Are The Boys?", "I Am Starving," and a truly virtuoso performance of everyone's favorite feline aria, "This Door Is Shut, Monkey!" Me, I was at work, but I gather she could be heard all through the house.

When I got home from work, I took her to the vet. This was the first time I've ever taken her someplace and left her, since she's come to live with me. I also took Arwen to the vet to have her thyroid checked to see if the increase in medication is adequate. I then came home, drank mimosas, and went to bed. David agreed to pick up Lady after her surgery, while I was still asleep. When I woke up, Lady was curled up on her chair, looking pretty pleased. David said that she seemed incredibly grateful to get home, and suggested that she may have abandonment issues. She was rather more spry Friday night than was wise or recommended; I infer from this that the anesthesia had not completely worn off. Saturday morning, she was moving a bit more gingerly, but still quite good. She's been eating, and generally doing well -- although she appears to have thrown up some food this afternoon. I suspect this was merely recreational, though. Cats!

Arwen's test came back showing her thyroid exactly where it should be, so that's fine. Naomi...is still incredibly picky about eating. I have bought another rotisserie chicken, and will be making more broth, tonight. She does like the homemade broth, although chicken drippings are better. Occasionally, if you give her food that doesn't have enough broth on it, she will give you a meaningful look.

Karen, I will try to remember to save you the wishbone.
lydy: (me by ddb)
But not, at the moment, cats, since I am over at Steven's. Well, he does have a cat, Captain Blondbeard, but Captain is studiously ignoring me.

So, if you want a really quick, not so very expensive dinner for three upon awakening of a Friday night, I suggest a rotisserie chicken, a green zucchini, a yellow zucchini, and a package of pre-sliced mushrooms. A half an onion, if you happen to have that lying about is also useful. Saute the zucchini, mushroom, and onion with butter, oil, salt and pepper. This takes, literally, fifteen minutes from the time you start washing the zucchini in order to slice it to actually it being ready to eat. If you are smarter than I am, you will add the onion first, rather than last. This pairs very nicely with the celebratory "I survived my work-week" mimosas. It pair less well with a spectacular migraine and a need to arise at 3:30 a.m. to go to the airport, which explains why my perspective playmates are in bed asleep and I am in the living room, typing at you all, cat-less. But, you know, I have more mimosas, so it's not a dead loss, though the ability to type will degrade as the evening progresses.

OMG, OMG, OMG! Jen and Steven bought me the best Xmas present _ever_. It is the Nightvale themed hip flask, with the inscription, "IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY NOTHING, AND DRINK TO FORGET" with the Nightvale logo of the crescent moon as the iris of an eye. I am fucking and utterly thrilled. It was the one thing on my Amazon wish list I really, really wanted. And now, I HAVE it. Steven put some Jameson's in it, too. I do very much admire Nightvale, and am going to nominate it for a Hugo. Not sure which category, probably short form dramatic. The episode about middle school crushes was almost perfect.

In cat news, Lady Jane Grey would like ALL THE BOOOOYYYS. RIIIIIIGHHT NOOOOOOEEOWOWW. Yep, she's in heat. From which I can deduce at a) she is not pregnant and b) she has not been spayed and c) her health is adequate. She's still affectionate, and a solid little rocket-propeled grey missile. She is more affectionate than usual, what with the really wanting to get laid. One is inclined to say, "You do know that this is how you ended up in the trouble in the first place," but a) she doesn't understand English and b) wouldn't care if she did. Because BOOOYYYSSSS.

So, back to my mimosas. Which are second best to actual, live, playmates, but my playmates are now very much asleep.

It's Friday. Life is pretty good. Also, grocery store rotisserie chickens may not be gourmet, but they eat just fine.
lydy: (me by ddb)
I decided to run away from Christmas, which meant that I was in Brooklyn, NY and Wales MA over the holidays. It was delightful, except for the distinct lack of feline companionship. I did play Neko Atsume quite obsessively, but those cats don't purr. (What was the game designer thinking, really?)

I returned home Monday evening. The little black kittens seemed neither pleased nor surprised to see me. They were pretty much, "Oh, you. Ok, you." Lady Jane Grey seemed quite pleased to see me, and rolled around in her chair enthusiastically when I petted her. Arwen retreated to her cave under the bed and glared at me balefully, and Naomi decided that I was a cat-eating monster and fled before the terror that is me. Behold! I am Lydy! Once I got in the bed, Arwen forgave me, or at least, came to sit on me, complain bitterly at length, and periodically nibble on my wrist to make sure that I hadn't magically transformed into a tasty treat while I was gone.

Naomi, as I mentioned earlier, has kidney disease, and is eating only very intermittently. She really should be eating kidney food, but that appears to bear a striking resemblance to the instructions to "first stand the cat on the newspaper." She does nibble on the kidney kibble, but throws up one of the types of kidney canned food, and doesn't care for the other. Pamela and I have been tempting her with various styles of wet food, some of which she eats, some of which she doesn't, some of which entrance her for a day or two, none of which appear to be appealing long-term. We trade email about what she's eaten, since I feed her in the morning when I get home from work and Pamela feeds her during the day.

The other morning, Naomi roundly refused to eat any of a food that had previously been acceptable, and I sent email to Pamela that started out, "The feeding of cats is a difficult matter, it's not just one of your holiday games." She responded with an email starting with, "You may think I'm as mad as a hatter when I tell you a cat must have three different foods." It amused us, though I don't know it's furthered the goal of actually putting calories in the damn cat.

I spent Christmas at Toad Woods, Geri Sullivan's house, and that was just utterly wonderful. Geri is a superb hostess, the company outstanding, and the food...omg the food. So Much Food. Geri gave me a stocking, and in it was a toy just for Lady Jane. I gave it to her when I got home. Here is a picture of LJG and the Toy that Geri Sent:




(I wanted one that showed LJG's face, but most of those are too blurry, because she really, really, _really_ liked that toy.)
lydy: (me by ddb)
Mostly, I just want to brag on my Lady Jane Grey. For human-vs-cat socialization, she's come so far. She had a raw spot on her back, between her shoulder blades, which the doctor thought might be the result of an infection, rather than a battle scar, so he gave me some antibiotic to give her twice a day. It is in liquid form, and it is, I kid you not, bubble-gum flavored. Lady does not like it. But she lets me give it to her. I grab her head, tip it back slightly, insert the dropper, and squeeze. She struggles and fusses, but what she does not do is attack me. She does not bite, she does not scratch, and she very rarely hisses or growls. The other day, she was hiding underneath a chair in my study, and I had to drag her out bodily, pick her up, and move her to another location where I could medicate her. She did not like it, and she used language, but again, she did not attack me. This from a cat who, two months ago, viciously savaged me when I petted her wrong. I am incredibly proud of her. Pamela says that it's obvious she loves me best because she brightens a bit when I enter the room. Me, I don't see that, since I don't see her when I'm not there. But I do love her, and she loves me.

It's always a mistake to assume that cats have have the same emotional structures as humans. We're similar; we're both mammals -- but not the same. I was assuming that Nuit was responding badly to Lady Jane Grey because she was feeling worried that people wouldn't love her as much, any more. Because of this assumption, I tried to mediate between the two by giving Nuit more affection, attempting to reassure her that she was loved and wanted. This resulted in her being more aggressive and more horrid towards Lady. When I lost my temper, and yelled at Nuit to just stop it, she backed down, and behaved better. I've done some additional experimentation, and yes, being nice to Nuit when she's being a shit to Lady causes Nuit to be even nastier to Lady Jane Grey. Scolding Nuit severely for being aggressive causes her to back down and behave better, and sometimes even come scurrying over to the human for reassurance. (And, yes, Nuit does know her name, and does know when I'm yelling at her. And yes, LJG does sit there looking smug when I yell at Nuit, and does know her name and does look chagrinned when I yell using her name instead.) I do not understand cat politics. I do, however, love my cats.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Ok, I have had all the mimosas. My typing is, um, iffy. So deal.

My lovely cat Naomi, who thinks that David is the best person in the world, is fifteen, and likes me ok, has been diagnosed with kidney disease. She needs to eat kidney supportive food, and only kidney supportive food. I have (quickly counts on her fingers) five cats, and two different types of diet. This is complex. I got a kidney food sampler from the vet, and have been trying various foods on her. Conclusion the first: Naomi is not eating enough. While she likes wet food, she eats slowly. She is also exhibiting behavior I associate with cats who are nauseous. To say I am worried vastly understates things. She may be eating some dry food, and I am starting to mix dry kidney food into the usual weight-loss food, with the intent of switching over to dry kidney food on a permanent basis. (Anybody want to buy the remainder of my Blue Buffalo weight loss food? It's high quality, and I just bought 20 lb. bag of it.) Naomi, at the vet a week ago, was down to 7.4 pounds. I am very, very worried. I've never dealt with kidney disease before. Oh, second conclusion: Ninja will eat pretty much anything, provided he hasn't had it before. He broke into the container with the sampler of kidney foods and chewed through the ziplock to eat new and unusual kidney dry food. Best bad cat of the century.

Lady Jane has had a couple of socializing breakthroughs, recently. Not, alas, with Nuit, who has been horrible to her, and she's been horrible back. But two days ago, when Lady Jane Grey was being petted, she felt that she became a bit stroppish, and rather than attack me, she gave a very obvious and particular meow, clearly asking me to back off. Now, if she were a human, I would say that this was a huge step forward because it indicated that she understood that we were in this together, and she was learning to cooperate with me on functional social interactions. Since she's a cat, I have no confidence that I understand her cognitive functions or ultimate goals. Still, I think that's a huge step forward. And the day before yesterday, when she was being petted, she batted at me with velveted paws, and did not bite me. This is the first time, ever, she has been playful with me without hurting me. I complimented her extravagantly. Lady Jane Grey also has a dime-sized hole in her back between her shoulder-blades. I can't tell if this is a recent injury courtesy of Nuit, or if this is a recurrence of whatever caused the lump, previously, in roughly the same location. I've been dosing it with hydrogen peroxide every couple of days, as seems appropriate. It was particularly raw-looking this morning. She's very good about letting me look at it, and swab it with hydrogen peroxide. She really is a very, very fine cat.

Alright. Autocorrect has helped clean up most of my typos, at the risk of making me look completely incoherent. Sorry about that. Me and my mimosas are falling over, now. Good nigh.
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, last night while I was at roller derby, Pamela texted me to let me know that Lady Jane Grey had gotten up on the futon couch while it was made up as a bed and kneaded the blankets and been sociable. Not for very long, but then did it a second time, too. Today, while I was watching television, she got on the futon couch, now made up as a couch, to be companionable and accept some pets. And a bit later, she came into my bedroom (first time that I know of), and tentatively got up on my bed, and walked the perimeter of it. I had Arwen in my lap, so I complimented Lady verbally, but did not encourage her to come over to get petted. Arwen noticed Lady, but had no comment. So, that's good, and I'm all happy, now. It's also been more than a week since she savaged me, and the last time it was very small. She's getting better at damping it down, even if she's accidentally lost her cool. I love her a lot. (Yep, I was always going to give her away. Totally a temporary cat. You betcha.)
lydy: (me by ddb)
Cats and mimosas. You betcha.

Mimosa in hand, I will now type about Lady Jane. I took her to the vet last Saturday for her first round of shots. I'm quite sure she's not pregnant, now, since if she were, there would be kittens, and there aren't. She weighed 11.1 pounds. Which is a) too much and b) more than twice what she did when I first found her. She also has three lumps under her chin, which I suspect are battle scars.

The vet was going to shave her belly, to check and see if she had a scar from having been spayed (unlikely but possible). He took her into the back. About five minutes later, he returned, Lady unshaved. He said, "She does not like the electric clippers."

"Not having any?" I suggested.

"Really not," he replied. Later, he tried to clip a bit of the scab on one of the lumps under her chin to see if it was abscessed. And, again with the not having any. Really, really not having any.

She needs to go back in about a week to get boosters for the distemper and feline leukemia vaccinations.

I am a little sad because of late she has not been very affectionate. She can be companionable, she will often be in the media room if I am there, but she doesn't come over to get petted. She does like being petted, and responds very enthusiastically to it. But she doesn't initiate it.

Nuit is continuing to be a little shit, and Lady Jane Grey is continuing to be obstreperous to Nuit. There are longer periods of peace while they are in close proximity, so I think it's getting better, but they are still occasionally stalking and pouncing each other. Yesterday, when I refilled the food bowl that we call the Little Person Bowl, because Nuit, the Little Person, is the one who cares most about whether or not it's full, Lady Jane waited patiently for Nuit to eat first, and then ate. They had no conflict about it, and then fell asleep about a foot apart, Lady on a chair, Nuit on the futon-couch next to it.

I wonder, sometimes, if Lady Jane doesn't sit with me anymore because she has decided that she can't get on the couch because she's seen it used as a bed, and now it's become a piece of furniture that she's not allowed up on. This is probably a weird fantasy on my part, but it's clear that her former people were very strict about some furniture. She never, ever gets up on tables or beds or counters. This, coupled with the fact that she was apparently inadequately socialized and doesn't really know how to deal with being petted, leads me to think very harsh things about her former people. I suspect them of having been strict disciplinarians, but not very affectionate. What, my childhood traumas being projected on an innocent cat, how can you say such a thing!

Life is good. Complicated, but good. And, cats and mimosas.
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, we had agreed to host a Mnstf meeting last Saturday, well before Lady Jane came to stay with us. What with one thing and another, we decided to go ahead with it, and just warn people that the usual cat-free zone was not, in fact, cat-free. In preparation for this, I opened up the doors between the free zone and the unfree zone, to encourage the fraternization of the prisoners...I mean cats.

So, we're not really very good housekeepers, which means that hosting a meeting means that there's a lot of housecleaning to be done. Ok, then, go. Clean! With cats! Although the plan was to restrict all the cats, including Lady Jane Grey, to the back of the house during the party, in the run up, we were leaving all the doors open, to give everybody space to find their own level. That...went better than it could, although it had its problems. I had no idea that Nuit could be such an asshole. She was just horrible to Lady Jane Grey, in a very Minnesotan sort of, "Hey, I'm just walkin' here" sort of way. Provocatively passive aggressive. Ok, then.

I came home Friday, did a bit of cleaning, and then went to bed, intending to get up and Clean All The Things that hadn't yet been cleaned. While I was asleep, Pamela's mother showed up, based on a scheduling error. Whatever. However, by the time I woke up, it had developed that Ninja was nowhere to be found. After the house had been scoured top to bottom, Pamela was left with the conclusion that somehow, while talking to her mother about the scheduling mix-up, Ninja had managed to sneak past both of them, into the world outside.

Ninja is probably the happiest cat I have ever met. He's funny, cheerful, and friendly. When he was a kitten, he tried to make friends with the upstairs cats by taking them toys. He's sweet, endearing, and has no sense of self-preservation. He's hugely curious, but also completely convinced that the entire universe is one great, big, shiny toy, just for him. Ninja wouldn't think to run away from a dog or a Mack truck. He'd rush towards same, offering to play. No sense of self-preservation.

So, in between trying to clean for the Mnstf meeting, we are, all of us, going outside to see if we can find my funny, idiot cat. Calling his name. Setting out food. Searching the house again, because really, maybe just maybe. Nope. Nope. Nope. Dusting, vacuuming, rearranging furniture, another trip outside, more cleaning, mopping, etc. Most of it in the front rooms. But no Ninja. I go to bed in tears. Pamela doesn't sleep, and has waking nightmares of a life without Ninja.

I woke up early on Saturday, and after dicking around for an hour, I realize there is no way I'm getting back to sleep, so I decide to get dressed, look for Ninja, and then get coffee and breakfast. I have given up hope of finding my cat. I'm thinking of making a bunch of those sad, futile posters that say, "Lost Cat," knowing that they almost never work. Wondering if I'll find him dead by the side of the road, or if he's found new people who will love him, and I'll never know. If he's been eaten by a raccoon, or taken a ride under the hood of a car.

I go into the living room to get my coat. It was fucking cold on Saturday morning. I hear a cat noise. I can't tell where it's coming from. Thinking that, perhaps, Lady Jane and Nuit are at it again, I go into the media room. Nope, no cats there. Go back into the living room. Another cat noise. "Ninja?" I call. Loud cat noises, then a persistent, extremely loud yowering. I look around.

We have three seven foot tall, oak book cases in the living room. They meet at right angles, and there is a square gap at the corner where they meet, about a foot square. This is literally the only place that Ninja can be. And my, but he's loud.

I wake David up from a very sound sleep, and we removed about half the books, which enables David to move the book case. Ninja comes right out. He's still a bit frantic and wild. I move him to the back of the house, where his sister comes up and inspects him. He then promptly tries to get back into the allegedly cat-free zone.

I picked him up, and he was delightfully cuddly for a little bit, bashing my cheek with his head. In general, he was glad to be rescued. The question remains, why on earth hadn't he said anything hours and hours earlier? I suspect it was a combination of embarrassment ("I meant to do that") and the realization that if we found him, we would put him out of the cat-free zone, where he was busy having Adventures.

The Mnstf meeting went off roughly as planned, although things were a bit rough around the edges. And the reaction of allergic people makes it clear that the cat free zone, when it's actually kept cat-free, does help. It's not perfect, but a carefully cleaned cat-free zone does reduce the allergens and increase people's tolerance. Now that Lady Jane is living in the back rooms, we have plans to do a very, very thorough cleaning, probably including some sort of allergen-destroying product, and work hard at keeping the cat-free zone, you know, cat-free.
lydy: (me by ddb)
I've been opening the door in between the rooms formerly known as the cat free zone and the regular Here Be Cats zone, so that Lady Jane Grey can meet her potential housemates. It has been...bloodless. Not quiet, really, but much better than I thought it would be.

Part of my strategy was that by having the area formerly known as the cat free zone as a place to explore, the resident cats would have something to occupy them beside annoying Lady. And I was hoping that Lady would feel the same about the rooms that she hasn't previously had access to.

The cats that took the most advantage of the expanded space were, of course, the little black kittens. The teeny, tiny, terrifying kittens of yore. Especially Ninja, who's never seen any reason why he shouldn't be allowed to go anywhere where he wanted any time he wanted. Lady Jane, not unreasonably, considers the front rooms her territory, and is not all that happy with the invaders.

The cat I expected to be least happy with the encounters was Arwen. Turns out, Arwen doesn't seem to care that much. She's been a little clingy with me, along the lines of, "You do still love me best, don't you?" but has not been a puddle of misery, like she was with the TTTK of yore. I don't know why, I'd have expected her to have a greater problem with an adult cat, but well, she's Arwen. Oddly, the person most unhappy with the perspective new housemate is Nuit. She's been growling under the door at Lady Jane for weeks, now, and is happy to do it in person. She also makes this odd, crooning noise that sounds very unhappy, but I suspect is actually more pissed than sad. Lady alternates between a tea kettle and a steam engine, depending on whether or not she's employing her growling. Ninja bowled her over the other day, for which I scolded him. He doesn't seem to particularly mind Lady Jane, he seems a bit nonchalant about the whole thing, but he does like being able to explore the front rooms. Naomi has, so far, been aristocratically above it all.

So, it's progressing. I currently have Lady back in purdah, in preparation to sleeping, but I'm thinking this might actually work. Despite the occasional growling and hissing, it's pretty peaceful all told. And if Arwen can manage, I think the rest of them can.

Lady is getting a lot less food, and may be losing weight. I need to not do that too fast. And I may have talked a friend into fostering her during the nursing and weaning of kittens, if she is indeed pregnant, so that's all good, too.

Lady does not like the fact that I want to pet her in the media room, rather than the living room, as is right and proper. I expect she's going to be very pissed when restore the cat-free rooms to their rightful status as cat-free. Poor Lady.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Back from the vet. Drinking a mimosa even as I type. Well, not exactly, since I'm a two-handed typist. I'm punctuating my typing by drinking. Best punctuation ever.

Lady Jane Grey does not have FeLuk or FIV. She does not have a terminal disease. The test is really fast, done in ten minutes. She's going to be fine.

She's also 9.5 pounds, which Dr. McMenomy considers "very fat." He also thinks there's a 75% chance that she's pregnant, but it's hard to tell, because of all the fat. She's a minimum of four weeks along, since that's how long I've had her, but cats are weird, and don't always show until right before actually giving birth. If my estimate of Bucky's age is correct, it's very unlikely that she is pregnant. If the University's estimate of Bucky's age is correct, there's a pretty good chance that she is. She has certainly had at least one litter of kittens.

Because her pregnancy status is uncertain, we did not vaccinate her today. I forgot to ask them to clip her claws. I'll pay for that, later. The doctor looked at the lump, and said that we should just watch it for now.

So, now Lady goes on a diet. We wait three or more weeks to see if she's pregnant. Dr. McMenomy says that they can home the kittens once they're seven or eight weeks. I have no place to raise kittens once they're out of the box, which is like, from the ages of three to eight weeks. That's five weeks of wonderful, delightful, destructive monsters.

I really, really want to keep Lady. And I suspect that all my other housemates would prefer that I not. I have become so very fond of her. And she of me. I really hope she's just fat.

And now, I will drink more mimosas. And then get up and go to a reading of Saturn Run by John Sanford and Ctein. Because that will be extra, extra fun. Even if it does mean I can't drink as many mimosas as I want, just now.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Neil recent commented snarkily that my posts were eleven parts cats and one part mimosa, and that life is boring. And so, today being Friday, I am drinking many, many mimosas, and petting Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane has gone almost a week without biting or clawing me. I am very happy. She is much, much fatter than she was. She has a positively rotund belly. I am hoping this does not mean that she is pregnant. She does have a lump on her back, a little below the shoulder blades. I am planning on taking her in to see the vet next week, so I will ask him to look at that. I don't know what it is. Hopefully, nothing bad.

She continues to be ever so sweet. She has a marvelous purr, and has become extremely fluffy. She also now has the energy and muscle tone to rocket about when she wants to. Which she does.

She caught a mouse the other day. Which she then carefully put on the couch, since that is where she gets petting and attention. Pamela has steam-cleaned the place where the mouse was lain. I didn't get to see it, it happened while I was at work.

She seems to have slowed down a bit on eating kibble, though she is still polishing off a can of wet food a day. She has also stopped growling at her food, and at people too close to her food. I think that she's getting the idea that there will be more where that came from. She remains companionable, but not a lap cat. She likes to sit next to me, but not on me. Which is sad, I really like lap cats.

On the mimosa front, I can say that Freixenet Cava is better than Cooks Extra Dry. DDB and I are planning on going to see The Martian tonight, so I have to go to bed in time to get up. Which means that I will not be able to finish the bottle before I go to bed.

As for my life being boring, Neil: so what? I have good books, good friends, good lovers, good cats, good drugs, and a sufficiency of income. It is calm and stable, and generally happy. At my age, that's really quite nice. I doubt that it would have been quite the thing in my twenties, but I'm not that young, anymore. And this, this life? I am very pleased with it. Do I miss the incredibly highs of my earlier years? Only a little. Because I paid for them with black misery. I'm old, I'm boring. So sue me.

Life, life is good. Also, eleven parts cats, one part mimosa.
lydy: (me by ddb)
She finished her 10 day course of antibiotics yesterday. She continued to be easy to pill, although she continued to growl about it. I think she still feels a bit warm to the touch, but I may be over-anxious. If I continue to be anxious through the weekend, I'll ask for a weight and temperature check at the vets.

She is eating So Much Food. Really. I'm giving her a 5.5 oz. can of cat food a day, plus a bowl full of kibble, which I refill frequently. I'm pretty sure she's eating seven or eight ounces of food a day, which is, like one eleventh of her body weight as of her last weight. That's, um, a lot of food. I can no longer feel each rib when I pet her, and while I can feel her vertebrae, they are no longer quite so prominent. Her shoulder and hip bones are also less prominent, the hip bones especially.

She seems to like me best. She always comes when I call, even though that usually involves getting pilled. She gets lonely, and if I'm in the kitchen doing things, she'll kick up a fuss on the other side of the door, trying to get me to come in there. She's companionable, and seems to like being in the room with me even if she isn't actively seeking to be petted. I do have to be a little careful, when she's over-stimulated, she will bite. Not usually very hard. I suspect that she was inadequately socialized as a small thing.

She loves catnip. Which I only give her when I'm about to leave, because it makes her snappish and aggressive. But she's really cute when she rolls around with it.

Here are some more bad pictures:




I don't know if these pictures show how much she's filled out, and how much fluffier her coat is, but both are true.

In related news, my best cat, Arwen, is jealous about the time I'm spending with Lady Jane Grey and is punishing me by avoiding me. Which means that it's hard to give her her medication. I often have to ask Pamela to do it. Cats!
lydy: (me by ddb)
My phone has a crap camera, I am a crap photographer, and Lady Jane Grey is not a cooperative subject. Nevertheless, here are a couple of pictures:






She's actually much prettier than this. Hopefully David will take some good pictures when he gets home.

She growls and nips me if I pet her wrong. She has been eating a truly astounding amount of kibble. She now growls when I pill her. And she likes to sit next to me. She no longer feels feverish. She's opinionated, charming, and pushy.
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, I gave Lady Jane Grey her third dose of antibiotic this morning. She is noticeably cooler to the touch. She growled when I pilled her, which I thought was amusing. She also growled at her wet food when I came too close. Again, so cute.

She is eating more, and continues to eliminate. I can no longer feel each and every rib, although her vertebrae and hip bones are painfully prominent. She likes to be petted, and is bossy. She scolds and nags when you are around. She doesn't appear to be much of a lap cat, to my disappointment. I like lap cats. On the other hand, I like her, too. She really likes to have the thin spot just at the opening of the ears rubbed. My best cat, Lilith, loved that, too. She reminds me, a little, of my Lilycat. Whom I still miss, with all my heart. Why do cats steal so much of our hearts, anyway?

Eventually, I will post some pictures. I love her so very much. I need to buy her some toys, a scratching post. At the moment, she's using the furniture, which isn't exactly ideal, but I don't have the heart to scold her.

Arwen, in the mean time, is quite pissed off about something. Probably Lady Jane Grey, though I'm not sure. At any rate, she was full of bitter complaint, this morning. Bitter, bitter complaint. I'm told that Nuit growled from under the door at Lady last night.
lydy: (me by ddb)
She's lying in the couch next to me, stretched out and asleep. She looks like all is right with the world. She feels a little cooler to the touch, as if her fever is lower, but she's still warmer than I think she should be.

I gave her her second dose of the antibiotic (Orbax?). She was incredibly easy to pill. I thought that she'd hop off the sofa as soon as I'd shoved the pill down her throat, but nope, she's still here. She purred a bit before dropping off to sleep.

I haven't heard back from the doctor on the stool sample, should hear later today.

She came out for Pamela last night, growled at her kibble, ate some, then furbled on the floor, begging pets, purred, and fell asleep. She seems to like her new home, and her new people. She's very pretty, and I could be deluding myself, but she feels ever so slightly less bony, this morning.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Ann sent me a text last night, saying that Bucky was not doing well. He'd stopped eating, and his breathing had gone Cheyne Stokes. I told her to take him to the vet emergency hospital at the University, and that I would pay. She texted about a half an hour later. He'd died on the way, never made it to the hospital. She was holding him when he died. I don't know if that was a comfort to him. I don't know if it was a comfort to Ann.

We did the best we could. It shouldn't be a surprise. Bottle-rearing kittens has a very low success rate, and he was badly underweight. At his probable age, he should have weighed probably twice what he did. I don't know what he died of. It is unlikely that there was anything that would have saved him. Ann tried so hard. He seemed like he was going to make it. And then, he didn't.

I could have kept him in the hospital, rather than letting Ann foster him. At a guess, it would have been $700 to $1000 for the first night, and somewhere between $300 and $500 for each night thereafter. Several thousand dollars. And, honestly, it might not have worked. But I keep on thinking that there was something that could have been done.

Grief comes in lumps. I think I'm fine, and then I find that I'm crying again. He was so very small. I know that mammal brains are wired this way, that we respond to baby mammals with empathy and care. Lady Jane Grey was very smart to go and find people when she couldn't care for her baby anymore. Unfortunately, we couldn't care for him either.

Lady Jane is doing well. I'll do a separate update. She's currently lying next to me on the couch, asleep. She's a very sweet lady. I hope we win this one.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Talked to Ann briefly last night. The little black kitten formerly known as Bucky has been renamed Thor by her 14 year old. Do you want to argue with him? 'Cause I sure don't.

Thor is eating on schedule. He has eliminated several times, but not after every meal. He is noticeably rounder. He has figured out the bottle, and is doing well with it. Ann reports that cutting an "x" in the tip of the nipple makes it pliable enough for him to manage, and he's quite happy with it.

She bought a hamster carrier to carry him around him. He's not much bigger than a hamster. He needs to go wherever she she goes, since he needs to be fed every two to three hours.

And now I really am going to go to bed.

ETA: Ann weighed Thor, and he was 3.25 ounces. Since newborn kittens are typically about 3.5 ounces, he's underweight. But he sure seems healthy. And loud. So very, very loud.
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, I was going over to see my sweetie Steven, like you do. I arrived right around 3:00 p.m. as planned. As I went up the stairs to the porch, I heard strange noises, a cheeping or meeping or something. Not-happy-critter noises. I went upstairs to see if Steve and Jen were there. They weren't back from the grocery store, yet. I made the fatal mistake of leaving my knitting bag behind, and went back down to the porch to see if I could figure out what the not-happy-critter noises were.

There was a cat sitting on a chair to the extreme right-most end of the porch. She seemed placid, accepted pets, but was not the source of the not-happy-critter noises. She didn't look like Karina's cat. She seemed awfully skinny. I left the porch and followed the sounds around to the side of the house. As I came abreast of where the cat sat on the chair on the porch, the peeping was quite loud. I looked under the porch, saw nothing. Looked in the bushes, didn't see anything, but it didn't quite sound like it was coming from the bushes. I looked a little higher, and a teeny, tiny black kitten came swimming out from underneath the chair where the stray cat sat.

My first thought was, "Well, fuck. This'll be complicated." I got back on the porch, went over to the chair, and picked up the very tiny black kitten, who peeped and squeeped frantically. I looked at the very fine grey cat in the chair, and wondered if she was maybe the mom-cat. I put the kitten on the chair with her, and the kitten started burrowing away, looking for a nipple. Her nipples looked a bit engorged, and the tiny kitten tried several, and was clearly dissatisfied. The adult cat licked the tiny cat a couple of times, in a very desultory way. I called Steven and said, "I'm on your porch with a kitten in distress."

Jen came down, and we decided that the female cat was not giving milk, and that was what was needed. So we called Petco, confirmed that they were open and had queening milk. We gathered up the alleged mom-cat and the very tiny kitten, and piled into my car. The kitten had his eyes open, but there was no particular color in them. His ears were still mostly down, although he could flick them a bit. He is still more in the swimming than crawling stage, and he kept on peeping and peeping and meeping and meeping, with vigor and clear distress. He would stop, occasionally, to try to suckle on Jen's hand, but when that didn't yield milk, he'd go back to crawling around and meeping. He was four, maybe five inches, nose to butt, not including his tale. Very, very light. Maybe four ounces? Maybe six? All black. So very, very cute, and clearly very hungry.

We stopped by my house and picked up a cat carrier to put the alleged mother into. Jen continued to hold the kitten. I was a bit freaked, the last time I heard kittens make noises like that was on the long ride from Iowa City to Ames, where I lost the last two kittens of the litter to feline leukemia. (One died about a half hour into the two hour trip, the other died shortly after we reached the hospital. It was awful.) I babbled a bit on the way to Petco, Jen was a rock of sanity.

We bought various things, including a bottle with nipples and two cans of KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer). Jen's house was closer, so we went there, and locked her cat out of the basement. The alleged mother got out of the carrier and ate a little canned food, did not drink any water, was briefly friendly, and then hid under the bed. The kitten...

Look, kitten, you have one job! One job. Suck. So, first we had to figure out that the nipples were not perforated. So ok, we did that. Still, the kitten would not suckle. The few times we seemed to get a drop or two in his mouth, he looked disappointed and started meeping and peeping again. We tried cutting the tip off the nipple altogether. Still, he would not suckle. Jen said, "I feel I have been lied to. In the books, you find the tiny creature and you give them milk and they love you and become your familiar." I agreed that we had been lied to, and suggested that a dead rat would probably not improve the situation, despite what some novelists might have us believe. Also, we could not squirt milk from the cow directly into the kitten's mouth, nor was there a spider spinning a web that said "Some Kitten." The perfidy of novelists was discussed at length, over the cries and meeps of the very, very tiny kitten.

Jen tried squirting some of the milk into the bowl of her hand, and then re-directing the kitten to it. Some of it seemed to get ingested, although it was awfully hard to tell. Much of it was getting on his fur. And he continued to make truly piteous noises. She tried soaking a rag (well, her shirt) in the milk, but he was very not interested in this. I've raised kittens, two and a half litters, though it's been a while. I was concerned that the kitten had been awake and upset for two hours, at this point. Kittens sleep a lot. A whole hell of a lot. His cries seemed to be a little softer, and we tried rubbing his belly, like you're supposed to to encourage elimination. He did not stop crying, and it seemed like being rubbed might be upsetting him. We, certainly, were upset.

While Jen continued to try to feed the teeny, tiny, kitten and we continued to discuss the ways in which we had been lied to by fictioneers, I tried to use my phone to find useful resources. I called Josh and he had some suggestions. Most places were closed, and we were pretty sure that most shelters that are kill-shelters would not take a kitten that needs round-the-clock care. I decided that we really needed the experts, so we decamped to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, with attached emergency clinic.

We got there around six p.m. We explained the situation, including the fact that we were utterly unsure that the alleged mother was the alleged mother. They took the kitten and the cat away. We waited.

I called Scott to let him know that I had to skip the Mnstf Board meeting tonight on account of kitten. My phone doesn't hold much of a charge.

We waited.

I got a phone call from a very close friend very legitimately upset. I was not able to spend nearly as much time with her as I wanted to because I was badly distracted, and because my phone doesn't hold much of a charge.

We waited.

I got a call from Ann Totusek, who said that she was willing to foster the kitten, and understood what was involved, provided we could get an indication that the kitten was likely to, you know, live out the night. I was incredibly grateful. Between the two of us, Jen and I had figured out maybe 36 hours of kitten care. But kittens that young need to be fed every two to three hours. While I don't begrudge the sleep, I have a job to which I cannot take a kitten, and Jen had the same problem. I was thinking of maybe dragooning Pamela until we could contact a no-kill shelter, which would hopefully find a foster, but that would probably take time, and probably nobody answering their phones until Tuesday what with the holiday. I fell upon Ann with cries of glee, wished her luck at the Board meeting.

We waited.

Jen had had almost nothing to eat, and I hadn't eaten since ten-thirty that morning. We got progressively more faded and wan. We talked about various things, mostly me rattling on about Puppygate. There was a loop of funny animal videos on the monitor in the waiting room. The baby goats were very funny.

Around nine, I asked at the desk if they had any news. I was told that the alleged mother (whom I'd begun to call Lady Jane Grey, because she was a lady,and grey) and kitten were resting comfortably. I said, "The kitten's going to live?" The said yes, and explained that the doctor hadn't been able to get to the kitten right away because of an emergency.

We waited some more.

A bunch of people rushed out, with a rolling cart. They rushed back in with a dog in the cart, who had blood on his face.

We waited.

A very nice resident (or whatever they call baby vets) came out. The kitten was doing well, they'd managed to get him to eat. The alleged mother was probably not the alleged mother. When they tried to introduce the kitten to her, she'd growled. Also, she was running a fever. 105.6, about 2 and a half degrees above norma. I had thought she felt a bit hot. If this was a beloved pet, they'd advise hospitalization. However, that would start at $1200.

Discussion ensued. I do like Lady Jane Grey quite a bit, but this is a lot of money to spend on a cat that may not live. I elected to have sub-q fluids, since she was dehydrated. I called home to confirm that she could live in the cat-free zone for now.

We waited some more.

I paid the very nice people $333, and drove to Blaisdell Poly, where we showed the very tiny kitten (whom Jen named Bucky Barnes, once she knew he was going to live) to Pamela, and offered Lady Jane more food and water. She ate some food, and then retreated.

We decamped to the Courts of Chaos. Steven had cooked up the tacos which we had planned to eat around five. It was, um, well after ten, I think. Bucky was mostly asleep. Jen was cuddling and stroking him. She managed to properly rub his belly and buttonhole such that he both peed and pooped. There was much rejoicing, and then some washing of hands. Ann showed up and cooed and ooed and we admired the very small Bucky Barnes, whom Ann is planning on renaming. She is also planning on rehoming him. Yep, we'll see how that goes. When Bucky twitched his ear, she made adorable cooing noises. We sent Bucky off with Ann, had some gin, and then Steven and Jen retired to sleep, and I came home, because I am working tonight and it was too early to go to bed.

I managed to coax Lady Jane Grey from underneath the folding chairs in the sunroom. I picked her up and set her down on my lap. She felt hot to the touch, and didn't stay long. Her eyes are bright, her ears are intact and clear. She moves well, has no visible wounds or scars. She's clearly socialized to humans, and seems very sweet. I set out some kibble for her, since some cats don't like wet food. I hung around for a while, but my allergies got the better of me, and I retreated. It's been a hard day for Lady Jane. I'm hoping it gets better soon.

I do still need to get Lady Jane Grey into my vet's on Tuesday, to be tested for various scary diseases. If she doesn't have anything terminal, we can feed her up and possibly foist her off on Steven. If she does...I don't want to think about that. At the moment, I'm still worried about getting her to the vet, since I hope to be asleep that day in preparation for working that night.

Not very good picture of the teeny, tiny kitten currently known as Bucky Barnes:

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