Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Cat Report (W.4/16-14)

Great news that Mr. Neighbors has found his own home and made himself very much at home in it already. A happy ending there for a v. charismatic and friendly cat.

That leaves us with two or three old-timers (MR. SCRUFFSMy Pal KABOODLE, and, depending on how you count her, BOUILLABASSE), one relative newcomer (KASPAR), and two new arrivals (bounded pair CHONGO & MONYA, whose names, for some reason, I find really hard to remember and keep straight).

I started off with my SCRUFFY-attitude-adjustment-project, letting him out of his cage before anybody else (despite outraged and beseeching protests from several of the other cats, who said it was No Fair). He was v. much interested in a walk, as in getting out of that room for a while, but too nervous about being on the wrong side of the cat-room door to stay out. What I eventually worked out was to prop the cat-room door open. Then he was quite eager to come out and explore in the area around the room: away from the cages but close to familiar, safe territory. He not only let me pet him but went up to various people nearby to see if they'd give him some attention too. So while it upset the others I think it was worth it to improve Mr. Scruffs' mood (that he's withdrawing into himself some isn't surprising, given how long he's been living in that room). Afterwards he went back into his cage and stayed there, but he was pleased, I think, to have a catnip-laced box in there some of the time. I started to clean his cage around him, intending to leave the half he was on (with the cat-blankets and stand) pretty much as is, but he made my job easier by coming out on his own accord until I had everything neat and tidy for him again. 

KABOODLE was none too pleased to have had to stay in his cage while all those interesting things were going on just outside, but was firm in declining a walk of his own, giving voice when I tried carrying him around for a short guided tour of the store. Instead he preferred to go up to cagetop land, where he stayed most of the rest of the morning, and was prompt in claiming the cat-nip box once Mr. Scruffs was through with it and I moved it up to the cage-tops. He also enjoyed a string game with the leather bootlace. Sometime later Monya went up there, to his apparent astonishment, and he silently stalked her, keeping a close eye on her activities but never moving to engage her. He protested at having to go back in his cage at the end of morning: think an ideal Kaboodle-world would be where he cd come and go in an otherwise catless environment, getting attention when he wanted it and otherwise being left alone in the snooze-spot of his choosing. There's a limit to how much we can re-create that environment in a smallish room with five other cats, but the closer we come the better he likes it.

BOUILLABASSE was in a good mood today and accepted the offer of a walk with alacrity. She didn't really want to go anywhere, though; she seemed to like best rolling on the cool smooth cement floor. Back in the room she got atop the cat-stand by the cabinet and snoozed there the rest of the morning. I got her to purr for me, and she didn't do her old trick of sneaking in the eat out of the other cats' dishes, though it did look as if we'll still have to watch and make sure she's grooming herself properly. 

KASPAR is really coming out of his shell (that didn't take long). He seems to be claiming the boss-of-the-room title, but fortunately without any bullying so far as I cd see: more a matter of holding his ground and insisting the other cats detour around him, rather than moving and getting out of their way. He got very excited while playing with a feather-duster, and later with the string-game (I left the leather bootlace tied to the door of his cage for him to play with). Beware, though: when he gets too excited, or when he feels you need disciplined, he'll nibble on your hand -- not breaking the skin, but might be alarming to a visitor who wasn't expecting it.  He also did some chasing of balls, mostly in the area inside the door in front of Mr. Scruff's cage.  He v. much wanted a walk but I cdn't oblige while the other cats were out, so he had to wait (impatiently) till end-of-shift. Then he proved himself a mighty walker, ranging all over the store. His favorite part was bird-watching, though he was fascinated by the guinea pig as well; not so sure about the fish. So far as the birds went, he was captivated at once and hunkered down in front of their cages, eyes locked on the birds within. The zebra finches didn't like the look of it and quietly took themselves off to gather quietly at the back of their cage. The spice finches, by contrast, were deeply interested in this strangely intent visitor, and came up as close as they cd to the glass to see what he'd do next. An interesting dynamic, each watching the other with considerable interest. Others must have been taking him out for walks as well, for the employees at check-out knew him by name as he went past on his way back to the cat-room.

That just leaves the newcomers, or latest bonded pair, Chongo and Monya. To my surprise the much smaller MONYA was the more confident and inquisitive of the two. She came out and explored, keeping mostly to the area back between the cabinet and the laundry hamper. She hasn't fully worked out the hanging steps but has some idea what they're for. She was briefly up on the cagetops, where she made a face after apparently detecting a smell that appalled her. She too loves the feather duster, leaping upon it in full predator mode. Seems to be a nice cat who'll need a fair amount of attention to burn off all that energy.

As for the other member of the Chongo-Monya partnership, Chongo, the male and bigger of the two, stayed in his cage most of the morning, only coming out a little before noon. He tread cautiously but seems well-behaved. Kaspar was between him and the door to the room, where he wanted to look out, so CHONGO made a growl-pass of Kaspar's position: much rumbling (mainly from Chongo) but no hissing, not aggression: Kaspar let him pass without a swipe of the paw from either side. Let's hope that sets a good precedent of live and let live.  I don't remember if I wanted either of the newcomers, and didn't make any notes re. that: think Chongo was in-and-out and Monya was out for a fairly brief but uneventful walk, but cdn't swear to it.

We had a steady stream of visitors, several of whom were thinking of adopting and checking out these cats to see if they might include The One. One said she'd had a cat who lived to be 21, and another was mourning the loss of her 22-yr-old. My comment: if your cat lives to be 22, you're obviously doing something right. Let's hope we see some of these folks again, esp. the guy who was so taken with Bouillabasse; they seemed like a really good match.

No health concerns, so that's pretty much it for another Wednesday.

--John R.

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