First, deepest apologies for the spam here. I will fix it, given sufficient quantity of round tuit, and I intend to do so as permanently as possible. And I likely won’t mention it until that time.

Kitty has returned from a vet trip, to remove 4 teeth. He had a slightly complication extraction, which I’m sure causes no end of amusement about parallels to a certain webizen having his removed many moons ago. A cat recuperating from anesthesia is not a normal cat. The can’t walk, much as they might pretend. In fact, they stumble around an awful lot just sitting in a carrying crate. Also, they smell in a way that frightens away other cats who come to check them out.

Otherwise, kitty is actually fine, and the surgery he had is comparable to having wisdom teeth removed. He has not meowed or cried once, only a light low grumbling growl when the doctor passed him off to me very slowly. This may be due to the same reasons that humans aren’t very talkative immediately after they have their wisdom teeth taken out. Only moreso, because humans seem to uniformly say things indicating that yes, they are on the hard stuff.

Thursday ~ April 12, 2007 by b

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no-kill shelters

Recently, the ASPCA launched a campaign (Mission Orange) to attempt to curb euthanasia in kennels to prevent overpopulation.

I’ll go way out on a limb, and say that there are actually existing no-kill shelters which have never euthanized animals to stay under capacity, quite a few unaffiliated with the ASPCA. They know their capacity as well as other shelters, and when they reach it, they don’t accept more animals. It’s a concept not unlike that of a hospital. Some animal advocacy groups also use Trap-Neuter-Release to prevent the expansion of local feral cat populations. This has goals very similar to those of a no-kill shelter, and complements their limited capacities.

Sure, killing animals to make space for new is way it’s been done – and far be it from me to say that “tradition” is a lousy excuse for anything. I usually choose to say nothing negative about the ASPCA, because they do a lot of good. They have a nationwide organization of animal shelters working to ease overpopulation, spaying and neutering, and transporting domesticated animals from one home to another with at least minimal assurances about the new people. And soon, hopefully, they’ll be running a nationwide network of no-kill shelters.

Friday ~ February 16, 2007 by b

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the hatching of plans

Not too much going on.

OK, I lie.

Check out Bascha’s first Halloween post. I can verify that the bits about the garage being absolutely impressive. It clearly ranks among the most impressive I’ve seen, both in layout and contents. Which is good, because the goings-on proceed at full speed. Think of those shows on cable tv where a bunch of people build cars and bikes and similar stuff in a garage. Those shows on similar educational channels about Halloween props and building haunted houses, too. OK, that’s the starting point. I’m taking side bets on when a plasma cutter and robotics with embedded processors are introduced. You should see the faces at the hardware stores just in this year.

Also, my cats are slap-fighting. No, that’s not a joke. They really are, in fact, squaring off with one paw raised each, weaving in place and taking sheathed-claw open-paw swings at each other.

Earlier, the little dude decided to do that he smelled / heard footsteps / listened to the thoughts of a human at the door, and hid like a medieval assassin (i.e. behind a tapestry) for a few years. I never found him, he just hopped down when he was absolutely certain the coast was clear. He can hide in plain sight in about half of a second, sitting in the middle of a rug, while being staring at.

Monday ~ October 23, 2006 by b

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fast busy

Raspberry salsa is excellent. Really. Try it. The spicier, the better.

Also, I have been way too busy for my own good for the past month plus, which hopefully has come to an abrupt end marked only by deafening silence. My job, for those of you who know about it, is still insanely busy. However, during the hour of time I have between arriving home and taking my daily 4-hour nap, I may now have an extra four or five seconds to blog a bit. I’ll let you know if that happens. Somehow, my description doesn’t seem like a complaint to me, and I’m perfectly willing to go into my office tomorrow and do the same thing again.

I drank too much of the kool-aid at some point, I’m just not sure when it happened or if I should do anything about it.

Lastly, there are birds trapped between my ceiling and the floor above me. I see no reason to complain to the landlord and have them killed. I’m quite certain they’re not affecting the structural integrity of my building. Also, the cats go into stalking predatory mode with a look of rapt attention. I’m still waiting for the targeting butt-wiggle a few seconds before one of them launches toward some corner of the ceiling. I can tell they’re waiting for one of the birds to poke a wing or claw through the ceiling.

Monday ~ May 1, 2006 by blog

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Radiokitty has now become Radiofreekitty. OK, he’s not broadcasting Air Freedom to the unwashed communistic masses hungry for democracy. But he is now free of I-131, or at least measurable quantities thereof. Of course, being injected with odd glowing fluid doesn’t affect him negatively in the slightest. He did not, contrary to the views described by some, turn into a raver cat. In spite of being hyperactive, medicated, whiny, and having a slight case of anorexia. I was however, waiting for him to ask for a clove and a bottle of absinthe before reading Shelley. He’s settling for salmon and extra scratching on the head.

Sunday ~ April 30, 2006 by blog

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Radiokitty is now safely removed from the twice-daily comfort of vet techs wearing protective clothing. Of course, almost regardless of when one picks up the feline who’s had radioiodine treatment, the vet prescribes some safety precautions. Basic, minimal stuff like limiting duration spent within a certain distance, wearing disposable gloves when needed, and handling the inevitable slightly hot stuff that the cat deposits in the litter box. Perhaps these procedures are easy, if time-consuming during preparation, when performed in the animal hospital. In a human home, they’re freaking annoying. Not that I don’t follow them, because I kinda like my thyroid. It’s handy. But washing my hands every time I give Radiokitty some affection is really annoying. And he follows me around constantly, like he’s magnetically attracted to my shins.

Yes, I know it’s basically safe. The real problem with exposure is that a human shouldn’t ingest I-131, not that my hair’s going to fall out from holding him. Fortunately, I-131 has a half-life of 8 days. Apparently the chemical half-life for iodine in a cat is far shorter than that on average, as the vet tech informed me he’d already eliminated most of the iodine after 4 days. And initially, he was giving off the radiation of one cigarette every eight hours. Not that that’s particularly safe – a very well-supported theory states that the radiation from cigarettes is actually the dangerous component that accounts for almost all of the lung diseases associated with smoking (6 rad / year for each pack / day to the lungs, yo). But given that’s the starting point, and he cools off relatively rapidly (I-131 decays into a stable isotope of xenon), I’m not terribly worried about incidental exposure. Cautious, because like I said, I enjoy still having a thyroid. In fact, my other cat is fairly safe, because, well, 1) he’s housecat-sized, and 2) he doesn’t have the human propensity for cells that freak out under conditions resembling a warm day at the beach. Also, he’d be less likely to ingest any iodine than I would. Go figure. Also, I work with computers. I stare down the barrel of an electron gun all day, which points at a doped-glass shield converting the excess into low energy x-rays. Never mind the small feline spraying a tiny amount of electrons.

I’m being totally sarcastic, for the record. I know rad exposure is cumulative, and that the point where “screw it, I’m toast anyway” becomes accurate is roughly never.

So yeah, me and my glow-in-the-dark cat now sit in the house on opposite sides of a door. He whines. A lot, because he’s not seen prolonged attention since pre-vet. And hyperthyroidism makes him needy, skinny, and ravenously hungry. I think he’s going to eat a hole in the door at some point, and then I’m stuck with a cat-sized blast of death rays. Until then, I get to count the days until he’s off restrictions.

Thursday ~ April 20, 2006 by blog

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My eldest cat, Kitty, developed hyperthyroidism over the past few months. Not fun stuff, but entirely treatable with few side effects and some inconvenience. He’s nine years old, and otherwise in great health.

So today, I drove him to the clinic where he stays a while. The treatment is an injection of Iodine-131, a radioactive isotope of Iodine that is absorbed almost exclusively by active thyroid tissue. As far as I can tell, thyroid cells convert Iodine into thyroid hormone. When things go a little wonky, some extra cells forget to turn off. Ever. Fortunately, they are only very rarely like to reproduce rapidly, and the healthy cells hang around doing nothing. Kitty is normally a bit… ferocious. When playing with a toy, he attacks it with such vigor (often flying with legs and paws spread) that my two-year-old cat slowly backs away for a more comfortable seat. That’s before he became super-hyper feline with an incessant desire for food. He truly has not been a cat to mess with for the past couple of months.

When he comes back, he’ll slowly slow down, and eventually quit glowing in the dark. In the mean time, my other cat keeps staring at me like I’m evil incarnate.

Some new pics show what kitty looks like now.

Monday ~ April 10, 2006 by blog

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meatless felines

I ran across the other day, a site purveying meatless food for cats (and dogs).

My first thought was “but they like meat”. Yes, felines are omnivores, heavy on the meat. However, undomesticated cats hunt live prey in the wild, with a side of green salad, not dried kibbles of ground meat served in a plastic dish. Free-roaming cats are also function in dynamic ecosystems as population control, choosing the more sickly animals of a herd for dinner. Indoor housecats are nearly entirely dependent upon their human companions, with “hunting” activities intentionally removed from their daily diet. They no more depend on hunting for food than humans depend on hunting for clothing. In fact, they don’t express a strong choice in the matter beyond possible complaints about freshness. Housecats simply do not kill their dinner on a regular basis, nor perform functions potentially neccessary for the health of an ecosystem.

So, the difference between a conglomeration of ingredients based mostly on other animals and a similar food with a collection of ingredients based entirely on plants isn’t much. Provided the food source provides sufficient nutrients, it’s basically the human companion’s choice of which color of bag to buy at our sacred hunting ground / grocery store.

I would actually try this stuff out, if my own cats weren’t tied to very particular diets. One of my guys needs to put on weight like a sumo wrestler, and I buy exactly what he eats most (in terms of reasonable fat-based calories). He’s also likely to get a common mid-life medical procedure that might change what he needs should eat to maintain health. I also watch for a recurrence of his his long-past urinary tract infections, a problem in male cats who eat mainstream cat food with added “fillers” such as soda ash. It turns out that vegan cat food can also trigger a UTI, at least if the added pH-balancing supplements aren’t used. The other cat is both a picky eater and prone to allergic reactions to protein (no chicken or beef for him), so I buy his restricted-diet food at the vet’s office. I’m on a first-name basis with nearly everyone at my vet clinic, to the point that I haven’t given my name to look up records in several months.

I still might buy some of the vegan cat food for the little dude with food allergies, though. He eats tofu and edamame like it was steak. Stir-fry some with pungent herbs, and both cats wait in the kitchen like I’m cooking their dinner and not my own. Yes, my vets actually have stated that I’m not harming them – soy is basically hypoallergenic, and it’s definitely not a problem as a treat.

Wednesday ~ March 8, 2006 by blog

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More pictures, at /pics/travel. From I recent trip that I took, to a place with a lot of that white stuff that once fell from the sky.

Also, more in /pics/pad from around my place, and /pics/cats_update has more cat pics. And a dog picture, because Iggies are attempting world domination.

Sunday ~ February 26, 2006 by blog

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the truth about cats and dogs

OK, some words about fur. You know, that stuff that animals wear. It’s fairly creepy stuff, especially if you’re a vegan like me. Or if you happen to like cats and dogs.

First, a few words from Trent Reznor (the guy who sings as Nine Inch Nails) discussing PETA allegations about the Chinese animal industry.

Second, a similar story from ABC news concerning Eastern European cats and dogs becoming fur trim, on clothing.

Now that I’ve thoroughly creeped out a good portion of people, or caused the naysayers to have knee-jerk self-protective thoughts, I’d like to make the (hopefully rare) step of offering advice. Don’t ever buy something that another animal used as skin while alive. Thanks.

Sunday ~ January 29, 2006 by blog

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