Everything · Murli the cat · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News · The Cats

Is it really Fall already?

Because it looks and feels like fall for us here. The leaves are dropping faster and faster and the days are getting shorter, the nights decidedly colder. We had to put the heating on over two weeks ago, for the most part only for the nights though. Thankfully, on most days the afternoons are still warm enough for the kitties to spend a few hours out on the catio.

What we’ve been up to since the last time

Ralph and I needed some more storage space for all our combined stuff in our home. We especially wanted a storage unit for the living room. But the furniture we saw in the stores were not really what we liked. So I went to look for a storage unit from private sellers. There is a very large site in Austria with all sorts of categories of stuff that people are selling. You can find just about anything there. The only problem is you have to pick it up yourself, which isn’t all that easy with large pieces of furniture.

Minutes into me browsing the site for storage units, I saw countless beautiful pieces for a very good price. One advert was especially great since the seller also provided transport for a small charge!

It was a lovely Lady who had to sell a bunch of her things because they were moving into a smaller home and had to get rid of a few large things. So, two weeks ago, the Ladies son and one of his friends came with their huge truck and delivered the storage unit to us! The unit comes in two separate pieces, the top and the bottom. The two guys brought them in and put it together for us. It was all done within a few minutes.

And here it is!

Of course, Hero and Lisa, who are terrified of strangers, were hiding. Samantha didn’t care too much and Sonic didn’t notice anything, since he was outside on the balcony with Ralph.

I had been hoping Hero and Lisa would stay out on the balcony with Ralph, as well, where they would not have noticed as much. It didn’t even take long for Hero to come back out!

Sonic followed Ralph into the living room and had quite the surprise to see the new storage unit there! As you know, Sonic is completely deaf, so he really had no idea anything was going on while he was out on the balcony with Ralph. Hero and Sonic were first to inspect everything!

Samantha came out soon afterwards, and Hero coaxed his sister Lisa out a few minutes later.

The first thing I did was to move Murli’s urn into its new spot in the storage unit. Finally, I had a safe pace for her, where I could also see the urn all the time.

Murli’s urn and her paw print in a clay heart below

Next to Murli’s urn are her favourite mousie, her wooden toy ball, her valerian root cushion, and below is her paw print in a clay heart, that the lovely people from the pet crematory made for me back then. It feels good to be able to honour her physical remains in that way. I know her beautiful soul is watching us sometimes. One day, we will all be reunited again.

Ralph and Hero ❤

That’s my view now when I move my head to the right from my desk ❤️ Hero loves to hang out on Ralph’s desk, and also loves to walk all over his keyboard…

Continuing my crochet and starting to sew!

You might remember that I started to crochet a curtain with a cat motive at the end of last year?

This is what it will look like, although mine will be wider, to fit our window in the living room.

I was working on it at the end of 2019 and when Murli passed, I lost all motivation for anything. I just felt too sad to engage in any of my hobbies. Only by the end of this summer did I finally feel all the motivation come back, to engage in the little hobbies I love again.

In addition, I wanted to learn how to sew my own clothes, as well as mend things and create toys for the cats. Luckily I found a lovely sewing machine and ordered it!

This sewing machine had some really great reviews and wasn’t expensive. Of course, the bag I chose for it has kitties on it!

I also have a few sewing patterns for a dress and a top, that are rather easy and for beginners. I sewed before, just easy little things, but that was over 15 years ago.

Covid19 getting worse again

We’ve been at home ever since the beginning of the Pandemic. Since then, I only left to go buy what we need, go to the doctor for my regular prescriptions and pick up meds for Sonic and Samantha at the Vet.

I’ve only been out for fun about 3 times since August, and that was to visit my best friend Conny and her two kitties.

Anytime I leave, I use my bicycle, wear a mask and use hand sanitizer whenever I had to touch anything outside. I did this, even though I wasn’t afraid or worried. I just don’t take even the tiniest chance to bring the Virus home to Ralph.

Here is what the case rate looks like at the moment for Austria…

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/austria/

The cases have been steadily increasing since July. It looks like it’s now nearly at the same number of active cases as back at the end of March and beginning of April 2020.

Though, most active cases come from Vienna this time. Here in our city of Graz the rate is at 37 infected for every 100.000 people. In comparison, the rate in Vienna is 153 for every 100.000 people.

It will end at some point. They’ll hopefully have a working vaccine soon!

Today

I can’t believe it’s the 8th of October already, because this year went by faster than all the years before. And the previous years felt like they were over in a flash already!

Samantha on the window sill, Sonic on the kitty tree, Lisa on the bed near the tree, and flopped out Hero on the bed.

We had another sunny and warm afternoon. But as soon as the sun is gone, it gets chilly quickly. Some days were cold despite the sun, then the 4 kitties go into the bedroom to soak in the sun. Now that the bed is right beside the window, they absolutely LOVE it. They can lie around in the sun and see the birds while on the bed.

Cuddling up with cats

During the night, I usually have Sonic to my right, with his head next to mine on the pillow and my hand on his side. That’s how he cuddles up every time I go to bed. Lisa and Hero will either sleep along or on my legs, or one of the two will sleep way up on the left side of my head, leaning onto my pillow. Samantha will usually stay to my right and when Ralph comes to bed, she’ll cuddle up on his legs.

My only problem is that I get a bit hot sometimes with all the kitties around me…

I’ll end this post now, but I’ll post another one soon. I will go catch up on all of your blogs now. I hope all your furbabies and yourselves are well!

Ralph, the kitties and I send love to all! Take care!

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News · The Cats

Spring has fully arrived and the lockdown is ending

Time flies as always, even during the lockdown and while we’ve all been under lockdown, spring has fully arrived here. The trees have blossomed, the first spring flowers have come and gone and now everything is turning green and lush.

And more flowers and blossoms from the garden in the following slideshow

The weather has been lovely and warm for the most part during the last couple of weeks. Of course, the cats love it!

Now that the sun is rising higher every day and it’s getting quite warm, I need shade for our balcony. I fenced in the balcony on all sides with netting that adds about 1 1/2 meters on top of the railing. Therefore, I can’t use my parasols like I did in previous years, as they’re too big to fit into the fenced-in area.

The safety net around our balcony

I was thinking about all kinds of things you can do, but the easiest way was to get a shade sail, which I’ve ordered yesterday. I’m really looking forward to having shade again on our balcony.

Before Hero and Lisa, we didn’t need to fence in our balcony so high, because the older cats didn’t care to jump onto the railing or do anything silly. With young cats like Hero and Lisa however, I knew I have to make sure they are safe and can’t do anything to get themselves hurt or lost, if they were to jump off the balcony.

Pollen everywhere!

While the cats have been enjoying their time on the balcony, I noticed that the amount of pollen increased over the days. It’s gotten so bad, that the balcony and everything else is covered in yellow pollen. Heaps of it even on the sidewalks and on cars. Even though I kept wiping the balcony floor down every two hours, it was no use. The air was absolutely saturated with mostly Birch pollen, as well as some Ash tree pollen.

Lisa after rolling around on the floor. It didn’t help that it was windy and all sorts of plant material was being added to the mess.
Hero and Lisa

I gave them all a good long brush a couple times a day and tried damp towels to get them cleaned up. It was really difficult to get it out, as the pollen mess went deep into their fur and stuck to it.

Thankfully after a couple days with heavy rain, it seems a lot better. The kitties fur is also clean by now.

Coronavirus Pandemic update

Now with the temperatures rising, we would normally leave the street-facing front window fully open, with the cat safety net on it, or at least leave it slightly open like in the following photos with Samantha:

But due to Covid-19 worries, we rather keep this one closed. I only open the front window to get some fresh air in for a few minutes, when the street is not busy every day, but that’s it.

The cats always love to sit there and watch the street, especially with the window open. Hero and Lisa didn’t even get to experience this yet, since they came to us in November and it’s just now getting warm enough.

That window is a little more than 2 meters up from the ground. So people could be a source of infection, possibly, when they walk by and happen to cough right underneath our window. The rest of our apartment faces out the back, towards the garden and there are no people hanging around or passing by in the back.

I see that other people with windows even lower than ours, who don’t seem to worry at all and leave their windows open.

The lockdown is ending now, but people started to act like it was over back during Easter

After Easter, our government announced that by the beginning of May, the lockdown will be lifted gradually. Ever since then, people started ignoring the lockdown measures more and more. Well, the majority of people still adhered to it, but the number of people who don’t was increasing steadily.

Every week since, I saw more and more people on the street and I noticed people were starting to have visitors over again increasingly. Some neighbours in our hours, for example, have been doing so for weeks now, even having parties with multiple people over at least twice a week.

Last week, as I went to pick up Samantha’s medicine from the Vet, I saw that the streets were full of people again. It looked just like before the pandemic.

Thanks to the full lockdown though, the number of infections has gone down and the curve has been flattened most definitely.

Our state of Styria is by now the 2nd worst affected with 382 active cases, after Vienna, which still has 567 cases in Austria. The numbers are of course lower than what they had been and we only get a few new cases every day.

But now with a bunch of stores opening again, as well as restaurants, pubs and cafes and the end of the stay at home order, I can’t help but feel it’s too soon for all of that. The schools and universities are probably going to open again before the summer break, which makes even less sense, since they would close by the beginning of July anyway.

There is, of course, the requirement for everyone to wear face masks in closed spaces and now there are many who simply always keep their masks on when out and about. The majority of people, however, remove them as soon as they get out of a store, despite meeting up and talking with other people outside of the stores.

It was pretty obvious that the chancellor and health minister would have rather kept the lockdown going for longer, as they have been warned and are still being warned by many doctors that this is too soon and a 2nd wave is being risked. But the pressure from business owners has been increasing and they are worried about the economy. I just think that the economy is going to take an even bigger impact if we get hit by a 2nd wave.

Social distancing is still being enforced as much as possible, but people are now allowed to visit each other again.

Ralph and I are still going to stay at home and I will be the only one going out to get what we need from the store every week or less. I’ve only been visiting one single store close to us, which is never overrun by people and they are disinfecting every shopping cart in front of your eyes and then they squirt a bunch of hand sanitiser into your hands. Everyone wears a mask, which is given out for free at the store entrance. People are also very good at keeping their distance in there. I still carry my own bottle of hand sanitiser or sanitising alcohol with me anytime I go out and I use it a lot.

Ralph, the cats and I are all well thankfully. We will keep doing everything the same way, until the Pandemic is actually over for good, or until there is a vaccination available. I am so thankful that we didn’t get sick when the virus was spreading like wildfire through our country.

But so many other countries are still experiencing the worst of it.

How are you all doing? How are things where you are?

Lots of love from us! Big hugs and purrs!

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats · Videos

Happy Easter from us!

It’s a very different Easter, but despite everything, I wish you all a lovely Easter and that you can enjoy it as much as possible. Stay healthy and safe dear friends!

Despite the difficult times, I am still very lucky to have a home that we’re safe in, that we’re healthy and together, and that we have everything we need and won’t have to worry too much. I’m happy to spend Easter with my little family of Ralph and the cats Samantha, Sonic, Hero and Lisa. I’m also happy and thankful to have all of you wonderful friends! I just want everyone and their furbabies to be safe and well.

I am writing on a post, that I’ll hopefully be able to finish tomorrow. The migraines have messed all the blogging and updating up, again… I’m so sorry.

But I wanted to wish you all a lovely Easter and let you all know that we’re still perfectly fine. Still under lockdown and at home, not meeting anyone. It will be a long time before the lockdown will be lifted I think.

Sending lots of love from Ralph, the kitties and me!

Have fun watching Lisa fetching her toy balls in this video:

Not long after this video, she actually started bringing her balls right to me, so I can throw them again. She’s now actually fetching properly! Of course I’ll do a video about that soon.

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News · The Cats · Videos

We are staying at home for another month – March 23

Hello dear friends! If you read my other update from today, about the situation in Austria, then you know the COVID-19 numbers are still increasing faster and faster in Austria.

That is why I am so glad I won’t have to go out, for nearly a month. In the beginning of the Pandemic, I was out my mind from worry about Ralph potentially catching the Virus. Now that I see how well our government is handling this crisis and that patients are not left without their medication, I feel a lot better. We have what we need at home, including my medicine and of course more than enough supplies for the cats. I’m much more at ease, especially because it keeps Ralph safe when I stay at home and avoid people altogether.

There’s no getting bored in our home anyway. Not with the 4 cats and each other, and the internet, which lets us connect to our friends and lots of entertainment.

Every day is a lovely day with our cats

As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, this is usually what I see…

Hero on me, Sonic farther down to the right
Lisa is usually all up in my face, once she realises I woke up

Hero, Lisa and Sonic usually sleep on top of me, or cuddled up on my tummy, my legs, arms, or my side, depending on the way I’m lying. It’s usually these 3 in any order that are all over and around me. Samantha loves to either be curled up next to Ralph’s legs, or she watches the birds from the bedroom window (that’s where Samantha was when I took these photos).

It’s impossible not to smile first thing when I wake up with my little family of Ralph and the cats all around me. No matter how anxious I feel, or how bad my migraine is when I wake up, I still wake up feeling happy thanks to them.

Spring

Spring is definitely here with flowers everywhere and birds who are building their nests again. The temperatures before the weekend were amazing! Almost like summer. Unfortunately, it got really cold again over the weekend.

Especially today, the wind was awfully strong and ice cold. I really hope it will warm up again soon, the cats and us really missed the warm sun.

Despite the cold, Lisa and Hero always enjoy some fresh air and love to watch the birds for a few minutes. Also, Lisa and I have a little game where I throw one of the toy balls out onto the balcony and she will run out to bring it back in every single time! She usually carries her ball to the same spot, there she’ll wait for me to get it and throw it again.

This video has clips from yesterday and today. I could have kept going for much longer too, she just loves it. Here is the link to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCK1Ls5UurAYojCxqRRveVw

But at long as it’s sunny, the cats are getting their fill of sunshine inside as well. With every day we’re getting closer to summer, the sun will shine into our apartment longer.

Hero fast asleep in the sun
Sonic and Lisa at the bedroom window
Samantha and Lisa on the balcony last week, a day before it got cold again

A small earthquake with the epicentre in Croatia

Yesterday, there was even an earthquake we slept through (at 5:24 UTC). Well, I’m sure the cats noticed, but Ralph and I didn’t. Here in Graz it wasn’t anything serious. The epicentre was in Croatia, a little less than 200km from us, where earthquakes aren’t anything unusual. I’ve experienced a couple of them when I was in Croatia myself as a child.

The purple circle is Graz, where we are. The other markings show the earthquake. More details to this earthquake at: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us70008dx7/executive

Small earthquakes with the epicentre within Austria are not unusual either, as the African plate meets with the Eurasian plate in the Alps. Especially our region is rather active for these little earthquakes.

Since it’s almost midnight again, I will go to bed in a bit. I’ll hopefully feel more rested soon, as the day seems way to short when I need more sleep than normal.

I keep thinking of everyone, hoping that you’re all safe and well, and have everything you need.

Sending love from Ralph, the cats and myself!

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News

Update about the Coronavirus Pandemic – Austria, March 23

It still took me until now to finish this post. Sigh… sorry about that. The weird tiredness still wasn’t letting up at all and it was impossible to think clearly enough to write in such a state. This post is simply an update about the pandemic and the current situation in Austria.

Like I’ve said, I publish these updates to document the historic circumstances we all are finding ourselves in, to have a record of it for myself and for whoever else is interested in reading about it again later on.

Here is the link to my 2nd post, about us and the cats: https://catladynatascha.com/2020/03/23/we-are-staying-at-home-for-another-month-march-23/

One of my huge worries is now gone! I will not lose access to my pain medication at any point. Everything has been sorted out wonderfully, for everyone.

It would be a long boring description of how everything works and was worked out right now, but basically: The health department and the national health care made sure everyone would be able to get their medications in the most uncomplicated way. People are able to call their doctors and order their script over the phone. The doctors office then sends the prescription electronically to the pharmacy. Narcotic long term prescriptions are sent to the health department office, as an original paper document. That office then approves and scans them into their computer system, and afterwards, they are sent to the pharmacy.

So basically, people don’t have to go anywhere, except to their pharmacy, to pick up their medications. Also, depending on the medication, people are able to fill up to 3 months worth of medications at once.

That electronic system was not even ready to be fully rolled out, but since the technology and computer systems for it had already been installed in doctors offices and pharmacies, they simply activated it, due to the circumstances. It was due to be slowly implemented all over, but they’ve now done it within a few days. It’s working too! No problems at all.

The goverment is doing whatever they can to reduce the number of people that have to leave their homes.

For patients like me, this meant that I was able to pick up 4 weeks worth of medication at once, instead of going to the pharmacy numerous times every week.

Coronavirus infections are still increasing faster and faster

With the Coronavirus infections still rising unbelievably fast, it is now a huge relief that I won’t have to leave our home for the next 4 weeks. Any risk of catching the Virus and passing on to Ralph is too high of a risk to take.

As had been expected, the cases of Coronavirus infections are still increasing unbelievably fast. People were still getting infected at a high rate before the lock-downs took effect on March 16. By the time two weeks will have passed after that date, 1000s more will have fallen ill with Covid-19.

The restrictions I talked about in my other post (LINK) are still in place and will stay in place at least until April 12. Of course, there could be additional measures put in place, or existing ones adapted, depending on the situation.

4097 Coronavirus Infections, March 23 at 5pm

The governments update from today at 5pm. Of the 4097 patients with COVID-19, 132 have to be treated in the hospital and 15 very severe cases are currently in the ICU

The increase over the last few days has been enormous. Two weeks ago, we went from over 100 on Monday, March 9, to over a 1000 by last Sunday, March 15. Then within this week, the increase was to over 3000. I’m sure we will have another huge increase in infections over the coming week. After that, it will hopefully flatten out and then decrease.

I used the public government data to create a slideshow, showing the increase of infections in Austria over time. The screenshots are from the data graphs published by the Austrian government at: https://info.gesundheitsministerium.at/

Because a further large increase in COVID-19 patients is expected, temporary hospitals are being prepared in huge halls which are normally used for large conferences, concerts, exhibitions and other events. One of these large halls that are being prepared, is just a few blocks away from our home. It will have beds for up to 1000 people. Additionally, hospitals which had been closed not too long ago, are being prepared for COVID-19 patients as well.

Staying home, toilet paper craziness and panic buying

We are staying at home! As does about 95% of the Austrian population. 5% don’t really care though and do whatever they want and behave as if it’s all just a big holiday season everyone. The problem is that these 5% tend to crowd the same places, (partying, large groups in parks and at other typical hangout spots throughout the city). There is hardly any distance between these people and anyone who has to walk past and through these crowds. But that happens in many other countries, despite curfews and lockdowns. They’re getting fined big time though.

Toilet paper is still being bought like crazy. Shop keepers say it’s gone within a short time right after they open in the morning. I wonder if we will ever find out what that is all about?

Despite the fact that grocery stores are still being stocked up normally, people are still panic buying long-lasting food and the stores can’t keep up with it. It would be more than enough for everyone if it wouldn’t be for panic buyers. The panic buying seems to happen right when the stores open. For the rest of the day, there are only very few customers in the stores.

Break-ins

The emptiness in the streets during the night is now increasingly used by criminals to break into stores and to rob the few people that are out. Thankfully it’s not rampant here, but it definitely happens a lot more now.

Even my old pharmacy has been broken into and robbed on the first night of the lockdown last week. I am glad my current pharmacy is in a really public place with police CCTV. My old one was in an area that is always quiet and empty overnight, but especially now.

The best and the worst in people

People are helping each other. In many apartment buildings, young and healthy people are offering to go out and buy groceries, or pick up medications for older people and people who are especially vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.

I have a lot of respect and gratitude for everyone who is now working right now. The pharmacists and people at the cash registers in grocery stores have no face masks, due to a massive shortage of protective gear. They have to deal with some awful customers during the best of times, but I’ve heard stories from all over the world, about how absolutely rotten some people are behaving at the moment. It’s true that emergencies bring out the best and the worst in people.

I’m thankful for every single one who keeps our country and all the other countries running and functioning. Every single one of them, from the people who keep picking up the rubbish bins from our apartment buildings, to the people who deliver our mail and parcels, to the doctors, nurses, and police and to the people who keep the infrastructure running, so we all have power, gas, water, phone and internet. I’m also grateful that our government is simply doing what’s necessary without worrying about bureaucracy.

Stay safe

The official number of people infected by the Coronavirus is most likely not everyone. The number of people who are asymptomatic, or who are not even seeking help and dealing with it themselves, is thought to be very high as well.

So please stay safe by keeping your distance. Stay home as much as you possibly can, be mindful not to touch your face while outside and before you were able to wash your hands properly.

I know there are hardly any hand sanitizers available anymore, but you can use alcohol like Vodka and Schnapps to disinfect your hands while you’re out, if you fill it into a small bottle to carry with you. I know it smells, but at least it works to kill the Virus.

I’ll keep updating as much as I can, about life and the cats and everything else going on. Should anyone ever feel worried about us, or simply just feel the need to contact us, you can always email me directly at:

catlady-natascha@protonmail.com