Trixie Gets Comfortable

Our tortoiseshell kitten Trixie sleeps on my lap

Our shy little Trixie is getting more and more comfortable with each passing day. This picture is from Thursday, two days after we adopted her. After playing a long game of string the tired kitten crawled into my lap, stretched out, and settled in for a nap. She’ll hide under the dresser behind her when she isn’t feeling so confident, such as after her first vet visit today, but for the most part she hangs out on the bed and plays or sleeps or snuggles. She’s starting to understand that this is her home, and so far, I’d say she likes it.

Four Hours

A close-up view of the head of an American bittern

In December 2013 I visited Ridgefield after a long absence and came across this bittern late in the day as the sun momentarily peaked through the clouds, giving me some beautifully soft light. It lasted but a moment and the bittern was moving as it hunted along the shoreline, so I was thankful I got a nice picture when it paused for a moment in the open in front of water that was reflecting a patch of blue sky.

The funny thing is, I came across this same bittern four hours earlier in a very similar spot and a very similar pose, but then it was completely overcast and raining, leaving some small drops on the bittern’s head. I like each picture for different reasons, but it clearly shows the impact of not just the different light but also the different reflections in the water, as in this picture all of the sky was gray.

A close-up view of the head of an American bittern

Say Hello to Trixie

Our kitten Trixie, a female tortoiseshell shorthaired cat

Our kitten has a name.

Tuesday night and throughout the day Wednesday, I made a list of every name I could think of for the newest member of our family, but none of the names felt right to both my wife and I. Thursday morning she sent me an email containing just one word: Trixie. It quickly became my frontrunner and within a couple of hours we both felt we had found her name.

She was thinking of girl detective Trixie Belden, but my first thought was of my favorite TV show from my childhood: Speed Racer. The adventures of young Speed, his girlfriend Trixie, his car the Mach 5, and the mysterious Racer X captured my imagination like nothing else until Star Wars (my wife nixed Leia early in the naming process). The revelation that Racer X, who was always looking out for Speed even at his own expense, was actually his older brother Rex was only eclipsed in my young life when the secret identity of Darth Vader was revealed.

I haven’t seen the show since those early days but from my memory not only was Trixie strong and independent, but the show to its credit didn’t diminish her as a woman for not being afraid to show that strength. I don’t know if I’m remembering her portrayal correctly but it’s why the name struck a chord with me. Our little Trixie was incredibly shy in her first day and mostly just wanted to hide under the dresser, but then rapidly started to conquer her fear and her playful, snuggly side emerged.

Trixie the young detective had blonde hair, while my hero Trixie was a brunette, so that too seems fitting given that our tortoiseshell kitten is a beautiful mix of both.

Welcome to our home, young Trixie, may you have a wonderful life.

Our Newest Family Member


We haven’t settled on a name yet but I took a quick photo of our newest family member yesterday afternoon. I was helping out with some training for work not far from home, and had a break in the middle of the day, so I came home and kept her company. She’s still very nervous so I didn’t want to stress her with too many pictures, this is shortly before she cuddled up beside me and settled into a long nap.

We don’t know much about her history, she’s about four or five months old and was rescued in southeastern Oregon by Harney County Save a Stray before being transferred all the way to Portland. I don’t know if she was a stray or if she had a home but someone could no longer care for her. Her first medical record is from New Year’s Day, so if she was on the streets I’m very thankful someone took her in, there was a cold snap and that day Burns, Oregon had a high of 18° and a low of -6°.

We’re keeping her in isolation in the guest bedroom for at least a week, but we’ll give her as much time as she needs. Now, little one, we just need to settle on your name.



Sam has been doing well for several days now so we decided to take a chance and adopt this shy little kitten from the Oregon Humane Society. She’ll be in isolation in the guest bedroom for at least a week. My wife will spend the night with her while I stay with Sam, Boo, and Ellie. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Sam especially to make sure he doesn’t regress.

We haven’t decided on a name for her just yet but I can’t wait to get to know her. My wife met her first when she got off work and she curled up in her lap so I left work a little early to make sure I could meet her before they closed. She cuddled up in my arms and put her head across my arm like she was about to fall asleep.

She’s hiding under the bed at the moment, we’ll give her the time she needs to adjust. She’s home now, she’ll understand that soon enough.

Finally Some Good News

Bunny Rabbit

After a trying week that followed several trying months, Sam has staged a turnaround. He’s responded well to the medicines he’s been taking (fluids, anti-nausea, appetite stimulant, and motility enhancer to speed the movement of fluid through his digestive system). We started him off on baby food, which he hadn’t eaten much of a couple of days earlier but now he was able to eat, and slowly eased him back to a more normal eating schedule and his regular food. Sam is back to eating his normal meals (just more slowly than before), his energy levels have improved dramatically, and his sweet demeanor seems to be returning to normal as well. Thankfully we didn’t have to resort to force feeding him with a syringe, but we would have had to if he hadn’t started eating on his own, there’s a serious liver condition cats can get if they go too long without getting enough calories.

Which is not to say he’s out of the woods, we don’t know yet if he’s actually getting better or if the medicines are treating his symptoms but the underlying disease is still present. I’m hopeful that he is actually getting better and this may have been a stress reaction after Emma’s death. In less than two years the poor little fellow went from being the youngest of three cats to the oldest of two. He loved having his big sisters look out for him and took a great deal of comfort from them. He wasn’t nearly as close to Emma as he was his best friend Scout, but they were friends and grew up together (we adopted them on the same day), so perhaps it all just overwhelmed him one day.

We have a follow-up phone call with the vet today so we’ll see if she wants to try taking him off the medications.

It’s the first time we’ve had to give him pills and while I didn’t expect it to be easy, I was caught off guard by how much it freaked him out. Granted he’s had a difficult week but he bit me hard in my hand, twice, and eventually it took my wife and I to get pills down his throat, one holding him tightly wrapped up in a blanket or towel while the other worked the pill shooter. My wife picked up some Pill Pockets to try, little pockets of food you can put the pills in, and I was shocked that he ate them right away. I was surprised because none of our previous cats would touch them but as long as he’s eating, he went from being by far the hardest cat we’ve ever had to give medicine to, to the easiest.

It was hard to reconcile when I gave him his pill at midnight last night, that twenty-four hours earlier I was standing in that exact spot, bleeding and in pain, and Sam was as freaked out as I’ve ever seen him, and now he not only took his pill with no effort, but seemed thankful for the extra treat. They may not have worked with our other cats, but you’ll forgive me if at the moment those little pill pockets seem like humanity’s greatest invention.

I took this picture of him last summer, normally he likes to curl up on my wife or I but perhaps because of the heat in our non-airconditioned house he curled up beside me. This pose, one of my favorites of his, I call the bunny rabbit.

Not Bad News

Our cat Sam curls up on the love seat in my office with an array of water bottles behind him on Halloween in October 2014

After not eating or drinking much yesterday, Sam spent the day at the emergency vet getting an ultrasound and some medications. The news from the ultrasound isn’t so much good news as it isn’t bad news. There’s no blockage in his intestines so he won’t need a risky surgery, which we’re thankful for. Based on the amount of food in his stomach and intestines, given that he hadn’t eaten since the previous evening, they think the food may be moving too slowly through his digestive tract. We’re trying some medicines to see if they help, and although we haven’t seen any improvement yet, he’s still a little agitated from the day. We’ll see how he does tomorrow, we have an appointment with our regular vet in the afternoon.

They mentioned that the appetite stimulant they gave him can cause excitability, and given the howling and cage rattling I heard from the cat carrier behind my seat as I drove home, I thought for a moment I had our beloved Templeton back there. Sam reminds me of Templeton too when he steals my spot. If he’s been curled up in my lap and I get up, he can’t resist moving over to my thoughtfully pre-warmed seat. Unlike Templeton, though, he doesn’t try to trick me into giving him the spot, he only takes it when the opportunity presents itself.