rmc28: (glowy)
As always, the staff at Arbury Road vets were lovely and supportive and if ever we have more pets I will go back there.  (I do not think we will any time soon.)

I had a good cry at the vets - goodbye little cat and sorry for not taking better care of you these last two years.  Otherwise I have let out my feelings by getting things done: taking our stock of catfood and litter to the Blue Cross; cleaning the litter tray and feeding bowls and taking them to the charity shop; cleaning the bathroom where the tray used to live. 

All that is left now are the empty cat food boxes which the children use as building blocks.  They aren't bothering me in the way the full boxes did - I think because they've got classified as something to play with rather than something for the cat.

Meanwhile the back garden is still a mess and the empty hen run is full of weeds.   The neighbour's extension has turned into a total saga and is nowhere near finished; in the meantime that side of our garden is unusable because the builders need access through it.  My vague plan was to wait for the building work to finish and then get in someone to help me sort out the garden back to a basic-and-maintainable standard.   I suppose that is still the plan, and we could work on the bits not affected by the builders, and then do the last bit once the saga is over.

I am still not reliably doing a simple task each evening (check and load the dishwasher at dusk) so new hens are still off the cards.  I've been using a nice little app on my phone (Habit List) to track several desirable habits since Easter.  At the moment 10,000 steps a day and teeth cleaning are going well, running and dishwasher-at-dusk not so much.

rmc28: (glowy)
Our remaining cat is very ill & I am waiting for a call back from the vet.
Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
This morning I was letting the hens out in light rain and streaming sunshine, which perfectly reflected my mood and had me feeling like I was in a film given to heavy-handed unsubtle metaphor. I am still very sad over election results and Paris; and greatly comforted by my friends, my husband, and indeed by the hens and our remaining cat Indi.

I've been very touched by the number of people offering sympathy and comfort over Paris's death, starting from when I was crying in the vet surgery through Matthew & Sally's party yesterday and copious blog and twitter comments.

technical details )

Charles seems to have taken the news very matter-of-factly, at least so far.

We were given a lift to and from Coventry yesterday by [livejournal.com profile] arnhem in order to attend the housewarming/wedding anniversary party of [livejournal.com profile] emperor & [livejournal.com profile] atreic. As usual Matthew & Sally surrounded themselves with lovely and interesting people, and if I was a bit hyperactively talkative I don't think I embarrassed myself too much. Good company and good food and a moderate amount of champagne and later on port (hello Oxbridge stereotypes) did wonders for helping me feel happier.

And now I must rush to get ready and take Charles to meet a friend at the playground.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Yesterday evening, we noticed Paris dragging his rear left leg. He hid under the futon so I pulled him out but couldn't find anything wrong and he seemed to be in no pain so I left him to it. A couple of hours later he hadn't moved and googling cat dragging hind leg strongly suggested a thrombosis snd that euthanasia would be likely. However it was very late and he wasn't in apparent pain so we decided not to call out the 24-hour vet but take him to Saturday surgery.

The vet confirmed it was very likely a thrombosis and gave his opinion on the prospects for surgery or treatment. I authorised euthanasia as previously discussed with Tony, and stayed with Paris to see it done: very quick and apparently painless.

I took this picture just before:

Saying goodbye

I asked the vets to offer his body to the vet school and otherwise to cremate him. What I cared about is gone.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Jonny got a Wii this week, and found me a bargain Wii Fit while he was at it. It is surprisingly fun and social and even Charles loves some of the games. I am finding it useful for exercising the parts that powerwalking does not reach.

I had a mild migraine throughout Thursday and Friday, which was very tedious, but it seems to have eased off. My brain annoys me sometimes.

We are down to 1 small nappy load a week now, which is a nice reduction in housework, enough to make me chill out a bit about getting rid of that last nappy-a-day. Charles will do it when he's ready, as he has everything else.

Today I had to get the cats to the vet for annual jabs at 9:30, so we are all up and dressed now. It's sunny, and Charles has emptied the laundry into a basket for me to hang out; then he's going to play in his house while I build "a surprise" i.e. the rest of the climbing frame, with Tony's help where needed.

Plan for the weekend:
Finish the climbing frame and get it pegged down in its permanent location
Restring the clothes lines to avoid it
Move the rotary line to be visible from the kitchen window (so we don't forget it's there!)
Powerwalk 10 miles
Deliver some leaflets
Read at least one library book
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I've had a bit of a nasty cold the last couple of days - bad enough I left work at lunchtime yesterday and didn't go in today. Determined resting seems to be helping, though I have a butterfly attention span. So what better to do than post a random set of stuff.

Indi is doing well after his operation. We managed to keep him in the recommended 2 days, by some miracle, probably helped by him obviously feeling very sorry for himself and lethargic. He's more back to normal now, and although I've stopped catching him and shoving pills down him daily, he's still very wary around me. Charles was particularly gentle and sweet with him, and seems to finally be developing some impulse control around tails. Stitches out tomorrow, but then it's vaccination time for both pusses.

Charles is being a darling. I decided he was wittier than me so made a Twitter account to post his short gems to. We have established a regular library day and he is very keen on borrowing DVDs of his favourite things (e.g. Thomas, Postman Pat). I have decided the best thing about this is that they go back after a week before I want to smash them due to repetition. (Double-pity that we are missing today due to my lurgy - luckily we can renew everything online, his and mine both). He frequently "reads" his favourite stories, and also engages in lengthy complicated storytelling/play with his toys that we delight in listening to.

Recently he had a sudden breakthrough around jigsaws, partly driven by enjoying doing a large 40-piece one he got for Christmas. And we've been playing a bit with numbers, counting, and a flipchart book I got him ages ago and he's finally interested in. He has the hang of phone calls now, and will happily talk to his various relatives, as well as making a lot of "play" phone calls both at home and at his childminder's.

Potty training is creeping along slowly. He is (usually) dry at night, but less confident and reliable in the day. If he asks for a nappy I will put one on but we are trying for more and more nappy-free days. His childminder is helping us with this.

Other things:

* We did a day trip to Leeds last month to meet up with my mother and based it around the Royal Armouries. I picked it primarily as an indoor thing we could get to easily from the rail station. It is in fact a fascinating place, both in layout and exhibit contents, and we all happily got lost in it for hours. Literally - at one point Mum and (I and Charles) were in the same room for at least 20 minutes and didn't see each other until I rang to ask where she was.

* I saw Nation broadcast from the National Theatre to the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. It was an impressive adaptation and the broadcast tech worked well for me as well. Will do again (much easier and cheaper than going to London).

* We have booked two trips in the next few months: a holiday with Louise in La Charronniere in April, and the tenth anniversary AFP Gamesmeet. Both by train, and we get a double-decker TGV down to Poitiers. I can't wait to see what Charles makes of that - he goes nuts enough about double-decker buses.

* And of course we have DWCon to look forward to in August.

* I have begun training for the London MoonWalk in mid-May. Unlike training for the half-marathon last summer, this time I am counting calories so I don't just eat more with the additional exercise and end up fatter overall. I fell back very easily into the habit considering it's been four years - in fact too easily, and gave myself migraines by trying to undereat more than my target in the first couple of weeks. I have given myself a stern talking-to and think I'm more stable now.

* I've been listening to a lot of podcasts while walking, and have been enjoying A History of the World in 100 Objects (though the incidental music is a bit annoying). It's just the right length for getting to work.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The vet practice called. Indi is fine, and we have an appointment this evening to pick him up and have a briefing from the vet.

*relief*

When the call came, I left the office before answering, just in case it was bad news. Such a relief when it wasn't, I came back in all wobbly anyway.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
A few weeks ago we finally got organised enough to switch our cats, Indi and Paris, from the vets in Cherry Hinton who used to have a branch surgery round the corner, to the Arbury Road practice recommended by my cat-owning colleague. It's a short cycle ride or a longer, but bearable, walk, rather than being the other side of the city.

I'd been "meaning to" do the move for at least 6 months, as Indi has been losing weight slowly but steadily for some time, and at the last vet visit they said "keep an eye on it, make sure it's not his brother eating his share and come back if it continues". The prompt was Indi getting in Yet Another Fight which for once resulted in a bit of a nasty wound.

We booked him in to have the wound seen to, and while I was there I mentioned the weight loss, so the vet took some blood tests and diagnosed him with a thyroid problem (I had gathered beforehand that this was the most likely cause of the weight loss). Treatment is daily pilling for life, or surgery to remove the thyroid, or expensive radiotherapy. As the vet put it "most people go for surgery because it works out more cost effective [than pilling] within a year or two".

In any case, we had to pill him daily to see if it worked, and to stabilise his heart rate and other symptoms before putting him through surgery. Indi Does Not Like being pilled: bribery worked for about 2 days, and since then it's just been a case of daily outwitting the cat in order to get close enough to grab and pill. Deliberately, I have been "bad cop" all through this, so that Tony can be "good cop" and Indi can still get some fuss and attention without feeling stressed. Tony and I agreed that surgery was the way to go, and I was relieved when the follow-up appointment on Thursday found him improved and safe to operate on.

He will go in tomorrow morning and I should be able to pick him up in the evening. We are keeping both cats in and keeping them both foodless from 8pm as instructed (it's easier than trying to feed Paris and keep Indi away from him). I can't help being a bit worried, but the vet assured me that his blood tests show him in excellent health, the only problem found is the thyroid one, and there are no contraindications for surgery. Which is pretty good for an old boy of nearly 15.

(The cats are uninsured. Once they turned 12, insurance effectively became unaffordable due to steeply climbing premiums and excesses. Instead we have a standing order from the joint account to an instant-access savings account. There's more than enough accumulated there for the current issue and I hope it's a long time before anything else happens. But if it does run out, then that is what my credit-card debt management skills are for.)

In the meantime, the new practice should be getting the vet records for both cats from the other surgery, so I will wait on them requesting his annual review and jabs to take Paris in. Paris has been getting chubby while Indi has been losing weight, but apart from that seems in as good health as ever.
rmc28: (finches2)
Last night Charles and I got in the pub as the first flakes of snow were falling. Something over an hour later, Tony arrived, completely white on his front, and clear of snow on his back. Later, I had to go and get emergency nappies from the shop next door and Charles insisted he was coming with me right up until we opened the door and he got a good look at the snow.

By the time we left the pub, the snow was several inches deep and pushing the buggy was nearly impossible. We went on the road where traffic was very light, stepping off the nice packed ice into snow drifts whenever cars came past. Where traffic was too heavy for that, Tony pulled the buggy backwards tipped up on 2 wheels, which was just about manageable. Charles told us we were Doing It Wrong the whole way home.

This morning, Indi shot out the front door when I opened it. Then stopped dead in the snow. Then looked at me holding the door open for him to go back in and nonchalantly walked away with an attitude of "of course I don't need to go back inside, silly human". So I shut the door and faffed with the bins. Moments later he shot past me, scrabbled inelegantly over the snowcovered and icy gate and ran round to the catflap. I popped back inside for something and he was sitting in the corridor, in slightly damp dignity.
rmc28: (glowy)
We spotted a nasty gash on Paris's leg on Monday evening. On Tuesday I took him to the vet, who kept him in to be operated on. I got him back Tuesday evening, nicely recovered from the anaesthetic, with a load of stitches in the leg, a course of antibiotics and instructions to bring him back Friday for a vet nurse assessment and the following Friday to have the stitches removed. We have to keep him indoors until the stitches are out, and pill him twice a day.

Keeping Paris indoors means (mostly) keeping Indy indoors so we have two rather unhappy cats. The catflap is blocked up by means of a spare IVAR shelf and a lot of heavy things in front of it. Paris has always been less keen on running outside than Indy, so we've been letting Indy in and out the front door several times a day, making sure Paris is well out of the way and unlikely to escape. Coming in from outside involves carefully opening the door a crack and hissing if Paris looks likely to run out between one's legs. We're also less able to set the door wide to let visitors in, and have to frantically explain through a narrow gap before hustling them inside!


Plea for help:
We are all (me, Tony, Charles, Jonny) supposed to be going away Friday afternoon for a long-weekend family gathering for my brother Matt's birthday, and an early celebration of Charles's birthday. We can't take Paris with us[1] and Charles can't go without me[2] so our options are:

1. Leave Tony behind, in which case he could really do with someone to help him pill Paris twice a day! It usually takes at least 3 hands to do properly.

2. Find a kind person or persons willing to catsit and pill Paris twice a day, and not let him escape, and feed him, and let Indy in and out, and get on with our remaining lodger, thus allowing Tony to come with us.

1 is the minimal solution that will work and still allow me and Charles to join the family celebration.



[1] My mother's house is far less secure than ours, and my stepfather has cat allergies, even if I wanted to lug cat, litter tray, food, et al on the train.

[2] Well, technically he could but we'd all be unhappy.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Go into living room. Find Indy playing with live mouse. Scream in surprise. Indy runs away. Mouse runs away. Tony catches mouse, throws outside. 5 minutes later, go back into living room. Find Paris playing with dead mouse. Paris runs away. Scream, swear, stamp. Tony disposes of dead mouse.

Cats get shut in utility room* and roundly sworn at.

* with catflap, food, drink and beds - we aren't talking inhumane punishment, just damage limitation
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Paris has mastered the art of moving silently and vanishing without trace while locked in a room. First of all I needed to look at his scabs to see if they'd got any better or if I needed to make a vet appointment. He took exception to me going anywhere near him, so there was a lot of faffing about, moving chairs, reaching under shelves, getting hissed at etc etc, until I finally caught him. And yes, the scabs were worse again.

Then I rang the vet, expecting to be given an appointment a few days later, as before, but instead got one for 10am. I had a doctor's appointment at 9:50 so I delegated vet-detail to Tony. As I was going to the doctor before work, I had some spare time so decided to be nice and do the actual caging of the cat for transport. Foolishly I had let him escape from the living room while ringing the vet (but not the house), so first of all I had to chase him back in there, which involved much running up and down the stairs until I mastered the timing to make him go in there rather than through my legs again. Then I assembled the cage, and slipped warily back into the living room.

Could not find cat. Looked under everything, behind everything: no cat. Checked inside study: no cat. Hauled Tony in to join search: almost immediately found cat lurking motionless behind curtain on study windowledge. Managed to grab him effectively, despite more bad language and resistance, and between the two of us we got him into the carrier and locked him in.

Thankfully the vet said Paris will probably heal on his own now, and we should leave it for at least 3 weeks, and also gave an injection which is supposed to make the area less itchy, so hopefully he'll stop scratching it up again. I do wonder how long it will take before Paris stops running away from me at every opportunity.

Cats!

2005-05-19 13:48
rmc28: (happy)
[livejournal.com profile] fanf and I are getting two cats shortly after we get back from our honeymoon. This is probably excessively couply or something (although possibly not, compared to being married). We're getting Kat's cats as mentioned here. While Tony is used to having pets, I've never lived with any animal until [livejournal.com profile] davethedog started visiting regularly. But that has gone well, and I usually get on with other people's cats, and I am prepared for the probable dealing with dead things. I am going to keep my room off limits to them and try to keep them downstairs at night.

I've talked it over with Keith who is amenable, and [livejournal.com profile] antinomy who had lots of good advice, and have thought it over a lot with Tony before definitely deciding and I'm now getting quite excited about it. Keith and I have been talking about where to put their things and where to feed them and so on. I want to find a "how to look after your cat" book (yes, I know it's probably reasonably easy but I've never done it and I like having a manual). Any recommendations gratefully received.

Otherwise I'm a bit zogged today after a dash into London to meet [livejournal.com profile] damerell in the Oakdale for some drinks last night. [livejournal.com profile] emperor and I took the wussy non-cycling option and caught the train back that arrives shortly before midnight. I crashed a bit on the train, but woke up sufficiently cycling home that I couldn't settle to sleep and was still up when [livejournal.com profile] fanf got back rather later on the next train. But at least I was failing to sleep at home rather than kept awake elsewhere.

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
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