juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I woke to rain outside, and kept hearing it, on and off, through the day; hearing it because I've been able to keep a window open and the fan off for a few days now. The window here is behind a substantial bush, so the light is gentle in the mornings (the birdsong, on the other hand, not so much). Yesterday morning, I sat under that open window and peeled and cut apples while watching Supernatural. (Every year about this time I catch up on Supernatural; every year it's still awful, but the kernel of the show it could be, the 11.4 "Baby" show, the AU werewolf!Claire show, the show of ambiguous landscapes of denuded, earthen British Columbia forests pretending to be the Midwest, the show of flannel and bunkers and overnight drives, always leave me wistful.)

The apples came from the back yard, half-feral apple trees that produce tart, hard, dry green apples with just a few bugs. When I taught Teja how to make applesauce, I told him "peel, chop, boil over medium heat"—it's impossible to screw up. This year made me wonder if I was wrong; the first batch was prone to scalding and awfully tart, and required a cup of water (I'm used to ladling off excess fluid instead) and half a cup of brown sugar (there are greater sins). And it wasn't ruined, it turned out fantastic. Homemade applesauce always is.

Anyway, I moved last month. Moving is objectively always awful, but this went fine, even if it left me wishing I owned zero physical objects—despite that it was making a place for objects (specifically, an overhead shelf with nothing but blankets and plush and treasured figurine) which made me feel settled in.

August and Gillian are settling in too, decently well. The stress of the move, and the smaller space and relative isolation, has made them much more companionable. They've lived together for five years, with tolerance but no intimacy. Now, they're touching all the time! They share a blanket! This morning, August licked Gillian's face three small, sweet times. I'm not getting invested in the future of this intimacy, but feel blessed to witness the little signs of it.

I've been taking a few shitty snapshots of the cats, and you can find them over on my Tumblr; here are some cat-touching highlights:

Their peace and comfort, and also mine, has been interrupted by a fairly severe flea infestation—with which we are dealing, but which may be an ongoing/reoccuring battle for reasons outside my control, and I'm mad about that. They're just so uncomfortable, and only have the energy to groom and eat and then nap; not eager to play, too sore for most cuddles. Hopefully things will improve as the medication does its thing.

Autumn is the season of my heart, and the weather report says the rain is not just today, it is the next five days, and by then it's late September; 70 degree days after that will just be sunny days in autumn—the season is here. Most people don't get such a clear cut-off date! But ours was September 17, and rain, and rain, and rain.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
So tired.

August has gone from: rejecting bland wet food and reluctantly eating increasing quantities of bland dry food > rejecting bland dry food and eating increasing quantities of normal dry food > rejecting bland dry food, also rejecting normal dry food, and eating increasing quantities of bland wet food. She's still not up to normal intake even with these aspects combined, but is no longer having issues vomit or diarrhea problems. She will sometimes eat more if I sit with her or hold her in my lap. Otherwise, she looks and acts entirely normal. The dry/wet preference seems indicative of recurring periodontal disease, but the vet checked for that and ruled it ongoing, tooth cleaning sometime, but shouldn't be causing issues now, and her blood tests/symptoms did indicate some sort of minor gut upset. Maybe teeth coincided with gut upset, and the vet underestimated how bad they were? The vet said things would be fine if they continued to improve/didn't get worse; they're not getting worse, they're technically slowly improving, but in weird and out of character ways that seem to indicate ongoing problems.

The labor that is feeding August is complicated by the fact that Gillian is a problem eater (needs to be locked in with his food to keep from wandering off and forgetting to eat it, but hates being locked away; yells until I come sit with him while he eats dinner, which is spoons I just don't have) and that Dare is so far the opposite as to become a problem (eats fast enough to make herself vomit, so I have to take her food away 2-3 times per meal to make her slow down) and also needs her open eye socket cleaned around food-time because that's when it gets goopy. So I spend two 1.5h blocks/day hopping between cats to multitask their food intake—

—while trying to figure out, always in the background, what to do about August. (switch to other wet food semi-permanently? revisit vet? can either/both be budgeted? I am intentionally uninvolved with finances and money is my foremost anxiety trigger, so I find it difficult to account for that aspect of these decisions).

Cat management is my only responsibility and real contribution to the universe and it's comparably limited in scope, but I am nonetheless not coping well and perpetually exhausted and prone to taking long walks, which is an outlet, which gets me away from here; right now, away is all I want.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
It's fairly common to see Flight Rising users put name/timezone/preferred pronouns on their profiles, which I adore. But it meant I had the opportunity to just state my preferences, and thus I discovered that wiggly hand gestures and "it's complex" are not a statement.

The reason I prefer FR's habits—compared to LJ/Tumblr/journal spaces, where it's more common to use labels like cis/trans in combination with preferred pronouns—is because I'm adverse to discussing my gender identity; I don't know how to do it without co-opting those labels. I don't talk about therianthopy much these days because my intense period of self-discovery has passed. I don't have much more exploring to do or a lot to express; it's simply an aspect of my identity, definitive but known and, frankly, no big deal.* But I really do identify as cat, and for me that also defines my gender—and cat gender is complex. Domestic cats have some gender dimorphism, but it's effected by their neuter status and life history (namely, when they were neutered)—and none of it has corollaries to human concepts of gender. To me, the defining aspect of a neutered domestic cat's sex and gender is their neutering—they have a third non-sex identity and social role.

Yet I call Gillian my little man, and I call August my pretty princess, and that's simultaneously accurate and irrelevant. Gillian has a developed face structure, and so looks like a male cat; he also has a bossiness and noisiness that we associate with masculinity. August is a very pretty cat with silky fur, and is spoiled and demanding, which fits a feminine princess archetype.

I identify with both halves of that. My gender identity is "domestic neutered cat," which means a near absence of any aspect of sex or gender, physiological or social, human or feline. But I appear as feminine, and so I'm assigned feminine pronouns. Those pronouns aren't accurate, but they're functional. To call a pet "it" is (for lack of a better word) dehumanizing; gendering pets is a way of fitting them into our worldview, of interpreting/projecting/interacting with them as individuals. I'm especially aware of this with Devon—the parallels between Devon's relationship with me and my relationship with August are startling; he's my person, and I'm his girl in the way that August is my girl: the gendered identity is a useful tool, a way of interpreting and defining my identity and our relationship.

In some ways, the gender projected and assigned to me is important because it puts me under the "female" umbrella and that's not unburdened; it effects how I interact, as a human, with humans. But it does not make me a woman, any more than what I call Gillian turns him into a man.

The hand-waving complexity nudges up on the territory of agender and genderqueer, but I'm not comfortable with those labels because they indicate an experience that I respect and don't share. There's a massive cultural difference between the experience of gender identity and species identity—in short, my circumstances are meaningful to me but make nary a blip on anyone's social radar; agender and genderqueer identities do, in loaded and painful ways, it would be disrespectful as fuck to co-opt that experience.

Given the freedom to identify myself as I see fit, without needing to justify it, I freeze up. I presume that everyone intuits the unstated complexity and silently demands that I explain myself, which is classic social anxiety: the belief that everyone cares a lot about everything I do, and they're all judging me for it. I want to footnote in some handwaving and, I don't know, an apology. But when I'm able to step away from the paranoia, it's liberating. All those wiggly hand gestures are important to me, occasionally important to those close to me, and in adjunct ways important to society at large. But they're not always relevant, they don't always need to be expressed and defended.

My FR profile says "she/her or they/them." What that means is "female pronouns are convenient and acceptable; widely-recognized non-gendered pronouns are equally accurate" with subtitle "because I'm a cat and cats don't have genders, and using these words isn't the same as embracing their connotations." I care a lot about that!

The people glancing at my FR profile don't, and that's lovely.

* The primary exception: I feel like domestic therian species are underexplored, and yet domestication is the defining aspect of my therianthropy. As example: the effect of neutering, discussed here; also neoteny and its effect on my relative immaturity/continued dependence on caretakers. Gimme discussions about domestic therians pls.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Mama just had her initial vet visit! She got a microchip and flea treatment and rabies/distemper vaccines; she is also FIV/FeLV negative; she's in fantastic overall health, at a good weight, no ear mites, good heart and insides and yay. This is the best of all possible outcomes, and she was even good at the vet—skittish, happiest if mostly covered by a towel, but surprisingly calm and not at all aggressive.

I've provided bits and pieces of Mama's backstory, but now that Dee's adopted her we've heard a bit more detail from the neighbor who was looking after Mama. There's still gaps in our knowledge, but as it stands... )

We're still planning to do a two month quarantine, like we did for Gillian. Gillian had a possible (but unlikely) previous injury when we first found him, so there was a bit more concern about incubating viruses; Mamakitty isn't at such high risk, but a two month quarantine will give her, as it did Gillian, lots of time to bond with us, explore the house without interacting with other cats, and learn August and Gillian's scent. Gillian's introduction to August was largely drama-free, and I think his quarantine contributed to that. Hopefully it'll have the same positive effect on Mamakitty.

Dee'll buy a FURminator soon and I can begin the gleeful process of taming Mama's crazy fur; she also has a few mats that need trimmed out. The vet trimmed her nails; we'll want to upkeep that if at all possible.

Mama has been doing beautifully in the bathroom. She prefers to hide under things—the bench, the towel rack: low-down, covered safe dens. But she comes out for pettings, and she's learning to put most of her body in a lap so she can purr and drool and cover your nice black clothes with calico fur. So far she's been quiet and relatively uninterested in leaving the one room; this may be subject to change as she adapts.

All in all, healthy safe happy cat who will continue to be one. This is the best news.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I now have two cats sleeping on my bed at night.

Gillian came from his second viral test (FIV/FeLV) with a clean bill of health, so after Thanksgiving's busyness I began integrating Gillian and August. They've seen and smelled much of one another in passing; I started by letting them both out only at feeding time, because it's hugely distracted for both of them (August is food-anxious, Gillian is food-happy) thus they could share space without direct interaction. Then I started letting them out together in the body of the house for a couple minutes at a time, after which August would come decompress with me in my room.

August isn't fearful, but she's cautious in a way that Gillian is not: he has some cat sensibilities and will jump at loud noises, but he's a confident, pushy beast. That means that all of this has been a little hard on me, despite the fact that integration is going smoothly: August is my baby and my first priority, and seeing her a little wary in the face of Gillian's intense nonchalance upset me; when they had exactly the sort of scuffles I expected they would have, August was the one being chased. It did her no harm, and after a few minutes she was ready to try again; I've also been careful not to show any of my resentment to Gillian. But acknowledged and containing my feelings in the wake of Thanksgiving ... I dunno, I've just been wiped out lately,

After a day of fifteen minute interactions, I started leaving my door open and interviening less. Gillian spent most of his time downstairs, as usual (I imagine upstairs still has some "locked in the bathroom" connotations); August spent most of her time in my bedroom, as usual. At night they each slept likewise. But the night after, Gillian found August's blanket on my bed and made himself at home there, and after some coaxing (I found August asleep in the small laundry hamper in the bathroom, it was actually adorable) August also slept on the bed.

Last night they shared opposite ends of August's blanket.

August is still a bit wary and they're not snuggling or anything, but when Gillian plays August may feels the urge to play, and they can sniff each other without anyone bolting, and there are two cats on my bed: this was pretty much what I hoped for from my future, back when I first took Gillian inside.

He's a remarkably different cat that I thought he was—not just age and sex, but he's a ridiculous and feisty thing. He's still in his e-collar; I'll try removing it after the cats are completely settled, and see if a calm environment and behavioral therapy (read: distractions) can cure his overgrooming. If not, I'd rather keep him in an e-collar than put him on medication—call this a neurotic human's bias—although I may commission my mother (who sews and makes fabric arts) for a pair of cloth collars which look nice and would be easy to throw in the wash. It's a pity: he's adorable under there.

The bond I have with August is intense. She is my childsister cat and I love her beyond reason; I speak of my love for her the way that Devon speaks of his love for me. She is my heart. Gillian isn't that, and I don't mind. This is a relationship I was careful not to demand of August when I brought her home, but I found it and it filled the hole in me that was shaped like a cat. It's not something I need from Gillian, which may be good because he's so broad and greedy with affection—and because I can't expect two miracles. I'm content with our annoying demanding ridiculous meowing heat-seeking cat missile in a dumb collar, and August is figuring him out, too.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Real autumn broke a few weeks back, and was a long time coming—so many sunny days—but we have rain now, and deep blue skies behind the yellow foliage. Gillian has been out and about for an hour or three every day, while August is busy with her daytime sleep and locked safe in my room. I have played American McGee's Alice: Madness Returns while sipping hot apple cider and buried under a blanket, with an open window (letting in wind and the sound of rain) at my back and a cat in my lap.

Indeed it feels as if lately the only thing I've not done sans lapcat is breathe. Cool weather brings August to me; at night she curls up between my legs while I read or watch TV before bed, finding the most awkward possible spot on the bed (hogging as many blankets as she can) so that when I finally turn off the lights I must twist myself around her into whatever space and bedding is left. When they're not cuddling, they're yowling: Gillian mostly, who—now that he has discovered the world outside the bathroom—complains mightily whenever he's trapped in that stifling prison. He has another month of quarantine, and so he shall just be forced to cope.

Odi is afraid of Gillian, who weighs eight pounds and is front declawed. We're not sure if this is because Gillian has the scary confusing soft e-collar of doom, or because Gillian has a few times actually gone after Odi when Odi gets too close. (Mind, August has swatted at him with actual, albeit blunted, claws, and he's not the least bit scared of her).

Autumn is for walking dogs. Dee's been walking Odi in the rain since the first day of it; I finally went with them a few days back, on a day when threatening rained turned into sprinkles turned into a jean-soaking downpour, and I would not live in any other climate in the world than this. Yesterday we walked down to St. Johns proper, went to Starbucks and took our drinks and the dog to the Willamette waterfront, blue and cool; we went to the library where we each had a book on hold, because autumn is for reading.

It's not all beautiful: my wrist issues have been flaring and thus I have a lot piling up that I want to do and can't—and moreover the fact that my body's throwing up yet another chronic issue just frustrates me—and the needy cats are lovely but also draining my energy. But: autumn. I can't argue with that, wouldn't want to; it is so beautiful, here.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Today was Kuzco's vet appointment, down at Southwest Animal Hospital, where Alfie (and Dink) went a number of years ago. Verdict: He's on more medications than any beast in the house, now, but will most likely be fine. Unless he continues downhill, it looks like my initial concern—lost tooth was bothering him, so he was avoiding food—was correct: he has a few other health issues, but they're on account of being an old pig; it's mostly the food issue, which has left him underweight and a bit dehydrated.

He got his teeth trimmed (the other three incisors had grown scraggly and pointy because he hadn't been wearing them down; his molars were fine) and is on meloxicam, an anti-inflammatory/painkiller, so his teeth shouldn't bother him anymore; he's on acidophilus and metoclopramide to improve digestion and stimulate appetite; he's also getting Critical Care to replace the hay and pellets he's been avoiding. In short, a guinea pig get fat quick fix. The first round of squirting medications down his throat was messy, but now—well it's still messy, but he's greedily sucking down Critical Care so yay.

Critical Care smells exactly as you'd expect: quasi-semi-digested guinea pig food. For some reason it had gained a certain infamy in my mind as the superfood you force-feed your guinea pig to prevent the worst from happening; it rather lives up to expectations. It's stinky and goopy and gets everywhere and Kuzco actually loves it.

And—and this sounds awful, but—Kuzco and I have always bonded over his trauma. With a guinea pig that's almost necessary, because terrified can be their de facto state. But Kuz has always wanted cuddles most after being at his most vulnerable, like a bath or when I check his stomach and boybits. The syringes don't traumatize him anymore—quite the opposite, he was pretty hyped up over the last round of Critical Care—but we've always bonded over his vulnerability and being hand-fed his delicious nom noms and helpful medications is pretty much exactly that, and so it feels oddly ... right, in a mostly non-exploitative way, to care for my old man pig like this.

The vet was exactly what I needed. It's out of the way (in a Portland suburb) and isn't as cushy as the vet we use for all the other beasts, but it's exotic-specific and I felt confident putting Kuzco in their hands. There's also something rewarding about talking pigs with someone who's part of the pig club, and knows all about necessary diets and the correct size of poop and how they're still cute even if they're 90% sure you're about to kill them RIGHT NOW.

He didn't even pee on anyone, bless.

4-times daily Critical Care feedings means no Corvallis trip for now, but I'm okay with that. We've reached a lull in pet stress: Kuzco is perky and already filling up and taking well to the many syringes; Gillian is in limbo between finishing his antibiotics and waiting on viral tests (they want us to wait two months before restesting, due to incubation periods), so he'll have more bathroom-only time followed probably by supervised time roaming the house only when August is enclosed in a separate room, a compromise which means we won't have to worry about cat socialization efforts just yet. There's daily upkeep but it's manageable and I don't have to pay another vet another hundred dollars within the next few days and guys, I will take what I can get.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Last weekend was fantastic and hugely busy. On Saturday, Dee and I made a day trip down to Corvallis. We brought Odi to board the day in grandparents's outdoor dog kennel, and went with Devon and my family (parents and sister) to the Fall Festival, an outdoor fair of local artists. I usually go just with my father, or sometimes with my sister as well; having such a large group was a bit like herding cats (oh, the yelled cell phone conversations), but it was also lovely. The weather held at mostly sunny but not hot, my parents bought some metal work for the garden, and I got to show off one of my favorite artists, Cameron Kaseberg. When we were done with the booths, we split up and Devon, Dee, and I went across the street to the library book sale, where everything was half price for the end of the day; I am absolutely drowning in books over here, but I still managed to find Dracula, some Atwood and Woolf, and a Southern Gothic novel of questionable potential for $6, and who can say no to that. Then we went out to a delightful dinner.

Back at Devon's grandparents's house we discovered that—true story—as soon as we'd left, Odi had managed to pull up the chain link sides to the kennel, wriggle underneath, and follow Devon's scent trail across the yard and back to Devon's house, where he had found Devon's father and invited himself inside and spent the day gorging on found bags of cat food and playing. We're exceedingly lucky that he wasn't hurt in the escape and that he immediately found a safe place to go (as a one-eyed dog he's pretty identifiable, so Devon's folks recognized him), but: WHUT.

On Sunday, Dee and I took the bus to Hawthorne—one of my old Portland stomping grounds out in SE—for the Under Wildwood release party. The Wildwood Chronicles take place in St. Johns (our neighborhood here in Portland) and the vast park visible from the neighborhood; at the release party we got a pre-release signed copy of the second book in the series, and the author and illustrator did a joint talk which was all about the book as a collaboration—their joint approach to creating its world, and then exploring it in their respective mediums as author and illustrator. Afterward, we went to an early dinner at Chez Machin—I'd never had savory crêpes, and they make theirs with chewy robust buckwheat; mine was filled with mozzarella, mushrooms, and tomatoes, and topped with a pesto sauce. I'm an extremely picky eater, mostly in regards to texture and new foods, so it was a bit of a risk but a complete success: A+, would love to eat again.

On one hand this is exactly what I want of autumn: more to do, more desire to do it, the delicious exhaustion and enthusiastic downtime that follows having done it. That said, we noticed this week that Kuzco has been having some troubles eating: he lost a top incisor a bit ago, which is totally normal, but I think he lost this one way down at the root and the root got infected. It's just broken through, so he's probably fine, but he's lost a bit of weight in the meantime and the infection may still linger. He has a vet appointment tomorrow just to make sure he's fine, but here's the thing: Kuz is 7 years old, and guinea pigs live between 5 and 8 years. He's developed a cataract in one eye; when he's eating well (which is usually) he gets rotund but the weight is all in his tummy—he's never been a very plump pig, but he's on the bonier side now. What I'm saying is that he's an old man, the last of his herd. This tooth issue is probably unrelated to aging, but it sort of makes his mortality hit home. I'm not dreading or even anticipating his death—Kuzco has had a good life, and he can stick around for as much more of it as fate determines—but this comes while we have a cat in limbo and while I just feel ... exhausted.

It's money issues (even if Devon doesn't seem to think there ... are any), it's fear of commitment and responsibility, it's general exhaustion and the need for some downtime. Two weeks ago I was exhausted and went to escape in Corvallis, and spent the whole time having an extended nervous breakdown. Then there was cat, then there was social stuff, now Kuzco, and I haven't showered in a couple of days and when I'm not surfeited with distraction (making stars while watching a show, reading a book while watching video games) I'm on the verge of a crying jag.

Gillian is fine! He managed to groom the section that he had groomed to the skin, so that's still healing, but most all of his scabs have flaked off and he's no longer vibrating with itchy frustration. No other health problems, he's on the second half of his preventative medication course, and really the only thing he hates is being trapped in one room. I'm just having a hard time bonding, because right now I don't see "cat I love"—I see "ongoing responsibility and monetary investment." That's selfish, and it doesn't mean I don't love him, but it's a connotation I can't shake right now.

If sleep were easier (not having nightmares, just sleeping restlessly), I'd want to sleep for a week. Devon wants me to come back to Corvallis for another try at downtime, but it depends on what Kuzco's vet visit turns up. I just wish there were an off button for the world, or for me.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Gillian is exceedingly frustrated. He's probably been an over-groomer for some time, which is precisely why he's wearing an e-collar now—so he can't groom his irritated skin and so make it more irritated and so make him want to groom it. The first few days of the e-collar were awkward, because he wasn't quite sure how to function with this odd addition to his body; now he's just a tail-lashing beast of frustration and misery, because the raw sections are scabbed and the scabbed sections are flaking and hair is growing back everywhere and I imagine it all itches like mad.

I'm reading a particularly enjoyable book which is perfect for bite-sized consumption, so I often go into the bathroom—we've moved him to the second-floor bathroom, which is larger and has a window and gets more use, so he gets more company—and sit on the floor and read a chapter or two. He used to be content to fall asleep in my lap, e-collar and all; how he paces and tries to groom and ends up licking the collar or the two inches of tail he can reach. If I go to leave, though, he makes a dive for my ankles and meows plaintively.

When I'm in there, August sticks her paws under the door. Sometimes she bats at any of his toys which are in reach. Always she mewls most pathetically. They've met under the door and through an almost-closed door and once when August managed to dart into the bathroom. Who knows how they'll get along, but he is desperate now to get out into the land of free-roaming cuddles, and she's desperate to get in to the magical off-limits home to the second bowl of cat food.

He's already learned to clear his dish twice a day because if he doesn't, the rest of the food goes away. In the long run I'll probably still feed him in a closed bathroom, since he takes about ten minutes and August takes three, and she will eat his food too given half a chance.

August has kept her cute level set on high for days now—maybe a bit of anxiety or jealousy, or maybe just a steady reminder that "I am also a perfect cat and you love me too right." And I do. It's finally truly autumn here: the overcast cool weather has held for days, and any sun that breaks it from now on will be a lovely crisp and bright autumn day, not a return to summer. August wants nothing more in the world (excepting the hours leading up to each meal) to sit on a microfleece blanket that is next to or on top of me and kneed it and go to sleep, and for that matter I would rather nothing more than same with addition of a video game or book.

About this time last year we were thinking how lovely Halloween would be with a beautiful black cat in the window. This year there could easily be two, and while August is certainly the more regal—she sits with her back arched and her tail wrapped neatly around her front paws—it does seem like particular happenstance to have a matching set. They're mirror-cats to one another: black and green but midsized fluffy bright-eyed; black and green but small short-haired pale-eyed. She meows in consonants and he in vowels.

This is not how I expected things to end up, and I spent a few days in a haze of disbelief—cultured by stress and the numbness that follows it—where he wasn't really a pet, just a project: a creature to be rehabilitated and taken to expensive vet visits. But he is, you know—a pet, I mean; a family member—and before long we'll be worrying about things like cat pheromones and peaceful first meetings and group socialization, and who knows how many black cats will be keeping watch come All Hallows' Eve.

And a black dog, too.

I noticed today, sitting on the front porch with Mamakitty, that the dark fur in her calico motley will make her look quite lovely against black.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
This is your Gillian update post:

He's a he, and he's seven years old (who knew?), and he's had at least two previous owners, and he's ours now. The name isn't changing, since Gillian is unisex—the pronunciation, however, which was wavering between "Jillian" and "Gillian," is now firmly set on "Gill."

He was mircochipped, and they were able to contact the registered owners (which is moderately rare). Gillian was their son's cat, adopted six years ago at about one year old in Hillsboro, Oregon, which is about twenty miles and one river away from here. It seems like the son wasn't a permanent resident with his parents, who ended up as de facto caretakers; the cat was indoor-outdoor and reportedly quite sweet, but went walkabout; we don't know how long they had him. They were NOT the people that declawed him; there's no record of those owners.

The registered owners don't want the cat and are happy to transfer legal ownership, which is a blessing: the best of a possibly tricky situation. Gillian has some sort of skin issue—they didn't find fleas but he did get a flea treatment; his constant grooming may be fleas or allergies or a nervous habit. He'll have to wear an e-collar while things heal, and we're taking a basic approach: treatment and improved living conditions, and we'll wait and see how the condition develops; it seems equally likely that it will improve when he can't bother it, or that it may need further treatment. He tested negative for FIV/FeVL, and got basic vaccinations. Tonight he'll begin a basic antibiotic course, because who knows what he was exposed to outside. Because of his age, we will eventually want to get complete bloodwork done just to have an general measure of his health.

So: fairly healthy adult male cat, ready now to spend a few weeks in the bathroom, and then we'll start introducing him to the rest of the house. And then as soon as we're done with Gillian and ready to start anew, we get to go through the same process with Mamakitty. (Send help.)

Right now I think that Gillian just wants to spend a few hours curled up beside the toilet, not being molested. I'm exhausted myself, underslept and nauseous. August is curled in my lap, and she loves me. (She's been fine with all these changes, so far—curious, but fine. I expect she'll be fine with Gillian actual, too—she's lived with cats before, and so has he.) But as though she knows she has competition, and because I was out of town for a few days, she has been the cutest and most cuddly of cute and cuddly beasts, let me tell you. And she's so soft, like a bunny. And full of sleep.

So. Food and mediocre TV time, to settle my stomach and my spirits. But hey, guys. We have another cat.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Fuck me but LJ just erased my finished post. So, short form:

Gillian in the bathroom. We scared and betrayed her by taking her into the house and past the dog, and yet she is alive. And occasionally yowling. No really she's fine; she still loves cuddles.

Vet visit tomorrow, 10:40a. Good wishes welcome; please don't ask "what will you do if she's microchipped?" because the answer is I HATE YOU. Best outcome: no microchip, no major diseases, is neutered, sexes female just 'cause; flea treatment, two weeks in the box to adjust to being inside and having discrete feeding times and to check for a URI, etc. Worst outcome: heartbreak, etc.; am I being forced to give her back to the bastards that declawed her, etc. There's nothing I can do about those fears, so I'm ignoring them.

Watching mediocre TV instead—Once Upon a Time. Early verdict: yay fairytales, some lovely characters (Snow White, yes; Rumpelstiltskin is growing on me), decent balance episodic/overarching; boo whitey white white suburban yaaaawn, and there's a lot of reliance of face recognition between the two settings and I've got none of that let me tell you.

While watching, making paper stars out of book pages, also known as fulfilling a longtime dream. The book is one I hated, and is way too acclaimed/popular for this copy to have any absolute value; I've had to elide a dozen sex scenes so far, so help me, but the stars look lovely. It's fantastic busywork, which is just what I need.

Imagine that with a lot more grace and much less brevity, and that's about what I wrote the first time.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
This is in-Corvallis do-nothing low-stress time and I will be damned if I've not had constant nightmares every time I go to sleep: I've been in college, been on a cruise, attended a college on a cruise ship; people have died from exploding intestines yes it was as gross as it sounds, I hid from a werewolf-cum-madman attack, and my parents got divorced. It's not the vivid, winding, surreal dreams I have upon waking, but a constant parade of them all fucking night long and I remember them all.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm anxious.

Got a quote for Gillian's initial vet visit; Devon will cover it. Will make appointment soon. Corvallis Fall Festival is next weekend because timing is shit; my father invited me and I'm not even sure yet if I want to go, least of all what's feasible. I am a constant bundle of nerves, so frazzled that I cannot concentrate on a video game (but I can read for two straight hours; I don't even know). I just.

1) Getting August was this stretched out thing and this is so fast and it's scary; it's a big responsibility and it's just sitting there in front of me, being vast. 2) In getting August I convinced myself that you could adopt a cat normally; they didn't have to show up, bedraggled and hopeful, on your doorstep for it to be magical and meaningful—AND THEN THIS ONE DID, after I'd finally dismissed that ideal. 3) I hate money. 4) I hate it a lot, you don't even realize; any issue of money triggers my anxiety, but this is like a dozen in two weeks and I hate it goddamn. 5) Everyone makes all this sound easy. Unfortunately, we're not in a magical world wherein something that ought to happen easily does, and I feel like the only one seeing the difficulties and then I have the stress of not being understood on top of the stress of being stressed.

I want to run in circles and punch things and scream and then sleep for a few solid days without even a single dream.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
The day after I sent an application to the Feral Cat Coalition, I discovered that Gillian is declawed. She was trying to knead my leg and it wasn't happening; the next day I was able to hold her paw and try to extend her claws, and there are none. I suppose that's why her feet look so small and deformed; this is the first time I've had close contact with a declawed cat, and of course I knew it was wrong but I didn't really understand it until now, and it makes my heart ache. We're assuming that if declawed, she's likely also neutered.

Instead, the next step is to take her to a vet to have her checked for a microchip—because as Dee has argued, she may have previous, fantastic, bereaved owners that adopted her already declawed. If those owners were the ones that declawed her ... well, I'm trying not to think of that. If she's not microchipped (I've already checked local and online lost pet postings), we're seriously considering getting her treated for fleas and taking her in—probably as soon as we have her checked for a microchip, because a declawed cat shouldn't be outdoors. We'll still take in Mama come cold weather, which would mean three active cats and one geriatric confined cat. Whether or not this happens depends on whether Devon is willing/able to subsidize more of the animal upkeep fees, because Gillian would essentially be ... mine.

I'm unsure how I feel about this. Scratch that, I know how I feel: terrified.

Last weekend Devon came up with all the rest of the stuff I had in storage. He had been digging in the garage for my box of stored clothes, because I've been looking hard are reassessing, and essentially reclaiming, my self-presentation (which has caused me a great amount of financial anxiety, as such things cost money); instead he unearthed everything I had left in boxes after my moves from Portland apartment to Corvallis townhouse to Devon's parents's house and it was ... overwhelming. Fantastic, cathartic, but also a lot of busywork to sort a dozen boxes and now my room is a mess because I need to figure out better storage options and guys I am hip-deep in books I really am. So there's that: I'm already exhausted from having to be Productive, Responsible Adult.

The process towards August was years and years of wanting and months of planning and then a whirlwind of actually doing. Gillian showed up on our porch just a few weeks ago, and then I named her and now I love her. I go out with a book and sit with her, and I press my forehead to hers and I want the best for her. I've been looking at various neutering/vet check/adoption options for her, even using the phone, even though it would be much easier just to do nothing. But right now, every possible answer is terrifying: whether she has owners, and whether they deserve to have her; the finances and responsibility of another cat; what her presence and safety means to my heart. I want someone else to be able to make these decisions for me, but no one can. (Me: DEVON WHAT DO. Devon: Well, she does seem like a fantastic cat! Me: YOU ARE NOT HELPING.)

Tonight I'm on the train to Corvallis, even though I saw Devon just last weekend. He was supposed to have this Friday off, but doesn't; it doesn't matter, because we want to be together and I would love to leave my messy room and all these troubles behind for a few days, and let him take care of me while I do nothing at all remotely related to being a Productive, Responsible Adult. And when I get back, maybe I'll know what's happening with money and cats, and Gillian can go in a box and to the vet—but right now I should just start laundry, and that I think I can do.

And all the things I don't want they're full
Of love and longing
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Gillian headshot

If it were reasonable to take in a hundred billion cats, or if we didn't have our hearts set on giving Mamakitty a home, I would adopt Gillian. I can't tell you much about this cat other than it turned up on the porch about the time we started putting cat food there. I've been calling her a she in part because of her small size, and named her Gillian after the Practical Magic character and the black cat she sometimes carries. As far as I can figure Gillian's not yet full grown; she must at some point have been domestic because this is the friendliest cat you have ever met. She comes to the porch and meows in the window so that I will go out and pet her; she jumps in my lap. She gives lovebites, honest to goodness, and I adore her. In many ways she's also a fascinating mirror to August—I just really, really wish she could be mine; in the meantime, I'm looking into having her spayed/vaccinated/ear tipped, and, well, we'll put out food.

Every good picture I could get was of her on my lap. Guys, she's a lovely cat.

+3 )
Petting Gillian

Don't let the Japanese maple tree in the background fool you: autumn is just starting, and not yet in full swing. But Devon was here this weekend while Dee went out of town, and we went into St. Johns proper for lunch, and I ran out halfway into the meal in order to stand in the thick full raindrops that I'd seen through the window. It is here.


juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)

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