Last week (Feb. 2/4-15) we suddenly went from just four cats (Mr. TIZZY, ANUBUS AUGUSTUS, and increasingly delightful bonded pair GUNNAR & GYPSY) to eight, with the addition of EMMA JEMIMA (a dark dappled tabby, and a great mew-er), LEELA (a beautiful, fluffy, one-eyed cat with creamy pale soft fur), and bonded pair LITTLES & BIGGS (one of whom was grey and white and the other an ocelot cat, but I never cd figure out which was which).
The four already there had all more or less settled down and figured out how to more or less harmoniously share the room, with Gunnar more or less in charge, but the newcomers threw things out of kilter.
Both EMMA and LEELA turn out to be cats who love people and hate other cats. Both are demanding of attention and jealous of other cats. Each arches her back and purrs when petted. Each hisses and growls when she sees another cat, and several times each went up and swatted another cat who got too close (by her definition of 'close').
As for LITTLES and BIGGS, they're big kittens, really: nine months old, almost full size but bouncy and pouncy and full of energy like the kittens they were not so long ago. The little ocelot-cat explored and found a hiding place I hadn't seen a cat in before: in the bottom of the cabinet behind the food-bin. He was proud of himself, and came and went from there several times over the course of the morning.
No walks since I needed the whole morning to get the cats all sorted out and intervene when needed. Everyone got petted and played with, but perhaps not as much as some would have wanted.
FRIDAY the 6th two friends of mine visiting from out-of-town came by to see the cats and got to put faces on cats they're read about through online cat reports. The cats reported that they both knew all about how to pet a cat properly, though one of them (either Leela or Emma; Emma I think) was in a mood and took a swipe or two at them. A very pleasant interlude.
THIS WEEK (W. 2/11-15) we were back at eight cats, but not the same eight: LITTLES and BIGGS having been adopted and two more cats having arrived: SALEM and HANNAH.
SALEM is a big, black, solid cat whose owner died, so she's back in our keeping, having originally been adopted out of Purrfect Pals as a kitten. At ten years she's our current senior cat (all the others being in the four-to-six year range). She chose the top of the short cat-stand by the door as her spot, welcoming being petted but otherwise keeping pretty much to herself. She loves the string game but keeps wanting to eat the string, so I had to keep an eye out for that. She has a lot of dander on her lower back so I gave her a quick bath with a wet cloth, which displeased her mightily. A sweet cat trying to find a new home to replace the one she's lost.
The other new cat, HANNAH, looks a lot like EMMA THE TERROR but couldn't be more different in personality; she's a quiet, friendly, prowl-about little cat. She kept disappearing and reappearing, wanting lots of attention when she was out and then taking herself off for a little down time. She did get interested in the whole cage-cleaning process and came over to supervise, climbing in each cage and watching me clean and move things around from up close. She licked my fingers when I was petting her; v. cute.
LEELA, who'd been v. disruptive to overall harmony last week, had calmed down a lot this week. She spent a lot of her time on the cat-stand by the bench demanding attention (she loves having her back brushed). She's a great hisser-at-other-cats, but much better this week than last. So long as the other cats kept their distance, she didn't mind them being out and about. Demanding of attention and welcomed petting by visitors. She also worked out how to use the steps to come and go from cagetop land. Gunnar and Gypsy are old pros at this and once or twice encountered her going down when they were going up or the other way around, but it wasn't too hard to sort them all out.
Have to say I'm surprised how well Leela copes with the missing eye: she doesn't seem at all skittish about being approached from that side and seems to get around just fine. She certainly doesn't have any problem targeting a string or any other toy she's playing with (nor in thumping someone who jumps up too close right on the noggins).
EMMA THE TERROR can be summed up thusly: loves people: hates other cats. Hisses at other cats on sight. Gave her a brief walk early on and a longer one at end-of-shift: she did really well. When on a walk she loves to walk up and scratch on doors: they may open and whoever's on the other side may give you attention. This actually worked for her, not once but twice. We walked all the way to the far corner of the store and then back again, and it was v. clear she knew exactly where she was and the route to take back to the cat-room. Petted her quite a lot over the course of the morning, and she was out and about the room a lot, keeping on the move (somewhat to the other cat's discomforture when they inadvertently got in her way). Had a terrible time getting her to go back in her cage at end-of-morning. That said, she's really sweet when being petted one-on-one. She'll be a great cat if she can find the right one-cat home.
GYPSY was on the quiet side today -- think she was laying low to avoid all the drama on the other side of the room. She enjoyed going up and down the steps and also being petted, but spent most of her morning on the top of the cat-stand by cabinet being her usual sweet self.
Her brother GUNNAR, on the other hand, came and went and prowled and explored and played and rolled in catnip and generally had a fine time. He's still fascinated by Gus-Gus's spot but no longer tried to take it himself, preferring the shelf below (briefly) before exchanging it for the cushion atop the cabinet. He eventually settled himself down in the latter spot, doing his paws up up and down and generally demonstrating that he was in the catbird seat.
One thing I've noticed about Gunnar, both last week and this one, is that he's afraid of small children. If a small child comes by and looks through the window into the cat-room, Gunnar will hide, moving around to keep the bench et al between him and the child. Don't know what the story is there, but I've seen it twice now.
At one point I was holding him on my lap when Emma jumped down right next to him and he just froze, making little squeaking noises. She went by without noticing him, but it was definitely injurious to his dignity.
ANUBUS AUGUSTUS GUS-GUS FINK-NODDLE: in and out of the cabinet. Enjoyed being petted while in his special place. Came out to ask for attention each time someone entered the room, then went back into his lair again when they left. Indeed, he was so well hidden that I almost forgot to put him back in his cage when it was time for me to leave. A great cat who's made himself very much at home here.
Mr. TIZZY was his usual laid-back self. He slept on various spots among the cat-stands towards the back of the room (e.g., atop the basket on the bench), showed every sign of enjoying being petted, but didn't initiate anything. I'll make sure he gets a walk next time.
And that basically how the cats were on Wednesday. Very glad to hear the news today (Th. 2/12) that somebody put a hold on Leela and Hannah last night and are to return to adopt them tonight.