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 · 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 · Nature · Pictures · Places · The Cats · Videos

Lots of Autumn pictures, the kitties and a cute hedgehog

By now it really looks like Autumn here. Back in the beginning of September, it was just a few leaves here and there, while everything was still green. But within the last two weeks, the leaves really started dropping fast. The temperatures we’re having are great though! Very warm in the afternoons. 20°C / 68°F to 25°C / 77°F and sunny every day. Only the mornings can be quite foggy, and the temperatures overnight and the mornings drop to around 10°C / 50°F or 7°C / 44.6F.

During the day, I don’t even put the heating on.

Foggy Morning October 18, 2019
Foggy Fall Morning

This is one of the foggy early mornings these days. But as soon as that clears, the sun comes out and we have beautiful sunny Autumn days.

Since the afternoons have been so warm, we put everything outside for the cats and us of course, and we’re able to leave the balcony door open and the windows too.

Autumn afternoons mid October 2019
Murli, Sonic and Samantha

Murli loving it in the afternoon sun
Murli loving it in the sun

Samantha and Sonic
Sonic and Samantha

Sweet Sonic enjoying the warm sun
Sonic

But even if it’s too cold to be out, the cats still have sunny spots to hang out at if they want.

Murli in the kitchen
Murli enjoying the sun in the kitchen. The door was only open for a little when I took this pic. It was too chilly for Murli outside.

Samantha on the Cat tree
Samantha loves the little cat tree by the bedroom window. She’s lying on a valerian root cushions. It’s barely visible underneath her front legs.

Samantha_Sonic_SalonWindow
Samantha and Sonic at the living room window in the morning

We have a sweet little hedgehog we often see wandering around in the garden at night, so it was always too dark to get a pic or video. But I was lucky on Saturday and got a lovely video of him/her digging for worms and looking for slugs/snails. He found quite a bit and I hope this sweetie had a nice full tummy afterwards. Unfortunately, the video always loses lots of quality once it’s uploaded to YouTube, even though I record it in full HD.

I picked up the kitties meds from the Vet and I always go through this park to avoid the busy street with my bicycle. This awesome and huge tree is so lovely! It’s so big, I can’t even get it all into the frame (I also can’t go back much farther either…). This tree already looked huge like that when I was a little kid (I was born in 1980). I really wonder how old it really is. When this park was founded sometime in the late 1800s, there were only fields and farms with lots of trees already in place. So this tree could have easily been there before the park.

Autumn_Park_02

October 18, 2019 Park near the Vet
Another area of the same park

The sunsets we’re getting in fall are stunning as well! Here’s a little slideshow of the sunsets in the last couple of days.

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Love from the cats and me <3

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

Looking back on our September

Hello everyone! The late evening of October 7 already! Unbelievable. September was a busy month and a month with lots of migraines and fatigue, unfortunately. But as of now, I’m getting into a good phase again, feeling well. Hope it will last a bit longer than the last.

Sweet Sonic is doing really really well! He’s not had any issues anymore with his tummy. His digestion is working like it should now with the new food. He’s happy and playful.

The weather has turned to autumn for good by now. But it started getting rather cold at the beginning of September already. Since then we had more days with rain or heavy overcast than sunny days. Though we had two wonderfully sunny and warm days the previous Thursday and Friday. So the cats were able to enjoy the sun on the balcony again. Sonic enjoyed the sun on the bed, while Murli and Samantha were on the balcony.

Sonic on the bed
Sonic on our bed, enjoying the sun

October 4, 2019
Murli and Samantha

Samantha
Happy Samantha in the sun

Recently it had been too cold to leave the balcony door open all day, even with the sun it had been too chilly. But the cats have to get used to that again for the winter…

Now I will often put a chair in front of the balcony door when it’s sunny, because the girls absolutely love to curl up on chairs in the sun. But especially Murli really isn’t too happy with the door closed most of the time now.

Everyone a the door
Murli right at the door, Samantha on the chair and Sonic sitting behind them.

I recently started to give them kitty grass again and they can’t get enough of it. They just absolutely love it! I only put it down for them a couple times a day, because otherwise, they would be at it constantly.

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As I mentioned, the weather turned cold right at the beginning of September. We had planned to go to a huge Airshow not too far away from Graz, which only takes place every two years. We had looked forward to this one for so long! Though, right at the weekend of the Airshow, the weather had turned from summer to autumn from one day to the next. The temperatures had plummeted, it was raining, windy and the visibility was low. That is why we decided not to go, as we would have been in the cold and rain all day. Hopefully, we can go to a different Airshow next summer!

The Birds

The Sparrows and Pigeons are all quite happy! The swarm of Sparrows is very active and lovely to watch. I feed them every day and they’re not afraid of me, coming really close sometimes.

Sparrow nearby
Cute Sparrow near our balcony

Sparrows
The flock of Sparrows on a bunch of freshly mowed grass, that has been laid around this tree.

The pigeons are coming really close to me too! Most days there will only be one or two visiting. But sometimes it seems they have a party going on and bring all their friends.

Pigeon Party
Pigeon party on our bedroom window and balcony

Of course, it’s great entertainment for the cats inside, when the birds sit on our bedroom window.

Pigeon 2
This pigeon likes to sit on our bedroom window shutters

The Bathroom

Two weeks ago, they fixed and sealed off the area around our shower tap, so no shower water can get into the wall anymore. Also, it was found that the shower tap itself did not even have a problem… That was great, as it made the work a lot easier.

Tomorrow morning, the man from the company who measured the humidity, in the beginning, is coming again to see if the humidity is decreasing. Since the repairs dragged out for so long, it’s kind of early to measure now, since it was sealed off only two weeks ago. But we will see what comes out of that. I guess he’ll have to come again at some point when more time has gone by.

There are many more posts coming

I have lots I want to write about and share! I’ve got many ideas and hopefully my health (migraine, fatigue issues) will be holding up as well as possible, as there is so much I would love to do.

We’ve been doing great and are really happy! Though we feel the summer was too short for us. Ralph isn’t looking forward to the cold winter… But I’ll make sure it’s going to be comfy, warm and cozy at home.

All the uncertainty regarding Brexit isn’t nice and no one really knows what will happen in regards to Brexit, but hopefully things will get worked out. It will already be good to have an end to the uncertainty regarding it.

Hope you’re all well! Thank you for stopping by.

Love and Purrs!

Everything · Kitty Knowledge · Pictures · The Cats

What a week! Constipated Sonic emergency.

Sonic_playing_on_Bed_02
Sonic

First the most important thing: He’s been fine since after the Vet visit. He’s a happy Sonic again, flopping all over the apartment as always.

Originally, I started to write a post for Tuesday, which I never got to finish because Sonic became unwell due to sudden acute obstipation.

2019-08-30 10_54_15-veterinary-FelineConstipation-ClientHandout.pdf
Source: http://veterinaryteam.dvm360.com/constipated-kitty-offer-veterinary-clients-handout

It started during the night from Monday to Tuesday. I woke up to Sonic being very restless. He was up and down from the bed, going to the toilet and back up on the bed again. He did it repeatedly, so I got up with him and noticed he was straining to have a bowel movement. He was really trying hard, but nothing would happen. This went on for a while, but eventually Sonic curled up beside me and we all fell asleep.

As I got up the next morning, I came into the living room to Sonic happily playing with one of the strings they have hanging around the place. He also ate and drank properly and because I had put more of his medicine in his food that morning, I was hoping it would resolve itself.

Later that same Tuesday morning we also had a Lady come by who had a look at our bathroom tiles, so she can prepare the right ones for us when they come to change the tap in the shower.

It was all very busy that morning and into the afternoon. But at around 2pm I tried to have a little nap, and Sonic was with me on the bed as well. We slept for a little while, but then I woke up to him straining to have a bowel movement again. The periods of rest between him trying became much shorter, until he was basically straining the whole time, even while being on the bed. I think he was becoming really exhausted. His back legs were moving and kicking and he was unable to relax at all anymore.

He also started feeling hot to the touch and he was now complaining when trying to press out a bowel movement, without anything happening. He was glowing hot and seemed to get weak. He got worse quickly suddenly.

I knew I have to get him to the Vet instantly. I called our Vet office, which was closing at that time of day, to ask which Vet would be on call for emergencies right now. But instead, the Vet told us to come over right away and he’ll wait for us. Our Vet office has two Vets. The Lady Vet is doing the mornings and the male Vet is doing the late afternoons. I know both of them, and he is just as great and kind.

My hands were shaking, my heart pounding in my head, I was so worried about our sweet boy. I picked Sonic up from the bed and put him into the carrier and called a Taxi, which thankfully came within just a minute.

Sonic was complaining loudly all the way to the Vet about being in the carrier. Since he can’t hear me talking to him, I just put my hand into the carrier and laid it on him, which helped. Traffic was thankfully not bad anymore, since it was more than half an hour after the evening rush hour. We arrived in maybe 6 minutes.

At the Vet

20190828_Sonicatthevet
Sonic in the carrier, just as I got in the door at the Vet office and put him down on a little chair. The carrier is the wrong way around… There are windows with netting on both ends and on the other side of it, as well as on the top

Just after I got in and put the carrier down, the Vet already came to us to take us into the examination room. Sonic was put on the examination table and checked out, while I was right there, next to him. The Vet hooked Sonic up to a drip for rehydration and then a bit later, two tiny cat size appropriate enemas were given.

Sonic was just lying on his side with his head in my hand, which he always likes to do, while we had to wait for the medicine to do its work inside his digestive tract. He was obviously totally exhausted. But even if he weren’t exhausted, Sonic is always relaxed and patient at the Vet. He never complains or struggles. He’s the most patient cat.

After the medicine had enough time to work, the Vet started massaging Sonics tummy. It took a bit of effort for Sonic, but eventually, the whole problem was resolved and that poor boy was relieved of his blockage. The Vet even gave Sonic a big clean up with warm running water, cat shampoo and then dried him off. Even with that, he remained as calm as anything.

Then as the carrier got put on the table, Sonic just went in by himself right away. He’s had enough at that point, I’m sure. Though he must have felt so much better already.

The Vet gave us some more medicine that helps with Peristalsis in the digestive tract. I have to put 0.3ml in his mouth with a little syringe three times a day.

In  addition, I’ll give him the fibre-rich dry food again. I had stopped giving it because Sonic kept throwing up from it. But the Vet explained to me why that was likely happening… The fibre-rich food was being digested in his stomach quite quickly and easily, but then could not move on fast enough out of his stomach into his intestines, because it was working too slow, which then caused him to throw it back up.

Now with the medicine and smaller portions, he seems to keep it down just fine! Which is a good sign that his intestines are now working better.

How Sonic is doing now

20190828_Sonic
Sonic the next morning, after the Vet. He was still tired, but obviously feeling well and comfy now.

Sonic was already feeling so much better right after we got home from the Vet at about 8pm. His temperature had already dropped down to almost normal again and he was flopping down on the floor, as he always likes to do. Then he just went to sleep and slept all the way through to the next morning.

The next day he was already up for playing again, feeling hungry and drinking properly. He was fine and a happy little kitty boy again!

He’s been going to the toilet without a problem since and is all back to normal.

So how did it come to this?

Sonic needs a bit of medicine on his dry food that helps his digestion work properly. Unfortunately, he refuses to eat wet food. I tried and tried, he does not want to know anything about it. So dry food it is, although it’s high-quality dry food. He drinks plenty of water, so he’s well hydrated normally.

Now I am sure I know what happened that it came to this… Samantha must have eaten his medicated dry food. The medicine is a syrup that gets put right on top of his food, and normally he’s already waiting to have his food when I put it down. But he was not feeling that hungry I guess, so I just put it down for him. Samantha must have gotten to that food before Sonic did, without me noticing… I put Sonic’s dry food WAY OUT of Samantha’s path. His food is right next to our bed, on my side of it and normally it works out like that.

Samantha must have eaten Sonic’s medicated food on Sunday and Monday, because she had a light case of the runs on Monday morning and Tuesday morning.

The next problem was that Sonic did not drink like he usually does. In fact, I think none of the cats drank normally Sunday to Tuesday. I have a feeling that the extremely high humidity we have right now made them less thirsty. They might have felt like their throats aren’t feeling dry ever and did not feel the need to drink as much.

This combined must have Sonic caused to get severely blocked up.

Now I learned more and will make sure that nothing like this happens again. We already have two cat fountains that they all love to drink out of. But I think I’ll add another small one, which I will move around.

I found that putting a water bowl somewhere on a new spot will make the cats curious about it and then drink out of it, just because it’s suddenly right there. Having more water bowls around generally always helps. With Sonic, Samantha and Murli I found that their water intake increased by a lot after we got the water fountains.

Sonic_playing_on_Bed_01
Playful Sonic – He was watching the lens cap of the camera, which was dangling from it on a string…

It’s so wonderful to see him feel happy and well again. We have a beautiful sunny summer day today! Murli is out on the balcony and Samantha at the window in the living room, enjoying the sun. Sonic is wandering around the apartment after he having a little play fight with Samantha.

Have a lovely Caturday! Love from me and the cats!