Monday, September 25, 2023

A Kitten in His Natural Habitat

Since the early days of the Summerhill Kitten Farm, the Brothers Catzilla loved diving into luggage, including each one stretching out in half of Katherine's Tumi suit bag (AKA the big Tumi). The boys are gone but not forgotten. Meanwhile the big Tumi lives on, but it's mostly in retirement; these days Katherine mostly uses a small Tumi which can be carried on.

Alas, because the small Tumi has gotten used more (and sometimes been checked on the way home), after one too many encounters with evil baggage handlers it has died. Katherine replaced it this week; as the current Senior Prince, Penwiper knew his ancient duty and checked it out the first time she opened it:

Penwiper Checking Out the New Tumi Carry-on

All is right with the world.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Mellow Mealtime

It has been seven weeks since Oscar went over the Rainbow Bridge, leaving Penwiper as the sole Feline Overlord in residence at the Kitten Farm PNW. One could think we now have no cats; we just have Katherine, myself, and Penwiper, nine pounds of a tuxedo-clad, self confident, happy, sociable person with four paws.

For example, things are more relaxed at mealtime. Penwiper appears for breakfast & dinner, but (unlike Oscar) he doesn't make a production of it; he knows the people-with-thumbs will look after him reasonably promptly. At dawn, he'll quietly appear, make his presence known by a quiet snuggle of a valet, and move on. Oscar used to loudly meow indignantly at the perceived slow service, which resulted in him regularly being booted out of the bedroom and the door shut behind him. Penwiper will occasionally quietly meow in the morning, but the door hasn't been shut on him yet.

It doesn't hurt that with only one Feline Overlord, we still measure his kibble, but we now leave his dish down; when he doesn't finish promptly he can graze at will.

And he is his sociable self, gently expanding his love mongering to fill the void of his departed housemates. 

Life is quietly good.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Requiem for the World's Cutest Kitten

Oscar in his last sunbeam on hIs last day
Oscar in His Final Sunbeam on His Last Day

I realized some time ago that Oscar (like Billy before him) no longer bounded up the stairs like a limber cat in his prime. Simply put, he was no longer a young kitten. Blood work in past year said he was declining; it said he had both kidney disease and lymphoma. His behavior changed as well; he was a suspect in a number of urine stains around the house in past few months.

Life went on, until this week.

Monday morning, Oscar stopped eating; he left most of his breakfast. Mid-morning I called Kenmore Veterinary Hospital to have him checked; their first appointment available was this afternoon (Wednesday).

Tuesday, he did eat half his breakfast, and at noon he stomped into my office demanding lunch. He actually killed half the food left over from breakfast, his most solid meals in a day and half.

That was all he ate before going to Vet this afternoon.

When he was examined, his heart & lungs were normal. However, he was slightly dehydrated and virtually all his lymph nodes were swelled. Based on that and the previous bloodwork, the diagnosis was metastatic lymphoma. Knowing how badly Oscar would take any treatment, we made the sad choice to cut short his suffering.
Thus with great sadness we announce that Oscar, age 15 and a half, was put to sleep today shortly after 4 PM at Kenmore Veterinary Hospital. He is survived by his sole remaining housemate, Penwiper.

Monday, January 9, 2023

The Inmates Are Running The Asylum (TNG edition)

Neither Katherine nor I have traveled much since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; I haven't been away at all, and Katherine's only trip was to provide aid & comfort to her only brother after he led with his shoulder into a tree while skiing a year ago. But yesterday I drove her down to SeaTac to put her on a plane for ASU Winter Intensive, which runs until Friday in Florida (lucky her!). 

The only problem is, she didn't tell Oscar, much less get his permission. This leaves the Assistant Cat Valet [Probationary] (that is me) picking up the pieces, including meals, litter box cleaning, and of course snuggles.  

Oscar has already demanded snuggle sessions twice, and who am I to argue?

(I've already cut my indoor walking exercise a bit for the week to leave slack for feline servitude.)

Monday, September 19, 2022

A Good Thing

I think we did a Good Thing.

During what turned out to be the final summer of the Brothers Catzilla, we acquired three short cat towers, mostly to encourage Billy to take incremental routes up to desks and counters that he had leaped onto in a single bound in his prime. He took some of the hints but not all of them.

Oscar may still look like the World's Cutest Kitten, but he now is 14 years old (the same age we adopted Emily). He doesn't act as spry as he used to. Oscar (harmlessly) missed the jump onto my desk a couple of weeks ago; now each time he looks up from the floor to my desk, he hesitates and measures the jump two or three times as if he is not sure he can make it. 

Over the weekend we put shortest Memorial Billy Tower at the corner of my desk; Oscar took one look at it and bounded up.  And better still, nearly every time he looks at my desk, he comes up via the tower without hesitation.

My desk and I are almost too popular now.

Oscar napping on the tower newly positioned for bounding up to my desk

Thursday, June 23, 2022

And Then There Were Two ...

 From my sister Catherine, Bootsie has been helped over the Rainbow Bridge:

Bootsies, 2006-2022. We are so sad to let her go, but she had a large tumor in her hind leg and had lost half her body weight. It was time.

Now Penwiper and Max (at my sister Margaret's in Syracuse) are only two remaining remaining family Tuxedo Kittens.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The March of Time for the Next Generation

With the fading and passing of the Brothers Catzilla in 2020, we are very aware of the limited lifespan of our feline overlords. We saw it coming of course. As the years passed, Billy no longer rushed up the stairs every time or conquered the cat tower as many times during one exercise period. Both cats didn't jump up onto counters and cabinets like they once did.

And now, Oscar & Penwiper, our younger set, are 12 1/2 and 11 1/2 years old. Simply put, they aren't really that young anymore either. 

Today, for the first time I saw Penwiper miss his usual jump from kitchen floor to the counter for treats. I thought he would make it; I think he just didn't get the back legs up far quite enough, and of course a formica counter doesn't offer four claw drive traction like wood does. His fall to the floor was harmless, thank goodness.

I guided Penwiper to the tower we bought Billy in 2022 for an easier climb to his reward. This may become policy for PW & Oscar.

This morning, Penwiper is still good for a happy cuddle and ear cleaning