Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Melly the Sports Fan

Melly is in possession of a fairly substantial wardrobe (for a cat), which includes a Huskies football jersey and a Seahawks cheerleader outfit. These are worn on game days, much to Melly's everlasting annoyance and my great delight.* My favorite is the jersey, because of how all the fur on her back end poofs out under it.

"Can we be done now?"

"We are not friends."

*You may recall how Melly mauled my face a while back. The scar is still there and I look pretty piratey without makeup. The clothing is a very amusing and harmless way of getting my revenge.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Veterinary Adventure

As most of you know, there have been issues with Scarlett and her extreme vet anxiety in the past, but due to recent concerns about her health, I decided she really needed an exam. Sarah, who takes care of Scarlett and Melly when I go away, and Sue, who fostered Melly as a kitten, both work at a veterinary clinic in Tacoma, and Sarah suggested I bring the girls there. Both Sarah and Sue have a wonderful touch with cats, so I thought this was a great idea. We worked it out that Sarah would bring Scarlett into work with her on Friday morning. The team would help Dr. S with the exam, and they'd be ready to anesthetize Scarlett if needed. Then, I would bring Melly later in the day for her exam, talk with Dr. S, and then bring my babies home.

I got the carriers out the night before and placed them strategically by the food dishes. Melly briefly hung out in hers; Scarlett was a bit suspicious.

In the morning, I put out the usual breakfast food, but before Scarlett could partake, I bundled her into her carrier and set off for Sarah's house. She cried most of the way, but of course as soon as I turned the camera on her, she stopped.

At work, I got a text from Sarah that Scarlett actually allowed an exam with no anesthesia, but they did have to knock her out briefly for the blood draw.

In the afternoon, I ran home and grabbed Melly. She never minds being in the carrier, as you can see!

We headed to the vet and had Melly's exam. Melly wasn't overly thrilled by the experience, particularly the rabies shot, and she actually hissed at Dr. S a few times. Melly is usually so friendly that it always takes me aback to hear her hiss.

Melly is in great shape overall. Her teeth are in need of cleaning, so I'll be scheduling that for sometime in the next few months. She also has a possible irritable bowel disorder, but since she already eats excellent food, Dr. S just recommended a couple of supplements to help regulate Melly's digestion. When the exam was done, Melly curled up in her carrier until it was time to leave, understandably looking quite put out.

Scarlett is 13, and in the 4 years before I got her, she had been an outdoor cat and had had two litters of kittens. For these reasons, I always prepared myself that her lifespan and health would be more in line with those of an outdoor cat rather than an indoor cat. So, when I noticed that she was guzzling water and urinating an unusually large amount, I figured her kidneys were starting to go. We'll know for sure after the blood draw, but Dr. S agreed that's a likely issue. She said Scarlett may have a hyperthyroid condition, or possibly even a kidney infection, but given her age and the symptoms, it's most likely early kidney function decline. We'll talk more about treatment once we know for sure.

Scarlett's eyes are clouding over and her irises are thinning; she has loss of muscle tone in her back end; and she likely has arthritis in her lower back. These are all very typical for her age, and I had already noticed all the signs at home and had arranged the furniture so Scarlett can jump in steps (floor to chair to window sill), which the vet said is great since it still enables Scarlett to get much-needed exercise.  Glucosamine supplements may help, so I am looking into that.

When one of the vet techs went to get Scarlett from the kennel, he discovered that she was hiding behind her carrier in the cage, and he couldn't get her to actually go in to the carrier. The video below is just sound, recorded when the tech was attempting to gently guide Scarlett into the carrier. That's Scarlett's reaction to... just about anyone and anything veterinary-related. (It's also how she communicates with the neighborhood outdoor cats.)

The tech eventually ended up getting Scarlett to go into a much larger carrier, but then we discovered that the top wasn't on quite right. So, Sarah bravely and carefully shuffled Scarlett into her own carrier.

In the car, Scarlett started to calm down and Melly relaxed immediately. I think they were both very pleased to be back in a familiar-smelling area. The car ride was unusually quiet; both cats just hunkered down and waited to be home.

When we got home, Scarlett bounded right out of her carrier with her tail held high, and flopped on the floor for a belly rub from Josh (given by foot, not hand--important distinction in Scarlett's world). Melly sniffed the carriers thoroughly, then both cats had dinner and settled right back in to their usual routines.

All in all, I would consider the day a success. Neither cat had any surprising ailments, I have solutions for the minor ones, and Scarlett actually received a thorough exam. Despite all her various conditions, Scarlett is such a happy cat. She plays with great enthusiasm, she eats with gusto, she loves looking out the window, and she snuggles against me all night. It makes me so sad to see my dear girl aging, but she seems happy and comfortable, that's what is most important.

Friday, September 25, 2015

*Not* Napping

Melly, like most cats, spends a lot of time snoozing and curled up in various cozy spots around the house. However, upon closer inspection, it often turns out that she is not asleep but rather glaring out at the world in general.

It's pretty funny to see this hostility in such a tiny fuzzy creature. It reminds me of this:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Melly and the Extra Attention

My dad always professed not to be a cat person, but our family kitty Star fortunately set him straight. Dad has a special soft spot for Melly, as precocious and clever a tuxie as Star was. While Dad was here, Melly got lots of extra love, much to her delight.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Brief Break

My dad is in town again and we're working on the house (the garage, this time), so I'm going to take about a week off from the blog. My dad is a machine--we've been working 12-hour days! Outside! With heavy tools! I'm an office drone and allergic to physical exertion, so I'm a total weakling; this work is wearing me right out. Anyway, here's a quick look at what happens around here when we're not busting our butts on the house:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Stealth Napper

With her tendency to hide and burrow, I often come across Melly snoozing in some odd places. One of her favorites lately is the shelf of folded t-shirts in my closet.

Can you spot her? (Excuse the mess.)

Here she is:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Josh and Scarlett

Josh has been letting Scarlett dictate the terms of their relationship, and for a while, she mainly kept an eye on him from a safe distance. Eventually, they started a morning ritual in which Josh eats his breakfast while leaning against the counter, and Scarlett rubs her head vigorously on his feet while rolling around on the floor crazily. It's very funny to watch. 

When Josh eats ice cream, Scarlett gets in his face and demands a taste (which, of course, he gives her), but it is only recently that Scarlett has started sitting on Josh's lap without ulterior motive. She's such a sweetie.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Blue Blanket

The blue blanket on the dresser has historically been Scarlett's spot, but Melly has recently discovered that she can burrow between the folds for a very cozy nap. Can you spot her?

"Somebody messed up my blanket. It's all rumpled and I can't possibly napzzzzzzzz."

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Melly in the Box

Melly likes to hang out on the table when we're eating, and she makes herself quite irksome by walking around, shedding on the food, etc. So, Josh has been working on training Melly to stay in the box on the table. It's pretty funny to watch, but I think Melly is actually getting the idea! She doesn't seem happy about it, though:

"The box is boring. I would much rather shed all over your dinner."


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Playful Scarlett

This is another Instagram video, so some of you may have already seen it, but I had to share it again here. Scarlett is so adorable when she's being playful--although she only does it when she thinks no one is looking! I very stealthily took this video while pretending to look in another direction so she wouldn't catch on. It's a bit tough to see what she's playing with, but it's a piece of rawhide that used to have chicken jerky wrapped around it. I get them for Melly to redirect her chewing impulses.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Flashback Friday: Melly the Destroyer

The lovely Summer asked on Wednesday what happened to the hanging toys on the cat tree.  Here's the photo in question, as a refresher:

When Melly arrived in April of 2010, this cat tree was in perfect shape, with lovely intact yarn balls hanging from the top level.

Melly had been here exactly 8 days when I came home and discovered this:

It only took another day for the other yarn ball to be fully removed. I trimmed the elastic to avoid any potential feline choking hazards.

It was around that time that Melly became known formally as The Destroyer, a title she continues to live up to, as evidenced by my bamboo plant, upper lip, bed sheets, upholstered furniture, etc. Fortunately, she is incredibly adorable.

This video was in the original post with the destroyed yarn balls, and it's pretty cute, so I thought I'd share it again. Melly was such a cute kitten!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


My old phone prevented me from downloading videos I recorded on the Instagram app, but my new one lets me download them and put them on Vimeo for sharing here! Huzzah!  So, here are a couple of oldish videos that you may have missed.

I took this video one evening when Melly was politely requesting her dinner. We go through this every night; you'd think she was on the verge of starvation from the way she carries on. Of course, she only ever takes a single bite before wandering away for a nap.

Melly Demands Feeding from Natalie on Vimeo.

This video was taken during one of the heat waves earlier this summer. Scarlett was being adorable and cooling off her underside. Apologies for the sound (you may want to mute it)--I had a number of fans going at the time.

Scarlett Cools Her Belly from Natalie on Vimeo.