Since we’ve had cats, K and I have been obsessing over the packaging on most commercial cat products.  There is an absurd reliance on Photoshop to produce cats with faces that are creepily perfect (or in industry parlance, “purr-fect”).  Lots of unnaturally large eyes, batting paws, licking of lips.  Of course this happens for all kinds of human marketing too, but cats are cute!  They don’t really need Photoshop help.  It’s weird to think that it’s someone’s job to take an ordinary good-looking cat and turn it into a weird anime-ish cat-like thing.  However, the makers of Friskies would disagree:

Various wierd cat food photoshop experiments

Here is a ridiculous array of their line of dry cat foods.  Each one of these is a masterpiece of Photoshop and imagination, bringing us a new version of a cat paradise.  Somebody, and possibly a whole team of marketers and graphic designers, developed this line, with glorious results.  Let’s examine them more closely.

Seafood Sensations

  • Slogan: “Welcome to Paradise”
  • Captures Felix Everycat’s dream of a luxurious beach vacation, where the seafood is so abundant it literally leaps out of the sea onto your batting paw
  • Cats love swimming in the ocean
  • Cat appears to be about 7 feet tall
  • Where the heck is the orange fish jumping from/to?

Grillers’ Blend

  • Slogan: “Step Outside the Ordinary”
  • Captures Felix Everycat’s dream of a mountain excursion for hunting and subsequent grilling
  • Wait, grilling?  Why is Felix further grilling the tiny cat food morsels?
  • Features Mount Rushmore of land-based cat food meats: beef and turkey
  • Cat also enormous-looking and licking lips while batting at whisps of smoke

Indoor Delights

  • Slogan: “Explore the Great Indoors”
  • Will make Felix feel like his indoor lifestyle is just as good as free jungle roaming
  • An ordinary blanket is like unto a majestic waterfall
  • Cats also love swimming in jungle pools
  • Cat neither batting nor licking lips!  How did this get past marketing?

Surfin’ & Turfin’ Favorites

  • Slogan: “Cat Dreams Do Come True”
  • Deliciously-shaped clouds
  • Actually slogan is pretty spot on, this could be a cat dream
  • Cats enjoy sailing
  • Cat batting AND licking lips, as God intended

Oh well, actually the joke’s on us.  We eschew these marketing ploys to buy an expensive brand called Wellness thinking we are making an important decision to buy quality.  When the vet asked us what kind of food we buy, I hoped our reply would make her say, “Yes, you guys are doing it the right way.  That is the best brand available for the health and happiness of your cats.”  Instead, she had never even heard of Wellness.  You win again, Friskies!

On this Saturday, enjoy a picture of my cat Artie looking dapper in his bow tie:

Hmmm...

There is a story, as told visually here.  But the written version is:  we bought him this bow tie at Target because we thought it would be funny and it cost I think $3.  We got it home, tried to put it on him, got a single glorious picture of him looking really suave, then he went berserk and we had to take it off.  Occasionally I threaten to put it back on him but have never actually tried.

Artie’s FHO on Wednesday went well for the most part.  No complications or anything weird.  We weren’t sure if he had actually broken a bone or if there was some kind of degeneration, but turns out it was broken.  Who knows how–a clumsy landing, one would guess.  But he came through the procedure all right.

The vet went berserk shaving the poor little guy.  I think normally when pets have something done they get shaved around the area.  Artie got shaved pretty much all over one side from his middle to his tail.  The back left leg (the one operated on) got shaved down to this odd little boot-looking remainder on his foot.  The scrawny hairless cat leg then puffy foot looks unfortunately like this terrible current fashion trend of Ugg boots and shorts.  I kind of want to post a picture but I kind of don’t want to shame Artie.  Anyway, I don’t know why they went so overboard on the shaving other than being extra cautious about sterility.

We took him home for the night Wednesday but that’s when things got a little dicey.  He had a catheter tube and bandage still on one paw just in case, but he pretty much relentlessly worked it out whenever we left him alone and ended up with the thing dangling out and a little blood on his bandage.  He was also more preoccupied with his stitches than he should have been.  So we ended up taking him to the after-hours vet, and didn’t get home and settled to bed until midnight, but it was worth the trip.  They cleaned up his paw and outfitted him with the dreaded e-collar (AKA the pet cone, and they really need less sad-looking dogs on that Wikipedia page).  He obviously doesn’t like it much but it’s keeping us from worrying about his stitches.

At this point we’re in recovery mode.  He’s handling his meds well (and we only have a few more days of lots of drugs), he’s eating and using his box, and is even submitting to his physical therapy regimen for at least a few minutes.  That’s just as hard on us: twice a day I have to hold him down (and that little dude is strong for a creature weighing13 pounds) and K gently stretches out his back leg.  It doesn’t feel good, but I think he hates being held down just as much.  Mostly the issue is that he’s perking up a lot and is getting bored and lonely in the confined bedroom we’re keeping him in.  We have to keep him confined for two full weeks so the tissues can heal, and two days in that seems like a looong time.  Whenever we come in, he purrs like crazy and limps around trying to rub up against us a lot.  Then when we leave he digs at the door to get out.  Luckily he doesn’t have much stamina yet and hasn’t gotten up enough strength to spend a lot of time meowling.  But we need to leave him alone as much as possible to keep him calm.  He doesn’t want to lay around all day, but that’s what he’s got to do.

On top of this, K has a nasty cold, and we’re both stressed out and behind on sleep.  All in all, not a fun week around the house but we’re getting through it.

Strange week on the horizon.  Our cat Artie hurt his hip and has to undergo a femoral head ostectomy.

Last Saturday he wasn’t himself.  Instead of hanging around the porch in the morning, he was just lying in the basement. Sometime in the afternoon we checked on him because he hadn’t been upstairs all day.  He tried to go back up the stairs to get away from us but he was gimpy.  I’m not sure what might have happened.  Could have been anything.  He’s notoriously clumsy.  When he jumps off furniture he lands with a thud that sounds like someone just dropped a bowling ball.  And generally he’s kind of accident-prone anyway.  He always seems to be on the wrong side of a door that’s opening up, or getting accidentally stepped on, or falling off his cat tower in playful exuberance.  We joke a lot that he’s the most Extreme! cat we know, and have even invented a unit of measurement to describe his baseline extremeness, 1 Artie, which would be equivalent to, say, a BMX stunt rider doing a backflip off a cliff while chugging a Mountain Dew.  But he was down to about 0.3 Arties and we were a bit worried.

We were hoping it would clear up within a few days because he’d just been to a vet a few weeks back and obviously superfluous trips are worth avoiding for his sake and ours.  But it didn’t, so I brought him in for a checkup Tuesday afternoon.  Even though he’d been getting around the house a lot more, he was still in some pain and they needed to take x-rays.  Those revealed either a break or some general deterioration at the head of his femur (the ball joint that connects to his hip).  Not the kind of thing that would heal up on its own.

So, an FHO.  He’s going in Wednesday.  They remove the head of the femur and apparently the muscles and scar tissue are enough to keep the joint working normally in small animals.  It won’t be a fun time and it’ll be a while before he’s back to full strength.  Nor is it cheap, but we’ll let him pay off his debt at a reasonable interest rate. The good news is that he should recover completely and have a lot of years of normal activity ahead.

artie 067

Hopefully this normal activity will be him learning to jump down from things a little more gracefully and not hurting himself again.  Wishing him a good week and speedy recovery.

Hey, look what I found in my basement!

Snake skin pieces, next to a padlock for scale

Snake skin pieces, next to a padlock for scale

Gosh, that’s right, it’s a snake skin! In my house! Which is just where I want snakes to be!

I haven’t seen its owner. I think Artie has. He’s been acting weird for days and sitting downstairs near where I found the skin as if waiting for its return. This is in the room where we keep the litter boxes. I wonder if he sauntered in there aiming to hit the box and AHHHH!!!!!1!

Seems unlikely that it’s still around. I have no idea what snakes that small would eat. If it’s bugs, the basement will keep him alive indefinitely, but it could also just leave the house for more balanced diet than the trickle of tiny centipedes that have been appearing inside lately. There’s a small (but large enough for a little snake) gap under the door it could have gone out as easily as it presumably came in.

Two notable nerdstuffs happening lately:

*Just got a supporting membership to AussieCon4, i.e., this year’s WorldCon, i.e., a big nerdy sci-fi convention.  Among other things, the reason I got in on it was for a Hugo vote.  I’ll have some reading to do before the vote is due July 31, but that’s three months to read six novels and assorted novellae and novelettes.

*I’ve always loved insanely long, overly precise video game walkthroughs, especially when they’re just plain text files.  So I’m writing one for The Adventures of Lolo as well as Lolo 2, which I’ve been playing on virtual console.  I don’t have a particular reason for doing this except that these games are fun and very procedure-oriented, so it’s somehow satisfying to document the process of clearing each room. I was wondering if there was a job that paid you to navigate complex interfaces and document them, then I realized I kinda already have it.

End transmission.

Non-nerdstuff:

*Today is office-cleaning day.  I have re-discovered the color of my desk surface!  It is blue, I guess.  Somewhere between white and blue, anyway.

*We joined a CSA.  Can’t say enough good things about them.  I have been obtaining and eating a lot of lettuce.

Finally:

*New cat!  K posted some pictures.  Bea is devilishly difficult to photograph because she’s small, fast, shy, and really shiny.  70% of pictures show only an indistinct reflective black mass.  This is the second and final cat, and has already helped keep Artie from driving us bats.  You see, like most cats, Artie feels he is the most important creature on the earth, and we exist merely to fulfill his demands for food, shelter, and entertainment.  Should these demands not be met, he allows a generous four seconds for the situation to be rectified.  Should that time elapse without satisfaction, the yowling begins at immediate maximum volume.  Bea, in addition to the better space the new house provides, has helped alleviate some of this.  She’s game for some tearing around the house just about whenever Artie is, so they’re keeping each other busy.  And like an dangerously escalating chemistry experiment gone bad, a dog will be added to the mix maybe in the fall.