The Bat and Rabies Saga

So.  Saturday before last I woke up to a bat in my kitchen.  Just hanging on the wall, sleeping.  img_20180908_115122550After I screamed like an idiot, I retreated to my bedroom to consider my position and to wish heartily and deeply that the damn bat would just disappear.

It didn’t.  So after a bit of googling and asking tumblr for advice, I decided I would block off the kitchen with a sheet over the doorway and open the window.  The bat would then go out the window and all my problems would be gone.

So I set up by bat escape plan and made lots of noise doing it and the bat never moved.  The cats and I spent the day locked in the bedroom and I checked on the bat periodically and it continue to not move.  Eventually it got dark and I went in to check on it and it was gone.  HOWEVER,  the sheet had fallen partially down.  So, there was no way to be sure it left.  I checked all over the apartment, but couldn’t find him.  And finally decided, it  left.  I mean there was an escape into nature right there.  Why would it head into the apartment instead?

It was at this point that my brain began to connect some dots.  When I woke up Saturday Morning, the kitten had two tiny scratches of  blood on his nose.  I had blamed her Calico Highness and gave her a stern lecture on being gentle with delicate kittens.  But.  Then I realized that while I was asleep that bat was flying about the house and a bratty grey kitten had seen it and thought it was a magnificent play thing.  And been bitten for his trouble.

I had then taken the kitten into the bedroom to wait out the bat escape plan.  And as kittens are wont to do, it played with me.  And scratched and bit me.  Not so unusual.  Nothing I would even have given a second thought.  But. It turns out that in this area bats are the most likely carriers of rabies.  How nice.

Now the kitten had an updated vaccine, but I didn’t know if that was only to keep it safe but would it stop the virus from just jumping over to me?  Sigh.  I should have caught the bat instead of setting up it’s escape.

So I spent Sunday in an ever increasing level of anxiety over my potential death by rabies.  And because it was Sunday, I couldn’t call the doctor or the vet or the public health officials.

But then Sunday Night, there was a crash and I open the bedroom door – Bat is flying around the damn apartment.  I ran to open the window – my first instinct was to rid my life of the bat.  But then I remembered – I’m supposed to catch the bat.  So I instead I caught the bat.  It landed on the ground and I just put a tupperware on it and slid a place mat under it.  And I caught a bat.

I took him the to SPCA on Monday Morning, and left a message for the doctor and the vet.  The SPCA was not very informative about how I would find out if the bat had rabies.  “I don’t know what happens to them after we ship them out.”  Great.

The vet told me the kitten would be fine.  The doctor told me I had to get a rabies shot.  And that the only place to get a rabies shot is at the ER.  So I had to leave work and go the ER.  That was 6 hours of unenjoyable life.  Most of it just waiting.

If you are interested in how rabies vaccine works, let me tell you.  First they give immunoglobulin, in and around the place you were bitten.  In my case that was many places on my forearm.  So they had two large syringes and two nurses and both of them gave me dozens and dozens of injections in my arm.  I was bleeding from them.  Then they sent in another nurse who gave me 4 more injections.  One in each shoulder and one in each hip.

AND THEN.  There are 3 follow up shots, I had the 2nd one today.  But having said all of that, it’s actually not as bad as it sounds.  It really wasn’t overly painful.  Even the ones in my forearm.  The ER was mostly annoying for the long wait.  The follow ups happen in a pharmacology clinic and the parking is more annoying than the shot.  And all the people have been super nice and kind.

And what is most annoying is that the chances that I could have gotten rabies are so very tiny.  But if you get rabies and don’t get the vaccine before the symptoms – 100% death rate.  And to be honest, getting the vaccines curbed a rampaging anxiety that was consuming me over that weekend.  Particularly since no matter how many different people at the hospital I told this unlikely story to, all of them were – Yeah you need to get the vaccine.

Oh, also my cat got quarantined by Cincinnati Public Heath Dept.  keep-out-quarantine-caution-sign-s-6379 It sounds worse than it is.  He’s just not allowed out and no one is allowed in.  And since that is the normal situation here, it’s not really a thing.  Tomorrow an official from the Public Heath Department is visiting me to see if my cat is still alive.  If he is, I guess they release him from quarantine.  And nothing will change.

So.   By next Monday I will be fully immune to Rabies.  So that’s nice.

I’m not fond of bats.

Addicted to the Dot.

My cats are addicted to the laser dot.

It’s problematic in that I keep 2 lasers hanging on bedside table.  Every morning, I let the cats into my bedroom and they begin a quest to reach the lasers.

I’m not a fan of playing laser dot.  It eventually cramps my fingers from pressing the button and it’s awkward to run two different dots in two different parts of the room.

But they won’t share a dot.  And Tim is ruder than Bijou, he is entirely focused on the chase and has no boundaries when the chase is on.  Her calico highness will just sit back and wait for him unless it’s directly in front of her.  But that means she gets very little fun or exercise from the dot.  So I usually have two going at once.

It’s the quest to reach the lasers that is annoying.  Because I’m between them and the bedside table.  More accurately, I’m the path they prefer to the bedside table.  They could just jump up from the floor, but that isn’t quite so annoying and therefore not Good Cat Policy.

And then once on the table there is a great deal of pushing and biting at the pointer as though this will some how create a dot that they can chase.  This often involves knocking things over and is noisy.

They understand I’m the one moving the dot.  It’s not a mystery to them.  They still adore it.  Lily loved the dot as a kitten until she realized it wasn’t real and that I was the one creating the moving dot.  Then she lost interest entirely and never did more than watch it with bored disinterest.

But they get it fully and still ADORE the dot.  Related image

Work and Kittens and Medical Tests

So I changed jobs a couple of months ago.  Same company, different department.  I work in Billing now.  Accounting.  It’s fun to learn new things.  The actual job though is often tedious.   However because they are working in a crazy old fashioned system and because the people who work in the department aren’t really trained bookkeepers (myself included) it’s all kind of crazypants.   Yesterday we discovered a rather large error that made my stomach hurt as I was auditing the bill and finding more and more not right.

I am a LONG WAY from perfect in my work life, but I have this ideal of what things SHOULD BE.  And sometimes I internalize it, so when I see a mess like that it makes me stressed even when I’m not the person who made the mess.  Maybe more so out of empathetic stress for the person who quite unwittingly caused the problem.  Because I’ve never met anyone who deliberately messes up.  We all want to do our jobs well.

I feel like we need to change things up on how we process the work, but I’m the new girl so it’s definitely not my place to direct that and I’m not even sure what would be the best solution.  So.

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The kitten is a panter.  Like a dog pants.  He runs around like a banshee and then jumps on my lap panting.  It’s SUPER adorable.  But it’s odd too.  I mean I’ve seen cats pant, but generally it’s rare.   Tim pants daily.  Probably several times a day.  After each session of zoomies he’s panting.  I’m wondering if there is something wrong or if that’s just his little quirk.

So naturally I looked it up.  The list of potential medical issues is very disturbing.  I am now considering taking him to the vet.  Because even though it’s only after exercise, it’s also ALWAYS after exercise.   We can’t have him be sick.  It’s not allowed.  He’s the young one.  Also Bijou and I have grown exceptionally fond of the little brat.

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So, I’ve been having chest pains.  Daily.  I’m fairly sure it’s anxiety, but it’s there.  And I have other risk factors.  My father and both grandfathers died of heart disease.  I’m overweight.  I have high blood pressure that I control with meds.  I don’t exercise.  I eat terribly.  I’m basically a walking statistic.  So I told the doctor on my last check up.  She ran an EKG in the office and there was one odd thing on it that could or could not mean something.

So she ordered a stress test with echo.  I scheduled it.  And then they called me to tell me that insurance wouldn’t cover that test.  How nice.  My doctor specifically told me she was ordering that test because it is much better at catching heart issues in women.  But I guess it’s more expensive and so now I have get a different, no doubt inferior, test.  This has naturally led to more anxiety and chest pains continue.  I don’t get the test for a couple of weeks because that’s how the urgent things work in health care.

Still, I think if it was my heart I would be dead already because it’s literally daily for periods of an hour or more.  So it’s probably anxiety or possibly it’s GERD.  We will see. Or not since I’m getting an inferior test.

everything is fine

 

 

 

Watering the Beasts

rebel tim

Above us is the Rebel, Tim.  He is usually referred to as The Kitten.  But I think he’s all grown up now.  He’s not a big cat though, so I will probably always call him The Kitten.

He’s excellent at distracting me from my chores and just generally being in the way.  In other words, he cats very well.

One of his peculiarities is that he insists on drinking his water just when he knows I will be picking it up to change it.  I’m not sure why.  It’s not because he prefers the old water because he will also immediately drink the fresh.  I’m pretty sure it’s because he knows I will stop and wait for him.  And any action that causes me to change direction or pause is  GOOD CAT POLICY.

Recently I’ve taken to putting a giant ice cube in the water bowl.  I don’t actually have an ice cube tray.  I freeze water in solo cups.  I keep two standard size cups frozen and one small dixie cup frozen.  I put the dixie one in the cat’s water.  It bobs around and makes for an excellent distracting toy and he likes to lick it.  Bijou shows zero interest.  She’s above such things.  Royalty does not deem to notice icebergs in water bowls.

Seeing that he is interested in water generally, I decided a water fountain would probably work well.  So I bought one.  Naturally, since I’ve invested money he just stares, doesn’t drink.  At least so far.  I really need for it to work because I’m supposed to take a small trip and this water fountain will make me feel less worried about the water situation with the cats.  It has a large reservoir and a filter.  So I think it will keep fresh water for up to 4 days.  And hopefully I won’t be gone more than 3.

The more you rely on cat’s reacting a certain way, the less they are reliable.  sigh.

img_20180321_103801028_hdr
Here’s a young Tim, involving himself in my interests. 🙂  

 

Kitten and Snow

We are having a lovely winter storm in Spring.

Much hand wringing and disaster predicting has happened for a week.  And after stepping back from the dire predictions of 12″ the weather people have come to the unreasonable conclusion that we will have at least 2″ and as much as 8″.

In spring.  I’m just saying.  Mother Nature is off her meds and someone needs to see to it.

Anyway, Tim was sitting in the window, watching the big fat flakes falling and swirling and clearly feeling like he was missing out on a fun time.

So I let him out on the balcony.  He ran out like he was going a play date.  He arrived back looking a bit cowed.  It was COLD, MOM!  Also, despite a desperate attempt to cajole her, his babysitter, Mrs. Fluffy Pants, aka, Her Calico Highness, known to her familiars as Bijou, FLATLY REFUSED to go out into the cold.   The advantage to age is knowledge.

He was clearly disappointed in the whole experience.  Poor Rebel Tim.  Life is so much more disappointing than one expects when looking out a window.

But don’t worry.  He has overcome his disappointment and is current chasing ghosts at top speed through the apartment.

Bijou and I are less active on Saturday Mornings.  We have elected to watch his antics rather than participate.

I’ve recently been covered in fur.

I took my cats the to vet.  When cats are stressed they shed.  ALOT.

I, and I would imagine most caretakers, try to comfort the stressed cat at the vet by petting and cuddling it.  This transfers all the fur on their body onto your body.

I did it twice because Bijou, her calico highness, has deep and unnatural hatred for the carrier and I think she would probably rip poor little passive Tim into a bloody pillow if I took them together.  Particularly since I only have one carrier.  It’s a bigger carrier, and it would hold them both if required, but I decided it wasn’t required.

Bijou hates the cage so to her the actual exam room was not terrible.  She explored it thoroughly while we waited and clearly developed an escape plan.  She didn’t hide from me when I picked her up and put her on the table and submitted with dignity to all the indignities they did to her.

Tim, however, doesn’t think the carrier is a cage of horrors.  So he had to be pulled out the carrier and then glued himself into me, hiding his little face in the crook of my elbow.  There is very little as pathetic and endearing as a cat burying its face into you for safety. He did not see the exam room as an interesting place to explore.  Which is upsetting because he’s going back next week for his neutering.  When I turned away from  him to get my purse he jumped off and hid in a corner under the chair.

When we finally let him back into the carrier he scrambled in like it was home sweet home and settled in the back.

People who don’t have cats probably think of them as a monolithic sort of detached personality.  But they are not.  Like humans they come in a huge spectrum of personalities and a trip to the vet is a great place to see that.

Particularly this vet because they have a big orange office cat who helps the receptionists.  He likes to lay across the keyboards and get in their way as much as possible.  He has no fear of the barking, and meowing going on in the waiting room.  He thinks all animals are inferior to him.  It’s written so clearly in his attitude.

There was a whining pit bull in the waiting room.  His pathetic cowering noises made my Tim look brave.  Office Cat looked at that dog like he would not have bothered to bury him after he took him down in any fight he cared to enter into.    And despite the odds, I think I would have taken Office Cat in that fight.  But office cat didn’t even growl at him, just looked disdainful and walked away.   He’s wise and generous.   He let the dog live and didn’t jeopardize the good life he’s leading as Official Office Cat.

Anyway we all survived and Tim will be deballed next Friday.

 

Growing a Kitten

They mostly grow on their own, but they do need a lot of food.

When you get a young kitten it is a delicate fragile ball of bravado.  They walk around, with the tiny brush tails sticking straight up and act like NOTHING can hurt them.

But just picking them up makes you utterly aware of how they are just fragile bones covered in fur with a tiny buddha belly if they’ve been eating properly.

Then they grow.  They stretch out in all directions and look mostly starved, like lanky teenagers often do.  They hold onto that fragile feeling because all the major muscles that bind together cats and make them such tangibly tough animals haven’t quite caught up with the growth.

So you pick them up, expecting to hold something solid with weight and instead you get a floaty bundle of fur.  Which sounds more romantic and relaxing than it is, because it’s actually a spastic floaty bundle and so you have try not to break the fragile spastic kitten that refuses to sit still while you hold it.

And then their muscles catch up.  And one day you pick up a kitten, thinking it will be floaty fragile flotsam and it’s a solid chunk.

I love the solidity of cats.  The fact that they can be given a good solid patting and it sort of rings on their body.  And what is most fun is that cats seem to like a good solid patting.   I call it banging on the kitty.   I mostly do it on their back leg or their back.  But it can’t be done to a fragile kitten.

Rebel Tim has just started to get his solid muscles.  And so I gave him some bangs and he loved it.  You would think cats would hate that sort of thing.  But I’ve never had a cat that didn’t love it.   Often it riles them up and they end up running around like maniacs. Unsurprisingly this is how it worked on Tim.

Tim is going to be one of those long lanky cats that are mostly just sleek fur over defined muscle, unlike Mrs. Fluffbutt, Her Highness Bijou.  Who is mostly thick fluff pasted to muscle and a bit of rounding out fat.  She is an exceptionally comfortable cat to hold as a result.  Just soft in all the ways.  Until she wants down.  Which is mostly immediately because she doesn’t enjoy being held.  She wants cuddles on her terms.  But every evening she condescends to allowing me pick her up for a good hug.  And doesn’t even complain.  bijou and tim

 

 

Excited Kitten Chattering

There was a bird on a wire not to far from the window he was sitting in.

He was chattering because he was so excited to get at it.

He doesn’t know yet that proper hunters are SILENT.  He is just a baby.

Plus he’s had a very exhausting morning.  Much rushing about and jumping with many battles large and energetic. I don’t think such a tired Tim could maintain his self control to be silent even had someone taught him how to hunt quietly.

He just came over and plopped next to me into instant sleep.  Also a kitten thing.  100 miles an hour one moment, dead asleep the next.

Bells in Cat Toys are music in Hell

Like an idiot I bought a set of balls at the Dollar Tree with a bell inside them.  They are hard plastic, so they make noise on hardwood floors, all on their own.  But when you add the jingle bell inside, it’s annoying beyond comprehension.

I have taken them away and hidden them several times, but Tim is very good at hide and seek.  I think I’m going to have to just throw them away.

I’m so cheap that it bothers me to throw away a $1 cat toy.  Actually 50 cents.  There were two balls in each package.

I need to just to it.  I can’t get the bell out without ruining the toy.  I had hoped at one point to do that.  But it’s not possible without a great deal more effort than a 50 cent toy is worth.

WHY do cat toys have bells?  It’s a terrible noise.  Terrible.

The Guilt of a Favorite

Whenever I have more than one cat, I always end up with a favorite.  It’s nearly always the one I’ve had longest.  In fact, I think it ALWAYS is?  I can’t think of an exception.

Anyway, despite only being with me a few months, Bijou, Her Calico Highness, is my favorite.  And I feel really bad about it.

Because on all metrics except possibly pure beauty, Rebel Tim is probably more lovable.  He’s never the one who growls or spits.  Although to be fair, Bijou was universally cheerful and sweet until the arrival the Rebel Tim, so.

But I got Tim for Bijou.  I feel like he belongs to her.  I just take care of him for her, because she’s royalty and cannot be expected to manage his needs. What’s more, I’m pretty sure Her Calico Highness knows that Tim is hers.  He is naturally oblivious.  He just loves her.  And me.  Probably equally because he’s that sweet.

Anyway, it’s not like I don’t love Tim.  But I have a preference for Her Calico Highness.

I am glad I never had kids.  I imagine I would have had a favorite and that would be awful.

So anyway.  This has been the confession of Sara, guilty cat lover.