Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Up, Up, and ....  Oops!

It was the 4th of July, we were out on the patio chatting  after a nice little holiday BBQ  with my son Gunnar and his girlfriend.  Gunnar looked over my shoulder and said, "oh look, there is one of your parakeets in the window!"  I turned to look and who was sitting in the window, looking out on the world but the yellow chick!

Frequently we take the flight cage into the guest bedroom, drape everything with drop cloths and old sheets and turn the birds loose so that they can have a couple days to get some real flying time. 

I knew the yellow chick must be getting close to 'stretching her wings' but never thought she would have the strength or mind to exit the cage and fly across a room to join the adults.  That's a pretty big first step and it's not supposed to work that way according to the books I have read.  I guess the keets have not been reading the right books.  Later we had the chicks and nest box out for their close up exam and the yellow chick quickly flew from my hand to crash into the kitchen window, fluttering harmlessly into the kitchen sink.  There's flying and there's learning to fly.  

Tonight when we came home from work the yellow chick was out in the cage (we moved them back into the living room where they normally reside).  She became agitated when we came into the living room and crashed around the cage, 'landing' alternately in the water dish, clinging to the bars, or flopping on the bottom of the cage.  By the end of the evening she seems to have come to grips with the fact that we are going to be coexisting in the same room and learned to settle on the perches.  The adults were ravenous for their evening feeding, the hen feeding the little chick still confined to the nest box.  I think the adult male was feeding the yellow chick.

We will be intently watching to see that both chicks are getting enough to eat.

In other news, Chairman Meow, the exiled ruler took a turn for the worse over the weekend.  By Sunday night he wasn't walking much and when he was, it was with a medley of both hissing and crying, a sure sign that he was in severe pain and also that he demanded a wide berth. I tried gently to palpate his right hind leg and he attempted (not so gently) to amputate my left forearm.  He's a 'difficult' patient.   OK, well now we know were it hurts.

So Monday morning we went for a ride to see the vet (where he has quite a rep).  The doc said she could see that he was obviously in pain and that she would have to put him under to get a closer look. This is something of a routine with him, or it was in his younger 'fighting' days.

She would need to give him a shot in the butt (this would be exciting).  They have a male vet tech who looks like the enforcer around the place.  He came in wearing a pair of gloves that belong in a steel foundry, with a very thick towel.  I told the guy he better get a good grip, he looked confident.  When the vet poked him in the rear Chairman exploded, vocally and with what seemed like six legs and 38 claws.  Rocko looked stunned, and of course Chairman demonstrated a  few of the moves that earned him all those ear scars.  When it was all over the doc had been able to administer the injection, Chairman was on the floor, eyes big a saucers, hissing like an anaconda, and four humans were backed up against the walls in varying degrees of terror.  The doc and the bouncer left the room and Mrs. Dr C and I waited and watched as Chairman fought his demons to try to keep from drifting off.

When he was pretty far gone I gave him a good ear scratching and some comfort petting and gently lifted him to the exam table and on to the big thick towel.  He was compliant. A few minutes later his head hit the table, nose first.  I gently rolled him onto his side, and with his last vaguely waking breath he gave me a low growl as if to say, "I'd bite you if only my mouth would work."  love sometimes has a funny look.

After a thorough exam and X-rays the doc was able to determine that it wasn't an abscessed bite wound (something we have seen all tooo frequently),  no fractures, but probably his arthritis giving him trouble.  He has two lumbar vertebrae which are nearly fused together, NEVER pet this cat much past the rib cage. The X-rays also show the early stages of arthritis in his hip and knee joint.  He and I seem to be headed down the same path.  Let me tell you about his fall from the neighbor's big fir tree some day.

Mrs. Dr. C picked him up after work and by the time they got home he was dancing around the place like a teenager.  The pain meds they gave him are a narcotic derivative.  He didn't  act drugged in any way but it was clear that he was feeling no pain, literally.  

Perhaps I need to check myself in to the vet clinic for a shot in the butt.

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