Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats

Only took me a week to finish this post…

First, I just want to say thank you to all of you, for leaving all your absolutely wonderful and kind comments! You are always amazing to me, to Ralph and the kitties. Thank you!

Just in general, I rarely get to sit down and write a post in one go, because there’s always something going on that I have to get up for. But I love those reasons, because it’s for Ralph and the cats!

This time, it took me days to write this post was simply editing it over and over again, unsure if I should even mention what has been bothering me.

I’ve already been dealing with anxiety since my teens, but it’s been pretty much the same for many years, not too bad. But since about February it’s gotten a lot worse, which has not happened like this since my teens.

It’s the result of a combination of outside influences, a lot of it probably subconsciously. In the most simple terms, it’s the fear losing control over my / our life in various ways due to government decisions / laws / regulations / mandates / restrictions because of covid.

These fears have always been part of my anxiety disorder, but with the difference that I was always able to realise that it’s just part of my anxiety disorder has no base in reality. Nowadays, observing different western countries (mine included) and their law changes due to covid, I’m not so sure anymore.

My disorder is likely rooted partially in all the hospital stays, treatments and medical check ups throughout my childhood (starting at 5) due to migraines. As a young child, I was totally attached to my Mum, my family and home itself, including my kitty Minky. Most of these hospital stays happened suddenly and unexpected. From then on I was worried every time I had a medical appointment, that I might get sent to hospital again suddenly. To this day I am getting panic attacks if I have an appointment at a new doctors office, especially before check ups and medical procedures.

But back to the present… Where I unfortunately feel as if anything could be changed or mandated all of a sudden. That’s just the way my anxiety has always worked. Everything feels a lot worse than it normally is, by far.

Working my way out of that anxious hole I’m in

With this going on, I could not concentrate well on writing a post or anything, especially in the past month. I just tried to distract myself a bit on the laptop when I had the time, with Sims 4… Which is amazing as distraction! I had Sims 2 and Sims 3 as well over the years. It’s the only game I have ever been interested in. I have lots of kitties in various households in my game… It’s awesome.

In addition, I also tried to relax as much as possible and focus on our life and everything I love and like to do. Basically just try to get on with life and try not to worry. I found some new things I might do as well, like live streaming! As well as posting regularly and staying in contact with you lovely friends.

Publishing posts in a more daily / journal like fashion is something I wanted to do in forever. Keeping some structure and something regular like this might help a lot and I know it would be fun. Even if I can’t concentrate well, I can still do a little post with photos from the day or something.

How Ralph and the kitties are doing

Ralph is doing well, aside from the shaking hands. We’re happy and looking forward to the weather finally warming up for good! Sonic is doing amazing! He keeps slowly gaining weight and he’s zooming around the home by now! He is walking really fast and jumping up on anything with ease! He joins the others on the balcony a lot and on the windows. There are lots of cuddles and washes between Sonic and the others. His digestion is working really well too! I’m feeding him with the syringe still in addition to what he eats on his own. I give him all sorts of pureed meats he loves.

Sonic also has a collar with a little bell by now… He is totally deaf, so he can’t hear it and the collar didn’t bother him at all. He didn’t even feel bothered by it when I put it on him. The reason is that I know when Sonic is moving about or what he’s up to. I still always keep my eyes on him and it gave me a lot of peace of mind being able to hear him when I’m in another room. The other don’t care about the little bell at all and neither does Ralph.

Hero, Lisa and Samantha are doing well too! They are really enjoying the warm sun now and spend a lot of time on the windows and the balcony.

I’ll be posting more soon!

Lots of love from Ralph, the kitties and me! Thank you for being here!

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.

The lockdown is ending now

After Easter, our government announced that by the beginning of May, the lockdown will be lifted gradually. There is a huge difference in how people acted in the beginning of the lockdown and now. People were actually rather stepping into the street than pass you by too closely and everyone was very conscious about everyone else’s proximity and tried to avoid it. This is quite different now, as people are acting almost completely normal again.

During most of the lockdown, the streets were empty and quiet, as were the buildings. There was nobody visiting anyone and hardly anyone was walking around outside. Now I can see people starting to visit each other again and the streets are becoming more lively.

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.

The Government numbers say our state of Styria is by now the 2nd worst affected with 382 active cases, after Vienna, which still has 567 cases in Austria.

Ralph, the cats and I are all well!

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 · Society and News

Covid Update Part 1 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.

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 activated the new electronic prescription system a lot sooner than planned. With this system, people are able to call their doctors and order their prescription over the phone. The doctors office then adds / uploads the prescription into your file on the national health data system. Now people can go to any pharmacy they want, tell the pharmacist that a prescription has been put on their file, which the pharmacist can look up and access through your social security number. Then they simply print out the prescription and give you your medicines.

Narcotic long term prescriptions are not being sent through this electronic system though. They are added to your file and everything, but you still have to get the physical paper prescription from your doctor. At the moment, doctors offices are bringing these special prescriptions to the health department office themselves, as an original paper document. The health department then stamps the prescription, scans them into their computer system, and has them brought to the various pharmacies that the patient is receiving their medicine. Because with this prescription, you have to stay at the same pharmacy for the duration of that prescription, usually 28 days. Of course, most people will stay and not change every month.

So basically, I don’t have to go to my doctors office for the prescriptions for as long as this lockdown is going on. Also, depending on the medication, people are able to fill up to 3 months worth of medications at once. Except narcotics. Also, I am almost sure that not every doctors office will give their patients the 3 months worth of medicine at once, as they generally don’t like to do that. I know, because I have trouble every time my doctor goes on holiday and I need my migraine medication for the duration.

Thankfully, I got 4 weeks worth of pain medication at once. Which is a relief, as I was really worried they would just lock everything down, including pharmacies and the health department, and not care one bit if people get their pain medicine. That worry exists due to my horrible experiences throughout my life, with being in terrible pain, but not being helped. With specialist doctors just shrugging their shoulders, literally, and simply not caring one bit.

4097 Coronavirus Infections, March 23 at 5pm

The governments update from today at 5pm.

Staying home, toilet paper craziness and panic buying

So for whatever reason, toilet paper is still being bought like crazy. All over the western world. Maybe even all over the world. 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? Why on earth toilet paper? Some even managed to buy massive amounts of toilet paper, thinking people will be desperate for toilet paper and that they can sell it to them at a high price.

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.

I know there are hardly any hand sanitizers available anymore, and the few that are sold are sold with massively hiked up prices. But before you buy insanely expensive sanitisers, 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’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

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

Austria shuts down – Covid Update March 15

Things continue to move faster than I can keep up with. Measures and restrictions that were planned on Friday, kept changing throughout the weekend.

Restaurants and cafés were supposed to stay open until 3pm starting Monday, so that people would be able to get lunch there. But the government decided to have all restaurants, cafés, pubs etc shut down completely. But not just them, all stores are staying being closed, except for supermarkets, pet supply stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations.

Government offices that are not that important at the moment, will shut down for the public, but they will continue to work behind closed doors. Everything will be handled over phone, online forms, email, fax and letterboxes.

The military reserve is being called up

Although I don’t know what they’re going to be doing yet. But I think they will help to ensure the protection of supermarkets, pharmacies and help to keep the peace in the city.

Stay at home order

The government announced that there are now only 3 reasons to leave our homes and it goes as follows:

  • To get anything that is needed for life, like groceries, medication, pet food. Of course to go to the doctor for medication and treatment that can’t be postponed.
  • To go to work, but this means jobs that are needed to keep the country running. Doctors, Nurses, Firefighters, Police, Military, people working in jobs that are important for the infrastructure (power, gas, water, public transport, delivery of goods, parcels and mail, jobs in the communications industry like phone and internet etc). Anyone that can work from home, has to work from home.
  • The 3rd reasons to go out is to help others. For example, to help disabled or elderly and supply them with food and medications, so that they don’t have to go out to the store, doctor or pharmacy themselves.

People are allowed to walk their dogs though.

Parks and playgrounds are closed.

At first, people were asked to adhere to it on their own. But the government said that this didn’t work, therefore they said, they have to enforce it this way.

In Graz, the 2nd largest city of Austria (Vienna is Nr. 1), the streets were pretty much empty.

So within a very short time, the government decided that the lock-down and the restrictions would have to be enforced.

From what they announced, people walking alone will not be stopped or asked where they are going, only groups. But they said in their press conference, depending on how people behave, this might change. I’m expecting many more restrictions and the lock-down of cities and areas.

More news: Germany is closing it’s borders with Austria

Germany will partially close its borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark as it steps up efforts to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

What Saturday night looked like from the main square webcam

The main square in Graz, which is normally a very busy place on a Saturday evening, was very empty, except for a few people. The main square is usually always busy, especially during the weekend, since it’s right next to an area with a lot of pubs and clubs. But at 7:41pm, only a few people were out that evening. Nothing would have been open anyway.

How we’re doing

Our street was again extremely quiet. The building itself is quiet as well, you hardly hear anything. Only for our sweet cats the world is like always, at least for the most part.

It’s rather cold, unfortunately, but the sun was shining. So the babies were able to enjoy the sun for a little on the balcony. Samantha enjoyed the sun at the window and Sonic on the bed.

Lisa and Hero
Samantha at the bedroom window

That’s what the bed is like every day and every night. I’m able to cuddle myself between all the cats which makes for the best sleep. I can’t sleep without cats. Ralph usually goes to sleep later than myself, but he is able to get in as well. Sonic, Hero and Lisa usually pile up around me and on me, while Samantha cuddles up to Ralph’s legs.

It’s now 11:40pm, and I’ll go to bed after publishing this post.

I’m sure tomorrow will bring many changes again, as probably almost every day in the near future.

Love, Natascha & the cats 💕

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News

The mood has completely changed – Covid Update March 13

While people and daily life still seemed very normal at the beginning of this week, this has now changed, almost overnight.

Yesterday, everything started changing throughout the day. It’s hard to describe, but the mood is very subdued and strange.

While more new measures and restrictions were being planned by our government yesterday, rumours started spreading.

It started yesterday morning. Rumours that were saying that absolutely everything, including supermarkets, pharmacies and all government offices (including social welfare, national health, health department etc) will close down next week. I knew right away it wasn’t true and I tried my best to keep telling people it’s not true.

The government gave a press conference, announcing that more restrictions are being planned, but that the rumours floating around are false.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, government offices, post/mail and basically everything that is important for the country, daily life, the infrastructure and it’s people will remain open they say. Closures and restrictions will be implemented on businesses and services that people can live without for a few weeks.

Yesterday, a pharmacy in the city was already limiting the amount of people who were able to enter at the same time. Only 3 people were allowed in the pharmacy at once.

Today, that same pharmacy was serving people only through the hatch in the door.

Then this morning, more rumours were spreading which caused widespread panic buying

Early this morning, some more rumours were floating around and spreading like wildfire. Some rumours were still the same as yesterday, while others were new. Today the rumours had it, that absolutely all stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks will close down by midday today and that a curfew will be implemented for the night-time starting Monday.

People started panic buying in such numbers, that people were waiting for an hour or longer at supermarkets. It kept getting progressively worse all day. The shelves are now empty pretty much. Even shortly after the supermarkets had opened for the day, shelves were emptied within a short time. Some stores were hit worse than others, depending on their location.

Long lines of people waiting to get into one of the larger grocery stores in a mall not far away from us. It was like that at most supermarkets. (Source: KronenZeitung krone.at/2116507)

I heard from my friend, who lives just a block away from us, that she saw people ripping food out of each others hands at the store. Then we heard that one Aldi store (called Hofer in Austria), located in a rather bad area, had been pretty much wrecked by people ripping open packages and simply being rowdy and selfish.

Mostly it was long long lines in front of grocery stores. People were running into banks and building lines in front of ATMs. In turn, many ATMs were out of order by the early afternoon.

What also did not help was that nothing was being done about people taking way too much at once for themselves in the grocery stores (for example one person/family buying up all the milk).

Basically, people were panic buying and going crazy all day.

My Dad said that all of the bread was gone within a short time after the stores opened in the morning. I hope the panic buying will calm down again over the course of next week.

The new measures that were announced by the government today

  • All schools, including high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens, as well as universities and any education facilities will close by Wednesday. Universities and higher education will be closed on Monday already. But students can stay home already if they can.
  • Restaurants, pubs, cafés etc, have to close by 3pm in the afternoon. So nightclubs and anything else that would be open all night, will stay closed completely. They want to avoid all those many people coming together every night, especially during the weekends, while going out.
  • All sports events are cancelled
  • Some areas in Tyrol, which is especially badly hit by the outbreak in Austria, will be put under quarantine.
  • Supermarkets, banks, pet supply stores, pharmacies, tobacconists, public transport, post and mail services and other essential parts of society, like all facilities and companies that are important for all the infrastructure in Austria (including Telephone and Internet), will not be closed at any point
  • Public transport: Trams and Busses will automatically open the doors for entry and exit at every stop, so people won’t have to use the buttons to open them. Only the trams and busses will be used that have a separate cabin for the drivers to protect them
  • People are asked to stay home, unless it is absolutely necessary and can’t be avoided. People should gather with friends and family for now and instead use other means (internet, phone) to stay in contact.

Some news regarding my medication supply

I had put in a request to get my pain medication supply home with me for the next 3 1/2 weeks.

Though I got a call this morning from my doctors office, informing me that the health department has said, that nobody is getting their medicine home for a longer period of time, even if they have plenty of their time allowance left, which I did. No exceptions.

On the other hand, I also got some reassuring news. Apparently, my pharmacy will not close down. In the worst case they said, they will serve everyone through the little hatch. Those hatches exist for the night shifts, where people are being served through those hatches as well.

Our plan for the next month (or beyond if it’s neccessary)

Since I expected panic buying, I had ordered a bunch of food in time. So our supplies last for about two months, including the supplies for the cats. The only thing I can’t get more of in advance is my medicine.

It’s now eerily quiet and empty in the streets

I was out at about 4pm, which is normally very busy on Friday. But even the busiest street was very empty. Hardly any cars. Hardly any people. And now at night, nobody is out. It’s totally quiet and empty in the street as far as I can see.

One supermarket I passed earlier was dark for some reason. Looked like they had to close down for some reason. I also saw people with loads of boxes of groceries, and big bags full of the same, entering their apartment buildings, or carrying the shopping home. I also saw long lines in front of Tobacconists in the city centre. Our area wasn’t like that thankfully.

It was already very weird and quiet everywhere. Even our building is quiet. Normally you would hear people getting ready to go out on a Friday night, but there is no one going now. There is no music being heard from anywhere, no friends coming over. People are just in their homes.

I would not be surprised if some rather bad people will try to use the emptiness of city streets for bad things. We are thankfully in a safe area anyway, but I still closed down the shutters in front of our street facing window. I’m always rather safe.

I’ll keep you all updated anyway. Ralph, the cats and I are still perfectly fine ❤ I’m now off to bed, as it’s way past midnight and I’m tired.

Love from us and the cats to all of you!

Good night from Sonic and Lisa in our fluffy comfy bed