Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Return of the Cat Report

So, it's been a while since I've written up one of my cat reports about how the cats up for adopted at the Purrfect Pals cat room near SouthCenter are doing. I've been going in for my Wednesday morning volunteer shift but not writing up the resultant notes. 

Short version: we've had a lot of adoptions in the past month or so: Barney (a little fiesty black kitten), Kailani (a beautiful friendly white pastel cat), Chartreuse (who despite her name isn't green but a bright calico), Spanx (who'd been adopted a few years ago and returned because her owner had to suddenly move to Hong Kong), Amy and Alisha (our bonded pair of half-grown kittens, both torbies), and little Latasha (a playful white-and-black kitten). Not bad, after a slow month before that and several cats, disappointingly enough, returned to the main clinic either for health reasons (e.g. un-lucky Lindy) or to be re-assigned to other adoptions rooms like the one in Kirkland (like Rhoda).

So, here's last week's write-up:

[The Cat Report: W.11/13-13]
With the adoption of Chartreuse, Annette's trip up to the clinic, and the new kittens' arrival on hold, we had eight cats this morning -- increased to nine when Annette returned to us around noon.

Started out the morning with walks: RUNA (who enjoys the one-on-one time more than the actual walking) and MR. CHAN got walks this morning, and Runa got an additional short one at the end of my shift. Both of them did well, though his walk was shortened when he became upset over some noise in the store (very loud creaking from carts as employees moved stuff around) -- made up for this once we got back in the cat-room with a dedicated petting session just for him, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He certainly is quite the purrbox..  ZOE didn't get a walk but got much attention instead, especially with the string game. She's obviously an old hand at it; the kittens paw at one end but she always hooks a claw in the other so it can't get away. By late morning Zoe and Runa and Charlie Chan had claimed the tops of three cat stands near the door and had luxurious snoozes, occasionally interrupted by some petting or (for Runa and especially Zoe) a quick game.

For the five kittens or kitten-cats (LaTasha, BentlySpidge, and The Sisters), I brought in a cardboard box and a paper bag, but I needn't have bothered: they found plenty of games of their own all morning long. Not much to report other than that all five will play together in various combinations, though some more than others. Sometimes the older cats will join in as well, esp. Runa. Bently is the shyest of the lot. Last week LaTasha had claimed the cagetops and run back and forth like a wild thing with great glee, sometimes tromping on little Spidge, who'd burrowed his way under a blanket up there. Today she was quieter and he was going after Amy. I think he's trying to assert his dominance over her. As one of the two male cats in the room, it seems like he's decided he needs to start with one minion and see where things go from there. In any case, Amy learned the sad lesson that if you're going to hide in a box, it's really important not to leave your tail sticking out where anybody could take a nip out of it.

Unfortunately, something happened that got several of the cats upset. I was cleaning out a cage at the time, when suddenly there was lots of hissing and cats running about, including two jumping/falling down from the cage tops and knocking stuff down on other cats' heads. As best as I cd figure out, a large German Shepherd outside the room must have got too close; somebody panicked, and set off a chain reaction. Anyway, no harm done, but Bently and Amy were really frightened and hid for the next hour or so; LaTasha was scared but quickly got over it. Amy squeezed herself below the rondel as her hiding place. Once I'd made sure everybody was alright Bently disappeared. I eventually found him in The Sisters' double cage, where he'd made himself at home. 

Everyone loved their spoonful of wet catfood. Little Spidge had eaten his food dish down to the last few crumbs. 

Last week we had an unusually long string of visitors. This time we were more back to normal. One visitor said she'd adopted her cat from here about a year ago, named Wicked (doesn't ring a bell, I'm afraid). Hope the sad saga of Pumpkin comes to a happy ending. Still, it's good to know that just within the last month Barney, Kailani, Spanx, and Chartreuse all found new homes. Hope it'll be Runa's turn soon.

A little after noon ANNETTE returned, glad to be out of her cat-carrier and back in a familiar place, it seemed to me. Didn't have the heart to put her in her cage right away, so gave them a long time out than I usually would have. In fact, it was nearer 1.30 than one by the time I finally put the last cat back in her cage. 

Health concerns: little Bently had thrown up in his food dish. Other than that, everybody seemed to be okay.

[The Cat Report: W.11/20-13]

With only five cats, it's a pretty empty cat room today. Which suited them just fine: plenty of room to spread out and no crowding. I don't think we've ever had more cat-stands than cats before.

Yay for Latasha's adoption, and Alisha & Amy. Very sorry to hear Charlie Chan has gone back up to the main shelter -- he was doing so well last week. It is nice to see Annette again, and to see her well. And of course looking forward to the three kittens.

Right now out of a total of five cats we have four black cats (Runa, Annette, Spidge, Bentley), with one white-and-black cat (Zoe). Once the kitten arrive, tomorrow we'll have four black cats and four black-and-white cats. And to think that just a few weeks ago it was mostly calicos of one stripe or another.

Since I had plenty of time, I planned to give all five cats walks. But it didn't turn out that way. Runa had her walk, which I think she didn't really enjoy but insisted on as her right. She always knows exactly where the cat room is and can head back to it double-quick when she has a mind to.  Then came Zoe, who did okay but became anxious and started vocalizing with loud cries of distress (RWW! RWW! RWW!). Finally little Spidge was too nervous to enjoy his time outside, instead deciding to climb me with his sharp little claws; think he wanted to perch on my shoulders. After which I decided to waive the walks for our two shyer cats, Annette and little Bentley. 

Next came some serious petting sessions: massaging their backs, get a lot of that loose fur off, and spending time with each cat. The older cats, Annette and Zoe (and also Runa) were especially pleased by this one-on-one attention and purred extravagantly. The two kittens also got attention, but while they liked it they were more interested in tearing about playing and exploring. 

After that came the games: had all five of them playing the string game with a long piece of yarn. They also all voted the feather game a winner. The new automated toy interested the kittens, esp. Spidge (or was it Bentley?). At different times I both covered it with a cat-blanket (which went down v. well indeed) and put it up on the cage-top (where one of the little black kittens played with it till it stopped and then lay down on top of it.  I also confirmed my suspicion that Zoe would like the gopher game: she does, v. much.

Things calmed down a bit near the end of the morning. Annette stayed out more than usual (settling on the mid-level of her favorite cat-stand, rather than down on its bottom rung) and was rewarded by being given a sealed bag of catnip and being invited to do whatever she wanted with it. She was one buzzed kitty by the time she stopped. Little Bentley is still a little hissy towards Spidge, but she's learning to trust me I think -- she used my shoulder as an in-between perch when coming down from the cagetops and enjoyed being petted while she was up there and I was reaching up from below. Runa moved one of the little beds up there so much I moved it down into her cage, where she seemed pleased with it. 

One warning: little Spidge stole my pen at one point and proceeded to settled down like it was prey that needed gnawing. I took it away and gave him a cheaper one, which he soon abandoned. 

No health problems noted. Two small dogs did come up at one point: Runa and Spidge watched them but without alarm. We had a few casual visitors but none serious about adopting; just enjoying seeing cats being cats.

I do note that the cats have gotten clever. When I finally put them back in their cages, several of them (e.g., Annette, Runa)  immediately use their dirt boxes, and if I have time I open those cages again to scoop that out. Which gives those cats a chance to slip back out again for a little while. Today one of them (Runa I think, but it may have been Annette) simply pretended to use her box in order to make that dash and get a few extra minutes' freedom. Clever girl.

Runa has very much established herself as the boss cat of the room.


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