Category Archives: Cats

Feline Friday: From soup to cats

Duke at the tableI made a chicken soup from the carcass and bones left over from dinner at our friends’ home last weekend, and Duke invited himself onto the table. He’s much more polite than Romeo, who will try to intercept bites of food between table and mouth. Duke, on the other hand, will wait patiently to see whether he’s offered any snacks.

By coincidence, Betty Shimabukuro did a nice little story about stretching out a chicken into nearly a week’s worth of meals (“1 chicken, 4 meals“).

I’ve written several times about this same trick. The first example I found in a quick search dates back to April 2008.

I came back to the subject in an October 2015 post, and again in February of this year.

Besides the cat, our chicken soup was accompanied by artichokes (which have been beautiful and relatively inexpensive recently), a plate of olives, hot bread, and a red wine. I threw a bunch of things into the soup, including onion, garlic, hot red peppers, kale, spinach, leftover rice, celery and carrots, bay leaves, some salt. It looks like we’ll get two dinners out of the soup, and at least one additional serving, probably for a lunch.

–> See the rest of this week’s Friday Felines (lots of good photos this week)!

Feline Friday: A week of shifting relationships

[Note: Earlier problems with the photos have been fixed! Thanks for looking.]

Romeo & DukeIt’s been a week, and a couple of days, since Ms. Kili died, and the cats have continued to show changes in behavior to compensate for her absence.

Romeo used to get social with Kili, regularly approaching her for mutual grooming, for example, or letting her share our bed, although he would actively discourage the other cats from being there. But over this past week, as the collection of photos show, Romeo has refocused his sociability on Duke. The two show up together in a number of pictures, far more than would have previously been expected.

Toby has returned several times for long naps in the corner of our bedroom, at the base of the cat tree, where Kili has been spending a lot of time at the end of her life.

And Ms. Annie is more out and about, rather than maintaining herself separately in another room from the rest of the cats.

So I don’t know whether you can say that the cats “miss” Kili, but she obviously had an important place in their social structure, which has now been shaken up by her loss.

–> Check out this week’s photos of our Friday Felines!

Remembering Ms. Kili on Feline Friday

May 6Yes, it’s a somewhat subdued Feline Friday after the loss of Ms. Kili on Wednesday afternoon. That’s a photo of Mr. Toby welcoming you today. I’ll get back to him later in this post.

We have many strong memories of Ms. Kili.

One, of course, was the morning we rescued Kili and her sister, Ms. Wally. You can read a longer version elsewhere (see link’s on yesterday’s post), but the short version is that we were stuck in slow moving traffic town bound early one Saturday morning in January 1998. We could see cars driving off on to the shoulder of the road as they got to the front of the line. Then it was our turn. And there, in the middle of the lane of traffic, was this kitten, facing off with the approaching cars in a defensive posture, paws raised like she would fight the first to approach. It was only about a second before Meda launched out of the car, ran over, scooped up the kitten, and jumped back into the front seat, quickly evaluating its condition.

It was the kitten we later named Kili, after the rescue on Kahekili Highway. And just a little further along the road, there was another driver stopped and holding a second gray kitten. When we stopped to talk, he told us that someone had been dropping kittens out of a moving car. And when I offered to take “his” kitten with us to the vet, he willingly offered her up.

So there we were, two kittens richer. Kill and Ms. Wally were an investment that benefited us for the next 18 years.

And then there was Kili the huntress. During her prime, the empty four acre parcel in front of our house in Kaaawa was her hunting ground. She kept a constant vigil for mice and rats, and would proudly bring them back to show us.

One night in particular sticks in my mind. It was late afternoon or early evening in late 2002 or early 2003. Meda and I were preparing dinner, and Ms. Kili marched through the cat door with a large rat dangling in her mouth. She walked right into the kitchen, where were were joined by the kittens, Duke and Toby, and the older boys, Leo and Lindsey. At that time, Silverman wouldn’t have been hanging around the house.

In any case, Kili deposited the rat on the floor right in front of the refrigerator, in full sight of the male cats. Then she just turned around and strutted back to the living room. She was clearly offering them a lesson, delivering some prey so the young ones would have a chance to learn something about the hunting world.

Well, the rat turned out to be very much alive, and scampered out of the kitchen and down the hall. The male cats, young and old, ran for cover, retreating to a safe distance. Not one went in pursuit.

And the rat remained, hiding in the house, eventually taking refuge somewhere in our bedroom, until several nights later when Kili woke up in the middle of the night, leapt off the bed, and quickly dispatched said rat, as if to say, “Well, if you guys don’t know how to hunt, let me show you how it’s done.”

Years later, after Kili retired, Annie took over the huntress role. Most of the boys never got into it.

I’ve wondered out loud here before about how our animals react to the deaths of others in the family.

This time it was Toby who displayed a definite change in behavior that corresponded with Kili’s death.

When we came home from the vet without Kili, Toby didn’t appear to greet us. Nor did he come out to the kitchen when I started serving up dinner for the cats. That was a little odd.

And when I went looking, I found him settled on the base of the cat tree. It’s the spot where Kili had spent most of Wednesday, before our 3:30 p.m. appointment with our vet. He didn’t want to come out. I eventually had to leave a dish of food down there so that he could get something to eat.

And then, at 1:30 a.m., I awoke to find Toby on my chest and starting his old routine of rubbing his face on my beard. He used to do this when I would sneak in an afternoon nap, but hasn’t done it for years. But there he was, in the middle of the night, getting close to me in a way familiar to and somewhat unique to him. My thought at the time was that he was lonely, and this was a way to overcome that.

I don’t know. The two behaviors were unusual, and the timing coincided with Kili’s absence. Too bad the cats can’t talk.

–> See the rest of today’s Feline Friday photos.

Now there are four

Thank you to those who sent kind thoughts to Ms. Kili. The news, I’m afraid, is not good.

We got up yesterday morning and scheduled a trip to our regular vet, hoping to get some Kili some relief. She was the oldest of our five cats, had eaten almost nothing for several days, and had been having obvious difficulty breathing.

Earlier yesterday, in response to a comment on a post about Ms. Kili’s health issues, I wrote:

I’m terribly afraid that there are cascading issues piling up, one upon the other, and it’s going to be hard to stop the downhill slide.

That unfortunately proved to be exactly the case.

We came home late in the afternoon after unexpectedly having to say goodbye to her.

It wasn’t how we had hoped to be ending the day.

Such is life, I guess.

We lost her sister, Ms. Wally, in early July 2015. They were the last of that generation of our cats born in the 1990s.

And now there are just four remaining cats sharing our household.

The details aren’t pretty. We had been focusing on Kili’s congestion and sniffles, which seemed to be the focus of her breathing issues. But after our vet, Ann Sakamoto, examined Kili and took an x-ray, it turned out those were only symptoms of the bigger problem.

What she found was that Kili’s abdomen was full of fluid, which put pressure on her internal organs and made breathing difficult.

“There are several possible causes, and none of them is good,” Dr. Sakamoto said.

We discussed possible options, and realized none of them offered Kili any kind of quality of life. It was, unfortunately, time to face the inevitable. We said a tearful goodbye

We can say that she lived nearly 18-1/2 pampered years, most of that in Kaaawa with free access to the outside world, where she proved to be our most adept huntress. She had very few illnesses or injuries over the years, certainly none serious, and the end, when it came, was not marked by a drawn out period of suffering. She was a lucky cat.

Kili & WallyThis is a photo of Kill and Wally, just after we rescued them from Kahekili Highway back in January 1998. We called them the “auction cats,” because we had been on our way to an estate auction in town when they were literally dropped into our lives.

For the record, we had nine cats when 1999 began. Then we lost Leo (1999), Silverman (2013), Harry and Wally (2015), and now Kili.

And now, Kili and Wally in their prime (photo taken in 2002).


Clearing the day to deal with cat health issues

Sometimes life comes along and just knocks your plans for the day totally off course.

Today’s it’s a cat medical crisis, maybe an emergency. I’m trying hard not to be alarmist.

It’s our oldest cat, Ms. Kili. She got a pretty good report card after a recent check-up, all systems fairly normal for her age. But now she’s suddenly developed a lot of congestion. She already had a weird growth on her nose which we’ve been watching for a few years. The combination is suddenly making it hard for her to breath, or to eat. There’s lots of snorting and sneezing when she addresses a bowl of food or water. And at her age, this isn’t good.

This became noticeable yesterday morning, when we were out on the windward side after spending the night in Kaaawa. Our cat sitter was alarmed and contacted us, and we’ve been carefully monitoring her since. Yes, I’m feeling a bit of guilt, and worry that I wasn’t watching her carefully enough to notice warning signs on Saturday afternoon, before we left for the evening in Kaaawa.

I was on the phone with the vet as soon as we got back from the early morning walk, and have a late morning appointment. Since Meda and I only have one car, I’ve had to clear my calendar in order to get Meda to the UH campus, then get back and pick up Ms. Kili for the run out to Hawaii Kai.

And that doesn’t allow me time to do a proper blog post this morning. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back and do a substantive post later in the day. Stay tuned, and cross your fingers for Ms. Kili.