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

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

Life at the moment – Covid Update March 11

I really wasn’t sure if I should write regular updates about how things are going here in Austria and in general, since Covid is now unavoidable and it’s all that’s being talked and written about in the news and on all social media site and I didn’t want to add to that as well. As people are already getting fed up with hearing about it and nothing else anymore.

But then I thought it’s going to be a record of our life, and it’s the details that I would otherwise forget about.

Update for Austria, March 11, 2020 at 3pm

246 cases so far in all of Austria.
Cases for each state: Lower Austria (45), Vienna (50), Styria, our state (25), Tyrol (57), Upper Austria (35), Salzburg (14), Burgenland (4), Vorarlberg (13) and Carinthia (3).

New temporary emergency laws and recommendations during the Corona Pandemic in Austria

  • Anything with gatherings of more than 100 people indoors (which also includes any staff) is temporarily forbidden.
  • Outdoor gatherings with more than 500 people, including staff, is temporarily forbidden
  • Universities and any schools for higher education are being closed
  • No entry into Austria from Italy, except with an up to date document that proves the person is not infected with the Coronavirus
  • Austrian citizens still in the now locked down Italy will be brought home by the government, but they have to stay in quarantine for two weeks in Austria
  • People should avoid private contacts and gatherings and stay home as much as possible
  • Older people and people with compromised immune system should not receive visitors if it can be avoided

Life seems as it always is, in the city and of course at home

While the media is full of panic and fear is spreading from it everywhere, it’s very calm and normal here in Graz and Austria in general. Austrian people usually don’t panic quickly. It has to get really bad before there would be widespread panic.

The late afternoon sun, seen from the balcony with the cat safety net

Today was a wonderfully warm and sunny spring day, with temperatures over 20°C / 68°F. As I went out this this afternoon around 4pm, people were out in the usual numbers. The large park in our neighbourhood was filled with people sitting on the grass and taking walks, enjoying the warm sun. The outside seating area of every Cafe I saw in the city was quite full and the streets were just as busy as always around that time.

Just like last year, the spring flowers are everywhere, the birds are building their nests in the garden, the neighbourhood kitties are walking around in the garden. Hero and Lisa saw two of the neighbourhood kitties yesterday and got all excited. Unfortunately it was past sunset and too dark to take pictures of them.

It was a mostly sunny afternoon yesterday, and you can feel that the sun is getting warmer and warmer now, as the northern hemisphere is getting closer to the summer. Especially this year, we can hardly wait.

The kitties are crowding in every sun puddle, especially on the bed.

Hero, Lisa and Sonic. Lisa is giving Sonic a friendly nose greeting and a few licks on his head.
Lovely warm sun! Samantha is hardly visible, but she is in the top left area of the picture, in the shadow, lying on a white mat under the side table. The sun had been there a while ago, but was now gone.
So Samantha decided she would try to get into the sun puddle on the bed.

Our life is going on as always

I’m sure there will be many changes and restrictions soon, like everywhere else. They are already talking about measures that might need to be taken.

Thankfully, my doctors office, the pharmacy and the health department are all working as usual. I haven’t heard of any more closed doctors offices for Austria and haven’t heard of any pharmacy or other larger health care provider closing down. And there is no atmosphere of panic among people. I hope it’s going to stay that way.

There are just as many people around as always, from what I can tell. People are still sitting in Cafe’s, stroll through the city and stores, people are still doing they’re daily runs along the Mur and the parks, and you don’t really see any panic buying going on in the stores (yet). But the sanitizers, disinfectants, and tinned food are still sold out for the most part, although they’re being restocked.

We still have enough toilet paper in stores.

Even in the smaller stores, like the one I took this photo in, there is no toilet paper missing.

There was more toilet paper stored at the top of the shelf and even more around the corner.

Plans for next week

I will try to talk to my doctor on Monday, to use all my vacation allowance to get a month’s worth of my pain medication, instead of having to go to the pharmacy every day. Because I don’t want to suddenly stand in front of closed doors at my pharmacy one day and have no pain medicine for God knows how long. I’d rather have a few weeks worth of medication right now, while they are figuring out what to do. At the moment, everyone I ask at the pharmacy, or even at the health department, they have no idea what will happen. None of them could reassure me that I would not end up without my medication soon.

Please stay safe, as some people tend to go crazy in times like these and others are bound to try and use the confusion for their own gains.

Lots of love from us all ❤

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

How the Covid situation affects us

I’m sure most people are sick of hearing about that Virus all the time constantly, but I wanted to let you all know about our current situation and about what I know about everything so far.

I’ve been writing on this post since Monday, but due to constant changes in information and situations, I kept updating my draft, trying to write with the little time I had during the week. This is going to be a really long text post.

They made a live map for the outbreak You can zoom in and click on the red dots, which will tell you the case count, the deaths, number of people recovered. Though not every country has the dots as detailed as in China or the US, where every affected area gets its own dot. For most other European countries, there is just one dot that represents all cases in that country.
arcgis.com – Map created by the Johns Hopkins University

Italy, one of our southern neighbour countries, is apparently one of the worst affected countries now

The first cases in Austria according to the government

February 25, 2020
Innsbruck, Tyrol, 2 Cases

Austria had it’s first confirmed cases in Innsbruck, Tyrol, the state that directly borders Italy. 2 People, a young Italian couple, who came from one of the worst affected areas in Italy.

February 27, 2020
Vienna, 2 Cases

A married couple in their 70s, were confirmed to be infected with the Coronavirus, after they came home from their vacation in Northern Italy.

February 28, 2020
Vienna, 1 Case

The son of the older couple from Vienna, was confirmed to be infected with the Virus as well.

February 29, 2020 –
Korneuburg, Lower Austria, 2 Cases

A man and woman in their 50s, from Lower Austria (the state around Vienna) who also came back from northern Italy, were confirmed to be infected with the Virus.

Eastern Styria (Our state), 1 Case
A 50 year old woman, who also came back from northern Italy, was confirmed to have the Virus. She’s now being treated in a hospital in our city, Graz.

Salzburg, Upper Austria, 1 Case
A 36 year old woman, who came back from Northern Italy as well, has been confirmed to have the Virus.

March 1, 2020
Vienna, 4 Cases

  • A German couple coming to Vienna, after visiting a carnival event in Germany.
  • A woman from Vienna, who came back from Italy, was confirmed to have the Virus.
  • Another man was confirmed to have the virus, but I did not have any information as to where he came from, or any other information.

March 2, 2020 –
Salzburg, Upper Austria, 1 Case

1 case confirmed in Salzburg. No other details are known to the public yet.

Vienna, 1 Case
1 case confirmed in Vienna. No other details are known to the public yet.

March 3, 2020 –
Salzburg, Upper Austria, 1 Case

1 case confirmed in Salzburg. No other details are known to the public yet

Graz, Styria, 1 Case
1 case confirmed in Graz. He knew and had contact with the 50 year old woman from eastern Styria and got infected through her.

In the evening of March 3, we had 18 confirmed cases in Austria.

On March 5, 2020, the case count went up to 29. There are no more details mentioned for any of the new cases. Only the state or the city is mentioned anymore. But by now the number has gone up again most likely.

On March 6, 2020, Austria has 55 confirmed cases: Vienna (23), Lower Austria (15), our state Styria (5), Salzburg (5), Tyrol (4), Vorarlberg (1), Upper Austria (1) and Carinthia (1). In all 4000 people have been tested for the Virus.

This morning, March 7, 2020, Austria has 74 confirmed cases: Vienna (23), Lower Austria (23), Tyrol (7), our state Styria (6), Salzburg (5), Upper Austria (4), Burgenland (4), Vorarlberg (1) and Carinthia (1).

In all 4308 people have been tested for the Virus in Austria as of today.

First 2 patients are healthy again

On the other hand, the first two patients that came in from Italy and then became ill in Innsbruck, Tyrol have now officially recovered. They’ve been kept in the hospital until the repeated tests showed that they were free of the Virus. Even after someone is already feeling fine again, the Virus can still be detected in the tests.

Most of the people who have been infected, are not getting severely ill thankfully. They feel better within about 10 days.

According to the current information they gave out, Patients that recovered from the Virus are immune against becoming sick from it again, at least for a few years. They don’t really know yet how many years, as it can also vary between people, but with other Corona-viruses people still had antibodies and therefore immunity against it up to 5 years later, others up to 3 years. They also said that it could be totally different this time and the immunity could be a lot shorter. Nothing is certain at this point.

Another information they gave out was the hope that the warmer temperatures coming with spring will help to slow down the spread of the Virus. Saying the Virus does not like warm temperatures when it’s outside of a body. The warmer it is, the sooner the Virus dies on surfaces. The sun will also fry it on outside surfaces.

No evidence throughout the whole outbreak that cats and dogs are able to contract the Virus!

One of my first massive worries were the cats. All cats and dogs. Our furkids. But thankfully, the ECDC and many other health organisations have found no evidence that pets can become ill or even spread the Virus. During the whole outbreak, there has been no sign of it. Most Viruses mutate to fit only cells of a certain animal family or only humans. They have the right fittings basically, to fit just the right receptors in bodies. And if it’s human cells that it has fittings for, then it will not affect a cat or dog. These fittings are made to exactly fit the receptors of certain cells, where they attach and invade. If such a Virus enters a cat, it simply can’t invade through any of their cells, since the receptors aren’t fitting together.

Now they started testing pets of Corona Patients in China and they have detected the Virus in some of the pets, who are then put in an Vet Clinic for Quarantine. But it seems the pets don’t become ill themselves. So unless the Virus mutates to be able to infect the cells of dogs, cats and other animals, the animals won’t become ill. But I guess they are worried that pets can spread the Virus.

Since it seems that cats and dogs won’t become sick themselves is a huge relief. Because I was so worried that Samantha and Sonic especially, would not be able to survive an infection, due to their age. And with Lisa and Hero, I was not sure if they are too young to survive it, or if they would be strong enough by now. But that worry is now off the table.

People here already started small scale panic buying

Last Saturday, I went to the nearby grocery store, a rather large store. Ralph and I had planned for us to get some shopping done over the next days, to stock up for a while, so that we don’t have to go into the stores again for some time. Mostly because of the flu going around rather quite badly.

First I headed off to get powdered milk and long lasting UHT Milk. Normally that big store has a big stock of it all the time. This time though, it was ALL gone. All of it. I saw the last of the UHT milk being carried off by a few blokes who belonged together. They had 3 full shopping carts, filled to the top with nothing but UHT milk.

Even the coffee creamer powders were gone, as well as the condensed milk.

The tinned food I had planned on buying was gone as well. Just like noodles and rice. Otherwise most of the stock was still there like always. It was just the stuff that can be stocked for a while that was gone. Oh and hand sanitizers and disinfectant cleaning products were decimated pretty bad too. There are also a bunch of random empty shelves that don’t really make sense. Like just one type of produce that’s been bought up by somebody. At least in the last few days, this has been the case for all the stores I’ve been to.

I could hardly believe it. Only when I read the online newspapers for Austria, did I find out that before the weekend, some officials had recommended that people stock up on food, water, sanitising products and other necessities, to last them for about two weeks. So that was most likely the reason behind that.

Now it seems all sorts of sanitizers and disinfection products are absolutely sold out everywhere here. In all the stores I’ve been to, these things are completely gone. But alcohol with a high percentage should be just as good. Therefore, I’ll get some strong Alcohol, like some typical Austrian Schnaps, which usually have a ridiculously high alcohol percentage. Then I’ll fill some of it in a small bottle and carry that with me to disinfect my hands when I’m out and about.

Stocking up

Since people have already been panic buying, in a rather small scale compared to full-blown panic buying, I thought I better make sure we have a good amount of everything that’s important. So I guess I’ve been panic buying then as well? So it’s panic buying because of people panic buying. Which is probably why it’s always gets so bad… But at least I didn’t empty out shelves in the stores. I ordered some online and I am buying additional things for our stock, little by little.

First I placed a number of orders last Saturday for food with a long shelf live, which arrived on Tuesday. I also bought more than enough milk that won’t spoil, as well as sugar, rice and noodles, and a whole bunch of high-calorie food that lasts long and where you don’t need to eat much of it to get all the nutrients. There is a whole bunch more for us that I stocked up on, so that we could last for quite a while without having to rely on the stores.

I also thought that those slim fast type drinks, that are supposed to be food replacement, can be a great emergency food source. I have some of it, because I had phases where I had no appetite at all and could not get anything down, but I was at least able to drink those.

Also stocking up for the cats

I already have quite a bit of food stocked for the cats anyway, but I also ordered some more on Saturday. Mainly I ordered dry food, since that lasts long and you get a whole lot of it. I wanted to have that covered first. But I will also try and stock up on wet cat food now as much as possible.

Even today as it was raining hard, I rode to the closets pet supply store to buy some more supplies for the cats.

Ideas for the cats

Then I realised that baby kitten formula can be a great emergency food supply for the cats, at least in the worst case. Since it will give them all the nutrients and energy.

Also, there is formula for cats in recovery, which is very similar to the baby kitten formula. I’ve got both at home for Samantha to help her gain some weight.

Then I thought about the kitty litter and how I could have enough of that at home. It seems the silicate type, which I have never used before, could be a great idea for an emergency kitty litter supply. Since it is lightweight and supposed to last quite a while.

Maybe those ideas can help someone. Also, if you have any helpful suggestions for the cats and us, let me know in the comments or in an email: catlady-natascha@protonmail.com

My worry was/is not so much about Covid, but about the access to my pain medication

Because according to the current emergency epidemic laws, any establishment, office, store, building etc., has to be closed right away, if there is just one person that frequented said place even just once, and then turns out to have the virus.

Also, everyone who works at one of these places and anyone who was present in these places at the same time, has to be tested multiple times and stay home in quarantine for 2 weeks, or until they recovered and the Virus isn’t detected anymore in their blood tests.

It just takes one person, in any of the places I depend on for my pain medication, and it has to shut down instantly.

I depend on…

  • my doctor’s office, to write my pain med prescription once a month.
  • the health department’s office for narcotic medications, who’s head doctor stamps and signs the prescription to make it valid. Without that, you can’t get anything at the pharmacy.
  • my pharmacy, who has the physical prescription as well as all my medicine for the month, to be picked up by me in the intervals it says on the script. So I never actually have all of it at home.

So even if just a person, who simply worries they could have contracted the Virus, comes into my doctor’s office, the doctor’s office is shut down right away by the health department head doctor and it’s going to stay closed until that person is cleared to be free of the Virus.

There has been a case just like that, a few days ago, in Lower Austria. Because a woman who ran into her GP’s office, because she was in a panic about being infected with the Virus, the GP was forced to close the whole office right away, as the law requires. Otherwise he would get in huge legal trouble and face harsh consequences. So after closing the whole office in an instant, he was required to call the health department and inform them of the situation. After that, the health department will officially shut down the office for a certain amount of time. Even though that woman turned out to be free of the Virus in the end, the Doctor’s office is still closed two weeks later and not even the Doctor himself knows when he’ll be able to open up again. He’s not even receiving any information from the health department upon his request either.

On top of all that, every person who was in the office at the time that woman entered it, has to quarantine for two weeks and get tested repeatedly after these 14 days.

Even though they list it absolutely everywhere not to run into any doctors office or hospital if a person is worried about having the Virus, I’m certain that many will still simply go in and then all of the above starts at another doctors office.

For this reason, I have worried myself sick. The prospect of losing access to my pain medication from one day to the next is extremely frightening, especially when you don’t know if there would be any help at all if it does happen. From past experiences, I know that chronic pain patients have a hard time to receive actual pain relief even during normal times. In an emergency, the situation is usually the same everywhere and one is turned away everywhere and told to deal with it.

The problem is, that with just my own agony of being bed bound from pain, I would be unable to care for Ralph and the cats in a normal way, as I would have a hard time to even care for myself. Who would get everything done then? It would be a nightmare. I can’t even stand for a minute because of my spine and joints without pain medication. On top of that, my migraine would become a lot worse too. The pain level of the migraines would be so bad again, I would just hope to pass out from pain for a while. These severe attacks would last 14 days or more at a time. That is why I’m so freaked out at the thought of losing access to my medication.

As of now, most, including the staff at my doctor’s office and most other people, don’t think the chance is very high that it’s going to be so bad.

Thankfully, I already have the next prescription all sorted out and after my current one ends, the next one goes until mid April. To have the actual valid prescription is the most important thing. That way, I could at least prove that I have a valid prescription and a hospital or a different pharmacy might be able to provide my medications. Especially since it’s not my fault if the pharmacy has to shut down. There are also many many many more patients like me in the exact same situation all over Graz and the Metro area.

The general situation

I’ve seen the empty streets in many cities in Europe on the news. Here in Graz life still seems to go on like always. The number of people wasn’t any lower in the city from what I saw all week. The city centre is usually packed full of people on Friday afternoon and Saturday, with people going shopping in all the stores and people sitting in the Cafés, laughing and having fun. The city centre is a typical shopping area, with one store after the other, as well as lots of Cafés.

Apparently, in the UK toilet paper, kitchen rolls and all sorts of things are running out in stores because people are panic buying in lots of places. When I went to Aldi’s and Spar, they still had enough of everything. Even the long-lasting milk is still plentiful. Although tinned food, all sanitizing products, including hand sanitizers, are totally out of stock. These products are completely gone everywhere. But as long as you can buy strong alcohol, like Schnapps and Vodka, for example, it should not be a problem. Even just washing your hands with soap should be enough.

Ralph, the cats and I right now

We’re all fine, as are the cats! We’ve got lots of kibbles stocked up for the cats and we have food and drink stocked up for us as well. So on that end, we’re not going to have any problems.

At the moment, I’m still feeling the migraine from earlier in the evening. It was gone, but then came back when I was doing household chores… It was the second migraine today, the first one came on in the morning. It’s all that worrying about losing access to my pain medicine. I feel bad for poor Ralph, who’s had to listen to my worries for the past two weeks…

Otherwise, spring is coming, there are beautiful little spring flowers everywhere in the garden and bushes and trees are starting to sprout. Soon, the cats will be able to lie in the sun on the balcony and open windows (with cat safety nets of course).

The birds are also feeding happily and collecting little sticks for their new nests. We’re looking forward to the late spring and early summer, as by then, hopefully, this crisis will be over.

Thinking of you all and sending lots of love from Ralph, the cats and myself ❤

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

A Cute Surprise! We adopted 2 rescue kittens, Hero and Lisa!

Hello everyone! Where should I even start? Well, in short, we adopted 2 more cats into our little family… The nearly 6 months old kittens, Lisa and Hero!

The exact date of their birth is not known. It was Ralph who came up with the name Hero for the sweet little boy. They already had temporary names, Nero and Lisa. Ralph had no idea at first that they had these names already, and came up with Hero for the little boy. When you read their story below, and what he had to endure, you understand the name. He’s our little Hero, for surviving it all with Lisa. I’ll keep Nero in his full name, but we’ll call him Hero for short, so it’s Nero the little Hero and Lisa.

The whole story…

2019 11 02 Lisa and Hero at the Foster home
This was the picture I saw first when hearing about them. It’s Lisa and Hero when they were still at their Foster home.

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, I read about the two kitten siblings, who had it very rough until they were found and nursed back to health. Like it happens all the time, and every time is one time to many, everywhere, someone “got rid” of their kittens by simply setting them out by the street. They had to fend for themselves for who knows how long.

About two months ago, they were found in the midst of the rubbish of a construction site. In all, there were 4 kittens, each of them in a very bad state. Dehydrated, starving and the little boy Hero was extremely close to death. He was found with his right back leg severely injured. He was probably hit by a car, or some other horrible thing happened while they’ve been out there by themselves. Hero must have been in so much pain from that badly injured leg, and that for who knows how many days. Thank God these sweet kittens were found in time, as they surely would not have been able to stay alive, in the state they were in, for much longer.

It was Helga, who owns her own rescue and does it all by herself with the help of donations and foster homes, who brought the kittens to the first available Vet right away. That Vet then wanted to put sweet Hero down right away! But Helga wasn’t going to allow that and wanted him saved. So, Hero’s back right leg was amputated and everything else was done to treat all the kittens medically. Then they all were nursed back to full health in a foster home. They cared for them wonderfully, as all the kittens are now perfectly healthy and full of life. Hero’s amputation site healed without an issue and the fur has almost completely grown back by now as well.

Two of the four kittens have found a home already, but Lisa and Hero were still waiting for a loving home. Helga expected that little Lisa would have maybe found a home after a while, but Hero would have likely been left behind. Not one person was even interested in Hero, or both of them in the two months since they were rescued. Even when she mentioned the two kittens to people that were looking to take cats, declined. I ended up being the first and only person to be interested and sweet Hero and Lisa.

When I read about Hero and Lisa on November 2nd, I didn’t even have to think twice. In an instant, I knew deep in my heart that I wanted both of them to have a forever home with us. On that same day, Helga and I had a phone call and agreed that she would visit us the next day (Sunday, November 3rd) to get to know Ralph and myself and see our home, to make sure that the kittens would have a good home with us.

While we were waiting to hear if we would be approved to take in the kittens, I was all over the place. I messed up that Sunday’s dinner and 3 of Ralph’s coffees. Ralph has his coffee black with two sugar cubes. I put milk in one coffee, put 6 sugar cubes in another, and no sugar in the 3rd and had it go cold as well. It was funny.

Soon after we knew, we would be able to take Hero and Lisa. The big day was on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 the kittens were brought to us at around 6pm by the awesome Helga!

That whole day I was so excited, messed up coffee, and did some shopping for the kittens and Murli, Samantha and Sonic. It was awfully rainy that day, so when I went back home from the shop with two cat toilets and a big bag of food, toys and kitty litter, I had no arm free from an umbrella. Even though I only had to walk from the tram stop to our home, I was soaking wet when I got home…

I just put everything down in the hallway. These are the two new kitty toilets I bought that day.

Murli knew something was up anyway…

2019 11 05 midday Murli after I came home from shopping
Murli in the hallway

I got everything ready for the new family members and then, finally, Helga came with Hero in Lisa in a carrier. We had them come out in our living room, where I had prepared an area where they would find everything they need close to them. We knew from Helga that Hero and Lisa were still very shy and afraid of humans. I knew that they would just hide and feel scared, not knowing what’s going on. But at least they would be able to see/smell the food right there, see a kitty toilet nearby and have places to hide and toys to play with, should they feel like it.

2019 11 05 6-15pm babies hiding after arriving
The area where Hero and Lisa were let out of their carrier.

You can faintly see the little tabby boy Hero in that photo. Lisa was near Hero, but underneath that footstool. They stayed like that well into the night, and we left them, not wanting to bother them.

Ralph stayed up until about 3am, while I had gone to bed at midnight, feeling really tired. Of course, I could hardly sleep anyway, always listening for what the cats are up to, all of them. So in the early morning, about 5am, I got up to see what the kittens have been up to.

How Samantha, Murli and Sonic are reacting to Hero and Lisa

2019 11 06 5am Samantha seeing Lisa the first time
Lisa on the cat tree by the window. Samantha had just come in too and saw Lisa for the first time.

Lisa is hardly visible, but she’s on the kitty tree, at the second level from the top. Samantha had previously smelled them already, but that morning was the first time she saw one of the kittens. Lisa wasn’t really worried over there. Samantha was stunned, like she could not believe what she saw and wondered about what these kittens were doing in her home all of a sudden.

Samantha was very curious about them though, and she wasn’t too upset, behaving normally and doing everything she always does. She’s still coming to terms with new cats being in her home and getting used to it. It’s very similar to how it was when Murli and Samantha came together in this apartment the first time. Back then it took a few weeks for everything to become normal for her and Murli.

Murli is also very curious about the kittens, but she’s not upset one bit. She’s behaving exactly as she always does. She leaves them alone, and only watches them from, and sneaks after them, to peek around the corner at them.

Sonic is the way he is, a boy who doesn’t get upset easily. He also LOVES other cats and is always friendly to them, even if they hiss. So Sonic made friends with Hero right away, the first time they met nose to nose, they became brothers. He’s trying to get closer to Lisa as well, but she’s still a bit worried, but it’s getting much less every day. By now Sonic, Hero and Lisa hang out together on the bed with me in it!

In all, there haven’t been any big problems with Murli, Samantha and Sonic accepting the new family members. It’s all pretty like I expected it to be, knowing them.

Very late on the evening Hero and Lisa arrived, I decided I feel better with the balcony door secured. So in the dark, cold and pouring rain, I started putting a cat safety net onto the frame of the balcony door. I can easily put it up and remove it, but it’s safe, not even a kitten can squeeze past it. I just became too worried about the little ones suddenly running on the balcony and trying to climb the fencing and falling off the balcony. I will soon secure the whole balcony with a cat safety net, so that they can go out on the balcony safely. Up until now, the fencing I put on the balcony railing was enough, as we didn’t have to worry about Murli, Samantha and Sonic jumping onto the railing.

The first morning after their arrival, we hear them running around and playing in the living room for a while, before hiding under the footstool again for most of the day. But the next evening, about 24 hours after their arrival, they were starting to explore the apartment and played with all the cat toys along their way.

So I sat down on the floor in the hallway, and got them curious with a toy. They came closer and I was able to play with them for the first time!

2019 11 07 6-46pm Playing with Lisa nd Hero 1st time
Playing with Hero (left) and Lisa (right) for the first time!

Otherwise, the kittens were very shy and very afraid of humans. But we’re able to gain their trust slowly, every day a little bit more. During the first 4 days, they would run away as soon as we walked nearby. But that distance before they would run was getting shorter and shorter. Hero and Lisa were also starting to follow us, peeking around the corner to watch what we were doing.

Sonic started joining in when I was playing with the kittens, which is so awesome. The picture on the left is Hero and Lisa. The one on the right is Sonic and Hero.

And so the days went by, until it’s now more than a week since their arrival! These last two nights, Hero and Lisa even came up on our bed for a while. Last night, after going to bed, Hero and Lisa both cuddled up against my legs, which were under the blanket. It was so cute. Sonic was there as well, to the right of me, as he usually is. The following photos in the slideshow are from Tuesday, in the late evening. I was playing with them before going to sleep.

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Samantha and Murli usually prefer their baskets, so it’s perfectly normal for them not to be on the bed anyway.

Hero and Lisa had lost their frightened expressions after the first two days pretty much. By now they are feeling so much more at home and enjoy watching Kitty-TV from the bedroom window. We’ve had constant rain, so the window looks mucky again even though I cleaned it about two weeks ago.

2019 11 10 11-29am Falling asleep after kitty TV 01
Lisa and Hero on the bedroom window sill

2019 11 10 11-29am Sweet little Hero
Hero, with Lisa on the bedroom window sill

2019 11 10 11-29am Sweet little Lisa
Lisa, on the bedroom window sill

Hero is running just as fast as Lisa, despite having only 3 legs. He’s getting around so well! But I tried to help him out and make it a bit easier for him to get up on things, by putting in-between steps to higher up places, with chairs, cat ladders and footstools etc.

I also have a video of them playing around the kitty tree on Monday morning. It is a bit dark, as it was another awful dark day and I had only opened one side of the curtain, because the babies were sitting behind the other half, watching the street from the living room window. Later I sat down at my desk and these two started playing. So I just got the camera out and started filming anyway.

There is still more that I could write and post, but I will just put it in my next post. Every day is exciting now, with something new happening!

Like Hero and Lisa coming up to our hands most of the time now and sniffing. I’m really looking forward to them trusting us enough to give them a nice brush and cuddle.

Murli, Samantha and Sonic are getting just as much love as they always do. I love all of them so much! I’m now spoiling 5 cats and loving it! Ralph adores Hero and Lisa so much as well!

Love to all of you! Thank you so much for reading!