Monday, March 30, 2015

At last, Spring is stirring

The weather has been beautiful the last few days. We went out together yesterday and had an ice cream. It was wonderful to go out without the need to put my head down and "get through" a task before it got through me. :) 

A full month earlier than last year!
This morning I looked out the bedroom window and saw, shining in the sun, a clump of purple crocus blooms! I grabbed my camera and ran down to take a picture before the sun disappeared from that inside corner. Then I came in and had my coffee. 

Ian came over last Wednesday and we took the cats to the vet for their annual vaccinations and check-ups. The young cat, which we shall refer to as the Red Screamer, sang an improvised opera all the way there and back. His performance was so impressive that every technician at the vet's office had to come from the back to see what kind of cat was capable of such volume, such intensity and range, such depth of emotion and pathos! When they expressed sympathy that he was confined to a heartless crate (which he sleeps in at home of his own choice) he really laid on the histrionics.  He missed his calling when he didn't go on the stage. He was checked over and pronounced in robust, if noisy, health. 

Mr. Grey Fluff is too much of a good thing. His front legs are bowing because his chest is so broad! He's shaped like a barrel chested man who has to wear suspenders to hold up his pants. His belly is tight and firm, but what a big chest he has! 

I needed advice on how to slim him down safely. You have to "diet" overweight cats very carefully because they are prone to a fatal liver disease called hepatic lipidosis  if they are fed too few calories. Weight loss must be slow and measured. 

These days, rather than telling you Mr. Cat looks like he should weigh X number of kilos/pounds they get out the tape measure and measure all the bits, circumference of head in front of the ears, length of the front legs, the last section of the back legs, from nose tip to the base of the tail, and around the chest just behind the front legs. Then they add the weight.  

These measurements are entered into a computer program, which apparently looked at Smokey's measurements and weight, had a hearty laugh and said, "Cats aren't shaped like that! Try again." The technician said basically we have a square cat, and we'd just go with the closest match on the chart, which said 50% BMI. Holy Cat Batman! 21+ pounds (9.52 kg) and the chart says he ought to weigh 13.2 pounds (6 kg). That's the same weight as the Red Screamer. It'll never happen. I'd be happy if we can get him to 15 pounds (6.8 kg). He'd be great at 15. 

We came away with a case of canned diet cat food, and a bag of crunchy diet cat food, lots of booga booga talk about it being designed to suppress genes that increase appetite and firing up the metabolism, and instructions on how much to feed him (not much) and I'm thinking, 'Yeah, that's gonna happen. This appetite on wheels is going to be scratching on the fridge door like he's trying to dig his way out of Alcatraz.' One good thing, if he doesn't eat any more of it than prescribed it will be cheaper than the very expensive food we've been feeding him. 

But he's a fussy eater. He will eat fish. Specifically tuna. That is it. I worry about that. Too much mercury in tuna, but I can't get him to eat anything else. So, we try it, and he loves it. And believe it or not he's perfectly satisfied with the portions. He eats the food and licks the bowl, and walks away happy. I leave the kibble in the bowl and he eats it off and on, and he's not starved the way I feared he might be. And he's obviously feeling well, because he dug a toy from under the washing machine this morning and went chasing after it, which is something he hasn't done in a while. 

This afternoon I went down and picked up the flotsam and jetsam that the constant wind has blown into the entryway, plus the cigarette butts, and various wrappers and receipts and paper bits dropped by residents. And as I did so I took note of all the green bits poking up through the mulch in the flowerbeds; poppies, geraniums, tulips, daffodils, hostas, mint, English thyme, and others whose names I have forgotten but will recognize as soon as I can see more than a green button peeking through the mulch. I need to get down and start trimming back the shrubs this next week if I can, before they wake up. 

We made it through winter. It may snow, and we still have some cold days ahead, but Spring is stirring. At last, Spring is stirring. 

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