13 April 2014

a further update

It has been almost a month since my last post, so I thought I should let you know how things are going with Rebus. But first I must apologize in advance for any incoherences: I've been dealing with a horrible headache all weekend, and even the simple act of sitting upright is proving a challenge!

We seem to have reached a precarious balance for the moment, although it's a matter of constant vigilance. Unfortunately, after a few weeks of completely normal behaviour from Rebus, there were a couple of incidents on two consecutive days that sent us right back to the starting point. (Let's just say that I was almost thankful for the cold weather that forced me to wear several layers of sweaters...) I'd obviously been too hasty in rejoicing at our success. I'd been tired and unwell for a while, and as a consequence had cut down our daily play sessions to just one before bed. It was now abundantly clear that this simply wasn't enough. We're now back to two — sometimes even three — sessions over the course of the day, no matter how I'm feeling or how busy I am, and so far it's going well. Aside from wand toys and laser pointers, I'm so thankful that the Kickeroo exists! Rebus seems to really enjoy bunny-kicking and biting it, and sometimes even growls as he shakes it around.

Now that the weather is milder, I'm also away from the apartment more often. Lately I've been spending lunchtime at the library with my laptop, and having my morning coffee at one of the nearby caf├ęs once or twice a week. On fine days, I have tea on my balcony with a good book. I think not being together constantly every hour of the day can only be beneficial to both of us.

That's all for the moment...

3 March 2014

an update


Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kind and encouraging comments on my post about the rough patch Rebus and I have been going through. I can't tell you how much they helped me to feel less alone with this upsetting situation.

There have been a few developments since that post.

The consultation between Rebus' veterinarian and the technician who works with the feline behaviour specialist led to a working diagnosis of "misdirected predatory behaviour". Owing to frustrated predatory instincts, Rebus simply turned his aggression on the nearest living being, i.e. me. I must say that this makes all too much sense. I've always known that Rebus is a high-energy cat who requires a lot of attention, but I'm afraid I haven't been very good at meeting his needs, especially over the past couple of years, as my energy levels have dropped. With some cats, it's enough to just toss a few toys and let them be, but not with Rebus!

The recommendations from the experts were threefold:

1. enriching his environment in a way that satisfies his predatory instincts;
2. administering a natural anti-anxiety medicine for one month;
3. running a full blood panel to check for any hidden health conditions.

The first two measures were simple enough, but I dreaded the third more than I can possibly express — and rightly so, as it turned out. It took 2 technicians 4 attempts before they were able to collect enough blood from a terror-stricken Rebus to run the test...

Back home, I set about creating a more stimulating environment for my house tiger. Furniture and toys were moved around, new interactive toys made an appearance. Mealtimes are now more challenging, with some of his food (aside from the portion sprinkled with his medicine) placed in a dispenser ball, and a few pieces of kibble hidden in various locations around the apartment for him to "hunt". I'm also trying the veterinarian's suggestion of giving Rebus a couple of treats after each of our vigorous play sessions to simulate his eating his "prey". (Not the most vegan-friendly thoughts, I must say.)

When Rebus' veterinarian called with partial blood panel results, she was concerned by some of the levels and recommended a urine test, which proved normal. Because of these conflicting results, she advised testing again in 2 months to see if these abnormal levels have progressed, and in the meantime switched Rebus from "dental" food to "senior" food as a preventative measure.

So over the past two weeks, poor Rebus was subjected to two visits to the veterinary clinic (the other two I thankfully made on my own); poked and prodded and stuck with needles; had weird pebbles put in his litterbox; started seeing a strange white powder sprinkled over some unfamiliar food and having to work hard for the rest; is now made to run and jump after new toys at least twice a day; and has his teeth brushed on a daily basis. Thank Darwin he deals so well with change! He's being such a great sport about the whole thing. I'm learning to fight my exhaustion in order to play with him by sitting on a low stool in the middle of my apartment to shine the laser pointer or wave his wand toy.

How are things going now? It's like having the old Rebus back! He's his sweet affectionate self, only calmer. He hasn't shown the slightest trace of aggressive behaviour since last Monday. Fingers crossed for the future!

And now I think I'll join him for a nap...

fast asleep

25 February 2014

The Great Frost

The Great Frost was, historians tell us, the most severe that has ever visited these islands. Birds froze in mid-air and fell like stones to the ground. At Norwich a young countrywoman started to cross the road in her usual robust health and was seen by the onlookers to turn visibly to powder and be blown in a puff of dust over the roofs as the icy blast struck her at the street corner.
                                                                                                                                               Orlando, Virginia Woolf

22 February 2014


ice sculpture

I woke up this morning absolutely convinced that it was Friday. It was only when I sat at my computer and noticed that I'd logged out of my professional email account that I remembered... Oh yes, it's Saturday.

It's been that kind of week. A long, busy, painful week that saw my world shaken to its very foundations not once, but twice.

Fortunately, one occurrence turned out to have been a "slight misunderstanding", caused by premature and misdirected criticism of one of my translations. Once the situation had been cleared up, the client was "sorry" for the "false alarm" raised by the reviewer, whose comments had nothing to do with the quality of the translation work and everything to do with the copywriting of the original document... So all's well that ends well and everybody's happy, right? I'll just have to forget about the chasm that opened under my feet as it was implied that I utterly suck at the only thing I have even the smallest ability to do.

The other, however... Oh, it breaks my heart all over again just to write about it here... It's a complex situation, but it can be summed up like this: Rebus has begun  to display sudden and unprovoked aggressive behaviour towards me.

If you've been reading this blog or its previous incarnations for a little while, you know Rebus; he's a big lovebug. Although he has had almost daily episodes of unexplained bizarre behaviour ever since I adopted him over 6 years ago, that has never been aimed at me or anyone else — but this is entirely different.

I've replayed each incident over and over in my mind. I've discussed them at length with Rebus' veterinarian and two vet techs. He's undergone a thorough physical examination. Nothing. At the moment, there are more questions than answers, more doubts than certainties, and more apprehensions than reassurances.

Right now I'm waiting on the results of a consultation between Rebus' veterinarian and a feline behaviour specialist. In the meantime, all I can do is avoid putting myself in a situation where I may get hurt while keeping things as normal as possible, and find a way to deal with the shock, confusion, frustration, disappointment, fear, guilt, sadness, and self-doubt.

14 February 2014

show your heart


Just popping in to wish you a day filled with sweetness!

This day doesn't have to be about chocolates or roses or shiny jewelry (although these things can be quite nice). Show your appreciation to the people around you! Spread smiles and thank yous — they're free, and they'll brighten someone's day.