st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
[personal profile] st_aurafina
Cat update

Baggins is doing okay! He's eating and purring and getting hugs and slowly looking less ragged. We have to give him sub-cutaneous fluids twice a day, which horrifies and shocks him. This is significantly harder in a strong, recovering cat than it ever was in our elderly tiny cat who passed a few years ago! The first time, we forgot to warm up the fluid - we didn't do that for Missy when she was passing - but the vets suggested it, and the second time, Baggins fought and cried a bit at the start but then kind of subsided and accepted it. Then he retreated to his basket and gave us a thousand yard stare of angry death wish, which, to be honest, is a good sign.

When we brought him home yesterday, all the sub-q fluids had gone down to the skin in his hind legs, making him look like he had pantaloons or saddlebags on, which was so sad. And from the venom, and probably from being curled in a cage for most of a week, he was walking with a kind of waddle-swagger - which he determinedly did right around the house to check everything - it was very cowboy. But very sad. Today he's walking normally, and his pantaloons are almost gone.

His creatinine kinase levels in his blood are high but not catastrophic - the snake venom makes muscle tissue break down in the same way that marathon runners who get extremely dehydrated get muscle meltdown, and that's really dangerous for his kidneys to clear, so we need to keep flushing and flushing the fluids through him, so his kidneys can do all this work without damage. I'm really glad that the baseline kidney panel they ran early on was 100% fine, because it means he was a big, strong, healthy cat when he got bitten. For an eleven year old Oriental cat, that's amazing to start with, and gives him the best chance.

He's lost so much weight, but he's always had a good appetite and is taking to the task of snarfing up food whenever we give it to him, so that's reassuring.

Snake Update
We found experts! They came up from Geelong on the day that I called them, it was awesome. They were massive nerds like us, loved our nerdy bookshelves and the nerdy names we gave our cats and considering they had to go right through everything in the house, it actually felt much safer and familiar than you would think. Social anxiety and snake anxiety aside, it was about as good as that experience could be. If anyone of my Aussie flist needs a rec for a local snake team, drop me a PM because I'd rec them.

They found a place under the kitchen sink, where there's a hole cut into the wood of the cabinetry that's bigger than the plumbing pipes that go through it, and said that's the most likely point of ingress. They've stuffed it with steel wool for now, and we can fill it more with polyfilla later if we want to. If you're a ground-floor Aussie person, check in your kitchen sink cupboard because apparently this is not an uncommon thing. Do not poke your fingers in that hole, either. Just push the steel wool in. /protip.

The other (more terrifying) option is that it ran from the block which was getting mowed next door, hid IN THE TRACK OF THE SLIDING DOOR OF THE LAUNDRY AND SLITHERED IN WITH THE PERSON OPENING THE DOOR. And then, presumably under the broom closet door to hide until later, when it got to the cat. The thing is, that I'm pretty sure we were there when Baggins got bitten - there was a moment on the Thursday night when the two cats leapt out of their basket in horror, that real vertical leap of fear that cats do, and that means that while we were in the house, it got from wherever it entered to the cat's electric blanket bed. And I saw nothing. I mean, I know a snake is stealthy by nature. But I'm really, really good at seeing detail - I walk into a room and see spiders easily. I think it's part of being ASD and prone to sensory overload - I see detail and movement over-easily, I am neurologically the person in the cave that gets to sort the poison berries from the non-poison berries, and I saw nothing. IT'S SCARY!! (I mean this is all pop-psychology bullshit, but I do really have this knack for spotting things, and I spotted nothing. And I feel bad. And what would I have done anyway, if I'd seen it? Honestly.)

They're 99.99% sure that the snake is gone. Which is great, and about the best we can hope for in a rural setting. They're sure that it came from the block next door, because they checked it out, and it's full of fallen trees and rubbish that snakes love to live in. They were satisfyingly horrified that it only gets mowed once a year, and told us in some outrage that it was both a snake and fire hazard. (We know - we're the ones who dobbed the dude into the council last year.) They're going to write us a letter to send to the council, on official snake-handler letterhead. This will help because we've started a country-town small-scale slander campaign that we're hoping will get back to the guy's mum, who is a ferocious dragon.

Quick Recipe Friday
You'd think I'd had no time to bake, wouldn't you? Ha! Every time I picked up a spatula, drama did happen. It was eerie. (Or I pick up a spatula very frequently.)

Something I cooked recently:
Ottolenghi’s Lemon-Semolina Cake

I made it in muffin form, I made the olive oil variant, and they're really good. But my oven cooked the tops really, really quickly, so next time I'm putting the temp down and the time longer. I will never learn, with my terrible, terrible oven, but I can't stand the idea of having tradies in the house right now to put in a new one, so I have to suck it up. Under the over-brown top though, they're nice and moist, are keeping for longer than muffins would, and the lemon taste is really good. Definitely a good GF option for a small, snacky/tea time cake or muffin thing

ETA: After [personal profile] lilacsigil said that the muffins were a little grittier in texture than she expected, I have discovered that semolina is not polenta. I like the slightly gritty texture, but perhaps next time I'll try actual semolina flour rather than polenta. But I thought they were the same!!

Trail Mix Energy Bites
I made these on Sunday, and Baggins started getting sick right in the middle of it, so I forgot to put the rolled oats in. They actually came out okay - but more of a confection than a snack food, if you know what I mean. They're nice! They're not technically a FODMAP friendly food, because of the honey and the fruit. And the pretzels, of which I had none so I smushed up some Ritz instead, but when we needed something sweet for our shocky little selves after the vet visits, they were awesome. Salty-sweet and satisfying. I will be trying them again with the oats in this time.

Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
It is gnocchi weekend! It's nice and cool today, so I'm going to be roasting potatoes and making... Omg, I didn't bookmark my gnocchi recipe. *freaking out* It was a roast potato one, it worked really great, omg, I shouldn't even need a recipe! But I am a bad granddaughter and do not know it by heart, ohnoes.

I will use this one from the Guardian: How to make the perfect gnocchi though it be filled with terrible copy.

And I'm going to scoop out some of that potato mash and making this potato focaccia I linked last Friday.

I've got a bottle of passata that I'm going to oomph up with some fresh herbs, and bake the gnocchi in that - eat some, freeze some for Christmas meal time, and hopefully all will be good.

Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:

Shredded chicken, cucumber and noodle salad

I'm still craving weird things, and single-ingredient foods, like, apparently cucumber. Also this looks nice and summery.

Walnut pesto
I have a bulk bag of walnuts, and I'm still looking for a good sandwich condiment that I can keep the garlic out of.

Yay getting back on track with posting, yay for a better cat, yay for a (probably probably) snake free house.
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