The Payoff

Our cat Sam rests on top of the banana catnip toy he chewed open on September 12, 2021. Original: _RAC9345.arw

Years of effort paid off as Sam finally chewed one end of the banana cat toy open, spilling catnip all over the carpet. As a younger cat he would have rolled around in it but at fourteen he was content to just bask in the glory of a job well done.

The Sleepy Brothers

Our cat Sam sleeps on the back of the couch while Boo sleeps on a cushion on April 10, 2021. Original: _CAM0782.arw

Sam is fully recovered from his oral surgery and is now on a blood thinner to make things easier for his aging ticker. Fortunately his medicine is in pill form as he loves Greenies Pill Pockets and gobbles them right down, let’s just say getting liquids down his throat is more of a challenge so we are always happy when the meds are pills.

Boo went in for a checkup to see how his kidney-friendly diet is faring and there was good news on that front. I slept well most of the week, a relief as I’ve been battling occasional insomnia the past couple of months. Friday morning though a certain tuxedo kept waking me up, as he has done at times the past few weeks, so it was rather fortuitous they had an issue with the network at work so I worked from home and didn’t have to drive in.

You’d think with such excellent teachers I’d be able to curl up and sleep at will but I doubt it will ever be so easy. Last Saturday I couldn’t sleep so I put that to my advantage and grabbed a couple hours of shut-eye on the couch before getting up for my first proper sunrise hike of the year, returning to settle in with my compatriots for a well-deserved nap.

The Letter of the Law

Our cat Trixie is visible behind our cat Sam as they sleep in my lap on March 31, 2021. Original: _RAW5871.arw

A couple of days after his surgery as Sam slept high in my lap I judged his mood to determine how close I should let Trixie get. I kept her at arms length which she followed to the letter of the law, sticking out her front paws such that one was resting on her older brother. He didn’t mind so I let it go, though I had to keep a watchful eye as she would try to inch closer to her hero. Thankfully she didn’t try too hard to smother Sam with affection until he was feeling better.

Our cat Trixie sleeps below our cat Sam as they sleep in my lap on March 31, 2021. Original: _RAW5875.arw

Back From Surgery

Our cat Sam looking up while resting on one of the larger cat beds on March 28, 2021. Original: _RAC5859.arw

Sam successfully underwent oral surgery on Monday, the anesthesiologist who is trained to deal with his heart arrhythmia kept him in good shape and the dentists were able to do their work. He charmed them all of course and they gushed over him, I wish I could take credit for his sweetness but that’s all Samwise. He was a bit subdued the first couple of days (as expected) and mostly just slept in my lap but has bounced back to his normal self. I kept Trixie at bay until he was ready as she was eager to curl up with her hero.

It was Boo who got rattled the most, perhaps he thought when we took Sam away for the day that, like when we took Ellie away for the last time, he wasn’t coming back. He recognized Sam when we brought him home and didn’t hiss (sometimes the different smell throws them at first) but kept looking at Sam like he was a ghost. He didn’t eat regularly for a while and wasn’t interested in playing but after a couple of days I got him to chase his favorite toy and he was back sleeping on my legs this morning. He’s still a little off but mostly back to normal as well.

Oranges

A pair of orange Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5 trail running shoes sit below our orane tabby cat Sam on February 21, 2021. Original: _RAC3913.arw

I like orange in many guises, whether orange the fruit or orange the tabby or orange the color. In Oregon I had many uses for shoes that don’t apply here in Arizona so I’ve been letting my array of kicks dwindle as the old shoes slowly wear out. I did pick up a pair of trail runners recently to replace two pairs of shoes on their last legs, this style could fill multiple roles but my intent is to use them as a complement to my hiking shoes and to try some occasional light trail and road running. I haven’t run in decades and wasn’t serious about it even then, I found it a joyous way to exercise but quit when I felt it was hurting my knees. I’ve worn the shoes to work a few times to make sure I like them as they’ll be permanently covered in dust once they greet the desert. The Hoka One One brand is new to me but given the closeout pricing and the delightful colors and some positive reviews on Youtube I decided to give them a go.

A pair of orange Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5 trail running shoes sit beside our sleeping cat Boo on February 21, 2021. Original: _RAC3824.arw

The Aging Heart

Our cat Sam rests atop the cat tree with the TV in the background on January 30, 2021. Original: _CAM9550.arw

Sam needs oral surgery but in preparation they noticed some odd heart behavior so he went to a cardiologist and was diagnosed with heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), so he’ll get his surgery at a specialist with an anesthesiologist trained for his condition. Then he’ll be on a blood thinner to reduce stroke risk, thankfully I think it’s in pill form as he likes pill pockets but getting liquid down his throat is not for the faint of heart. He’s not showing any symptoms yet so depending on how his condition progresses he might be with us for years to come, he’s to get periodic evaluations every six months and we need to keep a close eye on any symptoms that develop.

A Quiet Moment

Our cats Emma and Sam in the cat tree in the dining room in July 2009. Original: _MG_6006.cr2

Emma and Sam spend a quiet moment in the cat tree in front of one of the picture windows in the summer of 2009. It didn’t stay quiet long, in a minute Emma snuck down and poked Sam from above. The sneak attack poke was a favorite game of theirs and fortunately they had each other to play it with as the much older Scout was not a fan.

No Peeking

Our cat Sam sits underneath the Christmas tree beside a box from Really Right Stuff on December 22, 2020. Original: _RAC1661.arw

We’re out of wrapping paper but the Tree Guardian makes sure there’s no peeking before Christmas morning! Although in this case I already know what’s inside this gift from my mom, it’s an L-bracket from Really Right Stuff for my Sony A6600 camera. I’ve had their sister bracket for my A6500 for a few years and love it. Most of my pet shots are handheld, as in this shot of Sam lit only by the lights of the tree, so I like that their brackets also feel good in the hand.