What a change just a week makes!
With the home-ing of Miss Blackberry (who I miss terribly but am so glad she's in a home of her own*), we were briefly down to seven cats.
But then the arrival of Mr. TeeMan (who I keep thinking of as Mr. TeaTime), we're back to eight and a pretty full room, considering that they're not the most sociable eight.
I arrived late (9.30) and stayed late (till almost 1) to make up for it, with most of the cats out of their cages most of that time. I started with giving TAWNY a walk. I noticed last week that her fur was beginning to look like she wasn't taking care of it, so decided to treat her like Edna Jane (for those of you who remember her): pluck her out of her cage first thing in the morning, while all the other cats are still in their cages, putting the leash on, and taking her for a walk around the store, putting her down from time to time to sniff and explore a little. Mostly she wanted to explore the spaces behind or under the shelves, but still it got her out of that cage and out of that room and I think did her some good. I combed through her fur with my fingers and it came off in great masses: I was all over cat the rest of the day. But that's that much more fur that won't be giving her a hairball, so it's all good. I also cleaned the sleep out of her eyes, which was getting pretty bad on one side. Once back in the room she went into the short cat-stand on the bench (Phoenix's favorite place) and stayed there the rest of the morning.
Miss PHOENIX herself her usual friendly, well-behaved, calm cat as ever. I sometimes think I overlook her, the one altogether normal cat in the room, because she never causes any trouble and, while welcoming attention, rarely asks for it. Held her in my lap and petted her, and later ran my fingers through her fur and got a fair amount of loose fur off her as well (though it didn't seem like much, her fur being so short and fine). She chose the base of the cat-stands near the door as her spot to hang out. Her calmness had a good effect: at one point I saw Caspar go over and sniff her tail and, getting no response, wandering on off -- if he'd tried that on, say, Molinni or Tawny or one of the bonded pair I think there might have been hissing & so forth. She also spent some time atop the cages
Speaking of CASPAR, he's settling down quite a bit. He still has a tendency to grab and to nibble, but not on the first stroke and not as energetically. He and Mr. Scruffs get along quite well, I've noticed; they hang out together near the door, enjoying the cool breezes. They shared a game of bug-on-a-stick, and it was funny how their different personalities came out. Caspar is all energy and enthusiasm, while MR. SCRUFFS shows experience and cunning. While Caspar pounces, releases, pounces, releases, Scruffs bites down on it and drags it into his lair, like some captured mouse or little bird he intends to messily devour. One of the other cats (Phoenix, I think) also joined in for a while, but it was clearly the two guys' game. Scruffs refused a walk at the end of the morning, and was upset with me for making him go back into his cage afterwards -- think in retrospect that he wanted some time with himself as the only cat out.
MOLINNI was her usual self-possessed self: she came out when she was good and ready, claimed her favorite place (inside the basket on the bench), and didn't budge until I put her back (unwillingly) into her cage at the end of morning. I don't think Molinni likes me v. much, which is too bad, since she's a neat little cat. Does she interact more with the other volunteers?
The sisters, MAEBY and BUXTER, stayed in until I made them move so I could clean their double-wide. Buxter I put atop the cat-stand by the cabinet, which she found entirely to her liking and lorded over for the rest of the morning, gladly accepting attention and petting but warning other cats to stay back. As for Maeby, last week I'd had trouble getting her to come out and then more trouble trying to get her to go back in. This week I tried something new that worked really well: I put her on the shelf inside the cabinet with the cat-blankets. She loved it, and was perfectly happy to be petted and played with while safely hidden up there. She even groomed me a little. It turns out her favorite game is the string-game played with a piece of yarn -- I took away the little bit of yarn I'd brought but will be bringing her her own piece next week.
And that just leaves the delightful MR. TEATIME ('Tee-Man'), who's a great cat. What a charmer. He loves attention, purrs when petted, enjoys games, and mostly just wants to love and be loved. Think he'll find himself a new home quickly. Hope so anyway. I put him up high, and he went into the box up on the cage-tops, coming out to get attention whenever I was near or when anybody came into the room. Seems to get along fine with other cats too. He loves lap-time. Did notice that he needs a bath: lots of dander on his lower back, near the tail. I wiped him down with a moist cloth, which helped a little, but this kind of dry skin usually needs a full-scale bath to set right.
I'd noticed a while back that Phoenix has a lump in her tail near the base -- was it broken at one point? Thought of it because Mr. TeaTime has a little kink near the end of his tail. Doesn't seem to bother either of them though.
Lots of visitors, who gave the cats attention that both visitors and cats seemed to enjoy, but no serious prospects so far as I could tell.
Someone brought a young dog and kept it near the cat-room or an extended period (15-20 minutes); after some initial intense staring on Caspar's and Mr. Scruff's part the cats decided to ignore him. Glad to see they took it so well.
Health concerns: the sneezing seems to have subsided, and the lethargy of last week seems to be receding. The only one I saw sneezing was Caspar, who took his medicine with alacrity. Molinni licked it off her paw; I put some on Tawny's side and think she licked it off. Mr. Scruffs refused his dose altogether. Caspar let me clean his chin some; I also wiped him down with a wet cloth to get some of that loose fur off.
*I know we're not supposed to have favorites, but I admit she'd been a favorite of mine.