It has been one of those weeks…
Five dead cane toads in the garden, a dead lizard on the bottom of the pool and then there was the piece de resistance…
I had received a whiff of ‘dead thing’ on Friday afternoon when I was busy fiddling with the reticulation but couldn’t find where it was coming from. The following day, I noticed that there were loads of figs on my fig tree so thought I’d venture in amongst the vegetation to collect some. That’s when I found the source of the olfactory unpleasantness… a very deceased and ‘past the point of pickupableness’ rotting fruit bat (sometimes called a flying fox) between the lawn and all the figgy loveliness that I wanted to reach. One of the things I have learnt, living here in the tropics, is that there is a short window of opportunity for the (easy) collection and disposal of things which expire in the garden. Should that window be missed then it is far better to leave whatever it is where it is and let nature take its course. This has never been a problem in the past, but nothing as large as a fruit bat has ever shuffled off its mortal coil in one of my garden beds before. So, I left it. I wasn’t worried about the dogs getting to it as they had shown it absolutely no interest up to that point. Indeed, had they, I may not have missed the window…
So, time of death was put sometime around Wednesday or Thursday. I found it on Friday afternoon – after the bins had been emptied for the week. As the week progressed, none of the dogs paid any notice to the writhing carcass as its ponginess gained momentum. My plan was to shovel it into a thick bin bag on the following Friday morning and put it out with the rubbish for collection, along with all the little bagged up and ready cane toad corpses. Come Thursday afternoon, I arrived home and caught a whiff of Eau de Carcass from the deck up at the front door. Urgh! It was getting really rank. I investigated downstairs to find, to my surprise, that there was no carcass. Weird. Back upstairs at the door I got another whiff… the penny dropped. It clanged, in fact. Staring at the dogs, I wondered who was the culprit and what they had done with the dead bat. Tentatively, I took a sniff of Flo – nope, she just smelled of dog. Elsie? Same thing. Zac, however, when I got near to him caused stomach convulsions. Piecing it all together, I think that Zac had been leaving the bat as long as he dared, to ripen, to achieve its peak festieness and he had then firstly rolled in it, then consumed it in its entirety, save for a couple of small pieces of leathery wing, which I found downstairs on his bed.
Zac hasn’t been allowed back in the house. I suspect he thinks it was worth it though.
We’re taking part in Monday Mischief, hosted by Snoopy’s blog. Click on the link to pop over and join in!
We are lucky to have spectacular sunsets here in Darwin. During the wet season the skies are heavy with dramatic monsoon clouds and in the dry season the smoke from bush fires creates the most beautiful hazy colours.
Capturing a sunset with Elsie around… difficult.
I feel I should point out the following 10 things before you come to the conclusion of this post:-
1. I do not have to navigate my way through my house through artificial corridors of newspapers;
2. I don’t think I smell of anything other than (a) nothing, (b) shower gel, (c) sometimes chlorine and (d) occasionally Paloma Picasso perfume;
3. If there are any animal accident type happenings they are cleaned up as soon as discovered, which is usually fairly quickly;
4. I do still occassionally receive visitors who don’t leave (as far as I am aware) totally horrified and planning an intervention;
5. I don’t live on a diet of cat food, no matter how meaty and good the expensive bags may smell. Nor do I supplement my diet with cat food. I have never, in fact, tasted or consumed any brand of animal food;
6. All my animals receive the appropriate level of veterinary care as and when required;
7. I know how many animals I have;
8. All dogs have their own bed and bedding and are required to use said canine beds – only the cats are allowed on the furniture;
9. The rug gets shampooed on a regular basis (sometimes more regular than others depending on George’s levels of disgruntlement);
10. I still choose to socialise with humans. Even though my animals’ company is preferable to many of the humans with whom I have contact.
OK. Enough said.
Meet Zac. The newest addition to the household.
Zac is a 10 year old male ridgie who has been with us for a couple of months now.
I am not a hoarder. Honestly. Please don’t put in a call to the RSPCA. There really is no need. 😉
Apparently I don’t like change… would that make me conservative? I think I’d rather be inflexible. Yes, I’m inflexible. A would-be luddite. Unable to cope when Google Reader disappears. It didn’t irk me, even a little, when I read that Google Reader was going. I didn’t shed a tear. Me? Bovvered? However, I didn’t expect that when Google Reader dropped off the face of the Earth I would follow it. But I did. It would seem I need Google Reader to keep on top of things because I’m simply not organised enough to do so myself. An inflexible, somewhat conservative luddite with lazy tendencies. That’s me. It was Google’s friendly little reminders of your posts that also prompted me to update my own blog. I’ve signed up to Feedly, I think it’s called, but don’t find it anywhere near as good, or perhaps it’s just that it’s different. Any tips from other ex-Google Reader users about what they’ve moved on to would be gratefully received.
And so, to the reason for the blog in the first place, the beasts. All are fit and well, I am pleased to say. We’ve only had one vet trip and that was a scheduled vaccination where I managed to knock Elsie and Fergus off in the same appointment. Fergus’ ears are dodgy and so we’re having to do that whole putting drops in a cats’ ears thing. Have you ever tried that? It’s not easy. You need to have your mouth and eyes closed because when they shake they get it all out! All I can say is thank goodness it is Fergus and not George; he’d have taken a limb by now. Fergus is too gorgeous, but she holds an amazing capacity for guilt induction. In her head she’s packed her little spotted handkerchief and it’s tied onto that stick, ready to leave home. It is conveyed in the look that she gives, as you approach her for the first time after drop application. The look that she holds just long enough to bore through your chest and rip out your heart, before she turns and walks away, confirming that she wants nothing to do with you, her only family. Sigh. A good brush usually gets her back onside though! George has been helpfully looking for rats in the storeroom -still haven’t caught the slippery little sh*ts. Outfoxed by a rat… how humiliating…
Meanwhile, the dogs are doing it tough, as usual…
Our absence can be partly explained by visitors, or ‘dry-season visitors’ as they are known here in the Top End… once the build up arrives everyone leaves because it gets so festy and hot; then it rains for a few months so many of our more popular tourist attractions are inaccessible due to flooding; consequently, most visitors arrive between June and September. September’s massive increase in heat and humidity mean that rarely do visitors overstay! We are very fortunate to live on the doorstep of Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage Site. It is a wonderful place, filled with breathtaking scenery and creatures. As always, a Yellow Waters tour was on the cards. The evening cruises are the best at this time of year because the crocs all appear as the sun drops lower in the sky. Visitors always love the crocs! They seem to be getting bigger and there seem to be more of them (crocodiles, not visitors). The birdlife was also apparent in all its glory. Here are some of the highlights of the cruise and a walk out to Jim Jim and Twin Falls in pictures…
Apologies for the lack of posts. Miss Fab, her sidekick plus the two cats have been left in the care of Aunty M who is sending through regular updates and photos but I haven’t had time to sit down and compose a post.
I’ve had a change of scenery for the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, the wheels have fallen off the front gate, a rat moved into the store room and decided he didn’t like it so has moved upstairs into the house and Elsie has demolished 2 more collars (at last count). Marvellous.
Whenever Auntie M comes to look after the dogs, something like this happens…
May I remind you of this post from last year.
It could’ve been worse, she could’ve made you wear those reindeer ears… but it’s okay, I’ve hidden them from her!
Somebody was busy overnight Sunday.
A couple of days ago she halved the amount that she was eating, which is apparently a sign that they’re getting ready to give birth, so I sorted the nesting box out again in the wardrobe and put some fresh towels in there. Hey presto, this morning I woke up to five beautiful kittens. I have no idea what flavour they are; someone who knows more about these things than I do is coming tomorrow to check them all!
She did it all by herself, no help required. Which was just as well since I slept through the whole thing.
They all seem to be healthy; one has a slightly funny back foot – it’s tucked under but it seems to be able to move it fine and I suspect that it may well sort itself out. Smokey is being a great mum. She doesn’t mind me being in there and handling her little babies at all, which is fabulous. It meant that I was able to put fresh bedding in and weigh them. The smallest is 85g and the largest is a bruising 120g. Having done some internet research, 85g is about the smallest you would want to have a kitten otherwise their survival is doubtful. I’m keeping a close eye on that one.
As 60% of her litter are black with white bits on their tummies, I’m thinking dad may have been a black cat… just a hunch.
I would keep them all. Crazy cat lady.
Elsie at 7 weeks….
Elsie at 52 weeks…
We spent a good chunk of the morning down at the dog park, which is one of her favourite places because she can just run and run and run.
Elsie is exhausting. For the first four months that she was home I didn’t get more than about 5 hours sleep. But she is an absolute joy… I completely adore her and can’t imagine life without her and all her nuttiness.
Always try to get to the litter box as soon as it’s been cleaned or changed. It is perfectly acceptable to get into the empty tray and start your business as the litter is being tipped in. The reactions, both verbal and non-verbal, make crossing your legs for however-long-it-takes worthwhile.
Practice secreting bits of litter in between your toes to deposit in far flung corners of the house. See how far away from the tray you can get before depositing it. With a little practice you should be able to make it to the opposite end of the house and up on to a piece of furniture before you drop it.
Dump as much of the litter outside the tray as you leave inside. It makes it roomier.
Try to flick some ‘uh oh’ outside the tray. It’s called ‘uh oh’ because that’s often one of the sounds you’ll hear when it is discovered. It’s kind of onomatopoeia (try getting a dog to spell that). Take care though… do not attempt this if you feel as though you might not produce a bullet; anything less than perfect consistency could result in a trip to the v-e-t.
Ignore the litter tray completely and do what has to be done right in front of it. Warning: This should only be attempted when the litter tray hasn’t been cleaned as quickly as you would like. If you try this when the litter tray is clean you might be forcefully ejected from the dwelling. Please also note that the warning from Rule #4 above applies to this rule… consistency is important. Executed correctly, this manoevre will elicit a guilt response which usually leads to extra pats and nibbles.
Scratch around in there for at least twice as long as is actually necessary. This is more effective at eliciting a response in the middle of the night. Sometimes their state of confusion causes them to put extra biccies in your bowl while they’re up.
Scratch for an eternity without covering your prized deposition. You can try scratching at the floor outside the tray, or the wall next to the tray for extra effect. When they see it, your tormentor dogs won’t be able resist a little snack on the way past and without fail they will get into serious strife. Win.
And remember, have fun.
I’ve given our little foster kitten some ‘Rescue Remedy’ to help calm her down and it has helped quite a bit. She’s come much closer though I still haven’t tried to pet her. She was purring like mad earlier and lapped a bowl of yoghurt up when it was quite close to me. She’s been eating like a trooper and using the litter tray. I have noticed that as soon as I leave the room she comes out from hiding and sniffs at the door then settles down just on the other side; I can see her refection on the polished floor under the door!
It’s still hard to tell how big she is or whether she’s likely to have her kittens any time soon.
I have enough animals. If I were to get any more animals children would start throwing rocks at my car. I might even start to smell like the crazy cat lady (assuming I don’t already). I don’t need any more animals. I don’t need to clean up after anything else. I don’t need to be doing any more loads of washing. I don’t need any more fur blowing around the floor. I certainly don’t need to spend any more time in the vet’s surgery.
I have always resisted fostering because I don’t want to upset my own brood’s little world. So, what have I done… I’ve got a foster cat. What could I do?? A plea went out from one of our local rescue organisations for someone who could take a cat that was having kittens (I know, I know). This is an organisation which has been inundated over the last few weeks because of ONE hoarder, as well as the usual abandonments, etc. They were desperate; the cat needed a room where she could feel safe so that she could have her litter in peace.
So, I find myself with another addition to the household. In my defence, I have made it clear that I cannot have her or her kittens long term and that I have other animals who aren’t necessarily ‘kitten-friendly’. Her name is Smokey (try and guess her colour) and she is just a kitten herself, only 6 months old. From what I could gleen from the lady who was feeding her, Smokey’s mother seemed tame but Smokey has never been socialised. She would come to the lady and was accepting food and pats. She would also sleep with her head on the lady’s feet.
She’s been at mine for a few hours now and she is really timid. I’ve put her in one of my spare rooms, which has a wardrobe, so there are plenty of dark corners in there for her to have her kittens. After an initial panicked flit up the flyscreen and onto the bookshelves (bye-bye photos) she settled under the bed and that is where she spent the first few hours. Overnight she obviously did a bit more exploration and ended up behind the curtain, sitting on the air conditioner housing. She hasn’t eaten or had anything to drink so far. She has water, biscuits and food which I had hoped she would have nibbled at over the course of today while I was out at work. I’ve been spending a bit of time in the room getting her used to my presence and voice, and I’ve put the radio on in there so that it isn’t completely quiet. I’m not sure how friendly she will ever be, but hopefully I can gain enough trust that I can handle her kittens and save them from a similar path. At the moment she is so skittish that I can’t even tell how fat she is.
You will have to take my word that she is a very beautiful cat; I don’t want to freak her out by pointing a camera in her face right now!
Any advice on bringing a timid cat out of her shell is welcome! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!
Once we got home…
We’re taking part in Blog Paws Wordless Wendesday Blog Hop. Click on the icon to join in.
Elsie has discovered how to nose the bedroom door open in the middle of the night. I leave it open a touch so that Fergus and George can come and go as they please. On Thursday night she nicked through to the kitchen and ate all the cats’ food. When I realised what was going on I dashed through; obviously she saw my approach as
a challenge to polish off the rest of the biccies super fast while watching me out of the corner of her eye before I could escort her from the premises.
The next night I was surely more wiley than an 11 month old puppy. I pushed the door of the living room closed so that, in the event that her great escape wasn’t a one-off, her route to the kitchen would be seriously impeded – the living room door doesn’t pull open as easily as that of the bedroom. Alas, not one to be thrown by such a disappointment and ever-resourceful, she found her snacks elsewere – the litter tray in the loo. Ewwwwwwww! If she was really smart she’d cover her tracks a bit better and not leave littery nose marks all over the place.
Needless to say, after a couple of disturbed nights, come Saturday night I was tired. Before bed I (a) pushed the living room door so that it was only open a crack, and (b) pulled the loo door closed so that there was enough space for a cat to go through, placing a heavy object behind it so that I would hear it scraping across the floor should Elsie try to implement her cunning plan a second time. Given that I was so tired and therefore lacking a sense of humour, when neither Elsie nor Flo would settle on their beds I turfed them outside to bring in again later once they had had time ‘to think about their actions’. At 5.50am I was awoken by a loud gnawing. Throwing the light on at the same time as leaping out of bed I was horrified to see the bedroom door open AGAIN. Once more I dashed through to the living room, this time following the sound of gnawing, my imagination turning somersaults as to what it may be that was being ‘Elsied’. The house was in darkness and I didn’t want to wake Flo or the kitties, so I’m whispering ‘Elsie, Elsie, ELSIE!’. It was then that my consciousness clicked in and I realised that I had, in fact, put them outside and then fallen asleep several hours before. They were still outside. Princess Flo and Princess Elsie had spent their first night on the deck. All by themselves. Unloved. Abandoned. Neglected. Elsie had obviously woken up, trotted downstairs and found a tasty old bone which she’d brought upstairs at ridiculous o’clock to chew on. Sounds perfectly reasonable. So, even though I’d turfed them outside, she still managed to disturb my sleep.
Driven by guilt I did bring the dynamic duo in, but Elsie only settled for 10 minutes – when I switched the light on she was sitting on Flo’s head – and Flo only settled for 30 mins, so we had an extra early start to our Sunday after all. Flo and Elsie reckon it serves me right.
They stayed on their beds last night. It’s amazing what you can do with duct tape.
Flo Flo is feeling very abandoned at the moment; I keep going out and taking The Ritalin Kid but not her. Even though she gets something tasty before we go, this is the pathetic sight at the gate when we leave…
To add insult to injury we’re picking Sunny up as well because Aunty J is away on hols which means that when Elsie and I come home she can smell her friend all over us too. It’s soooooo unfair. She has been getting a bit naughty with all this inexercise and has been bombing out the gate and across the road when I drive the car in at night. Given that the idea is to keep her blood pressure down, bombing out across the road isn’t what the v-e-t ordered so I took her for a short, sedate walk on the lead a couple of nights ago. She was very good but I could tell she wanted to get off for a run. The v-e-t did say that this would be okay and I think I’ve done a good job resting her for an entire 8 days with no walks at all.
Yesterday was Flo’s last full dose of vitamin K1 so now I am beginning to feel nervous. If there is something wrong with her blood and this haemorrhaging hasn’t been a one-off poisoning or infection event then I guess we’ll find out over the next few days. I have everything crossed. She is still on anti-biotics and the dreaded anti-inflammatories. We’ve cut the anti-inflammatory dose back to every second day and that, combined with the hormone tablet, seems to have made a difference to her plumbing. The pee pads on her beds are all dry… I’m trying not to get too excited or jinx it but I really hope we’ve sorted her lady issues!
When Flo finds George on her bed she (wisely) won’t go near it. Elsie has the
stupidity foolishness innocence of youth on her side. She’ll learn.
This week has been a little on the scary side.
Everything was normal with the House of Flo until Wednesday night. After a very normal piggy ear when I got home from work we had a very normal trip to the dog park followed by a very normal evening of dogs flaked out on their beds. At about 8.30pm I noticed something on Flo’s stomach and when I looked more closely I saw that it was covered in little sub-cutaneous bleeds measuring anything from 1mm to a couple of centimetres. They were also all over her legs, chest, flanks and in her ears; basically she was covered from head to foot. I phoned the after hours vet (there is only one on-call vet and it won’t necessarily be one of the vets from your practice) who reassured me that it was probably some kind of allergic reaction. As I had some anti-histamines for Elsie she said to go ahead and give her a couple. In spite of this, my gut instinct was that this was not an allergic reaction so I spent the night checking on her which meant that neither of us got a good night’s sleep!
Of course this happened the night before what was already scheduled to be a long and inflexible day; I had to be on duty at 7.45am and, because of a day-long function, wasn’t going to have any breaks until 2.30pm. I had a window of 10 minutes between 8am and 8.10am during which to organise a trip to the vet and organise for Aunty J to check on Flo during the day to make sure she was okay. Thank goodness for friends. Flo loves Aunty J and when she went over to check on her, Flo was apparently very excited to see her and was clearly happy enough in herself with plenty of energy.
When we got to the vet later that day she was immediately given shots of coagulant, vitamin B complex, steroids and anti-inflammatories. I also have a host of things to give her at home including vitamin K1 which will continue to help her blood clot properly. We had a revist early this morning and I am pleased to say that there are no new bleeds and the old ones are fading nicely. She’s to be kept quiet to prevent her blood pressure going up which means she’s going to have to miss out on the annual RSPCA Million Paws Walk next weekend. Elsie and I will have to do our best without her.
As to why this has happened… it’s a mystery. She’s never had any signs of blood problems before so, the first vet could be right and it could just be some sort of allergic reaction. It could also be a bacterial or viral infection, so she’s on anti-biotics as well. The other thing that it could be, and I’m thinking it may be more likely, is that she has somehow ingested rat poison. I don’t keep anything like that around the house or yard and I don’t think many of my neighbours would either as lots of them have dogs themselves. However, you will know from one of my recent posts that I have had rats in my storeroom, which means that other people probably do too, which means that someone nearby may be trying to poison them. If that is the case, I thank goodness that she is a big dog whose system has been able to handle it.
On the plus side, I’ve also come away from the vet with hormones to give Miss Fabulous which will hopefully help sort out her plumbing issues, which, as we all know, are made a thousand times worse when she is on anti-inflammatories like she is now! I am very keen to see if they work because it would really make a difference to day-to-day life! I’m trying not to get too excited at the prospect of life without pee pads…