Long weekends

0655/3rd July 2023

By late yesterday, the smoke had drifted off and only rain clouds obscured our view.

A relief. While it did not get as bad as the last time, we were both coughing. Is it psycho-somatic? The sight of smoke enough to bring on symptoms?

Most of my life I lived with polluted air and never really thought about it.


Four-day weekends are a nuisance.

Because the 4th is on Tuesday, many people have added Monday to stretch the holiday out.

When I worked for the airline, we only got holidays off if they fell on a regular rostered day off or if you became senior enough to claim them.

It really didn’t worry me. I was happy to work holidays and have the benefit of extra pay.

Being at work wasn’t a problem. It was the extra passenger loads, the reduced staffing and all the niggling annoyances that went along with public holidays.


Once you retire, what difference could holidays make?

On Friday, when we took Muffin to get her blood drawn, we were warned that the animal hospital would be closed until Wednesday.

Four days can sometimes seem eternal.


Our concern for Toby is nothing new. Periodically he seems to fade, then turns a corner and keeps on going.

On Friday he looked so frail and I couldn’t help thinking “what if that time comes and we have to make him wait four days?”

There is an emergency hospital but it involves a long drive and a longer wait. Could I subject a dying animal to that?


The smoke rolled in and we put cat walks on hold.

Toby sat by the door, much put out.

My mind kept telling me that he didn’t have much time left and finally I asked Grant to let him go outside.

What difference was the smoke going to make at this point?

I even let Toby chew my hair.


Maybe all this torment was a bit like the smoke, which bothered me only because I could see it?

Knowing the the animal hospital would be closed for four days, is that what made me more than usually concerned about Toby?


Toby’s not the only one we fret about since we have several more seniors.

We don’t know Penny’s exact age but she has seriously arthritic hips. When she was rescued 6 years ago, the shelter noted that she was inclined to bite. Her chances of a new home consequently not great.

She and Muffin were abandoned together with a cat we had placed in a home, so we simply collected them all.


Penny is the gentlest of cats but the shelter had been calling her Ninja because she was “aggressive”.

It was immediately apparent that she was simply reacting to the pain caused by careless handling.

Grant has been carrying around ever since.


Wouldn’t it be kinder, to put these animals to sleep? How does one decide?

Many, many cats ago, I learned that one of my girls was dying from a form of cancer.

In those days I had much less experience so I asked the vet for guidance and he told me that when Annie stopped wanting to eat, it would be time.


But I think you can tell if an animal still has a desire to live.

When they have had enough, the light goes out of their eyes and yes, they stop eating.

In those circumstances, it is kindest to help them leave. It’s the one last thing you can do for them out of love.


We worry about the old and the sick and the lame.

Then life springs one of its nasty surprises and the one cat you didn’t have any concerns about is suddenly at death’s door. Which is where we found ourselves last summer with Muffin.

At the last minute she threw the mass up in the form of a hairball.

But knowing this can happen keeps you on your toes.

We still have to get to Wednesday and today’s worry is about Sophia.


Shy Sophia keeps a very low profile, so we don’t observe her behaviour as much as the others.

However today it seems to us that she may have a urinary tract infection.

These things come on suddenly and need prompt attention.

Sophia will be very unhappy if we have to take her to the emergency hospital, so we are hoping it won’t come to that.

This is why I still dread holiday weekends.

6 thoughts on “Long weekends

  1. Thank you, Carolyn, for the beautiful photos of your cats. One point here, is there a vet who could give you (sell!!) a packet or two of basic antibiotics for basic infection? Having medicine at home would remove the worry of the long weekends. You should look up the symptoms of common cat’s infections, and you will know when antibiotics are needed promptly. Perhaps, you have done the research already, and you could assure the vet that you will be careful.


    1. Grant was able to get amoxicillin which he gives to Patches for ongoing problems and he gave some to Sophia. We are pretty sure she has a UTI which needs an anti-biotic. We will get that tomorrow. We have tried to obtain a small number to keep for such occasions but everyone is afraid of losing their license and how can you argue with that? It is very frustrating!

      1. What about getting it on the internet? I was able to get some…
        Wonderful that Grant could obtain some.
        Did you publish your post yesterday, it was not on before I switched off, and being 4th of July, I wasn’t expecting you would have time.


  2. Like you, I had to work when rostered on shift, whatever the holiday. I also enjoyed the double time pay, so was unconcerned. The only one I always took off was Christmas Day, as my mum would otherwise have been on her own. That often meant a lot of haggling or shift-swapping, but I managed it all except for two years.
    When pets no longer eat (or drink enough) I think it is time to let them go painlessly. Even then, it is never an easy decision to make.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. You just reminded me once again what a big responsibility it is to have pets. Not that it’s bad, but it’s something you should always keep in mind. I hope Sophia is better and that a vet visit won’t be necessary.

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