Good News!

Oct. 19th, 2016 10:48 pm
rj_anderson: (Nomad - Ivy)
First, thanks to all who weighed in on my earlier post about my cat possibly having arthritis. I did call the vet to make an appointment, but the receptionist recommended that I buy a package of TheraBites (a once-a-day cat treat which contains supplements for hips and joints) and try her out on those for a while to see if there was any improvement.

Well. Not only does Snickers LOVE the treats (so no need to trick or force her into eating them), we're not even halfway through the bag and she's already moving much more comfortably. In fact, the other day she was up on the bed chasing her tail, which I hadn't seen her do since she was a kitten. Phew! Problem solved... at least, as long as I keep giving her a treat every morning for the rest of her life. Which is doable. So I am much relieved.

Second, I was surprised and delighted to discover that A Pocket Full of Murder is one of the ten Canadian middle-grade novels nominated for the Silver Birch Award this year. That means a whole bunch of 9-12 year olds will be reading my book this winter, along with at least four more other nominated titles, so they can vote for their favorite in the spring. I've always longed to be nominated for this award, and it's a big boost for the book generally, so I'm very thankful.

I'll be reading from Pocket and talking a little about the sequel this weekend, at the Local Authors reading portion of the Stratford Writers' Festival. All the other events are ticketed and this one is free, but it's also up against the #CanLitPit session where aspiring writers get to pitch directly to editors, so I'm not holding my breath too much for a big audience... still, it was nice to be asked and I hope the Festival does well.

* * *

And thirdly, speaking of Stratford and festivals, I had the pleasure of attending a matinee performance of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at the Avon Theatre with my youngest son's school group today. I'd really been hoping to see the play, especially after my fellow Narnia purist [personal profile] grav_ity  gave it her enthusiastic thumbs-up, but didn't think that I'd ever get the chance... except it turned out a few of the kids in P's class weren't able to attend, so the teacher entered all the interested parents in a draw for the remaining tickets and I was one of the winners. Which is a minor miracle, because I never win anything.

Anyway, I ended up sitting beside P and one of his friends, and we had excellent seats -- about five rows from the stage, bang in the centre. Where I proceeded to tear up halfway through Mr. Beaver's speech about Aslan in Act One and spent most of Act Two desperately wishing I'd brought tissues, because the production was fantastic. I'm so glad they stuck close to the original story, including a lot of the dialogue, instead of introducing a lot of flotsam for the sake of novelty or a false notion of drama (*side-eyes the movies of Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader*).

I'd read an early review that complained about the songs being intrusive, but I didn't find them overly long or distracting at all, and the one about coming to Aslan's table pretty much killed me (as I said on Twitter, "I was not prepared for the communion metaphors").

And tomorrow Adrienne Kress is coming for our annual tea-and-catch-up, which is always a treat, and will be an especially happy occasion this time with her new MG adventure novel The Explorers coming out in 2017. I really enjoy Adrienne's narrative voice and my boys are big fans of her writing as well, so we're looking forward to this one.
... I don't have a cat icon. In fact, I now realize, I have NEVER had a cat icon. This seems like a totally bizarre oversight given my lifelong love of kitties, but anyway...

I've noticed over the past couple of weeks that my eight-year-old calico, Snickers, has started moving quite tentatively, even gingerly at times. She still jumps up onto beds and couches and so on, and jumps down as well -- but when she gets down she stretches herself as close to the floor as possible before making the jump.

If she's in pain, it doesn't seem to stop her moving freely around the house all day, including up and down the stairs, and I can't see any evidence that she's favouring one particular leg or side of her body. She doesn't yelp or yowl when she jumps up or down, only meows at me now and then in a conversational way. Her eyes are clear and bright, her coat sleek, her appetite's as good as ever, and she loves to be petted (even head-butts me until I stroke her). She flexes easily and sleeps in all kinds of positions. But I do get the sense that she's not as comfortable as she should be when walking -- a little wobbly and a little stiff.

Has anybody else had something this happen with one of their cats? I know eight is middle-aged for a cat, but it still seems a bit too young for her to be moving like an old lady.

If she were showing any more alarming symptoms, or seemed to be deteriorating, I'd take her to the vet. But we just spent an unfortunate amount of money earlier this year trying to save our 22-month-old kitten who died of (I think) congenital kidney issues, so I'm hesitant to go that route unless it's really necessary.

Fellow kitty people, any thoughts?
A few months ago we acquired a lovely five-month-old calico kitten from the local shelter. When they notified us that she was ready to come home, they warned us that she had a slight respiratory infection (which soon cleared up) and also that she would be tender for a few da

Snickers in SinkImage by rj-anderson via Flickr

ys after her spaying operation.

What they did NOT warn us about, however, was that at some point during her stay in the shelter, some crazed scientist operated on her and swapped out her Cat Brain for a Dog Brain.

Seriously, this is the only way I can account for some of her behavior. The way she follows us around the house and lies at our feet wherever we go, for instance. Or how she shows little interest in being stroked, but loves it if you scratch and tousle her ears (after which she shows her gratitude by licking your arm ardently until you push her away). And whenever we go out as a family, she sits in front of the door and waits for us until we come home, so that the first thing we see on returning is a little cat face peering hopefully through the sidelight.

Snickers possesses only the most rudimentary sense of balance: when she jumps up on some narrow surface like the top of a chair, she either misses the mark entirely and tumbles back to the floor in a highly ungraceful sprawl, or she wobbles around for a few seconds and then falls off again.

Snickers - What?Image by rj-anderson via Flickr

She is convinced that the leg of our coffee table is her sworn enemy, and frequently wraps herself around it and kicks at it with all her might. And though she may seem to have some feline grace when you watch her prowling about the house, I have seen her stalk face-first into a doorframe on more than one occasion.

She is, in short, a complete dork.

Her favorite sleeping position is also something I have witnessed dogs do, but never before a cat: lying on her spine, with her front paws folded over her chest and her back legs splayed wide. I have frequently also found her curled up in the sink, or sprawled in the bottom of our bathtub—even when the porcelain was still wet from the last person who washed their hands or took a shower.

I would almost be worried about Snickers, except that she seems to be in perfectly good health, and capable of doing everything she wants to do. She's a beautiful, sweet-tempered creature, loyal and affectionate and amazingly patient with our children. But I can only conclude that she slept through all her classes in Cat School—so it's a good thing we plan to keep her indoors for the rest of her natural life, because I can't imagine she'd last two minutes in the ring with an Actual Cat...
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