Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Cat Report (Sept/Oct)

A bunch of the cats being up at Arlington being treated for their colds, we had just two cats in the Tukwila cat room this morning, though at noon one of these left to go back to the shelter and three new ones arrived, bringing our current total up to four: 

Mr. APOLLO (our long gray-haired King of the Roost) 

THUMPER (a five-month old grey tabby kitten)

ZOE GIRL (not to be confused with our own Zoe [Zippy Zoe] from a while back; this is a white with grey three-year old) and 

SURI REESE (a black-and-white tuxedo cat; at nine-and-a-half the oldest cat in the room)

It having been some time since I did a cat report, thought i'd do an overview of the past few weeks, just to orient myself. When I got back from my trip to the MidWest I found three cats in the cat room (9/16): 

BRIE (whom I already knew): v. short-haired roly-poly grey cat of strong opinions, the strongest of which was that other cats shd keep their distance. 

APOLLO a beautiful, fluffy cat with an amazingly thick tail, still a bit shy from having not yet found his bearings.

Mr. MURDOCH: another beautiful cat, sociable and full of self-confidence, who had a most excellent time with the string game and also expressed his entire approval of the paper bag with catnip in it. 

When the four kittens arrived (PRECIOUS, SQUISHY, BENGAL, & TROUBLE), they watched Murdoch play from a respectful distance, making me think he'd laid down the law to them on an earlier meeting.

The next week (9/23), it was no surprise that Murdoch had been adopted in the meantime, leaving just  BRIE and APOLLO for the morning (w. the kittens arriving towards noon). Apollo was feeling a little more confident and was out and about more.

This was the week that I finally figured out Brie. She has two moods, linked to two places. If she's on the floor beneath the taller cat-stand near the door, she's v. territorial, warning the other cats off with strategic hisses and growls. When she's atop that cat-stand she's a happy camper: feeling no one can sneak up on her she completely relaxes. Took them both for a walk, wherein I discovered that Apollo gives out tiny little mews when nervous and that Brie does indeed have the most delightful deep, loud purr. After the walks Apollo retired into the box with catnip in it while Brie went back atop her cat-stand, from which she got combed, which she liked, and brushed, which she liked, and a bath (with a wet washcloth) followed by a towel-dry (with a dry washcloth), all of which taken together made her just melt and purr, purr, purr.

The week after that (9/30) two new cats had arrived, FELICITY ("little miss white whiskers") and LOUIE. Plus, of course, the kittens. Oddly enough, Louie, who's a young cat (about three), looks and acts more like a senior cat, maybe from having had a hard life (he's missing some of his teeth), while Felicity, who's about double his age, acts like a young cat. Apollo didn't approve of the newcomers, so Louie Louie went high and Felicity went onto the top shelf in the cabinet and purred; later she went exploring. Both Louie and Felicity expressed a preference for the kittens' litter, both sneaking into the kittens' cage at some point to use their box.

The week after that (10/7) saw the same four cats and the same four kittens. All the grown-up cats had walks. Louie Louie surprised me by being the best walker of them all. He went as far as the loading dock, which he explored carefully. Both he and Felicity were v. sweet. Discovered that Brie and Apollo both have a Favorite Place, and it's the same favorite place: atop the tall cat-stand near the door. This week Apollo got there first, much to Brie's displeasure; she defaulted back to her old place on the floor and her old behavior of keeping to herself aside from growling the other cats off. For his part, Apollo was sprawled atop that cat-stand, glorying in being out of all the other cats' reach. 

Did notice an endearing trait of Brie's I'd not seen before: she likes to dip her paw in a water-bowl and then lick that paw dry. Saw her to it over and over, quite deliberately. 

Last week (10/14) colds had laid low poor Louie and the kittens, while Brie had a problem with her eye and had to go to get treatment back in Arlington as well. That just left Apollo and Felicity the sole cats in possession. Felicity had a quiet day, alternating between exploring and snoozing. Apollo had uncontested sway over His Favorite Spot, making it his turn to have a towel-bath (greeted with much purring). Also discovered towards noon that Apollo loves the laser pointer. It was great fun to see him spin round and round and round at top speed in pursuit of the little red dot. So I went and got him one of his own, stopping back by later that afternoon to drop it off.

As for today (10/21), most of the morning there were just two cats: Apollo and newcomer LUCEE ('Lucille'), a little mamma cat without her kittens.  Though she's small (about half his size) and young (about a year and a half old), as soon as they were both out of their cages she charged him and chased him to the far end of the room. I picked him up and put him up high, whereupon all seemed well. She prowled a bit then settled down in the box and then back near the cabinet. Later he settled into His Favorite Spot -- turns out he knows how to use the stairs. He'd had a walk when I first arrived, mostly a carry-around with some walking here and there, v. wary. Hence my surprise when I took advantage of Cher's dropping by to take him on a second walk late in the morning. He did great! He walked on his own, going up and down the aisles, going up and flirting with people, and generally showing off his delightful sociable side. Glad to report no inappropriate swatting or nipping today, even though we had a vigorous game of gopher.  He even let me clean out his ears. He was enthused about the box with catnip, as usual, but oddly enough not that interested in the laser pointer today. I decided to hold off giving Lucille a walk until I knew her better and she'd be likely to be more comfortable with the whole idea. 

As I was leaving, three new cats arrived (see above). Lucee attacked one, reaching a paw through the bars of her cage and around the corner to do so, which was really uncalled for. In any case, she went back to Arlington; perhaps she'll have calmed down a bit by the time we see her next.

I know there were kittens that came in since last week, all of whom got adopted before I ever saw any of them: glad they found homes so quickly. I've lost track whether Felicity got adopted or is on sick leave with the rest.* 

Really hoping that Apollo finds a home soon. The stories of him climbing into a carrier and then into a shopping basket show how badly he wants to go to a home of his own. 

And finally, we had a milestone: one of the cats when out for a walk (either last week or maybe the week before) jumped to the top of the cabinet outside the cat-room, across from the manager's office. He or she then walked over to the snack machines and back before jumping down again. Unfortunately my notes are in such disarray that I don't remember now who did this (Felicity? Louie?). But it was a milestone nonetheless: none of our other cats have ever done such a thing, or even tried, so far as I know. 

And that's a summary of what would have been six weeks' worth of cat reports.

--John R. 

*update: I've now been reminded that FELICITY got adopted; good news for a sweet little cat. Thanks Erin.

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