24 December 2014

29 November 2014


M. Mabeuf avait pour opinion politique d'aimer passionnément les plantes, et surtout les livres. Il possédait comme tout le monde sa terminaison en  iste, sans laquelle personne n'aurait pu vivre en ce temps-là, mais il n'était ni royaliste, ni bonapartiste, ni chartiste, ni orléaniste, ni anarchiste; il était bouquiniste.
                                                                                                                                      Les Misérables, Victor Hugo

22 October 2014

what we've been up to


Well, I haven't been around as much as I'd planned... There's a variety of (mostly boring) reasons, but I thought I'd pop in to wave and let you know that I haven't entirely abandoned this space.

However, I'm spending most of my time and energy these days on another project, in French: C'est ben simple! Thus far, I've mostly shared super simple "recipes", but eventually there'll be more on there about other aspects of making everyday life less complicated. I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject, but there are so many blogs on simple/frugal living, but so few in French, that I thought it might be worth sharing my "experience" (how pretentious that sounds!).

In other news, Rebus has been on Fluoxetine for almost 3 months now, and things are still going very well. The changes in his behaviour are really remarkable, but the one that really brings tears to my eyes is that he no longer hides when strangers come around! He comes right out and says hello, as he used to do when I first adopted him, before all the moves and disruptions! I'm so happy that people get the chance to meet him and pet him and enjoy his sweet personality and laugh at his antics. He's my big swirly cinnamon bun again!

13 September 2014

an update about Rebus


I haven't mentioned Rebus for a while — 5 months, in fact — and I thought it was about time to let those of you who might be interested what has been going on of late.

We persisted for as long as possible with the milder medication (Zylkène), but even with 2 pills a day Rebus still needed 3 vigorous play sessions daily... and even then he might display unpredictable predatory behaviour. It was extremely frustrating, and I was getting exhausted from constantly having to remain vigilant around him. I'm sure he could sense my tension, which didn't help at all.

When I first consulted our veterinarian back in February, she explained that there were two types of medication available when dealing with problematic behaviour in cats: a mild one and a very powerful one. The vet technicians told me that the latter was "heavy duty stuff", that they'd heard it made cats almost unrecognisable and practically turned them into zombies. Well, there was no way I was going to do that to my Rebus! I fought the idea for months and months, in spite of the glaringly obvious fact that the mild stuff wasn't working. (I did investigate other possibilities such as homeopathic vets, but there are no practitioners in my area.)

Everyone has a breaking point, and mine came in July. I had a lengthy phone conversation with our vet about the actual side effects of the more powerful medication. Although she was less of an alarmist than the technicians, she said that Rebus could become very anxious and aggressive, or on the contrary be completely lethargic, and even pee and poo outside the litterbox. But, she stressed, these were potential side effects, and the dosage could be reduced if any of these things occurred. After sleeping on it, I thought it was worth the risk.

This new medicine is called Fluoxetine, which is another name for Prozac. (Yes, I know.) The directions said to administer it once every two days, then once a day if there was no problem. I was a bundle of nerves on the first morning, following Rebus around and peeking worriedly into the laundry room each time he used his litterbox. His pupils were slightly dilated, and he slept a bit more than usual, but wasn't at all groggy when he woke up. He ate and drank as usual. There were no litterbox-related mishaps. He played as enthusiastically as normally did. As the first couple of weeks passed, there were really only a couple of very minor incidents — almost nothing compared with his previous behaviour.

Since everything was going so well, and with the support of our vet, I've continued to give Rebus his chicken-flavoured chew every other day instead of once a day. It's having the desired effect, so we see no point in giving him more medicine than he needs. (I confess, my bank account is quite happy with this decision too — that stuff is expensive!)

Do I feel good about giving Prozac to my cat? Obviously, I'd rather not! We did give the alternative an earnest try. It didn't work. This medicine does work, without impairing my cat's quality of life or turning him into a drugged-up bundle of fur or a wild beast.

And how is Rebus? Well, *fingers crossed* I'd say he's almost back to his old loving, snuggly, silly self!

29 August 2014

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

... for the kind birthday wishes! Yesterday was filled with reading and tea, and was capped with a corn boil dinner at my parents'. I came home with a full assortment of my mother's jams and pickles, which I'm sure will take some of the sting out of next winter.

(Below is the lovely hand-painted plate my sister and brother-in-law gifted me when we visited earlier this month.)