Tag Archives: Cats

Kitten Time

My wife has been looking at kittens for a few weeks now.  It is the season and the local Humane Society has pictures posted up on their web site.  Then my daughter got in on the act, and the deal was pretty much sealed when she started texting me pictures of a kitten in her lap at Petco up the street.  And so we have a new member of our household.

Miles at home with us

His name is Miles.  For the moment.  Names are a contentious issue.  He came with the name Barry, which my wife was for but my daughter was against.  Miles came up after much back and forth.  It might stick, or he might end up as Milo.  We’ll see.

He is a dozen weeks old, is full of energy, and has a purr like a mini two-stroke engine that he revs up the moment we’re in the room with him.  He is all over my wife’s home office.

Now it is just a matter of getting Miles introduced to Rigby, our current cat.  Rigby is still young-ish, coming up on four years of age, and has been missing having a playmate around.  He knows something new is up and has posted himself outside the office door for long stretches to see what is up.

Rigby watching the door intently

We did have a test encounter earlier.  Rigby was in the office doorway and Miles jumped out, arched his back, hissed, and hopped/bounced in that posture straight at Rigby, who retreated in the face of the aggressive fuzz ball.  We’ll have to work on that.

Oscar at Peace

After we moved into the old house… our first real, single family detached dwelling in the mold of the suburban American dream… and had settled in a bit, it became time to get a cat.  We had a cat at our old condo, a charmer named Woody, but he had passed and we decided not to think about another cat until we had settled down in a new home.  Getting there took a while, but once we had ourselves established in the autumn of 2000, we went looking for a cat.

Two cats actually.  The thought was that a pair would be happier.  And so one weekend we picked Felix from a rescue shelter.  He was an adult can of unknown age who had been living in the parking lot of the IBM facility on Cottle Rd. in San Jose.  When that was closed, the woman who had been feeding him collected him up and brought him in to find him a real home.  He was happy and friendly and liked people and warmed right up to me, so he came home with us the day we met him.

The next weekend we went searching for a companion.  Since I had chosen Felix… or maybe he chose me… my wife was looking for a cat for herself.  After some searching we came across a black kitten with a white tummy, white paws, and a little diamond shaped white spot on his forehead.  He wasn’t a tiny kitten, but about five months old.  My wife thought he was adorable and so we brought him home.

Earliest known picture of Oscar

Earliest known picture of Oscar, hiding under our bed

He came with the name Dylan, but we changed that to Oscar, to match Felix as the “Odd Couple” of cats, and it turned out to be quite the fitting name.

When we brought him home we followed what we had been told and set Oscar up in the guest room with the door shut to keep the two cats apart until they grew used to each other.  That lasted for about 30 minutes.  They were almost immediately on either side of the door sniffing and meowing and obviously anxious to see who was on the other side.  There were no hostile signs, so we said, “What the hell” and opened the door and the two became immediate buddies.

Felix sharing his catnip pillow with Oscar

Felix sharing his catnip pillow with Oscar

But while the two of them were pals for life, they had very different personalities.  Felix had to be around whoever was over to visit, greeting every guest, and was always happy to sit in anybody’s lap.  He was the good cat, gregarious and happy and always in the thick of things.

Oscar, on the other hand, was quite reserved.  He loved Felix and my wife, but held himself aloof from the rest of the world.  I joked that it took him five years to get used to me, but it was about the truth.  He wouldn’t go out of his way to find me, but would seek out my wife day and night to be close to her, preferably in her lap.

Felix would be in the thick of thing and Oscar would be peeking around the corner or sneaking around the periphery of any event, keen to know what was going on but not willing to go out there with all those strangers.  He was also always getting into everything.  While Felix was content with things as they were, Oscar had to know what was under, behind, over, and around anything in the house.  He could be quite the wiener, and his nickname quickly became Oscar Meyer.

And then my daughter showed up and there was a whole new world of adventure for Oscar Meyer.  There was some combination of new stuff and a little human that was constantly around my wife and who, no doubt smelled a bit of her, that made my daughter and all of her stuff of immediate interest to him.  I don’t think my daughter had been home for more than 10 minutes before he appeared at her bassinet to see what we had brought home.

What do we have here?

What do we have here?

Of course, he immediately tried to get into the bassinet with her and curl up.  She was nice and warm and that was a trait he loved in people.  We had to keep a close eye on him and even had to get a mesh “kitty tent” to go over my daughter’s crib to keep him out once she started sleeping there.  But her stuff was his stuff as far as he was concerned and looking back at the pictures he was around her and my wife a lot.

Life with Oscar and Felix was good.  They were pals and Felix, who would welcome anybody in our house, took up the slack with visitors as Oscar remained wary of strangers and really only liked my wife and daughter for years.  I remained under suspicion.

Of course, when it came time to go to the vet, I was the one who had to stuff the kitties in their boxes.  Felix would go easy, but Oscar… who could somehow sense I was coming for him even if left no evidence about… would run and hide under the bed the moment I glanced his way.  I recall once having to take the mattress and box spring off the bed to get at him.  Still, once in a while he would show up and hang out with me.

Hey, is that Age of Kings you’re playing?

Felix, older and having lived a harder life in his youth, passed away just about eight years ago.  Oscar though, he was in his prime at that time.  He was king of the house and soon had to rule over two new kittens.  The coming of Fred and Trixie worked out well, and the three of them became pals, with the two younger cats cuddling up with Oscar.

Black and white fur at rest

With three cats, everybody in the house had one.  Oscar remained ever my wife’s cat, while Fred would sleep with our daughter, and Trixie would hang out with me… though she would cuddle up on my wife in bed.  She knew where the warmth was.

Fred and Trixie were not with us long however.  They both suffered from a congenital issue that cut both of their lives short, feline aortic thromboembolism.  Fred went a year before Trixie, and in the interim she had to have a new cat to call her own, so Rigby joined us as a kitten.

Not being black and white, the new tabby kitten wasn’t welcomed very warmly.  It took a while for Trixie and Oscar to accept Rigby, but eventually they did.

Trixie, Rigby, and Oscar together on the tower

By this point Oscar was slowing down.  He was still king of the house, and held court on the couch where he would welcome any guest and sit in their lap… so long as it was warm… but he was more interested in sunny spots and treats than running around and playing.  Then Trixie passed and it was just Oscar and Rigby.

Those two were not pals.  When Rigby was young he wanted to play when Oscar wanted to sleep.  Later when Rigby came into his adult size, he stated testing Oscar over who was really the boss.  There were the occasional fights, but mostly it was the kitty equivalent of “I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you!”

Oscar trying to pretend Rigby isn’t there

They could be cuddly at times, but their rivalry was never far from the surface.

 

And Oscar was getting older and slowing down even more so.  The vet told me a couple of times that 12 to 15 years is a good life span for a healthy cat.  Oscar hit 16 last year and was closing in on 17 this year, but time was telling on him.  His hips were bothering him, so we got him a heating pad to sleep on during the day.  He had gone deaf at some point, which meant that an already vocal cat had no real way to gauge his volume. He then got a bad ear infection about 18 months back that took a long stretch to go away with antibiotics, a respiratory infection late last year that sapped his strength before it was over, and then this past January an episode that looked like another ear infection (head tilt, problem with balance) but which the vet thought was an issue with his brain; not a stroke but some sort of episode.  His blood pressure was very high and in addition to his other symptoms he was blind in one eye.

I started writing this post after that day at the vet because he looked to be done, even crawling under our bed to be some place dark, something past cats I have owned have done that indicates their time has come.

Then he bounced back a bit.  The “maybe this will help” medicine the vet gave us seemed to actually help.  He got up on the bed with us the next day.  His balance improved, he could get around the house on his own, and he started eating again.  He wasn’t eating much though and he was far from his old self.  We made him as comfortable as we could and offered up food he really liked just to get him to eat more.  Even Rigby (mostly) stopped being a pain to Oscar and would groom him.

But it was borrowed time.  Oscar was eating less and less and was losing weight.  Even for an older cat who slept a lot already, a lot of his time was spent asleep.  And then when I got home from work Wednesday I found him in the middle of the floor of office.  My wife said he had used the litter box, but then just stopped in the carpet there and wouldn’t move.  She had food and water close to him, but he was just sitting there.  I found a cat bed he would occasionally deign to sleep in, put it down next to him, then placed him in it.  He curled up there and slept.  He did not move until the next morning when he was trying to walk to our bedroom.  I picked him up and put him on the bed in the dark room and he curled up again and stayed there.

I was working from home yesterday and my daughter was home sick from school, so we kept an eye on Oscar, but things did not look good.  There was no interest in food or water.  I let my daughter take him out in the back yard where it was warm (72 degrees) and sunny to see if that would stimulate him.  Oscar has never been outside and has shown no desire to ever leave the house.  But as a cat any new environment is of interest to him. He explored a bit, but could barely go a dozen steps before having to lay down and rest for a bit.

Out in the grass

While he was out there with my daughter I called the vet and made an appointment for one last check before the end.  We all went to the vet and cried a lot  as we said good bye.  He is at peace and suffers no more, but we are still sad today and miss him.

The end of an era.  We always grow attached to our pets, but after 16 years the bond is very strong and the parting all the more difficult.  Oscar had been with us since before my wife was even pregnant with our daughter, and we used to joke, when my daughter wanted a sibling, that he was her older brother.

It is even difficult to choose pictures to post of him.  We got our first digital camera as a gift just before we got Felix and Oscar and he has been a kitty of the digital camera and then the iPhone age.  There are literally hundreds of pictures of him to choose from.  But I think my favorites are from the early days, when he and Felix roamed our house and were such pals, and when Oscar just had to get into everything, so I will add a few more of those to the end of this already over-long post.

Friday Bullet Points Roller Coaster

More bits and pieces that I feel like bringing up but which I don’t care enough about to turn into full blog posts.  And I wasn’t really in the mood.  Plus, my office chair was take over by cats.

And the top one gets all frisky if you move him...

And the top one gets all frisky if you move him…

So this is what you get.

Wild Times for WildStar

Fans of WildStar cannot be happy with the news of late.  The F2P conversion was done in hopes of reviving the games fortunes, but Korea’s Daewoo Securities, which keeps a close eye on NCsoft, thinks the game is going to tank in 2016.

Wildstar_logo

And if it wasn’t bad enough that analysts close to NCsoft were down on the game, former employees of Carbine, the studio which created WildStar, were following the long tradition of recriminations, exemplified by EA Louse and that guy from Turbine, have come out to tell people just how screwed up the organization was.  The whole thing was summed up on Reddit.

My take away: In the second decade of the 21st century they chose an old school, price per seat, source control system like Perforce, and then used it badly?  They could have saved a lot of money doing things wrong with any of the equally bad open source options available.

The Force Awakens Many Things

As I often note, timing is everything.  EA released Star Wars: Battlefront into the teeth of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens hype and, hey presto, despite mixed reviews (PC, PS4, Xbox, and Yahtzee) EA says they have made bank on the venture.

And, as the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, even the Tortanic it seems.  EA says that, in addition to the above, they also saw a surge in revenue for Star Wars: The Old Republic as well, reporting subscription levels for the four year old game were at their highest level in almost the last three.  Quite a change from the time when John Riccitiello didn’t want to talk about the game on an investor call because it wasn’t a very important property for EA.

As I noted in a previous Friday post, even my daughter was keen to give SWTOR a try… and then the whole Boot Camp drivers issue got in the way.

One wonders how Star Wars Galaxies might have fared in this mood of revival.

Anyway, I hope this doesn’t go to EA’s head.  Not that I had a lot of hope in their plans for a “make nice” campaign plan, but it was something at least.

Paving the Way for Xenuria 2016

As part of the run up to the CSM 11 elections CCP reworked some of the CSM Whitepaper… again… including some updates about who could run for the CSM. The result was vague enough to make people think if the ran a blog they might not be eligible.  After some outcry there was a slightly less ambiguous version that still wasn’t all that clear, so CCP eventually had to come out and just say that if you were affiliated with The Mittani dot com you couldn’t be on the CSM, it being professional gaming media site compared to the fan sites that are EN24 and Crossing Zebras.

Or something like that.  CCP has a couple stories on that front, but I guess they have to put a question like, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Commumittanist Party?” on the CSM application.

This means that Sion Kumitomo, the loudest critic of the relationship between CCP and the CSM, is barred from running for another term.  Funny how that worked out.  A statement from the Church of Siontology expressed both smugness and a sense of relief at the rule change.

Meanwhile, the slate of candidates for The Imperium now looks to be Xenuria, Suzy RC Mudstone, and that KarmaFleet guy who links all those cat videos in local… and I’m not sure about those last two.  Onward the Goon plan for world domination!

Contest

Finally, you still have a chance to win ISK by entering the Signal Cartel anniversary screen shot contest.  Act now.

And that is all I have.  I will have to make my search minions work harder next time.

Same stories in here as the last time I looked...

Same stories in here as the last time I looked…

Trixie Taken From Us

Feline Aortic Thromboembolism.

That was is what took our cat Trixie from us today.  It is a genetic condition in cats that can lead to sudden death or, in the case of Trixie, a clot coming loose that blocks that blocks the flow of blood to the hindquarters.

My wife and daughter came home around lunch today to find Trixie on her side on the floor, meowing in distress, and unable to move her hind legs.  They brought her to the emergency vet near our house while I headed over from the office.  And while the vet took her immediately, she had been in her paralyzed state for a while.  Her paws and hindquarters were cold to the touch, she was in a lot of pain, and the doctor said there was little hope for anything but a very temporary recovery due to the state of her heart.  We had to put her down.

She was just a wee thing when her and her brother Fred came to live with us less than six years ago.

Trixie and Fred in smaller, happier times

Trixie and Fred in smaller, happier times

Today we had to say good-bye, just a year and a month after her brother Fred passed on.  The vet thought it likely that Fred’s sudden death was from the same genetic disposition.

Trixie in my arms at the vet

Trixie in my arms at the vet

In a house of tall people and big cats, she was a wee little thing, just 8 lbs, with a squeaking, high pitched meow, who would go every place at a trot or a run, and who had to scale every piece of furniture in the house.

Trixie atop the fridge

Trixie atop the fridge

In the kitty order of things she was “my cat,” though she was happy to be with everybody in the family.  But when she was young, when I got home she would meow at me and jump up on the kitchen table, putting her front paws on the back of a chair to get her just a bit higher, where she would wait until I came over to pick her up.  She would then wriggle out of my arms and get up on my shoulders so that she could ride around up there… at least until I got close to something taller, at which point she would jump for that.

She also slept on the bed with us every night, either on my wife’s hip or cuddled up with our 15 year old cat Oscar.  She wasn’t much of a lap cat and didn’t like to be held, but she would come over to me at night some times and dig for my hands until I would pet her.  Then, in a display of kitty OCD, she would first lick and then lightly nibble the tip of each finger on that hand.  After that she would run off.

At the vet we all held her one last time.  She was on pain meds and a bit confused, but purring and happy to see us.  True to form, she tried to wriggle out of my arms for a bit, no doubt aiming to get on my shoulders once more.

Trixie cozy on the bed

Trixie cozy on the bed

And now it is all tears at our house today.  We miss her and her little meows and the sound of her skittering around the house.  So many pets over the years, but saying good-bye never gets any easier.

A gallery of Trixie pictures after the cut.

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Remembering Fred

Fred.  A big fuzzy friend who would head butt us with such vigor to show his affection for us.  He would bring us a toy to throw for him and fetch it back so we could throw it again.  He would open the medicine cabinet and steal a single Q-tipp, running down the hallway with it dangling from his mouth like a cigarette, and eat the cotton off the tips.  Every night he would follow the same routine, first sitting on my nightstand to attack my hand as I attempted to turn out the light, then running off down the hallway to curl up with my daughter for a bit, before finally retiring to his bucket on the cat tree where he would sleep away the night.

He and his sister came home with us a little over four and a half years ago.  He was just a little thing.

Fred and his new favorite toy

Fred comes to stay

But he grew up to be a big cat, weighing in at 15 pounds and long enough that he was able put his front paws up on the bathroom counter to see what was up there while his hind paws were still planted on the floor.  He was so full of life and interested in everything and everyone.

Fur at rest

Full of coziness as well

And then I found him on the floor in our room, on his side, completely still, having choked on something.  He was gone.  We miss him so much.

Fred in the Lights

Fred in the Lights

The holiday spirit has left us.  We feel sad and empty today.

Not Distracting At All…

Two of our cats, Trixie and Fred, decided that climbing up on top of the bookshelves in my office would be a good idea.  And then they sat up there and loomed over me as I sat at the computer.

Don’t mind us…

They were, essentially, six feet in the air and about three feet behind me.  Since Trixie likes to jump on things and is fond of perching on my shoulder, I kept an eye on them.

I wonder if it was the fact that I was fishing in Rift that fascinated them.

This didn’t last long.  They got bored and went off to nap on our bed.  We call them the “day shift” in our bedroom.

No Appliance Left Unscaled

Since they arrived as kittens almost two years ago, Fred and Trixie have made it their business to try to get into every nook and cranny in our house.

You have to be careful when you close a closet or cabinet door, since one of them may have slipped past you while you were not paying attention.  I once closed a door on Trixie and she was stuck in the bottom shelf of one of our kitchen cabinets for about half an hour.

But one goal has eluded Trixie until recently, the top of the refrigerator.

She has actually been up there via my shoulder once, but she hasn’t been able to get up there on her own until recently.  Then, the other night, we found her up there.

The Fridge Is Mine!

The opportunity came about when my wife brought home a helicopter landing pad sized island for the kitchen.

It's big, it's heavy, it's wood!

This replaced a much smaller mid-kitchen cabinet and provided a launch point for Trixie’s attempt.

From left to right

In the picture above, you can see her launch and landing points.  Those two points describe the hypotenuse of a right triangle of approximately 60 inches in length.  Not an inconsiderable jump for a little 8 pound cat.

Once up there, one of her goals was to liberate some feathers we had hidden atop the fridge to keep them away from the cats.  Even now Fred is wrestling with one of those feathers in the hall.

Now, however, she has started to make herself at home up there.

I'll watch your calorie intake

Fortunately Fred, who is about double Trixie’s size in every dimension, hasn’t decided to follow her up there yet.

He remains content stuffing himself into things, many of which are too small for him.

The cat not yet out of the bag

Life with cats.

I’m still trying to get a picture of Fred opening the medicine cabinet in our bathroom to steal Q-tips.  He seems to need to get about one a day.