Posted in Gaming, IRL, Kitty Korner, Mobile Gaming

Friskies CatFishing 2: A Kitten’s Review

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my newest family acquisition — my kitten, Spriggan. Actually, he’s almost a year old now, and while he’s just tall and lanky, not quite as bulky as Sebastian (my older cat), he’s starting to match him in height at least.

Spriggan, quite frankly, is still a kitten mess. He’s starting to become a bit more affectionate lately. But that’s mostly because everything to him is about playing. I mean everything. And he’s come to learn that he has the most fun playing when an actual person is dangling one of those string/wand cat toys.

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Like this one. RIP feather toy.

He lives for the hand holding the cat toy. He’s as crazy about it as we are playing our video games. 😀

He even picks up the toy in his mouth and physically brings it to me (or drapes it across the couch arm next to me if I’m not paying attention) just to get me to play with him. This is constant. And he is not just energetic, but extremely hard to wear out.

The problem with Kitten is that he is smart. He needs constant mental stimulation. He figures things out. Like opening kitchen cupboards and rummaging within them…

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My kitchen cupboards, temporarily duct-taped shut until I got the child-proof locks installed this past weekend. He still opens the ones in the bathroom, though.

He also has a new habit of stealing my gaming chair any time I leave my desk unattended (above first picture). He likes to do this when I’m playing my Switch, since the couch and my desk are side by side —  so he’s close enough to have that cat socializing while I play, and is claiming my chair for himself at the same time.

Anyhow, I saw this great video about cats having fun playing with iPads.

And I thought to myself… You know, Spriggan might actually enjoy that little fish game! It might keep him out of trouble!

So I pulled out my poor old Nexus 7, updated it, and installed the Friskies CatFishing 2 app for Android on it. It was free. It has swimming fish, and from time to time, makes a cat meow sound. Pretty simple.

Well, I gave it to the Kitten, and he patted at it a few times.

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Being a smarty-pants, he kept trying to look under the tablet and sniff the fish, wondering why these swimming things on the screen weren’t actually real.

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But after that… he decided its value was mostly in being something warm to lay on.

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So, yeah. I couldn’t get Spriggan to focus on the moving images on the tablet. He was too smart and too hung up on the fact that the fish weren’t real… and he couldn’t lift up the tablet to see them inside/under it.

Why can’t I just have a normal kitten?

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitty Korner: Unexpected Kitten Homed!

Pictured above was part of a flier that I used to advertise that the abandoned kitten I found last week was in need of a home. I printed it and posted it up around work last Friday… and what do you know? It did its job.

Late Friday afternoon, I was contacted by a co-worker who said she needed to check, but might know someone who has a place for him. I connected with her again this morning, and yes, the kitten has a new home!

I was a little sad to bid him farewell because he is an exceptionally well-behaved kitten. It was tough, but I did it. And now my life can get back to normal, instead of driving him back and forth from work, taking him to the vet, dealing with moody Spriggans, and fretting that he doesn’t have a home.

I’m glad we were able to find him a place that wasn’t the shelter (I heard the shelter isn’t taking animals in right now due to an outbreak of parvo). My understanding is that he’ll be headed to a nice house on a bunch of land in Tennessee. Far better off than when I found him lost and crying along side the road almost a week ago.

Good luck, little kitten! o7

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitty Korner: Unexpected Kitten #2

I’m not sure if this is the year of the cat or something, but I seem to be attracting way more strays that I have a right to. So here is unexpected kitten story #2.

I was pulling out of work to go and grab some lunch when I saw out of the corner of my eye a tiny marmalade stripe kitten along the road. It was acting peculiar — this is a very busy two lane road, and it was walking TOWARDS the flow of traffic, crying at the cars as if it was looking for something.

Now, there were bushes and a ditch behind it, but on the other side of a narrow strip of land is an interstate full of cars rushing 80 mph or so. So, between the busy road in front of work and that interstate, I was sure this kitten wouldn’t survive long if it was walking towards the cars.

I quickly pulled around and parked. Then I ran across the street to the bushes to try and see if it would come to me. It was scared, but it didn’t bolt on sight like a feral would, so I tried to approach it. I got within a foot of it before it ran into the bushes.

I grabbed lunch, but the kitten was on my mind. I didn’t know if it had run far away, or if it was still there in the ditch. I felt bad that I had blown my shot at catching it.

It hardly looked a month old, and it was alone. I saw no other siblings or mother cat around.

I told my boss about the kitten, since she had been part of kitten rescues around the work campus in the past. We agreed to keep watching for it, and if it showed up again, we’d call out the humane society to come out and trap it.

I looked for it on and off all day and didn’t see it again. Not until I was pulling out to go home from work.

Again, there was the kitten, walking towards the road (which was even more busy at rush hour) and crying at the cars. I did a quick swerve back into the parking lot, ran back across the road, and tried a second time.

The kitten hid again under a bush, but kept crying at me. So I meowed back (I probably speak terrible cat) in a tone I’ve heard mother cats use before. Surprisingly, the kitten stayed still enough for me to grab it. It pitched a fit, but I scruffed it and didn’t let go.

I had no idea if I had a feral who was going to go wild on me the moment I unscruffed. But I took that chance and ran him back across the street to my car.

The two of us had a moment of reckoning there in the driver seat. The kitten stared straight up into my face, in a way that an animal does when it knows people, and when I let it go, it started to cling to me rather than bite.

I calmed it down, then took it inside work since I had no way to transport it anywhere. My co-workers instantly gathered around, and in short time, he (confirmed he) began to purr. We got him some milk, a box for transport, and I brought him home.

Turns out he’s a super social kitten, and very, very sweet. He’s also a lovely kitten, but so young that his eyes are still blue. I’m trying to give him a safe calm place away from my other two jealous kitties. He’s eating and doing alright.

But as lovely and sweet as he is (and he is super, super social), I know I can’t keep a third cat. I’m hoping to home him with a co-worker or their family, but for now, I’m going to get him into the vet as soon as I can.

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitty Korner: Vet Visit

Update: After one day of taking the meds the vet gave Sebastian, he was back to eating like normal. Hopefully that means we’ve found the issue and that he’ll continue to get better.

So I know I haven’t been updating the new kitten situation in a while, as things have been more or less alright between Sebastian and Spriggan so far. But some things have come up today that made me decide that blogging a bit about my cats is probably going to be a thing going forward. So I’ve created a Kitty Korner tag for this.

Spriggan Update

The kitten is doing fine as far as kittens do. He’s still a mess and a ball of energy, constantly challenging me to find cat-proofing things, such as my desk, to protect it from prying paws.

He’s a teenaged kitty, and he’s acting like one.

You can’t tell him what to do. You can’t train him. He complains loudly until he gets what he wants. He gets into everything not nailed down.

I keep buying him toys (I should blog about some of those, eventually), but his attention span is so short, it’s hard to keep him entertained. But trust me, you don’t want him entertaining himself.

Aside from that, he gets along with Sebastian well. I’m still trying to bond with him, though, as he’s so flighty, it’s hard for him to sit still long enough to make a more affectionate connection.

Sebastian’s Loss of Appetite

So, on to the reason for this article. My older cat, Sebastian, hasn’t been feeling well.

He is a cat of habit. He also has a duty to ensure all food is properly disposed of (in his mouth) as catly possible. So when I see things out of the ordinary, I know something is wrong.

Last week, he wasn’t eating his wet food, which he gets every morning. At first, I wondered if he was just being picky about the flavor or the texture. He’s not usually a picky eater, but with cats, you can never tell.

Spriggan tested some of the wet food for himself and ate it without problem. Sebastian was eating dry food, so I just kept re-introducing the wet food each morning until it finally got eaten.

Everything was okay Saturday.

Sunday was the first morning I saw trouble. He didn’t meet me at the bedroom door first thing in the morning (to let me know he’s hungry) like he always does.

Second, he was doing something odd — tilting his head sideways, licking out the corner of his mouth. From time to time, he’d hunch over as if he was trying to cough something up, but he never did. I was concerned, but thought maybe he was chewing on a toy and got something in his throat. So I fed him, he ate, and he acted fine the rest the day.

Yesterday, I woke up and he was acting the same way – head tilting, licking, gagging. I started getting worried. Two days of him acting that way was more serious. I fed him and he wasn’t interested in wet food again. I left it out for him, though, to see if he’d eat it while I was at work.

He did eat it by the time I came home, so he was eating and drinking. He acted okay the rest the night.

Today, I didn’t see signs of head tilting or licking, but he wasn’t interested in wet food. Nor had he eaten the food I’d left out for him.

Vet Visit

I decided that was enough of that, and I called the new vet, who had taken care of my kitten’s shots and surgery. This is not Sebastian’s normal vet, but his vet is often so overbooked, there’s no hope to get an appointment with them on the fly.

Last year, he was having trouble throwing up food, and they weren’t very helpful – just telling me to let him eat the dry food if he was only throwing up the wet, or to change the food brand. Eventually, they said it was probably hairballs, and gave me something for that, but they didn’t have time to take my concerns seriously. But that’s a grouch for a different time.

The new vet got him in immediately this morning. I’m very glad I took him in.

They did a thorough check-up for my cat. Instantly, the vet noticed that Sebastian had an inflamed gum and maybe infected tooth. That would explain a lot, if that’s the cause of his head tilting, licking and lack of appetite.

But then, he dropped a bomb I didn’t expect. He told me Sebastian has a heart murmur. I was floored. I’d just taken him in for shots and a check-up at the other vet in December… how did they not catch that then?

Anyhow. This is not good news. But it’s also not the end of the world because…

  • Sebastian is still fairly young (only 6-7 years old).
  • We caught it early. The vet rated it a 3 on a scale of 1 to 6.
  • X-rays showed that his heart has not enlarged, so there’s not much damage done yet.
  • It’s going to be costly, but it can be treated. I will have to take Sebastian to a cardiologist.

It’s likely he’ll be put on medicine when he gets older to prevent heart damage. But the vet seems to feel Sebastian can still live a long life.

For now, though, Sebastian is on antibiotics and steroids to treat the tooth. He’ll be going back in two weeks for a tooth cleaning and deeper inspection. If that problem tooth needs to be pulled, that will be determined then.

If that doesn’t help his appetite, we may have to run blood tests on him to investigate other issues.

Somewhere down the line this year, I will have to get him pre-tested at my vet, and then take him to the cardiologist, which is in a larger city about an hour away. I’m more worried about taking him on a long drive like that… he has a fit about a short 15 minuet drive across town!

And yeah, this is all going to cost money. But Sebastian is my cat-buddy and my literal spirit animal. I’ve not had a cat, or any pet like him, that I’ve connected to so closely. I’m willing to pay what it takes to keep him healthy and feeling well.

At least I finally have a vet that’s listening and taking my concerns seriously!

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitten Chronicles – Almost a Month

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written about my adventure with the new kitten, Spriggan. Two days ago, he went in for his neutering surgery and final kitten booster shots. Everything went well, and he’s recovering like a champ. In fact, he had no down time as far as I saw at all.

Due to the surgery, I’m keeping him separated for a few days from Sebastian. When they’re together, they tend to rush around the house like mad cats, and I want Spriggan to take it easy and heal up first. I’ll probably re-introduce them again this weekend. I’ve heard that neutering sometimes makes the kitten smell like a new cat, so I want to make sure I have plenty of time at home during this process.

Before that, I was still keeping Spriggan in his own room at night and while I was at work. I allow the two of them to romp when I’m home and all day on weekends.

Sebastian’s attitude has significantly improved over time. While he still does dominate over Spriggan when he gets in the mood, most of their interactions are chasing and playing. In fact, there’s almost too much cat energy going on around my house! When I have to focus on stuff, like art or raids, I separate them. Usually, Spriggan is pretty patient if I put him in his room for short times… just as long as he gets to romp again later.

Right now, he’s fussy because he wants out, and I’m not letting that happen.

The cats are still working through ownership of things. The cat tree by the window, for example, tends to be Sebastian’s spot all day long. Spriggan instantly took to it, so sometimes Sebastian gets whiney that his spot was taken. I’m going to have to invest in another cat tree, it seems.

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They’re sharing the cat tree for the first time!

I’m also working on catifying the guest bedroom. I’ve made it so that this little cat condo I bought is set up in that window for the kitten to use. This has gone over well.

I have an old, rickety desk that I need to get out of that back room to make more space. I’d also like to change out the curtains in there since the drapery is super old now, and quite enticing for a kitten to climb. Some of this is going to have to wait until tax returns, though! But it’s a project for sure.

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitten Chronicles – Week 1 Edition

I still can’t get a good picture of the new kitten because every time I try to approach with a phone, he gets up to rub on me. Anyhow, I decided it was time for another kitty update!

I’m still rolling ideas for a name in my head. I’m thinking about “Puck” as in the character from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The kitten is certainly enough of a troublemaker!

Nope. Ended up going with Spriggan. As in FFXIV Spriggan:

ff14-spriggan

I’m slowly introducing Sebastian and Spriggan for a few hours each night when I get home from work. Spriggan has been enjoying the use of the many toys around the house, and I got him a new collar (seen in above picture) along with a new scratching post and such.

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Both kitties love this toy!

I wish I could say that the introductions have gone completely without incident, but that’s not true. There’s not been a full-out cat fight of any sort, but Sebastian is serious about letting the kitten know who’s the alpha.

Sebastian’s a rather jealous and sensitive cat to begin with. Any little change can send him into a fit of crying. Last night was the worst I saw him. He spent a good half an hour to 45 minutes just complaining loudly about the unfairness of kitten’s existence in his house.

Through these fits, Sebastian psychically asserts his domination over Spriggan by scruffing the kitten’s neck and holding him down on the floor. This doesn’t hurt the kitten, but it does dominate over him.

This is a behavior I’m familiar with through caring for ferrets. Back when I owned several, I had a very alpha male that would go through this same domination ritual whenever I introduced a new ferret to the household. It took a few days for the pecking order to work out, but eventually it did. Afterwards, the ferrets were best friends.

I’d probably be freaking out if I hadn’t seen this happen before. But I know that as long as the kitten isn’t getting hurt, it does more harm than good to interfere too much.

However, last night, Sebastian was just being a whiny-butt in general and not letting up on things. So, eventually I scolded him and told him to stop his behavior. He vocally complained at me in response, as if I should see what all the wrongs of his world were, but eventually chilled out over time.

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A kitten asking for trouble…

I did some reading about this domination behavior, and apparently while it can happen with cats, it’s pretty unlikely. Figures that I just have a weird cat.

Thankfully, Spriggan takes it in stride and usually just sits there in submission. If Sebastian does get too rough, I’ve seen the kitten take a swipe at him to let him know. Sebastian is a big scaredy cat in the end, and runs away.

With the weekend coming up, I can bring the two together for larger tracks of time as I still don’t want to leave them alone when I’m asleep or at work. I hope a few full days of dealing with one another will calm things down more.

Also, in a few weeks, Spriggan will be getting fixed. I don’t know if that’ll make a change in things, but it can’t hurt.

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitten Chronicles – Day 4

It’s official that I can keep the kitten!

He had his first vet checkup today, and got a clear bill of health. Thankfully, he tested negative for Feline HIV, parasites and other nasties. He also got his first shots, and will be heading back to the vet in 3 weeks for follow-up boosters and the neutering.

This means that tonight I can finally give Sebastian and Kitten time to meet. This also means I need to be working on a real name for him since (as long as the cats get along) he will be coming to stay with me for sure.

I know he’ll be so much happier when I can let him out of the back room so he can explore and have company. Updates are forthcoming!