Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Cat Report (Wednesday September 7th)

So, after a spring and summer interrupted by trips, several of them unplanned, it's been hard to maintain continuity of the cat reports. So I think I'll post them when I can, more like a series of snapshots than an ongoing account.

I shd preface this by saying that the week before last the cat-room had a major cleaning to fight a virus that's going around. All the cats were taken back to the main shelter in Arlington and a new set sent out. Fortunately, this included two cats we'd had before (BALOO and MISTER BELLAMY) who had been (individually) adopted and then returned by their new owners -- one after just a single day, which isn't even giving the poor cat a fair chance to adjust to his new surroundings.

The five cats* were MR. BELLAMY, a beautiful cream-colored cat with dark Siamese-like 'point' markings but not the sleek body of most Siamese. Bellamy has the most unusual whiskers I've ever seen on a cat: they're striped, with lighter and darker bands alternating on the same whisker. V. striking! At four years old he's still a young cat, wanting plenty of attention and play-time when he's out of his cage.

Young BALOO is white with some grey, about one year old, with a lean kittenish look. He's full of energy and wants to be at the center of attention and middle of every game.

Princess MATILDA is just the opposite: a senior cat (fifteen years old), mostly black but with little black paws.

And the bonded pair, OSCAR and DOLLY: two brown tabbies who look like they could come from the same litter except that he's nine and she's just four. Last week I'd thought him the shyer of the two, but a week later he was coming out and laying on the floor asking for petting, while she was willing to perch on various parts of a cat-stand, so they came a long way in a short time.

[The Actual Report that I shared w. my fellow volunteers]
I’m glad to report that yesterday all five cats got a walk. Last week I’d swung by on the Thursday to greet the new cats and see if there were any likely walkers among them. Mr. Bellamy and young Baloo were both pleased to be out of the room, though Bellamy explored on his own four feet while Baloo insisted on being carried the whole time. Princess Matilda was extremely shy at first, but when pulled to the front of her cage and petted she simply melted, rubbing up against my face and hand, purring up a storm. Oscar and Dolly, the bonded pair were similarly shy but, when I insisted on their coming out, huddled on the cat-stand.

What a difference a week made. This time I started with the shyest cats, the bonded pair. They’’d relaxed quite a bit since I’d last seen them. Oscar in particular enjoyed sprawling on his side on the floor. For his ‘walk’ he preferred to be carried, and was fascinated to watch the other cats through the glass. Dolly also liked being held and was very cautious when on her own four feet. Matilda had changed the most in just a week. Last week she’d had lots of loose fur and dander, her ears needed cleaning (I did what I cd with some Q-tips), and she had cat acne on her chin. All that was gone now: someone had clearly given her some tender loving care, and she looked like she felt much better for it. She opted for the carry-me-around walk, purring all the while.

The two most active cats, Baloo and Bellamy, enjoyed their time out the most, I think, though they had to wait for it. Baloo had made a terrible fuss while I was putting the leash on but once I succeeded and got him outside the room he was v. well behaved. Just like last week he wants to be carried, and he wants to go everywhere, so we did: all over the store to look at everything. I let his back paws rest on one arm held horizontallywhile he put his front paws on my shoulder. He purred constantly, and also mewed most of the time. He gets v. nervous when on his own feet, preferring to see things from (human) head high. 

Mr. Bellamy is our best walker by far: he enjoys strolling about and exploring on his own four feet. This time he discovered that the employees have a break room and wanted to go in there; discovered there’s an office in the back and wanted to go in there, and really wanted to go inside the little rooms at Canfield. 
Note: he stretches his back legs out several times, almost dragging them, when starting a walk — does he have any problems with those legs? Just wanted to flag it as somewhat for others to keep an eye out for.

Not much else to report. I brought in a low box which Baloo claimed, defending it against all attempts by Mr. Bellamy to join him inside. Oscar turns out to be v. fond of catnip. Matilda, Dolly, and Oscar are all fine with being out at the same time; Baloo and Bellamy also are good together; they seem to enjoy playing together.

—John R. 
most recent reading: "Between the River and the Woods" by Jonathan Howard (a non-series short story by the creator of Johannes Cabel, Necromancer)

UPDATE (Friday Sept. 9th-- my grandmother's birthday):

Baloo has now been adopted. Sounds like this new home will work out better than the last. Baloo's had a rough start in life (he was originally brought into the shelter with a broken leg that needed surgery to mend) but hopefully he's in a good place now with people who appreciate a lively, playful, and affectionate cat.

Unfortunately, Matilda got taken back to the shelter. She has a lump or kink towards the end of her tail -- probably an old break, but after the recent trouble with the virus they're not taking any chances on potential health issues.

Sad news: one of the cats who'd been in our cat room a few weeks ago, Lois, has died, and her bonded partner Edison is reportedly v. ill. Also Vivian, who was a senior cat when I first started volunteering at the Renton cat-room, has died (I gather of old age). She was a favorite of a lot of the volunteers (including myself) but in the end never found a home. Alas.

*I never met a sixth cat, another of the Oman kittens, had arrived and immediately been adopted, taken straight from one carrier (from the main shelter) to another (to go home in). Good for him!

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