Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cat Visit II: Cats and Wheelchairs, Jasmine, Harley, blood and heat

My apologies for the disruption of broadcasting. The lesbian sleepover went very well, all things considered, producing a goodly number of postcards, and of course the problems of the last day, waking up, “Where is my massage oil?” and “Have you seen my thong” along with, “Do you want to shower first, or shall we shower together in slo-mo mode, randomly shaking the water off our hair?”

There is a heat wave in Victoria, which means I am a prisoner of a small room. The room is with bookcases about 9 feet by twenty but I only sit in three by two feet: right by the air conditioner. Not even a window to see out. Because, for example, when I left that room to take some pictures for the blog, my legs turned purple, as I had vascular failure (my particular brand of Autonomic failure) in my legs, so yes, purple legs. And not only that, once they reached a high temperature, they were covered with Goosebumps as were my arms while my body went into shock. That was in an hour, in a room with an portable air conditioner and a fan. So yes, for all I know, the end is here, riots are going in the street and government as we know it has fallen. Someone cheer me up and tell me that is true, because then the Student Loan people will stop calling me trying to get me to sell my organs on ebay while I still ‘have viable assets’. Or do you think they have a secure bunker deep beneath the earth? That people will wander days to find a working phone for help and when picking it up, they hear, "Is that you Brad Bury? You are behind in your student loan payments, please seek a student loan officer at the nearest decontamination centre."

On Sunday by working hard on postcards I was able to go to the RSPCA Victoria branch, where I met with cats, and with the officer who does the inspections of anywhere that sells, trains or has public display of animals.

There was a shy by very cute 1 year old cat, if that. I got her a stuffie which they have around, and she was quite content to ride along with me for about half of my visit to the Cat Rooms. The cat rooms consist of about 40 cages on two walls, some of which are open some of which are just sitting spaces, then a two room wide outdoor and two rooms of indoor enclosure.

It turned out that Elizabeth (the white and orange cat), and Betsy and Murray (the psudo mother) had been adopted in the short time we were gone. I was a little sad and went to visit the one cat who I had seen a week or two ago, Jasmine. Remember how Jasmine liked to play ‘catch and eat the fingers’? Would she still want to play that? Geee…maybe.
I can’t tell if Jasmine recognized me or my fingers but after we played ‘gnaw on Beth’s finger” for a while she would lick it, which she didn’t last time and I took to be a positive thing. If you remember Jasmine liked to grab, then rip off the head of what she caught. It was a fun game.

So here she is in stalking mode, looking at the finger, her deadly opponent, sizing it up.
Then she pounces and comes in for the attack. Jasmine is just under two years old and is pretty lively. I have the added advantage of having peripheral neuropathy so I can’t feel what is going on except sometimes some extra pressure. I like to think that Jasmine remembered me, or my hand.

This Shelter, due to ‘Victoria being pet crazy’ is the best in Canada and while we thought we were seeing the cat area, the 40 cats we saw were nothing to the 200 housed in the building. These were the ones healing or ready for fostering or adoption. Kittens would go in days, but unbelievably, the majority of people who take kittens from the RSPCA bring them back once they become adults. Okay, this is not like a DVD rental store, okay!

The cats who were let out of the cages were of two types, first were the very friendly kind, who could stand the amount of people going through, like Rose and my new young (1 year plus) wheelchair loving friend I call Jasper. Jasper, seemed to have no problem with my new technology and soon adapted to hiding under it and watching the other cats.

The second form of cats which are let out are cats that it is too dangerous for them to be kept in a cage. This seems a little odd, but it comes from the RSPCA officer. Cats who cannot be fed, or helped in a cage need to be let out so they go find a place to hang out because they simply cannot be caged. So, the super nice and gentle and the near feral, and you don’t know which.

But the problem is that this is not where a cat is happy, anymore than one of us leaving our home likes to be in a shelter. We want a home, and they want a home: Not some place where they can’t have their own space, and people come through all the time. They would visit one another, and I suspect that ones like this who had to be shaved for disease or injury had bonded or made friends with this cat before.

Before we leave Jasmine, I should note that Rose in my lap seemed to have a vivid interest in all the grabbing of my fingers and leaping on me and biting and paws coming in and out of the cage. A real fight fan, I wasn’t sure if she was rooting for me or for Jasmine.

As you can see, the wheelchair and technology seemed to attract the cats with Rose on my lap, Jasper under the wheelchair and now a new older cat checking out my oxygen concentrator.
Here is Jasper in my lap. As you can see, I am still having difficulty with them smelling my fingers, but ones with developed day vision like Jasmine have no problem attacking them and putting her scent on them but Jasper needed to smell the gloves I wore. Jasper is younger so thin and has a white paw and chest tips. Now tell me the truth Jasper, do you love my wheelchair and me for my winning personality…..or because of string?
Truth is that Jasper just LOVED being around the wheelchair period. We have many, many photos where I am wheeling forward and Jasper is just walking underneath the chair. Then outside, all was good until I wanted to go inside, and Jasper deliberately sprawled across the entrance so that I could not go inside. Jeez, subtle much? By this time, the older black cat seen examining the oxygen concentrator and a large dominant black cat I called Thomas with all white paws decided to team up and sort of ‘take over’ the wheelchair, or most importantly....the string.

By this time I was playing with Harley, and yes, that is his name. Harley plays rough and he likes to play with anyone who goes within reach of his claws whether they are just walking by or not. He also likes to play the catch with claws and then gnaw on game but being older the teeth fangs were longer and Harley just liked to play harder. He quickly stopped that moving finger by grabbing it with his claws.
Then Harley came in and took that plaything and grabbed it with both paws, claws out. Then it was into the mouth. There was also the roll-over technique for beheading. Since Harley was a lot larger, I was less worried for my finger but the owners would get lots of beheaded birds, animals, small children? Because this is what Harley looks like in full ‘play’ struggle mode.
At this point I had to stop, and take out my handy ‘Hello Kitty’ wet wipes because it turned out that two of my fingers had some flowing blood coming from them, and two others had flaps of skin hanging off. Let’s hear a hooray for peripherial neuropathy! Here you see me cleaning my hand and bandaging it, with Thomas in the dominant spot under the wheelchair string, with the other large black cat, and now poor Jasper is playing with the footplate and the outside of the wheelchair.
Blood? Well, yes, it turns out that out of ALL the cages there were only two that had padlocks on them just in case someone might accidentally let a cat out and those two were: Harley and Jasmine. Or as the RSPCA officer said, “Oh yes, Jasmine likes to express an opinion!” which I figure means likes to ‘play’ or beat up many of the younger or milder cats in play time.

You may also notice that I am not showing a lot of these cute cats, but a lot of the black cats. And while this cat is a cutie: it may be the one that was attacked by a dog and was waiting for the foster family to pick it up. The sad fact, says the RSPCA officer is that people can’t tell most black cats apart and so the other coloured cats are more quickly adopted, leaving a large amount of black cats, even cute, mild kitten type black cats like this.
If you look back to the picture of me with the three black cats playing with my chair, three pictures up, you will notice that Thomas, the dominant cat, is starting a shoving match with the other older black. Yes, unknown to me, the string from my h.naoto backpack had caused a dominant terrain issue and Thomas was saying, “Hey, this is my space, and I decide where I am going to sit.” It was kind of like watching a playground fight with a bit of pushing and then backing up. Oddly, I kind of thought it was MY wheelchair. Thank goodness Thomas didn’t figure out I thought that or he would have been up to teach ME a lesson like, “You can go, but leave the wheelchair!”

Well, that was pretty much our visit. And until the heat lets up, there isn’t much I can do as the heat causes all of my conditions to increase in intensity. So more TIA’s, more seizures, more headaches, more nausea, etc, etc. But no fear, once the heat wave is over, I will be FREE AGAIN to spread my own kind of…um…presence onto the city of Victoria.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for telling us about your visit to the cats. I'm glad you had some fun with them. And I'll cross my fingers so the heatwave passes quickly.

JaneB said...

Yes, it is true here too - black cats are much harder to home than coloured cats.

I feel a little bad that Furball, my current cat, isn't black - but when I went to visit (NOT to get a new cat) she was the 'longest resident' having been there for 6 months because she was old (about 50 in cat years) and plump and not very pretty (she's a bit odd looking, it's like she has the little dainty legs of a totally different cat than the large barrel body). But she stared at me with her green eyes and WILLED me to take her home...

Hope the heat goes soon! It's raining here again... wish I could send you some!

Lene Andersen said...

I tend to say that cats don't have owners, they have minions and this post proves it. You've become the plaything/minion of a whole room full of cats! Terrific photos - thanks for sharing your day!

Crap about the heatwave. Being stuck inside sucks. Hope it lessens soon.

Neil said...

Well, it's definitely not heat wave territory here. It's currently 11 degrees with an excellent chance of rain today. But I can now say that the full-circle cloak my Beloved made for me is warm.

If only your sleep-overs COULD result in dialogue such as you describe, rather than, "Darling, please pass me the ambi-bag?" I'm sure you had a good time anyway, though.

Black cats are harder to adopt out? Must be the myth about them being evil. I would take a black cat without hesitation, if it were the right cat for me.

But if I went with you to adopt a black kittie, I'd have had to go home with two cats: the orange tabby who's trying to ignore the shaved cat outside his(?) cage looks like a Maine Coon. That's a breed of very large cat; they're also very playful as adults. But they'll eat you out of house and home, since they have large appetites to keep their large frames sleek and happy.

I won't wish rain on you, dear, since then you'd have super-manager after you for tire tracks. But I would be happy to share some of you heat wave. C'mon girls, send that weather inland!

Love and zen hugs for all of you,

wendryn said...

I hope the heat lets up soon!

Glad to hear the full story on the cat visit! It amuses me that you always end up with the feisty ones. Like calls to like? :)

Anonymous said...

I'm SO GLAD you got to see the kitties again! I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading about your visits there!
I had a black cat growing up, who still lives at my mom's house. I have a different black cat that lives with me now in my own house. In my experience with black cats, they seem to be generally more stuck up, demanding and even aggressive than other cats. It certainly doesn't make me love them any less, though. We call my black cat, Gus, our "special needs" kitty because he is incredibly territorial and high-strung, and when he feels he or his territory is being threatened in any way, he gets frighteningly aggressive. I, however, don't believe in getting rid of pets when they become "too much to deal with," so he still lives with me, and he's still a jerkface kitty sometimes, but I still love him!
Cats seem to really like enclosed spaces from which to survey the environment, and I bet that's why they like your chair so much. They can get underneath it, feel protected from all sides, and still see what's going on. Of couse, the dangling string/built-in toy doesn't hurt, either!


Baba Yaga said...

Cats should *clearly* be available on prescription! You look wonderfully relaxed.

You remind me that human beings are the oddest creatures. Whoever imagines that kittens won't become cats? (Or that half the joy of kittens isn't their growth into full cat-hood?) And "can't tell the black ones apart"??? If ever I have a cat-suitable home, I must remember to talk to the black moggies first.

I recall that when my family had a cat from the RSPCA, we had to demonstrate ourselves suitable owners. Perhaps that was just local policy...

Victor Kellar said...

I mentioned before that Collette I owned Gypsy, a black cat, for over twenty years.

I owned Lola, a black cat, as teenager, leaving her with my mother when I moved away from home

When I lived in rural Quebec I owned two cats, Mystique and Formidable, both black

When I moved back home for a couple years in my mid twenties I owned Miasma .. guess what colour

Black cats are special. They possess many ninja skills, including walking through walls. And just like ninja, one is never really sure how authentic these powers are but they are effective nonetheless

Sorry to hear about the heat wave. None here, that's for sure. What we have had for most of this summer is rain .. perhaps fortunate we now own dogs instead of cats. Cats don't do well in the wet

Stephanie said...

Heat wave = bad!

Air conditioning = good!

No view = worse! At least you could have taken up people watching.

I have one black cat (tuxedo cat, Pepper) and one white cat (Sugar). I decided recently that even though it's hard to tell the color BLACK apart, I would always know whether a black cat is my Pepper or not. It's the way she holds herself and tips her head and meows at me, not things other cats do. So I don't get that if you love a cat enough how you can confuse it for another one, even if it has similar coloring.

For some reason cats that look like Sugar don't make it into many photos on the Internet. She has the most beautiful blue eyes, but a crooked tail from birth, so she would also be easy to separate from a pack of cats.

We love cats...

SharonMV said...

Dear Beth,

My first cat was a black cat. He was named Dylan (after Dylan Thomas). He was rather full of himself, but perhaps deservedly so. He was quite handsome & very intelligent.

The voracious Jasmine has lovely green eyes.

I hope the heatwave passes soon. I hope you've been receiving my e-mails. And there's something in the snail mail that should arrive soon.


Kate J said...

Wow, it must certainly be hot. I checked on CBC and it said it was the hottest day ever recorded in Vancouver. Mind you, I spoke the other day to a friend in Spain who said there they've got over 40 degrees. Which I would find definitely NOT funny. I don't like the heat at all, so I can only imagine what it must be like for you.

Can I remind you of the typical Welsh weather we're currently "enjoying" here? 14-ish and raining. All last week, all this week and for the foreseeable future.

There must be something about July in BC... twice I've been there at that time and both occasions it was "hottest ever", forest fires and the like. I even experienced a heatwave in Prince Rupert...

Hope it cools off soon for you!
Love & peace

Raccoon said...

I like black cats. Especially when they make you chase them under ladders...

Pretty kitties.

I'm hoping the weather cools down for you. Of course, it's probably perfect weather for me...

yanub said...

Many thanks for the student loan jokes. I often think the mafia would be more reasonable.

Yay for cat day! I didn't know that people won't adopt black cats. How strange. They all look alike the way tabbies all look alike. Which is, they don't. People are just lazy when it comes to identifying animals.

I hope you find ways to stay cool. Do wet top sheets help you?

cheryl g said...

I like your lesbian sleepover dialogue much better than the usual which ranges from, “Linda, grab the Ativan – I have the ambibag” to “Who has the Orca stamp”. Sure the ambibag moments get my heart racing and the rubber stamp moments are fun but your version would also get my heart racing and be way more fun.

I have been very worried about you in this heatwave. The heat has even gotten to me the Death Valley veteran so I am sure you are understating the ill effects it has on you.

This cat visit was really fun. There were many sweet cats to pet and watching the vying for the coveted under the wheelchair spot was very amusing. Jasmine sure enjoyed Beth playtime. She may have thought that stealing your camera would keep you there longer.

Jasper seemed to be determined to act as a wheelchair speed bump a couple of times. I wonder if they are all plotting to keep you there since you are interesting and interact with them on their terms. I think they recognize a fellow cat spirit when they see one.

rachelcreative said...

Oooh more kitty photos. Lovely. Interesting about black cats not getting adopted so much.

Watch out for those kitty claws and bites. Don't want you getting an infected wound as that can be nasty. I've seen it and had it! Any sign of green or swelling and you must go get antib-biotics. It amazes me that such cute and clean animals can have such germ riddled mouths ;)

Sorry you're so restricted in that heat. I'm relieved you have one space where you don't turn purple but hope you're able to see more than that little corner of the world again soon.