Saturday, 23 March 2013

Cats before computers

How exactly am I supposed to type when we are sharing this space? An ergonomic wrist rest? I think not!

Drug addled

Red's dose of Zylkene works very well, but maybe too well.....should I teach him to 'Just say no' to drugs....?

The culprit is revealed

The mystery of the distressingly pungent smell of cat scent marking in the dining room is well and truly revealed and my poor cats are vindicated. Since I posted in February about finding my dining room reeking of cat marking I have had three further occasions of this happening with little idea of where the smell was really coming from. My suspicion was another cat spraying the patio doors externally as I could find no evidence indoors but it was difficult to be certain....until this morning that is....!

I was sitting reading the papers online at the table, Red was doing unconscious on the sofa and Magic was at the patio doors watching the snowy garden. I caught a movement outside and saw a manky ginger and white cat come over the fence, land outside the doors, give a wee yowl as it turned its back and wriggled its tail while spraying the patio doors at the level of Magic's face before scooting off. I was outraged, yet Magic was totally unfussed as Stinky the 'visitor' was of no interest to her and Red failed to even waken.

I understand how cats view their territory and my pair are softie housecats but this direct challenge has to be dealt with as neighbours have reported that their own cats have been attacked by what sounds like this cat. I feel really sorry for this big dirty soul on such a raw cold day and my temptation is to give it some food and shelter but I don't want to encourage it and place my two at risk. So, two issues to deal with 1. the stink bomb that had been left and 2. discouraging Stinky from viewing this garden as his.

Well first was a bucket of roasting hot water with fairy liquid, a hefty dose of vanish powder and some white vinegar. I'd have chipped in some bicarb if I could have laid my hands on it too. Off into the snow I went to set about the doors and patio steps with the bucket, brushes and lots of hot rinse water.

As for discouraging Stinky, I had been researching  possible solutions repel all comers non-lethally and not harm my two beloved furballs. I had thought of essential oils as a possible as cats have very sensitive noses but many sites warn of how totally awful everyday oils such as lavender are to cats because they have phenol in them. This is concerning as I use Lavender, Geranium, Mandarin and Petitgrain very liberally daily (obsessively) as room fragrance and deodoriser particularly on a cotton pad on top of the litter box - oops! However, my two seem neither up nor down with the oils which I probably overuse so I reckon they are probably habituated and tolerant of them, unlike Stinky. So, I liberally coated the external patio and doors with a strong solution of Lavender, Geranium and Mandarin. Oddly this nice mixture wasn't detectable indoors unlike Stinky's fragrance! As I was outdoors cleaning I watched Magic and Red sprawled out sleeping while I was outside in the freezing cold and snow trying to spray mark my territory on behalf of my feline overlords and realised there is no balance of power in complete servitude.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Zylkene Trial - Days 9-18

Dose Given - half a capsule

This seems to be the right daily dose. Red is more settled and a bit braver about the outside world without being too spaced to communicate. He has managed not to bolt when the postman puts mail through the letter box, he is braver about going into the garden and all things considered he seems less shocked and startled about every little noise outside, choosing instead to go to the window to investigate. If the noise is loud or sudden he still reacts but he comes back more rapidly to investigate. I am guessing at his thoughts now, but he seems to look at his human and feline housemates and think 'hmmm, they've not moved and the noise is still there.....maybe, this is not as dangerous as I thought..."

The only small concern I have is that I don't think he is eating as much at the first feed when the bowls go down. Although he is a skinny puff of fur he is normally very demanding about his food and always has first dibs while Magic holds back. His lack of nutrition previously was around him only licking the gravy or jelly off the food but having gone back to Gourmet he has been eating the meat better. Now although he demands his dinner he seems to take smaller portions. This doesn't seem to have caused much weight loss, or enough to be a concern as there is food available all day and night. I think instead that this drug is just causing him to be more relaxed and satisfied earlier in his feed. On balance though being more relaxed is probably better for him so long as he maintains a reasonable weight.

In contrast to his ordinary cat food the Lik-e-lix is going down a storm so much so that he whines and squeals when I come home till the bowl with the LeL and zylkene is set down. He absolutely licks the bowl clean, following it around the kitchen floor until every smear is gone. I don't intend him to be on the drug for life but suspect I may be terrorised and held hostage by my fluffy friend until I sign in blood that the Lik-e-lix, aka nectar of the God's, is going to be a permanent feature whether he needs the drug or not.

Verdict is that this drug seems to be helping him over whatever was causing him to be so anxious. Plan will be to continue him for a month to try to embed the relaxed behaviour and let him re-learn that visitors and every little noise is not always a clear and present danger. After that I'll review it and consider tapering it off.

The sun is out and the garden is officially open

The first bit of sun this year which wasn't glinting off some snow encouraged me to hang out my first wash of the year last week and let the cats come out with me. Both seemed to love it. Magic was all business, as usual, checking everything out including the neighbour's shed! Once she'd decided everything was safe she stalked up the garden to take up residence on the bench for guard duty and a bit of sunbathing.

Red was so keen to go out he showed none of his usual reserve. This was probably due to the drug he is on which is reducing his anxiety, which is why after scooting out and having a good look he seemed to stop dead, think for a second or two and bolt back in the patio door to beat the life out of the dining room door so that he could escape to the bedroom to look at the garden from the window. It seems like the drug helps him overcome his fear of initiating activities but, once over the first steps, he suddenly thinks "Oh no, WHAT am I DOING". However, he seemed to gain courage to go back out again after I picked him up for a snuggle and some sweet words while carrying him back through and setting him down near the patio doors. Admittedly, I did this four or five times but each time he became more relaxed and on the last one he was struggling to get down so that he could get to the garden quicker.

 Red on the steps. Magic is on the bench midway down the garden
 Red on the steps
 Magic on the bench surveying her kingdom

Blog Boy

Red loves lying between me and the laptop despite there only being a sliver of the dining table for him to lie on. However, this doesn't deter him, or stop him propping his long legs and big paws on the keyboard. Usually, he likes to lie on one of my arms but on this occasion I managed to untangle myself long enough to get a picture of his beloved spot. Notice how he follows the curve of the table without falling off which is pretty amazing, and a feat of balance probably only a cat could manage. My legs are actually beneath him, but out of shot.,so even if he did start slipping he wouldn't come to any harm.


I noticed a small suspicious mark on the wooden floor in the hall where Magic had been sitting, which hadn't been there when I came in. After cleaning it up I nabbed her suspecting she'd been less than thorough in her personal hygiene. After some utterly outraged shrieking and hissing (she is a bit of a diva) the wet wipe was utterly clean. Enter Red to see what all the fuss was about and he got the same treatment, which is just as well as he was the culprit! I did apologise to Magic but she is still giving me the "I'm very disappointed in you" type of look.

Imagine being guilt-tripped by your own cat....! She should just be grateful it was a chilly old baby wipe and not a steam cleaner....then she'd really have had something to hiss about....!

Sweet beverage

Little Red was in his latest favourite place; lying on the dining table across one of my arms between me and the laptop. As I read the papers online he purred and stretched. This caused his paw to make contact with the outside of my glass of Cherry Pepsi Max and ice. The condensation on the outside seemed to fascinate him.

He clearly thought "this is a bit new..." and, as his paw was wet, he licked it. He then stopped for a moment before gingerly touching the outside of the glass again to mop up the cool condensation for another little pawful. He did this twice more before getting adventurous and leaning up to try to pop his paw over the rim of the glass to see what was inside. This is where the fun stopped and I rescued his paw before he could tip over the tall glass. I, for one, certainly didn't fancy wearing half a litre of ice cold Pepsi and some melting ice cubes..and I bet Red wouldn't have either. I also suspect that in the ensuing panic one of us would have been left with some decent scratches.....! As it was by disengaging his paw early enough we were both left warm, dry and entertained by a condensation frosted glass and a gentle little cat's curiosity.