Tag Archives: cat

Brain Fog Decends on Stalingrad

School has finally returned from the Christmas break, which means everyone is now ill.  It’s a predictable pattern, after the first week, the class numbers start to dwindle as the children succumb to colds,  tummy bugs and chicken pox. Then the wee darlings bring it all home to Mum and Dad.

I’m finding it difficult to self-motivate with my foggy brain and sleepy eyes. Beading is happening in fit and starts.  It would be so bad if I could sit comfortably with my beading tray across my lap, but alas, I was cursed with thighs about three inches too short. This makes tray balancing in front of the television a precarious sport, and comfort is not an option. The soft contours of the couch beckon to me, and while I try to resist, the pull is getting stronger.

Another thing keeping me from achieving my beading goals, is the ruthless and cunning Joseph Stalin. In the evenings he’s at his most demanding, plucking my work-in-progress off my bead mat and hurling it across the room. Pressing his face against mine and forcing me to give him my undivided attention. Melting my heart with his endearing face and loving cuddles, then driving me from the room with his rancid flatulence. In Just a week, Stalin has the entire household under his full control. But we love him anyway.

Stalin, pictured here with his brother "Jerry" or as I like to call him "Lenin".

Stalin, pictured here in the SPCA shelter with his brother “Jerry” or as I like to call him “Lenin”.


Goodbye Old Friend.

Regular readers might recall back in April, when our beautiful cat Zakk went missing after our big move. You may also recall, that upon his joyous return 18 days later, I mentioned that he was on antibiotics for an infected foot. Well, that infected foot, soon turned to four and was diagnosed as Plasma Cell Pododermatitis – also known as Pillow Paw, a painful result of the failure of the immune system.

Zakky was given steroids, which calmed the condition down temporarily, but it came back time and time again. Weekly visits to the Vet meant that he became the perfect patient. Doctor Jess would open his cage, lift him out and he would head-butt her, while purring loudly and walking all over her keyboard as she tried to use her computer  –  just like at home. After a while, I no longer needed to hold him still while she put the needle in. She would hold his neck and he knew it was time to sit down, and when it was done, he’d continue his big show of affection.


Zakky disapproves of me brushing my teeth before giving him food.

He was screened and cleared for feline AIDS. He was put under anesthetic and biopsied. He was confined inside and still managed to tear his stitches. It was decided he suffered from an unknown autoimmune disease. His feet would continue to cause him trouble, and he would develop other complications over time. The treatment would involve long term steroids use, which would damage his kidneys and liver, and had already begun to lose effectiveness. A few days before Christmas, we decided to just give him one last big dose of steroids, let him have fun painlessly exploring, playing and generally being a cat, with the understanding that when he started deteriorating again, we’d end it before it was too painful. As the doctor took the needle out, she told me that it should hopefully see him through to February. It didn’t. Yesterday we said goodbye to Zakky.

april2014 (81)

The evening of his return in April, when he met our new fluffy rug.

I’m sad in quite a profound way, but the shock and anguish that I felt with Angus’s sudden violent departure is not there, for which I’m grateful. We knew it was coming, and the kids were prepared.  I’m glad he was able to go with dignity, with me rubbing his ears in that special way he loved and the doctor whispering gentle, soothing words to him. We buried him near his favourite spot by the fence, where there the iron had been pulled back and the gap created a kitty shortcut. After the gap had been closed, Zakky had taken to sleeping there, as if he just went to the spot out of habit.


After an incident while snooping around the neighbours garage. Do you know how hard it is to bath a cat?

Zakky was not a cat to dish out affection everywhere, when he gave you love, it was on his terms. Which was probably a good thing because his love was intense. When it was cuddle time, it was Cuddle Time Or Else.  Rubs and scratches were to be contained to the neck/head only, ears were to be rubbed firmly and only one side at a time. Touching his belly was strictly forbidden and picking him up was nothing less than an act of war. But cuddles at bedtime were the best. If I lay down on my stomach, he’d climb on my back and knead for several minutes before curling up to sleep. It’s the closest thing to a massage I’ve had in years. I’m going to miss that.

Taken 2 days ago

Taken 2 days ago, what a gorgeous face, you’d never guess he was such a freakish kitten.

Zakky, from ridiculously ugly, alien-faced, flea-ridden, abused beginnings, to the most handsome kitty on the block. You were there for three changes of address, a marriage, 2 children, 5 other cats, 2 birds and a multitude of rats.  You’ve survived being hit by a car, falling in a drum of oil, being trapped in another car with no water for 9 days, and missing in a bitter winter for 18, but this time you’re not coming back, and that’s ok. I think you deserve your rest.


That’s right, my gorgeous wee boy Zakky has come back to us through the magic of Facebook. Eighteen days after he disappeared, this is how things transpired this evening:

– Lovely Tania, from across town posts to the local SPCA’s facebook page that a large, skinny, tame-but-scared ginger cat has been hanging around her house for the last week.

– The wonderfully community minded Tina, who owns the Four Square (convenience store) in my previous town spotted the post and tagged me.

– I reply to the post, which prompts Tania to go outside and call him by name. Zakky comes running and Tania, being an volunteer animal foster carer, has a great big canvas pet carrier to trap him in.

– Tania sends me a message on facebook to let me know and I head over to ID him. Within half an hour of Tania’s posting on Facebook, Zakky-boy is safe at home. He’s very skinny, but he’s healthy. So far Zakk has had three meals, a tonne of cuddles and has reasserted his place at the head of the pride.

Zakky has never seen this rug before, and assumes it is a gift for his homecoming

Zakky has never seen this rug before, and assumes it is a gift for his homecoming

A ruler must assert his authority.

A ruler must assert his authority.



The Return of an Overlord. Kranky is not quite ready to resume her duties yet - a minion needs time to heal.

The Return of an Overlord. Kranky is not quite ready to resume her duties yet – a minion needs time to heal.

Doing his best Puss-in-Boots face during a petting frenzy.

Doing his best Puss-in-Boots face during a petting frenzy.

The Woes of a Catlady

An off topic post for today, as I am currently mourning the disappearance of my beloved, oldest kitty, Zakk. Moving house with four cats was always going to be tricky: new smells, new territory to establish, new rivals.

The first outings of the kitty gang was revealing in terms of individual personalities. The “under-dog” Lita, was the first to venture outside, doing a quick lap around the perimeter, then spend ample time peering over fences in to the neighbouring properties. She quickly established a system of roof-top/fence-top shortcuts and made her self at home.

Two days later the Alpha-male, Zakk and his highly strung personal secretary and hygiene assistant, Kranky emerged. Zakk had the first lap of the back yard, while Krank mimicked him a few feet behind and Lita watched from the garage roof. Both Zakk and PA returned to the safety of the bedroom for the rest of the day.


Angus, the dumb but loveable oaf, remained hidden under the blankets at the foot of the bed for several more days, coming out in the dead of night to eat and use the litter tray. Eventually he ventured out, only to become frightened and hide under the house for a day and a night.

Each cat gradually adopted a new routine, Lita slowly coaxed her playmate, Angus, back into play fighting and found a new hobby in skidding on the wood floor. Zakk returned to his usual habit of exploring far and wide, only returning once or twice each day for food and an ear scratch. Angus resumed dinner table scavenging. Krank continued cleaning Zakk’s ears and butt – a duty that she has taken very seriously since she was a 5 week old kitten.


Then Zakk stopped coming home. The last time I saw him, he was trying to eat while Krank held his head and jammed her tongue in his ear – his usual dinnertime routine. Angus sat nearby waiting his turn, while Lita, knowing her place in the pecking order, hid in the pantry. It’s been 5 days now, and he has not returned. It’s possible he’s decided to head back to our old place, but knowing Zakk, I think it’s more likely that he’s found himself a new human pet. One with a quieter house and a comfier sofa. He has a well documented history of making himself welcome in the homes of strangers and I have long suspected that he had another family in our old town. I’ve put posters up and contacted the local shelter, but I’m not getting my hopes up – I just hope wherever he his, he’s safe and warm and has a fully belly.