This week being all about giving SALEM some one-on-one attention, I crouched down half-in and half-out of her cage and gave her a long petting session. She purred enthusiastically. After a while she started some behavior I'd heard described but not seen before: she went over to her food dish and started eating and growling at the same time. It was a kind of growl-yeow-yeow, growl-yeow-yeow. Maybe she had to compete with other cats at her last home and this is trash-talk meant to make them back off and let her eat? Quite an odd, but somehow endearing, habit. After her long one-on-one I let the other cats out one at a time. Salem elected to stay in her (open) cage, but up front with her paws out and paying attention to everything, not withdrawn into the back trying to tune everything out. So she's doing better, but she'll need a lot of one-on-one to get over her funk.
Little PRINCESS was her usual adorable sweet self. I made a lap for Emma and Princess promptly took it, purring and snuggling in. What a gentle, loving cat. Last week I'd made the discovery that she's cold all the time, given her shaven fur and the temperature in the cat-room. So I put her on the cat-stand and covered her over with a blanket (the soft green one in her cage that looks like a baby blanket), all but just the face. She loved it, and we did it again this week, though this time she pulled her head back under covers as well and slept, snug as a bug in a rug. All you had to do was touch the blanket over her and the purr started up from below.
Mr. LEO was in an affable mood -- all twenty-one pounds of him! Now that I know how big he is, no wonder he didn't want to be lifted down from on-high last week; my largest cat (Mr. Feanor, formerly twenty pounds but now down to sixteen) also dislikes being picked up. What Leo does like, most definitely, is the two-handed petting maneuver: one hand under the chin and the other towards the back just before the tail. He also likes catnip, a lot. He wasn't interested in the box this week, though, preferring to go back and forth between his open cage and the floor in front of it. At one point Emma came into his cage, while he was in it, to raid his nom, completely ignoring him (which takes a good deal of ignoring); he just watched and she came and went peaceably.
Sweet EMMA was playful and affectionate, and spent her time divided between snoozing atop the cat-stand by the door and exploring the ground tier of cages (Salem's, Leo's, and Dougal's). Leo and Dougal just watched her and she came and went from theirs without incident, but Salem gave her a warning growl to back off, which she did. We played a little of the gopher game, but mostly today was about petting not playing. She's doing much better about the other cats -- or maybe they're all just learned enough about the others to tolerate at a certain distance. The most surprising thing she did today was put her paw in my mouth. Didn't see that coming.
MIMI and DOUGAL had a quiet morning. The two were snuggling, as usual, when I arrived, and she groomed him a little while waiting for the cage door to open. Mimi came out and about, as usual, exploring here there and beyond, eventually settling atop the cat-stand by the cabinet. She set her eye on that shelf of blankets and I helped make a space for her there, whereupon she leapt over and settled herself down. Dougal stayed inside but was much calmer, letting me clean his cage around him. Later I lifted him out and put him in the basket on the bench, which he seemed to like -- at any rate, he stayed there, able to look out without being seen.
The main event of the morning was a young couple who dropped by. They were thinking of adopting and wanted to meet all our cats after watching them a while through the window. Princess immediately sat down in her lap and purred, and Leo came over and got in his lap as well. Little Mimi came down and wanted some loving, and to my surprise Dougal came out of the basket and sat down next to the guy (she called him a cat whisperer, and the evidence bore her out on this). They interacted with everybody except Salem (who stayed inside and watched); even Emma enjoyed some petting (though she didn't go over to ask for it). I gathered they were thinking of getting two cats and needed a little time to make up their minds, and said they'd be back this evening.
health concerns: Princess had a wheezing fit, but it immediately followed upon one of the other cats (Mimi, I think, or possibly Emma) having used the spot Princess was sleeping on as a stepping stone down from the cage-tops, so I think it was from distress over the unpleasant surprise, not anything actually wrong with her. Last week Emma had blood in her stool but no sore on her bottom and no signs of distress when using her own (or, in this case, Salem's) dirt box.
Discovered last week that Emma has cat acne on her chin (just a bit; not too bad). Detected what I thought was more on Salem's chin, but it turned out to be a scab -- anyone know when she got that sore there?
Princess and one of the other cats (I forget which) needs some ear-swabbing.
UPDATE: Glad to learn this morning that they did indeed come back last night and adopted MIMI NADINE and DOUGAL NATHAN. It's so hard for a cat as shy as Mr. Dougal to find a home, but I think he'll be a really loyal affectionate cat once he's settled into a new home and gotten used to his new owners. And little Mima is a sweetheart. I've rarely seen a bonded pair so deeply bonded as these two, and I'm so glad they're going together.