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Saturday, March 31, 2012

The morning routine - Part I

Animals and kids love routine, however, Galen takes it to a whole new extreme. He follows a schedule more closely than most people, and I'm convinced one of these days I'm going to discover his little kitty "To Do" list.

In fact, I knew something was very wrong with him when his normal daily activities became sporadic. Now, he's back to following his check list. To me, that's a good indicator that his lymphoma has stabilized.

On bath days, his morning routine dictates that he must walk the edge of the tub and lap up water droplets.

Galen with me in the morning

Galen with me in the morning

If I don't leave the shower door open just a bit to let him in, he paws at it until I do!

Galen with me in the morning

I guess he has me well trained!

Galen with me in the morning
Galen trying to gracefully turn around without falling in.
You can almost "hear" the back-up beeps!


Galen with me in the morning

First blooms on the prickly pear

Prickly Pear

Desert Mariposa Lily

I discovered a single Desert Mariposa Lily growing in the yard today. Mariposa is Spanish for butterfly. These perennials are native to the Sonoran Desert and bloom in March and April when there has been sufficient rain. I'll have to look for more!

Desert Mariposa Lily

Saturday, March 24, 2012

First cactus bloom - Pinkflower Hedgehog

After being gone for three days, I came home to the first cactus bloom of the season. Several Pinkflower Hedgehog cactus, a protected native plant, have already burst into bloom.

Fendler's Hedgehog cactus

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'll take care of you bro!

Galen is caterwauling at the door that leads to the garage. Why?

I wish I knew. He does it every time we come home from the vet. I have to assume he's shouting little cat profanities.

Galen climbing high
Londo tenderly washing his bro upon his return from the vet.

His brother Londo always comforts him when he comes home. They're so sweet together. I can't even imagine the heartbreak Londo will have when his brother does finally cross that rainbow bridge. He will mourn.

People say animals don't have feelings, but I know differently. It's the mourning of the loss of a companion that led me to adopt the boys to begin with. I have an older cat, Micro, who lost her brother at the tender age of about 14 months.

Micro and Theo
Micro and Theo, 1999.

Micro and Theo
Micro and Theo, 2000.
I was awakened early one morning by a strange sound. It was Theo. I found him collapsed on the bedroom floor, and he died in my arms for some unexplained reason. Stroke? Heart disease? I'll never know. But I do know that Micro mourned his loss.

Micro and Theo
Micro and Theo lounging around.

She no longer came running to greet me at the door. She was listless. I hoped she would perk up after a few days, but she didn't. So off to the animal shelter I went to find her a new baby brother. However, I'm such a strong believer in adopting in pairs, that she earned herself two younger siblings. Soon after the house thundered with the playful romping of three kitties. (Whoever said cats are light on their feet have clearly never heard them chase each other up a flight of stairs!)

Londo and Galen
Londo and Galen, 2001.

They've been inseparable ever since.

Londo and Galen
Londo and Galen boxing in a box at about six months.

Galen climbing high
Galen and Londo romping on the cat tree, 2011.

boys in the closet
Open closet doors activate a rift in time and space which allows cats to beam in Star Trek style.

boys in the closet
The boys passed out in the middle of the floor, September 2009.


boys in the closet
Dinner Theater, 2010.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chemo because I care

If you had asked me even a year ago if I would have ever given a pet chemotherapy, I'm pretty sure I would have said, "Never!"

But when I was faced with that decision a few months ago, suddenly "Never" seemed like a pretty harsh sentence.
Galen climbing high
Galen wrapped in a towel to keep flailing claws under control in our daily ritual of taking meds.

Just like modern medicine has made great strides in the treatment of cancer in people, so has it also made progress in the treatment of animals. And ironically enough, at least when treating lymphoma, cats do surprisingly well with long term use of prednisolone and chlorambucil (the chemo drug).

The chemo treatment didn't involve additional trips to the vet beyond check-ups. Instead, I could give him his daily medication orally at home. Easy, right?

Right?
Galen climbing high
This is chewable fish-flavored pill about the size of a chicklet cut into fourths.
He wouldn't touch it.

The problem is that Galen HATES taking medication in ANY form. I've tried slipping pills into food, having meds compounded into expensive liquids and chewable tablets (which were gobbled up by my healthy fat cat Londo).

Galen climbing high
This is cat food (with extra gravy) mixed with .5 ml of $50 custom compounded medicine.
Untouched.
So I'm back to the pills.

He is so smart that the smallest gesture or slightest sound tips him off that meds are on the way.

Galen climbing high
Galen foaming like a rabid animal knowing his medication is about to be given.

He'll vanish to the closet or disappear underneath the bed (in the geometric center). Every week the wiley critter finds some new place to hide.

About the only positive thing is that Galen is never mean. He doesn't spit, hiss, claw or maliciously bite. He just doesn't like to take his medicine!

Galen climbing high
Begrudgingly getting some snuggles after the whole wretched ordeal is over for the evening.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Galen exploring the higher planes

Galen climbing high
Galen exploring the higher planes--he jumps up here regularly now.


Galen climbing high
He jumps to the counter, to the refrigerator, to this soffit.


Galen climbing high
Surveying the layout.


Galen climbing high
Can I jump down from here?


Galen climbing high
Can I climb even higher?


Galen climbing high
This looks promising.


Galen climbing high
Here's another path.


Galen climbing high
Planning the eventual climb down.


Galen climbing high
But not just yet.


Galen climbing high
Always wanting to climb higher!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fox in the yard

A fox was visiting in the back yard snuffling around the bird feeders and marking territory (peeing on the trees). I couldn't tell if it was a Kit fox or a Grey fox. I'll have to look a bit more carefully the next time I see it. I'm pretty sure it was this one. He (or she) better not plan to snack on my quail!

Fox in Redington Ranch, Tucson, AZ
Kit Fox

Saturday, March 10, 2012

First Gambel's Quail at the feeders

Woo-hoo! I spotted my first pair of Gambel's quail at the feeders today--probably the same pair I spotted crossing the driveway two weeks ago.

Gambels quail in Redington Ranch, Tucson, AZ
Male Gambel's Quail under the feeders.

Starr Pass (my old neighborhood) has hundreds of Gambel's quail and you can hear their calls all day in the warmer months. (My son thinks they sound like clown horns.) I've missed them!

Gambels quail in Redington Ranch, Tucson, AZ
Male Gambel's Quail under the feeders.

I hope it it won't be too long before a whole family of the little puff balls is parading around the yard!