Archive for the ‘cats’ Category

She is kind of functional. Nice and warm.

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

My cat has recently taken to trying to sleep around my neck like a scarf. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem, except that she also has a tendency to forget that she possesses legs when she tries to get up. She just thrashes herself around like a salmon until she ends up upright.

In related news, if ever you’re planning to curl up with a salmon, you might want to protect your larynx.

Five Question Friday? Nope. But there’s a contest! And who doesn’t like those?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

So apparently there is no Five Question Friday today.  Just because some people’s family members had crazy “medical problems.” …like “appendicitis.”  Slackers.

Today has been a little more sleepy than usual around these parts.  My cat decided yesterday for absolutely no discernable reason, that five am would be a great time for us to connect on a deeper level.  Like, say, the level where her paws meet my face.  I have a terrible time trying to get back to sleep these days once I’m awakened.  And for some reason yesterday’s blip convinced my body to wake itself up again this morning with no feline prompting.  Clearly my subconscious desire for cat is impeding my ability to get a reasonable night’s sleep.

Anyway, in honour of the five am wake-up, in lieu of Five Question Friday questions I have decided instead to share with you some gems I discovered scrawled on the little pad of paper I keep perpetually beside my bed.

1)  “Belated Superman” …I have no idea what this means.  Seriously, what does this mean?

2)  “Responding to myself like a newborn baby or a Sim” This I do actually remember the gist of.  Something to the effect that I need to pay more attention when my body is giving me signs that I’m in need of something.  That I wouldn’t ignore a newborn’s basic needs, and thus shouldn’t ignore my own as I am prone to doing.  And that, as I would if I were engaged in a Sims video game, sometimes maybe I need to invest some money to quickly tend to an urgent life need (like having too much stress or discomfort, for example).  Or something.  It was a four-in-the-morning revelation, after all.  At any rate, I’m fairly certain the Sim/money thing doesn’t extend well to things like needs for social companionship.  Or it shouldn’t.  Unless I want an STD.

3)  “Erin and Josh’s poop story” Classy.

4)  “Maybe I should have been complimenting you on your appearance rather than wearing our sheets as a hat if I wanted to get laid.” This one’s a quote from my husband, capturing a beautiful moment of enlightenment on foreplay.

5)  This awesome diagram:

Diagram Of Random Stuff

I had to scan it straight in, since I’m sure you couldn’t otherwise appreciate the full glory of its awesomeness.  As I recall, this was actually a joint effort by my husband and I.   And I would love for you to leave your impressions of what this could possibly be depicting.  It’s like Rorschach with slightly less ink.  I promise that I will mail a small something (chosen by popular vote) to a randomly-selected participant.  And maybe something extra to somebody who comes up with anything truly creative or amusing.

Seriously.  I am dying to hear what people can make of this.

Edit: Pinkbrain did a really cool analysis of me based on what I drew there (nifty!). If you want to do that too, feel free to have at me! Alternately, I will have just as much fun amusing myself with what you think the drawing was originally supposed to be and what that says about your own psyche. ;)

Tearing Down Walls

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

We’re going to go through some photos and videos today. I’m scared to, but I think it will be good for us. I was surprised last week when we looked at a couple of things how much it helped. It was hard, don’t get me wrong, and we both cried, but it felt better afterward, and helped us to remember all the good, and the love, and how lucky we were to know him while we did. And provided the fodder, apparently, for a sentence with no less than six commas in it. And then one that starts with a conjunction. And then another one.

I am starting to feel slightly more like myself. Sometimes I will read a random Facebook comment, and feel the urge to post a random response, like I normally would. Sometimes it all still seems too trivial. A lot of the time in the last couple of days, I’ve been feeling less down on the surface, like I’ve trapped all the pain behind thick walls and refuse to go in there. Makes me more capable. But I don’t think it’s actually a good thing overall. When something manages to get my mind behind those walls for a second, tears start flowing again. And I’m not actually at peace. I am desperate, and afraid, and consequently irritable and stressed-out and a little bit fierce. It’s an effective defense mechanism in its way, but not without cost.

And another part of me still feels guilty every time I realize I’m not actively mourning.

So we’re striving for balance today. We’ll be brave, and remember how much we loved him, and then we’ll get out of the house and do…I don’t know what, but something mindless or distracting. And we’ll feel how much we miss him, probably both more and less than the last few days, and we’ll try to be okay with both.

Cat-Shaped Holes

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

First off, thank you all for your messages of support and understanding. I know I’m not always ready to say much in return, but every word from you guys is helping to make this easier. Knowing you’re out there means a lot to me, and there is also something really special in feeling like other people are moved by Morning, and that in some small way I’m able to share how special he was.

I have heard a lot of repeated, cliche stories about human grief. About how people who have lost someone close to them will wake up in the morning, and for one brief moment everything is happy, and then they remember and it all closes in on them again. About how they will go about their daily activities as if that person will be coming home, and then are suddenly reminded that they won’t. About how it all feels impossible, and part of them keeps expecting that their loved one will be walking back through the door at any minute. About how they have a brief glimmer of happiness about something, and then feel guilty that they are capable of it. About how everything that everyone else talks about seems so trite and frivolous and unimportant.

And they’re all true.

And the loved one doesn’t have to be human.

We got up on our own yesterday. There was nobody waiting patiently until the alarm clock went so that he could purr all over us to wake us up.

I put our leftovers on the kitchen island yesterday. I just left them there for a while. Right in on the edge. Because I knew no curious little furball be coming to investigate them. We could leave them there forever if we wanted to. No one wants to sniff them.

I threw out the eye drops on the counter. Nobody here needs them anymore.

I made tea, and nobody came running. No one thought it was the most exciting thing in the world to get to sniff the tea bag. Nobody wanted to stretch up and put his paws up on the counter to help me. I didn’t have to be careful pouring the water. There was no one there to splash.

I walked into our office yesterday to check the calendar. I didn’t need to close the door quickly behind me, but I did anyway. I didn’t need to feel guilty for not giving somebody some time to explore in there, in what was often our special place. I haven’t been in there much since getting my laptop. Somebody used to miss spending time on my desk. Nobody is missing it now. And when I came out, I didn’t need to keep one foot held out at the ready to discourage anyone from making a quick slip inside. But I did anyway.

I didn’t need to leave room on the couch last night so that someone could climb up there with me. I didn’t need to be careful when I shifted positions because there was nobody there to poke or prod. And because there wasn’t, I kept looking to the ottoman, where usually there would be a little brown furry body, making questioning eye contact with me and giving the special little murp that was a question whether I wanted to shift over a little and make room so that he could join me. The answer was always yes. Always.

A little pile of electronics out of the corner of my eye looked like my sweet boy, and I was going to reach over to pet him. I wondered why he was lying so far away. But it was only electronics. And I was forcefully reminded of that.

I keep calling our girl-cat a “good boy” by accident, and having to correct myself. And I keep comparing them. And feeling guilty that she can’t be what he was.

Nobody startled awake and turned an inquisitive eye on me when I turned on the sound on my laptop. Likewise there was nobody there to keep sleeping blissfully upon being petted, or snuggled, or kissed unexpectedly.

I took some melatonin last night to try to shut down my thinking and let me get some sleep, and I was so careful, like I always am with pills. But I realized it wouldn’t matter if I wasn’t. No one is curious about what they are, or likely is to accidentally sample one if I dropped it.

When I went to bed, I tried to sleep closer to the edge. We don’t need to leave a third of the bed empty anymore. But I moved back to the centre. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to be in his spot in case he wanted to climb up.

When I get up and move around the house to do anything, things keep catching my attention out of the corner of my eye. I keep waiting for the curious little inquiry into where I am going and what I am doing, and for somebody small and brown to come and join me in wherever and whatever it is. But I don’t hear anything.

When I go out today, there will be nobody to say goodbye to me, or to watch out the window as I leave. When I get home, no one will be waiting. Nobody will sit on the stairs until I get my shoes off, or want to sniff my face to say hello.

When I leave the shower, nobody is waiting on the toilet seat for me.

When I leave the bathroom, nobody is lounging on the floor just outside, waiting to see where we’ll go next.

I could wear a sweatshirt today without tucking up the hood strings. I could let them just dangle there. Even shake them around a little. Nobody cares. Nobody wants to play with them, or thinks they’d be great for a good chew. And nobody will be happy to be presented with a toy instead, or decide that a cuddle would be just as much fun.

I sobbed cleaning up the little patch of vomit he left on our floor. It was like wiping away the last traces of him from our home. My husband had to help me. I couldn’t see through the tears.

I can’t believe he’s really gone. That he is really never coming back. I had thought that first night was pretty awful, but it was actually easier than the days since. That night was so full of adrenaline, and shock, and exhaustion, that it was still all very surreal. Without that protection, there is just weight, and pain, and the occasional bout of numbness, and as much distraction as we can manage. At least my husband and I have each other to lean on, and are both going through the same loss. That’s a rare occurrence, I guess. Often when you lose somebody, other people can sympathize but they aren’t going through the same thing at the same time as you. We will get through it. This is only day three. And I recognize this feeling. My old friend depression. I have been here before, and will face it intelligently. I am actually still better off in this moment than I was when my medications were messing with me.

But still, if I could say one thing, I would wish that the image that came to mind when I think of him didn’t have to always be his unnatural still face, lying on that table, once he was dead.

He looked like road kill.

And that isn’t right.

Goodbye, my beautiful boy.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

At first I thought they were playing too rough.

Boy-cat was in an unusual corner, between a wall and a chair, and girl-cat was looking on from a very short distance away, looking unsettled and making low growling noises. I thought maybe he had pounced on her and she wasn’t happy about it.

I checked on him. I said “what are you doing down there, silly?” Moments earlier, he had been curled up happily with us as we watched TV. Then he went for a snack. Coughed up a little vomit pile on the floor. I thought he’d eaten too fast. Now he looked up at me from behind the chair and began to meow in the way that told me he was confused and concerned. I know his meows. I know that probably sounds crazy, but I really do. I can tell when he’s asking a question, and when he wants something, and when he’s asking if I want to shift over so that he can come snuggle beside me. This meow was scared.

And as I came over, I noticed that his legs were stretched out behind him. Flat. But his upper body came crawling towards me. It was wrong. And he started panting. Panting, panting, panting. Very wrong. My husband responds to whatever it was I said and comes over to look. Something is very wrong, I say. I’m really scared, I say. But somehow I say it calmly.

I go into Efficiency Mode. I begin to direct Operation Immediate Departure. I know instantly that this is something serious. We need to leave for the 24 hour vet clinic NOW. We don’t hesitate. I send my husband to my laptop to get directions. I know there is one about a half hour away. I am prepared like that. I used to leave the number for people who fed our cats while we were away. He calls to ask if there’s anything we can do to help before we come. I put on socks. I calm my boy-cat. I get out his carrier. I grab a whole armful of purple towels. I’m not sure why.

In the entry way, while I’m putting on my coat, I lay my baby boy, my boy-cat, on the floor. I need faster shoes, I say, as I rush to the closet to find some slip on canvas ones (snow be damned). Boots will take too long. When I turn back, he has dragged his body into the carrier. He hates the carrier. Maybe he knows.

The ride passes quickly. I sit in the back seat with his carrier bag on my lap, while my husband drives, rigid and white-knuckled. I murmur to my sweet little guy. I tell my husband over and over that we’ve done well. That we’re doing everything we could for him. I tell myself. I’m not sure whether it’s better to pet my little one or leave him alone. I don’t like to be touched sometimes when I’m nauseous. He hates the car. He gets nauseous. He doesn’t seem to want my hand in his bag, but he tells me nicely. I cover the bag with a towel in case he wants to hide. Sometimes the bag jerks a little, like he’s trying to butt his way out. It’s too dark to see. I wish I could see what’s going on. He’s grabbing the mesh with his claws. He never uses his claws. There are more streetlights now. We’re getting closer. I can see his eyes flashing in the darkness, looking up at me. He is lying on his back. Why is he lying on his back? He is chewing at the part of the bag he can reach. I tell him he can eat the whole bag if he needs to.

The vet people are nice when we arrive at the clinic. My husband fills out part of the form. He has his work phone number wrong. We correct it. I take over with the name of the vet. I can’t seem to write legibly. My hand is shaking. I am writing too fast. Someone comes out to ask permission to give him pain medication. We say of course. They ask his name. I think it is good that they asked his name.

It is a short wait. It seems so short. My husband and I hold on to each other. The vet comes back so soon. She tells us that we should sit back down. She asks us when the last time he went to a vet was. I tell her last summer. They go for their check-up every year. She asks us if he has ever been diagnosed with heart problems, and I tell her that he has not. She tells us that he has developed a heart murmur, and that his heart is enlarged. She says that sometimes it can come on surprisingly quickly. She says it’s so sad that it’s happened when he is so young. He is only not quite five. It is sad that it’s happened when he is so young. She tells us that he is forming clots that have affected his heart and are now shooting out various places in his body. One has blocked off his feeling to the lower half of his body. I am not surprised. I knew his hind legs weren’t working anymore. That is okay. We can work with that. We will love him, and care for him, and he’ll be the happiest paralyzed kitty around.

Then she keeps talking. It takes me a minute to realize that she is saying he needs to be put down. I have to clarify. I make sure she knows that money wouldn’t be an issue when it comes to our boy, and ask her if there’s anything that could be done. She tells us that even with unlimited money, there are heroics that people sometimes try, but that it will just buy him a tiny amount of time, and probably put him through a lot more suffering. She tells us there are a lot more clots coming. She tells us again that the humane option is to euthanize him. We don’t want him to suffer. She tells us we don’t have to be there if we don’t want to. We tell her that of course we’ll be there. We tell her we want to have some time with him before he goes.

And we wait, for them to bring him to a room for us. I am crying. And then I am completely detached and have zen perspective. And then I am crying again. I think the perspective is defense. I think it is probably bullshit. I think I am likely to lose it sometime soon. I fumble with my cell phone. I suddenly want to take pictures of him when they let us see him. I know that it isn’t the right kind of event to commemorate, but I want to remember him. I am trying to remember the most recent picture I took. My cell phone won’t work. Why won’t it work? The battery is dead, it seems.

I ask my husband if it’s a strange statement that I wish I had internet access so that I could reach out to all of you. I have learned something. Apparently you are the people I trust to support me in crisis. We continue to wait.

When we see him, he is wrapped in a blanket. His pupils are dilated from the pain medication. They’re so black. He is frightened and confused. We pet him, and hold him, and tell him all the ways that he has been such a wonderful, special boy. We’re agnostic, but we tell him that he’s going somewhere good. If there is an afterlife for anybody, it would be for him. Surely such a beautiful spirit wouldn’t be wasted. He calms a little, and is happy that we’re rubbing and scratching him. I am crying, getting tears and runny nose all over him, nuzzling the top of his head and the back of his neck. I tell him that I hope he doesn’t mind. I don’t think he would like that very much normally. My husband is crying too, eyes red, tears pouring down onto the vet’s examination table. I have seen my husband cry only once in the ten years we’ve been together. We tell our boy how dearly much we love him, and how much he will be missed. We would like to have more time with him, but he is still frightened. We don’t want him to suffer so that we can feel better. I leave the room to get the vet, like she asked us to.

It happens so fast when she gives him the needle. I expected it to take longer. My husband and I are both petting his head, and telling him over and over what a good boy he is. He was a very good boy. Such a good boy. After she has confirmed that his heart has stopped, we have more time in the room alone with him. It looks so strange to see him like that, not moving. Something is off about the way he’s positioned. He wouldn’t lie quite like that naturally. We keep petting him, and telling him good things. I cuddle him one last time like I would when we’re sleeping, and bury my face in the fur on the back of his neck. I know that I will never get the chance again. It feels just like we’re just settling into bed for the night; like nothing is wrong. I breathe in as much as I can of the smell of his fur through my stuffy nose. I wish my nose wasn’t so stuffy so that I could smell him better. I love that warm smell of his fur. It occurs to me that I could finally check how his gum health is doing now. He hated having his lips pulled back to check. I want to laugh at how completely pointless that thought is. I feel guilty a little for wanting to laugh.

And we pay. And we leave. We decide to check of the box to get his ashes back and sprinkle them in the back yard or something. We’re not sure we really want them, but we’re both too messed up to make the decision and we figure it can’t hurt. We are content to be crazy cat people. This cat was special beyond words. My husband drives home with my hand clenched in his. Sometimes we talk about how glad we are that if he had to go, that he went this way. How at least it wasn’t a couple hours later when we were asleep and might not have noticed him. How he didn’t suffer any drawn-out illness. How we were there for him right away, and he didn’t have to be alone at all. Sometimes we talk about what a special little guy he was. Sometimes we talk about how surreal things are. Sometimes we cry.

It is difficult at home. Any calm I had breaks, and I wander around the house sobbing and cleaning, with my husband behind me, holding on to me. I put the carrier in the basement so we will not have to look at it later. I put back the chair we moved when we first noticed him in distress. I realize that I will have to clean up the vomit from earlier, and it breaks my heart. I realize that I will have to pick up all his toys. I cry over the fur on our sheets, beside my pillow. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. It’s really late, but we cannot yet go to sleep. We decide to have a drink. I also make some tea in an effort to calm me down. Tea is a fitting send off for our little boy. He loved making tea. We commiserate together. We talk about how next to each other, he is probably the hardest person for us to lose. Except not a person. But still an integral part of our lives. We watch a tv show to distract us, and our remaining cat sits in our laps for the first time in more than a month, and there are moments it seems like maybe everything will be okay. And there are moments it seems like my heart will break at the thought of never seeing him again. We get into bed, and I toss, and turn, and we hold each other close, and I try not to cry too much at the emptiness beside me. At the lonely third of the bed where our boy-cat normally sleeps. After far too long, oblivion claims us.

And now it is a new day. And things seem darker than they were before. And I don’t know how to explain to someone who has never been that close to an animal how terrible a loss this is. I have had cats before. And I was sad when they passed. We love our remaining cat very much. But he was different. He was my buddy. My helper. My companion. He was so smart, and so much a distinct and beautiful personality. He was so very much a part of our lives. So special, and so irreplaceable.

I am so sorry that you had to go, Morning. We loved you so very dearly. I am so very glad that you had a good life in the time you were with us, and I am so glad that you had to have known every day how dearly loved you were. But I will miss you. I will miss you so much it breaks my heart.

me and my cat

Be at peace, Morning. You were loved. Feb 14 2006 - Feb 1 2011

Murr-y Christmas

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Why is it “Merry” Christmas anyway? No other events are merry. You don’t wish someone a Merry Birthday or a Merry New Year. Come to think of it, pretty much everything is happy except for Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Valentine’s Day. Maybe I’ll start changing it up a little. I think Arbor Day deserves to be merry.

Our Christmas schedule is a little off the norm this year. My sister has a seasonal job this holiday season, and not in town, so we’re having our Christmas Eve on the 29th and Christmas Day on the 30th. We did something similar last year, and it actually worked out well. In the mean time, the husband is off on holidays and we have the chance at some quality time together, which it kind of a delightful way to gear up for the more intensive social holiday stuff. Our holiday schedule looks something like this:

Dec 24th – Take care of any remaining holiday-related errands and chores; play games; chat; take walk
Dec 25th – Dinner with the husband’s sister (who is nominally Jewish);
Dec 26th – 28th – Days dedicated to fun, bonding activities, enjoying each other’s company, and purchasing and playing an RPG video game together (it’s sort of tradition now). These are the sweet days, with lots of great stuff for both of us. They’ve been closely guarded and protected from other social commitments. :)
Dec. 29th and 30th – Hosting Christmas with my little sister. There may be cheese involved.
Dec. 31st – Hosting New Year’s for a few friends (mostly pretty low key)

…And somewhere in there we’re also supposed to see a friend of mine who is in town only every few years or so. Probably also at our place. I like hosting much better than driving, though, so it’s okay. :)

It’s a different Christmas tradition than I was used to, but it’s a nice one, and something I look forward to. This is definitely the best part of the Christmas season, when I can forget about any overtones of obligation and stress and planning and decision-making, and just enjoy a time of relaxation and indulgence.

And oh yes, there will be indulgence.

Boy-cat is loving the Christmas season. I mean, to start with, we imported a real live pine tree JUST FOR HIM. And then we strung it up with sparkly bits and things that look fun to bat around. Because we’re good owners like that. Plus, board games mean lots of box lids to attempt to cram himself into (as a side note, 16 long pounds of cat does not fit well into a typically-sized game box. Just sayin’. He sort of lies there curled up with a fur-filled muffin top hanging over the edge). It occurred to me yesterday to wonder if it’s weird to him that when the game is over we pick him up out of the box so that we can pack it up. I mean, imagine you were sleeping in bed, and some giant came over and picked you up out of it. And they didn’t even really want anything from you. They just sort of deposited you on the carpet and went about their business. He must think we’re totally bizarre.

The health of our girl-cat seems to be continuing to improve as well. She’s still feeling vulnerable, and consequently still a little testy with the boy-cat (who looks hurt and confused and heartbreakingly innocent every time he comes over to say hello and she hisses at him), but the rest of the time she’s making her normal murring noises and very slowly getting back to a more normal state of things. She’s even been released from our Intensive-Care-Ward/Isolation-Chamber/The-Place-Where-We-Poop and back into the rest of the house. Progress indeed.

So from everyone here, with and without fur, currently using computer monitors or trying with a raging lack of success to hide behind them with their nose, tail, and a multitude of fur hanging out (*cough* girl-cat *cough*), we wish you a safe and happy winter holiday of your choice.

cat standing by table

owl ornament

We purchased this ornament this year because it reminded us so much of our girl-cat. Something about the expression, I think.

cat face


cat looking at Christmas tree

cat by Christmas tree

cats lying under Christmas tree

Being cute is hard work

cat under Christmas tree
cat hiding in Christmas tree

cat with face in camera

Christmas in 3-D

Welcome home, little one

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Kitty is coming home this evening. There was a lot of guilt, and stress, and indecision in there in the mean time, but I’ll spare you most of it. The phone call from the vet to say that she was absolutely miserable and wouldn’t eat, drink, pee, or stop shaking didn’t help. …and our kitty had a rough time with the interaction too. ;) .

They did x-rays and what not. They are still not entirely sure what’s wrong with her, but it seems to definitely be a kidney issue, and we’ll be treating her for the most likely culprit. I feel better just having some direction to go on. Apparently she is likely to be an invalid for some time longer. Poor thing. I think she was already bored out of her little grey mind.

I am still extra-stressed over the number of unexpected large sums of cash we’ve had to drop in the last month or so, but I know that in the long run things will work themselves out (sorry for the angst last post – the news was recent and difficult). Since the additional $750 this morning, I’m sort of numb about it. We do okay most of the time, but we’ve been on an ultra-tight budget the last while already. If ever there is a good time for unexpected $1800 charges, this was not it.

But we will recover.

And in the mean time, we get our girl back. Welcome home, sweet girl. Your family loves you.

cat lying on back

*shake shake* Smells like urine, sounds like “Mrrrrrrrrrrrrr.” …What could it be??

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Kitty is at the vet’s office now. They decided to keep her for one or two days to get some extra iv fluids into her and run some tests. Hopefully they can get her back on track and feeling better. The woman we saw today said it seemed to be either a kidney or bowel issue. Poor thing (…the kitty, not the vet). She’s such an extremely nervous kitty around strangers or strange places at the best of times. I may or may not have taken off my shirt in the vet’s office to leave it with her.

It also looks like we’re going to have an extra $850 plus tax riding on the credit card just in time for Christmas, more if they discover anything seriously wrong. Sigh. Now I am wishing I had been a little more lax this year and hadn’t finished most of my Christmas shopping early for the first time ever. Feck. I don’t know. Maybe I would have bought most of it anyway. As mentioned, I host Christmas for my sister now, and I know it’s tough enough on her not having my mom there. I’m not all that good at putting budget before sentiment when it comes to stuff like that.

I hope that doesn’t come across in a way that suggests that I in any way begrudge our sweet kitty the care. I don’t at all. …It’s just going to make things a little extra stressful at an already financially stressful time. Blah.

Cat Update. …For Inquiring Minds who Want to Know

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Doused the cat tree in Nature’s Miracle, but wasn’t able to get the stench out. We’re going to try taking the top level off, or at least taking the carpeting off it and having a go at the wood underneath.

Kitty has definitely injured herself somehow. We had taken her to the vet, and she was gently poked and prodded a little but it didn’t turn up anything (I’m a little bitter about the lack of thoroughness from the guy we saw, to be honest, but I’m glad we took her anyway). I came home with a urine collection container and lab litter to check for a bladder infection just in case.

It’s clear now that the pain has something to do with her walking. While she’s stationary, she’s okay. When I check over her paws, she’s fine. Twice now when my husband and I (before coming to this conclusion) have tried to encourage her to walk out from her hiding place a little, she has taken her first step and yoweled in pain (and immediately curled in on herself again). …Which I now feel horribly guilty about. Poor thing was hurting, and we kept trying to get her to walk around, walk to her food bowl, etc. And to please us, she tried. She peed in the tree because it hurt too much and she couldn’t bring herself to walk to the litter box. When I bring the litter box right into her bed, she goes and then I can take it away again.

So for now, we’ve isolated her in the bathroom so the other cat won’t bug her. She has everything she would need in there, but won’t budge from between the toilet and tub (which, it seems, is a very smart decision on her part). I bring her food right up to her or she won’t eat. I bring her water or she won’t drink. I bring her litter or she will hold it in until she can’t anymore. She has another vet appointment tomorrow with a different vet. …But she will purr when I pet her, and seems eager for attention, and is doing generally okay as long as we don’t move her and don’t require her to move from her spot. …Provided that I spend a lot of time and energy coaxing her to relax.

So I am relieved, though also stressed.

…And man, does my back hurt.  Bathrooms are not comfortable places!

The current hidey-hole (I know snuggling up with the toilet is the first thing I'd do if I was seeking comfort)

cat lying on back

Feeling more like herself after a heavy petting session

cat playing with blanket

cat stretching out on back/side

angry-looking cat drinking

...Though still not entirely impressed by the whole situation.

We have an enzyme spray. …Any other tips? Please? Save us.

Monday, December 6th, 2010

We had our first real solid snowfall yesterday. And I got terrible sleep so I’m exhausted. My course also finished on Friday, so this is the first day with nothing additional hanging over my head. Somehow the combination feels like Christmas.

Except that Christmas generally has less to do with cat urine than today.

Our girl-cat is a bit high-anxiety much of the time. I’m not sure what’s up with her the last several days. She’s taken to hiding in the corner where their cat tree is, and has been scared to even come out for food and water (we’ve been carrying her over to the food bowl twice a day to make sure that she gets at least a little to eat). She doesn’t seem ill, and she will still perk up and purr if we come over to her, so we’re hoping it’s nothing serious. Something must have freaked her out, but for the life of us we can’t figure out what it might have been. Our best guess was that maybe the two cats are having some kind of territorial issues because if we thought the boy-cat was sickeningly snuggly and affectionate before, he’s breaking all records the last couple of weeks…but she doesn’t seem particularly bothered by him specifically. Anyway, it’s been concerning but manageable. And she was good about sneaking over to the litter box and then making a run back to her hidey-hole.

Was. Notice that word there. Was.

I sat there painstakingly dabbing up little droplets of yellow for about an hour with very little progress before I realized that there was a whole tub of silica crystal cat litter sitting across the room that was made for just that purpose.

I put some plastic wrap, a hardcover book, and a 25 pound free weight on the pile. I’m enjoying their working on the problem much more than when I was. I make a good supervisor. Suck up that stuff, crystals. You can do it. Performance review next month.

(I think I’ve set things up so that the book should be okay.)

(but I won’t pretend I didn’t choose an author I don’t care for, just in case)

This is the first time they’ve strayed from the litter box at all in the almost five years we’ve had them. I guess we were due.

In happenings (as far as I know) unrelated to cat urine, my new computer has been exhibiting some disturbingly random behaviour. In the last week or so, I’ve discovered several different files in which the content has reverted to some previous save. Sometimes many saves ago. Sometimes not. Sometimes it’s all back the next time I open the file. Sometimes not. Disturbing (I mean, think of the funny search engine hits that I had collected and will probably never go back to re-find. The lost hilarity alone is painful). It’s almost reassuring in its way, though. The first file this happened with (which was the very-important final course project, incidentally. Um….panic!) I half thought I was going crazy. I checked for any reasonable explanation and couldn’t find one. Not saved elsewhere. And I’m a compulsive saver, so it’s not like I had imagined saving it. Plus, I knew that I had worked on the file several times since the point it was stuck at, so…I hadn’t saved once through several writing sessions in a row? I was seriously starting to wonder if I had imagined doing the assignment at all. Anyway, bad news – my computer may or may not have Alzheimer’s. Good news – I probably don’t.

(And that particular large and frustrating file did mysteriously come back for no explained reason. Which saved me having to hurt the computer. Or myself. Or both.)

So all I have to do today are the multitude of things that I haven’t been able to get done while I was coursework crazy. But it’s almost nice to have the freedom to do that. Crazy busy does have the benefit that just busy starts to seem great. And it feels like Christmas. And not the stress-crazy kind of Christmas that last week felt like when gifts were still unselected, and unpurchased, and needed to be mailed on a deadline. This week there are gifts sitting in our office, and Christmas can be fun and exciting and magical again.

…Except for the urine.

But I’m working on that.