In which Socks needs solving

As you know, Bob, last April we drove to Connecticut to pick up a new member of the family, a recently retired Maine Coon stud, Upper Valley Bahzell P of Blueblaze, call-name Socks.

This is Socks:

Socks at home, November 12, 2012
Socks at home, November 12, 2012

Socks is polydactyl (that means he has extra toes; this is pretty common with Maine Coon cats, who trace their Lines all the way back to the barns of Maine, where they sometimes need to open doors and operate equipment.  I know some people think that extra-toed cats are “deformed;” this is not the case.).  He has papers to go with his fancy name, from TICA and from the Cat Fanciers’ Association; and his official color designation is Silver Mackerel Tabby.  Socks will be seven years old on April 12.

So, that’s the technical stuff.  What you really want to know is that he’s a sweet and attentive individual.  He likes to watch movies with his people; he likes to read, and he likes Classic Rock. He likes to help, and can pretty much be counted on to be in the middle of whatever it is that’s going down.  Despite being a rather large cat (Maine Coons are called The Gentle Giants of catdom), he’s often a lapsitter and a sleeper-with-people.  He takes his flying mouse play Very Seriously.  He has a charming, growly little voice, rather than the classic Maine Coon squeak.  Think Humphrey Bogart.  With extra toes.

Maine Coons are known for their good nature, but Socks goes above and beyond.  I have never, ever heard him growl or hiss; he has never, to my knowledge, lifted a paw in anger.  In fact, if fault could be found with such a sunny little person, it would be that he’s a little too unassuming; he tends to disappear into the crowd.

Socks came to us as a semi-rescue — he was recently neutered and out of a job; he had a sniffle, several bad teeth, and he was seriously skinny.  We figured to get the dental situation fixed, feed him up, get the sniffle under control, do a little immune system boosting.  We have managed the teeth (he lost seven); we’ve fed him up; and he’s markedly less. . .depressed than he was when he arrived.

The chronic sneezing, despite daily doses of antibiotic (which he takes with minimal protest), continues.  Lately, he’s developed a constipation problem — apparently, in order to accommodate his long trips from harem to harem, he developed a larger than normal colon.  When he was a young guy, in top athletic shape, he could bring the necessary muscle to bear to operate this organ, but as he’s aged, he’s let his stomach muscles go (don’t laugh; many of us here today have let our stomach muscles go).

All of this is to say that, though Steve and I love Socks, we’re looking for another situation for him.  Ideally, this situation would be with a person who was home more than away, and in which he would be the Sole Companion and Supervisor, or one of two.  He does like the company of other cats.  We do not believe that he is a dog lover, nor have we seen him with small children.

We have spoken to the cattery with which he was last affiliated, and the owners have said that he can go to them.  We’re reluctant to do this because of Socks’ extreme good-nature and his ability to fade into the crowd.  I think the reason that he got into the shape he was in when he came to us was that he traveled from place to place and was so compliant that no one really paid attention to Socks, as Socks.  So, we’d rather try to find him a better condition.

Please pass this note around to people who may be interested in acquiring a really special friend.  And if you can help, please let me know.

Thank you for listening.

Five things and a photo make a post

Oh, let’s see…

1.  Steve got jealous of all of Socks’ Lightning Visits to the vet, so there was nothing for it but that he should have a Lightning Visit to the doctor today.  Where it was discovered that he has arrived home from Boskone with acute bronchitis.  Medications have been prescribed.  Rest has been prescribed.  Below, a picture of Steve resting, at Socks’ insistence.

Resting. Steve and Socks. Photo by Sharon Lee
Resting. Steve and Socks.
Photo by Sharon Lee

2.  I have an appointment with the vampires tomorrow morning.  After which I suspect I will be stopping at the grocery store because…

3.  Winter storm warning for Waterville and environs, starting Wednesday.  Weatherbeans at the moment calling for another 8-12 inches.  Man, I’m going to have upper arms to die for.

4.  I am not yet half-way through the galleys of Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume One.

5.  I provide a link to an article interesting not so much for the description of a kerfuffle in an online forum, but for the discussion of “nice,” and how the concept of same is used as a bullying tactic, a topic of some interest to me.  Since, as advertised elsewhere and often, I am so not nice…

Self-promotion, with cats

For those who had been waiting for the Edited and Compleat eEdition of Liaden Universe novel Necessity’s Child — your wait is over!  You may purchase it from Baen eBooks in Every Format Known to Woman:  here’s your link.  You may also purchase the Kindle edition only from Amazon:  here’s that link.

The hardcover and the audiobook editions will be released on February 5.  Also!  it’s not too late to pre-order the signed hardcover from Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore in Minneapolis (Uncle ships worldwide).  Here’s that link.

As mentioned yesterday, “Eleutherios,” a Liaden Universe® (no, really, trust me) short story, is now published to the Baen front page.  The story may be read for free — no fee, no log-in, no sign-up required.  The story starts here (you have to scroll down).

Edited to add:  SFSite has opened the voting for Readers Choice for Best Read of 2012.  Last year, the Top Read, according to the readers of SFSite was Ghost Ship, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.  Lots of good books came out in 2012 (including Dragon Ship by Lee and Miller), and you can nominate up to 10.  The rules are right here.

Also, I note with sadness that  Maine has slipped to second place in cat ownership, nationwide, ceding pride of place to Vermont.  Maybe this year we will recapture the coveted Fur-and-Purr Award.


The Coon Cat Wednesday Lunch Club

Socks needs to be fed up, so we feed him gooshie food several times a day, in addition to the crunchies that are always available.  Mozart does not need to be fed up.  His position is, I believe, that Rank Hath Privilege, and that he also ought to be fed gooshie food several times a day, or the kid’ll get uppity.  Management having rejected this position on grounds of maintaining good coon cat general health, Mo contents himself with Observing. . .and occasionally pushing his head under the kid’s head and sampling a bite for himself.

The Coon Cat Lunch Club
The Coon Cat Lunch Club


Socks shows proper respect
Socks shows proper respect


The coon cats at home, late December

I have been remiss in sharing Mozart’s love of The Spa, which opens directly after one of us takes a shower, and the various scents of soap and shampoo ride the steam.  He’ll shoulder open the door the hallway and jump up on the hamper nearest the shower, sniff, sigh, and curl up, purring.  He’s in The Spa at the moment, savoring the fragrant aftermath of my orange-creme goatmilk soap shower.  I can hear him purring from the hallway.

In other news, and leaving aside Christmas Eve’s adventure as a completely unrelated incident to his general health, Socks is, since having acupuncture, much improved.  There’s been only a very small amount of sneezing, the chronic sinus difficulties have vanished, and he can breathe easily.  More than that — he can purr, which he hasn’t been able to do without setting off a explosive bout of sneezing.  He also has much more energy — who knew that he could bounce?  We’re just really delighted and hope very much (everybody knock wood) that this improvement is permanent.

I hope everyone is having a lovely last weekend of 2012.


Recap with storm warning

Oh, let’s see.

On Tuesday Monday, Steve and I went into town to do some minor grocery shopping and pick up a music stand.  We had noticed that Socks hadn’t asked for breakfast, but sometimes he, like me, doesn’t want to be bothered with breakfast, so we didn’t think much of it.

We were brought to a realization of our error when we returned home some hours later, groceries in arms.  Socks was clearly in distress and, it being Christmas Eve, our local vet was naturally closed.

So, we took a road trip down to Lewiston, to see the kind and competent folks at the Animal Emergency Clinic of Mid-Maine.  Five hours and one-hundred-thirty-odd miles later, and one-hundred-fifty-eight dollars lighter, we were back at the Cat Farm, Socks much improved, though of course worn out by his ordeal.

Socks sleeping off his adventure.
Socks sleeping off his adventure.

Yesterday, we took a half-day off to watch “Singing in the Rain,” and play the inaugural game on our new double-Scrabble.  Yes, we are slackers.

First Game on New Board, December 25, 2012
First Game on New Board, December 25, 2012

Today, we’re under a Winter Storm Warning as the Wicked Weather that’s been pacing up the coast finally reaches us, on the overnight.  We’re looking at up to sixteen inches of snow, over Thursday and early Friday, which suddenly takes the week down from four mailing days to um, today, so if I want to mail these things this year, I’d better get crackin’.

Hope those who celebrate had a lovely holiday, and that the weather where you are hasn’t been dreadful.