Our cave cat -- 06/06/08

Sometimes Tiger can be a literary cat...

Oh, okay, so he's not actually reading the newspaper; he is just stretched out on it, relaxing, thinking about a nap... And he's not actually reading those two paperback books either; they were in his way so he is just making do with them as head rests. His theory is that people don't spread newspapers out on the table because they want to read them; they just do that to give him a comfortable place lie down so they can admire him. And, you know what? I think he may be right, because that seems to be what happens. (Yes, there is some silly rule about cats not being on the kitchen table, but he is quite certain that no such rule would apply to him.)

Well, perhaps he isn't really a literary cat, but just look at that face. Isn't he obviously thinking deep and philosophically meaningful intellectual thoughts? This has nothing to do with being a cave cat. It's just that I took this picture this past Saturday and then couldn't resist using it.

Here's a picture of him as a cave cat. When something scares him, he likes to hide. There was a thunderstorm the other day and he found safe refuge in a cave. (It might look as if he is underneath a couch in the living room, but he knows that is a cave that will keep him save from thunder.).

He's also found a new cave for sleeping in...

Under my computer table... This is a table my father had built by attaching X-legs to a heavy door (which he cut to a shorter length and rounded the corners). My desk is next to it, forming an L shape.

Three computers under the desk, lots of cables, and room for one cave cat.

It is normally quite dark under there (when I haven't moved a bookcase away from one end and used a camera with a flash).

However, Tiger is fifteen -- and has been having problems with feline osteoarthritis. Three times over the past couple of year he has had a corticosteroid shot -- which isn't a cure, it just relieves the pain for two or three weeks. His most recent shot had been back during the winter. At that time his vet also put him on Glucosamine and Chondroitin (every morning I add some to his wet food). Recently, however, his aches and pains seem to have become worse and the past few days he was limping quite badly -- much worse than normal -- and had difficulty with stairs and with jumping up onto chairs to look out windows. Every morning he greets me at the bottom of the stairs, eager for a cat treat (or two... or three) and breakfast. (Except, of course, for mornings when he thinks I am taking too long so he comes upstairs to look for me.)

Thursday morning he did not greet me when I came down. Very concerned, I looked around for him and discovered that he was in his computer table cat cave. When I peeked in at him he slowly got up and hobbled out and followed me into the kitchen. I put fresh water in his water dish and emptied a can of wet food into a clean food dish, added his Glucosamine/Chondroitin, and placed them in their usual places on the basement stairs, 2nd and 3rd steps down from the top. He stood at the top of the stairs and looked down at them but did not make a move to go down to them. Usually when I am filling his dish he is pacing all around me with his tail twitching and is on the right step ready to eat before I can even set the dish down. Yesterday he obviously did not want to try to go down the stairs. I picked his dishes up and placed them in the kitchen. He ate a little bit of the wet food, nothing like his usual starving cat routine, and then went back to hide in his cat cave.

So Jill and I took him to the vet. He got another steroid shot and the vet gave me some low dosage prednisolone tablets to start giving to him in two weeks (i.e., as the benefits of the shot wears off) to see if we can extend the relief. And, of course, to continue the Glucosamine/Chondroitin. I'm supposed to also try a little bit of gentle massage.

Tiger hates to be carried out to a car and taken for a ride. He shivers and whines in Jill's lap and begs to be brought back home. (And, of course, the only time he does go for a ride, it is to see his vet.)

Upon our return home, he took his offended dignity to a new cat cave under the futon in my office.

Today, Tiger's appetite was back -- in fact, he came to visit me just about the time my alarm would have gone off this morning (which was a good thing because apparently I forgot to set it last night).

However, as noted above, Tiger is fifteen and he was a highly athletic cat in his younger days. Despite our jokes about cats spending most of their time sleeping, he used to tear around the house at high speed from window to window if anything interesting were going on outside (such as another cat daring to cross our lawn) and it seems as if some of the most athletic cats can be prone to osteoarthritis due to the wear and tear of their younger activity. I think we are going to have to relocate his food and water dishes to the kitchen and move his litter box up to the laundry room next to the kitchen so that he doesn't have to go up and down the basement stairs.

He enjoys looking out a window in my office and I keep an old dining room chair in front of that window for him. Today I got to thinking about making this hard wooden chair more comfortable for him so I put a blanket on it and he really liked it. He curled up on it and spend all morning napping on the chair. In the picture below he had just briefly lifted his head and looked at me sleepily, but then put it back down and went back to sleep. Right now, however, he is asleep in his cat cave under my computer table.

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