Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Morning Cats (The Cat Report 2/18 & 2/25-15)

Wow, what a month. I can't remember one where we've adopted so many cats in such a short time: LITTLES & BIGGSGUNNAR the brown-black furry fellow & GYPSY of the glowing eyes, LEELA one-eye, little HANNAHSUNDAE (whom I never even met), my pal ANUBUS AUGUSTUS and the ever-patient Mr. TIZZY, little SEA GAL (whom somebody pointed out spent less than twenty-four hours in the cat-room before being adopted), and CARMEL The Cat From Oman. We all knew Carmel the celebrity cat wdn't be with us long, so I'm happy I swung by and got to meet him. 

But it really feels good to see Anubus Augustus and Mr. Tizzy finally have their day, both having waited since November -- in fact, both arrived about the time Buxter and Maebe finally found homes. And it'd been heart-breaking to hear of someone's coming in to adopt Tizzy, only to have Tizzy be in a standoffish mood while Gunnar was at his most charming, so that the person deciding on Gunnar (& Gypsy) instead (good news for the bonded pair, bad news for our old jailbird*). Or to have the same thing happen a few days later with Anubus (Gus), with Gus-and-Sundae turning into Hannah-and-Sundae instead. Good news for Gunnar & Gypsy, Hannah and Sundae, but sad news for our bachelor gentlemen. So while I'll miss them (esp. Gus), I'm so glad to see them go.

As for last week (W.2/18th), there's little to report. Last week I had to leave early to make it to a retirement lunch my wife's colleagues were holding for her at her office, but still all four cats (SALEMTIZZYANUBUS AUGUSTUS, and EMMA The Terror) had walks. Salem has learned to stand her ground against Emma, who now just hisses and turns away rather than her previous menacing advance. Tizzy went high on the cat-stand near the cabinet, Anubus went into his favorite place among the blankets on the top shelf in the cabinet, as usual,while Salem and Tizzy were among the cat-stands by the door. So the room was divided between the boy-cats in the back half and the girl-cats in the front, though I doubt they planned it that way. 

The feathers-on-a-string game was popular, with Anubus joining in from inside the cabinet and playing with Tizzy atop the cabinet and Salem down below. Emma doesn't much like the feather duster, but Anubus does. Wish I'd thought to leave it for Carmel, who wd probably have loved it, but I'm sure he'll find plenty to play with in his new home. Salems was really playful for once; she especially loves the string game (but as previously noted you have to make sure she doesn't eat the string). Amused to see Anubus come out of his safe place whenever anyone came into the room, to get some attention before moving back into his special place again.

Janice and I swung by the PetsMart on Sunday and so got to meet little Carmel, who it was pretty clear wdn't be there long, what with all the attention he was getting and all the queries that were coming in from people who'd heard about him online. A delightful little cat -- the only Oriental Shorthair I've ever seen, with beautiful markings; that and his energy levels reminded me of a friend's Bengal.

This week (2/25), we now have just five cats again: SALEMEMMASEVILLE, and bonded pair DOUGAL NATHAN & MIMI NADINE. Salem and Emma both had walks, but I didn't feel like I knew the new cats well enough to take them out of the cat-room. Salem surprised me -- no matter where I carried her in the store, she knew exactly where the cat-room was and the most direct route back to it -- even if that wasn't the way we'd come. She's smarter than she lets on.  Emma made a dash and got out at one point, but luckily I saw her crouch down and prepare to dash, so while I didn't nip it in the bud I still got her before she'd gone more than a few feet. In fact she stopped once she got outside; I think she may have expected the wire-walls to be up and was nonplused to find them gone. Once back inside Salem settled herself down on top of the basket nr the bench, which seems to be becoming a favorite spot of hers. She welcomed attention in the form of the string game and having her back stroked; I brought in a leather shoelace so she'd have something chewable but not anything she'd be likely to swallow. Seems to have worked pretty well. Emma hissed at her once or twice, and even took a swipe at her (luckily she was too far away to connect), but Salem refused to be budged. Good for her!

Speaking of Emma, she was less restless today. She stayed near the door, shifting from atop the tallest cat-stand to down below it. She was very happy to get attention but jealous of all the other cats' getting any. I did manage to get her to sit in my lap for a while and gotten some good purring out of her, but she wouldn't stay long. I think the more we manage to walk her, the more folks might have the chance to meet her and get to know her purry side, rather than the hissing-at-other-cats side she displays too often in the cat-room.

Of the new cats, all three are hiders, though in v. different ways.
SAVILLE, the beautiful yellow striped cat, likes to hide beneath her blankets, just as Mr. Anubus did early on. I made her a nice overhang when I cleaned up her cube, but she was right back under the blanket itself by the end of the morning. However, she was happy to get attention inside her cage. I left the door ajar, and after stayed inside her cage for about an hour she came out on her own accord and explored. After a while I put her up high, and she seemed to enjoy the cagetops. She turns out to love, love, love catnip and settled herself down right on top of the little bagful I'd brought. Not long before noon, as I was jotting down the input/output records, she surprised me by jumping up on the bench and walking over to sit on my lap, purring. V. nice! Think she'll be out and about a lot more as she gets used to the cat-room.

The bonded pair, DOUGAL and MIMI, are about as bonded as you can get. He'd pushed the little stands towards the front of the cage so he could hide behind them; she was cuddled up against him in the blankets. Both are black, but Dougal's fur is fairly sleek while Mimi's is fluffy. He's much bigger than his sister, and she's somewhat roly-poly to boot. He turns out to be painfully shy, not willing to come out all morning and going stiff when I touched him. She on the other hand was shy at first but eventually decided to come out and explore, working her way back behind the laundry bin. Later she came out from there and let me put her on Anubus's shelf, which she quite liked. She's also fond of laps and being petted in laps, or being petted elsewhere. Next time I'll have to try to see how she likes games.

Their double-wide was a mess, from their having tipped over their litter box, which had spilled into one of the water dishes and the nearby food dish as well. Lucky that we put two of each in a shared cage, and in different locations; the other food and water dish were fine. After cleaning up the mess I rotated the litter box into what I hope will be a more stable position; we'll see if I succeeded. Dougal was so afraid that it seemed cruel to haul him out, so I got the cardboard box down from on high and put it in his cage. When he crawled into it, I scooted it over to the cleaned half of their cage, where the spilled litter had been. Then I cleaned up the other end and re-arranged all the blankets. When I started to move the box again, he dashed back to the safety of those blanket-covered little stands. Hope he feels less anxious once he's been with us a few days.  

And that's pretty much it. Had a few visitors; didn't seem to be any serious adopters among them so far as I could tell, but still was glad to help spread the word. Don't think it's jotted down anywhere, but Seville is frightened of small children. 

--John R.

P.S.: Just as a side note, I saw a mention of one of our cats, adopted quite a while ago, in the current Purrfect Pals newsletter, THE PURR (WInter 2015, page 11). The 'Purrfect Endings' section, which gives follow-ups to successful adoptions, includes this piece about one of our Tukwila cat-room cats, OLIVER BOB: 

"My baby GusGus, formerly known as Oliver Bob, has come a long way from the timid and shy cat he used to be. He now talks up a storm and he just ate treats from my hand. He is my cuddle bug -- all 16 lbs of him." 

I remember Oliver Bob well, as a shy, quiet Manx who bit me badly enough that I had to go to the Immediate Care clinic (I'd picked him up, not knowing he'd been injured the day before when a cage door came loose and fell on him; the pain made him suddenly bite me, hard, with one fang punching right through my thumbnail). Glad to know things worked out well for him; sounds like he's found the perfect home.

*Tizzy was found sitting by a highway watching the cars; after his rescue he was fostered in a prison cat fostering program.

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