Slightly Freaky

So tonight Debbi and I are playing some Gin Rummy when we hear Blackjack let out a frightened yowl. We turn around and see him in the kitchen, low to the ground, looking totally freaked out. He’s looking under the stove or fridge and crawling with his belly on the ground. I pick him up and he clings to me like Roulette does when she’s scared or upset. But Blackjack is rarely scared or upset. I give him to Debbi and she carries him to the couch, where he lies on her like a lump.

I look around in the kitchen but don’t see anything. I also go look around upstairs, with the other cats following my around. They’re also a little agitated and want to smell Blackjack when we put him back on the floor.

We were pretty baffled about what had gotten into him. My best guesses were that he was feeling sick, or that he was freaked out by the occasional day-after firecracker we heard, or (and here’s a pleasant thought) that there’s an intruder in the house. The last thought wasn’t made better by noticing that the dome light in my car was on for some reason, although it’s possible we either turned it on accidentally today, or that we turned it on last night while we were stuck in traffic coming back from fireworks (when we often turned off the engine and played some rummy since traffic was at a dead stop for minutes at a time).

However, we eventually heard another firecracker go off, and Blackjack quickly high-tailed it upstairs and hid in the closet. So I’m pretty sure he’s just scared to death of fireworks, while the other cats are a little agitated by them but not too freaked out. We’ve been out of town for the last two July Fourths so we haven’t recently seen what he thinks about the fireworks.

So that’s made for a rather creepy evening. But hopefully things will be back to normal tomorrow.

I feel really bad for Blackjack, though. Poor guy.

Best Name for a Cat I’ve Seen Recently

The feline-in-residence at Recycle Book Store West in Campbell is named Isbn (pronounced “IZZ-bin”):

Isbn at Recycle Book Store West

Recycle West moved to a larger venue a block down the street from where it used to be, which threw us for a minute when we went there today; I was on autopilot and walked almost to the door before Debbi stopped me. The new store a much nicer place, though. I’m glad they’re doing well!

Fun With Mirrors

This morning I was shaving and Jefferson had jumped up on the counter next to the sink. Blackjack was prowling around in the bedroom behind me, doing what I don’t know.

Jefferson, though, was going nuts when he saw Blackjack in the mirror! He looked intently and bobbed his head back and forth while swishing his tail! I think he was checking out what Blackjack was up to, and was trying to get a better look, but every time he moved his head to look the cat in the mirror moved too and got in his way.

It was hilarious. It’s been years since either of the big cats have shown any interest in all in mirrors.

Kitty Update

Most of my weekend was taken up with reading, specifically reading Joan Vinge’s Catspaw for our book discussion group, as well as its predecessor Psion. More about then later.

Besides that we got together with Subrata and Susan on Friday night for dinner and games – we’ve apparently hooked Susan on playing dominoes. We had an excellent time, reducing ourselves to complete hysterical laughter by the end of the evening, which is always a good way to start a weekend.

The other component of the weekend was less fun, though. As I mentioned not long ago, Jefferson has been having some digestive issues, for which he got to take antibiotics and then some stuff to help his digestive tract. The former stuff was liquid which he absolutely hated (and got to take twice a day – lucky us), while the latter is a powder I mix into some wet food which he absolutely loves. (And so do the other three cats, which means I get to spend ten minutes herding them away from him so he can eat in peace.)

Well, Saturday afternoon Jeff started behaving strangely: First he started yelping at the other cats when they got too close to him, and then he decided to spend Saturday evening and most of Sunday upstairs under the futon in the study. He didn’t even come down for dinner.

Sunday afternoon I tried bringing him up a bowl of water, and he immediately pulled himself over to the bowl and drank from it. So we tried bringing up some food at mealtime, and he was perfectly happy to eat that, too. By the evening he started coming out from under the futon, and he spent an hour on the futon with Debbi. This morning he came down for dinner, and also came to check me out of his own accord while I was lying in bed trying to get up. He went back to lie on the futon after breakfast, but didn’t seem as skittish as he was before.

So we’re not sure what happened. I talked to the vet this morning and it sounds like his medications are likely not the culprit, since he’s been on them for over a week and they’re not the sort of thing likely to build up to a “critical mass” change in his behavior. So he might have just gotten an upset tummy for some reason, or maybe he ate something he wasn’t supposed to and it laid him low for a day. I dunno.

Hopefully he’ll be back to normal by tomorrow, and then all I have to worry about is his original digestive problems, which haven’t gotten any better that I can tell, but don’t seem to be bothering him very much, either.

If you’d asked me a few years ago which cat would have caused me the most trouble as he moved into old age, I’d have said Newton. But other than losing some weight (probably due to a borderline-high thyroid, but not one so high that the vet thinks he needs medication yet), he seems healthy as a horse. Even his teeth – in lousy shape for most of his life – seem to be holding up well! So he’ll probably be wrestling with Blackjack for years to come. But it looks like Jefferson is going to be getting better acquainted with the vet over the next few years.


Cat Checkup

Having put jury duty behind me, my next task was to take my cats – Jefferson and Newton – into the vet for a check-up. They’re now over 13 years old, which is pretty old in kitty years. Lots of kitties – even indoor ones – don’t make it that long! They’re both in pretty good health, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure. I decided after some dithering to switch to the vet Debbi uses, the Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital, since I’ve liked them slightly better than my vet the times I’ve taken her cats in there. (Unfortunately I live a little too far to make it to the Cat Hospital in Campbell, or I’d still be going there.)

Jeff has recently been having some problems with, well, his stool being watery. But no other symptoms of anything that I’ve observed. The vet said this could be due to a very long list of things, from parasites (improbable in an older, indoor cat) to inflamed bowels to more serious things. So he gave a blood sample to be tested, and he’s on antibiotics and then some other drugs for a few weeks to eliminate some possibilities. Jefferson hates taking liquid drugs – he drools all over the place – so this will be plenty of fun, believe me.

Newton, meanwhile, has lost over a pound since his last checkup, and is definitely the smallest of our four cats now (Roulette is around 10 pounds, Newton is 8). He hasn’t shown any symptoms of anything else, although he was so active and squirmy in the vet’s office that they said it’s possible he could have a hyperactive thyroid. So he’s also getting some blood tests done. I’ll probably try to feed him a little more in the future, too; it’s very hard to regulate food when you have four cats!

So the news was I guess about what I expected, pending the results of the tests. They’re both still active and friendly so I’m optimistic that they’re still in pretty good shape. But they are getting up there, and I need to keep that in mind.

When we got home, Blackjack started following Jeff around and sniffing at him, which didn’t endear him to Jeff. I eventually separated them since Jefferson didn’t need the extra stress. I’m sure they all just went to sleep when I left for work, anyway!

Kitty Trouble

Roulette’s been having a little trouble recently.

It started Sunday night, when I was up in the study and heard someone horking behind me. I turned around to see Roulette throwing up as Blackjack watched her. She only brought up some fluid, and then did it again a minute later.

Monday she horked again in the evening, and I noticed she also wasn’t eating very much. In particular she was chewing a kibble and only swallowing a little bit of it. Then overnight I woke up and heard her horking again. Each time she only brought up fluid.

Tuesday morning she ate just a little, but she did drink some water. So Tuesday afternoon Debbi called the vet and I brought her in and left her there to be checked out. Our theories were that she either had a hairball she was trying (and failing) to bring up, or that the food was bad (although the other cats weren’t affected). The vet checked her out and said they didn’t see anything, but they gave her some medicine and fluids, and gave us some stuff to give her if she kept throwing up. They also said to watch in case she has any trouble breathing. Apparently her teeth are fine and she’s not showing any signs of anything really serious.

She hasn’t thrown up since, and she’s eating a little more. The other cats aren’t eating as much, either, although it’s been quite hot this week so I suspect they’re just sleeping all the time and thus not terribly hungry. I did open another bag of food in case the one we were using had gone stale or something.

Hopefully it’s just a hairball or something that she can work through. It did have us pretty worried for a little while, though.

Boy did she go apeshit yesterday when she realized I was about to put her in the carrier, though! And she’s been taking meowing lessons from Jefferson, since she yowled the whole way to the vet. Sheesh!