RIP Snufkin

December, 1994 – 31st January 2008

We had to take Snufkin to the vet's for the last time yesterday.

He had been unwell since just after Christmas, without anything being obviously wrong.

He began to lose weight, lose his appetite, lose interest in life generally. After various tests, the vet determined that he had a mass in his intestine, and that it was growing rapidly. He wasn't in any obvious pain but he slept more and more, ate and drank less and less.

His condition began to deteriorate markedly on Wednesday night, and yesterday we decided that the time had come to let him go.

We had plenty of time to make a proper goodbye, to cuddle and stroke him during the morning, and when we took him to the vet it was all over very quickly.

It's hard to say goodbye but we know it was the right thing for Snufkin.

We've buried him in the garden, against the wall, where he spent so much of his time sunning himself in the late afternoon sun.

All cats are special to their humans, so of course there never was and never will be be another cat quite like Snufkin, but he was undoubtedly the most intelligent cat I had ever met, and sometimes the most amazingly inept, as if he couldn't quite apply all that brainpower to very simple things like retracing his steps when he got himself into trouble. He was adorable and we loved him.

And we also miss him. As do others.

Travel well, Snufkin!

(no subject)

Here at St Brisingamen's home for bewildering cats, life progresses much as usual. Bandit has shed his collar in the last couple of days but is still pursuing his death-defying new life as a blind cat. He can now climb fences, has visited the top of the house and has kicked me off my typing chair.

Chia has taken up residence in the laundry basket on legs as it's apparently safer than anywhere else in the house, but at least she is still willing to share the sitting room with Bandit.

Minnow is Minnow, with a curious tendency for everything in her body to sag round her tail when she sits down. She tends to look like an inverted comma.

Not sure what Smudge is thinking, but then, am I ever? And Snufkin is scarily planning on achieving sainthood soon (santo subito) by being unnaturally well behaved. I fear he may be sickening for something.

Living with the Great Bandini

So, now Brisingamen Towers learns how to live with an active blind cat, and believe me, it's a learning experience and a half. Bandit has now stopped clawing frantically at the back door, but now hangs around there if he thinks there is half a chance someone will let him out, or else trots purposefully towards the front door. I'm in two minds as to whether we should let him out. I think his problem is that he is trying to relearn the neighbourhood, and people keep stopping him, though if he's standing in the middle of the road, with traffic swerving to avoid him, they probably have a point (and no vet's bill).

Today, though, he is exploring the rest of the house and has ventured onto the upper floors, growling and purring by turns. He seems to growl when he's not quite clear what's around him, but nonetheless he seems to have a basic mental map of the house and where most things are and is getting around without colliding with things, unless they happen to be cats suddenly stopping still in front of him.

I'm hoping he doesn't decide to dig his way through the cat flap again but feel we must allow him to roam indoors, otherwise we will all be nervous wrecks.

Life with a kitten ...

even a half-grown one, starts early. Minnow, the Mighty Min as MKS has dubbed her, does not appear to have an 'off' switch. After the humans go to bed at night she rushes round the house, hurdling everything that's stationary, wrestling anything that looks as though it might be warm-blooded. A few hours' kip and she's raring to go again at 4 a.m., which does at least persuade MKS to let us into the bedroom or else ensures an early breakfast.

Today, just look at her. In the space of a few minutes, she leapt out at MKS from behind a door, shot off down the hall to kill some leaves she'd brought in earlier, before arriving in the kitchen back legs first, to help with the unpacking of the shopping and point up some of the finer deficiencies of the housekeeping around here. Wow, look at that dust bunny! Will you be my friend, dust bunny? Please, please, sproing, sproing. The MKS put down some cat kibble and Minnow came hurtling down the hallway, her tail quivering in indignation because she'd been left out (not that this worried her as she just muscled her way in, upsetting Smudge again) and then went off to make 'friends' with Bandit again.

She's now sitting in the printer tray again, eyeing the seagulls outside.
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Minnow's toys – an inventory

They have been tidying the house, so the kitten's toys keep turning up. The list is frankly appalling. We didn't have all this stuff when I was a kitten.

3 red ping pong balls
1 yellow ping pong ball
(mostly under bits of furniture)

1 white plastic ball (she doesnt play with this)

2 larger multi-coloured plastic balls with bells in
(she likes the noise the bells make, but isn't too fussed about the balls)

1 cat nip mouse (helpfully marked 'cat toy'; she doesn't play with this)

1 'thing on an elastic string' with bells (she doesn't play with this)

2 shoelaces, each with a piece of paper tied to one end.
(1 is tied to the banister, the other roams freely through the house; she likes to carry it around with her)

A collection of feathers, courtesy of numbat, which make her sneeze

3 tear-off strips from US airmail packets
(she carries these round the house at will, and they turn up everywhere)

1 piece of plastic packing strip, tied in a knot
(she carries this round the house)

Polystyrene packing peanuts
Snail shells
Pieces of pasta

(These turn up indiscriminately, all over the place)

2 humans, 2 cats
Small twigs
Pieces of dead vegetation
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Cautious optimism

As I write this, Bandit (big, black, tuxedo cat; stray but has lived here for at least ten years; we're losing count) is sitting in the tray of my printer. Not in itself remarkable – all the cats believe that my printer is for their personal use and they get a touch miffed if, you know, I use it myself (though I don't sit in the paper tray as a rule). However, this is only the second time in two and a half months that Bandit has been into my study, and the other was about two hours ago. I'm stunned but also relieved that he is finally coming into the house again.

The full detailsCollapse )
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    relieved relieved

As a matter of idle interest

It's comforting to see that one's owner figures in one's list of close non-Friends

Created by ciphergoth, see trustmetrics for details.

Closest 50 non-Friends for therealsnufkin:

1: ares_p, 2: jhaelan, 3: ladymoonray, 4: flick, 5: missfairchild, 6: swisstone, 7: ang_grrr, 8: brisingamen, 9: fishlifter, 10: gummitch, 11: hawkida, 12: _jamez_, 13: ajr, 14: magicturd, 15: sand_l, 16: tizzle_b, 17: world_of_if, 18: galluskit, 19: charmingbilly, 20: craigparker, 21: doggiejack, 22: esyld, 23: lunarburn, 24: macybloom, 25: orli_bloom, 26: seanbeanie, 27: spritesx4, 28: startwister, 29: sweetasice, 30: big_cat_diaries, 31: ally_bug, 32: bat_cat, 33: blackcatcrew, 34: bobbythecat, 35: camkitty, 36: demonspawn, 37: downwardlashes, 38: escadevotion, 39: fatcatlove, 40: fenn, 41: kissy_face, 42: kitty_ears, 43: kittypix, 44: kittyporndotorg, 45: kytheraen, 46: meatball_kitten, 47: miata, 48: midnightcat, 49: mister_jasper, 50: noahspride

Kitten update

Amazingly, toilet training seems to be working out just fine. Feeding Minerva (now Minnow, for short) in the kitchen and then putting her on her tray seems to be establishing the right kinds of connections, though I did discover that at some point in the night she also used her cat carrier in the bedroom. She's obviously getting the idea that 'bed is bad' if she's bursting (I am stunned at the quantity of liquid a small kittn can contain). I've also covered the bed in newspaper, which rattles when she walks over it, and I don't think she likes that (though she loves playing in and under the bedclothes, given the chance).

Other than that, she is in a routine of playing intensely for several hours, and then collapsing in a heap for several more. It's extremely funny watching her trying to stay awake, as her eyelids close and she falls over sideways. She's been playing all over the house today and has ventured outside for a short while; and is now asleep in one of the book boxes under the bed. Last night she went to sleep in the rocking chair but when I woke in the night, she was on the bed, next to me, and somehow climbed over me and then pushed me to the edge of the bed. She has got this 'cats take their half of the bed from the middle' routine just perfectly.

Smudge and Snufkin are still coping well; Bandit met Minnow for the first time this morning and left hurriedly, having made his excuses; Chia remains convinced that the fuzzball will murder her. This, I think, is as good as we can hope for at present, and I'm pleased. It's all gone so well!
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