cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (domestic)
Our cats are purebreds, which means they came with registered names. The late, great The Crazy was sold as Tea-Time Tune, and earned her name by being a neurotic, weird-as-hell mess (but in a cute way).

The BB was sold as Arwen, which actually suited her since she is a genetically and visually flawless, perfect specimen cat who is also petite, dainty, elegant, graceful, fearless, and sweet. But she gradually earned the nickname "BB HBIC" (later shortened to just BB), because when we first got her, she had the adorable habit of surreptitiously following the Crazy around and copying her, but in a tinier, daintier fashion.

Snookums was sold as Russel [sic] Crowe, and when we rescued (bought) him from Crazy Cat Lady Hell where he was being bullied by his 21 overbearing relatives, seeing his name on the papers decided us for sure (the lady had been calling him "Jere", a folksy Finnish dude name that's just as laughably OOC for Snookums as the comparison to Russell Crowe). "It must be fate," we said. "We have to rescue this cat!" Later we came home and followed the real Russell Crowe on Twitter, which we have never regretted, and Snookums, who was hiding in the corner of the sauna literally under his great-grandmother when we first met him, blossomed from a shy, skinny, cringing fraidycat into the pudgy, friendly snugglemonster we know and love. His dedication to snuggling has to be seen to be believed. He ALWAYS is in the mood for snuggles, and there's no kind of squeezing or manhandling him I've come up with that he doesn't enjoy, so his name is an excellent fit.

The bunnies are also purebreds, but when we got them from our buddy pierydys, she advised that if we weren't planning to breed and show them, registering them would be unnecessarily traumatic and expensive, since you have to get their ears tagged to do it. We didn't, and so we had to pick names for them ourselves. Since their sire is named Snickers, we decided on a locally-available candy theme, and we picked popular chocolate caramel Japp bars for the tri-colored one and pink-and-white Rowan-berry-flavored Pihlaja jellies for his ginger-and-white brother. Since we speak English at home, we translated Pihlaja and call him Rowan: unlike Japp, that one doesn't lend itself to anglicized pronunciation.

Since we named the bunnies ourselves, swapping out their names based on personality seems silly, but we actually call Japp "Tiny bunny" or "Tiny bun" more often than anything else. He's just so incredibly smol that when your eyes land on him, exclamations about his smolness sort of reflexively pop out ("HAVE YOU SEEN HOW TINY THE BUNNY IS SITTING ON THIS RUG????") and it's difficult to stop them. He also looks weirdly like a little old man in the face - I think it's the shape of his eyebrow and mustache floof - but nothing pithy to express this has come to us yet.

Ro's descriptive nickname is The Majestic Floof. His personality and behavior is not at all dignified, but his fur is so beautiful and, well, majestic that he can easily fool you just by posing.

I have not illustrated this post with pictures, but this blog is completely full of my pet photos if you want to refresh your memory.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (arrrgh brains)
The thing about Party Cat is that I still am not sure what he actually WANTS when he wakes me up in the middle of the night.



Unfortunately, sometime last spring he realized that he could more effectively get my attention - and actually, for the first time, bully me out of bed - by concentrating his harassment on [personal profile] waxjism. To protect her, I started to follow him out of the bedroom going, "Okay, WHAT DO YOU WANT?" This became a habit where I'd simply carry him straight to the sofa, make myself a nest there and read until I fell asleep. But after a few weeks, when I dozed off, he went back in the bedroom to harass [personal profile] waxjism. He made it clear that he would do this if I didn't trail him around the flat the entire time like a bodyguard.

Then I actually tried playing with him, but he didn't really want to play any of the things he likes in the daytime. Once I gave up on getting him to play, I tried shutting him up in a different room, or just out of the bedroom, but there's nowhere in the flat far enough away to muffle the sound of his constant angry yelling and repeated flinging his body against the door - Wax can't sleep through it at all (unlike me).

Eventually I realized that the only way to prevent him from harassing Wax was to lock him away from her, and the only way to prevent him from yelling about being locked up was to be in there with him.

So now I take him and my pillow straight into the library, shut the door, and tuck myself into a cocoon of blankets on the sofa. That doesn't mean I get to go straight to sleep, though. He has to pace all over the room and deliver a dramatic monologue, and he requires signs that his audience is paying attention. Sometimes he spends a time rustling around the room, making ominous noises like he's about to start ripping books off the shelves and eating them (he's done it before), or eat the giant monstera. Typically I have to spend an hour or two reading to keep myself somewhat awake while he gets this out of his system before he comes to lie down on top of me and purr.

This is significantly better than the past arrangements, but it still involves an hour or two of forced wakefulness in the wee hours and spending half the night not in my bed.

Party Cat #3 is my life now )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (crack)
While looking for help with my Party Cat problem1 on the blog of cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, I came upon the concept of raw feeding for cats. I read more at first out of curiosity, but eventually wanted to try it, and I was able to convince [personal profile] waxjism that it would be a good idea.

We had always free-fed our cats almost exclusively dry food, with occasional treats of wet food; but because our cats suffer from what I now know is the extremely common habit of just licking the sauce/jelly from canned wet food and leaving the meat bits, we had pretty much given up on wet foods as a waste of money.

But after talking about it and reading about it, we at least wanted to try to
  1. transition the cats to eating at specific mealtimes, which is the necessary 1st step in all the recommended solutions for Party Cats (we did it and it hasn't worked, but I guess hope springs eternal; plus, it's better, at least, and I'm not out of options) and

  2. remove most or all of the carbohydrates from their diets (we did it and we discovered that it makes their poop smell WAY better and also decreases, though doesn't eliminate, the frequency of their barfing).


We started by transitioning gradually to wet food, but this is a tall order because:

  1. All the cheaper wet foods and many of the expensive ones are bits-in-jelly-or-sauce and, as mentioned, the cats won't eat the bits, which is much more nutritionally worrisome when you're trying to make up the majority of their diet with it.

  2. The vast majority of wet cat food, including most of the really expensive ones, are so-called "supplementary" foods that aren't nutritionally adequate.

  3. The foods they like the best are the most expensive (Applaws, Canagan, Schesir, Thrive) but are somewhat too low in fat so even if we were made of money it wouldn't be good for them to just switch to those.


This is where the raw diet looks attractive, because it's fairly popular in Finland and high-quality, domestic pre-prepared raw foods for dogs and cats are easily available, and cheaper than feeding a canned diet (the drawback is that they're frozen, but it's worth it).

However, the cats didn't have the best reaction to my first few attempts.

  • Cubes of beef liver? No, they wouldn't touch it.

  • Cubes of ground salmon? They'll lick it and nibble it, but they won't eat it alone, and if it's mixed into canned food, they won't eat the canned food at all.

  • Ground turkey (a mixture of meat and organ, so not like the ground turkey you've encountered for people) today was the best result so far. Snookums eventually ate both portions of it, but the BB wouldn't even lick it off my fingertip.


The comparative cost of buying nutritionally-complete wet foods that the cats will actually deign to eat is going to get burdensome if we can't replace a good chunk of that with either raw or dry. In fact, that's why we introduced gluten-free dry foods again after initially tapering off the kibble they were eating before: we tried to just add a little of the old food back in after a couple of weeks and the sudden return to the old level of cat poo stink made us realize that while we hadn't even noticed when the stink was suddenly reduced, we can't live like that anymore.



1. I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but I mention frequently on Twitter that Snookums has a habit of waking me in the middle of the night because he's bored, and if I don't get up with him, he'll wake [personal profile] waxjism when she needs to get up early for work.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (cuddle time)
This morning I was reading with 2 cats on my lap, buns in the other room, when Chief Inspector Japp started making so much noise digging at the inside of the bunnies' cardboard cave/hut that both cats got so alarmed they went & hid.

As soon as I let him out of the cage, he was running laps through the hallway, and he had enough vim left over to explore the entire kitchen for the first time (he has previously confined himself to the straight line between the two doorways), including climbing into the dustpan.



Snookums followed him at a cautious distance & Rowan stayed in the livingroom, sitting alternately on her small upside-down box and her small upside-down basket. The BB is sulking in the bathroom and occasionally yodeling for attention.

Oh, and a couple days ago [personal profile] waxjism tweeted a picture of Japp and Hugh Fraser liked it (!!!!!!!).
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (domestic)
The bunnies have been settling in since last Saturday, exploring the livingroom around their cage during the day (Chief Inspector Japp is the more adventurous and has ventured about 6" through the kitchen doorway a few times, but then he changes his mind and runs back) and sleeping on the balcony to help them gradually get used to living inside, instead of in a barn (angora is very warm on a bunny as well as when knitted up into fluffy garments for a person, so I gather they would be really hot if required to just make the switch all at once and for all).



There haven't been any fights, but the BB has hissed a couple of times and both cats have sniffed noses with the bunnies, who are basically unconcerned. The cats are curious enough to sneak up to the cage and/or to a free range bunny, but they still seem spooked by movement. Yesterday was the first time Snookums would go to sleep on my lap while in the same room as the bunny cage. The BB is remaining more distant from the bunnies themselves, but she's also got a spine of steel and nothing can stop her from being on a person's lap when she decides she's going to be, including bunny noises at the other end of the room.

Japp's hobbies are running and exploring and Rowan's habits are basically... eating and lying on her belly, which is probably why she seems to be almost half again as big as him already.

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (huh?)
Hektor the Bad Border Terrier was over last night & at one point he tried to Terrier Chase the BB, but the new flat's pristine brand new laminate floor is too slick, so their little feet were just windmilling frantically while they actually moved forward in exaggerated slow-mo. It was a wonderful sight.

Hektor had just had knee surgery, so the whole adventure was way more dangerous for him than it was for the tiny perfection. He didn't manage to touch any of the tiny perfect hairs. Only the tiny dignity was wounded, and she hid behind the washing machine until he left.

Last time Hektor visited Snookums made great progress towards making friends with him, but he was on a leash because Sofia was just standing briefly in the door to drop something off or pick something up, which made him safer to approach. He was off lead today and that was too threatening, so Snookums spent most of the visit hiding.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (cuddle time)
After waking us uninterruptedly from 4-5 am three days in a row, yesterday Snookums finally got locked in the sauna. It did quiet him down, but I couldn't actually sleep deeply knowing he was in there without a litterbox, food, or water, so I dozed and then let him out less than an hour later, and he happily went to bed.



So today when he wouldn't quit the yelling I put him there again, but I set a half-hour timer to let him out so that I could sleep in the interim. Unfortunately I didn't consider in my mostly-asleep state that when it went off it would wake [personal profile] waxjism up, in this case at 4:30 am. She sleeps much more soundly, which is why I get the brunt of Snookums being an asshole at night, but she doesn't sleep through alarms.

Now what???

As I see it, either

  1. put survival supplies in the sauna at night in preparation for solitary confinement, or

  2. do something about the alarm problem - but what, sleep on the sofa?

  3. Or, I guess, try another, different method for making Party Cat stop when he wants to party in the wee hours.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (reading)
The Crazy has diabetes, so she needs special food. The initial special diet kibbles purchased for her - the Science Diet ones - were approved by all the cats, because cats apparently like anything that is expensive as fuck automatically. When Wax bought a bag of slightly less over-priced diabetes diet food everybody except Snookums (aka Russel Crowe) started eating as little as possible. (The BB, aka Arwen, never eats all that much. Her mind is on higher things, like kitty acrobatics and kitty ballet and being utterly flawless.)

It turns out that diabetes diet food is also efficacious for Snookums, who is simply inclined to weigh 5 kg when he should weigh 4, according to the vet. This is because it's the equivalent of a low-carb diet, according to Wax.

Then the Crazy entered a hypoglycemic phase, and the vet prescribed that we should feed her whenever she asks to be fed, as much as her crazy little heart desires. So we've started purchasing really a lot of canned tuna and sardines for the cats, and that's what the Crazy gets when she begs 4 - 15 times per day for food: a chunk of fish, and then somewhere in the 1-2 teaspoon range for each of the other cats. As far as I can tell, the additional fish doesn't have a negative effect on them, except in that it causes them to beg, sometimes quite early in the morning.

(Snookums is still the same size and so is the BB, but it's quite gratifying to see her displaying more interest in food. You still do get the impression that she's condescending to consume the fish, but she's not totally indifferent to it. And she always comes when Fish Time is announced.)

The Crazy, on the other hand, is looking healthier than she has done, it is estimated, since sometime in 2001. She's always had a skin condition that's meant she spent most of her time partially or completely bald on her back and sides and tail - a skin condition that appeared when she was very young. The diabetes thing is very recently diagnosed, and who knows whether it's connected or relevant or whatever: I mean the vet might, but she hasn't said as much to us. Presumably not, in which case maybe it's just all the fish oil or whatever. The Crazy's fur has grown in enough that she looks like a normal Cornish rex! Not only is it there, and thick enough to obscure the color of her skin, but it's also looking glossy and lovely and you can actually detect the ripples of the little curls in it. Her skin isn't completely better - she's still got problems along her tail - but even there, she's furrier and gingerer than ever. She's a new Crazy! A new Crazy who sleeps even more than ever and frequently looks like she's swallowed an entire grapefruit because her belly is so distended with fish, but it doesn't seem to make her uncomfortable. Even her digestion is healthy.

The downside of this new fish-intensive lifestyle is... the fish. Anybody who hasn't had occasion to smell a lot of canned sardines and tuna in an unairconditioned summer flat is heartily recommended to continue refraining from doing so. The smell is pungent, fishy, rather nauseating, and lingering.

Also Cornish rexes are known for barfing, some more than others. It ranges from a hobby to a lifestyle with them. The BB and the Crazy are both pretty mild practicers of this rexish art, who mostly manage to digest just fine but sometimes eat too much or too fast and then barf it back up immediately, completely undigested; and only very occasionally barf otherwise. This is never pleasant, even when it was accidentally easy to clean up, but of course cats always prefer to barf in your bed under the covers. (The BB did, in winter anyway.) The tuna adds a whole new element of horror to this because tuna cat barf is black. It's not that this barf is grosser than dry kibble barf, although it is. It's that it looks like they've barfed up blood, so every time I find some I practically have a heart attack before I remember that it's just tuna. And then it's rather harder to clean up as well.

They've also made a good attempt at ruining all the throw rugs that we'd just laid back out after we had to launder them all when the Crazy had her hypoglycemic episode and peed on them.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (sad)
Dire things are happening in our household. The dog is 15 and senile and gross and the Crazy is 15 and crazy and gross, and seems to be having some kind of digestive difficulties in addition to being a CRAZY ASSHOLE, and all of these circumstances have conspired to create THE POOPOCALYPSE (obviously, this cut hides information that is both disgusting and about poop). )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (that just happened)
We don't only have dog diapers because we have a disgusting old dog. We also have a disgusting old cat! Read more... )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (the goggles do nothing)
Step 1: Put on the kettle.
Step 2: Sit down to wait for it to boil.
Step 3: A cat sits on you.
Step 4: Remain tealess.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (that just happened)
The Kenwood stand mixer lives on the counter, but the silicone pad for under its bowl was found on the hallway floor with kitty (i.e. Russel Crowe) teethmarks this morning and must now be kept in the cabinets. (He loves rubber and all the rubber bands must be kept locked up as a result. Also random objects are found in the dog's water dish typically several mornings each week.)

Every time he's unprecedentedly dickish we both have to pick him up, hold him upside down, squeeze him and kiss his furry little face a lot. I'd worry about reinforcing his mischief if I didn't know that cats couldn't give less of a shit what you think about their behavior.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (kinky!)
ME: Look at the kitties! I love when they make out!
WAX: Yeah. She likes when he bites the back of her neck.
ME: YOU GUYS, you're so sweet!


So then the BB got sick of making out and started to walk away, but Snookums grabbed her a few times, tried to flip her on her back and kicked her in the face... so she went for his balls. She was chasing him through the hall biting at his (empty!) ballsack.

WAX: She's a real ball-breaker!
ME: But she had a reason. I mean, he kicked her in the face and that's when she went for the balls.
WAX: Even though there's nothing in them. You know, BB, there isn't actually anything in his ballsack!
ME: OUR KIDS ARE THE BEST.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (tiny small swimwear)
Half of our menagerie is currently on reduced rations because they are gaining too much weight - Russel Crowe and the Crazy. As a result of the reduced quantity of cat kibbles being set out, the BB is being fed extra servings of canned food that aren't available to the others because she eats too infrequently if it's just dry food, and meanwhile Perry is on antibiotics, which he is being given in lumps of the same tasty cat food.

So basically there is confusion from all quarters. Perry and Rusty inevitably smell the canned food five minutes after the BB has been shut in the sauna to eat it by herself, and wait around outside the door. Last night they both darted in there as soon as I let her out, and didn't notice I was carrying the plate of leftovers right above their heads. They proceeded to spend several minutes industriously sniffing all over the sauna trying to find it while I woke the Crazy up and gave it to her (she is a bit overweight, but she's also old. And we feel sorry for her because Russel Crowe frequently beats her up and steals her bed).

Also I keep putting the BB in the sauna and forgetting about her until she pitifully goes "Mraaaaaaaooooow?"

Perry is due to have lab work next week to determine if he really has Cushing's disease, which is a hormonal imbalance that can be treated at a cost of between €40 - 120-something per month, but not cured. Luckily my parents offered to pay for it and Wax's mom gave us money for the initial vet visits/tests, because otherwise there's no way we could manage that.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wicked)
So Russel Crowe has started frequently beating Perry up and stealing his bed. Like this was the third time today:

I went to step over the dog and looked down and said, "Perry, when did you get so small and feline?" Wax craned over to see and commented, "Russel Crowe, you're such a turd."

I naturally wondered where the dog was if the cat was in the dog bed, and located him in the middle of the room, directly behind Wax on the bare floor. "Wax, look."

She leaned over the back of the sofa to get a closer look and informed me, "He's sleeping on the tea cosy."
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (cuddle time)
He doesn't seem to be as box-obsessed as the other cats. As soon as he sniffs the edge of the box here he loses interest in it and sort of wanders off. But still, you can see him in ~action~. Russel Crowe with guest appearance by Perry )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (peaceful)
I slept really well last night, which seems like an auspicious sign of the beginning of the recovery period. I can even sort of breathe through my nose, though not smell through it.

But I woke up to chaos! Wax came home and instantly started yelling at the animals. I don't know if I got everything, but:

  • The dog stopped being able to hold it at all and his paper-training is no longer in force. He peed twice in the livingroom yesterday and once in the bedroom this morning. Time for dog diapers I guess. Too bad I'm not really recovered enough for the hike to the pet store. Hopefully tomorrow.


  • Russel Crowe likes to carry things around. He took a spare tube of toothpaste out of the bathroom this morning and left it lying outside the bathroom door in a puddle of dog pee, inches from a dog turd. THANKS, RUSSEL CROWE.


  • Rusty and the BBkitty are loudly chasing each other around. They're having fun, it's just their playful war cries/growls/inquiring chirrups and the little crashes of kitties slapping the kitty treehouse and the wall and stuff are a little loud.


  • All three cats want to eat at once. The Crazy and the BB didn't really complain vocally about eating before; they'd just remind you and then wait by the food bowl, if that. Rusty is more Siamese though, and he's loud, and it's catching, so Wax was followed by a train of three loud, frolicking cats yelling for food, who then refused to jump up on the cat food tables to eat the food in question. She put them on the table and then they all acted confused and went away without eating it. (Although they did later come back for it.)


  • Within five minutes of Wax getting home and going to bed, someone had barfed in her shoes. We have a raised hall closet for outerwear with a shoe place, and also a little shoe rack, but Wax is one of those people who can't really remember things like that and likes to drop things wherever they fall, so her shoes are usually next to the rack. So a cat barfed right in the inside of her favorite lace-up sneakers, the ones my parents bought her for our wedding 1½ years ago, and then the dog thoroughly licked the insides of them. Yum. Time to throw those bitches in the wash!


I think that's covered everything, except the obvious implied fact that when I'm recovered enough for cleaning I'm going to have to disinfect everything it seems like. /o\

PS: Did you guys see this new romance novel plagiarist (via [personal profile] cleolinda via Making Light) who seems to be acting just like Cassie Claire? Before Charlee's 30: Oi Carroll! No!

siiiiiick

21 May 2011 07:12 pm
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (o noes)
I am sicker right now than I've been in aaaaaages, unless you count full-blown panic attacks (I haven't had one of those in over a year though; most of mine are limited-symptom attacks). This seems to be just a flu with fever and cough, but I don't think I've had one of those in the last ten years. It's the same bug Wax is recovering from right now, evidently, so I know what to expect, more or less.

On the other hand, I think I'm too sick to answer email. I can read it, but I can't seem to gather the energy required for more than a few lines at once. Sorry bout that if you're waiting; just give me a few days.

And speaking of a few days, even though the fever came on HARD the night before my interview Friday (causing me to shiver so hard I bundled up in more blankets than I'd use at -25° out), I think it went okay, though not perfectly. I will be hearing from them Wednesday at the latest. I did have to walk there and back at +13° C up a steep hill, and that no doubt contributed to my misery the rest of yesterday. But I did have a sort of good feeling there.

I spent large portions of several years of childhood home sick from school, before I figured out a) food sensitivity and b) the fact that I get debilitating abdominal cramps if anything, including elastic or the waistband of tights, digs into my belly. I watched Singin' in the Rain every time I was home sick, so when I decided to watch it today and Wax threatened to put on her headphones, I muted it and put on the closed captions instead. And proceeded to loudly call out and sometimes exclaim angrily over every minor rephrasing of the spoken lines. I think they do it to make them fit better, but sometimes they really destroy the sense of a line, or even ruin a punchline. It lifted my spirits a bit, but all the recitation can't have been good for my throat, which is just now about as irritated as I get by reading canon inaccuracies about TOS or Sherlock Holmes.

Cat report )

Also is 4 years old too young for button eyes? I'm making Coraline-inspired ragdolls for the niecephews.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
What happened was basically that we saw a picture of kittens for fostering in another part of the world entirely, got to talking about how awesome kittens are, and accidentally talked ourselves into getting a third cat. Our eyes met and we could hear the click and we both said "Shit" and then Wax said "I'll just google".

We planned to only net-browse and think about it, but Wax found a post about a 2-year-old fixed male Cornish Rex (that's our breed of cat) here in town who needed a new home and so she texted the cattery. The next day I woke up to the sound of Wax talking on the phone in Finnish to the breeder. "Dude," said Wax, "it's a little old lady, and she's a crazy cat lady. She has twenty-two cats." The 'crazy cat lady' bit was only said half-seriously because she's still an active breeder and show-er (and prize-winner) of Rexes, with ties to other reputable breeders in the area, including the one that Tea and Lily (may she rest in peace) came from, Darling Isis. So when we agreed to hop on a bus that afternoon to look at the cat, we were thinking it would be a casual look around and a chance to maybe play with some kittens, and we'd have plenty of time to mull over the decision.

No. IT WAS A NIGHTMARE! First of all let me say that there is no animal harm involved here. She's not that kind of crazy cat lady. The cats were all expensively and painstakingly cared for; it's just they are apparently the only things she is conscious of. The house looked like the set of a horror movie. ) We were there an hour and a half and everything we wore, including our undergarments, stank unbearably and had to be washed. Also the cat's name is "Russel Crowe", with only one L. It's not a very appropriate name. He's been going by Russel Crowe, Rusty, and The Saddest Action Hero around here the last few days.

He came home Saturday afternoon and needed a lot more time to himself to settle in than Arwen did. We were worried at first, because he went about 24 hours without, apparently, eating or drinking or using the litterbox, and just huddled and cringed, first in the cat carrier and then in his nest of blankets, and snuck furtively back to his cave whenever we tried to take him out.

Wax got a cold on Sunday but Sunday evening my persistence paid off and I got him to first headbutt my hand and face, then eat and drink out of my hand, then purr and show me his belly, then to venture out of the sauna/shower on his own. After that it was all improvement and now he seems to be doing really well: he's active, he's getting along tentatively with the Crazy and the BB, he's ignoring the dog, he's chasing strings, he's jumping up inside the bookcases, he's sitting in the sauna and yelling for someone to come play with him.

He also has odd pupils - Wax thinks it's because one is a slit pupil and one is a round pupil, as opposed to simply being different sizes. Both of them expand and contract; it's just they always maintain the obvious size/shape difference. Although the left one looks rather triangular, not exactly what I'd call 'round'. Anyway, it's too bad we can't call him "Bowie", but "Russel Crowe" is just too amazing a name to pass up, perhaps especially when it is so ill-suited to his personality. He's a very handsome ginger boy, and looks like Lily (may she rest in peace) in a number of ways, but rather closer to the breed standard, except for the fused tail-tip, a tiny tiny skeletal flaw that is the reason he's fixed (and reduced price). He's also a lot bigger than the other cats - long and rangy and sleek, and such a beautiful boy! Especially his long, noble little nose.


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