Snufkin Aged Ten: Garden Outing
23 November 2006
Lincoln, Nebraska

In October 2006, Snufkin had her blood tested a few days before her first dental cleaning, to make sure that she was a candidate for general anaesthesia. The bloodwork revealed that she was already suffering from kidney insufficiency, at the relatively young age of ten. Compared to the tests performed in November 2005 and August 2004, her creatinine was up and her potassium was down. (Strangely enough, her BUN was falling.) I was devastated by the news. She was ordered to go on a prescription diet, which brought her creatinine and potassium levels back within the normal range by her next blood test six months later.

The diagnosis made me resolve to maintain a high quality of life for her, as well as trying to extend her life. This enabled her to wheedle me into taking her outside every day. There is too much traffic (as well as wildlife of uncertain disease status) for her to run loose, so Snufkin goes out only under my supervision, wearing a figure-H harness and leash. These are unbefitting her dignity, but a small price to pay for the opportunity to slink slowly around the garden, sniffing every plant ten times and chewing on grasses that she later spits up. The relative inactivity was so boring for me that I tried reading while Snuffy was nosing around, but she kept butting my legs and insisted that I pay attention to her exclusively. Then she upped the stakes by demanding interactive play. Snufkin is a high-maintenance cat.

The following pictures were taken on a cloudy day during Thanksgiving break, when the presence of another person (my sister, Jumi) made it possible for me to work the camera.


Snufkin wears a figure-H harness because it was too easy for her to squirm out of a figure-8 harness.
Even with the H, she managed to escape until I learned to ignore
her feigned protestations of tightness and use the “three fingers” rule.

Although she thoroughly enjoyed this outing, I discovered that she looks quite sulky in most of the pictures.
She really doesn’t like being photographed, especially if it means reduced play time.


This is one of the few exceptions.


Snufkin goes exploring. Is that something buried in those leaves?


Dig, dig ... dig, dig ... pounce! ...
... dig, dig ... grab! ... snuffle ... nibble ... spit ...

Snufkin’s tongue comes out for a quick clean of her muzzle (left).


I think Snufkin’s tail is one of her best features.


The white on Snufkin’s front paws comes up to cover her thumb.
I find this endearing.

After quarter of an hour, she tires of nosing around and demands something more exciting.
Usually I can’t think of anything better than throwing leaves for her to catch.
She deems this satisfactory, for perhaps another quarter of an hour.

Waiting ...
(She leapt so high my camera wasn’t ready.)


Paws stretched out to their fullest.

All of a sudden, Snufkin notices some movement in a neighbour’s window.
A white kitten is staring out malevolently at her.

First sighting.
The white kitten stands up,
ready to challenge Snufkin.

Backs are arched, tails are puffed out, and hisses and growls are issued.

Snufkin’s nemesis:

After a few tense minutes, the white cat disappears and Snufkin is left nursing her dignity.
I stroke her ruffled coat, and she calms down enough to start nosing around again.

Here is a final picture of sullen Snufkin.


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