Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Cat Report (W. 12/11-13)

With poor Chipotle laid low and new kittens Hilo and Ducky enjoying an evening at home with their foster-er, it was surprising how full the room seemed with just seven cats: RUNA, ZIPPY ZOE, ANNETTE, SPIDGE, BENTLEY, little PEPE, and newcomer SCRUFFY. Given that five out of seven are black cats, the sixth mostly black, and the seventh white-with-black, I found I kept doing double-takes to identify who was who: noticing details like Spidge's silvery-grey mane overtones, Bentley's crooked tail-tip, Runa's I'm-the-boss attitude, Annette's smooth fur and Scruffy's spiky bits. At least little Pepe and Miss Zoe are easy to keep track of.

Started off with four walks: Runa, Zoe, Annette, and Mr. Scruffs, and ended the shift with another walk for Runa, because she asked for it so beseechingly. RUNA and ZOE did pretty well. ANNETTE did better, aside from a tendency to go in circles (turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right . . . ). Somewhat to my surprise Mr. SCRUFF did best of all: he set out to explore and learn about his new surroundings. Think he's a smart cat from the way he was mapping it out and taking it all in.

Once walks were over it was time for everybody to come out. I put MR. SCRUFFS up on the cage-tops, where he first spent time fussing with the little wicker bed, then buried himself inside a large paper bag that'd obviously been placed up there for him. He stayed up there pretty much the whole morning, coming out from the bag after the first hour or so; at noon he came down with no trouble at all. A cat with personality. Be interesting to see what happens when (and if) he decides to engage with the other cats.

I wanted to see if I could get ANNETTE to enjoy herself without hiding, so placed her atop the cat-stand by the door (Zoe's usual spot). She was greatly pleased, enjoying a petting session before stretching out for a glorious snooze. Unfortunately, ZOE was much put out by having her spot taken. Twice she jumped up there, had a hissy fit to find it occupied, and jumped back down again. Finally about mid-morning I gave in and moved Annette over to the top of cat-stand #2, by the cabinet. She and Zoe both settled down after that, but each seemed a bit grumpy. Did console Zoe by giving her a good scratching/petting/massage, starting at the base of her spine and working forward; she surrendered herself to it with enthusiasm. 

RUNA was in observer mode today -- spent some time in the basket on the bench, and also came out from time to time to see what the younger cats were up with, but didn't interact with them much today. She did make an exception when the laser pointer came out, though.

SPIDGE and little PEPE really went at it today, wrastling on and off. Spidge plays hard, so I had to break them up once or twice, but Pepe mostly seemed to hold his own. I'd brought in crinkly paper AND a (catnip-laced) box, which between them kept the younger generation entertained. In addition to playing all morning , both came up every so often to touch bases with me: get some attention and a little petting before going back to their games. Bentley and Runa mostly watched the boys playing from a safe distance. At one point, Spidge managed to get his head through a tear in the paper, which then turned into a makeshift cape that sent him scampering back and forth before he ripped his way out of it and taught it a lesson. Pepe was fascinated, and helpfully jumped on the paper to keep it from escaping.

BENTLEY kept more to herself, hanging out around the base of the cat-trees near the door. Occasionally Spidge decided he needed to reduce Bentley to minion status, but she wasn't having any of it. She got curious and friendly when it came time to clean out cages on her end of the room; she went in each and inspected my work in progress.  She seemed pleased when her own cage got cleaned, last of all, and made no fuss about going in.

Quite a few visitors, but none who came into the cat room. Did talk to a man who turns out to be Bonnie's husband: he reports that Mr. Brothers still gets his daily coffee and that Sammy is also still doing well (as is their third cat, whose name I forget, the only one of the three not from Purrfect Pals). Good to hear that a great cat/person match-up is still going strong.

We now have a good age distribution: two senior cats (Zoe [14] and Annette [13]), two mid-age cats (Runa [5] and Mr. Scruffy [7]), two half-grown cats (Bentley and Spidge [6 months each]), and one out-and-out kitten (Pepe [three months]).

health concerns: has little Pepe always had a pink spot on his nose, or did someone scratch him right on the tip?
Poor Chipotle!

--John R.

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