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 · 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

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats

Just letting you know we’re fine! New update post coming tomorrow.

Hello my dear friends! I hope all of you are well and safe.

Lisa preventing me from using my laptop during the day ;-)

I’m sorry I didn’t reply to all the comments yet. I have been extremely tired every day this week, that I didn’t get to do much aside from the normal daily tasks of every day life. Ralph thinks it must be the anxiety I’ve had for the last 3 weeks, where I felt absolutely stressed out, worried and upset.

But I am much better now, because everything is going to be fine with my medication and I will also be able to stay at home for the next 4 weeks. Which will keep Ralph safe.

I’ll have another update post up tomorrow. Lots to talk about, lots of news and lots of cat pictures and just sharing how our life is going right now.

For now, I will go to bed. Can’t wait to get back to reading everyone’s blogs, writing my own post and replying to your comments in the morning. Let’s hope I will feel more awake then.

As always, please take good care of each other and yourselves! Stay healthy and at home if you can.

Big hugs & purrs!

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

Life during the Corona Pandemic – March 11 Update

It’s now officially a Pandemic. But that was apparent for a while now anyway.

I really wasn’t sure if I should write regular updates about how things are going here in Austria and in general, since I didn’t want to add to the constant Corona Presence in every headline, posting and new article. As people are hearing about nothing else anymore almost.

But then I thought it’s going to be a record of our life, that I can look back on years later, and in this way I can let everyone know how we’re doing and that we’re ok.

Case 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 case counts are multiplying extremely fast now, and there is panic and fear among people in many countries, 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 still normal in Graz

While the Corona cases are multiplying every day, things are still as always pretty much. Thankfully, we do not have a huge number of cases in our state and city yet. 18 for the whole of Styria, our state. They aren’t mentioning where those cases are, or if they’re spread out over the state or concentrated in an area, I don’t know why. But in the way it began and the few cases they mentioned, the cases were in the east of our state, and just one in our city of Graz. But it was about 10 days ago when they mentioned that patient from Graz, so I’m sure there are more by now, and probably people who were in contact with that person.

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.

I can still go out without worry as of now, but I do take all the precautions I can possibly take. I keep away from people and I’m always using my bicycle to go where I need to go even more.

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. 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

Since the risk to become ill myself is still very low for Graz, especially with the precautions I take, I still go out to pick up a few necessities, but I go during times when hardly anyone else goes shopping. Though seeing how fast the cases multiply, I will stop any shopping in stores by next week possibly.

Also, I will try to talk to my, doctor on Monday, to use all my vacation allowance and pick up all my months medication at once to take home with me. Not only would I not have to keep worrying to suddenly stand in front of closed doors at my pharmacy, if they have to shut down because of a case, and I won’t have to keep going out so much, and put Ralph at risk with it.

My immune system is really good and strong, I never become sick, my health problems are pain related, but organically I’m perfectly fine. Though since everyone above the age of 60 is at a higher risk to develop severe problems if infected with the Virus, I really don’t want to risk anything, even if the chances to catch it, as of right now in our area, are rather low.

That’s why I don’t like people getting dismissed with their worries, as it keeps happening at the moment. People here are so used to nothing bad ever happening, that they can’t seem to grasp the possibility that it could be different this time.

I much rather take precautions as much as possible and not need it, than risk the health of my most beloved husband and the well-being of our little family.

Lets hope I’ll be able to get this done, so I can stay home for the next 4 weeks. Of course it might not be over by then, but it might start to get better by then. Also, it might be foreseeable in which direction the pandemic is going by then.

Please stay safe my friends, especially in all those areas with a high number of cases. Also be careful, as people are unpredictable when panicked. Stay home as much as you can, until this “storm” has passed.

Lots of love from us all <3

Everything · Murli the cat · Our friends · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats

Thank you all for your love and kindness after the sudden passing of my sweet girl Murli

You all have been so sweet and your many comments all over WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and the Emails mean so much, I can’t even describe how much. It helped my broken heart to keep going.

Internet problems since last WednesdayI just want you to know that we’ve been having really bad trouble with our internet since last Wednesday. It got so incredibly slow, that no site would load properly, or time out altogether. Trying to comment failed mostly and the few replies I got out took multiple tries. Due to my phone internet running on the same network, it had the same issues. Many people in Austria had the same problems with the same provider these days, which is probably due to the big changes they are working on. Thankfully it seems to be working again today and hopefully, it stays that way.

I will reply to all your kind comments as soon as I can, starting tomorrow and during the next days.

Thank you so much for creating this beautiful card for Murli, Sherri-Ellen and BellaDharma and for your thoughts in your blog post. You’re purrfect friends and fur family and we love you both!

BellaDharma LadyMew for Murli
BellaDharma and LadyMew’s card in remembrance of sweet girl Murli

Many of you knew Murli and me for years. I shared so many posts and photos about our everyday lives and what we’re up to, way back before I even knew Ralph. Murli and I made so many wonderful friends, who became really close friends. It does not matter how far apart some of us are living, we feel close to each other and due to how we share our lives with each other. We all had our hearts stolen by each other’s furbabies and feel real heartbreak if one of them passes on. You all know very well about how I feel, so I don’t even need to describe the deep pain I feel in my heart.

It really is thanks to the love and friendship that I keep going. It’s all of it… My love for and from my other sweet furbabies Samantha, Sonic, Hero and Lisa, and of course the love for my wonderful caring and loving husband Ralph, and the love and support of all of you kind friends. Otherwise, I think I would have just lied down in bed and give up for a while.

But I keep my head up for my other kitties and Ralph. It’s not good for the kitties if I cry constantly and give into my heartbreak. I keep busy by caring for everyone and pouring my love on all of them.

It was difficult when everyone slept and I could not go online in any way to reach out or reply to any of you, due to the internet problems. It’s the quiet hours that are the most difficult, which is why I still can not sleep well. It’s only once I become so exhausted from lack of sleep, that I can get some hours in. Eating is another challenge.

I did not expect it to happen so soon. In fact, I was sure we would have a decade or even more left with Murli. I was hoping she will reach her 20s at least.

The only thing that is a slight comfort, is to know that Murli just slept away. She simply laid down to sleep and passed away. Her body had no signs of distress or pain, she was just like she always liked to sleep when she lied down by a heater.

And so I keep on living, carrying the love for Murli in my heart for the rest of my life, together with my beloved family, Ralph, Samantha, Sonic, Hero and Lisa.

The last couple of days

I have candles burning in between the window panes for Murli and I will keep having candles burning for her at the least until the new year. Sonic also loves watching them, as he absolutely loves lights.

CandlesforMurli

CandlesforMurli2

In our home, it’s not just Ralph and me who have been sad and missing Murli. Murli was loved by Sonic, Samantha and also the babies Hero and Lisa. There was something special about her, something that made other cats feel comfortable around her. Everyone wanted her friendship. Sonic especially loved Murli, he really did. It was obvious that he felt very sad for the first couple of days.

Sonic_watching_Candles
Sonic watches the candles I put in between the window. I put them there for Murli. As a sign for her that we’re thinking of her, that we keep a light going for her. The candles will be burning all the way until the new year at least.

Sonic, who is a pretty vocal kitty boy normally, was very quiet, hardly a peep from him and he kept to himself, just sleeping mostly. Though he did eat and drink properly thankfully. But anytime he did get up from sleep, he would walk around the apartment, looking everywhere for Murli. Sniffing at everything that had her scent, trying to follow it, hoping he would find her. He kept that going for a few days but has given up now. Though I am sure he is still missing her. He is thankfully though much more himself again. Sonic bonded with Hero and Lisa as soon as he met them. I think the friendship he has with the siblings is doing him well now.

20190818_Murli_Samantha_02
Murli and Samantha relaxing

 

Samantha always enjoyed hanging out with Murli on the balcony in the summer, for hours and hours. I don’t think she even realises exactly what has happened yet, due to her not walking around with her cone. She hasn’t been around in the apartment except on the few cat bed spots she wants to be at.

PoorSamanthaWithCone
Samantha with her cone these days

Regarding her cone, I was not able to use anything that covers her stitches, due to them being wire stitches, as they had to be strong after she ripped out the initial ones. Anything on top of these would make it more difficult for healing, due to the wire stitches getting stuck in anything and with Samantha’s body movement, it would cause irritation. It also helped to not cover it, because it had to drain a bit.

I will use something different, like the wonderful suggestions I got, for my sweet little girl Lisa, when she gets spayed.

We’ve been to the Vet with Samantha today: Everything has healed really well! The stitches have been removed! There is only a little crust hanging on by a little corner still, which is slightly bleeding if it’s being pulled at. It’s only superficial. But she has to keep her cone until tomorrow morning, just to give it a tiny bit more time. As soon as I get up tomorrow morning, I will free her!

Hero and Lisa on Bed
Hero (left) and Lisa

The babies Hero and Lisa haven’t been here long enough yet to be impacted as heavily by Murli’s passing. But they too loved Murli right away. They enjoyed hanging out with her looking out the balcony door, or the bedroom window to watch the birds. They were not worried about her or obviously felt comfortable around her right away. It was so cute to hear them talking to Murli with friendly meows, with their tails straight up.

There was a special moment with Hero and Murli after she passed – Not long after I had found my sweet girl Murli lying on a blanket next to a heater, after she had passed away in her sleep, Hero came along and lied down beside her. Then he took one of his front paws and gently laid it on one of Murli’s front paws. It was very special and words are not doing justice to how it was in reality.

Hero and Lisa are special. They were meant to come into my life at the time they did. I’m sure an angel was looking out for us, knowing about what is going to happen. Maybe it was my beloved Mama?

These two sweet kittens went through so much already in their short lives. They almost died themselves from starvation and dehydration after being abandoned. Hero with his severely injured and infected leg was so very close to death. If they had not been found when they did and by the right person, who did everything to save them, they would not be here. But now they are, and I gained their trust with lots of patience and love. They are healthy and thriving! Happy and feeling right at home with us.

Their lives just started. Murli will always be part of our family, always present in our hearts and minds. I know we will be reunited again once I have to go, but until then, I’ll treasure every single day with the ones I love, as every moment is special and will not return and you may not get another chance.

Love to all of you.