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…Chaos, Thy Name is Rumikitty December 21, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in About Me, Advent Calendar of Carols, Truth is Stranger than Fiction.
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Chaos RumikittyAnd so a week has passed since my last post..

The post when I finally got up to date with the Advent Calendar of Carols and was rejoicing that there was only 12 days left until Christmas. It had been a busy November and a chaotic December, but things were all easy from here. All I needed to do was bake some cookies, clean up, finish my last few days of teaching, record a Christmas carol or two I planned to post on my blog and then it would be Christmas break, starting with a weekend visit to some relatives in a nearby city. Simple…and with ample time for me to blog each day.

I had reckoned without my companion feline. Chaos, thy name is Rumikitty.

It was the night of the 15th, nearing 1 am last Wednesday morning, and I had just headed into the washroom to brush my teeth and – hopefully – get some sleep after another long day of last-week-before-Christmas teaching. I had just been playing chase with Rumikitty and his favorite toy and had left him – now dozing, sleepy and innocent – curled up in a little ball of golden fur on my pillow for his normal pre-bedtime snooze. Coming out of the washroom ten minutes later, I glanced over at the bed.

Then my heart nearly stopped.

Rumikitty lay directly in the middle of the bed, a deeply satisfied look upon his little kitty face, his paws clenched around the chase toy which I had, in a moment of carelessness, left on the nearby night table. A chewed half-inch of its foot-long string dangled forlornly.

The remainder of the string was nowhere to be found.

I’ll gloss over what the next hour involved…let’s just say a lot of tears, screaming, hunting for the string and chasing an increasingly-less-satisfied cat in rage around the apartment, until he hid beneath the couch and refused to budge.

I called the emergency clinic. I should monitor him, I was told, and watch for, well, any signs of the emerging string…from either end of Rumi. No pulling on it, that could damage internal organs if it had gotten tangled up somewhere. Watch for any discomfort or change in eating or bathroom habits. Take him in if things get worse.

I spent the next hour searching my room and then the apartment. As the next day. No string.

I looked everywhere…under beds, couches, tables, cushions, rugs. I even pulled out the stove and refrigerator (pulling out, I later found, the plug as well and making our fridge turn off for the next day). I have never looked behind the refrigerator. It proved to be the Graveyard of Lost Cat Toys. I found at least 20 dusty toy mice, a handful of the plastic straws he enjoys chewing, and an assortment of balls, stuffed toys and balled-up holey socks I had thrown to him to chase from time to time. But no string.

The next morning, he appeared to be having, er, litterbox issues and I thought it far better to be safe than sorry. Off to the vet.

Three hours and $200 worth of tests later, they thought it possible he might have eaten the string.

By the end of the day and $600 worth of tests later, they were fairly sure he hadn’t. They had run a barium series, which essentially consists of forcing a liquid solution of barium down his throat – barium shows up in X-rays as string itself doesn’t – and seeing if there was a blockage or obstruction anywhere along the way. Fortunately it went through with no issues.

It should also, I was told, flush out the string as it went – if there was a string to flush out. But by that evening…nothing.

“Are you sure he never ate it, then?” I asked. “Is there maybe a small possibility it could still be sitting there, not blocking anything but not moving either?”

“A small possibility. But I think we can feel pretty good about the situation here. If he does vomit, though, or stop eating, do take him back in at once.” They discharged him, swiped my credit card (ouch) and there we were, back in my apartment. Exhausted, about $700 lighter and still with no certainty as to where the string had gone.

I searched my room one last, exhaustive time. Nada.

Crossing my fingers, I entrusted him to the care of my wonderful cat-sitter and left town for the weekend. Quite fortunately, the trip went by without further incident than numerous panicked calls home on my part, only to be reassured that Rumi was doing just fine, no worries. He’s still doing fine as I write this now. But…no string.

Maybe micro black holes do exist after all? 😀

In any case, this is all by way of apology for being gone from this blog, and my Advent Calendar of Carols, and from Twitter and #iranelection for so long. Hopefully I’ll be excused this time at any rate.

To tweak the famous quote, NOTHING can upset both the best-laid plans of mice and men so much as…a cat. 😀

– Contrapuntal Platypus

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Rainbows and Rumi November 1, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in About Me, Environment, Just for Fun, Nature, Serendipity.
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Three times a week I walk to the private school where I teach, about half an hour away. In fact I tend to walk almost everywhere (living in the downtown core, most services are pretty conveniently located) and, though I’ve thought several times about getting a car, it simply doesn’t seem worth it…either financially, ecologically or from a health perspective. (An hour a day of brisk walking is excellent exercise!) On those rare occasions when it is raining or snowing hard enough that I can’t bear the thought of slogging through the mess, I take public transit.

Given the amount of walking that I do, a friend of mine suggested I should always carry a camera with me, and as I was running out the door last Thursday I actually remembered to grab mine. The walk to the school was unmemorable but on the way home I snapped some beautiful shots. It had been raining and to the west, the nearly-setting sun was gleaming through a rift in the clouds, flooding the scene with golden light and creating a gorgeous rainbow…

About a minute later, a second arch had appeared above the first…pretty faint, but visible. (Note the color reversal on the second arch…red at the bottom, green/blue at the top. Now that’s awesome.) 😀

The same friend had asked me for more pictures of my spoiled rotten but oh-so-adorable golden pussycat known affectionately as Rumikitty, so I obligingly snapped a few when I got home. Here he is looking absolutely kittenish and innocent, a pleading look in his big round waif-like eyes… 🙂

…And here he reveals his true devilish personality. 😉

(As I write this post, my little feline friend is curled up in a ball on the table beside my laptop, napping contentedly as he soaks up the warmth and affection and giving no hint of the bounding, leaping, demonic clawed terror he will become in a few hours. (sigh) Cats…the Jekyll and Hyde of the animal world.)

– The Contrapuntal Platypus