Camel-back Floof

As some of you–those who are paying attention–know, I missed a post a month back.

2021 has been an emotional rollercoaster–much like 2020, in fact, albeit in a somewhat lower key. B-flat, perhaps.

The particular Bactrian-cervical-fracturing event was a medical emergency. Yuki was…well, I’m going to avoid graphic depictions here and just say that he was spewing from both ends at once. This despite not eating and not drinking significant amounts.

The short-term result was a series of vet visits, both to his regular doctors and, because they aren’t a 24-hour outfit, the emergency vet for overnight monitoring. Highly stressful for Yuki, Maggie, me, and all the rest of the gang. Many were the nervous looks and plaintive cries of “Where’s the floofy guy?”

To avoid needlessly prolonging the suspense, I’ll leave it at that and say that he’s well past that crisis and doing okay.

The main long-term result is that he’s been switched from his preferred diet (Kitty Krack and regular dry food) to a diet of foods designed for sensitive stomachs. He’s not thrilled about it, but he is eating enough of it to fill his nutritional needs.

And we’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to switch everyone to the new food. It’s amazing how liberating it is not to be buying four different kinds of gooshy food (Kitty Krack for Yuki, urinary diet for ‘Nuki, Halo for Kokoro, Kaja, and Rhubarb, and Purina One for everyone else). We’ve had a few upset tummies along the way–even if the food is for sensitive stomachs, any dietary change can be a problem for the feline digestive system–but that seems to be settling down, and nobody is voicing major objections.

Yuki is still regaining strength, and it’s an open question how much he’ll be able to do. His hind legs have been an issue for years, and they’re definitely more wobbly than they were in, say, July. (Note from Maggie: the issue with his wobbly hind legs isn’t so much a matter of leg problems as it is cerebellar problems — although he also has wonky knees and hips. Whatever’s causing his hindlimb ataxia seems to be fairly stable, but one of the known side effects of the metronidazole he was taking is…ataxia, and it can take awhile to wear off)

But he’s largely cheerful, he’s getting around the portions of the house we’re giving him access to (no stairs!), and he’s jumping well enough to get onto the bed.

The naked areas at the base of his tail, on his front leg, and on his stomach (shaved for sanitation, catheterization, and ultrasound, respectively) are a fashion statement he doesn’t much care for. We’re not crazy about it either, for that matter.

But if it’s a choice between concentrating on his walking or regrowing his floof, we’re all in agreement that we can live with a bit of feline nudity.

GT News

Last week, I promised an update on GT. When I sat down to write the update, I was startled to realize how long it’s been. My apologies, both for the oversight and for the resultant length of this post.

So, for those of you who are too impatient to read the whole thing, the most important bit of information is that GT has a forever home.

For the rest of you, allow me to take events in sequence.

As of the last update, August 12, GT had sufficiently recovered from surgery to have the Cone o’ Shame removed, was starting to eat dry food, and was occupying his evenings by charming us with his purr.

He was also–and I didn’t mention this at the time–generating impressively bad breath. You’ve heard of breath that could stun an ox? This was breath that would not only kill the ox, but reduce it to a bubbling puddle of slime.

We were afraid he’d use his breath to melt a hole in the cage, so we took him back to the vet for a dental checkup. And the results were not good. To be blunt, he didn’t have a sound tooth in his head. And, to be brief, he now has no teeth in his head.

That surgery meant another two weeks in the garage with gooshy fud and antibiotics twice a day, a regimen he bore with grace and patience. And, a few days into the recovery period, his Permanent People stepped in.

Uh… That would be us, actually.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the fuzzy fiend seduced us with that purr, then sealed the deal by rolling over on his back to demand tummy rubs. It took a few days for us to admit it, but, yeah, the Power of t3h Kyute compelled us.

So yeah, we’re now a seven-cat household. Sort of. I’ll get back to that.

When we finally said the words, we agreed that “GT” wasn’t going to cut it as a family member’s name. Don’t forget, it stands for “Grey Tabby”. Maggie suggested “Rufus” because his face has a somewhat lynx-like look about it. The problem with that, though, is that Lynx Rufus is the bobcat; the true lynx is Lynx Lynx. Not an insurmountable difficulty, though. His markings–those stripes–are somewhat bobcat-like. But the name was still missing something; it needed an element to hearken back to his previous life. That was easy. Out on his own, GT was a conqueror, and it was only once he started slowing down that he got into trouble. And so, now that he’s retired, bid farewell to “GT”, and greet “L Rufus Alexander*.”

* No period after the “L”. Unlike Presidents Grant and Truman, Rufus refuses to subject himself to the dictates of grammarians. He feels no need for a full stop. Nay, rather, the very concept is antithetical to his being. He may pause briefly, but no more than that. But even he admits that “L, Rufus Alexander” looks peculiar.

As I was saying, we’re not exactly a seven-cat household. The inter-feline political machinations are entirely too complicated with only six cats. Introducing Rufus into the mixture would almost certainly result in an explosion.

The solution?


Yeah, a truck bed full of lumber and wire. “Some assembly required” isn’t only for toys. After a few hours (and thanks, Ray, for the assistance), it looked rather more useful:


Note the three built-in shelves on the right side. They should get plenty of sun; perfect for lounging. Note also the airlock construction. It’s a bit of a hassle, but will make unscheduled departures significantly more difficult.

Mind you, lounging shelves are nice, but Rufus’ retirement palace needed more furnishing. A trip to the hardware store, and we’ve added a sun shade on the left, and a pair of benches with hinged tops. The one at the left has a hole in the side to allow Rufus access to his litter box; the one on the right holds a garbage bag and the bag of clean litter.

The most important item–well, OK, most important after the food bowl–is the shelter. As you can see, it’s similar in design to the Cape Odd shelter near the Backyard Bowl. However, this version is more sensibly designed. The roof is a single piece, which should cut down on leaks, and was much easier to insulate. (We haven’t told Rufus, but we intentionally skipped the construction step to attach the roof to the rest of the structure–just in case we need to “persuade” him to come out at some point.)

The entire palace needs a little more work. Most notably, we need to add some rain-proofing. Rufus should be snug enough in the shelter, but preventing rain from filling the food bowl seems highly desirable, as does creating a dry area for bipeds when they come by for companionship and litter box cleanings. But that can be done at any point before the rainy season begins.

So we moved Rufus into the palace Sunday afternoon. He immediately vanished into the shelter.09-5He wasn’t about to come out for anything–we even had to put the food bowl inside–but he was happy to be patted and scratched through the doorway.

But he snuck out at some point during the night to use the box, and when we brought his breakfast Monday morning, he strolled over.09-6Yes, that is ‘Nuki inside the house, trying to sneak a peek past Rufus’ privacy shield. His presence didn’t bother Rufus a bit.

Neither did the arrival of an old friend.09-7Yes, Tuxie came by for a visit. I believe the conversation went something like this:
“Dude, where have you been? There’s this black cat that’s moving in on your turf!”
“Not my problem, Buddy. I’m retired from the territory game. You don’t like him? Chase him off yourself.”

Despite the tone of the conversation, Tuxie hung around for quite a while, and they seemed to be on good terms by the time he left. He’s been back a couple of times since, which is nice, since we can’t spend all of our time keeping Rufus company.

Rufus does still stay in the shelter most of the time, but it’s more a matter of that being the most comfortable lounging spot than a defensive measure.09-8Straw smells nice, there’s room to stretch out, and the breeze is minimized. All-in-all, a nice place to chill.

09-9And if there’s something going on–say, an annoying bird to be stared down–the foam matting is nicely butt-friendly.