Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Cat Report(s)

So, I've been a bit remiss in getting the reports of how the shelter cats up for adoption at the Tukwila PetsMart have been doing these past few weeks; here's an omnibus update

With eight cats, most of them more or less unsociable, it's starting to feel like the room is filling up again.  I got there late today (was almost there when remembered something I'd left at home and had to go back), and stayed till almost 1 to make up for it. Also forwent the walks, except for a brief outing with Alexi (see below).

Janice and I have two cat-stands we'd like to donate, and I brought the first one in today. Didn't want it littering up the area outside, so found a place for it in the room. Cher, if we don't want to keep it for the room, might the shelter or another volunteer like it?

Glad to report that there were no sneezes, no drooling, no throw-up. Aside from Alexi, who's skin and bones, the cats all seem healthy. Bayou's ears are a little dirty, but I helped on that account at least a little.

This time I was sure to let Tawny and Molinni out first so they could claim their favorite places (on opposite ends of the bench). I put Buxter atop the cat-stand by the cabinet and Maebe atop the cabinet itself. Phoenix put herself in the rondel (the lowest level of Buxter's cat-stand), while Perry roamed around the cat-stands near the door. Tawny hissed whenever Perry got atop her basket, and Perry hissed at Bayou to let him know he was to Keep His DIstance, but other than that no dust-ups. I put Bayou atop the cages, and once he'd thoroughly explored it he decided he liked it plenty good. He even figured out how to use the steps to come and go (haven't had them out in a long time, but didn't take him long to work it out). Alexi stayed inside, but I wanted to make sure to clean her cage this time so I lifted her out and put her in Phoenix's cage while I cleaned the double-wide (Phoenix was a little put out, going into her cage two or three times, finding another cat there, and coming back out again; otherwise this plan worked pretty well). 

A little before noon, I pulled Alexi out from where she was hiding, put the leash on her, and took her outside. I sat in the chair just outside the room and held and petted her for ten or maybe fifteen minutes. She initially buried her face in the crook of my arm and trembled, but after a while she calmed down some and started looking around. Think it did her some good to have a change of pace; once back in the room I put her back into her own cube and she ate some dried catfood and also some wet. Think we should watch her intake v. carefully, since she's so very very thin and it'd be easy to miss the signs because of Bayou eating out of the same dishes &c.

The most affectionate cats today were Perry-the-Winkle, who also wins the Most Talkative award. Buxler was also v. affectionate today; she's really mellowed.

There were lots of visitors, particularly from about 11.30 onward. One woman said she'd adopted her cat from here a couple of years ago, though I didn't recognize the name. One couple said they were looking for to adopt but didn't seem to click with any of our cats. I gather this was a preliminary round;  hope they'll come back and try again.

And that's about it for this morning.

--John R.

[didn't write up a report for the next day, Wedn. the 20th, but here's the one for the next week:]


Great news that MR. KASPER has found himself another home, and taken home a play-pal with him. Hope things work out well for him this time: he needs room to run and play and generally just be a cat.  Now if only Mr. Scruffs cd be so lucky.

With MISTY BUMBLE having come and gone without my ever seeing her (taking the cat-stand I donated with her), we're back to eight cats again in the cat room.

Glad to report that there were no throw-ups today, not even a sneeze. Only health concerns are the ongoing concern over Alexi's not eating and Buxter having carefully deposited some feces on a blanket at the front of her cage. 

Gave walks (fairly brief ones) to Perry, Phoenix, and Tawny, and a carry-around to Alexi. The only thing that interested ALEXI was the little forest of four cat-stands placed together. She went under this and immediately perked up, looking around alertly rather than cringing with that haunted look in her eyes. Once back in the room I put her in the top of the cabinet with a blanket or two for cover.  Interestingly enough, after everybody had gone back into their cages at end of shift, when I left the room to dispose of the trash I came back to find her eating from the food-dish; think she thought I'd left for the day and it was safe to come out. And she'd been stretched out across the front of the cage when I arrived, so maybe she comes out more than I'd thought, just not when there's people in the room who might be Cat Eating Fiends.

For his part, BAYOU was very shy today; came out a few times but dashed back in anytime he thought I might go over to that side of the room. Even hissed at me once or twice. Don't know if this was due to his sister's absence or if he was just having an easily-spooked day.

TAWNY was in good form today. I'd been surprised last Wednesday by her coming out of her spot on the bench to join in the other cats' games (she turns out to be good at Gopher and Bug-on-a-Stick). She did the same today, and clearly enjoyed herself pouncing on an old toy called a Cat Dancer I'd found and brought in (more than a decade ago it'd belonged to my cat Parker, who'd been v. fond of it; apparently it hasn't lost its appeal).  She let me pet her just a little, and some visitors as well, but still prefers the hands-off approach. She did explore the room, both last Wednesday and again today, which seems to me like something of a breakthrough. 

MOLINNI mostly stayed on the bench but spent a fair amount of time around the door. She joined in games some but mostly just wanted to look about, without any interference from me, and see what there was to see. She seems pretty comfortable with her routine (aside from going-back-inside time, which she objects to on principle).

MAEBE claimed the top of the cat-stand by the door, where she accepted petting as Her Right and Due, and showed enthusiasm for games, esp. the Cat Dancer (which she shared, alternating, with Tawny). She  was so pleased that she groomed her blanket as well as herself; something of an odd sight. For her part, BUXTER continues to mellow: she spent the morning atop the cat-stand by the cabinet, very pleased to be petted early and often, and deeply reluctant to go back into her cage at the end. 

PERRY was quiet today (aside from her usual chorus of mews when petted). What an adorable cat. I put her up on the cage-tops and she found a spot she loved so much I wound up putting her and all in cage at end of morning. 

Finally, PHOENIX, well-behaved as always, spent the morning in the rondel, which has definitely become her new favorite place. She too was miffed to eventually have to go into her cage but accepted an apology in the form of a small, low-carb treat.

There were some visitors, but they were casual cat-lovers rather than potential adopters. 

And, on a different topic, glad to hear that the HomeAgain microchips are reliable, since that's what my two cats at home have.

--John R. 


(includes notes for Sept 3rd as well)

Didn't get a cat report written up last week (Sept 3rd), when things were still adjusting from the arrival and quick adoption of Bellah and TL (so quickly that I never saw either one), followed in turn by the adoption of Big Bayou and Shy Alexi. Since there were only six cats, I walked them all: those who did best were Buxter and Phoenix by far. Phoenix really is a sweet cat: she saw a PetsMart employee stocking a shelf and went up and rubbed him, purring. As for Buxter, she was baffled by the size and complexity of the store but very willing to explore and enjoy being out. Her favorite part was exploring the cat stands and especially the cat cushions; she even got some belly rubs.  Once back in we had lots of games. Maebe loved the feather duster, proclaiming it Legitimate Prey. Mollini enjoyed a one-on-one game of bug-on-a-stick, except the other cats kept joining in: Tawny, then Perry, then Maebe.  Tawny in fact several times came out to play whatever game was going on; I forget that she's one of the younger cats in the room -- it's nice to see her begin to act like it. At one point Tawny had a game all her own, until Maebe intercepted it; later Perry (whom I've taken to calling 'Smith' -- she just looks like a Smith) and Buxter were like tick and tock, each attacking opposite ends of a string swinging like a pendulum.

This week (Sept 10th) brought two new cats into the mix, bringing us back up to eight: PERRY (Smith), MOLLINI, PHOENIXTAWNYBUXTERMAEBE, and newcomers LITTLE PANTS & LITTLE FEET (or, as I like to call them, the Little Sisters).  No walks, since I wanted time to get a sense what the room was like with the new bonded pair in it. Pleased to say they're all getting along fairly well. Smith and Mollini had a hissing contest at one point, which Smith won, greatly to her satisfaction, but other than that all was quiet: the cats snoozed, explored, played, permitted themselves to be petted, and generally just hung out.  

The two newcomers, LITTLE PANTS AND LITTLE FEET, mostly kept to themselves. The bolder of the two (the bobtailed one -- Feet?) came out several times, explored, and played, dashing back to home base when spooked. The shy one (with the corkscrew tail -- Pants?) stayed in most of the time but came out for a few cautious explores around that side of the room. She was nervous at having to come out when I did their double-wide but didn't panic or anything like that; she just hovered nearby watching my progress until all was ready for her to go back in. One good sign is that before I'd let them out I was playing the bug-on-a-stick game with Smith (with Maebe and Mollini both joining in with enthusiasm), and when it swished past their cage Little Feet reached out and managed to snag it and draw it into their cage, where both sister proceeded to paw and play with it. So even as shy as they are right now they're still interested in games.

PHOENIX had a very quiet day. Didn't want to sit on my lap or be petted; just went to her rondel and stayed there. Maybe a little gloomy? Have to make sure she gets a walk and some one-on-one time next week.

BUXTER was mellow. She went to her favorite place, the top level of the cat-stand by the cabinet, and stayed there all morning (Buxter above, Phoenix below). She enjoyed the occasional pet, stretching and getting into position for what part of her she wanted petted, but sat out the games. 

TAWNY was very playful; any game I started with any other cat she came and wanted to join in, abandoning her basket-on-the-bench to do so. While I was cleaning cages she entertained herself by the door, pouncing on anything stirred by the breeze. She's quite willing to share a game with another cat or two, so long as she gets her turn with whatever they're chasing or pawing (string or bug-on-a-stick or laser pointer). She'll let me pet her a little now but still very much dislikes a hand reaching into her basket -- may be some bad memory there? I always just pick up the basket and elevator-carry her over to her cage when it's time to go back in, which avoids all the upset.

MOLLINI actually let me hold her in my lap and pet her a little when she first came out. She later let me reach a hand out to her, both while she was in her cubbyhole and when out and about, and didn't swat or pull back. She does revert to her don't-touch mode when she thinks she's going to be picked up. Found one trick she really liked: having the short cat-stand before her open cage, so she can sit on it seeing all there is to see but with a quick retreat ready to hand. She spent a lot of the morning playing around the door area and seemed to get along fine with Tawny, Little Feet, and Maebe, though she and Smith exchanged hisses whenever Smith thought Mollini got too close. She loved the crinkly paper, the bug-on-a-stick, the string games, and laser pointer, though looks like bouncing balls do nothing for her. 

SMITH claimed her spot and defended it from all comers (Mollini, who jumped up there unawares and beat a hasty retreat). It turns out she only talks when being petted, whereupon she becomes very vocal. She loves games but wants the game to come to her rather than have to chase after it on her own. She's about the age of my two cats at home, and her play reminds me of theirs: lots of paw action but not much body movement. She loves attention and loves being petted.

MAEBE played string games, bug-on-a-stick, more string games, and yet more string games. Didn't think to try the gopher game, but suspect she'd like that too. All this playing while never leaving the top of the cat-stand by the door, which has become her favorite spot (a nice bookend to her sister Buxter atop the other cat-stand over by the cabinet). She's pleased to be petted, and perfectly willing to nap, but it's the games that made up her favorite part of the morning.

No health concerns this week, though Tawny has developed the odd habit of licking the glass wall, at a spot beneath the cat-stand by the door. She did it three times, but I have no idea what about that particular spot attracts her.

Last week Buxter had once again neatly deposited some feces on the blanket by the door of her cage -- maybe she needs more space. Any chance we cd shift her to the other double cage?  This week there was no repetition, so maybe she's over whatever little protest she felt she needed to make.


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