Monday, November 29, 2010

I Haz A Kitten!

Mickey the kitty is back! The vet said he seemed to be doing really well, and that, while he was kind of shy and scared the first couple of days, after that he quickly got over it and became very friendly and playful with them, which is good to hear. Yay, socialization! She also said that their daughter, who is also called Mickey (or possibly Micki) fell in love with the little guy and was in every day to play with him. Awww!

And I am pleased to report that they did have the results of the FIP tests: both negative! Which may not be definitive, but the vet did seem to think it was meaningful. She also said that they had seen some signs of worms, which might possibly account for the weirdness on the x-rays, and he's now had a dose of de-wormer. They're going to want to see him again in three weeks, and in the meantime I still have to keep him isolated from the other cats -- I'm thinking of moving Kitten World into the spare bedroom -- but the signs, they are very hopeful. Yay, Mickey!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am back! Much, much turkey was eaten. Also pie. And various and sundry other foodstuffs. It is possible that I may not need to eat again for months. Like a snake.

Also, much shopping was done, including a trip to Powell's, where I bought enough books to break my suitcase. (Well, the handle part of the suitcase. Which was an exceedingly cheap and crappy piece of luggage, anyway. Still, it sounds impressive, doesn't it?) More surprisingly, I am also now the proud owner of a new smartphone. Which I almost immediately sort of regretted, as I'm not sure I'm going to get enough use out of it to justify the monthly data fees. But, man, it is shiny! And very handy for when I'm travelling. And, unlike, my old one -- and I do mean old one -- it's actually usable. Which means I'm more likely to actually, you know, use it. So, anybody know any cool apps I should get?

And then I went bowling for the first time in something like ten years. We bowled two games, and on the eighth frame of game two, apparently I suddenly remembered how to play. I imagine now I will go another ten years before I try it again, at which point the entire experience will repeat. (Really, it may be just as well given my deep, deep disapproval of the shiny modern bowling alley we went to, and its assumption that watching TV is infinitely more important than actually being able to properly play the game you came to goddamned play. But perhaps that's a rant for another time.)

And I got to see various family members again, of course, which was the main point of the exercise. Thanks again to my sister and her husband (who will read this), and to my mother (who won't, but that's OK)!

Anyway, now I am home. The cats are a bit freaked out, as cats tend to be at any disruption in their lives, but they are all alive and well. At least, the ones here at home are. I have to go pick Mickey up tomorrow morning after the vet's office opens. They still haven't called with his test results, but the vet did say it would be "a few days," so likely they didn't get them back before the holiday intervened. I'll ask when I go pick him up.

So, how has everybody else been?

Monday, November 22, 2010

See Ya!

All right, the kitten has been deposited at the vet's office, and very soon I will be off to spend a week at my sister's house in Oregon. Since I very probably won't be online much until I get back, I will now wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving! Even if that is way, way belated for the Candians. And inappropriate for the Brits.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Worry. I'm Leaving On Vacation In A Few Days, And You'll Have A Break From The Kitten Talk.

Still waiting on the test results. In the meantime, Mickey the Kitten certainly still seems to be doing well. It's amazing how quickly he's adjusted to his new life as a housecat. It used to be that when I went in to see him, he'd immediately start purring. Now, I go into the bathroom after waking up or coming home from work, and he complains at me. "MrrRRRRMroowwWrrowrRRRAO!" Which means he wants food. But not just any food, no. He does not want the dry kitten chow I have left for him overnight or while I was gone. He wants the good food, the canned kind, which I only started feeding him in the first place because the vet said it would make him less constipated. Oh, how very, very far we have come from the pitiful little stray kitten who seemed entirely willing to eat anything vaguely edible. It's really kind of cute.

Also cute, while simultaneously being deeply annoying, is the fact that ever since I gave the critter a name, I've had inane singing in my head:

Oh, Mickey, you're a kitty,
So I understand.
You're so very furry,
So I pet you with my hand.

Yeah. I'm really dating myself with that one, aren't I? Ah, 1982. You and your legacy of bad, yet disturbingly catchy pop music will truly never die.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kitten News

So, the kitten is back from his vet appointment, and the results are...

Drumroll please!


Sigh. Yeah, they palpated his abdomen and did more x-rays, and it looks like there's a little more fluid in there, but they're still not sure if it's FIP or not. They're going to run some blood tests, too, which will likely also be inconclusive, because you basically have to be Veterinary House, apparently, to pin down this particular disease accurately. Although, one of the tests, which the vet offered almost as an afterthought, may give some information. It's new and it's expensive, and it's got a huge false negative rate but a very low false positive rate, which means that, for your money, you get either bad news or no news at all. But lack of information raises my stress levels, and anything that might remove uncertainty can lower them a lot if it works, and right now I've got this massive knot of spasming muscles right at the back of my neck telling me that anything that holds a possibility of lowering my stress levels is worth another $70. So I told him to go ahead and do that one, as well. I should have the results (or the lack thereof) in a day or two.

In the meantime, the little guy seems to be doing really well otherwise. And I will be able to board him at the vet while I'm gone next week, which means that it's OK that I don't have all the answers right now, because I don't have to do anything drastic before I get back. If he does have FIP, he could be okay for some time before he gets really sick, especially with treatment for the symptoms. There might even be a (very, very small) chance he could survive it. And as long as he's kept separate from the other cats, the odds of him infecting them are extremely low. So, wait-and-see is doable. And for the moment, he's a pretty happy little cat, which is something I'm content to let him go on being for as long as it lasts.

Oh, and he does have a name now, by the way. It's Mickey. He was doing so very, very much better that I unilaterally awarded him Most Improved Kitten status. MIK, Mickey... It seems to suit him, somehow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Kitten

The kitten has his next vet appointment on Wednesday. I honestly can't tell whether his abdomen is any more distended, but it is a bit rounded, and it feels... I don't know. Sort of squishy. Very probably this is a bad sign, and I am prepared to hear bad news. But, whether or not he is badly sick, he is clearly feeling a whole lot better.

Just look at these bright eyes!

The first few days, all he wanted to do was snuggle. Now he wants to play. He has become quite the fierce hunter of Feathers on a Stick. Whatever happens, it makes me feel good to see him so much happier. And still so cute.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Internet Is Made Of Cats. And I Must Do My Share To Contribute.

Because I believe it is required in these circumstances, here is a picture of the kitten:

And, for good measure, a list of various cute things the kitten does:

1) Starts purring as soon as I come into the room and sets world kitten records for the Longest Continuous Purr, as he usually doesn't stop as long as I'm there.

2) Growls at the Evil Mirror Universe Kitten in the bathroom mirror.

3) Runs up when he sees the syringe of antibiotic liquid and puts his mouth right on it, like he thinks it's a yummy treat and he can't wait for me to squirt it into his mouth. I have never, ever seen a cat do that. Usually giving them medicine involves first winning a wrestling match.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, Yeah, This.

It's a bit later in the month than I usually do this, but I've been distracted.

Current clothes: T-shirt from a Rush concert (the 2008 Snakes & Arrows tour, to be precise). Black sweatpants. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: I've been incredibly stressed lately, with the whole "OMG, what do I do with this kitten?!" thing, but my mood has been much, much calmer and better since I took him to the vet, even though the news was not necessarily all good. It's uncertainty I don't deal well with. Insufficient information, too many variables, too many possibilities, too many potential plans that are all too fuzzy -- these things send my stress levels through the roof. But now, OK, I know what to do for the next week, and then I take him back to the vet, and at that point there are really only two major possibilities, and in either case I know what to do to meet my moral responsibilities, so that's OK.

Current music: Nothing at the moment. I'm working on getting caught up on a big backlog of podcasts again.

Current annoyance: There are now Christmas items and Christmas music in the stores. Two weeks before Thanksgiving. I know it's cliche to complain about this, but, honestly, it's just gotten to the point where it makes me feel sad. Any sense of Christmas as a special time of year is pretty much gone for me.

Current thing: Kitten! He's in isolation in the bathroom, still, but I make a point of going in there and cuddling with him often. He seems to be doing pretty well, really. He's a bit friskier than he was when I first brought him in, and the constipation did, indeed, clear up. Also, he is a total, cuddly sweetheart.

Current desktop picture: This image of a meteor and a thunderstorm.

Current book: 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman. Which is sort of a self-help book written for people who think self-help books are B.S., featuring lots of quirky little psychology experiments.

Current song in head: Not much of anything at the moment.

Current DVD in player: I don't think there is one in the main DVD player. I need to get back to American Gothic. The one in front of the treadmill has disc 1 of season 4 of The Venture Bros. I am still so not tired of that show.

Current refreshment: Ooh! I put the kettle on a few minutes ago, and now I can make tea!

Current worry: Well, of course I'm still worried about the kitten. I would much, much prefer it if it turns out he's going to live.

Current thought: I like cats. In many ways, they're so much easier to deal with than people. Cats make more sense to me, because their needs and desires and social interactions are so much simpler, and it's much clearer what my obligations towards them are.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kitten Update

So, OK, Kitten is now back from the vet. I said yesterday that he didn't look to be in terribly bad shape to me, but by this morning I was a lot less convinced about that... His eyes have gotten quite goopy, and I heard him sneeze a few times, which did not seem like a good sign. And, sure enough, the poor little guy is sick. Just how sick is another question. Apparently he has distemper, which fortunately is not as bad as the disease of the same name in dogs. I now have antibiotics and eye ointment to give him, and, also fortunately, the antibiotic course he needs to take will finish up a couple of days before I leave town, so at least he should be healthy by then. Or... maybe he'll be healthy by then. There is also a possibility that he has FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). The vet took an x-ray, but the results were very ambiguous. I have another appointment to take him back in in a week, by which point she thinks it should be obvious whether he has it or not just by feeling his abdomen. FIP is nasty and incurable and, as the vet put it, "not a good way to die," so if he turns out to have that, the course of action is sadly clear. But I am reasonably optimistic.

On a less serious note, he also seems to be very constipated -- I had noticed that he hadn't used the litterbox or done any business anywhere else since I brought him in last night -- but the vet seems to think just giving him some wet food should help with that.

Anyway, assuming he does not have FIP, the bad news is that there's no way I'm going to talk someone into adopting a kitten with distemper, and it might be iffy whether a shelter would take him even after he's done with the antibiotics. The good news is, the vet said that they would be able to board him while I'm gone, if necessary. How much that's gonna cost, I don't know, but what the heck. It's not like I have anything better to spend my money on.

So. That's where we sit. I will keep you guys updated, whether you like it or not. And whether I like it or not, I may end up coming out of this with another cat. Which puts me 2/3 of the way to Crazy Cat Lady territory, by my reckoning.

Oh, and, yes, he does appear to be a he. And the vet figures he's probably closer to two months than three. Maybe two and a half. Also, he's very cute, but I knew that already.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ragan's Home For Wayward Felines

So, um, yes, there is now a kitten living in my bathroom. Again.

The little stray guy that's been coming around has just gotten far too friendly and far too pitiful. Once he (or possibly she; I'm still not sure) got to the point where he'd let me pet him, I realized I could feel all the poor little thing's ribs, and its not like he's going to start eating any better out in the wild, with winter coming on. And if he's going to get used to being around humans, he's at an age where it really needs to happen now. So... in he came.

And then there was purring. There was so much purring. There was so much incredibly loud purring. I think he was even happier with the cuddling than the food, to be honest. I don't think there are going to be any socialization problems here at all.

Other kinds of problems, though... Um. I really do mean it. Anybody want a kitten? Anybody know anybody who wants a kitten? Anybody willing to take in a kitten for a week over Thanksgiving while I'm on vacation, even? I really don't want to take the poor little thing to a shelter, but, man, he's got rotten timing.

The vet's got good timing at least, though. They were able to fit me in tomorrow morning, when hopefully I will find out for sure the sex of this animal, how old he is, and whether he has any horrible diseases. Aside from being too skinny and having eyes that are running a little -- which is probably nothing but could always be something -- he looks to be in decent shape. And he's a sweetie.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

In Which I Talk To Myself

So, in 2005, on something of a whim, I did this thing where you could e-mail messages to your future self. I sent several, to various points in the future. And, well, I just got one back. Past Me had this advice for Present Me: "Don't let yourself become a crazy old cat lady, OK? Go out once in a while and stuff. I mean it." The two things I have been stressing out about rather a lot in the past week or so? The fact that I feel compelled to take in another stray kitten and the fact that I've been even more socially avoidant than usual, which I don't think is good for me.

Oh, me. You know me frighteningly well.

Early Morning Random Linkage

Should I Have a Cookie?: This is why I never lose any weight.

Rover Under Construction!: Watch a live video feed of engineers and technicians building the new Mars rover!

Organ Trail: Zombie apocalypse version of the old Oregon Trail game. You do not want to know how much time I wasted playing this the other day. Why does no one want to trade me any fuel? Why?!

Into Space: Fly a rocket. Upgrade it. Fly it again. I spent way too much time on this one, too. But I made it to the moon!

Unreleased Doctor Who scenes, from "The Eleventh Hour"/"The Beast Below" and "Flesh and Stone"/"Vampires of Venice": Featuring a bit of Doctor Who continuity, a fan debate recapitulated in canon, and the Doctor and Amy being utterly adorable.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Insert Anti-Time Change Rant Here. I'm Not Awake Enough Yet.

You know what's fun? When you have to switch from working a lot of nights to working a 12-hour day shift, which you know you aren't really physiologically prepared for, so you set your alarm clock to wake you up only about an hour before you have to leave for work, to maximize sleeping time. And then, after finally falling asleep after a really, really bad night, you wake up to discover -- eventually -- that your alarm clock helpfully set itself back off of daylight savings time. A week ago, on the date that was scheduled to happen when you bought the thing. Only you didn't notice, because, of course, you were on nights and didn't need it for a week, and you usually keep the damned thing covered with a pillow because otherwise even with the dimmer switch on the clock face is too damned bright and shines in your face all night. Plus, you are pathetically unobservant.

I believe the appropriate phrase is: FML. Also, "time to get a new alarm clock."

Miraculously, though, I still managed to make it to work more or less on time. I think I deserve some kind of award for that.

Friday, November 05, 2010

I Need To Put A Sign On My House That Says, "Dear Cats: No Vacancy."

So, um, just hypothetically... Is there anybody out there, within reasonable driving distance of me, who might want a kitten? Or knows someone who might want a kitten?

Public Service Announcement

Americans: Don't forget to put your clocks back this weekend! Because, obviously, when the days naturally start getting dark far too early, the sensible thing to do is to help them along. Mutter, grumble, stupid world run by morning people...

Well, at least I'm on day shifts this weekend, so it's actually working in my favor for once.