Monday, January 19, 2015

The Cat Report (W. 1/14-15)

So, with the adoption of little PANYA (a great little cat; v. charismatic; I'll miss her), and the arrival of four new cats (on Tuesday, I think), we went from three cats to just two cats and then back up to six cats by the time I arrived Wednesday morning -- but not for long.

Our two stalwarts, ANUBUS AUGUSTUS (Gus) and Mr. TIZZY, thought the room a bit crowded with all the newcomers but soon adjusted. Both were very vocal when I first arrived but quieted down once out of their cages.

Mr. Tizzy seemed unhappy about all the new cats, so I put him up on the cagetops. From there he observed all that went on below, eventually deciding that All Was Well and jumping down to claim his favorite place, the middle rung of the cat-stand by the cabinet. From there he plopped himself down and dozed the rest of the morn. He welcomed attention and was happy to lean into any petting or grooming that was going on, so long as he didn't have to move or exert himself; he's a lazy predator. Glad to report that he seems to finally be over his stomach upset and other digestive problems, so far as I could tell. Now that we've found the right food to feed him, we'll need to see he gets exercised to avoid putting on some weight.

Anubus Augustus remembered the place I'd put him last week that he liked so much and made a bee-line straight for it: hop down from his cage, hop up on the cat-stand by the cabinet, make a mighty leap onto the top shelf, and then burrow down in the blankets there, invisible to the outside world unless he opens his eyes while they're looking right at him. He (like TIzzy) was very affectionate and vocal when I first opened their cages; once in place he accepted attention but was just as pleased to be left to his own devices.

Of the four new cats, CAMEO is a beautiful tortoiseshell. She came out, explored, and then went into Tizzy's cube. She loves being petted but had a fairly quiet day, getting used to the new place. I'm curious to see how she takes to the leash, but didn't give it a try, thinking that so many new cats needed time to sort things out.

SPIDER MONKEY, the little black bouncing ball, small and sleek like an overgrown kitten, was here and there all over the place. Despite still having stitches from her surgery she's full of energy. She loves attention (being petted, head-butts, purring) and games of all kinds, but gets hissy when she thinks any other cat is getting too close.

GUNNAR and GYPSY, the bonded pair, couldn't be more different. Gunnar is a long, lean (indeed boney) cat, black fading to brown along his flanks. He's very shy and an expert burrower, preferring to hide under the blankets in his cube rather than on them. But he's also an explorer and came out several times finding his way into all kinds of unexpected spots. Gypsy, a light grey tabby with eyes that shine red a lot, likes to follow him, and has a touching but not altogether accurate belief that anywhere he can go, she can follow (she's somewhat roly-poly, but clearly in her self-image she and he look the same). She did something I've never seen a cat do before: gnaw on the whisk-broom (maybe she needs some cat-grass the check on for roughage?).

The cats did enjoy some games: Spider Monkey and Gunnar loved the feather duster, while Gunnar and Gypsy both loved the peacock feathers (Tizzy showed some interest as well). Gunnar and Spider Monkey showed great appreciation for catnip, as did Gypsy. The cats showed wary interest in catnip bubbles; Gypsy pursued them from up atop the cages while Spider Monkey monitored them from atop the cat-stand by the door.

At one point Spider Monkey went into Gunnar's cube: she hissed at him and he burrowed down under the blankets. Gypsy rather likes going up high, and prefers to spend as much time as she can outside the cube.

Gunnar and Anubus are both champion burrowers, but while Anubus can disappear under a cat-blanket leaving no sign that he's there beneath it, Gunnar's arrangement are messier (but still effective).

The big news of the morning was that the retired woman and her adult daughter who'd visited the cat-room the week before and petted Anubus, Tizzy, and Panya came back again, reminisced a bit about her much-loved, recently deceased cat, adopted from our cat-room about six years ago, all the while bonding with little Spider Monkey.  It was clear she had a huge cat-shaped hole in her life, and the long and the short of it is that by the end of the day Spider Monkey was in her new home.  And from two updates since it's clear that she's very much making herself at home in her new surroundings. So, a happy ending.

And have to say, as a note to end on, that it was fun to see Tizzy and Anubus' reaction to hearing another volunteer's voice: Tizzy roused himself and started talking, and Anubus stuck his face out of the cabinet. They definitely know the various volunteers, and show that they approve of our coming to see them.

--John R.

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