tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
My cat Linni is getting a bit fat, so it's time to transition over to healthier food. No more convenient super market brands, and seeing as she's not good at self-regulating, I'll try to stop free-feeding dry food in favour of set meal times (she gets canned food too, but replacing the brand of kibble is a good place to start).

Finding basically healthy cat food has proven troublesome though. First, I researched and set some parameters:

- High protein percentage, as few carbs as possible.
- Stay clear of corn, soy and grain (they're worthless to kitty tummies, they just get pooped right out again).
- Opt for muscle meat if possible.

It seemed so easy. What a fool I was.

More words about cat food than I'd ever thought I'd write )

Eventually I found a fairly cheap brand that offers 41 % protein to 25 % carbs, with some real chicken meat in it, and grain and corn is the second and fourth ingredient listed, respecitvely. Not ideal, but way better than the trash she was eating - that coupled with carefully measured meals should hopefully make her lose a little weight over time. My little fattie.

Final day

Mar. 5th, 2012 02:03 pm
tilly_stratford: (Default)
I'm heading back to Bergen today, after nearly a month of my usual Grand Tour of Mooching. I didn't plan to stay so long on this side of the mountains, but a combination of new-baby rush and a curious lack of available train tickets for people traveling with animals, I just sort of... stayed a while. But I'll be home again by midnight.

So yeah, new baby, the one my sister Tiny made - I've been living with them a while, getting to know the new family addition. Her name is Hanne (/'hʌne/), she sleeps a lot. The last couple of weeks have been a learning experience for the both of us - she's learning that whole "living in a non-fluid environment, eating with the mouth" business, I've learned that I am in fact able to pick up, carry and interact with a newborn child without killing it. Change nappies, even (Did you know they come with velcro fasteners now? IT BLEW MY MIND).

Tiny posted some pictures of her on her blog, here's the entry run though Google Translate ("I rinse the breast-fog" indeed).

Welp, I need to finish packing. And catch Linni at some point. I've still got a long scar from the last time I had to get her into her carrier. Hopefully it'll go down a little smoother today.

Off again

Feb. 6th, 2012 01:49 pm
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
In three hours' time I'll be on the Bergen-Oslo train once again, Linni in tow. The little person in my sister Tiny's tummy's due to make her grand appearance any day now, so that's the occasion we're all looking forward to.

The idea of traveling with Linni becomes less daunting for each trip. She's got a lot of experience in that department. In fact she's traveled more than 870 miles with me by now, and that number'll be even higher by tonight. Of course I have a perpetual fear of her getting out of her carrier somehow and running off at some mountain hamlet somewhere on the way, forcing me to abandon all my things and go trudging after her in some snow storm, but that's me and my illogical anxieties.

I'm bringing some chicken pasta salad (we'll probably share some of it on the way), and I've got my book and DS packed. Here's hoping for yet another perfectly pleasant trip over the mountains.

Return'd

Jan. 6th, 2012 02:14 pm
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
Back in Bergen again - where I discovered a commode in the shower and the wires and bits of the water heater coiled up on the the bathroom floor. Not entirely certain what's going on there.

Now that I'm back to my regular life - and computer - again I feel like there've been so many things I've neglected to write about this December. Just look at all the things I've done:

- Finished all of The Wire, which I feel I should have written A WHOLE LOT about, because it is probably the best TV series I've ever watched. Top quality. It's this damn-nigh perfect entity - which is why I've never been able to write much about it, because I can't pick it apart and latch onto specific things to fangirl about, like I do with my other shows. All the characters are complex and flawed, ALL of them do both wonderful deeds and despicable ones, the stories are spellbinding but never gimmicky. The Wire is just... amazing television.

- Listened to Tiny's upcoming baby's heartbeat. Well it - she - is already a baby but she haven't made her world debut yet, you see. I accompanied Tiny to her check-up, and the doctor listened with one of those doppler things and I... spontaneously started crying. I mean - I know my sister's eight months pregnant and I've felt the baby kick and hiccup and everything, and I'm not a very sentimental person, but hearing those heartbeats I got shockingly emotional all of a sudden.

- Celebrated the most ethical and environmnentally friendly Christmas yet, by replacing the usual "I don't know what to give you so here's some silly knick-knack I found in a store two days ago that we both know you'll never use" with Fair Trade digestibles. Well Tiny did, and I latched on. Didn't recieve any complaints, and that vanilla fudge was excellent.

- Cut Linni's back claws all by myself. Linni, who'll lash out the moment anybody tries to hold her or otherwise contain her. Linni, who's perpetually nervous about anybody touching her paws. And yet I managed to do it all in one evening while we we're both lounging on mum's sofa, and she never hissed or bolted. So now Linni can walk on hardwood floors without that click-click-click noise.

In fact when we moved Linni to mum's place I was worried that facing mum's two resident cats would make Linni withdraw and hide like she did at the shelter, but once again my cat showed off how adaptable she really is. She respected Missi, the elderly no-nonsense cat, and vigorously played with Luna, the young off-the-wall mischevious one. Here's a photo Luna and Linni at a rare quiet moment:


Good holiday overall!

Cat travel

Dec. 17th, 2011 03:29 pm
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Seven hour train ride over the mountains, me and Linni literally surrounded by eight dogs in our part of the cart... And everything went fine. Smoothest journey yet. None of the dogs ever seemed to catch whiff of the cat in carrier, and I'm starting to think Linni haven't the slightest idea what dogs are. Not even when one of them started barking did she turn her head to see what the fuss was about.

Linni was as usual furious about getting stuffed in the carrier, but once we'd settled in our seat she seemed quite content if a little tense. I discovered it hadn't been a fluke last time we traveled together; She really does calm down when I'm petting her inside the carrier. She spent several hours of the journey sleeping with her head resting in my hand, aww.

Right now she's trying to acclimatize to mum's house. Stairs is a new concept. Sharing a home with other cats isn't, but obviously it's different from the shelter. Today is the first time I've let her out of my room and into the rest of the house, and right now I'm sitting on the floor observing her staring competitions with the resident cats. A little hissing, a little growling, but no violence or major posturing. We'll see how this turns out.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
Linni has this obsession with soft things, like blankets or my pyjama bottoms. She'll smoosh her face into the soft fabric and knead and purr. And drool a little bit.

She's also finally realized that even if I'm sitting with the computer, I'm approachable for cuddles and attention. (She's currently lying on top of my right arm which is making typing a little difficult.)

So today while I was reading my facebook feed she sat on the desk right in front of me, pushed her face into my dreads (which were hanging free for once) and started kneading.

Thus I have it from a connoisseur that I have lovely soft dreads.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
The train journey went surprisingly smooth. I spent it listening to Janelle Monáe (who is my newest "rad female singers" discovery), and memorizing the Norwegian translated lyrics to Vysotsky's Нейтральная полоса (a.k.a 'No Man's Land'/'The Neutral Strip' - the one with the two captains picking flowers in the no man's land between their two zones). Maybe it'll come in handy some day, who knows.

Linni's been here in Bergen while I've been away, my good friend Maria's been stopping by giving her food and attention (though the latter wasn't very appreciated on the cat's side, after what Maria's been telling me). I expected Linni to give me the cold shoulder treatment once I got back, but once I'd put my bags aside she was all love and attention. She just can't stay mad, that cat. Though she does seem to have learned a new "pay attention to me NOW" kind of meow I don't think she used before.

Bergen seems to show itself from its best side now that I'm back though! There's sunny weather, I found some dirt cheap bread and carrots, and a stranger told me I've got "crazy funky" dreads. We conversed in English, "crazy funky" were the actual words she used. Awesome.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
It's really getting chilly at night. I've found my old hot water bottle because there's nothing I love better than to drift off to sleep feeling the heat radiating from the bottom of my bed.

This being my first autumn with Linni (well my first autumn with Linni outside of the shelter) it hadn't really occurred to me that Linni too would become fond of my hot water bottle.

And you see, Linni usually hates sleeping at the end of the bed at night.

So when I woke up at night feeling nature's call, I groggily checked to see if Linni was sleeping next to me (which she usually does), and satisfied with not finding her there, I leapt out of bed - and in the process kicked Linni halfway across the room from where she'd been sleeping happily curled up on the duvet over the hot water bottle.

Ah the jolts of guilt that comes from pet ownership. She's forgiven me by now though.

For the remainder of the night we figured out a compromise; hot water bottle in the middle, my legs on one side and her on the other. No more cross-room cat kicking.


(Illustrated for your convenience no good reason at all)

I guess that'll be the agreement for the next couple of nights too. Maybe when it gets colder I'll make a ghetto-style hot water bottle from a soda bottle and put it in her bed next to my desk.
tilly_stratford: (Default)
Tiny and Morten are well on their way back to eastern Norway, while I'm slipping back into my Bergen lifestyle.

A handful of pictures from the last couple of days )

So speaking of my Bergen lifestyle - see, this is the first time since infancy that I'm not working on my formal education, where my day isn't spent on school work in some way. And for the last five years I've been extremely comfortable with the "student" label. Losing that, it's like I'm undergoing some sort of identity crisis. I mean, what other label do I get now? "Unemployed", I guess. I'm not at all comfortable with that one, so I'm going to have to fix that ASAP.

I'm a young, intelligent and educated person in the best of health, I've held a handful of interesting creative jobs (go into any major Norwegian bookshop and there's a real chance you'll find at least one product with my name on it), I'm very prepared to be an asset somewhere! My immediate challenge is to find out where I can be an asset, to find out who'll have me. I already know my degree in Medieval History isn't worth a thing, so at least that won't come as a shock.

Out into the world we go.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
We made it across the mountains in one piece. I am beyond exhausted. When I saw what state my neighbour had left our shared bathroom in I felt like crying, but I've made my peace with the fact that I'll just have to scrub it down at some point. (Not today.)

Linni, once again proving that she has far less trouble adapting to stressful situations than I give her credit for, handled the trip beautifully. For once she seemed to calm down when I petted her (I was honestly amazed she let me touch her at all, she usually claws my arms off when it's road trip time), and we actually had the carrier open for the majority of the trip (with the appropriate precautions in mind, of course) and not a single thing went wrong.

She seems quite content to be back in our old rooms as well - she just spent an hour rubbing against her favourite blanket and me while purring loudly.

Me, I'm starting to feel a little more like myself now that I've read a couple of newspapers and listened to some music. Tonight I'm definitely going to fall right back into my old habits; some buttered toast, a cup of tea, another episode of Lupin III (now how far along was I? Oh yes, I've only got two episodes left of Red Jacket. Aaa.)

And tomorrow I've got an entire day with Tiny and Morten. Hoping for some sunny weather.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
I was literally losing sleep thinking about it. Not so much that I expected bad news, just the thought of the stress of capturing Linni and then having another vet scoff at my inability to hold or carry her. I was really not looking forward to this.

And then it went off without a single hitch. Amazing.

First of all, the vet (who I'd warned about Linni's antisocial tendencies) was just so extremely good at her job. Remember that the previous vet refused to even give Linni the most basic of check-ups because "she's too aggressive". Well, this one checked Linni's ears, her teeth, everything. She picked her up, carried her into the reception room and weighed her (a few hectograms too many, I suspected as much), and later trimmed her claws, just "snip snip snip" (and Linni is usually terrified of anyone even brushing against her paws). I was completely amazed.

(Of course Linni, my little pooping machine, was perfectly terrified throughout all this. But this is the first time I've seen Linni scared without getting aggressive - she swatted at me from inside the cage and hissed a little bit at the vet initially, but she still allowed the vet to do what she needed to).

I also told the vet my concern about the angle of Linni's hind legs. This is something I didn't even see before Tiny pointed it out to me, but Linni's hind legs are knock-kneed, she walks with her heels turned inwards. I worried about early signs of hip dysplasia or something like that (Linni's not very fond of jumping up on stuff), but the vet told me it was possible that malnutrition as a kitten had stunted her muscular growth, or that it was simply something congenital. Eased my mind, in any case.

Everything went so much better than expected.

ETA: Okay, and here's what she looks like chilling out next to me as I'm typing this:

tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
I have successfully set up base at my sister's. Much eating of cheese doodles and watching of the second season of The Wire has been done (Omaaaaar! ♥). Though true to form I can never manage to sleep the first couple of nights when I leave Bergen (but it's okay, I've been reorganizing my image folders again at night. Okay, so mostly creating subfolders titled "HAHA WHAT" in the various fanart folders).

Linni is once again proving to be so much quicker to adapt than I give her credit for. She was just about paralyzed with fear for the duration of the trip (not even the impetuous fly that landed on her nose could make her move, and she loves to chase flies). I worried that the trip might have been a very traumatic experience, so when we got to Tiny's I shut her in my bedroom and assumed she'd be sitting under the bed for a couple of days, but later that night she wanted to explore the rest of the apartment. The second day, yesterday, she would finally let me pet her again, and both Tiny and Morten (Tiny's fiancée) managed to pet her a little bit before she ran. I was very pleased when she came to me last night and wanted to snuggle up to me in bed, like she usually does.

All in all, Linni's still wary and easily frightened (she spends large parts of the day sleeping in my bedroom), but considering I thought it would take at least a week before she wanted to have anything to do with me again, we're really making a lot of progress.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
I travel over the mountains again tomorrow - the usual seven or eight hours by train from one side of the country (Bergen, my home) to the other (the Oslo area, my family). I must have made that trip a dozen times by now, but this is going to be the first time I do it with a stressed-out cat among my luggage. Since Linni's not aware of the impending ordeal I'm fretting for the both of us. I'll be armed with soft towels and Feliway spray and salmon treats. At least I learned from our recent trip to the vet that she's quick to settle in the carrier, she doesn't wail or try to break out, but it's not going to be an easy time for her.

But that's something to worry about tomorrow morning. First I need to clean this place (well I don't need to but it makes the return a little bit more pleasant) and pack my things.

And before that I'm going to have pizza and watch History of the World Part 1.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Back from Linni's first visit to the vet since she came into my care - Linni's second ever, actually.

"Is this someone I know?" the vet asked, peering into the carrier.
"Yes, from way back," my boss explained. She'd kindly driven us. "She was one of our... special cats."
"Ah," the vet said. "Behaviour issues."
"Just very shy and skittish," I said. "She's not aggressive or -" and then I was cut short by the flurry of claws that sliced through the skin on my hand. Linni promptly jumped down from the examination table and under a chair, hissing and spitting at anybody that came near.
"Just pick her up and hold her," the vet told me as he prepared the syringe.
"Uh... I've sort of never attempted hold or carry her*."
"What, really?"
I could feel myself blushing, feeling like an embarrassed mother trying to excuse her bratty kid's behaviour in the store. "I've just sort of let her do her own thing!"

Eventually the vet had to get down on his knees to administer the vaccine while I scruffed her on the floor. Then my boss (who's got a lot of experience with aggressive cats) immediately shoved her back into the cage and that was that. He'd originally planned to do a quick examination but decided against it when he saw her behaviour.

She's currently back in her safe hiding place under my bureau, cleaning herself. Revaccination is in three weeks. This is going to be interesting.


*That is, I know she panics the moment she feels something obstructing her and I haven't been forced to pursue the matter any further until now. I've been trying for weeks to just get her collar back on, for goodness sake.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
Lately there's been an overabundance of spiders in my room.

Of course, usually I regard one spider as an overabundance, but when I come over another spider every few days I guess I need to recalibrate. Four years of living on my own has made me a bit braver when it comes to spider hunting but they still make my skin crawl beyond words.

But apparently there's an odd kind of arthropod-related insanity that comes with owning a cat.

Like last night when a particularly nasty spider - the kind that seems to have way too many joints in each leg - crawled over my foot. I recoiled, reached out to grab a magazine to squash it with, but then I reconsidered. I shouted for Linni who was sleeping in the kitchen, and to my great delight she came running (I was so proud of the fact that she responds to her name - then today I experimented by shouting "Yogurt! Yogurt!" in the same tone of voice and she still came running. Oh well.)

I tapped my fingers on the floor to get her attention, and then I flicked at the spider to send it running. I deliberately touched a spider, okay. That was when I realized that owning a cat seems to have altered me in some fundamental way. But at least Linni got five minutes' entertainment out of it - though I kept my eye peeled to ensure she didn't lose track of it. She's not exactly the Great Calico Hunter.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
The shelter I work for also runs a little shop downtown where I get crazy discounts, so of course that's where I go to buy cat food and other things for Linni. Like the shelter, the shop is also staffed by volunteers. You can divide the numerous volunteers in this organization into three groups: There's the morning shelter shift (who clean and make sure all the cats are fed), the evening shelter shift (where I work - dealing with customers and adoptions) and the shop staff. You'd be surprised how little these three groups have to do with each other, we're pretty much strangers to each other.

So today I went to the shop to buy cat food, and to get my discount I informed the lady behind the register I worked at the shelter.

"Oh!" she said. "I'm so glad to finally meet someone who works at the shelter! There's one thing I'd like to ask you... I visited the shelter last year and there was this one cat that completely stole my heart away. Last thing I heard it was still at the shelter, and I'd just love to hear how it's doing."
"Sure, do you know the name?"
"Yes, it's a calico named Linni."

You could see the surprise on my face! I gladly told her about Linni's new living situation and she made me promise to bring more pictures the next time I visit the shop.

Yeah, I know I've been negligent on the Linni updates lately. She still seems to be a content and placid cat. She shows no inclination to lie in my lap, but she's obviously a glutton for physical contact - the moment I sit or lie down in bed (and considering I live in a one-room apartment that's happens a lot) she jumps in, chirps and leans up against me and sort of slides into a lying position. If I move a bit she crawls up close again. I've never had a cat who loves to spoon before.
tilly_stratford: (Default)
Yesterday was one of the most pleasant days I've had in months, which is sort of incredible considering I spent most of the day working on my archeology paper about viking ship technology (the conclusion was AW HELL YEAH VIKINGS).

I went to the second hands-on archeology seminar which was a treat because my favourite thing about taking archeology is the Touching Really Old Stuff bit, and I got to touch a lot really old stuff, like viking age dice and shoes and pipes and toys. And because this seminar was held at the Bryggen Museum I took care to go look at my favourite stick in the world - a little piece of wood with carvings depicting a viking fleet disappearing into the distance, drawn a few hundred years before the laws of perspective where figured out (Conclusion: AW HELL YEAH VIKINGS).

And all is well here at home. Here, let me bore you with yet another picture of Linni.


We have discovered the Blanket of Calmness so things are going great. When positioned on the Blanket of Calmness things that are normally terribly frightening lose their edge, like people walking in the corridor, or cuddling with your new owner. Even if the Blanket of Calmness inexplicably moves to new places, like the middle of your new owner's bed, that's also okay.

Now I'm off to travel to new and scary places and try to locate a scratching post. Somewhere in Sandsli, I believe.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Man, Project Linni is going so much better than expected. Yesterday I observed her doing a slew of things that I've never ever seen her do before in all the time I've known her, such as:

01. Chillin' out in the open. In the slightly-more-than-a-year I've been watching her at the shelter, I have never ever seen her stand in the middle of the floor. Linni's spent her entire existence crawling along walls and pressing into corners so this is wonderful news.

I even got pictorial evidence! (Finally something better than that grainy phone shot)


This was when she discovered the TV. I suddenly realized she's probably never seen one before,
but after the intial shock she seemed to realize Robert Preston wasn't going to step out and get her.

Not only does she stay out in the open, she even dares to sleep there. On her side, even, not just in kittyloaf position (I love the phrase "kittyloaf", so descriptive!). Yesterday she actually spent more time on the carpet next my bed than in either of her hiding places (and her extra-secure hiding space under the bureau has fallen almost entirely out of use!).

02. Playing. I swear, I never once managed to make her to as much as bat at a piece of string while she was in the shelter. Yesterday I went out and got the least scary-looking toy I could find (a fishing pole with a peacock feather at the end) and after half an hour of coaxing she finally got into the game. - Even rolling on her back and swatting at it, which is actual playful behaviour rather than "THIS IS A BIRD AND I'M GOING TO KILL AND EAT IT".

03. Showing an interest in humans of the not-"OH GOD THEY'RE GOING TO GET ME" variety. Which is to say she's started following me around. The moment I turn she runs and hides but obviously the curiosity is there.

04. Vocalizing in other ways than hissing. And man, I just don't know. Every time I turned off the lights and went to bed it's like she wanted to figure out how to make every noise known to Cat. During the night I heard her mieow, yammer and chirrup, and I've no idea what prompted any of those.

I've got admit I was surprised to hear her mieow though, since feral cats as a rule stop meowing once they reach adulthood (which makes sense, since meowing essentially translates to "I want your attention" and ferals don't learn that they can communicate vocally with humans). Linni's obviously tamer than I first thought.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
(I apologize in advance if this journal turns into LINNI CENTRAL this week, but A) It's preferable to "ANGST ANGST EXAM ANGST", and B) I want to keep some sort of log in the beginning so I can really keep tabs on the progress we're making.)

Today I realized that Linni is essentially me in cat form: Very nervous, overreacts to the slightest changes in the status quo, wary of strangers, but mellow in the company of the few people she trusts. (I realize I've just described 90 % of all cats but Linni is all those things and then some.) Apart from her fondness of fish we are essentially identical.

Anyway, log of sorts:

As for me, the scratches and bruises I got yesterday capturing her at the shelter are healing nicely.

As for Linni, cut for those who are easily bored by crazy cat-lady talk )

The biggest surprise by far came when I woke up in the middle of the night and realized Linni was lying in my bed! Well, at the foot end obviously, and she didn't stay long, but I didn't think she'd approach me like that for weeks yet.

She also seems to calm down when I've got music or a movie on (which isn't surprising as there's always a radio playing at the shelter), so I put on the radio before I went out to buy groceries. Returned to find I'd just subjected her to two hours of Graham Norton, hope that wasn't too traumatizing for her.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Man, I've just got the best support group ever. I've got my family to calm me down, my buddy Åsmund to copy the relevant pages I'll need for my paper (on Monday though, so it'll be a tight fit but if I get a head start over the weekend I'll pull through), people send me things to cheer me up ([livejournal.com profile] leaper182's been sending me delightful snippets from her Lupin III fanfic and also evidently told Jigen to come and be my muse, hee) and people are just, whoa, amazing.

Yeah so while I'm still quite jittery (I always am in exam periods, I've had worse freakouts than this) things seem to be shaping up. Thanks everybody. It takes a village and all that.

But I've got big news: I've acquired a cat. I am now an actual Owner of Cat. Which incidentally is why I'm sitting on my bed with an aching back and writing this on my wonky old laptop with the broken space bar - the little furball's dozing off under my desk - thusly:


Notice her cool disregard of the blanket I so lovingly put down for her. And yes I promise I'll get some better pictures once she's settled.

Yeah I... I just couldn't let Linni spend her life in the shelter. She's always been special to me - did you know she came in the same day I began working at the shelter? Yeah, it's been that long.

Backstory and vital statistics )

So I'm following all that advice I've been giving to customers (it's kinda funny being on this side of the process, last time I had to deal with an acclimatizing cat I was hardly out of nappies) and I'm hoping she'll dare to venture out from under the desk soon (I've tidied and placed blankets on all the high sweetspots I know cats are fond of and she goes to sleep on the cold floor. This will be a learning experience I think) but here we are. Day one.

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