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April 2017

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Well... if anybody's still reading, here's a catch-up post on what's up in the life of me, since it's been over a month since my last post. (oops)

First, this actually pre-dates my last post by a month, but since I forgot to mention it here... I have a new cat! Fiddler rounds out the kitty crew at four, taking the spot as Izzy's playmate, which was vacated when Bigfoot died. I adopted Fiddler from the Humane Society of Hamilton County, an excellent no-kill shelter in the county just south of me (where I work and where I used to live). He spent the first couple of weeks living upstairs while the other cats were downstairs, letting him get good and bonded to me and used to being here before introducing the rest of the crew. Then I let Izzy come up and she and Fiddler got a couple of weeks to become buds before Smudge and Gorby (sibling pair) were added to the mix. Izzy and Fiddler turned out to be the best of friends, and they play and play and play. Izzy has a waist again! (She'd been getting pudgy without a playmate.)

What's happened in my life in the last month or so... )

So that's my last month or so in a nutshell (and in pictures!). How've y'all been?

(NOTE: Picture links to Facebook are public links... no Facebook membership required. The Zoo gallery is on Flickr.)
Since I moved into this house, back in July, my primary living space has been the huge walk-out basement. My bedroom is down there, and my big-screen TV and comfy squishy sofas, perfect for lounging on with dogs and cats while working (or playing) on the laptop. There's easy access to the backyard, by way of the screened porch, and it's just an altogether more convenient and pleasant "critter space" than the upstairs. (It also allows me to keep the upstairs relatively cat-free, since I have friends and family who are allergic to the feline members of the Reddogs clan.)

Last night, having spent most of the day upstairs doing laundry and unpacking books and generally doing rainy-day chores, I headed down the stairs to grab a laundry basket and realized that the carpet looked funny. Then I got closer and realized the carpet was drenched. Oops! The basement was flooding

As I started the process of contacting the insurance company (who ultimately didn't cover it because it was a "groundwater incursion" for which I'm not covered) and moving furniture to the dry side of the basement, I also relocated all the animals to upstairs. The cats all got caught and stashed in the small bedroom, where they're safe from the possibility of escaping while workers are in and out of the house. Conveniently, that room opens onto the main upstairs bathroom, so I can go into the bathroom, close the hall door, then open the bedroom door to go in and feed/water/snuggle cats, letting the bathroom act as a kind of "airlock" to keep kitties from escaping.

Then I drug all the dog crates upstairs and stashed them in the master bedroom, which is my temporary sleeping space (on a twin futon... bleah) until the Big Noisy Fans are gone from downstairs and I can have my room back. The dogs have taken this in stride, 'cause they're pretty much just happy to be wherever I am, and they can still hang out in the living room with me (Thunder the English Setter looks very elegant sprawled on the leather sofa). The cats, however, are extremely unhappy about this turn of affairs. They're used to being able to sleep with me, and to snuggle against me while I'm working on the laptop. They do not like being banished to a single room, but we've got at least three more days of contractors being in and out of the house to finish drying out the basement and I can run the risk of freaked-out kittie escaping through an open door. :-(

I want my bed back... and my DVR (it's hooked up to the big TV downstairs)... and I want my house to not sound like I live in a wind-tunnel. But we can all survive a few more days of this, and the good news is that the water was limited to the floor... the walls aren't wet, and the carpet is probably okay (yay for really good water abatement crews!), and in a few days life will be back to normal.

Originally published at

Things are insane in my life right now... the annual timestorm that accompanies fiscal year-end at work, mostly... so here's a cute kitty picture in lieu of actual content. When I have a moment to catch my breath, I'll do con reports for Capricon and MidSouthCon, both of which were big fun!

(That link is supposedly the public link to a picture on my Facebook page. If you're not a Facebook member, please try it and let me know if it works correctly! :-) Thanks!)
In an effort to start using the blog on my website, I'm going to start cross-posting from to LJ. With luck, this will all just work. Of course, that would be somebody else's luck. With _my_ luck, smoke will start billowing from the laptop at any moment!

testing the cut-tag, and a gratuitous cat photo )

Comments will be enabled in both places, so you can comment at or on LJ... whichever makes you happy! :-)

Originally published at

This is not what I'd planned for my first LJ post from the new house.

I brought the cats to the new house earlier this afternoon, and opened up all the crates in the downstairs bedroom. Four cats came out of crates, and Gorby and Garion stayed in theirs and glared at me. Well, okay... they've had a lot of stress for the last few days... I can understand sulking.

When I got back tonight, it appeared that everybody had been out and around, and several had used the litter box. Bigfoot was really lethargic, though, which is really unlike him.

He wandered about a bit, and I saw him in the litterbox but it didn't look like anything was actually happening for him. Apparently I should have recognized that as a clue.

Later, he was in one of the crates with Garion, up by the front, with Garion in the back. This was so odd that I scooped Bigfoot up and sat down on the sofa with him for a snuggle, since he was obviously stressed. After a couple of minutes, he convulsed once and went limp.

I _thought_ I could still hear a heartbeat, but I wasn't sure. I put him back in a carrier, hopped in the Beetle, and we rushed to the emergency vet (with a brief detour when I went the wrong way on Highway 9). Unfortunately, he was gone when we got there. They think he may have been blocked... possibly triggered by stress (so now, of course, I'm panicking about the rest of the cats).

He was one of the sweetest, friendliest cats that I've ever known and I'll miss him terribly.
Smudge is currently writhing around on one of my tennis shoes. Moosh moosh moosh... Mine... my shoe... all mine!

At one point, he was upside-down with his head in the shoe. I was waiting to see if he'd wear the shoe like a hat when he turned over, but it fell off first.

Such a strange cat...
Izzy... always the curious girl... decided today that she just had to see what all the commotion had been outside (when we moved all the plants yesterday).

As I came in the front door, she made a break to go out. I managed to pin her between my leg and the doorframe, but then there was no way to grab her w/out shifting my balance, which promptly gave her a chance to escape.


On the rare occasions that she's made it out the door before, she stopped in the flower bed 'til I could pick her up. This time, there was nothing there to stop her, so she kept going. Across the bed to the driveway. Past the front of the truck to the flower bed on the other side (while I was trying to skirt around the truck from the other side to head her off). Into the bed where the peonies had been (and the daylilies still are).

She had no interest in coming back to me, and the more I followed, the farther she went. So I sat down in the driveway, between the front of the truck and the garage door.

She explored.

I talked babytalk to her.

She explored some more.

I talked more.

She headed around the corner by the side of the house... and then something... I'm not sure what (possibly the AC coming on) startled her and she bolted back towards me and ran almost up into my lap.

Yay for a recaptured Izzy!

I carried her inside and, knowing that I had more things to get out of the house tonight, put her in Kitty Containment (the big double-decker cat crate) along with a quarter of a can of tasty tasty meatglop as a reward for coming back to me.

She may have to live in kitty jail for the next 11 days. So be it. She'll have buddies in there soon enough, and I rather expect that Bigfoot will be the next one who has to be contained.

Life with cats... it's never dull!
I'm home... and within 30 seconds of my sitting on the sofa, I had two cats on me (one on my outstretched legs behind the laptop and one on my left side with her chin on my hand while I type), one behind me on the back of the sofa, and anoher one beside me. Garion looked annoyed and Gorby has decided to shun me for my absence. Everybody else seems to be glad I'm home. (The dogs don't come home from the sitter 'til tomorrow morning.)
When I'm on the computer in the evening, I'm usually surrounded by cats... one or two on each side, usually, snuggled up against me and occasionally resting a chin on the laptop.

A few minutes ago, I set the laptop over on the sofa for a few minutes, with Gorby curled up on my left side facing me.

Izzie took advantage of the empty spot and crawled into my lap... facing right.

This left Izzie's tail tip just barely brushing Gorby's face, causing her to twitch in annoyance.







Annoyed Swish...



Ow. I think she left claw marks when she went leaping out of my lap.
Errie was across the room from me, crouched behind a cardboard box, so I couldn't see his feet. He was acting strange, and at first I thought he was stalking something, then it started to look like he was just twitching and he looked unfocused and distressed.

Just as I got up to go check on him, with visions of seizures and all kinds of dire possibilities running through my head, he got up with a bit of a popping noise, and strolled off normally.

Apparently he had a claw hung in the carpet. *rolls eyes*

I really need to relax... really...
First, thank you so much to everybody who's sent hugs and sympathy about Chase. Just knowing that y'all are there and that you care (and that some of you had a chance to meet my fuzzy boy) really does help.

On a somewhat lighter note, I've been fascinated by the behavior of my cats since I got home from the vet last night. When I first came home, none of them would come near me... I think I was radiating more stress than they could figure out how to deal with. Then, all of a sudden, I realized I was petting a purring cat curled up by my left leg. I never felt him get on the sofa, and Smudgie's a big boy, but there he was... just hanging out and purring. Over the course of the night, I had an ever-changing procession of cats in that one spot. I frequently didn't realize they'd changed until I looked down and realized "Hey, that's not the fur I was petting a few minutes ago!"

Then I started noticing another piece of the pattern. Each time I got a "new" cat to pet, the previous one would go engage in a vigorous game of hide-and-seek or pounce-and-tussle with one of the other cats. In some cases, cats who generally consider themselves too "old and dignified" to play (looks at Errie) were suddenly hiding around corners and leaping up in the air and pouncing on furry passers-by.

It's almost like each cat would curl up with me 'til they'd soaked up all the grief and stress they could handle, then they'd go off and discharge it with a rousing bit of silliness with one of the other cats... like zapping them with a static charge... while another cat moved in to take their place by me.

It was very cute... and more than slightly odd. But, well, they're cats and "odd" is kinda in their job description.
Chase is about the same today... he spent a lot of the day sleeping, but when he's been up and around, he's seemed fairly energetic and not stressed. I've done a ton of reading about myasthenia gravis and megaesophagus (and especially what's involved in helping a megaesophagus dog to thrive) and we're now on a quest for the perfect consistency of food. Apparently some dogs do well on (essentially) meatballs, popped in and gulped down, while others do best on anything from normal consistency canned food down to about milkshake consistency. The universal constant, though, is that the dog needs to be vertical while eating or drinking, and needs to be kept that way (think of a dog in a "sitting up and begging" position) for 15-20 minutes after each meal, and there should be four to six small meals a day. So far, Chase is tolerating me holding him upright, but as he gets his energy back that may come to an end. There are plans available for what is essentially a fitted doggy "high chair" and I'm going to check with a couple of my crafty friends (aka, those who have woodworking tools/skills) and see about making one for Chase. It would simplify the meal thing considerably!

Picked the RowdyBoys up from Caring Hands, where they'd spent the weekend. Drummer got his three-year rabies shot, and he and Thunder were both titered for distemper and parvo. Titer levels came back fine, so no need to vaccinate. Yay! Both were clear of any kind of parasites (worms, heartworms, fleas), and Thunder's ears (which I'd been treating for a yeast infection) were pronounced clean and clear. The kennel staff fell in love with Thunder. He's just so happy... and so easy-going. Poor Drummer, who's only been boarded one other time, apparently was pretty obsessive and spent most of his time pacing and worrying. They said he was _much_ better by the end of the weekend. Also, he was massively nervous when Dr. Roach did her exam... one of the techs ended up holding him in her arms like a baby and then he was fine. Apparently I need to get in the habit of swinging by the clinic with him so he can say "hi" to everyone and have a treat and get over being so nervous.

The cats were all happy to see me come home, and everybody seems healthy. Errand had the sniffles and a runny eye before I left, but he's all better now, which is good 'cause I soooooo can't afford any more vet bills right now!

A Cat in a Box A Cat in a Box
Garion, my semi-feral boy, decided to grace us with his presence in the living room a couple of nights ago. Apparently the abandoned packing box in the floor made him feel secure. Awwww...

... but it's a little unnerving to look across my plate and find three of them staring intently back, especially when one of the three is Izzy, who's been known to brazenly take food right out of my hand with a swipe of a paw.

I'm convinced they were plotting.


Nov. 5th, 2007 11:14 pm
tollermom: (Default)
No, not that Bigfoot... my Bigfoot.

my very own lolcat )

Now I must go dust under the stereo components. *glares at dusty glass shelves*
Errand tends to like to curl up on my outstretched legs when I've got the laptop in my lap. He seemed heavier than usual this evening, causing me to put down the laptop screen and look over.

No wonder he felt heavy. He'd been joined by both Smudge and Gorby, so my normally seven-pound lapcat had turned into closer to 26 pounds.

Chase went in for his re-check today to see how he's progressing after his most recent bout with what a urinary tract infection of some sort. The antibiotics are doing a fabulous job, his temperature was normal, urine sample looked great, etc. He's learned that visits to Dr. Roach bring yummy treats that he doesn't get from anybody else, so he's become a horrible mooch when we're there.

So that's the good part. Yay for an on-the-mend Old Dog! He's on another 14 days of antibiotics in the hopes that we can keep it away this time, but unless he starts being symptomatic again, Dr. Roach doesn't need to see him again.

The bad part... we've got fleas. Ewwwww...

I actually knew this before I went, so I was prepared for a pricy visit (try getting flea topicals for six cats and three dogs, plus an IGR spray for the house), but still...

Actual medical portion of the visit... $161, of which $75 was another 14 days of Baytril (wow... too bad I can't get the dogs' meds on my prescription insurance!).

Flea portion of the visit... including two months of Advantage for all three dogs, one month of Frontline Plus for all six cats, and a can of EctoKyl for the house... another $160. Ow. And it'll take at least another round for the cats next month... I just couldn't face buying that many more little green vials today!

Lesson learned... take flea spray in the car when I go tromp around strange woodsy places and barns while looking at property to buy. This is twice now... once last year and once this year... that I've had fleas ride home on me (I _saw_ a couple crawling on my pants legs after the place I looked at last year). I need to be killing the nasty little hitchhikers before I bring 'em back to my house.

Three cats down... three to go. Bigfoot is sulking and Gorby is hiding. Too bad I can't _tell_ them that this will make them feel better!


Apr. 12th, 2007 10:46 am
tollermom: (Default)
I could tell, yesterday, that Chase wasn't feeling well, but I thought it was another bout of what I've dubbed "little old man syndrome" where he sleeps too solidly in one position, then is still and sore when he wakes up. He seemed okay, though somewhat lethargic, at lunch and after work, but he hadn't eaten his breakfast. When I sat in the floor with him, though, he happily wolfed down a bowl of canned food, and he was happy to take treats. So I decided to just keep an eye on him and then call the vet this morning.

A tale of a sleepless night and a trip to the vet )

But for now the rest of the animals are very puzzled as to why he doesn't want to play and why he's just lying there on his bed by the coffee table in the living room. Smudge and Gorby have decided that this is concerning enough that he bears watching, so Gorby's curled up just in front of him, almost nose-to-nose with him, and Smudgie keeps pacing around him and mooshing up against him. Interestingly, Mudgie-Mooshes seem to be as effective as being petted by me for keeping him quiet and unstressed, so this is a good thing. :-)
So it's a reasonably quiet Friday evening, and I get a call from the office... one of the servers is down and they need to know what to do. I started logging in to work, and told the 2nd shift supervisor I'd call him back as soon as I could see what was going on.

I tossed the cell phone over onto the CD player which is currently sitting on the sofa waiting to be put back into the entertainment center. The cats, miffed at being disturbed when I got up to answer the phone the first time, stalked up and started to settle in around me again.

About that time, the office called back. On the cell phone... which was on vibrate... on top of the metal CD player housing.

The look on Bigfoot's face as he levitated about two feet in the air and turned complete around was priceless. It would have been more amusing if he hadn't used my arm as a launching pad.

When I finish mopping up the blood, I'm going look for the kitty nail clippers. Wish me luck...