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Remember that rather spaced-out picture of Nelson I posted yesterday?

Nelson_1stWk - 2.jpg

Over on Facebook my friend Ewan (WINOLJ) ran it through Prisma, a new app that sends a picture up to a server where it's apparently run through some neural-net software trained to try to emulate various art styles. The results were quite impressive so I downloaded it onto the iPad and had a go myself.

Twelve variations on spaced-out Nelson )

Several of these I'd like as artwork. And third row middle looks like an excerpt from a graphic novel I'd love to read.
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Nelson_1stWk - 1.jpg

Nelson, after a week with us. He's definitely bigger than when he arrived only eight days ago. I'm not surprised, because he's been scoffing his kitten kibble as if it's the last food on Earth.

More kitten pics )Introducing Nelson to Mira is something we're taking slowly. We've split the house in two; Nelson has the ground floor utility room and the first floor study, whilst Mira has the first floor bedroom (her litter tray is in the en-suite) and the upper floors. I've set things up so there's a wooden sheet blocking access, so they can't get to each other or even see each other, although I only trust that if we're around - at night or if we're out, Nelson gets shut in his room (which is not too small and has natural light, his food, and plenty of toys.)

We started with letting them see each other from a distance, and have worked up to having Nelson in the cat carrier in the same room as Mira, or sitting on my lap (firmly held!) with Mira nearby. Mira has progressed from hissing at him on sight to only hissing when she comes up close to him. Nelson is utterly unfazed by all this, but then he comes from a rescue centre / cattery where he probably saw dozens of other cats. The next step will be to let them meet under careful supervision, although that is likely to involve Mira making it very clear where her boundaries are...
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Mira has been increasingly clingy the last few months, and has taken to wandering around with one of her toys (a strip of fur) in her mouth in a manner that practically screams "I miss kittens!". The vet's suggestion was that she needed company, and he thought that a 10-12 week old male kitten would probably be the best prospect for integration, as long as we took it very slowly.

This has been in the planning stages for a couple of months now, and via a local rescue centre recommended by our cat-visiting service we were introduced to Nelson. He was apparently found in a shed (the centre suspect he was left behind when his mother was moving a litter) but was raised with other rescue kittens and is now about 3 months old. He is very active, inquisitive and friendly, and whereas Mira took a couple of weeks to warm to me, Nelson was climbing on me within ten minutes of us getting home.

He's currently ensconced in our downstairs utility room / bathroom, so we can keep him apart from Mira to begin with. The idea is that they can get used to each other's scents via us, and indeed Mira has just given me a very, very thorough sniff and scent-marking after I was playing with Nelson. We will start very minimal introduction in a couple of days and see how it goes. In the mean time, here are the first of what will probably be terrifying numbers of Nelson pics.

Nelson_12Aug - 3.jpg

Nelson_12Aug - 2.jpg

Nelson_12Aug - 1.jpg
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I haven't posted much about Elite:Dangerous lately. I continue to play it on and off, and have now traded in my Cobra Mk.3 for a Vulture, less an all-purpose craft and more one fit for bounty-hunting. My game play has been very much of the form of unwinding by blasting pirates to smithereens and spending the resulting bounty payments on upgrades, to the point that I still only have a few million credits in the bank but now have a ship that can single-handedly take out a Python.

Anyway, yesterday I was having a play and I found myself with a passenger. I don't recall Luke Skywalker or Starbuck having this problem; maybe Mira thought she was Nimitz from the Honor Harrington books.

CatElite - 2.jpg

I think I have a case of Back Seat Space Pilot Cat:

CatElite - 1a.jpg
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MiraBlocking - 1.jpg

Lying in nice warm sunbeam? - check
Lying on nice-textured seagrass carpet? - check
Blocking access to kitchen? - check
Blocking route to dining room? - check
Blocking stairs up? - check
Blocking stairs down? - check

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Pensive Mira photo Pensive_Mira_zps21e9b3af.jpg

[Mira, resting on convenient human's arm, in bed]

I'd like to think that Mira is pondering something deep and meaningful here, but experience suggests that "how long before I can ask for second breakfast?" is rather more likely.
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We have been having various adventures in cat-feeding over the last few weeks, as we try to find a diet that Mira likes but which suits her digestion (i.e. doesn't lead to straining and blood in her stools). The latest veterinary advice was to have a course of antibiotics - and getting those into her wasn't fun - followed by a fortnight on home-prepared chicken and rice.

Well, she'll make an effort at eating that, but tended just to pick the chicken bits out and leave the rice. So tonight I tried to see if I could make the dish a bit more kitten-palatable. I cooked the chicken in a bit of water to get weak chicken stock, and poured that over the rice, then put the cooked chicken through the blender to get it to a sort of breadcrumb consistency which I then mixed with the rice.

I won't say that Mira actually licked through the plastic in an effort to clean the bowl, but she came very close. Fingers crossed we may have found a way to get her eating this for a fortnight.

(The vet's idea is that this will clean her out and see if she has some sort of gastric hypersensitivity that shop-bought cat food is triggering. It's not a long-term plan on its own, as chicken and rice apparently isn't a complete diet for cats, but she should be fine on it for a fortnight.)
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Mira, making clear her views as to who owns the place.
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Mira has once again not hesitated to protect me from the manifold risks and hazards I am exposed to as I draft legal advice in my study at home.

Cat: OMG! A PEN! STAY BACK! [smites pen across room]
Me: Er....
Cat: It was right there! Ready to pounce! Lucky for you I came in when I did. Now, any chance of a snack?

Other dangerous threats Mira has defended me against in the last few days: treasury tags, rubber bands and USB cables. I really wonder how I survived without her.
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Three months after we got her, Mira is proving to be a delightful little kitty in every respect other than her rear end. About one day out of three we're seeing a degree of loose motion, which can mean that she becomes Little Miss Poopy-Paws and some cleaning-up is required. (Usually of her; sometimes of us.) We saw some of this after she arrived and thought we'd settled it by changing to a higher protein diet, but it keeps on coming back.

So, today it was off to the vet.

The nearest vet open on a Saturday is in Halesowen, about 25 minutes' drive from us. Mira was happy to be put in her cat carrier for the first time since the three-hour journey when we collected her in January, but squeaked and miaowed all the way there, in a quite remarkable range of tones. (I commented to [ profile] attimes_bracing that if we recorded and sampled it we could play some really quite interesting tunes.)

At the vet itself she was very well-behaved, not complaining at a thorough poking and prodding and surprising the vet himself by putting up with having her temperature taken via rectal thermometer. She is apparently in very good shape, albeit could stand to lose a little weight; she is 4.2 kg and we should try to get her down to 4.

The verdict is that it may be worms or an infection, or possibly diet, but that we should eliminate the former options. So we've coughed up for a full panel of tests, which will require three days' worth of stool samples. (Cue the vet asking tactfully if we're up to refrigerating them. "Yes" we replied, "but there will be triple-bagging...") We've also got worming medicine, but are not to start it until after the samples are taken so as not to risk affecting them.

More squeaking and miaowing on the way home, and she lasted until we were driving into our parking garage before having a slight incident. Out of consideration to our neighbours I went back to the lift after we got in and unloaded most of a can of air freshener into it.
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Mira will, perhaps once a week, venture briefly into the bottom compartment of the nice cat activity centre we bought her. The upper levels and cat hammock she completely ignores.

Our wardrobe, however, is the Most! Exciting! Place! Ever! and we have to take special care to keep it firmly closed lest there be further adventures in climbing up nice clothes.
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New Year's Day saw me in Cambridge with three lovely ladies; one of them wouldn't get out of bed for anything I could offer, but the other two were very accommodating for photography.

Yes, I was cat sitting for [ profile] ms_cataclysm and R. Holly stayed firmly hidden in bed but Trude consented to come out, and pictures of her are below the cut. More pictures, of Panda, later.

Read more... )


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Simon Bradshaw

September 2017



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