Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Cat Report (W. 6/17-15)

I was remiss and didn't write up last week's cat report or one from the week before. Our current cats are EMMA, our little grey tabby with an outsized personality, CHESSA, a beautiful longhair orange cat who's blind (she can apparently see light and dark some, so she doesn't run into things, but she can't tell what they are), bonded pair MONTE (a dignified but friendly tuxedo cat) and sister MAISY (a torbie who's on the shy side), plus the two remaining Kittens from Oman, bonded pair sisters BLOSSOM and BUTTERCUP.

It was still the same six cats this week, who have pretty well worked out who's boss cat (EMMA), who hides and hopes she doesn't get hissed at (MAISY), who minds his own business (MONTE), who waits patiently for attention (CHESSA), and who's out and about and all over the place (BLOSSOM & BUTTERCUP).

Started off the morning by giving EMMA her walk. She initially didn't want to go anywhere but just hung out right outside the door. When I sat down with my back to the door she climbed up in my lap immediately (impressive, given that she's not a lap cat) and got some serious one-on-one petting. After a while she decided she wanted a walk after all, so we worked our way up by the drinking fountain -- where she found not one but two doors she wanted to go through: one with its door temptingly ajar and the other closed (leading into the kitchen, where she can't go). Her manners are good, though: she scratched at the closed door and mewed politely.

Next up it was CHESSA's turn. She had a good long walk and was much admired; seems that the store's entire staff knows about her and many stopped and petted her as they went by. After she was back in the room I cleaned her ears, which badly needed it but which she didn't enjoy at all. Did as much as she could stand, but it'll need doing again when someone has time. Poor Chessa!  Afterwards I rubbed her back with a wet washcloth to get a lot of that loose fur off; much less of it than had been the case last week or especially the week before.  She got hissed at by the kittens several times and swatted once before I could intervene. So she did something really clever, though I don't know if she planned it or it just worked out that way. The kittens had been giving her trouble in her usual place in the basket, so she slipped out and went into their cage. Given that they were exploring everybody else's cages, this turned out to be the one place on the ground level where she was free from being bothered by them, and she happily stayed in there quite a while. 

MONTE and MAISY had both on the kittens' hit list last week, and they've developed opposite strategies of dealing with it. MONTE picks a spot and defends it, so after a hiss or two they leave him alone. His favorite spot seems to be atop the taller cat-stand near the door; he considers the other tall cat-stand near the cabinet an acceptable substitute but more likely to be interrupted by kittens going up and down. He loves catnip, and games, and attention. In short, he's pretty much a perfectly normal cat in a room full of touchy cats, and responds warmly to petting and attention in general.  MAISY the kittens frankly bully, and last week she kept retreating until she finally found a spot where she held her ground: the carry-home box atop the cages (on the side of the room near the door). Today she went right to that box and stayed there all morning; the kittens found her once and beat a hasty retreat from her defensive hissing. I let her enjoy her peace and quiet most of the morning, only disturbing her when it was time for her to come down and go in her cage. I found she wanted attention and welcomed petting, which made me sorry I hadn't petted her more: I'll be sure to do so next time.

That just leaves THE KITTENS FROM OMAN (BLOSSOM and BUTTERCUP), who were a little less boisterous than last week, when they were little terrors. They've now decided to stay away from EMMA at all costs, so she reigns supreme down at that end of the room. They're allowed down around the floor once she's gone up on a cat-stand, but have to retreat if she wants to come down and spend some time in her Box. I can only admire her grip: she's laid down the law and intimidated them into behaving themselves when she's around. Didn't put up the 'catio' today, since they've become such escape artists, but didn't do too badly just within the room. They played in the box and with the crinkly paper once Emma was through with it, tore back and forth on the floor, went into every cage that was opened to supervise my cleaning, poked their noses into the cabinet, and played lots of games. They especially liked bug-on-a-stick: one of them kept carrying it off, like prey to her lair. They finally settled down not long before noon (though they still objected to being put back in their cage, which I can't really blame them for).

health concerns: Chessa's ears are the main one. One of the kittens threw up, but I don't know which one.  Other than that everybody seems to be okay. 

Note: I'm off next week (in Arkansas) but should be back as usual the week after.

--John R.

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