Thursday: Dobrzyn

January 9, 2014 • 2:22 pm

It was a Big Day today: Hili not only went to the vet for her annual anti-worm shot (video below), but got her Official Editor’s Outfit.

First, however, several readers asked to see Fitness, the black cat who lives upstairs (where I am currently sleeping). Fitness and Hili hate each other, which is sad. Fitness is also not as friendly to strangers as is Hili, but he let me take his photo:
Fitness 2


Below:walkies along the Vistula. It was another warm day: about 10° C or higher. And, as you see from the photo my camera has finally gotten dust on the sensor.  This is the inevitable result of owning a Panasonic Lumix, but I have found a place in Chicago where I can get it cleaned.


It’s a shame about that caterpillar-shaped piece of dust in the sky.

After lunch and a walk, teatime, with plenty of cakes. My favorite is the poppy-seed cake (makowiec, the iced one at top), but I had a bit of everything:


After lunch it was time to round up Hili for her visit to the vet. The problem was that she couldn’t be found. After futile searches for her in the orchard, we discovered that she had actually retired to the basement (did she sense an impending vet visit?). Before we took her off, though, she insisted on donning her new gift from visitor Sarah, a cat-sized green eyeshade that officially shows everyone that she is the Editor in Chief!



“This newspaper is unsatisfactory: it contains no news about cats!”

Editor Hili

Then it was time to put Hili in her carrier for the short drive to the vet. It was my responsibility to carry her, as she has learned how to unlatch the carrier. She did not go gentle into that good basket:

Hili in cage

Poor kitty! But she was pretty well-behaved compared to previous trips, meowing plaintively only a few times.

Voilà: Hili gets her shot (a masterpiece of cinema verité):

And some wine for dinner:


31 thoughts on “Thursday: Dobrzyn

  1. Who’s holding her getting the shots in the video, is that Andrzej? Pretty disconcerting scene for a cat lover who doesn’t have any Polish… Her little miaos…

    Fitness looks great in those pics! It would be marvellous if those two could get on alright.

    1. Actually, that whole scene went exactly as one might predict — the attempts to escape, the tone of voice, the instant rush back into the carrier (that she wouldn’t go near at home)…classic, perfectly normal healthy cat vet response.

      Of course, Hili didn’t enjoy any of it, and, in an ideal world she wouldn’t have to put up with it. But it’s just once a year, well worth it all the way ’round, and she’s almost certainly already forgotten about it and forgiven her masters.

      …but, yeah, she did know what was coming, which is why she was in the basement. Cats are smart like that, and know lots more about what else is going on that humans often don’t pick up on, either.



      1. Hili was good as gold at the vet’s, of course (haven’t been so lucky with cats at vet’s most of the time).

        “… Cats are smart like that, and know lots more about what else is going on that humans often don’t pick up on, either. …”

        Did you have specific examples in mind? I am sure it’s true, for I believe in the utter superiority of the cat. I just can’t think of an example right now;-)

        1. Well, Baihu knows the difference between the UPS truck pulling up to my place to make a delivery and pulling up to the neighbor’s place, and between the UPS truck and my parents’s car. He knows when I’m going out whether or not he’s going with me even before I grab the leash. And, when I took him for his own annual physical a few weeks ago, he seems to know that we weren’t going for a walk when we went out. And when we’re out walking, he also seems to know when we’ve rounded whatever loop we’re on and are headed back home; that’s generally the point where he’s much more eager to get off my shoulders and walk on his own than on the first half — and that applies even to new paths, and regardless of length.

          For that matter, he can tell the difference between the neighbor’s kids picking up a ball in the front yard, and them coming to the door to ask to be let to the back yard to retrieve a ball.

          In short, he’s got great situational awareness and is really good at reading people and their intentions.


          1. Bahiu sounds very smart! I wonder whether you can make use of his talents in some fun way… You take him for walks on your shoulders? I used to take Kotik on my arms to the park, let him go for a wander, then back home in my arms. He used to be demanding attention and play at all times. But when his humans were in trouble, he would come over and comfort us with very sociable cat behaviour, thus demonstrating that he understood if we were down or sick and needed to be “taken care of”. Cats are the best…

            1. Whenever we go outside, he’s in a harness and on a leash — generally with the other end wrapped around my belt so I don’t have to hold onto anything. When other people are around, he might try to slink away — he was born a feral kitten to a feral mother and didn’t find me until he was several months old, so I’m the only human he’s comfortable around. But when others approach, all I have to do is scoop him onto my shoulders and he’s fine. When the coast is clear he’ll often jump down and sniff at things or just walk alongside me on the trail — more often, for whatever reason, on the homeward leg of the walk.

              And, yeah…he’s there for me, too, when I need it. Probably because I’m there for him. Works out well.


              1. Found your Baihu pics on here – what a nice cat! I didn’t see a paragraph about his story though. How did he find you? It’s very impressive that he walks on a leash. Kotik refused outright, it’s just as well I never tried any headgear. Hili the Editor in Chief, thanks to the new costume and her willingness to indulge her humans a little, just looks the part. It would be nice to see her typing away at the computer in it…

  2. As far as dust on your sensor, it might be something you can fix yourself. It depends on what model of Lumix you have. My cameras are GH2 and GH3. The GH3 has a menu item which invokes sensor cleaning automatically. The GH2 does not have this feature, but it is an SLR type camera with removable lens. For the GH2 I remove the lens and turn the camera with the exposed sensor facing down. Blast it with air from a bulb type device a couple of times. It should loosen the dust. If not there are liquids that can be applied (carefully). Other models such as point and shoot cameras may require professional help.

  3. I love Hili’s new editor outfit! I had to brush past the food as I’m starving right now, having to prepare for a dreaded medical procedure tomorrow!

    1. Oh no! But I am sure the CC will provide more delicious nom pics for when you’ll be able to enjoy them again…

  4. I was also impressed with Hili getting her shot. My cat Minna was like that. A bit nervous, but as good as gold.

    My current cat Shirley is a lesson in contrasts. They practically have to sedate her to give her a shot — which would lead to an infinite regress. Tiny little Shirley is declawed, weights a mere 4 1/2 pounds, and has lived her whole 13 years as a pampered only kitty who has never even left the house. No stress, no problems, and nothing there but a fluff of hair. She still looks like a kitten.

    But the temper on her! She hates the vets. You can’t get her out of the carrier and when you do you wish you hadn’t. You’d think it was a big freaking feral tomcat, twisting and snarling and biting and yowling so furiously and for so long that she makes the people out in the waiting room laugh, wondering what could it be and what are they doing?

    Heck, the people who work there laugh too — as they run for the bandages. On her chart someone wrote across the top “WATCH OUT.”

    I don’t bother with yearly shots. No real reason to given her situation, and — sheesh. Drama Queen.

    1. I don’t do yearly shots, either. My cats are given 3 year vaccines, and they don’t have to go anywhere, either.

      The vet does them when he comes to do my herdwork. No carriers involved! L

      1. A couple of the veterinarians at University Animal Hospital (where I take Baihu to see Dr. Bastek) make house calls. I think a lot more other practices do today, too.

        I have no clue what they charge. Dr. Bastek isn’t one of the ones who (normally) makes house calls, and they’re only a couple miles away; there’s no point for us. But I’m sure there’re those who find the service invaluable.


        1. No doubt. But I think Shirley would be even more difficult to examine at home — wiggly as an eel and too many places for her to escape to.

    2. By the way, I occasionally enjoy watching the show “My Cat From Hell” but made the mistake one day of looking at the website of Jackson Galaxy, the laid-back tattooed gentleman who is so good with the cats. Good he may be, but he’s fallen for all sorts of animal woo and promotes and sells “Spirit Essences,” holistic remedies for cats which involves iirc Bach Flower Remedies, a sort of bastardization of homeopathy which is popular with my friends.

      Apparently you’re supposed to help cure your cats’ problems by using a dropper from vials with names like “Bully Remedy,” “Obsession Remedy,” “Feral Cat Rehabilitation” and of course “Winter Blues Remedy.”

      How are they made and what sort of ingredients do they contain? Feast your eyes on this explanation:

      All of the animal essences that we use in our formulas are “sourced” by using the energy/essence of the animal only. Different companies use different methods and for some, this may simply entail deep meditation in the habitat of that animal with a generous bowl of spring water (water is a conductor of energy) nearby to “capture” the essence of the animal.

      Yes. Cat woo. What we love … and what we hate. What respect I had for the critical thinking skills of Jackson Galaxy is replaced by a desire to hiss.

      I am not going to blink.

  5. Cats communicate with each other in ways that are not always obvious to humans. Here are some popular thoughts about how cats communicate, and so how one might communicate friendliness to a shy cat.
    a) Cats regard a direct look as a threat. So staring at a cat can put them off.
    b) Cats indicate their acceptance of another by first not staring, but also by doing a distinctively slow blink of the eyes, and then they look away. They also accompany this by rotating one or both ears away from the other cat.

    Anyone watching their cat will see these gestures frequently. I do not know how real they are, but they do make sense.

    So, (it is said) if you make a point of doing a slow blink at Fitness, and look away, Fitness might come to greet you and maybe even sit on your lap.

    1. That slow-blinking move is a standard tactic of the ‘cat whisperer’ on “Cat From Hell.” He stares at them, deliberately closes his eyes, then stares. Repeat. He says that if you can get the cat to blink back at you, the tensest part is over. They’ve accepted you as non-threatening.

      1. I always blink at cats, slowly and fently, but without the staring in between. I started doing that without rationalizing it, simply by imitating what I saw cats doing. It seems to me to work fine without the staring.

        Maybe even humans prefer not to be stared at, come to think of it.

    2. I have read that this is the reason why people who are afraid of or dislike cats attract them.
      Their discomfort makes them avoid looking at the cats, and look to the side. Which, to the cat would seem a friendly gesture, and the cat will then act on by coming closer. Those people often interpret that negatively and complain that the cats approach because they sense the dislike/discomfort and out of malice make it makes it worse. Confirmation bias.
      I don’t know if this has been studied, but it seems plausible.

      1. I’m allergic to cats and cats LOVE me but I secretly want to pat and snuggle them so they may pick up on my body language which says “aren’t you cute, I’d love to kiss your cute nose” and my avoidance as “this is the best human ever”.

        I tend to control my emotions and behave aloofly with animals I meet for the first time though because I think it is rude to overwhelm them and animals who are high stimulation types will also lose control.

  6. My old cat, now gone, used to hide in the basement up in the heating ducts. She seemed to sense that it was time for shots.

    Many years ago, in England, I had a cat who was always waiting for me when I returned from work. I did not return at a regular time.

    1. I would suspect your English cat kept a lookout. If you drove a car, even better; a cat will have no trouble recognizing the sound of your car over any other that approaches.

      Baihu’s almost always at the door when I come home, too. But he’s in the windowsill, and I drive a ’68 VW Camper. And his mama didn’t raise no dumb kittens.


  7. The Editor in Chief looks fantastic in the eye shade. I need to get some for my cats, but they are no editors, I can assure you.

    Also felids and wine…only one more thing can make that better. Not to be too kinky.

  8. Speaking of cats and red wine, I was pleased to read on a visit to the Paul Klee Zentrum in Bern, that those were two of his favourite things.

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