Tanner is a rescue cat gotten when we had an elderly alpha cat and needed a beta. She’s always been skittish and prefers to spend most of her time outdoors.
Every November, she starts coming inside when it’s wet out, but she’s always avoided any of “my” spaces. She generally has 2-3 spots in the house and ignores the others.
One thing I know: cats love mohair (aka “momo”). When we went to Avoca in Ireland last year, we bought a mohair throw for the couch, which she ignored. A few weeks ago, I brought it out to my writing nook and left it on my ottoman. A few days ago, she decided that was a cool place to be.
This morning, when I got up, she was still there.
When Rick was disassembling the house looking for Jackson (our inherited still-missing cat), my huge pile o' clothes got moved, which kicked up dust, and Rick got really sick as a result. So instead of handbag day, we've been doing several days of clothing re-org. I'll have vastly fewer clothes, but they'll all fit into their designated space. It's long needed doing.
So I went to go look for an air ionizer on Craigslist, and found a used Sharper Image one that had all the cool features. Probably cost $400 new, guy was selling it for $80. Catch was, it was in Santa Rosa. We made an appointment to pick it up, then the three of us (including my mom) went to Peter's Café for breakfast.
Then Rick and I went off to Santa Rosa to pick up our gadget.
We were close to Occidental, so Rick and I went. I Yelped for food possibilities. There were two Italian restaurants and one Mexican. I said, "Just watch, the Italian ones will be open and the Mexican one will be closed." Which actually happened, fwiw. Since neither Italian place seemed to be particularly celiac-compatible, I passed on both places. If there's no sides I can eat, just not worth the bother, frankly, and one can't trust salad dressing unless you brought it yourself. Since the fryers were shared with gluten, I hoped for better options in a different town.
We were passing Sebastopol on the way back to a place we'd already earmarked, so I Yelped some possible places to eat. We wound up at a BBQ place in Sebastapol that had gluten-free items clearly marked on the menu. It was awesome.
Sometimes, it really is worth not settling for the first place you see.
2. I was jonesing for ice cream tonight and found a container in the fridge, homemade by a friend. As some of his stuff has Splenda (which will give me a migraine), I tasted just a teeny bit.
Bacon ice cream.
3. Did I mention I had fun at the Science museum Thursday night?
I saw no cuttlefish. Sniff.
4. Been working on the book. I need a revision metric, and I have none, especially for spaghetti writing like this.
5. Just heard about another "I survived Scientology" book, only this one's marketed as fiction. Hawaii, surfing, guy named Leif. Sign me up! Written by a guy who's already a successful regional indie filmmaker, btw.
6. Tonight, for the first time, Tanner jumped up on the couch uninvited. We're finally seeing her open up. She sat with me until I started sneezing. (I'm allergic to cats but I do love them.)
7. Our plums are blooming.
I come out to the kitchen after a few minutes only to find two huge raccoons had wolfed both down. :(
I've seen a lot of racoons, but these were easily double, if not triple, Tanner's weight.
Here he was in happier times:
He was a foundling in northern Vermont in the fall of 1993, when my youngest stepson, Richard-Thomas, found him in the barn. Eventually, we figured out he'd crossed the border from Quebec (we lived across the street from the border).
At that point, he was junior cat, and he wanted very much to be senior cat, and he'd pick a lot of fights with Tiger and Gandalf. He bonded very strongly with me, curling up in my arms to sleep at night, disappearing while I was asleep, then re-appearing right before I woke so it would seem like he'd been there all night. :)
After Gandalf was eaten by a fisher cat in 1995, the constant fighting was taking a toll on both Scruffy and Tiger, so I got Cooper, a female rescue cat. She was, if anything, worse, but the fights did stop.
He moved with me to SoCal in 1998 (where both Cooper and Tiger wandered off, possibly into the clenches of coyotes that roamed the canyon behind the apartment complex), then to NorCal in 1999. There, he became Rick's cat, sleeping curled up in Rick's arms.
We moved to Menlo Park in 2000, and he picked fights with the neighbor cats for quite a while. Eventually, though, he learned how to get along with them, and it was great to see him stop fighting other cats all the time and get some kitty friends. It also reduced the vet bills -- I was tired of caring for abscesses.
In 2007, Scruffy had a growth, so we took him to the doctor. He had a heart murmur and got an echocardiogram and was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy. Then he underwent surgery for cancer. This particular form is common at the site of an injection and it was at his wrist, so it's possible that his prior fighter history was a factor.
A couple months later, the cancer returned, and he had to have the leg amputated. But he managed fine! It was quite heartwarming to see. An hour after returning home, he jumped onto the dining room table. However, he didn't know that he wouldn't be able to jump back down. It took him about three days to figure out how to walk rather than run-pant-run.
With age, he got less and less willing to go places -- it's only this year that he stopped sleeping with us, and we missed that, but he just wasn't as mobile.
It became obvious that he was being tormented by birds in the yard due to his deafness, so last summer we got him a kitten, Captain Jack. They didn't get along at first, but eventually did:
CJ got run over in February, and Scruffy really took that hard. Unfortunately, that's also about when Scruffy had the saddle thrombus and we had to take him to the emergency vet and found out that he had congestive heart failure. Since then, he's been on several heart meds a day. The condition stemmed from hyperthyroidism, common in older cats.
The medications made him anti-continent, as it were. He was never a cat who sprayed or did his business in unapproved places, and I always appreciated that about him. The diuretics for the heart failure changed that, unfortunately. We can now put our oriental carpets back, but, as almelina said yesterday, "I'd rather have him pee on the floor."
We got Tanner in early March. I don't have photos of them together -- they were finally getting along well, and they'd touch noses, but they didn't spend a lot of time together and especiallly not when people were around. So I feel sad I don't have pictures, especially since I have a new camera.
It was obvious that Scruffy was fading, and I learned some things I didn't know about cats, and maybe his life could have been longer and better had I known them. But that's experience to use for the future. I loved every day he was with us, and I'm glad I had that time with him.
All my cats have been indoor/outdoor. He's not the oldest cat I've had -- that'd have been Squeaker or Paula, both of whom lasted over 18 years -- but he is the one that I spent the most time with.
2. Whereupon we went to the first North American Discworld Convention, hung out with cool people, got autographs, bought books, and generally had a good time.
3. Junior cat, Captain Jack, is adjusting. Scruffy is stressed. We're hoping things will calm down, especially once CJ is more acclimated, but the sheer blurring speed with which he can run intimidates Scruffy.
4. I'm happy that Steve Jobs gave the keynote this week and publicly thanked the donor family and requested that people become organ donors.
So, we had a reason for getting a kitten: Scruffy's now old enough that there are ground nesting birds in our yard. This would have never happened a couple of years ago. Worse, they're harassing him when he goes outside.
He's been getting random facial injuries for the past year. We think we finally figured it out: it's related to the birds harassing him.
He's old, he hurts, he's tired, he can't see well, he's got three legs.
To help change the balance of power in the yard, we got a kitten. I was thinking about one, decided I'd wanted an orange one, and one of the members in my writing group had an extra. Yay. So she and her wife brought the little tyke over.
His name was Milton, but he didn't seem to respond to it or recognize it, so we felt like it was okay to change it. Since cats have nine lives and Captain Jack (Harkness) can't die, Captain Jack seemed like a good name. He's an immensely competent purrer.
I feared introducing another cat as historically Scruffy has hated other cats, but he did make some kitty friends a few years ago, and he's definitely mellowed. He knows Captain Jack's around and has been up close near him, but Scruffy doesn't seem concerned. A little annoyed, perhaps, but he's been polite enough.
I've tried to make sure Scruffy's not left out. They get fresh food and water at the same time (in different rooms; Capt. Jack's still mostly in the bathroom and is let out for longer periods each day). Scruffy still gets our attention. If someone's paying attention to the kitten, someone else is paying attention to Scruffy.
And maybe, just maybe, the birds may choose to nest in someone else's ground. Heck, even the front yard would be better....