Skimbleshanks, 3/2011 – 5/30/2013

You can play no pranks with Skimbleshanks!
He’s a Cat that cannot be ignored;
So nothing goes wrong on the Northern Mail
When Skimbleshanks is aboard.

Sometimes, though, things go wrong.

Sometimes, your two year old cat has digestive problems and you take him to the vet, and the vet finds a mass.

And you do surgery, and you discover that the mass touches his entire digestive tract, from stomach to colon.

We euthanized Skimble on Wednesday, on the table. It was less than eight weeks from the time that he started having constipation to his death.

There was no other choice that could reasonably be made, but damn, damn does it hurt so much.

It’s the first time in ten years that there are only three cats in my household — though we had already done something to fix that a month and a bit ago. You’ll see, in the future.

For now, this is Skimble’s time.

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Asparagus 1/30/03 – 5/15/13

Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That’s such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.

Seven years, almost to the day, after we brought home a gaunt, neglected Maine Coon, he died quietly and peacefully.

Gus was never a healthy cat. He had inflammatory tumors in his ears when we got him that required removal, and he had chronic feline herpes that got worse with age. Over the past year, he began to decline significantly, likely due to more tumors in his head.

But he was one hell of a personality. Everyone who met him loved him, for his sweet nature, his love of playing with things, his ability to be a blankie for short haired cats.

He was challenging to live with, to put it mildly — he ate electrical cables and string, could open doors and cabinets, and got into everything.

And yet, the house feels empty without him.

Good bye, Big Cat.

Posted in Asparagus, Cats | 4 Comments

Radish and Artichoke join the rest of the house!

Thankfully, before my hands fall off (though Holy Goats’ lotion helps immensely), Radish and Artichoke have been pronounced free of SPED (small parrot exploding disease. ;)) and all other contagions, and can now join the rest of the parrots downstairs.

This is good for a number of reasons. First, because Radish particularly would like some parrot-esque company. Second, because the bird room is set up to let them out and about. Third, because cherry head conures are loud, and it’s nice to get away from them. :)

In other cheerful news, Artichoke is eating a great deal of pellets these days, as well as mulch, and Radish has begun playing with toys and we’re working on target training. He’s really fun to train, since he loves sunflower seeds more than words.

Art also loves his baths, as you can clearly see.

Now the REAL fun starts — I have to coax five parrots to get along, which will be an interesting challenge, as four of them are pissy conures, and the fifth is an even pissier lovebird.

Our very poorly arranged first introduction went… well, you can see for yourself. :)

Artichoke looks curious. Tea looks dubious.

Got to love Pyrrhura conures.

At least they’re obvious about their hatred.

He’s still ridiculously cute.

Radish says ‘this bird room thing is weird, I’d better stay in my cage.’

Cages all lined up in a row — Anisette, Artichoke, Pineapple.

And Tea and Radish.

And finally, though she’s not a bird, Charlotte got some bling recently — we had nail polish that none of us would use, so we painted Char. :) I thought Noire would look snazzy with pink nails, but she chews her toenails, so we figured it wasn’t a great idea.

Posted in Anisette, Artichoke, Charlotte, Dogs, High Tea, Parrots, Pineapple, Radish | Leave a comment

A week of pseudo-spring and parrots.

Slowly, Ontario is trying to determine if it might be okay if we went over to spring, instead of snow. The idea has a great deal of appeal.

As you can see, the crocuses are blooming, which is a great addition to the brown grass.

And the daffodils are slowly working on growing in.

Last year’s crocuses are starting to spread too.

They’re so bright and happy-making.

Almost as happy making as this guy.

And this guy.

Our two new friends have been home a touch over a week, and they’re blowing me away with their wonderfulness.

Baby first. Artichoke is so much fun. He’s already working on flying to people on cue, he’s always happy to come out of his cage and shoulder surf and hair preen, and is currently snoozing on my shoulder while I post his pictures. He’s friendly and happy and loves the world. Unlike the baby green cheeks tend to be, he’s really gentle with his beak, doesn’t nibble much at all, and is a little more laid back. The only downside is he’s still eating almost exclusively seed, but as he’s just weaned, he gets to eat crap for a few weeks before I start being mean and force him to eat pellets and fresh food. :)

He’s working on some fun tricks in addition to flying. :)

And Radish is doing wonderfully. He does scream, a rather irritating alarm call, but we’re working on lowering the intensity of that one. We were told he wouldn’t play with toys or eat vegetables, but he munched down on mulch after only a few hours, he’s eating his weight in pellets, and he’s slowly chewing on the fresh elm branches we put in his new cage. He had a few stereotypical gestures (moving around his cage constantly in a pacing sort of way) that have dropped to nothing now that he’s in a new, big cage. He’s getting baths, and his feathers look great.

His ‘trick’ is not as fun as Artichoke’s but is so much more satisfying — mulchy beak! Not even a week in, and he dug into today’s mulch like it was going out of style.

Both of them are going to the vet next week, and then hopefully we can break quarantine and see how the conures join the other conures.

And, as a last comment on my life, everyone has Siamese cats in their cupboards right?

Posted in Artichoke, Cats, Jellylorum, Parrots, Radish, The Garden | 2 Comments

Welcome home, Artichoke… and Radish.

Today, we drove 2.5 hours to go pick up our baby black capped conure, who we reserved in January, shortly before he was born. :) His breeder is awesome, and we got to stand in a room filled with flighted baby birds, be harassed to death by the Green Cheek Mafia(tm), and I got chewed on and licked by a baby blue and gold that I seriously considered just stuffing under my shirt and smuggling out, he was that cute.

Artichoke is the baby black capped, DNA sexed male, born on January 14th of this year. He’s ridiculously friendly and cute, flings himself through the air to land on people (frequently on my glasses, alas), and will be an awesome friend to have around. I intend on doing all sorts of fun training with him, as well as potentially having him as a companion for the ever obnoxious Anisette, our green cheek.

His breeder also does occasional rescue and rehoming, and she also had another bird (well, she has several others, but this one is specific). He is a plucked, untame, male cherry headed conure of unknown age, possibly wild caught. And I wanted to meet him.

And I did. He’s extremely, extremely interested in people, but he’s learned very clearly how to scare them. He lunged at lot at my face when I got near his cage, but kept coming back to me. So I sat there, crouched next to his cage, and waited. And you could almost see the wheels turning, that I wasn’t going away (nor was I getting up in his personal space), just watching. He calmed down quickly over the span of a few minutes, and it was decided that he could come home too.

He’s flighted, and flies well, he doesn’t attack people (which would be bad), and he’s already had a bath. He’s also learned, after only a few tries, to take sunflower seeds gently from a hand. I doubt he’ll ever be tame in the ridiculously cuddly sense, but he’ll definitely be interactive, learn to step up on a stick, and probably even do tricks.

His name is Radish.

Both he and Art will go to the vet in the next few weeks, and get a checkup. Until then, they’re in quarantine to prevent the spread of disease, and get a dietary upgrade (they were eating an okay mix of seeds and pellets, but I prefer more fresh food, and seeds to be reserved as treats).

And I have a new, Radish-shaped project on my hands. :)

But, of course, what you want to see is bad night time pictures, right?

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Posted in Artichoke, Introductions, Jellylorum, Radish, Skimbleshanks | 1 Comment


Like most of the north eastern part of this continent, the Greater Toronto area got some snow a few days ago — in our case, somewhere around 14″ or 15″, though it’s hard to say with the drifts. It’s the most snow that we’ve had since we’ve moved here, and it’s quite pretty.

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Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!

I love that title. I’m sure I’ve used it a thousand times over the years. Still, that is indeed what you’ll find behind the link.

Cats, dogs, together!

The players, as usual:

Charlotte, ancient female German shedder.
Crow, 7 year old male Standard Poodle.
Noire, 5 year old female Doberman pincher.

Skimbleshanks, almost 2 year old male Oriental shorthair.
Jellylorum, almost 1 year old female Siamese.
Gypsy, 12+ year old female calico thing.

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Posted in Cats, Charlotte, Crow, Dogs, Gypsy, Jellylorum, Noire, Skimbleshanks | Leave a comment

Little birdy bird birds!

I decided to finally drag the camera downstairs today and snap a few portraits of the little birds, as well as an updated shot of our bird room.

This was done for two reasons.

1) Not enough bird pictures!

2) A super secret reason that you’ll find out about in oh, a month or two. :) But there are hints!

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All the pictures of the year, Cats in Baskets Edition.

I joked, after looking at these, that I probably could make a calendar entitled ‘365 days of cats in baskets’. Apparently, I take a phenomenal number of pictures of that.

Or, there are several baskets in my house that can have cats in them.

Or both.

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Posted in Asparagus, Cats, Crow, Fetch, Gypsy, Jellylorum, Skimbleshanks | Leave a comment

All the pictures of the year, Home Improvement version.

I had December 21st – January 2nd off this year (though I ended up working a huge portion of it — part of the joys of working for a rapidly growing startup), and we decided to redo the master bedroom and bathroom, as well as use some of our Christmas money (and bonus money) to finally get a new couch and loveseat for the living room.

Today, we put up the light fixture in the bathroom, and called an end to home improvement for the year. ;) And then took pictures.

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Posted in Charlotte, Crow, Home Improvement, Noire | Leave a comment