Monday, August 29, 2005

Nyron Ali: Pet Detective

Nyron came home and found Hyde. He was hiding in a box, under a bunch of boxes, behind some more boxes, in a closet in the back room. Bad kitty. So, thanksfully, we were able to take all three of them to the cat hotel.

I highly recomend this place! It's called The Cat's Meow Motel in Mississauga. The woman who runs it, Jean, is so sweet. It's cats only and the cats get to walk around the place as they please until night time. Even at night they're not put into tiny metal cages, but in sectioned off squares of the room. Hyde, Sebastian and Spirit all have a room together. Hopefully having to spend a week together in a small space will force them to get along.

Getting them to the hotel was a bit tricky, though. Spirit's been through the car ride thing before and she just sat on my lap the whole time, but Hyde and Sebastian were both terrified. The last time they got put in carriers and loaded into a car was to go to the vet where they had a thermometre stuck in their buts and needles in each hip. As soon as they were in the car they messed inside their respective carriers. The ride stank. When we arrived and got everyone settled and I explained how to administer their ear medicine (only $2.50 extra per cat, per application) we went back to the car to assess the damage. One of the carriers leaked all over the back seat of the car so we went to Canadian Tire to buy upolstery cleaner. A lot of cleaner and half a box of kleenex later we had a slightly less smelly car but a much bigger stain. Our next strategy is baking soda left on the stain over night to get the smell out and then another very throrough cleaning tomorrow morning.


I hope Hyde is hiding...

...because the alternative is that he's got out. Which, by now, I'm sure is what happened. The new owner left two windows open that don't have screens and I can't find him anywhere. Sebastian is likely to hide all day in the same place and not be seen, but Hyde likes to wander around. It's unusual to go so long without seeing him (I know he's not in the attic because the door's been closed all day). I haven't even heard the sound the little bell on his collar makes. The main evidence that Hyde's not in the house is that Spirit spent a good hour lounging on the couch; if Hyde were around she'd have been sitting tensely on the inside door mat waiting to hiss and growl at him whenever he came by. The fact that Spirit was so relaxed means that Hyde is nowhere around.

I've gone out a number of times looking for him, but with all the piles of branches and contsruction material around my backyard, not to mention the great big dumpster at the end of the driveway, make it difficult to conduct a proper search. I've checked the basement which is accessible from outside in case he went down there, but there's nowhere left for him to hide down there; most of the walls have even been taken down. I've walked up and down my street checking under cars and in trees and put out an APB with the workers at the garden centre across the street to keep an eye out for him.

What makes matters worse, I have to have the cats and myself out of the house tonight so that the new owner can sand and stain all the floors. I have the cats set to go to a cat hotel in Mississauga, but I may only be dropping off 2 if I can't find Hyde. I almost couldn't get them in there at all because they were diagnosed with ear mites at the vet on Saturday. Of course, I had to be honest and tell the proprietress about it - she's got other people's cats there as well as her own and I'd hate for them to catch the mites. At first she declined to take them. She apologised profusely and even gave me tips on finding Hyde, but after a while she consented to take them if she keeps them quarantined in one room that she can easily clean. I've offered to pay extra for the special grooming that they need with the ear medicine.

So, basically, I'm having a rough week. I can't wait to get out of this house and into a nice small condo where there isn't any construction going on and we can all feel settled. I really hope I find Hyde before I leave; I keep worrying that he'll come back and not be able to get back in while I'm gone.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Finally, some knitting news

I've decided to teach myself to knit socks. Of course, just knitting socks isn't enough for me. I always figure that if I learn the hardest way to do something first, than all the easier ways and variations will be a snap. So in that philosophy, I'm teaching myself to knit socks toe-up on circular needles, both at the same time. OK, I may not figure out that last part this time, but I will someday. If I succeed I'll write up instructions and post them on this blog.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cat in a hot tin roof

Ever since the building inspector discovered aspestos in my attic there's been a string of contractors coming and going giving estimates to replace it with something safer. A contractor was finally decided on and set to come this morning, but when he arrived he was shocked to hear that they expected him to do a week long, highly toxic job with a young woman and three cats in the house (he also discovered previously unnoticed asbestos in the basement). This resulted in a number of back and forths in the only room with access to the attic and the door eventually being left open. This proved to be just too much temptation to a certain hide-and-seek loving pussy cat.

Nyron and I had had a lot planned this morning. We were going to pick up a second litterbox for the kittens (Spirit sometimes denies them access, the bitch), then visit my friend Amy and see her new baby. Then Nyron was going to go to work and Amy and I were going to spend some seriously necessary and long overdue girl-time. We never like to leave the house without knowing where all the cats are, thanks largely to their many disappearing acts, so we set about on the daily search. It's not terribly unusualy to find all the cats but Hyde, so we started going through all his usual favourite spots - under the armchair, the windowsill in the bathroom and inside the stove (I'm not even kidding).

When we went upstairs we noticed the door standing open, the attic closet open and a ladder pushed helpfully right inside, prividing a nice little set of kitty stairs right into the attic. It took us about three circles of all the hiding spots to finally admit that he must have gone up there. Nyron - like a trooper! - poked his head up the hole and into the hot, dusty, potentially lung-ruining attic and shined a feeble plastic flashlight around. The first time he didn't see anything, but a second attempt revealed the errant puss, huddled in a corner well far away from the opening. I can understand why; the new owner was using some very loud machinery today and it must have been very frightening.

Hyde was discovered in the attic at around 11:30. It wasn't until almost 9 tonight that he finally ventured down. Between that time we tried everything to coax him down. Nyron braved the attic 3 more times and I spent hours sitting just outside the door with the food bowl on the floor. I was initially worried that if I left the door open for Hyde to come down himself then the other cats would find the attic inticing and venture up there themselves, but I needn't have been concerned. The machinery also frightened our scaredy-cat Sebastian and he didn't come out from under the armchair until about an hour ago. Nerves of Steel Spirit made a few attempts to get into the room (likely only because I was trying to keep her out of it) and eventually decided to take no interest whatsoever in the attic and took up her usual post at the end of my bed. So after worrying about him for almost 12 hours Hyde eventually sauntered down like nothing at all, went into the kitchen and preceeded to drink half the water bowl in one sitting. Silly kitty.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Who are you and what have you done with my cat?

Hyde has undergone a complete turn around! On Friday Nyron and I had to herd all the cats upstairs so that we could clear out the basement. The new owner of my house wanted to start working on the basement and I had all my laundry down there. Since we'd been using a door pushed up against the doorway and held in place by heavy Rubbermade boxes that we removed to get downstairs we couldn't let them wander around. Nyron cleared up the basement while I spent time upstairs with the cats. This time, Hyde didn't fight so hard and took almost no time at all to come to enjoy getting pets and scfratches around the neck. We also managed to get his collar on him (although he still tries to get it off).

For the rest of the night hyde hung around the couch looking for more attention. Every day since then he's become more and more comfortable around us. They both spend a lot less time hiding under the armchair. In fact, Hyde has now become the most affectionate cat in the house, following us around, looping around our legs and purring like an 18-wheeler.

Of course, nothing is ever easy and this wonderful newfound affection has come with a price. Spirit is horribly jealous and it doesn't help matters that Hyde is on a crusade to win her affection, which she is determined not to give. He spends a lot of time following her around and getting hissede at for her trouble. the last two nights I have been kept awake by Hyde trying to inch closer to Spirit and Spirit hissing and growling at him.

It's nice to have 3 cuddly kitties in my house now. Although Nyron maintains that Spirit will always be his favourite.


Friday, August 19, 2005

The legend continues...

The other day Nyron and I finally managed to secure the basement in a way that the cats can't get through. Eventually we may find a way to do that will let me get down to do laundry as well, but who knows. We then went looking for the cats and, as usual, found Sebastian without much trouble. He was sitting on a windowsill. Windowsills, it seems, are good places for cornering cats. After letting us pet him for a while we decided to try and get his collar on him, with much success. He didn't try to scramble away or push it off. Even Spirit put up more of a fuss when I first put her collar on her! In light of our success, we decided to try picking Sebastian up and once again he passively let us do it with a minimum of fuss. We took him into the living room and I held him and petted him until he calmed down. He was still breathing rather quickly, but he didn't immediately jump away when I released my grip, either. Instead, he just circled around to a more comfortable position on my lap and lay back down again. We also managed to take the first ever photographs of Sebastian:

Here's Sebastian, a little scared from being picked up.

Here he is again, feeling a bit more comfortable.

High on our achievement we decided to try the same maneuver on Hyde. He, predictably, was considerably more difficult to catch. We eventually cornered him in my bedroom and it took the two of us to hold him while he fought like his life depended on it. That's when Nyron's phone rang downstairs. We'd been expecting a call from his friend Jenny who was in town for only a few days and couldn't miss it, so I told Nyron that I had him and he left to answer the phone. I did actually think I had him. He proved me wrong. He twisted like an eel in my grip until he was turned around facing me. Then he did something I've only ever seen cats do in the movies; he tried to scratch my eyes out. Thankfully I wear glasses, which he managed to knock half way across the room. He did, however, scratch my eyelid and my cheek in three places:

Looking a little better after a day to heal.

On the second attempt we managed to hold on to Hyde long enough to get his collar on him, but not long enough for him to feel comfortable being held. To add to the physical comedy of the whole situation, the amount of fur lying around in the air was reeking havoc on our allergies. We kept sneezing and having to blow our noses with one hand while holding the cat with the other.

The next morning I found Hyde's collar on the floor in the foyer. Two days later I found Sebastian's collar had been chewed off and left behind the armchair in the corner of the living room.

It looks like they're getting organized.

Since then we have managed to continue picking up and cuddling Sebastian. Each time he seems less afraid when we pick him up and more comfortable being held. He's even started purring loudly when one of us has him in our lap and he's eating treats out of our hands. Still, not so for Hyde. Sometimes I can walk within inches of his nose and he'll do nothing but stare at me suspiciously. Other times, he'll flat out run. We still have a hard time getting close enough to him to pick him up, although if we find him on a windowsill he'll often tolerate being petted. I'm hoping that the more he sees Sebastian being calm with us the sooner it'll be that he decides we're OK, too. I have managed to get a picture of him:

Right now we're experiencing one of Toronto's frequent summer thunder storms and that cats don't seem to be enjoying it as much as I do. Sebastian is hiding behind the armchair (although that's still a common hang-out for him) and Hyde is on the livingroom windowsill, looking anxiously out at the night sky. Every once in a while he lets out a scared little mew. I wish I could comfort him, but I know he won't yet take it as comfort. He's getting better, though. Soon he'll be properly socialized.


Monday, August 15, 2005

I dub thee...

Hyde! That's is what I've decided to name the other cat, erstwhile known as "the unnamed one" (my friend Sarah got a kick out of that). It was actually the name I'd come up with within a few days of their arrival here; I suggested to Nyron that we name them Hyde and Siek (get it?). He had his heart set on Sebastian, though, so I moved on. But it kept reocurring and the more I thought about it, the more I got to like it. Now I get to order name tags!

The cats have taken to coming out in the open in the day time now! It's all progress!


Saturday, August 13, 2005


It seems the "leave them alone and they'll come to me when they want to" theory of cat climatization is the one that's winning out. Within the last half hour, both cats have been up here on the main floor, out in the open, in full view of me. They were both a bit wary, but seemed calm. They haven't come right up to me yet, but this is the first time they've come out in the open with me here. Sebastian (the shy one) wouldn't come any closer than the windowsill of the next room, but the unnamed one came right into the room and lay down a few feet from me. This is good.


Claws in the walls

Once again, the cats gave us the slip. Nyron and I were looking for them, still quite baffled that we could only ever find one at a time, if either of them. I knew there must be a hiding place that we didn't know about, and I was right. While we were looking under the basement stairs I heard a rustling sound behind me. I turned around but couldn't figure out where it came from. The only thing directly behind me was a wall: to my right was the boiler room and to my left was the rest of the basement. We searched everywhere and couldn't find Sebastian (the unnamed one was on the main floor) and since Nyron hadn't heard it he quickly dismissed it.

My mind wouldn't leave that sound alone, though, and I knew that they must've found a way to get into the wall. Of course, that's just where we found him. Nyron discovered a hole in the drywall. The drywall in the basement is very water damaged and the hole was covered over from view by the paper that hadn't disolved in the moisture. It took a while to scare him out (and Nyron ended up making that hole bigger and opening up another one) but finally he booked it out of there and upstairs. Nyron covered up the holes and then tried to block up the basement doorway again. By the next morning, they'd found a way back downstairs.

I was doing a search of cat care and behaviour to try and figure out a way to get through this. I want these cats to feel comfortable around us, to become our pets and let us love them. It's hard when they won't let us near. I found a site that tells you what to do when introducing a new cat into the home, and it turns out I did absolutely everything wrong. I let them loose in the house instead of getting them aclimatized to one room at a time, and I introduced them to Spirit right away. Now I'm trying to figure out how to go about fixing this. Should I start over and put them in kitty isolation like I should have at first until they get used to us, or should I let things go as they are and trust that they'll come around in time? The only real problem is that I have a time limit; I'm moving sometime in the next three months and at some point we're going to have to be able to pick them up to get them to the new house. I just don't know what to do.

In less dysfunctional news, Spirit seems to have fully forgiven me for leaving her for a year. The last few nights she's gone back to sleeping in bed with me and she's been a lot more cuddly. At least one of my cats loves me.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Phantom claws

You know how people say that when you lose a limb you can still feel it like it's there, like it's a phantom limb? I think cats who have been declawed get that. My evidence: Spirit is declawed (my grandmother refused to look after her whie I was away unless I did). I've seen her paw the arms of the couch, but I always assumed she was just stretching. But tonight we bought a scratching post for the two new cats who are still armed and dangerous and Nyron saw her trying to scratch it like she used to when she still had her claws. That's really quite sad.


Help! I've been tagged!

Tagged by Jaqueline

5 CDs in your Player:
1. Mix CD that my DB made for me before I went to England
2. King's of Convenience (burned, I don't know which album)
3. The Shins (both albums on one burned CD)
My CD player only accepts 3 CDs. If I had a 5-CD changer I'd also have:
4. Belle and Sebastian
5. Amaral

5 Movies You've watched Recently:
1. Charile and the Chocolate Factory – Wonderful!
2. The Dukes of Hazard - What I get for letting my little brother pick the movie
3. The Bourne Identity
4. The Bourne Supremecy
5. Howl's Moving Castle - I love anime! Especially Miyazaki films

5 Nice Things That Happened To You Lately
1. My mother visited for the first time since I moved to Toronto (5 years ago)
2. I met some very cool people at Bookcrossing and knitting meetings this week
3. Nyron brought back a lot of books from the Random House preview
4. My newly adopted and still slightly disoriented kitties let me pet them
5. I get to see Nyron today for more than half an hour after he gets off work

5 MP3s on your playlist
None at the moment.

5 Friends You're Passing This To:
1. Nyron
2. Sarah
3. Kathryn
4. Diana
5. Amy


What kind of knitter are you?

Knitting Adventurer
You appear to be a Knitting Adventurer.
You are through those knitting growing pains and
feeling more adventurous. You can follow a
standard pattern if it's not too complicated
and know where to go to get help. Maybe you've
started to experiment with different fibers and
you might be eyeing a book with a cool
technique you've never tried. Perhaps you
prefer to stick to other people's patterns but
you are trying to challenge yourself more.
Regardless of your preference, you are
continually trying to grow as a knitter, and as
well you should since your non-knitting friends
are probably dropping some serious hints, these

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Kitties of Steel!

Last night I arrived home from knitting group to see Nyron looking for the cats. Of course, this time it was Sebastian who was AWOL and the unnamed one who was readily found (although still quite nervous about being found). In fact, he had apparently been spending most of the evening in my craft room in the back of the house. So why, since we had already established the night before that both cats were still alive and well, were we still searching for them? Because Nyron had a plan.

The plan was this; since our main problem was that the cats kept hiding extremely effectively in the basement, then we would simply have to keep them out of the basement. Seems simple. Except for the fact that there is no door to the basement. Nyron tried taking the door off the livingroom and putting it in the doorway to the basement, but the hinges didn't fit. So after a fruitless search we decided that they must both be somewhere on the main or upper floor of the house and proceeded to block off the basement by leaning the heavy door against it and pushing two heavy boxes and the broom against the bottom edges where there was still room to squeeze through. We also tried to eliminate the number of available hiding spots by doing something that I tend to avoid like the plague: tidying up.

This morning I went downstairs to find that the door had been knocked over. Cats:2. Us:0

Knitting group last night was great. What a great bunch of people! I immediately felt very comfortable, even though it was my first time with this group. I even found someone who had read this blog! Oooo, that makes me feel so flattered! Hi Cami! Read her blog, it's really good! The next meeting is set for two Wednesdays from now, if anyone is interested, at the Starbucks at Yonge and Davisville. We're having a Stash Bash, so bring yarn/supplies to trade/sell.

In some incredibly good news, I got a package delivery notice from Canada Post today! There's only one thing it could backpack of yarn from England! Huzzah for the postal system! Unluckily, I was downtown at a job interview when it arrived, so I wasn't here to accept it right away (I'd better get that job!). Luckily, today is already a day that Nyron and I have decided to allocate to running errands, so I'll surely be able to pick it up today! See, I told you it would arrive. : )


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

All cats present and acounted for

When Nyron arrived here after work, the first thing we did was hunt for the kitties. I still hadn't succeeded in finding the unnamed cat before I left for the bookcrossing meeting and I was still worried. We searched the basement for a while and managed to find a cat several times, but because the only sure way to tell them apart is to check for the little bit on white on the unnamed one's chest, it was often hard to tell who was the streak of black feline running from its hiding place as if its life depended on it.

After a break on the couch (Nyron had a headache from work) we tried again. We went downstairs and found one of them in the same hiding spot in which we had left him previously, but we didn't know which one. While I tried to get a good look at his chest, Nyron continued to search around the main room of the basement. That's when the other one leapt from behind the curtain in the dog's eye view window and almost landed on him. So, for the first time since they were dropped off last night, I managed to see both cats in the same place and finally confirm that one of them wasn't stuck in the wall somewhere starving (this is a very old house, it could happen).

I feel better knowing they are both ok. Now I can just relax and stay out of their fur until they decide they are comfortable enough to approach me.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

One cat found, one more still on the lam

I found one of the cats this afternoon. It was the smaller, shy one that Nyron named Sabastian. He was hiding in an upper cupboard in the basement. When I discovered him he took off and hid amongst the moving boxes that I keep in a room in the basement. After some slow and careful inching towards him he finally let me pet him, but he still seems rather nervous. I'm sure they'll get used to me and their surroundings eventually.

I still haven't found the other one. The only food in the house is in the kitchen, so he's got to come out of hiding sometime.


Where oh where have my kitties gone?

My cousins came over with the cats last night: two all black males, 8 months old. After an initial once-over of the house they had a 3 hour stand off with Spirit in the basement. Eventually Spirit came upstairs and displayed her mastery of the house by walking boldly around in the faces of the other two who tended to slink.

Now, I can't seem to find the two males. Spirit is still strutting around and offering me no help in finding them. I've looked all over the house a number of times, but there are just so many places they can hide! There's nothing I can really do until they get hungry and come out for food.

I feel kind of bad for the little kitties. They don't know where they are and have spent the night being put in their place by a much older cat. They haven't let me come near them yet, I'm still waiting for them to feel comfortable enough to come to me. I don't want to make them feel threatened. I'm a little worried about their disappearing act, but I hope they'll come out into the open soon.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Little Knittin' Knitten House is about to get a whole lot more kitteny

My cousin has 4 or 5 cats. He never got his original male and female cats spayed/neutered and ended up keeping one or two from the subsequent litters (he's fixing them now, though). Last night, his mother tells me, he had a run-in with his landlord who demanded that two of the cats be vacated asap. My poor cousin was in tears and they didn't know what to do. They were prepared to give the two cats selected for exotus to the Humane Society. Luckily, I attended his aunt's birthday party and his mother thought to ask me if I would take them. Well, of course I had to say yes. I mean, they're family and I can't let them go to the shelter. At least with me they'll never be put down and Shaun can come visit them whenever he wants.

My DB was less than approving, of course. Now, I don't want to give the impression that Nyron doesn't like cats; it couldn't be farther from the truth. He and Spirit have this incredibly strong bond that never ceases to amaze me. He just feels concerned about whether or not I'm at a time in my life where I can take care of three cats. And it's true, I'm not really. For one thing, I'm about to move again. My parents have sold the house I'm living in and I have to start looking for townhouses as soon as I hear back from their real estate agent. But the fact of the matter is, this is family and these cats need me. Of course, I wont be able to take in foster cats now, I'll already have quite a full house, but I don't mind. And it's always something to consider again when I'm in a more stable situation in life. : )

Pictures to come when they arrive on Tuesday.


So little time to knit...

...with the family visiting. My brother's predominent way of being entertained is to play video games with me, so that doesn't leave my hands free much. Plus, I'm in that "between projects" place. I've finished crocheting all the squares for the charity blanket, but I don't have time to arrange them and start sewing them together. I don't really have a project lined up for when I finished. I was going to start on the DB's Christmas sweater, but it seems I must have packed my favourite sweater knitting book in the backpack of yarn that has dissapeared into the Royal Mail system and has yet to surface. On top of that, I have knitting group and a bookcrossing meeting (which I was planning to bring knitting to) this week and no project to bring. I guess I'll just keep making blanket squares until something else comes along. I hear the Toronto Humane Society is hard up for blankets right now; maybe I'll make some smaller ones for the animals.

So here are some progress pictures:

This is the second colourway for the blanket, green and blue. The yarn is Bernat Berella '4' left over from Knit for Kids a few years ago.

Here's Spirit, very consideratly helping to block one of the squares. Isn't she a good kitty? Of course, now that she's home I have to wash all the charity blankets I make before sending them out (expect for the ones for animals, of course) but it's worth it to have her home.

I have also received some more donated yarn through freecycle. I haven't had a chance to sort it yet, but here it is in its bag:

Some of it really needs a cleaning and some is even knit into unfinished projects that will have to be frogged. I've asked my DB to make a niddy noddy to help with stuff like this. A nostepinde would be nice, too. : )