Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bum Touches

The cats like to hang out with me while I read in bed, but usually they sit on either side with me as a buffer. The other day, they both sat to my right and were within inches of each other. 

This was surprising enough, but then, then, Melly extended her paw.

And Scarlett tolerated it! 

For a while, anyway. After about half an hour, Melly flexed her toes a bit and Scarlett took offense. She bonked Melly on the head once, and took off.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Melly and the Food Shipment

"Mom, I notice we got some food. 
LOTS of food."

"Open it! Open it NOW!"

One of the items in the shipment was a new flavor of canned food: venison. The kitties LOVE it! Even Melly, who hasn't really been into the canned food recently, is liking it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Latest Vet Experience

I've written here before about how traumatized Scarlett is by vet visits, and how we've switched to a home care vet in an effort to mitigate her anxiety. The last visit from the vet wasn't exactly a huge success, but with some xanax, Scarlett was at least able to receive her vaccines and a brief exam. (You can read more here.)

Because the xanax helped last time, we decided to use it again for the visit last week.  Before the vet's arrival, I trapped Scarlett in the bathroom so she'd be easy to corral. Scarlett pawed at the door and loudly demanded to be released, and Melly was quite concerned.

When the vet arrived, she did Melly's exam first. Melly loved the exam (attention! yay!) and didn't so much as flinch at her rabies shot. Then, it was time to tackle Scarlett.

The vet had brought a tech with her to hold Scarlett for the exam. The tech donned huge gauntlets and went into the bathroom to retrieve Scarlett. Unfortunately, Scarlett escaped the tech's clutches but was eventually cornered after a chase through the apartment. The tech wrapped her in a towel and held her down while the vet attempted to get close enough to examine her. It was at about this point when we realized that the xanax wasn't quite doing its job, and although Scarlett was a little slow and wobbly, it wasn't enough.

During all of this, Scarlett was screaming, and I mean screaming. (If you haven't heard a cat scream and are curious, brace yourself, turn your volume down, and click this link.) Any time the vet so much as brushed her fur, the screaming got louder and the flailing got worse. When the vet grabbed Scarlett's leg in an attempt to draw some blood, the flailing increased and the spraying started, closely followed by a little pooping. (That last one was new.)

Eventually, it became clear that the exam was never going to happen, so Scarlett was released and pronounced one of the Most Difficult Patients.

The next step is for me to give Scarlett a double dose of xanax sometime when I'll be home for a couple days to keep a close eye on her. If that seems to make her loopy enough that an exam might be possible, our next vet visit will be preceded by double xanax. If not, the vet recommended full sedation.  

I'm on the fence about the full sedation idea. For one thing, for someone to get close enough to sedate Scarlett, she's already going to have to be half under. For another, full sedation is dangerous, and Scarlett reacted to it poorly the last time. And finally, is it even worth all that risk and trouble to get Scarlett examined? I'm not sure. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Instagram Roundup

I hate shedding season. One cat brushed, one to go.

I have a bum warmer.

Melly is celebrating the opening weekend of the new Captain America movie. She's thrilled, as you can see.

I like the leg casually hanging off the bed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Updates, and Candied Bacon

Thank you all for your kind wishes on the house! Unfortunately, the deal ended up falling through. It was for the best, but was still a stressful and disappointing situation. 

Anyway, moving along to the good stuff. Vegetarians, I'm sorry. You may want to click away.

Have you ever had candied bacon? It is positively sinful. I made the dark chocolate bacon cupcakes for Geoff's birthday again this year, and instead of topping them with plain crumbled bacon, I added a chunk of cayenne candied bacon. Oh, the delicousness.

Cayenne Candied Bacon
Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli and Emeril Lagasse

6 slices thick-cut bacon
1/3 cup brown sugar (dark or light is fine)
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (adjusted depending on your heat preference)

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Mix the brown sugar and cayenne pepper together in a bowl. Toss the bacon together with the sugar mixture, then lay it on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the leftover sugar mixture on the bacon slices, and try to avoid getting it on the pan since it'll burn. Put another layer of aluminum foil over the bacon, and place another baking sheet on top to hold the bacon flat.

Put the tray on the center rack of the oven and bake it for 20 minutes.  Check on it at that point. The bacon should be a deep golden-red color, and the edges and ends should be fairly dark. If the bacon isn't done after 20 minutes, give it another 10.  When it's done, put the bacon slices on a rack to cool. The bacon may be floppy when you pull it from the oven but it will harden up as it cools.

Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
Adapted from

8 slices bacon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup cold, strong, brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Note: Instead of using buttermilk, you can put a tablespoon of white vinegar into a one-cup measure, then fill it the rest of the way with milk (I usually bake with 2%) and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line the cups of a muffin tin with cupcake papers. Make a pot of coffee and stick it in the fridge.  Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, then drain it. When the bacon is cool, chop it into small pieces.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, measure together the coffee, buttermilk, and oil.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients and the eggs. Stir together until fully incorporated. Mix in the chopped bacon.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling the cups about 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Dark Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Beantown Baker

6 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk

Cream together the butter and the vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and the cocoa powder. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then slowly add milk until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. Beat until creamy.