Started off the day by taking shy Dougal out of his cage and holding and petting him. He stayed stiff as a board but didn't squirm or try to get away, so thought I'd try him with a walk. Won't make that mistake again. He hadn't been out long when he got spooked, and then immediately shifted over into full-scale panic. He slipped off the leash as I was trying to get him back in the room and took off running as fast as I've ever seen a cat move. He ran straight across the store, which brought him right up against the dog-room, whereupon there was much barking and unfortunately he turned to the right. And even more unfortunately, someone had left the doors to the warehouse area open, and he went right in. By the time I got to the doors, he'd gone to ground -- a solid black cat hiding in a large area full of dozens of hidey-holes. To make it worse, there was a truck with its cargo area open to the warehouse, and while he cdn't get outside he might have gone in the back of the semi- as well. Fortunately after a few minutes' looking I found him under a bunch of stuff not too far from the door. I asked a PetsMart employee for help, and she (the hero of this story) moved great big bins on rollers while I waited to grab him if he bolted. Luckily he was frozen and made no resistance when I reached back and pulled him out, carrying him immediately back to the cat-room and back into his cage, where little Mimi helped comfort him.
So, much drama, considerable excitement, a cat-vs.-volunteer race which the cat won, hands down, but in the end no harm done.
Note to self: no more walks for Dougal. Rather than a pleasant distraction from the cat-room it holds only terror for him, poor fellow.
After that, decided on no more walks for now and instead invited everybody out from their cages.
PRINCESS MERIDA sat in my lap and enjoyed much petting, after which she shifted over to the mid-level of a cat-stand by the bench. Thinking she might be chilly with her shaved fur I put a blanket over her with just her head sticking out, and she loved it, staying there most of the rest of the morning. She came out towards noontime to demand more petting, and I was happy to oblige. She had a short walk just after noon and did very well; clearly she knows all about walking on a leash. Either Princess or Emma, I forget which, was out when two smallish dogs came by in rapid succession and neither was bothered by it. Did notice, towards the end of the day, that Princess likes men: she got up and gave a little chirp when a guy came in to look at the cats.
LEO came out all growly and suspicious of the other cats, but he was completely won over by my offer of a box with catnip in it. He climbed inside, I put the box up on the cagetops, and he stayed there the rest of the morning, secure in his bliss. Hadn't realized just how big and how heavy a cat he is till picked him up and boosted him up high; my cat Feanor used to weigh twenty pounds and he was easier to pick up than this. We moved his digs from the middle of the upper row to the middle of the lower row, which should make it easier for him to get in and out when he wants to. His little cat-stand had already been removed and replaced with a soft pad for a cat-bed. Maybe he'd like a little cat-bed/cushion like Boogieman once had?
EMMA JEMIMA was in a good mood. The last out and the longest to stay out, she was very affectionate. She spent most of the morning in explorer mode, having now claimed the whole bottom row (completely ignoring the top row) as hers to explore and graze whenever and wherever she feels like it. She went in all the open cages, sampled their nom,used their litter boxes, and generally made herself at home, mostly ignoring the other cats if present. At one point she sat down next to me and gave herself a good long bath; think that was the happiest I've seen her in weeks.
Emma had a walk at the end of my shift (stayed a little extra for her, since she'd been so good today and deserved come kind of treat). But what she liked best today, even more than the petting and attention, was crinkly paper. I brought some in and spread it out, and she loved it -- whether being pulled along while riding on it, or pouncing on things swishing back and forth under it, or having it folded over her to make a paper-cat-paper sandwich, she loved it all. I left the paper folded up under the bench for her, though don't know how many more play sessions like that it has in it before it gives out.
Health alert: Emma had blood in her stool this morning -- enough to look alarming, but it didn't seem to hurt or distress her at all. Something we need to keep an eye on.
MIMA the perfectly normal cat in a room full of Cats With Issues. She was out and about and playing and exploring and generally being a delightful little cat, as usual. She particularly likes the laser pointer, though she doesn't chase it so much as watch it and pounce when it comes near. I've rarely seen a bonded pair as bonded as she and Dougal; she I first come in in the morning she and he will be side-by-side towards the front of their cage; he only slips into hiding in the back when there are people around (or other cats he thinks might get him). She played with catnip bubbles a bit, but they didn't really do much for her. The bug-on-a-stick was better, but in general she just seemed to want to explore, coming up for attention every now and then.
SALEM is out of sorts, and unlike her more outgoing self of up until just last week. She stayed inside most of the morning and didn't seem to want much attention (petting, playing) in her cage -- although she did join in a game of bug-on-a-stick with Princess (atop a cat-stand), Leo (Up High), and Mimi (near the cabinet), Anytime that little bug came inside her cage she deftly caught it in one paw and held it down while she bit it (quite the predator, she). Have to let her out first next week and give her more one-on-one attention (for example, brushing her back, which she'd really liked before).
Dougal took refuge inside her cage while his was being cleaned, and she didn't seem to mind. In fact, she ignored him, just as Seville did last week. Perhaps his passive mode sends a 'no-threat' signal cats pick up on.
--and that's about it for Wednesday morning.
*The report later today, now that they've had a chance to check her out up at the clinic, is that she has Calici, poor thing. Know they'll do everything they can to help her. Poor Seville! Now we know why she was acting so different.