This is the ongoing saga of Kitty & Cocoa, two former strays and now pets. I must say back when I started Thread 1 in this series, I never would have guessed I would see anything close to a 15th thread. My intent back then was to discuss the events surrounding their coming in from the wild and trying to learn to trust and make their way in this new world. I hadn't dreamed think of this as anything ongoing, but thanks to those of you who kept asking now and then for news on how they were doing, here we are. Thank you. Now on with the story (as new things develop that is).
Since the last thread had become so hard to open, some may have missed this last bit of info. Yesterday I got a small bag of Taste of the Wild. Both cats gave their approval. Thanks for the suggestion.
Cocoa has always been shiny as shown in the cover photo, but now after some 6-8 months of eating high end cat food, that boy is so glossy he even shines in the dark. I'm not even kidding. When I pet him now, I'm reminded of those magazine adds depicting an Asian woman, her long, shiny black hair chosen to show how shiny your hair will supposedly look after using the advertised product. If you have seen one of those adds in magazine or on TV, you've basically seen Cocoa's coat. It's quite unexpectedly luxurious now. His coat more than any of the others really shows the difference good nutrition makes. I tend to think of black cats as rather ordinary in appearance, but his coat really makes him look anything but. He looks like a mink or sable coat now. At one time I worried that people might think him a stray, but no one would ever look at him now and think that. He looks like a very well cared for and much loved pet now.
I'll try to get an updated pic soon. Not sure though if the camera will capture everything - or if the photographer will.
That sounds like a great plan. I should think that most cats would love that. Most cats (and dogs) seem to prefer canned, but not Cocoa. Canned food seems more like real meat, while dry food seems more like a meat flavored cracker, to me, at least. But Cocoa won't eat canned food. He won't eat meat either, for that matter, not chicken, not pork, not beef. The only real meat he will eat is canned tuna. He loves canned tuna but that's it. No canned food for him.
I think he would starve 1st - or go back to eating song birds, and we don't want that. He's the 1st cat I've seen who insists on dry food. He will nibble at the occasional teaspoon of canned food, and he loves to lick the juice or 'gravy' off the stuff, but he just won't eat the stuff no matter what brand I try, and I've pretty much tried them. I usually give him a teaspoonful when I feed Kitty her canned food, that's her treat. I hate even giving Cocoa that much because he always licks it dry, leaving a pile of dry chicken pieces behind. Even Kitty won't eat it then, not after he has licked it dry like that. I only give him that little bit so he won't feel denied when I feed Kitty. (Sometimes when Cocoa moves his dish too close to the side of the chair, Widget will go in there and knock it off on the floor so he can eat those bits of dry chicken Cocoa leaves behind, so it's not a total waste. Kitty even eats them when she gets hungry enough.)
Right now, with one cat who only eats dry and another who feels deprived w/o a daily meal of canned food, I buy both. I provide dry at all times, so they never have to go hungry, and give Kitty one tiny can of food daily in addition. Sometimes I also give her a few bites of meat from my dinner or a little saucer of milk when she asks. (Milk doesn't upset her stomach.) Both cats are maintaining a good weight. If either of them starts to show signs of overeating, I'll change from unlimited dry to a rationed amount.
It never ceases to amaze me how Cocoa will only eat dry food and won't even eat chicken, lean pork, or steak or hamburger - just dry cat food or canned tuna. He catches birds and rats/mice outside and eats them, so you would think he would eat chicken, since that's just a large bird, but he won't touch he stuff. I don't know if it's because it's cooked or maybe it's the antibiotics and other things the chickens are fed, but he won't so much as lick a choice piece of chicken breast. Weird cat. I'm happy that he prefers dry food though, because it's much easier for me to deal with.
Cocoa is really starting to trust me even more now. A year ago if something frightened him, he would run away. He wouldn't listen if I tried to tell him, "it's ok", but now he does. It's a big leap for him. Now if an airplane flies low over the bedroom when he's lying there beside me, he'll look up at me with terrified eyes the size of giant dinner plates, his body poised to leap up and run any second. Then I'll pet him and say, "it's ok" and his eyes will shrink back to normal size right before me and he'll put his head back down to rest and enjoy being petted. He never used to do that. He would fly off the bed and be gone in an instant before saying, "it might be ok for YOU lady, but I'm out of here."
The other morning I was running about from room to room getting ready for work. As I returned to the bedroom with Cocoa leading the way (he HAS to be 1st), my alarm was blaring loudly from the other side of the room (I had accidentally hit snooze instead of turning it off earlier). The unusual (to him) sound set off Cocoa's internal alarm causing him to balk standing in that traditional Halloween cat pose, ready to flee. Behind him and trying to get to the clock to turn it off, I said, "it's ok" not really expecting it to work in this case. Amazingly, his body softened and he continued moving ahead, walking in the direction of the scary sound. As we approached the alarm the sound grew louder and at time Cocoa would look afraid again. I would reiterated the "it's ok" and he would respond instantly as witnessed by changes in his body and in his willingness to move forward again. He actually made it all the way to the bed and jumped up on it while I was turning the alarm off (for good this time). I was very proud of him. He has come a very long way from that little terrified kitten who could barely stand to come into the foyer for a few minutes - and he's learning to trust me when I tell him "it's ok".
I know I don't talk about Kitty very much lately. You may be tempted to think I don't love her anymore, but that's not the case. She just still won't have much to do with me, and thus I don't often have Kitty stories to tell. She seems for now stuck at her present level of distrust. I can only bide my time patiently hoping that she will eventually make progress again.
I still buy her favorite canned food just for her, and lately I've had to sit with her while she eats or take Cocoa with me to be sure she gets to eat her food undisturbed. I still give her a few bites from my chicken sandwich or my hamburger when I have one. It's not a small sacrifice, since I have to give Widget a bite, too, to be fair, and between the two of them they make a noticeable dent in my much coveted meal, but I'm a sucker for her when she begs, and she knows that. I still stop from time to time even when I'm busy and tired and my knees or back hurt to give her a saucer of milk when I'm in the kitchen - she comes over to ask. I still do everything I can to make friends with her, but for now we remain stuck. All I can do is wait. This has become a way of life for us now. Me taking care of Kitty's every need all the while knowing I am only permitted to pet her when she's sitting at her dish and I'm holding a can of her favorite food. Hanging in there.
We are doing better now with canned food. I've learned to steer clear of anything salmon and to avoid chopped versions of chicken and turkey. Recently, I bought a box of Medleys that were a huge hit, the Tuscany series, which feature chopped chicken of fish with 'garden greens' and lots of thick gravy. Once we started on the box of Medleys she was coming in each morning all looking noticeably excited about breakfast and was licking her dish clean. There are also Medleys she hates. She hates the souffle varieties, the ones that look like an omelet and come out of the can a pale yellowish egg color with souffle or omelet texture. She won't touch those. The whole can ends up in Widget's dish, so I know better than to buy those now. For a while here meal time with her had become a battle of wills, but I've learned what not to buy, and now we are back on track with her eating most of her food completely in one setting which I prefer since it means less work for me on a busy morning.
I think Kitty stayed inside today. I say 'think' because that little lady is highly skilled at slipping in and out of the house unnoticed, just sneaking right past me when I'm coming/going, letting Widget in, etc. I'm rarely sure which side of the door she is really on until I actually see her. Sometimes I would swear she was outside, and then all of a sudden she would pop up at the foot of the bed as if from out of nowhere, leaving me to scratch my head in wonder as to how she managed that magic trick. Other times I just know she is inside napping when I go to the door to let Widget in or out and do a double take when I see her sitting on the patio. It's almost like she is two cats, that or Sabrina the feline witch.
On the other hand, I think if she really had magic powers she would have clobbered Cocoa by now. The tables really have turned now, a complete 180. If Cocoa were just standing up for himself it would be great, but he has gone all the way from victim (back when Kitty used to try to chase him off) to persecutor in chief, now chasing and harassing Kitty, taking her food even though he has his own, and generally making her feel unwelcome in her own home. I guess you could say she had it coming given the way she used to terrorize him when he was younger, but I really was hoping they could just setle down and learn to live togethr in harmony. Maybe that's the next step?
This morning I overslept, blew right past the alarm & slept an hour with it blaring in my ears before I even realized there was a world out there beyond my dreams. When I did wake up I was rushing to and fro trying to salvage the situation as best I could and get to work before I was too noticeably late. Cocoa is learning now to be a little more patient when I am too busy to drop everything and give him instant attention. He still expects his share of my undivided attention, but whereas before he expected it immediately upon his arrival, now he is learning to wait when he sees that I am busy and ignoring him. He has learned to go do something else and come back a little later, but this morning it seemed no matter how many trips he made to the MBR, I was always rushing to and fro and unwilling to just sit and hug him.
I must give him credit though. He was especially patient this morning, but sadly it ended with him following me outside as I ran for the car all discombobulated, laptop/case, large purse, lunch, and a heavy jacket hanging from one shoulder/arm like some kind of 21st century bag lady. As I pulled out of the drive, I saw him sitting on the side walk looking at me in total confusion, wondering where he had gone wrong and why I had run off in such haste w/o even a good morning hug.
I stopped for a moment in the street beside where he sat. No other cars around, I put the window down and spoke to him. I had been in such a frenzied state waking up late and scrambling to get to work that I hadn't even really stopped to notice him (fully) until that moment. Before that moment, I hadn't even realized that in all that rushing to and fro trying to get everything done and get out of the door I had failed to take 2min to just stop and pet him and give him a hug, something I try always to do. I felt bad for him but knew I still needed to get to work, so I left. I'll just have to give him a really big hug when I get back. Poor boy. Best he should learn now, I guess, that sometimes 'it just be's that way'.
Much as meezers predicted, Kitty & Cocoa do seem to be getting along much better now. One minute they will be chasing each other and arguing, the next they are standing shoulder to shoulder at the door waiting to be let out, no sign of anger. I'm ignoring their little skirmishes. Their have been no signs of bloodshed and everybody gets to come in and eat, so it can't be too bad.
I've found The Bomb of cat toys, btw. It's a catnip ball. For those who haven't seen one, it's a hard ball about the size of the usual toy balls made for cats except this one is, I think, made of compressed catnip. Not sure about that last part. When the box arrived (in the mail), even though the ball was incased in plastic inside the box, Cocoa, who came in with me as I came home from work, stopping to pick the box up from the store step on my way in, went all spastic from the moment I sat down on the foyer rug and began opening the box. It was all that I could do to try to peel his face off the box long enough to get it open. The box was rather large and contained a number of other items including books. Cocoa face was in the box rumaging about as soon as I had opened the top enough to make room fo room for him to get his head in. At the time I didn't understand why he was being so difficult. I literally could not peel his face out of the box.
I finally found the ball, ripped the packing off of it and let go just in time for him to sweep it up and take it away from me. In an instant he and the ball were in a heap on the floor and he was completely and entirely engrossed in playing with it, unlike anything I had ever seen before. About that time, Kitty showed up. She had spent the day inside, and while she would normally either continue hiding or ask to go outside, she marched straight over to where Cocoa was all immersed in play. She asked to see this thing, the odor of which had apparently drawn her from her bed on the other side of the room. This began a slapping and hissing match, both cats wanting this new toy and neither willing to play with anything else - or share. Cocoa refused to relinquish the item. I tried to interest Kitty in one of 2 other toys I had purchased, but nothing compared with the ball.
I left them to argue over it. When I retured later to put the ball away, it was no where to be found. I looked high and low and in every crevice but no ball. It remains to be seen how popular the ball will be in a day or two or even a week - not to mention if I will ever find it again - but it definitely got the biggest round of applause of any item that has come through my front door to date. Well, a can of real tuna might be equivalent. Not sure.
I look forward to seeing that! That ball is a total hit at my house - and my two, being indoor/outdoor cats usually turn their noses up at anything I bring home, especially if it's not 'powered' by some outside force (like the human's hand - or itself as in live birds). I just double checked. It is described as fully organic and completely edible, a combination of catnip and food grade binder.
I haven't been able to find it since I left the two cats arguing over it last night, and I looked several times. I was beginning to think they had hid it. Now I'm wondering if they ATE it.
One Amazon review called it "Kitty Crack" and advised buying one for each cat to avoid fights. If only I had read that 1st.
That is too funny. I'd hate to see my four fight over one. Sara wouldn't have a chance having no front claws. (I know, I know. but she is happy and healthy and very loving, never showing any sigh of discomfort in her front paws. The Main thing that stresses her is 1 huge cream colored dogwood deKatt and his litl sidekick, Chester.
Awwwh, what a 'purdy' kitty cat. And, yes, he does looked bombed. lol.
Cat's are so lucky to have such a harmless substance which makes them so happy - but then again, cats don't have jobs, so they can afford to lie around and sleep it off. Otherwise, there probably would be ill clad, scary looking cats hanging out on street corners with little packets of cat nip for sale. And 10 step programs for felines. And all manner of talk in the feline community at large about the evils of cat nip and all the lost productivity as a result.
Every time I see a pic of Charlie (or Lucky), all over again I WANT a flashy, black & white cat. (sticking out my lower lip in protest)
I did have enough foresight to buy two of them, on the recommendation of another "cat lady" but I was sadly disappointed, they totally ignored. They will go apes*** over loose catnip and have arguments over who gets to roll on it and drool but the balls were not a thrill. I don't know where they are now, I need to check the toybox or maybe they threw them down the basement steps. Tao might be interested.
Beware if you have hardwood floors. Those things make a lot of noise in the middle of the night.
This morning I woke up with Tao chasing quilt gophers, leaping here and there on the bed. Then I discovered he had raided my dressing table and brought a rat tail comb into bed, so I could roll over on it and stab myself to death.
Ahh, the joy of pets. The things Widget has done 'to' & 'in' my bed are not for the faint of heart. W/in the 1st week after I picked him up at the airport, he pee'd on my [then new] ultra high loft, mega high thread count, absolutely dreamy, down duvet. I was horrified! He hasn't done anythng like that since. But I routinely wake up with some dog toy/bone/etc poking me somewhere. These days, I just pull it out from under me, toss it to one side, and go back to sleep.
When the slapping and hissing 1st started (over the catnip ball), I wondered why I hadn't had the presence of mind to get 2 of them. Then I remembered that 99x out of 100, my cats turn their noses up at every new toy I bring home. Who knew this one would be different? I have that stupid cat scratch thing (adv on TV, you know those are the worse, but I couldn't resist), one of those well built wooden boxes with holes in it for small balls and toys the cats are supposed to try to reach, a wireless, remote controlled mouse, laser pointers, and countless other toys that neither cat will have anything at all to do with. Oh, they both LOVED the 99 cent feather thingy from one side of the $20, totally ignored and unused scratch pad. They played with that feather until they destroyed it. To think I could have bought 20 some feathers and forgot the scratch pad (which they hated and which now takes up space in my house along with the wooden box with holes, the remote controlled..., all stuff they hate and which I cannot bring myself to toss. )
I've heard several people on here rave about the feline play value of boxes and bags. Since I have an endless supply of both, I figured I was in business to keep my feline friends entertained. In reality, I've found that there are certain distinctions between cats who were born into and have spent their lives within the relative safety of the human abode and who likewise have mostly only known humans as kind and gentle hands that feed, pet, and play with them vs those wild and semi-wild cats like mine who, having spent time outdoors and often even known a truly wild existance caring for themselves and who are inclined to look with skepticism at humans and at everything in their environment. The latter, those semi-feral types such as mine who still view our world with trepidation are actually inclined to be afraid of such items as boxes and bags.
I'm not sure why exactly. Maybe it was as a result of being stuffed into a bag or box that they 1st found themselves confused, alone, lost, and hungry on the street somewhere, or maybe they are just witty enough to realize that such an item looks like a possible ruse. Maybe it's the fact that neither box nor bag usually comes with multiple modes of escape, and having lived in the wild they realize the importance of never allowing themselves to be trapped, since trapped often equals food. I just recall that 1st time when I, excited to bestow upon her a new and covetted toy, presented Kitty with a box and a bag and saw the look of terror rise within her as her eyes grew wide like saucers, and she quickly fled the area. Even when left alone with such items, my bunch walk around them, way around. It's almost as though they view them as possible traps and are determined not to be insnared. It's kind of sad really, to realize the fear such cats embrace. It's quite the eye opener after having known only happy, safe, carefree cats raised from birth as pets and cared for by loving hearts, to now see the world through the eyes of less fortunate cats.
At any rate, my cats view everything as a possible trick or trap and thus will not play with bags or boxes at all. Maybe someday, but given the speed at which Kitty has moved so far in these past 2 years, I'm not optimistic. Cocoa maybe. Of the two of them he has had a better start and has a better chance at eventually aquiring the trust needed to feel safe inside of bags and boxes.
After the ringing endorsement for the catnip ball, I dig ours out from under the monkey, and other assorted toys in the toy box, and rolled it across the floor for Tao He viewed it with some suspicion as it was noisy on the wood floor. Eventually he crept up to it and gave it a hearty sniff and decided it was worth a swat or two. Then he walked away and ignored it for a half hour or so. When he came back, he seemed to have formulated a plan for dealing with it so he gave it a mighty whack and sent it across the room,this initiated a search and destroy mission which eventually got Iris involved and they both played with it for a while. I don't know where it is now, but I'm sure I'll hear it clearly at 3 a.m. when they decide to play with it again.
well, that's good they were playing. I also found ours today, under a table way in the corner of the LR. But I hear ya on how they have to roll it across the hard flooring in the middle of the night. Charlie used to play with balls in my big bath tub... thankfully he hasnt done that in ages... and I dont think Lucky ever did. there are about 5 various balls in the tub.
Not all cats are genetically wired to get high on catnip. I have 6 cats. Five are purebreds and none of them pay any attention to catnip. My 6th cat is an "alley" cat and she goes ballistic over anything catnip. Interesting!
I just found out that there is actually more than one kind of cat nip ball, so it's possible that the one you tried may not be the same as the one I had. Of course, it is also quite possible that while my cats love it, yours don't, even if it is the same. People are the same way - not about cat nip balls, of course, but about other likes and dislikes. Everybody on the planet seems to love pizza except me. Same with cheese, especially that fake, plastic, cheese colored, orange goop, that combination of oil and dried milk made to look like cheese which every human appears to love (except me) and which has thus become so ubiquitous in our culture that almost everything is topped with it lately. (but, as usual, I digress.)
Anyhow, our cat nip ball was the PawBreaker variety. Comes in a tiny ziplock bag attached to a card/label.
That is very true. Not every cat is lucky enough to get the catnip gene. I say "lucky" because how wonderful would it be to have a "magical" substance which made one that instantly happy and which caused one to act and feel like a youngster again temporarily but which had no ill effects - and was legal and sold in the grocery store. Right now, at this point in my life, these last few years, I could really use a catnip ball myself. I would like to feel 12 or 16 or even 25 again for a few minutes now and then with all that energy and no arthritic joints. I can see me chasing my catnip ball for a few minutes before work, taking it with me for breaks, etc, etc. That would definitely add some pizzas to the workday.
Anyhow, I don't think this is the case with meezers cats, lacking the catnip gene, that is. I'm pretty sure she mentioned that they play with plain catnip and other catnip laced items, just not the catnip ball. I figure it's just like with people. Not everyone prefers the same delivery mechanism. Some like their sugar in their morning coffee. Others prefer it in the form of a doughnut or as jelly on their toast. Same hit of sugar to jump start the day, different delivery mechanisms.
Our catnip ball came in one of those adult proof hard plastic clamshell nightmares. I think the potency degrades over time. They play with old catnip toys that surely cannot have much scent left in them unless they were in safekeeping under the refrigerator or the washer. They discriminate about food, so why not amusements? Everybody loves the laser light, and the fishpole dangly thing, and they seem to altenate their preferences in regard to the other toys. They do not hesitate to drag them all out of the toybox while they are deciding, and I have yet to persuade them to put them back when they are done.
When ever the cats play with any toy... Buddy has to come along and take it... all those funny little mice... he chews them - eats the fur and spits out the plastic form that is left over... well, he bit the nipball in half... i was not pleased. I'm thinking maybe i can crush/pulverize it, and the boys can have nip powder.
Despite having been surgically altered at a young age, Cocoa has recently become incredibly territorial. I've seen it with the turn of events with Kitty. He lets her come into the house, but he makes sure she knows that HE is now the boss.
I need to weigh him again. He looks huge lately. His body is so long. He's like a stretch limo. He just goes on and on and on. And his head is huge. He was standing head to head with Kitty the other day and then you could REALLY see how large his big head has become. And he thinks he runs everything now. Except the house. He does behave with respect in the house.
For a long time now, I've seen signs of him behaving in a territorial manner regarding me. He is actually better now about that than he used to be, but if he is in my lap and Widget comes up to me, he will send Widget away to reestablish his boundaries. He will go over to Widget and just put his paw on Widget's shoulder gently - and Widget knows that means, "go away, so I don't have to get my claws out". More recently I've seen much more subtle indication of analogous behavior between him & Kitty, but, again, with them it is so subtle as to be virtually invisible.
If I'm petting Cocoa and Widget walks up to my other knee so that I am then petting both of them, one with each hand, it will instantly be obvious that this is NOT ok with Cocoa. He will look over at Widget, see that he is sharing the attention with Widget, and out comes that paw. Or sometimes he will just walk over to Widget, right up to him much the same way that guys will sometimes get in each others faces when posturing.
Still sitting down? Not wanting to get to out of shape while lying around the house eating bon bons, I've been taking frequent, short walks with Widget. I'm afraid to go to far lest my leg/back act up, so I just make lots of short trips. The weather is wonderful right now. Neither too hot nor too cold. So I really enjoy the opportunity to get out and enjoy the sunlight and/or moonlight. Widget loves it, too. I think he actually enjoys getting out frequently this way more than one longer walk.
A short while ago I grabbed my shoes and Widget's lead and we headed out the door. We had just made it around the tall shrubs that separate our front yard from the neighbor's when there IN THE STREET, no less, sat Cocoa. He was just sitting there in middle of the lane closes to our house - but he wasn't in front of our yard. He was in front of the next yard down, and sitting in the street. I was horrified, of course. I liked it so much back when he was afraid of the street. The picture of him, virtually solid black, sitting their in the street at dusk, is more than a little unnerving to me. I would have intervened except that I knew it would do no good. I could chase him out of the street for the moment, but there would be nothing to stop him from sitting there again as soon as I left.
As we approached him, Widget and I walking up the sidewalk, Cocoa still sitting pretty much motionless in the street, I wondered, hoped eve, if maybe it wasn't Cocoa at all. It was semi-dark out, and from where we stood, still a few car lengths away, I couldn't be sure. I wasn't aware of another black cat in the area, not such a sleek one as Cocoa. There was Tom, the old, feral male cat that was hanging around the house a bit back when Kitty & Cocoa were eating outside. I hadn't seen Tom in quite some time but figured he was probably still around, but Tom did not have the sleek, well cared for look of Cocoa. Tom had longish, tangled hair with the disheveled appearance of a man long homeless. This was not Tom, but hoped it was also not Cocoa, a hope which quickly faded when, as we grew near, he stood up and calmly walked over to us there on the sidewalk.
We greeted Cocoa, petting and sniffing respectively, and then the 3 of us continued our walk along the sidewalk. As we walked I wondered what insanity would cause Cocoa to sit in the street that way. I thought about the evening when some time ago when I had seen Kitty walk across the street in that same spot only to be accosted by a Siamese cat from several doors down. At the time, the Siamese had been waiting on the sidewalk in that very same area much as Cocoa was sitting in the street today. The Siamese had been waiting there guarding the sidewalk which she apparently took for her territory. When Kitty came across the street and tried to step up onto the curb, the Siamese accosted her, hissing and posturing. In the end, Kitty chased her away and came onto the sidewalk anyhow, but it had been clear that day that the Siamese was claiming and guarding that spot much as Cocoa now seemed to be - but why? What was so important about that spot? Or was it just the place where cats chose to cross the street, perhaps the best crossing in the area, 1/2 way between cross streets and offering excellent cover on both sides, a fence and foliage on the one side, dense shrubbery on our side.
I was just a few houses down, having finished that thought, when I heard Cocoa meow and realized that he was no longer with us but had stopped one house back. I turned and called him, but he stood firmly in his tracks. I was sure he had come this far with us in the past, so what was the problem now? It was then, as I looked back once more, that I saw the shadowy figure of what appeared to be another cat, also following us but a little further back. In the darkness, I couldn't make out color and details only that this catlike blob appeared to be mid grey in 'value', an artist term denoting the quality of lightness/darkness.
"Kitty?" I called out, "Come on, Kitty" If another cat was following us, then surely it must be Ms Kitty. She had actually followed us a time or two back when I was unemployed and the 4 of us used to walk together, sometimes starting out in a caravan much like this, with the then new and fearful cats staggered behind Widget and me. But the other cat remained motionless and unresponsive to my call. I called a time or two, brushed it off as strange, and walked on deciding to ignore them both.
Almost immediately, Cocoa appeared beside us as we continued along the street. Good, although I still wondered what was the deal with Kitty, why she was hanging back there and acting so strangely. Finally, we reached the house that marked our goal of 1 past our last destination. We turned and began our trek homeward.
As we again approached the area where the action had occurred earlier, the other cat was still there. "Kitty, Kitty," I called the other cat, again. She stood up and took a few steps toward us at which time Cocoa let out an ear-piercing, blood curdling scream so loud as to cause the motion/sound sensitive lights to come on a few houses down the street. The sound was decidedly not a normal, cat-like call. It was one of those strange, mangled noises which I have previously only heard from a Siamese, which seem to have their own, distinct language.
I was shocked by Cocoa's behavior. I knew he and Kitty had been having their disagreements but nothing like THIS. It was then, with the other cat standing upright her hair standing on end in response to Cocoa's obvious threat, that I noticed her hair was much too long. There was no way this could be Kitty. I realized her hair was on end, but even so, Kitty's hair is simply not long enough to stand that far out from her body. Still I was confused as she was otherwise the right size and color to be Kitty - and she had been following us, something I would not expect from a stranger, not to mention that I was not aware of any other cats in the area.
As Widget, Cocoa, and I continued walking along the sidewalk toward her, Cocoa posturing heavily and still letting out periodic, shrill screams, the other cat turned and ran. But here again, much as one might expect Kitty to do, she ran directly into my yard and across my lawn. She ran to my house. She was mid size. She was greyish. She was following us. She had run to our house. She MUST be Kitty! But something wasn't quite right. Her hair was too long, and the way Cocoa was behaving...I had NEVER seen this side of him before. He stopped at the corner of the yard to sniff where she had passed through and let out another scream.
She was still crouched on the walkway in front of the house and just a short distance away from where we stood. I walked over to the bench in the front yard where I sat down. I called out to her again. Even as I spoke, Cocoa screamed loudly over me. I reached down and picked him up. His body was stiff, and he was screaming even as I lifted him. I paused for a moment realizing that I was most assuredly in dangerous territory now. As a child I had seen my mother clawed badly by our very sweet, pet cat, a cat we had raised from a kitten, a cat which had never been feral. It had occurred when my mother went out and picked the cat up in an effort to avert a fight between him and another cat. I had learned at that early age that one should not get between two warring cats. Now here I was lifting Cocoa's obviously stiff body even as he issued another blood curdling scream - and Cocoa was feral. He was comfortable with me, but he was not your ordinary pet cat, and I had no idea what he might do at this moment. I half expected to be showered with claws even as I went on to lift him up to my chest, but he surprised me. He did issue yet one more warning to the other cat, but he softened in my arms and made no attempt to harm me. Cocoa is an enigma. I never know just what to expect from him, and he never fails to surprise me.
I sat there on the bench holding Cocoa against my chest and looking at the other cat. I had picked him up in hopes of keeping him from attacking the other cat, something which I thought might be close at hand at the time. The other cat, which I now was fairly sure was not Kitty had taken a step or two toward me still crouching close to the walkway. He/she had clearly wanted to come to me, although I knew not why. He/she had also appeared somewhat wary of me, or was the fear actually aimed at Cocoa who had kept so close to me from the moment the other cat appeared on the scene? I would have like to get a closer look at the other cat, but I could see that that was just not going to happen today. Even as I held him, Cocoa had issued another of those ear piercing screams. It had been very clear that he was talking directly to the other cat at the time saying, "Don't come another step this way, or I WILL get down and come after you!" The other cat had heard him clearly and had instantly stopped in his/her tracks, crouching there for another moment or two, long enough for me to see that he/she had some white around the mouth, which Kitty does not. Moments later the other cat whirled around and fled the area.
I put Cocoa down again a few minutes later when it was clear the other cat would not be returning. He sat for a few minutes on the sidewalk as though still guarding his territory. Then he moved to sit by the shrubs. I tried to call him to come inside with us, but he would not even consider it. He had a job to do.
What you described is SO familiar to me, except in my house it's exactly the other way around. If I toss a dog toy for Widget to fetch, Cocoa will run past him and take it. I don't really think Cocoa wants to play with the toy so much as he wants to interfere with Widget playing with it and with me. Kitty doesn't involve herself in such things, just Cocoa. When he is in the house, everything is his. He will take any toy Widget tries to play with. He doesn't destroy them, just keeps them until Widget looses interest.
I think it is a jealousy/control issue. The larger, stronger animal does this to the smaller, weaker one. In this case, Widget is smaller than Cocoa, so Cocoa takes advantage of him. Cocoa even chases Widget sometimes. Even outside I have caught myself reprimanding the CAT and telling him to stop chasing the DOG. How ridiculous must that sound to others!
That ball, at least the one I have, is fully edible, so you should be able to crush it and give it to them as catnip. Sometimes I put a pinch of catnip on the foyer rug for them to wallow in. I figure I can always vacuum it up later. Kitty especially likes her catnip that way - although she did want to play with that catnip ball, too, but Cocoa wouldn't allow it - and now we can't find it still.
I hear you. Neither of mine will even acknowledge the existence of the laser light. This is most confusing to me, as I once had a cat who would do back flips in the air and try to climb the walls to get to a flashlight 'spot' on the ceiling. That cat would just go nuts the minute I turned the flashlight on. I would laugh my fool head off watching the cat's antics. I can't believe neither one of these will have anything to do with it.
I think it's the feral thing. They know it's not real, and they refuse to pretend otherwise. Foo-ey.
Ours can hear me pick up the laser light from the bottom shelf of the coffee table. It gets quite entertaining when they are all after it at the same time. Some stalk, some wait for it to come closer, some (Iris and Tao) simply fly after it, furniture and knickknacks be damned, one side or a leg off, full speed ahead. Mini doesn't bother, she's old and arthritic, and prefers to let the younger set do the dirty work.
I think you are right, they can't smell it so it doesn't exist.
Ok, admittedly that one post is WAY long. Let me sum up the important points:
1) Cocoa is acting strangely. (ok, maybe not real news.) He is super territorial. He's about 2 now.
2) Cocoa sits in the street. (not good at all. will not add to his longevity.)
3) There is another, hitherto unknown, cat in my yard. From what I could see, a pretty, long haired grey, possibly with some white and other colors.
4) This other cat seems, for lack of a better word, interested in me. It followed me down the street until forced by Cocoa to turn back. It tried to come when called. That seems more like the behavior of a cat who is currently without human connections, a stray looking for a home and somehow, like all the others realizing I'm friendly.
5) I definitely don't need another cat, but I would like to get closer to this one. If nothing else to take it to the shelter where it can get help.
6) Cocoa has forbade the other cat to come near me.
I guess I'll wait to see if it shows up again. Now that Widget and I are taking walks, we are more likely to see it if it's hanging around here.
Bwaaahhhhaaahhaa! I quote you: "If nothing else to take it to the shelter where it can get help." Now I am not going back through the threads to see where we have seen this before, but we have seen this from you before. LOL! This was the same thing you were thinking when you fell in love with and adopted Kitty and her babies☺
btw, I think she is trying to adopt you. The word must be out on the street as well as it is out in the forest: See DoS for food and toys - she is well trained☺
Clearly you know me well - as does she or he. Didn't get close enough to determine which, btw. I started out calling it a she because I thought it was Kitty.
Actually, I didn't so much fall in love with Kitty & co and then keep them. It was more the other way around. Initially, I was dead set against taking in a cat, or any other pet for that matter. I just didn't figure I had the time to deal with another pet. Also, I've avoided cats for ages now because I hate the litter box thing. In the beginning, I felt sorry for them. I hate to see anything go hungry or suffer or be all alone or ...any of that stuff. Initially, I was going to feed them, trap them, and cart them off to the shelter to be done with them, except...
Ms Kitty is clearly much smarter than I. She tricked me. Bate and switch, pure and simple. Somehow, while I was feeding her, she convinced me that she would not be any trouble - which she hasn't really. Somehow she talked me into letting her stay. I am also a HUGE sucker for an animal that is afraid of humans. I have this endless desire to communicate one on one with animals and let them know that some of us can be trusted. I have this huge desire left over from childhood to make friends with all of the friendless animals on the planet.
I didn't so much fall in love with her as...I felt empathy for her, for all that she had been through. I wanted to care for her. I wanted to give her the love and attention she had been denied. I wanted to shower her with good things. Good food. Toys. Etc. In the beginning I actually thought she was rather homely looking. I didn't care for her drab coloring at all. Since I found her unattractive, I feared she wouldn't do well at the shelter. I feared others would skip past her in favor of young kittens and prettier cats. With such an endless supply of cute kittens available at the shelter, I feared she would end up being put to sleep if I sent her there. I decided she wouldn't be that much trouble, especially if she stayed outside, so I decided to let her stay, but I was DETERMINED not to keep the kittens. One cat I didn't want was enough - plus there's that city ordinance limiting me to 2 pets.
I set out to try to tame the kittens while they were young so I could take them to the shelter where they would have a good chance of finding homes. Unfortunately, they were already too old to be converted to 'normal', friendly, adoptable pets. It was a loosing battle, but I was determined not to have them stay here, because I knew if the kittens stayed in the neighborhood (as ferals) they would live at my house. There was no getting around it, but I was determined to try.
Originally, I trapped the kittens with every intent of leaving them at the shelter. I really, really didn't want them here. Back then I wasn't that fond of Cocoa. He was my least favorite of the group, actually. His brother was cuter and more outgoing and seemed to have more personality. Nonetheless, it's because of Cocoa that I ended up bringing the kittens back here instead of leaving them at the shelter after they were fixed. (Somehow, even though I did not want him, Cocoa & I had some kind of strange bond from the start, or at least it was he who reached out to me from the start.)
You see, that morning when I put Cocoa in the car, cage and all, to drive him to the shelter (fully intending to leave him there), he was SO terrified. He was whaling endlessly at the top of his little lungs the whole way there. Trying to calm him (so he would shut up before my head exploded), I said the words I always use at such times, "it's ok". I promised him I wasn't going to hurt him. Those words, those very words, did me in. As soon as I said them, I knew I could not leave him, not if they were going to kill him, not after I had promised not to hurt him. I know he didn't even know what I was saying, and I know this is silly, but once I promised not to hurt him I just could not drive him to there to be executed. I could not promise him everything would be ok and then leave him there to be put to sleep. I couldn't. I was angry all the way home, too, because I did NOT want to bring the kittens back here, but I had to.
At that point, the kittens were still very wild. They would not come to me and would run away if I tried to touch them while they were eating. In fact, Cocoa would not even come forward to eat until after I went back inside back then. When I brought him and his brother back from the shelter, I let them go. They were going to live in the neighborhood as feral cats, and we were all going to take turns putting food out for them. I had no intention of adopting either of them. That's why Cocoa's ear is clipped. He is officially a ward of the city.
At the shelter that morning when I went there to drop Cocoa off and after I had come to the realization that I could not leave him if they were going to execute him, I asked the lady if they would be able to tame him and find a home for him. She said, "no". She said he was too old (he was still a kitten but not a tiny, tiny kitten) to ever be tamed. She said they would not be able to "get the wild out" of him enough to adopt him out. She said he would be considered un-adoptable and would be put down. As much as I hated it, I had to agree to come back for him after his surgery. I could not leave him under those terms.
After that, I ignored the kittens and spent my time with Kitty. I put food out for them, but I didn't interact with them as I had tried to do back when I hoped to tame them. I really was going to let Cocoa stay wild. I had no intention of adopting him. It was Cocoa not me, that changed everything. All of a sudden and for some unknown reason he suddenly decided that he didn't want to be feral. He wanted to be part of the family. I was putting food out and leaving, ignoring them. Then out of the blue he started coming to me. Just overnight one day he went from this frightened creature who wouldn't even come out to eat as long as I was there to this kitten who was still scared but who was suddenly determined to be my friend.
I got up one morning and went out to walk Widget and low and behold little Cocoa followed us down the sidewalk. That was the defining moment when I knew something in him had changed. He was always afraid of everything, afraid to even come out in daylight, afraid of people, afraid of me, and yet there he was a few lengths back following Widget and me on our morning walk. That morning it was clear that he wanted to be part of our group. He was still afraid, but he was willing to try. My heart went out to him then, seeing that I had decided to leave him wild but somehow he had decided otherwise. That really touched me.
After that, Cocoa just totally changed. He began to come to me whereas before he would never do so. He began trying to trust me even though he was very scared. The whole thing, his decision made all on his own to try to be part of the family, his efforts to reach out to me despite his obvious timidity, it all touched me in a big way. Even though clearly afraid, he was very sweet and loving from the very beginning (and by beginning I mean the day he decided to join our family). It was only then that I came to love him. I had given up on taming him, but he decided he wanted to be tamed and wanted to be a pet, and he worked his way into my heart and did so in a very big way.
All that said, you could not be more right. If there is a cat out there, this time one that I even find somewhat attractive from what I could see in the dark (I love long hair.), then, yes, I'm in trouble. I didn't want even 1 cat, and now look at me. The other day I was on Amazon trying to find the rare "trout" flavor of FancyFeast, because one can somehow found its way into my house, and Kitty went bonkers over it, so now I must find more. Yep, I'm a sucker for a cat or a dog or a raccoon or even an opossum. Yep, and I'm apparently legendary among the animal grapevine. I agree they must have signs posted everywhere that animals hang out. The sign probably has a footnote or asterisk saying, "just bat your eyes and look sad and hungry and you're in."
You know how, during the Great Depression, (no not the one last year) bums would put a mark n a mailbox or a gatepost indicating a friendly household that might offer a day's work or food?? Check your entryway. If there's a paw print...
I didn't know about the depression story but love the paw print idea.
There is a problem though (aside from this being the city and there being only concrete and asphalt, nothing on which to leave a mark). 1st, roughly 1/2 of the population here constitute Clemson [Tigers] fans. Many more than 1/2 are Citadel [Dogs] fans. With both using paw prints as their logo, you can be sure that the city of Charleston is covered in paw prints already, including even some giant ones painted on streets. If the critters are using paw prints as their signal, there is bound to be considerable confusion around town with homeless kitties, puppies, raccoons, and the lot showing up at homes all over town where they are not expected, especially homes on the streets surrounding the Citadel, not to mention those sporting Citadel & Clemson flags (with giant paw prints) at their doors. And oh, the plethora of orange & blue 'paw print' bumper & window stickers adorning cars all over the area. I can see the poor, hungry, tired critters now as they emerge from the forest, look around, and then seeing paw prints all over everything before them, head in hands scream out, "WHICH paw print?!!"
That could certainly result in confusion, too many paw prints. They'd have to form a little bitty kitty committee to figure out which ones are valid welcoming signals and those that are for crazed sports fans who have little regard for a population in need of food.
Sounds like you found some really great deals. I didn't come to DG and see your post until late on Thursday evening. By that time the stock was probably pretty well picked over. I didn't see that particular style (which never seems to show up in sales events). I saw very similar styles but with thick, winter padding, something which would not be good here where even now temps are running in the 80s - and experts are calling for winter temps some 5+ degrees above normal. (The 5+ degree above normal winter temp for the coming winter also applies to Myrtle Beach, btw, and should thus be beneficial for your upcoming travels.)
On Thursday I found the internet to be, not surprisingly, sluggish. Amazon, one of my hangouts, was all but at a stand still. I decided to steer clear of the internet until the shopping spree was over.
Since my unemployment last year, I've taken a much different attitude toward spending. I'm working on changing from my prior attitude of 'more' to my new and very workable one of 'less'. I buy what I really need, and occasionally something I want. I'm finding I need much less than I ever dreamed possible. On the other hand, in less than a year I've already managed to amass over half of the savings I used up during my unemployment. My goal now is to double, triple, even quadruple that. My health and the economy being what they are, I now realize the extreme importance of having ample savings to see me through rough times. For this much needed attitude adjustment alone, my lengthy unemployment was probably more beneficial than not.
All that said, I TRULY appreciate that you remembered our prior conversations about crocs, a shoe I swear by for comfort, and that you shared the information about the sale. Please keep me in the loop. Who knows, the next big croc sale may be the one that is perfect for me. :-)
Cocoa is two now. He remains something of an enigma. Most of the time he's incredibly comfortable around me, so much so that lately he has begun to walk in front of the car when I'm pulling into the driveway, something he would never have done a year ago as he is very much afraid of cars. He knows my car or knows that I am the driver or both, and while he continues to avoid other cars, he has begun to think mine 'friendly', something I find disconcerting. These days I back out of the drive way like I'm driving on egg shells and fearful of cracking one.
A few nights ago Cocoa actually kept me from bringing the garbage and recycling containers in from the curb. When I went out to get them, he was at the front door, hungry, and waiting. I wanted to go out and retrieve the containers first. He wanted to eat first. Despite my extreme determination, he won.
From the moment I walked out of the front door and every tiny step of the way to the curb, Cocoa repeatedly positioned himself in front of and up against my feet and refused to move - and I assure you he knew exactly what he was doing. I literally pushed him all the way out to the street, shuffling my feet every step of the way. He's very heavy now, btw. so it was not an easy walk. Once at the curb, I collected the 3 recycling containers, and he allowed me to walk freely back toward the house, since that was the direction which favored his goal of being fed ASAP. Lacking the stamina to push him inch by inch all the way back to the curb for the garbage container, I gave up, and left it outside. He won. I give up. He is smarter and tougher than I. I don't know what I was thinking to start with. I went inside and fed him.
Still, even though he has the fearlessness to stand stubbornly in front of my feet and walk in front of my car, the other day when I sneezed, he flew off the bed like he had springs on his feet. He then looked back at me all wild eyed as if to ask, "What the...What the heck was THAT all about?!!" his eyes portraying a high pitched whine, "Are you upset? Are you trying to kill me? What's up?" Another day when I was drinking and something went down the wrong way leading to the inevitable bout of coughing to expel the stray fluid, Cocoa got up from the place where he had been sleeping, ran to the door, and positively demanded to be let out immediately.
Like I say, he's an enigma. He has become more comfortable around me and in the house than I ever dared dream possible 2 years ago when that tiny spot of fur was too afraid even to come close to me (outside) for some tuna. Yet he remains easily frightened by any sound or behavior he hasn't heard or seen before, each such event sending back into feral mode and running for the safety of the yard.
Cocoa spends a fair amount of time indoors lately, especially when it's stormy, wet, or chilly outside, but outdoors remains his safe place. Even now he's curled up at my feet, even though it is 50F and clear outside (at 3:20AM). 50 can't be very cold with that thick coat of his, but tonight he decided to sleep in for some reason. (I still haven't used the heater even once this season, btw. When it's 50F outside, like now, the house stays a very comfortable 68F due to heavy insulation. I'm in my usual tank top right now and comfy w/o heat, Cocoa snoozing on my toes.)
I'm happy to announce that he has been sleeping in the MBR a lot lately. For a long time over the past year or so he had been sleeping elsewhere in the house, mostly in the great room. While he still maintains a few favorite spots in there, now he's staying in the MBR. That's a huge step forward for him, because the MBR has always been the place where he was least comfortable. While the rest of the house is very open with lots of large windows, missing walls, and super high ceilings, the MBR is very cave-like, being intentionally closed off from the rest of the house and having only one relatively narrow entrance/exit. Thus it's the place where any feral animal's fear of small, closed spaces would be most challenged. In addition, I often have the TV on in the MBR when I'm there, but oddly not elsewhere in the house. The TV with it's flashing, colorful lights, constantly changing patterns, and sounds of human's (and other animals) speaking has long been an object of terror for Cocoa.
For a very long time, although Cocoa would come into the MBR for some hugs and kisses and treats and would even stay a short while, he would go elsewhere in the house to really relax. I found it cute that often during that time he would even lie on the floor either just outside the MBR door or just inside (the latter being carpeted vs hardwood). He wanted to be near us, but still outside the room.
When he 1st started sleeping in the MBR I actually didn't realize for a while that he WAS in here with us. I had piled some things in one of the chairs in the MBR including a king sized duvet stuffed with quality fine down (not feathers). Luckily, I had piled some old clothes intended for charity on top of the duvet. Being me, I left the stuff in the chair for a while. One night I learned that Cocoa was sleeping over there amidst that pile of 'fluff' in the chair. I have no idea how many nights he may have slept over there in the chair before I discovered him there, me thinking he was in the great room while he was actually in the bedroom with me all along.
Since he feels so comfortable over there, I decided to leave the things in the chair for a while longer. He likes to cuddle up in the middle of the stuff where he sinks down making a nice 'nest'. I figure when I eventually take his new 'bed' apart, I'll launder the clothing again before sending them to Goodwill. The clothing act as a barrier between him and the duvet. The item on the top of the pile, the item that is in effect his bed sheet, is a very full 'broomstick' skirt made of pure silk. You have to give him credit. The cat has good taste.
Another big improvement I've noticed is that Cocoa will now even stay in his bed in the MBR when I go to another room for something, as long as I come back in a reasonable time. For me this is huge because he used to get up and leave the room the instant my feet hit the floor. He was too uncomfortable in the MBR to stay w/o me. Back then once disturbed a time or two, forced to get out of bed every time I went for a glass of water or to the bathroom, he would eventually go to the door and insist on going out. As a result, I would weigh ever decision to leave the room and would ultimately feel trapped in my room any time he was there. Thankfully, these days when I get up and leave the room, he will stay over there in his chair pretending to sleep but actually monitoring to be sure I'm not gone too long.
Tonight he was sleeping in his chair. A little while ago he got up and came over here for a hug and decided to stay. Now he's sleeping on my feet. Such a very strange creature, afraid of humans yet trying so very hard to learn to inhabit my world at least part time.
as for the 4 pr of crocs sandals... i wear sandals in the house at home [Alex was saying -- But mom, i thought we are not supposed to wear shoes in the house? -- I think he is the only one that follows that rule. -- though i try to wear shoes that I do not wear outside. ]
and in the summer -- aside from my morning power walks, all i wear are sandals... so they all will go to good use.
and I hear ya on the changing spending habits. I have always been frugal, [growing up poor will do that to you] and generally do not buy anything unless i 'need' it, with the exception of shoes on sale.
gotta love Amazon and Overstock though ... my 2 fave shopping sites.
ops -- wrong thread...
Amazing the turn around of Cocoa. He's one smart cookie.
I'm back at work now. bah, humbug. 2nd day back. As before, I'm coming home tired and grumpy, wanting some alone time & a TO. Kitty, Cocoa, & Widget on the other hand are feeling ignored again now that I'm gone all day. Each has his or her own antics for getting what they think is a fair share of my time once I get home. Unfortunately, they don't seem to recognize my need for down time or recooperation. By the time I get home there are only a few hours until bedtime, and I still need to cook, eat, clean, bathe, etc. If I let them, they would occupy all of my available hours plus several of my sleep hours as well.
Widget is a little more flexible, but it's amazing how fast cats form habits (for things they want to do, that is). After 2 weeks of having me around to shower them with attention and let them in/out all times of day and night, they are not eager to go back to the old, work schedule and are protesting loudly. We were running a very tight ship before vacation. The cats were showing up together at the back door waiting for breakfast (at the right time) and were usually waiting at the front door when I came home each evening. They ate, got some hugs and attention and then either went outside or retired to their chosen spot for a nap. They had even learned not to wake me during the night. Now, we have to start all over from scratch.
This morning Kitty showed up on time for breakfast. She's older and smarter than Cocoa. Cocoa showed up as I was rushing out to my car. I had a meeting and didn't want to be late. I told him he would have to come back after work. He rushed ahead of me on the walkway and lay down, his usual trick for stopping me by getting in the way. I was not in the mood this morning and let him know. I looked back from the car window, and I tell you he shot me a mean scowl the likes of which I don't usually see on Cocoa's face. And then I was gone.
Silly cats and dog! They probably thought they had finally trained you to stay at their beck and call all day and night and here you are going back to work! I hope that they get back into the work routine soon.
LOL. I hadn't thought of it that way. Too funny. That probably IS what they thought. Just one night last week when Cocoa was lying all sprawled out in the hall and calling me to come pet him, it suddenly occurred to me that he clearly things I'm some kind of lackey. He does that a lot, too. He calls me when he wants to go out. He calls me when he's hungry or thirsty or when he just wants to be petted. Sometimes I will call 'back', insisting that he come to me. Other times, like the one in question, I will just go to him (to shut him up). He definitely thinks he has me trained.
Looks like they are getting the hang of things much faster this time. This morning both of them showed up for breakfast even though I got up (and left) an hour early for a Dr Apt.
The cat population here has DH thoroughly trained, he pets, grooms, feeds and serves up treats on demand. He has allowed them to teach him to respond to their needs whenever they feel like it, but still, he will occasionally grumble about it. My response to that is to roll my eyes and walk away.
The other night we were eating, and Tao, who is sure he is starving, leaped up onto his lap. By the time DH put down his fork to push him to the floor, Tao had snatched a mouthful of food from his plate and was happily chowing down a piece of pork chop. And I'm the villain who insisted he not be fed table food, and was ignored! I almost wet myself laughing. Sooooooo good that we never had children, can you imagine what horrible monsters they would be????
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to the question "what about Kitty?" Just been busy.
Before I proceed, I'd like to preface this with the fact that I awoke this morning having been gently roused by the weight of Ms Kitty sitting on my hip (while I was sleeping on my side). I have no idea how long she had been there. She appeared to be patiently watching me sleep (and secretly wishing I would do it faster). I held my hand out in front of her as though to pet the head of some imaginary cat. She took the cue and stepped forward to place her head in the position to be petted. After that she walked up onto my arm and shoulder constantly pursuing physical attention, pushing her head under my resting hand any time I stopped petting her. A few minutes later she curled up on the bed against my legs where she slept until later when I awoke and got up.
As sweet as this scenario was, it was equally unusual. Normally, when inside Kitty sleeps in the front LR which is on the far side of the house from the MBR. She comes in, eats, and disappears. Often these days she even slips in and out secretly whenever I open the door for something else. She does this so often and so well that I frequently have no idea whether she is inside or outside. Either way, whether inside or out, she shows up once or twice a day, morning and/or evening for meals. She may stay in the house with me for 24 hrs between meals w/o me ever even seeing her again after I open her daily can of cat food.
On the other hand, if she smells the aroma of me cooking or eating something she likes, she will often come to sit near me or at my feet in hopes of scoring a taste or two. So far we've determined that she loves tuna and mahi mahi but detests salmon, tilapia, and sardines. She enjoys a bit of hamburger and will even eat small pieces of the bun as long as they come with equal sized chunks of meat. She likes a little milk and the occasional small piece of real butter, and can eat these w/o distress. She has no use for scrambled eggs or 'souffle' varieties of cat food. She actually likes egg whites, whether omelet style or cut from the edges of a fried or poached egg. She just has no use for the fatty yolk. A low fat girl, maybe?
Bottom line, even now after 2 full years of good care, Kitty remains largely uncomfortable around people - even me. I see her only when she wants something. I'm allowed to pet her only when she initiates contact, and that means only when she wants something. She doesn't just dislike being held, she is actually terrified by it. It took me a while to understand this, to understand that after all this time she could actually still be afraid of ME - but she is. She's ok as long as she is in complete control of things. Pick her up or even put hands on her to restrain her movement, and she looses control. Then she panics.
It's all very, very sad. These days though, I've mostly decided to live with her Her way. I don't want to make her afraid, and I don't know how to convey to her that I won't hurt her. On some level I think she understand that. I mean, she certainly wouldn't sit on top of me while I sleep if she really thought me dangerous. It's just, for whatever reason, once I pick her up something flips a panic switch in her head and everything changes - so I just don't try that anymore.
I've concluded that she is actually much older than I originally thought. I 1st began to notice signs of this a year or so ago. At 1st I ignored the signs. The SPCA workers assigned her the age of 1yr (at the time) according to my estimate, and despite what they had said they would do, they didn't change that number subsequent to their examination of her. I think they must surely have realized she was older. This dichotomy played a big part in my decision to ignore the signs up until now. I had difficulty making sense of it. I've concluded that they, having seen so many hopeless, homeless cats euthanized, elected not to point out anything which might change my enthusiasm for adopting her. More often than not, people prefer a younger animal. I guess they didn't want to risk it.
When I 1st found her at my door, she looked so tiny. I actually thought she was a kitten for a minute or so, before I saw the even smaller kitten beside her. She was emaciated at the time, and I think that contributed to a 'teen' look. After she had been with me for only a few months and had filled out considerably, I began to see signs of advanced age. I knew there was no way a 1yr old would have the physical signs I was seeing. More recently, after a full 2 yrs of eating a very good, very healthy diet, she shows even more signs of advancing age. I have finally come to the only realistic conclusion. She is older, much older than I originally believed. She is probably a senior and in the latter stages of her life.
This fits not only her physical features but also what Gladys had said about her having run wild in the community for many years, practically forever. If anyone knows what goes on in the community, it's Gladys. This may also go a long way toward explaining the tremendous difficulty Kitty has experienced in her effort to now become a pet. I still feel quite certain that Kitty had a real home at one time, but now I believe she probably spend a LOT more time on the streets alone, many years, in fact, before I took her in again. I also now believe very strongly that this was but one of many litters of kittens she probably had over the years. That other black male Tom may actually be one of Cocoa's many brothers and sisters. As with Heidi (for those who follow that story), I think this new revelation about Kitty's real age likely explains her wisdom, a knowledge of life in the wild having been collect over many years on the streets alone.
The 1st physical symptom of age I noted was a large section of loose skin running from her mid abdomen to her upper back leg. One doesn't get that from bearing a single litter. I've seen that before on various animals. It's always the result of years of 'child' bearing. The skin gets stretched repeatedly, and then with age eventually ceases to bounce back. We have all seen that aspect of skin in one way or another. Conversely, a young female cat looks like a 'kitten' again herself only weeks after dropping that 1st litter, her young, elastic skin bouncing back into place like a taunt rubber band.
In recent months I've begun to notice signs of very advanced age in her bone and muscle structure when Kitty is standing. It's hard to describe, but if you've ever seen it, you probably know what I mean. Despite eating well and having even better health care than Cocoa, Kitty's bones poke out around the back and hip - at the same time that her tummy sags as though she were fat. She stands with her legs up under her at a slight angle, not straight as a younger animal would stand.
If you do follow the raccoon saga, you have likely seen the difference between the pictures of Heidi and those of the yearling raccoons. I'm seeing that same difference between Cocoa and Kitty. They've both been eating well for a while now. Unlike Cocoa, Kitty was dewormed and treated with all appropriate shots/tests. Cocoa looks sleek, muscular, ultra shiny, and very healthy. His is the body of a young athlete. Kitty, while much better filled out than when I found her, shows no other signs of health. She has that misshapen wilder-beast look that older quadrupeds get. It's a look I 1st noticed in my aged horse decades ago, something I see in Heidi these days and now in Kitty. Hip and shoulder bones jut out, muscles and skin sag. You know the look, right.
Of course, her age doesn't matter to me one way or another. It's just something I couldn't help but notice. I've finally decided there is no other explanation for my observations, and I wanted to correct things by passing this information on to you.
Kitty and Cocoa are tolerant of each other now, but it seems unlikely that they will ever be friends. It's no accident that I awoke with Kitty sitting on top of me on a night when Cocoa was outside (because I intentionally failed to let him in before bed). When Cocoa is around, Kitty will not interact with me. I'm not sure how much of that is him and how much her. The good news is that there are many times when Kitty is inside alone, so she does have options for spending quality time with me should she choose to do so.
Recently, I mentioned that I found Cocoa sleeping in the MBR when I thought he was sleeping elsewhere. I concluded that I have no idea how long this may have been going on. I've now begun to realize that something very similar may be the case with Kitty also. I find her with me often when I was totally unaware, like when I'm taking a bath and suddenly realize she is standing quietly at one side of the tub looking on in astonishment as I slather myself with soap and water or when I'm in the kitchen cooking or cleaning and suddenly see her sitting on the floor nearby, her gaze locked onto me, her head moving in concert with me as I walk to and fro about the kitchen working.
The real wakeup came recently when I was eating something she would like, chicken or hamburger. I had no clue she was anywhere near. I thought she was in the LR where she often sleeps. Wanting to give her a bite, I said "Kitty" in a low voice - and she appeared instantly. No way she could have gotten there so fast unless she was sitting nearby watching the whole time. This has now happened a few times such that I'm beginning to wonder how many other times she is sitting right beside me when I am completely unaware. I tend to believe she spends her time elsewhere in the house only coming to where I am when she wants something. I'm now beginning to wonder if she may actually be with me much of the time even as I think she is elsewhere.
Anytime I venture upstairs, Kitty accompanies me if she is indoors; however, I've never been quite sure if she is going along as a friend or if she is there to keep an eye on me so I don't mess anything up. Ever since that week she spent up there after surgery, she seems to always claim the upstairs as her domain. She also loves to sit with me anytime I go outside. I just haven't been going out there much lately.
Kitty doesn't really enjoy being petted. It's more like something she submits to occasionally when she wants something in return. HOWEVER, I have discovered the key, the thing she really DOES like. She loves a light scratch - on the top of her head, on the top of her shoulders, on her 'butt' (base of tail), and even lightly along her back (an apparently more sensitive area where the touch must be very light). When I pet her, I get the "yeah, yeah, get it over with" face. When I scratch her lightly all along the top surfaces from head to tail, I get the "ahhhhhhh" look. Sometimes she will even come to me and 'present' her backside for scratching. Other times when it's initially clear she doesn't care to be bothered, I can turn her around with a well placed scratch. I can actually see the moment when the 'wheels' change direction upstairs, going from, "not in the mood" to "hmmm. maybe I could be talked into...ahhhhhhh. right here. top of my head. yes. shoulders.fabulous."
It's hard to say if she will ever really change, but, as much as I would love that if it ever happens, I think we can get along just fine the way things are. One of the great things about Kitty as opposed to Cocoa is that she is not at all disruptive. If I tell her firmly to stop, she will stop (whatever she is up to). As long as she has the bare minimum of water and litter box, she won't usually fuss and holler and prance up and down the hall keeping me awake until I get up and give her what she wants (feeding her, letting her out, etc.). Sometimes I avoid letting Cocoa in at night because I don't need any extra help staying awake, but I don't mind letting Kitty in, because I know she will sleep quietly until I get up.
Cross posted. What a cute story. I can just see Tao snatching that piece of pork and smugly chowing down. Unfortunately, although I know better, I am inclined to act more like your DH. With Kitty especially, I'm so happy to have her interacting with me in any way, that I will happily share 1/2 of my meal with her as long as no one else is around. Then when people are around or it is otherwise inappropriate or inconvenient for me, I get annoyed that they expect to eat with me. Guilty. But I do understand that it's my fault, so I never fuss a them about it.
I have improved a tiny bit. Recently, I've avoided letting Cocoa in when he shows up at midnight (or later) expecting food and attention. I avoid even going to the door for any reason, so he can't bat his big eyes and talk me into it. I figure my need to get a good night's sleep takes precedence. If he is really hungry he will learn to show up at a more reasonable time like Kitty does. Kitty is usually waiting for me when I get home. That allows me to feed her before I go to bed.
Cocoa is out prowling around the community when I get home, and then expects to be let in at midnight - or 2AM. I pretty much always wake up somewhere in that zone, but w/o Cocoa to deal with may get back to sleep promptly. When I Iet him in, he demands attention, petting, food, more petting, more food, treats, water, more petting...by which time sleep is out of the picture. (They have water and food in the cat room, but Cocoa likes the special attention of food and water IN BED, something I started back when he was afraid to go to the cat room alone and which he now sees as proof he is still loved - and in control.)
I can look at Cocoa's behavior and just SEE on his face that he is intentionally pulling my strings. Most of the time, I'm a big hug and treat dispenser - but he's such a sweetie. I can't resist that face. Yep, good thing I didn't have kids either.
On thing I left out of my discussion about Kitty is that she is actually spending a lot of time in lately. She goes out to do her 'thing' and then comes back in as soon afterward as the door is opened again. She stays in all night most nights, esp if Cocoa isn't inside. If I open the door around midnight or so and let him in (which I've been trying not to do lately), she will often go out when she sees him coming in. Otherwise, she will stay in all night and most of the day. A little while ago when I took Widget out, she came back in. She had only been out for a few hours. Now she will probably stay in tonight as she did last night.
I guess one reason I give her part of my meal on nights when I'm having something she likes (chicken or hamburger w/o sauce or breading or anything but the plain meat - or that night she ate almost all of my mahi mahi fillet) is that it's one of the few times I get to have a relationship with her. At such times she will come and sit beside me almost like a normal cat. Other than that our relationship is limited to me petting her a few strokes each morning when I give her the can of cat food - and the occasional times like last night when I awoke to find her sitting on top of me, those rare moments when she decides to be friendly.
Quick update. Should be in bed already. No time to talk.
No sooner had I written about how aloof Kitty has been lately than she suddenly became friendly again. She is definitely hard to get a handle on. Now she not only waits at the front door for me to come home from work but even comes running back down the walkway to the edge of the driveway to greet me when I pull in and get out. That's quite unusual for her. She has to leave the door where she knows she need to be to get inside for dinner and come back down the walkway for no apparent reason other than to greet me. It's as though she is acknowledging my existence for a change and being friendly. I like it.
She has also been coming to me at various times and in various parts of the house and even standing still to let me pet her - and arching her head and body in response. She is very definitely interacting with me now. It may be partly about food, although we had food all along, but I also think it's a reaction to Cocoa's absence in the house lately. He hasn't been coming in as much because I've been refusing to let him in at midnight and he refuses to come in at a reasonable hour. I'm trying to encourage him to learn to come in earlier when it's less disruptive for my schedule. So far he just stays outside.
This change, Cocoa staying outside more, has unexpectedly opened the door for Kitty to get closer to me and be more sociable. She has always refused all attempts at interaction with Cocoa around. No idea why, but I've noticed it for some time now. With him outside, she is practically staying indoors 24/7 now, going out only to do her 'business' and then waiting near the door to come back inside at the 1st opportunity. She is even acting a little like a pet now. Who knows how long this will continue before she reverts back to her 'feed me and leave me alone' state. I'm pretty sure she will revert back if Cocoa starts spending time inside again. I like this version of Kitty and am enjoying it while it lasts.
Another sleepless night. Note, however, that I haven't yet adjusted my DG time yet, so my post times are 1hr off, an hr later than real time.
Thought of another update I've been meaning to add. Last week while cleaning I finally uncovered that cat nip ball. It was under furniture, a chest the bottom of which was too low for cat clearance. I noticed Cocoa lying against the chest with one front leg under the thing as though trying to reach something. Sure enough it was the ball.
As soon as I liberated the ball from beneath the chest, a flurry of play began. Since then I have seen both cats playing with it - at different times, of course - several times in just a week. Kitty, who almost never plays with anything, has been seen on several occasions now playing like a kitten up and down the length of the hall with that small ball, batting it about, holding it. licking it, rolling about on her back, you name it. Yesterday Cocoa lay on the floor licking the ball for a good 30minutes, just totally engrossed in it. Kitty sat a few feet away watching him, from her expression I gathered she did not appreciate him playing with 'her' ball that way but knew better than to say anything. I found myself lamenting the fact that I had forgotten to order a 2nd ball so each cat would have one.
I hadn't seen them with it for several weeks, so I had figured they were tired of it. In actuality it was 'lost' under furniture and out of their reach. Now that I've gotten it out from its hiding place, one or the other cat has been playing with it pretty much daily. For my bunch it has definitely been a very good buy. The ball and those spicy mice (stored in catnip) are the only toys my bunch will play with by themselves (w/o me moving/dangling the toy for them).
I've ordered a small container of catnip to grow indoors. Granted it would have been more cost effect to buy a packet of seeds and plant them in a small pot. I decided to go with this setup because (1) it has everything I need in one place. no need to search for things in the garage or shop for things, etc (2) the container is rectangular and small enough to sit on a window ledge and has attached, deep saucer to container overflow, (3) a peat pot is provided to make planting easier, and (4) I don't need and can't use anywhere near a whole pack of seeds. The set is only like $6 or so. It would actually cost more to buy all of the items separately because I would have to buy more than I would need.
I'm not actually going to grow it on the window sill as I'm sure the cats would have their way with it before the sprouts could even get up good if located on my low (20in high) window ledges. I'm going to try it on a small bar height table in the breakfast room which has wall to wall, ceiling to floor windows on two sides. I'm hoping the height of that table, along with the fact that the cats don't show a tendency to jump onto furniture (so far) will be sufficient to deter them from messing with it. I know that's still a gamble as it would be almost anywhere I put the stuff. If I can get it to grow to maybe 6-8in high, I figure I will 'give it to them' then. Not sure if I will give them the whole container as they will probably make a mess with that trying to roll on it and such. I'll probably try giving them cuttings to play with, chew on, roll on, etc.
Ha. As soon as they smell a sprout, it will be off the window sill and you'll have a mess on your hands. Any way you can hang it from a support? There are metal plant hangers that have a bracket that can slide behind your woodwork, and an arched "branch" that you can hang a plant from. Hardware stores have them. If not for those, some of my more tempting plants would be shredded. And bits and pieces of the fresh plant are the way to go, no point in having a catnip binge and then no more plant.
Thanks for the tips. I wasn't planning to put it in the window sill. I was planning on putting it on top of a 'bar height' table. That would make for a pretty high jump. Do you still think they would get to it? Remember also that they aren't inside all the time. That seems to make a difference as I've not noticed the tendency to climb and explore while inside as seen with indoor cats. They come inside to eat. If they stay a while it's usually to grab a nap.
I try -- and i stress try to grow plants for the kitties -- i put the small pots on the sill above my bathtub...
Charlie loves the nip, but Lucky could care less about it -- so that one I can actually leave out.
I have this routine every day... in the morning, put them on the sill, close either the bathroom door or my bedroom door - keep it closed all day.
Lucky is quite fast, and sometimes i miss him sneak in, and he's behind the curtain, on the sill before i can blink.
here is the day he knocked over my Agastache pot.
but Cheryl -- but both cats go nuts for... Wheat grass.
I need to get another pot going, sort of stagger the germination... think it takes about 4 days to get going, then it grows pretty quick -- once the roots are established -- then they just 'mow' the tops off. before that, they pull them out by the roots and it really makes a mess. sometimes they eat it, dirt and all.
DreamOf Spring, don't know if your shy girl has changed to trust you more yet. I adopted a brother and sister years ago that were found in a horse food storage room and brought to my vet's office to be adopted out.
The male was always friendly, but the female preferred men, namely my husband over anyone. After my husband passed she was lost for a while. I tried to take over his place, but she is still afraid and runs when I try to touch her. She is nearly seven now and you would think she would seek human companionship. I have to trap her in a room to clip her claws and do any type of checking up on her.
But she has made great friends with my big 80lb. lab. She nuzzles up to her face and rubs into her when she finds her laying down.
I am grateful she has at least that sort of closeness with someone.
I feel sorry for her as it seems stressful to always be running and hiding. I think it is just some cats nature to never seek a human bond. I have come to respect that and not pester her to be friends.
She is a house cat totally and never tries to run outdoors or runaway. So at least I don't have to worry about that.
She can't be boarded as she freaks out and will not eat. She also freaks out when we used to take her along in the carrier. It is a challenge having a cat like this, but I am glad she is not on the streets and is in a safe place.
Just have to throw this in there... I snapped it as i walked past... he's quite the sack-rat this morning.. i think he slept with me most the night too, and here it is, just about 10am and not ready to get up yet... hence, why my bed isn't made yet.
Here is my attempt to grow plants for the kitties...
pots hidden behind the curtain... does not work well, since they can smell the foliage...
this is southern exp, so they get sun all day, if the sun is shining.
small pot is some new nip i just started...
middle pot is Wheat Grass
then the nip... this is about 4 weeks old -- I'm thinking germination was about 4-5 days. I put the pots above a cabinet that they do not jump to, so they were safe for a while.
I just finished growing a pot of 4 grasses: wheat, rye, oat, & barley. I started them on the same table I mentioned. No problem. I forgot about them. Next time I looked they were 7in long, all 4 of them. Here's the ticker. Neither of my cats had ANY interest in them. I clipped them to 4in as per instructions and then left the pot in the cat room. This pot was short, square, and solid enough to be very sturdy, so I didn't worry they would destroy it. With grass, I figured they would just stand there and eat like they do outside. No one ever touched it. I finally tossed the whole thing yesterday. I suspect that being outdoor cats they get their greens from lawns. I figure indoor cats love the potted grasses because there is no other grass indoors for them. Yet another difference between the two 'species' (indoor and outdoor).
Love the pics of your kitties. Lucky looks so innocent standing there amidst the mess, and Charlie adorns the bed beautifully. As always, I love their color.
Oh, btw, according to a book I read, kittens don't manifest an interest in cat nip. They have to grow up a bit. Of course, as already mentioned, some cats lack the gene and thus never develop the interest. Cocoa didn't get excited over it when he was a 'teenager'. At the time, Kitty went nuts while he just ignored the stuff. Now they both go nuts over it. Lucky may yet develop the cat nip thing.
Wed & Thur nights were cold, the 1st really cold nights so far this winter, around 32F both nights. Kitty & Cocoa spent both nights inside. They almost never stay inside at the same time, except when it's cold out. Then they suspend their disagreements long enough to stay in & stay warm - which is very good. Cocoa sleeps in here with us, while Kitty sleeps in the chair in the LR. I've long noticed that she prefers the chair with the reading lamp beside it. I often leave that light on as a sort of 'night light' so the house doesn't look so dark from the street. I wonder if she likes that spot because the bulb gives off additional warmth. She even sleeps on the side of the chair that puts her closest to the light, almost under it.
Both cats have been friendly lately, each in his or her own way. Cocoa is openly affectionate as always, while Kitty is much more reserved. She still doesn't want to be held or even petted much, but she has her own way of interacting with me, like tonight when she followed me around while I was doing stuff. I was in my own little world thinking I was alone when suddenly I looked up and, whoops, there she was just sitting there beside me, watching me. A little later I went into another room and there she was again. She followed me from room to room as I worked, not necessarily following immediately as that would not be very cat like but always ending up there beside me in short order. At some point, I reached out to pet her - and she ran away. That's Kitty. She wants to be near me, but she does not want to be touched.
Today in the grocery store I found myself explaining that this cat who arrived at my door 2yrs ago starving is now only willing to eat certain flavors of FF. The lady, a fellow shopper, had noticed me scrutinizing the shelves and carefully choosing flavors. She said I must have a cat like hers who apparently is also finicky. That led to an interesting conversation and comparisons. It's amusing when I think about it, how I didn't even want a cat and now find myself sweating over the right flavors to please one that won't even let me pet her except on rare occasion.
If I give Kitty the 'wrong' flavor she won't eat it - for days. It generally takes 3 days for her to break down and eat the 'wrong' flavor. Throughout that time she will continually come and try to lead me to her bowl to show me the nasty stuff that is in it. It can be most annoying. Lately she likes some of the more obscure flavors like trout, mackeral, or chicken hearts, probably because those are flavors she hasn't been eating for 2yrs already. As always, she loves ALL of the medleys. When I give her a can of Medleys, she will gobble it up and then immediately try to get me to give her another.
Recently, Cocoa who used to only nibble a teaspoon or less of canned food has developed a passion for FF medleys. He still won't eat the regular FF, but lately when I serve Medleys I have to give him his own can - and he actually eats the whole thing (fast), licks his bowl clean, and then tries to steal Kitty's. I have to sit in there with them now to keep him from stealing her food. Even if it's something she wants, she won't even argue with him. She just leaves the room as soon as he sticks his head in her dish. So now I have a folding stool in the cat room, so I can sit with them to police the meal.
Both of them STILL play with that cat nip ball almost every time they come inside. Tonight, Cocoa lay on the floor licking it obsessively for probably 15-20min. Later, after it dried out again, I saw Kitty batting it up and down the hall. They each have very different styles of 'playing' with the ball, Cocoa licking & almost caressing it, Kitty batting it about for a while before rolling on it a bit. It amazes me how often they still play with it. It remains the only toy they play with alone. I actually think it is getting smaller, from all that licking, I guess. It's about 1/2 the original size. Soon be time to get a new one - or two.
I still haven't started my cat nip seeds. I read the instructions. Apparently, unlike the grass which does well in low light, the cat nip needs a lot of sun. The instructions say to plant it outside once it gets up a few inches. Drat. I was hoping to grow it in the window, but there probably isn't enough light inside for it to do well. Anyhow, I've been busy with other things lately, so I haven't gotten around to that project.
On the subject of cat nip and cat behavior regarding things they like - and can reach, tonight I brought home a rotisserie chicken. I was planning to have it for dinner, so I left the bag on the kitchen counter while I was running around unloading groceries, bringing them in from the car, etc. Kitty LOVES chicken. It seems to be one of her favorite foods, and she was in the cat room just off the kitchen eating her dinner while I was outside bringing in groceries. She had plenty of time to hop up there and get that chicken, and I'm sure she could smell it. But she didn't, and I'm starting to think that may be another difference between her and the average indoor cat. Fifi, the Siamese I had many years ago, would have had that thing on the floor eating it as soon as I got out of the room. Kitty never seems to mess with things in the house. I think the reason has to do with her understanding that people toss problem cats out on the side of the road and her fear of ending up there again if she behaves badly. This may, just may, help out with growing that cat nip - but only inside. Outside is a whole different thing. That is her space, so as soon as I move it outside, they will surely decimate it unless I figure out a way to cover it somehow.
Well, enough of this. Widget has to go out, and I need to get a few seconds sleep before I go to my sisters.
I've been home now for some 3 days, and Kitty has been in the house with me 24/7 the entire time. It's 70F and sunny outside right now, so it's not even because of bad weather. I think she went out twice, both times for 30min or less. In all probability those were 'business' runs. At least for now, she actually seems to have decided that it's more comfortable and to her liking inside: 24hr food, fresh water, soft furniture for sleeping, no strangers, no cars, no cats, dogs, raccoons or opossums. She doesn't have to worry about getting locked out and missing dinner/breakfast, and there's more than enough room here so that she doesn't even have to see or deal with me unless she wants to. Plus there's the cat nip ball for when she wants to play. I'm pretty sure this is by far the longest she has stayed inside, especially in good weather.
On the other hand, my heart really went out to Kitty last night. I'm usually pretty good at raising pets to ignore fireworks, but I didn't raise Kitty. Widget doesn't pay the fireworks any attention at all, nor did his predecessor Sassy. Cocoa doesn't love them, but he tolerates them pretty well, but Kitty is just terrified of them, possibly even phobic. Poor thing, she just comes completely unglued such that there is no consoling her.
I can always tell when she is truly terrified, because she crouches down, walking with her stomach close to the ground, and she becomes GLUED to my ankles. She crouches against my foot when I'm standing still and walks (still crouching low) with me step for step when I move. When I get in bed, she will crouch up against the bed (on the floor) near my head area. She won't get on the bed when she's terrified. That makes her feel too exposed. She feels most comfortable on the floor where she can scurry under furniture in an emergency (even though there are none). If I stay in bed for a while, she will crawl under a large piece of nearby furniture. The gap under it is only 3-4in. The tight space appears to make her feel less threatened. Any time I get up from the bed, she will come out from under the furniture and follow at my ankle again. Poor thing.
One time last night, I managed to get up and get to the BR w/o her. I guess she must have been asleep. I had barely gotten in there when I saw the cutest little tabby paw poking under the door. Then a whole arm up to the shoulder came through the gap under the door. I felt so sorry for her, I let her in. She came in and crouched beside me.
It's so ironic. She rarely wants anything to do with me - except to feed her and open doors for her. She acts to this day as though she is still distrustful of me. She rarely wants to be petted. And yet, most unexpectedly, when she is truly afraid, I'm the one she looks to for safety. When she's afraid, she can't be close enough to me. Suddenly, she has to have her fur pressed right up against my ankle every second until the threat is gone. Very odd.
Later last night, after the fireworks were finally over and the neighbors had all gone inside to sleep, Kitty came and got in bed with us, and for the 1st time ever she snuggled up on my upper thigh (me on my side) and slept there. By that time, I could see that her demeanor had changed. She was walking normally, no longer crouching in fear. She got up on my side and walked on me for a while, something she does from time to time usually when she wants something. She kept pushing her head under my arm/hand, something she also does to signify she wants to be petted. Then after I stopped petting her and made it clear that I was going back to sleep, she curled up on my upper leg and slept, too.
Don't you wish there were some way to let them know they are safe, and not to be frightened. She may have been shot at while she was living outdoors, or even been where there was hunting going on, enough to terrify any small creature. I'm glad she's staying indoors more.
Oh, yes, how I do wish there were some way to let them know that they are safe, that no one and no thing is coming in here to hurt them, and that what they hear outside is simply that, 'outside'. She may change, but lately she has been practically a house cat - who goes out for a few minutes every day or so to get a little sunshine & fresh air & conduct business. I'm happy to see this change in her, too, and hoping it will be fairly permanent. And, yes, I agree. There is just no telling what she has been through. It seems pretty clear that she hasn't had an easy life. I'm glad I've been able to change that. I just wish she could understand that things really are different now, that she is safe & loved & cared for and can relax, trust, and enjoy.
Just wanted to add that I'm sure there were many other frightened pets out there last night. It's an annual night of terror for many (if not most) pets. I count myself lucky that Widget doesn't go through any of that. (He's afraid of almost everything else, however.)
I don't know that I've ever known a person as dedicated as you have been with these two orphans, even when you were having serious income problems, you still tried to do the best you could for your little ones, and that is what is paying off now. She may never be a lap cuddler, but she obviously views you as her protector and benefactor. Kind of like the Queen, you can serve her, but don't get overly familiar without express permission!!!
It was 31F last night. I looked everywhere at every door for Cocoa. I even took Widget out for an extra walk to see if Cocoa would see us and show up, but no luck. Kitty, who is probably capable of foreseeing weather conditions somewhat in advance, had been quick to grab her place inside the house from the 'get go' at breakfast that morning. Cocoa, on the other hand, labors under the discordant belief that he can just arrive whenever it pleases him, whether for breakfast or dinner or to get inside for the night. He just assumes that everyone else will be there waiting for him regardless of when he shows up. It is this attitude that has caused him to miss many a meal, and it was this attitude, no doubt, that found him alone in the biting cold last night with heavy winds and a wind chill of 21F.
I hated going to bed and leaving him outside, but there was nothing more I could do. He had apparently already given up due to the extreme chill and taken shelter somewhere else. Today when I came home, Kitty who had spend the cold day inside was sitting on the stairs watching my ascent up the walkway. No sign of the rebel Cocoa. After she ate dinner, Kitty went out. It was still light out at that time. I let her out while I was in the backyard taking care of pipes and such, and she made it back in time to go back inside with me some 15min later. It was 32F even then, so she got her 'work' done quickly and hurried back inside.
With the temp having plummeted all the way to 31F just before sundown this afternoon, it was clear this would be a very, very cold night for anyone left outside. All day the weather channel kept dropping the final 'quess' for our overnight low which ended up at 20F, at least the last time I looked. I REALLY didn't want poor, misguided Cocoa to spend this cold night outside shivering somewhere, risking frostbite to ears, nose, and toe pads. I had looked for him and called him several times before dark w/o any luck. Finally, a few minutes ago I decided to take Widget out for a short romp on the front lawn, just to see if this might draw Cocoa out of hiding, but we didn't even have to get that far as this time I heard his frosty meow from just outside and against the front door as soon as I walked up and switched the porch light on (from inside). His voice although commanding had a hint of whine to it. He really wanted to come inside out of the bitter cold tonight, and I was thrilled to see him out there and let him in.
As soon as she saw Cocoa coming inside, Kitty decided to leave. She went to the back door and stood there stating her emphatic wish to be let out. Now this was not good. I wanted both cats inside for the cold, cold night. I hadn't wanted to trade one for the other this way, but when Kitty makes up her mind... I had only the one last hope of keeping her inside. That was the hope that once she felt the bitter chill out there, she would rethink her position. The mercury had been dropping rapidly such that it was now some 5 degrees lower than when she had last been out there. It was now 26F with a wind chill of 17F.
I went over to the door and cracked it a few inches, not quite enough for her to get out, but more than enough for that icy, Arctic blast to break through the gap and batter her face. That worked. She stood there in the Arctic blast zone in front of the door gap for only a matter of seconds before turning to flee back toward the interior of the house, a behavior which has long been her way of saying, "no thanks. I don't want to go out, and I'm getting as far away from the door as possible to avoid any confusion."
So finally and for now, I have both cats inside where its warm. It's time for me to get to sleep now. Thankfully, now I will sleep better knowing all my babies are safe indoors. At some point in the overnight one or the other of them may get a wild hair and decide he/she now wants out. I feel pretty sure if that happens and if he or she gets rowdy in the determination to go out, I need only repeat the door gap trick to help them rethink the benefits of going out.
Glad to hear the babies are safe inside. The crack-the-door-open technique is a good idea. I always laugh when I open the door while it's raining and watch their face go, "No way am I going out. What was I thinking!
What a very sweet comment. I did my best for them during the hard times. It just seemed like my responsibility, not an optional thing. I was very lucky, too, to have the help of some very kind DGers who after about mid year made it possible Kitty to eat her favorite FF pretty much ever day from then forward. Kitty remains thankful to this day for her many, wonderful DG friends who didn't forget her when times were hard.
During the worst of that time, the best I could afford to buy Kitty was Friskee's canned food, and even that took a perilous cut from the $10 or $20 I could afford to spend every few weeks, an amount which had to cover EVERYTHING including not just my food and theirs but also household goods. Many times my $10-$20 brought home cat food, a cheap $1 loaf of 'bread', a cheap $1 pack of artificial 'cheez' slices, a dozen eggs, bathroom tissue, and one or two items from the marked-down, bruised & overripe table if possible. That was it for a month or so, and the cat food took up the larger part of the grocery budget. It would have been easy on me financially to feed her the cheaper dry food that Cocoa was eating, but I knew she would really hate that. I guess I didn't want them to feel the negativity of our situation.
For most of that year, it wasn't that I had no money but rather that I could see my funds going quickly just to pay necessary bills. I didn't know how far I had to make it across that jobless wasteland that loomed before me, but I did know that my best chance of making it as far as possible was to use the money I had with extreme discipline, spending the absolute minimum for food and supplies. It wasn't so hard early on when I had a ton of food and supplies in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. Early on I even had stacks of cat food, but we went through those pretty fast.
I have to admit, it was a little 'ewe' opening boxes dated 'best by 2004' and then cooking and eating the contents. Thankfully, although I did run into a few items I had to toss, most of that outdated food tasted fine, but the 'ick' factor was still there. There was a difficult period after I polished off all of the 'good' stuff on hand, including the last of the canned and frozen veggies. After that, all I had for veggies was the handful of tasteless, mushy carrots & celery in the cans of soup still in the pantry. After some more weeks of eating s/w made from egg salad or cheez on cheap white bread, my body began to scream at me for want of fruits and vegetables. It was then that I had a wonderful shopping trip during which I found some 15 bell peppers in myriad colors plus a good 5-10lbs of apples and some yellow squash and zucchini all on the 'bruised/overripe' table and all for under $10. Those were the best apples I've ever eaten in my life. Even the peppers were so awesome I had to force myself to save some for the freezer to flavor rice dishes in the coming months. Of course, all of that stuff tasted so good because at the time for me it was so rare. I have better food now, but nothing tastes quite as good as it did then when I was literally starving. (Near the end, as pantry stores fell off precipitously, I lost 35lbs in a matter of weeks and w/o trying.)
But I did my best to insure that Cocoa, Kitty, and Widget never knew we were w/o food - and, again, I had the advantage of help from some wonderful DG friends. Thank you again for noticing. :-)
I'm hoping Kitty will eventually see the light and realize that I don't do all these things out of a desire to harm her. I don't shop for her favorite flavors and even sit by and guard her breakfast from Cocoa while she eats - even when I'm late for work and need to be getting dressed instead; that I don't share my occasional chicken or chicken s/w or HB with her; that I don't do these and myriad other things out of some displaced desire to harm her.
On that note, while cleaning out the fridge recently I found a package of American cheese freshly sliced from the Publix deli. This was not that artificial cheese food they stuff into single slice plastic wrap, ick. It was real cheese and not bad in terms of flavor and texture. Unfortunately, the package was dated to indicate it expired in Apr 2011. I was about to toss it out, unopened, when I realized there was not one spec of anything green (or other weird colors) growing on it anywhere. I scratched my head a bit, wondering how it had managed to stay mold-free for almost a year past its exp date. About that time, Kitty showed up. I gave her a slice. She said it was totally fine. After that I kept the pkg in the fridge door to dole out as evening treats to Kitty and Widget. They loved it, and neither showed any sign of GI distress even days after eating a slice. When we were down to the last slice, I finally got the nerve to taste it. It was good, as good as new! If I had known that earlier, I wouldn't have fed the whole pack to Kitty & Widget. Heck, during that time Kitty had gotten into the habit of meeting me in the kitchen at night, motioning toward the fridge, and going, "Cheese, anyone?"
I also found a 2lb block of deli Gooda in the fridge, also 'old' and also w/o any sign of mold. Now I'm wondering if I should taste that - or feed it to Kitty in tiny 1/2in cubes.
I'm not particularly knowledgeable about cheese, but I'd eat any cheese that didn't show mold or discoloration. Natural cheese (unlike the ick type) keeps for a long time if it isn't opened or handled with bare hands. Bacteria in the air or on your skin will contaminate cheese, but if you are careful handling it it will last longer than the sell by date. I frequently shred cheese for freezing, because the big blocks are cheaper and we don't consume it fast enough. The preshredded stuff in bags has something added (cornstarch?) so that it doesn't stick together. Mine doesn't stick together because it's not shipped in containers with other bags, packed containers. It may change the texture some,but it's mostly used for cooking so "mouth feel" isn't a priority.
I'm not much of a cheese lover, well not like the masses who seem to enjoy it on any and everything, but I do enjoy a bit of cheese on occassion, good cheese not the plastic kind. On a number of occassions, I've had otherwise quality cheese purchased from the deli and unopened develop mold when kept only a month or two past the use by date. I guess it just depends on whether a mold spore finds its way in prior to packaging. Since I don't eat a lot of cheese, sometimes I buy a piece that looks good in the store and then fail to eat it in a reasonable timeframe. I might just try freezing those unused blocks. Better to have them for cooking like you say than to loose them to mold.
I was especially surprised at to see that American cheese last almost a year past its date w/o mold. I say that because it was pre-sliced. As with hamburger, the smaller the 'cut' the faster things usually deteriorate (due to greater air exposure). But, again, that was quality cheese not individually wrapped s/w squares made from oil and orange food coloring.
You know, I also happen to have a chunk of very good quality goat cheese. This one was wrapped and sealed at the factory/farm and has not been opened. It, too, is past its date by some months but shows no sign of mold. Would you trust a soft cheese like goat cheese after the date? I would REALLY love to salvage that one.
Just so you know, Kitty will not be happy with you. Before you clued me in on this cheese thing, she was living large, getting all of the 'expired' cheese.
Just don't tell her I was the one who told you. I'm in enough trouble with the five mouseketeers as I bought new (expensive) food for them based on their display of ecstacy after I received samples at the pet food store.
I would eat the goat cheese. On crispy crackers...or pizza with artichoke hearts...
goat cheese is one thing i've never acquired a taste for. But cheese... LOVE it. A good sharp cheddar... Oh yum. i just cut chunks and eat it.
Can't believe your kitties eat cheese. I think mine are finicky eaters.
Yesterday evening when I got home, both cats were waiting for me at the front door & eager to get in. In fact, when I opened the door to let Widget out, instead of following us, they ran inside together. Not sure if that was due to cold or hunger. Speaking of cold, while it got down to 20F Tues night, we are expecting a high of 70 tomorrow. Can't beat that for variety. One of the Cleveland guys summed it up this way: you get little touches of spring every few days, so you never get bored and never have to face months of cold all in one stretch. Yeah, that's the ticket. I love the way our normal winters (not last year when that arctic air got 'stuck' down here, goes because no matter how cold it gets I always know it will be warm again in a day or two. Now summer, however, are a whole different ballgame, an endless array of hot, hotter, and hotter still.
This morning I hit snooze and tried to get another z or 2, but there were 2 cats sitting on the foot of my bed and one dog beside me, and ALL of them were just sitting there staring me down. Finally, gave up and got out of bed.
Kitty is still staying inside almost 24/7. She goes out maybe 1x/day for business and is at the door waiting to get back in w/in 30 or so. Late yesterday afternoon, realizing I hadn't seen her at all since breakfast, I figured maybe she had slipped out when I opened the door for something else. An hour or so later, I found her curled up in a barrel-back chair in the foyer. This morning when I got ready to leave, I stood at the door calling her (in case she didn't want to be left inside all day). She was in the LR napping in her favorite chair just a short distance away from where I stood. She woke up, looked at me long enough to give me that "you must be kidding" look, and then went back to sleep. She knows quite well what it means when I'm standing at the door that way calling her. Clearly, she was planning to spend the day inside, sunning herself through the adjacent window while snoozing in 'her' chair. I notice she has done a bit of redecorating lately as all of the cushions, including that cylindrical one for the back, have been tossed out of her chair onto the floor (where they belong, at least in her mind).
Based on your advice, I got some catnip balls for my cats. All three of my cats think they've gone to heaven! They even love the packages they come in & my husband always hated the little piles of catnip that end up all over the floor, bed, etc. Do you leave the balls out all the time or put them away for a while, so the cats don't become de-sensitized to them? Don't know if that's even an issue, since the one outdoor cat has fresh catnip in the garden whenever he chooses to find it. Although he seems to prefer the dried herb or the catmint plant to the catnip plant... Thanks for turning me on to this (or turning my cats on)!
It seems you have hit upon the reason why mine doesn't get put away - I can never find it either, except when they are playing with it. I do believe it is a good idea to put all catnip toys away between play sessions. I've read that constant exposure will dull the cat's enthusiasm thus robbing them of the full enjoyment of this wonderful, feel-good elixir.
Kitty plays with the ball on the hardwood floor a lot while I'm in bed. I can't even hear her, but my MBR is designed/situated in a manner such that sound does not travel from or to the MBR from the rest of the house. For one thing there is a firewall between the MBR and the rest of the house. It's an odd thing we discovered just after I moved in. You can stand just outside the MBR with the door OPEN and scream (words) at the top of your lungs & yet, while a person in the MBR can tell you are speaking, they cannot make out the muffled content. This has its advantages and disadvantages as you might immagine. I'm not bothered by much of anything the cats do while I'm sleeping - as long as they stay out of the MBR, that is. On the other hand, I have to be very careful when cooking, like when cooking something that has to bake or simmer for a long time. I can go elsewhere in the house and still hear the over/stove alarms, but I can't hear them at all in the 'black hole' that is the MBR. I never allow myself to hang out in the MBR, not even to clean, while anything is cooking in the kitchen. I'm afraid I would forget about the food and burn 1/2 the house down before I have even a clue.
Now back to those catnip balls. I do hope to put mine away someday, but at my house it goes like this. The cats play with it constantly between the two of them (and even argue over it) pretty much non-stop until it rolls under a low piece of furniture, and they loose it. Then it stays lost for a while - a different sort of 'put away' until one day when either I find it while cleaning or one of them (usually Cocoa) manages to call my attention to it by trying repeatedly to reach under something (seeing this I eventually realize he's seeking the ball which lies beyong his reach). When I find it, I offer it to them if they are around or put it where I know they will see it when they come back in. As soon as the see it again, the games begin all over again and last for an hour or more - until they loose it again. When they loose it, I don't always feel like climbing around on the floor to find it right away, especially when it can be almost anywhere, so it often remains lost for a week or two.
BTW, I'm very glad to hear that your cats had the same reaction to those balls as mine did. That has become the favorite toy at my house. Widget doesn't understand all the enthusiasm about that ball. I saw him pick it up once and drop it again right away. I think he is probably too small to be able to bit through it. As he can barely get his mouth around it, he can't get much leverage with his mouth open that wide. Also, he is too small to take it from the cats, and once they loose it under the furniture somewhere, he can't reach it either. Thus he has not been a problem, but then again he is only 5lbs, barely the size of a bag of sugar.
With further reflection, on the subject of whether the cat playing with the catnip ball during the night is disruptive, I'm thinking Kitty is probably more reserved and thus somewhat quieter. Kitty is always quiet. And so far, at least, she is careful to leave my stuff alone - well, that is except for tossing pillows out of chairs where necessary to insure her comfort. I still think she is on some level afraid she will be sent away if she bothers the human by making too much noise, breaking things, jumping on counters, etc. Even when playing indoors, I think she is on guard against getting to 'crazy'. She is quite unlike any cat I've ever known in this respect. It's hard to tell she is in the house at all.
Terese, Charlie & Lucky sound as if they feel pretty secure about their place in your world and your house. They probably feel like they can play with vigor w/o risk of becoming homeless.
I didn't have my house built. I bought it from another owner. Luckily, I was able to get it when it was only 3yrs old, and since the prior owner had a team come through and steam cleaned and repainted everything near-white, it really seemed like a new house so much so that for years I was afraid to touch anything for fear of loosing that 'new car smell'.
Since I didn't 'build' the house, there are many mysteries, things I don't know about the house. As I mentioned above the MBR suite (including bath and such) is 'in its own private world'. The rest of the house is very open such that sound travels fairly readily, but once you enter the MBR you are virtually cut off from the rest of the house.
I'm guessing the prior owner wanted it this way for privacy. If you had a couple of rowdy teens, you could always go into your private 'suite' to escape the noise. Likewise, they would not hear you - if you were, say, watching TV loudly. On the other hand, if you had a baby in one of the upstairs rooms, you would definitely need a baby monitor as you would never hear the baby crying from this BR.
A number of things conspire to make the MBR so sound proof. There's the thick, firewall and fireplace on the wall between MBR and the rest of the house. The MBR is located on one back corner of the house, and you have to traverse 2 hallways to reach the MBR suite: one which is outside the MBR suite and then a 2nd private hallway which is part of the MBR suite. Also, while the rest of the house is 2-story, there is no 2nd story over the MBR suite. As a result of all of these things, and perhaps others about which I may be unaware, the MBR in this house is extremely isolated, almost as if it isn't even connected to the rest of the house at all. In my early years, I lived in apartment buildings in which considerably more sound traveled between adjacent apartments than travels between the MBR here and the rest of the house.
Since I don't have energetic teens or noisy roommates living here, this isolated aspect of the MBR suite isn't that much of a benefit, but as previously alluded to it has its downsides many of which do apply to me. I'm afraid to wander into the MBR suite while anything is cooking in the kitchen just because I know I cannot hear the timers/alarms in there. If I get caught up in something else and forget about the food on the stove or in the oven, I honestly believe 1/2 to 2/3 of this house could burn down before I would even know it from the MBR.
I even worry about this when running the cloths washer & dryer when I'm in bed. Doing so fits my schedule well - come home, throw a load in the washer or dryer, and head to the MBR suite to unwind and get ready for bed - but if anything goes wrong in there when I'm in here - let's just say the appliances are on their own. If the washer decides to get up and start walking around the room, spewing suds everywhere, I would never know there was a problem. Likewise, if the dryer catches fire as they are known to do, well, there again I won't have a clue until the house is 1/2 gone.
I'm pretty sure (if Widget didn't bark), a burglar could come in here while I'm in bed and steal everything in the rest of the house and I would be completely unaware - until I walked out of my little cave to find everything gone, that is. I can't even hear the doorbell when I'm in the MBR. About 1/2 of the time, if he's in the BR with me, even Widget can't hear the doorbell. I usually consider this more of a benefit than a liability though as it insures a blissful afternoon nap even if salesmen and/or neighborhood kids are ringing the doorbell. If it's a friend who really needs to get in touch, they always call me on the phone if I fail to answer the door.
Bottom line, with near 0 sound transfer between my BR and the rest of the house, the cats can invite friends over and have a huge bash w/o any risk of waking me. Now that I think about it, maybe they do. How would I know? Heck, maybe Kitty opens the door and lets the whole raccoon and opossum clan in to watch movies in the great room after I go to sleep. As long as they clean up afterward, and if Widget doesn't rat them out, who knows. They could get away with just about anything 'out there' in the rest of the house. Mmm. Maybe I need some kind of video/webcam system to keep an eye on things out there...
What a hoot!! If I didn't know you were feeling better, this piece would have revealed it. I think this is one of the funniest things you have posted since I've visited here. I got a great visual of the possum/raccoon/cat party, with hats and noisemakers!!
What an interesting observation. And, oh, yes, I do feel LOTS better. I am still in the adjustment period, so there are some brief down periods, but even those are better than before. Glad you enjoyed the visual. I think that may be more the way I used to talk/write back in the old days of the Heidi threads, back before I felt too bad to even participate. Anyhow, if my someday video/webcam system does catch the critters partying - with the hats and noisemakers - I'll post a link.
Good to hear from you. I missed you, too. Kept meaning to ask if anyone had heard from you lately but never could seem to remember when I was actually online. I was getting a little worried. Good to know that all is well and that you finally have your computer fixed/working again. I hope you got the keyboard problem rectified as I know that has been a huge concern for you for so long. Glad you are back and all is well.
Last night I was sitting in the foyer opening a package when Cocoa, who was in there with me, 'showed me' that his catnip ball was stuck under a nearby piece of furniture. I'm getting pretty good now (after so much training) at reading that 'please help me get my ball' sign. I'm starting to believe he actually knows what he's doing and is 'telling me' where his ball is intentionally. I used to think it was just an accident that I would see him trying to reach it when I walked through the area, but I'm actually now thinking he sees me coming and understands that I will 'fetch' the ball out of its hiding place if only he shows me where it is - and I he's right.
As usual, as soon as I climbed around on the floor to retrieve the ball, Cocoa sprawled out on the foyer rug licking it for a good 30minutes, just licking it & licking it & licking it. I finished opening my package, put things away, and left the room. I hand washed (dish washer on the fritz) a sink full of dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. When I saw him later on my way to bed, he was STILL down there lying in that same spot licking that ball with such total focus. Amazing. It's nice to see them enjoy something so much.
Now for the BAD news - or at least one piece of the bad news.
Kitty & I had a bit of a battle, one with ongoing consequences. It's a good thing (for both of us) that I'm taking my new 'happy hormones'. I am considerably more mellow as a result. So a couple of nights ago, I had worked late. I was very tired and in bed about to fall back asleep when Kitty showed up in my room. It was almost 5AM. She had seen me turn the light on to get up and now she wanted to be let out, but I was unwilling to get back up to accommodate her. Often it seems as though no matter how long I'm up doing things (and available to handle her problems) she waits until I lie down to summon me to do her bidding. This time I said, "no. I'm not getting up." I knew my alarm would be going off all too soon, and I still wanted to get another 'z' or two.
We have 3 litterboxes, all kept very clean. She knows where they are and uses them often, so I knew she was covered for emergencies of that nature.
A minute or so later she was 'sitting' beside the head of the bed when I heard the distinct sound of 'water' running. I could not BELIEVE it! She was urinating on the carpet directly beside my bed, right up near the head of the bed even. I was livid! I yelled, "NO, Kitty!" at her. As I got up she took off down the hall in leaping bounds. I popped her on the backside when I caught up with her at the door where she was waiting to go out (still). Yes, I realize that probably wasn't very constructive, but I was furious. Hey, I'm human.
So now, a quandry. Did she know she was doing a 'bad' thing? Did she do it intentionally, perhaps to let me know how she felt about being ignored, or, heaven forbid, does she maybe do this kind of thing regularly and this is just the 1st time I've noticed? It's a large house and, as you know, I have some difficulty getting around due to knee and back pain. There are rooms I don't visit often. To make matters worse, my nose is all but useless for it intended purpose of breathing (it does an ok job of holding my glasses up though.) My sense of smell comes and goes but is in no way reliable. Even worse, sometimes it even makes up smells that aren't, yummy food smells and such. Very undependable.
Now I don't know what to do. I don't feel I can trust Kitty to behave indoors now. Last night it got down to 40F. I made her sleep outside even though she clearly wanted to come in. HELP. What to do?
She may have been holding that to go outside, which is most likely her preferred elimination area and just lost control. This could very well indicate a UTI or Kidney infection. She qualifies for a vet visit. Animal experts usually agree that house pets do not plot against us to 'get back' at us when we don't respond appropriately to their requests. I'm no expert so will just say, hmmmm.
Two things for sure need to be done: 1) Clean that area thoroughly with a product made of active enzymes (pet shop) and then neutralize any remaining odor to prevent repeat performances (vinegar is supposed to do well)
2) Vet visit to check for UTI.
Night before last my Jap. Bobtail boy, Kashi, jumped up in the bed and laid down on top of me, as he usually does. There were already 2 other cats in the bed. He stayed for a little bit. I noticed that he wasn't purring, which he always does and didn't seem to want to get a good chin scratching, which is also unusual. Suddenly he stood up, turned his back to me and squatted. I couldn't believe he was peeing but I felt under him and, sure enough, he was. I yelled at him & chased him off the bed. His urine was very strong, but male cats urine usually is, so I didn't think much about it. The litter boxes were just outside the bedroom and there wasn't anyone else in them at the time. I thought maybe he was mad because the other cats were in bed, but I also worried that it was a physical problem. He went back out to the kitchen and ate & drank, so I went back to bed. The next morning (Thursday), I kept watching him. He seemed more subdued than usual and about 2pm I saw him drink water & immediately squat. I called the vet and rushed him to her office (18 miles away - in the middle of a snowstorm). As he stood on her examining table he had a few drops of urine fall. He, also, had gone a little in the carrier on the way to the office. He has a partial obstruction and a UTI (urinary tract infection). He is still at the vets office. She said he could probably come home tomorrow, but if we get the snow storm that they are predicting, I will probably leave him there until Monday. I would hate to bring him home and then have him get worse and us be snowed in. He is strictly an indoor cat so this is nothing he could have "caught" outdoors. Seems like "the boys" always seem to have more urinary problems that the girls. Smaller urethra and prone to developing crystals, I know. I still like boys best. :)
For now, I've been letting the cats come in and eat and then stay in for a few hours before I put them out again. I hate to do that, but I just can't figure out a solution right now. This is a huge problem for me, because I can't smell the urine. I know that must be almost impossible to believe, but it's true. If I don't see them do it, I probably won't know, and that means I won't know to clean it up properly. My whole house could be soaked, and I might not know. It's scary.
The humorous part, if there is one, is that, now that I'm actually trying to keep them out, both cats can't wait to get inside. That goes double for Kitty. When I think of the years that cat hated to be inside. She would come in, eat, and demand to go right back out unless it was below freezing out. She even wanted to go out in storms. Now she lives at the door, constantly waiting to get back in. I put her out. She sits at the door stairing in much like the raccoons do in summer. It's like she's looking in, hoping to catch a glimpse of someone (me) who can open the door for her. When she does get inside, she eats quickly and then goes to her favorite chair in her favorite corner of the LR where she curls up for a nice, cushy nap - and then I show up to put her out.
Wish it didn't have to be that way, but for now I just don't know what else to do. Anyhow, seems this is just one more way in which they are exactly like us. They want what they can't have. If I had known this sooner, I would have tried locking them out 2yrs ago when I wanted them to stay in more.
Lastly, I recently purchased a catnip 'soaked' fish, a Pollack (with Jackson Pollack style paint drizzles on it). It's not one of those plush items you can fill and refill. I got one of those, too, a carrot, but they turned up their noses at it. The fish is different. It's stiff and sort of rubbery - but fabric covered. Not sure just what it's made of. It's about 10in or so long. Anyhow, both cats love it. Right now it's in my bed - so Cocoa has something to play with in there. Every day both he and Kitty come to my bed to play with it. Cocoa holds it and does those bunny kicks, something I've not seen him do with other toys. The Pollack was another good purchase. I probably have 4 or more 'bad' toy purchases, things they never play with, for every good one. The favorites list is very short: catnip ball, Spicy Mice, Pollack fish, fish on pole, rod & reel. That's about it. Oh, and "Da Bird".
Seems like you have shared that you have white carpet. If that is the case, you should see visible staining if they are using any other areas. hopefully that was an isolated incident. Aren't those rabbit kicks funny!!
Silvrwlo, Really great that you caught the urinary infection (UTI). Inappropriate elimination is a huge sign of the cat having a physical problem. We had one cat who was very prone to them. He would specifically look at us and then pee right in front of us to alert us that he was having an infection. It happened too many times to think it was a coincidence.
I brought Kashi home on Monday. He is taking Phenoxybenzamine, a urinary tract antispasmotic, 5mg. One half tablet twice a day for 30 days. He had a urinary tract infection (was given an antibiotic injection that lasts for 14 days). No crystals in urine, thank heavens, ph7 which is good, but is having urinary tract spasms. It takes him longer than usual to urinate, but I can see slow improvement. He is still more subdued than usual & seems to be licking his genital area more than usual. Hopefully this will improve & the problem won't return. However, I realize that the chances of future episodes are quite high. He is being great about taking his pill. Once he gets to feeling better he is going to have a job whipping the other 5 back into line. He is "The King" and, normally, doesn't let them forget it.
I'm very glad to hear that Kashi is doing better. That had to be very scary for you.
That urinary tract problem seems to be a major problem with cats. I could be wrong, but I think it is more common in indoor cats, especially males. Does anyone know what causes it? Isn't it linked to cat food, something about the ash content? If so, why don't cat food manufacturers make changes to their formulas to eliminate the risk? Or am I totally confused about this?
I appreciate you telling me about this. I don't believe Kitty is experiencing this. To start with she's female. Also, she doesn't show any sign of pain or illness. She's eating fine, like a horse really, and unlike Cocoa she eats mostly canned food - or am I wrong that the problem is more likely to occur with dry food?
This issue has been going on with Kitty pretty much from the beginning, except that this is the 1st time I've ever seen her urinate outside of the box. Kitty will use the box quite well for weeks, months even. During these periods when all is well between her and the box, she will even stop off to use the box immediately before going outside. Thus it seems as though she prefers the litter to outside - for urination, that is, not for anything else.
Then one day, often after I decide to either add more fresh litter (same type, same container even) to compensate for what has been removed or decide to clean the box and replace the litter completely, she stops using the litter completely. This is conspicuous by the lack of 'clumps', of course. During these periods of non-use, I have always worried about the carpet/floors, but have never seen any evidence that she was going outside the box. Since she isn't inside all the time, I figured she was urinating outdoors during these intervals. Sometimes, often even, she would even come to me (repeatedly) demanding to go out. This helped to fuel my belief that she was going outdoors to urinate during these periods when she reject her litter.
When this happens (not using the box), it seems as though the litter is not acceptable to her for some reason. I've even seen her, several times during these intervals, go to the clean box, sniff it, and then walk away. If only one box is thus affected, she may head to another and use it instead or she may go to the door to be let out. Unfortunately, this last period of non-use leading up to the 'carpet infraction' was precipitated by my decision to replace the litter in all 3 boxes at the same time.
The 1st time I observed this behavior (2yrs ago) I had made the regrettable mistake of replacing the litter with a different kind of litter altogether. Once I realized she wasn't using this new litter, I replaced it with her regular litter, but she still rejected it for a while.
Since that 1st incident, I have stuck with the same brand of clumping litter, the one she was using well in the beginning. Still, we go through these intervals when she refuses to use the litter, usually after I add more fresh litter or when I replace the litter completely with fresh litter. Several weeks go by and then she suddenly starts to use the litter again. It's the same every time.
Hmm. Just a thought. Could it be the scent of the fresh litter - you know how some of them are scented, like lavender or something? Maybe something about the 'perfume' the manufacturer adds is objectionable to her. After a few weeks that scent probably dissipates enough to make it acceptable for use. I hadn't thought about that until now, but she always seems to reject the litter when it is 'fresh', not when it is used.
Scented litter is for the benefit of the owner' s nose, not the cat. I use unscented, with no added baking soda or other "helpful" additions. If you change out the entire box, try putting a scoop of the used litter back into the new clean litter, so she knows that it's usable. Think like a cat. " Hmmmm doesn't smell like I've gone here before, better find another spot. " Kitties are particular about where they eliminate, especially if they've lived a feral life, it reveals their presence and makes them vulnerable to creatures that would hunt them. We only have two litter boxes for five cats, but they are huge...we got them at a farm and truck supply store and they are used, I believe, for oil changes on big semis. They are about 30" X 50", I take them out in spring and fall to scrub the inside of them. Fortunately, my tribe has no objections to clean litter, in fact, it seems to be an invitation to a whoopee party.
The bright side is that the wonderful new clumping litter seems to eliminate odor without the help of additives.
Update: Kashi was slow on improving. Tuesday, Jan. 31, I was able to get in touch with his breeder in Canada. I wanted to know if she had ever had any experience with cats having urinary tract spasms. She said she had a whole male that had a blockage several years ago but never any spasms. She called several breeders in other parts of the country that had been in the cat business for many years and no one seemed to be able to offer any advice. Kashi was voiding small amounts at a time, going frequently, doing a lot of licking of his genitals, and appeared to take much longer than usual in the litter box. He continued to eat & drink. He was isolating more, no running or jumping. I called the vet's office on Tuesday morning, Jan. 31, and was told she would call me back. At 3pm I called to remind them that she had not called. I was told she was out on a call & they would remind her to call me when she came in. No one ever called. There are 3 vets in this office. One I like, one is OK, and one I don't like. The one I like is on vacation (Belated honeymoon, I think), so guess which one I got. I was fully prepared to call Wednesday morning & give them a piece of my mind. However by Wednesday morning Kashi was like a new cat. Alert, paying attention to the other cats, coming for his frequent lovings, and singing his normal songs. (Some of the Japanese Bobtails sing.) Now I have come to the conclusion that, no matter what that vet said, that he wasn't having spasms as much as he had a blockage. She said he had no crystals in his urine, but I still think he had a blockage and passed it during the night. I don't know how else to explain his sudden, complete recovery. I am just praying it doesn't happen again. I guess the moral to the story is - if your normally litter box perfect cat suddenly urinates elsewhere to head for the closest vet.
I could just feel your pain as I read your account. Seeing our fur babies in pain and not knowing what to do for them really is painful in itself, and what Kashi went through, and you by extension, sure sounded awfully painful. I'm sure glad to hear that he is doing better now. Your intuition on the subject sounds quite logical - about what happened and how the cat got better so fast. I hope he continues to do well and that this is over for good now. Thanks for warning the rest of us.
Recently, I think I mentioned a new catnip fish toy that my 2 cats both LOVE. On a recent Amazon order, I bought them 3 small toys, all with catnip. What can I say? I love to see them happy and having fun. Plus they are my only 'babies', and the toys aren't very expensive. I got two of those little plush (furry) toys, the type which come with a tube of loose, dried catnip and which have a vecro opening so you can fill them with catnip. Neither cat shows even the slightest interest in either of those toys. The catnip that came with them looks pretty old and stale. I guessing maybe that's why the cats have no interest in the toys no matter how much of the catnip I stuff them with.
The 3rd toy I got them was this Pollock fish which has become their new favorite toy: http://www.amazon.com/Yeowww-100-Organic-Catnip-Pollock/dp/B000F5XSH2/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_2
I put it at the foot of my bed one night for Cocoa to play with. Now, pretty much every night both cats come to my room in search of the source of that yummy scent and end up staying for quite a while to play with the fish, lick it endlessly, roll on it repeatedly, and/or curl up and sleep on it. They don't do this at the same time. First one cat comes to enjoy the fish, then the other. The fish doesn't have a slot where you fill it with catnip. Apparently, it's impregnated with catnip somehow and very strong catnip at that. The fish is made of something like canvas or cotton duck, btw.
I'm telling you this because, again tonight, like last night and the night before and the one before that and...Cocoa was at the foot of the bed licking that thing and bunny kicking it now and again. Kitty was in here earlier, and she actually walked away from a piece of hamburger (I had been hand feeding her bits of it) to go follow that scent (again) and roll on the fish. After Cocoa finally tired of the fish for the evening, he demanded to be let outside. When we got to the foyer, however, he found the catnip ball in there before he could get to the door, so he started playing with that. I had to take the ball from him so he would go out. (Because I had stopped what I was doing to go let him out, and I know him well enough to know that he would be crying for me to come back again in 10-15 min.)
--- Wow, totally OT, but I just saw on the news that scientists have found a 1ft long prawn (shrimp). OMG! Does that sound like good eating, or what? They showed someone holding it. The thing looks about the size of a cat - or Widget, my 5lb dog. Despite being so large they had to hold it in 2 hands, it still looked just like a regular shrimp. It's a new (to us, at least) species of prawn though. Strange.
Edited to add: I guess when I'm in the mood to buy them something else, I'll have to look at the other related toys (same brand). I'm not that excited about the banana, rainbow, or cigar, but I guess what matters is what the cats like.
Darn you, Cheryl. Now you got me craving seafood!!!! Shame on you. LOL
Of my 6 cats only one likes catnip. I wish the others liked it. They don't know what they are missing. You can see the expression on their face as they watch PIA rolling around on the floor "What the heck is your problem???"
I brought home a catnip mouse from the PetExpo yesterday. First five minutes they all wanted it, then Mini fell in love with it, now it's lying in the middle of lthe area rug unloved and unwanted. I was chided for not buying one for each but I've been around that block before. And proved right, once again.
Those huge shrimp do sound delectable don't they? If those things are edible - and if they are out there in numbers sufficient to be food 'commercially' - they might surpass lobsters for the 'yum' catagory. The one I saw was as big around as the average adult cat. A single prawn would feed like 6 or more.
I saw that on cable news that day. I tried to google for a picture. Looks like the huge prawn was found off the coast of New Zealand (and Antaractica?) and some 4miles down in an area where scientists are doing some research. I get the idea they may think it's an ancient species. While looking for info just now I saw something indicating the researchers who found this may now be MIA. Hope nothing happened to them.
For cats, the ability to enjoy catnip is genetic. If some of your cats are related, that might explain why you have so many who don't care for it. Laughing at the image of 'non-catnip' cats watching in wonder and confusion as the one cat is getting 'high' and having a blast.
Don't you hate it when that happens? The only thing worse is when you buy a toy and nobody shows even a moment's passing interest. I have some of those unfortunate purchases, too, including that not inexpensive remote-controlled mouse I might as well toss.
Sometimes my two will play with something enthusiastically for a while and then ignore it for days before going at it again. The catnip ball was like that. Of course, it was lost under furniture at the time. For my group whether they show any interest in catnip toys - and we have many they totally ignore - seems to depend a lot on WHICH toy I buy. The don't seem to be all the same. We probably have a dozen catnip toys and only 3 keepers in the bunch: the ball, the pollock, and the spicy mice. The latter quickly become undesirable (ignored) unless/until I put them back in the container to marinate in the loose catnip for a while. I have no less than 4 of those 'kong' toys, the small plush toys with velcro opening for catnip, and neither cat has ever shown so much as a moment's interest in any of them. We also have a 'totally unloved' catnip mouse around here somewhere. It really depends on which toy I buy.
Sorry your 'gift' was met with such limited interest. Maybe next week they will love it again?
I think the favorite toys are the ones we don't intend to BE toys. I just retrieved my hair band (that has been missing for 2 weeks) from one of the "critters". Cardboard boxes barely make it in the door before they are jumped in, jumped on, or just plain jumped. Anything off the bathroom countertop counts as a great toy. Lipsticks, mascara wands, q-tips, toilet paper rolls, etc. Plastic drinking straws continue to be the all time favorite. I don't know why we humans continue to spend money on cat toys. We have toys all over the house.
For those of you who cook for your critters - here are a couple recipes from the "Truth About Pet Foods" website.
Why not fix your the furry love of your life a special meal for Valentine's Day? Here are two recipes for a Valentine's meal for your dog and/or cat.
Lovin' this Cat Food
1/4 cup beef; roasted chuck roast or similar cut
1 ounce tuna; grilled
1/4 can clams
1/3 boiled egg
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground sunflower seeds; dried, no salt added
1/2 teaspoon cod liver oil
300 mg calcium or 1/8 teaspoon ground egg shell
Combine ingredients into a food processor and blend.
Serves one ten pound cat two meals.
For the Dogs:
Lovin' this Dog Food
1/4 cup beef; roasted chuck roast or similar cut
1/2 can sardines in olive oil
1/2 cup red beans; cooked until soft
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup cabbage; steamed
3/4 cup cauliflower; steamed
3/4 cup broccoli; steamed
2 teaspoons sunflower seeds; dried, no salt added
400 mg calcium or 1/4 teaspoon ground egg shell
Cut beef into bite sized pieces. Combine mashed sardines. Add beans, quinoa, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli sunflower seeds, calcium and mix well.
Serves one 30 pound dog two meals.
I hear you. I loved watching all the fun the raccoons had playing with a simple, empty yogurt container in the 'pool'. But believe it or not, not all cats will play with the things you mentioned. My cats never play with anything in the house except those few catnip toys I mentioned above. Once or twice they played with one of the dog's toys when they 1st began coming into the house but nothing else.
My cats are indoor/outdoor. I don't know if your are indoor only, but I've been developing a theory about the differences between indoor cats and those who spend a good deal of time out of doors. Because outdoor cats are accustomed to playing with real, living creatures, things that entertain them by moving on their own, I think they never develop the kind of creativity house bound cats apply to play. Lacking the full time menagerie of creeping, crawling, flying, jumping, etc 'playmates' by which their outdoor cousins are surrounded, indoor cats learn early on to be inventive in 'seeing' playthings in the plethora of inanimate objects around them. If my theory is correct, and I believe it is, life indoors actually brings out the creativity of cats and tasks their intelligence in unexpected ways.
Bottom line, I'm happy for you that your cats are able to see playthings in all those readily available and inexpensive items around them, but my cats totally ignore those things. So far, at least, my [mostly outdoor] cats don't get up on counters [yet] and really don't interact with my things at all. Cocoa did get up on my dressing table a time or two, mostly because the little seat I left pulled out made a perfect step stool heading up there. Each time he found himself up there, he merely walked across the surface, carefully stepping around and between the collections of lipsticks, eye pencils, brushes, etc, arriving at the other side and jumping down w/o ever having disturbed a thing. I rather like that they play with the toys I buy them (a few, at least) and, so far at least, leave my things alone.
Cocoa will play with a drinking straw but only if I 'power' it. I did play chase the straw with him a time or two but decided on cat toys because I ended every round of the straw game with bloody, scratch marks. Having grown up in the wild, Cocoa never learned to play w/o using his claws. When he gets excited, the length of a drinking straw is inadequate to protect my hands and forearms from his long reach. Even for those times of interactive play, I decided that cat (and human) approved toys work best around Cocoa as they keep my hands out of the shred zone.
Thanks for those yummy looking recipes and for the gentle nudge to treat the fur kids on Valentines day. Now that I'm working again, and working overtime right now, I don't find a lot of time to cook for myself much less the critters - not like when I was home a year ago. I did finally make Widget a large batch of dog biscuits which he has been receiving as treats for about a month now. He loves them, and never gets tired of them. I flavored this batch with 1cup of dust and chips from the bottom of the container of dried liver treats plus dried milk, 4 eggs that were getting a bit old, some finely crumbled hamburger, and a bit of bacon grease. I baked all of that into very hard 'bricks' with corn meal, rice flour, and a little wheat flour. It made probably 2 boxes of very tasty, treats. I kept a small ziplock bag of them out and put the rest in the deep freeze for safe keeping. Widget gets excited when he sees me get the bag out.
I'm going to mark those recipes of yours. I may not have time to make them for Valentines day but will almost certainly try them when I do get time. Thanks.
Early this morning before work I went out to the garage to get my multimeter. Just after I returned from the garage, I heard Widget doing that whimpering/whining thing. He almost never does that, and when he does it's always because he needs to show me something or tell me something - like when he needs to be let out. At 1st I thought I might have locked him in the garage by mistake, but then I realized the sound was coming from the opposite direction. I followed the sound to find him with his nose up against the back door trying to tell me that Kitty was on the other side, meowing, desparate to come in for some breakfast.
It's no small thing that he did that for her, because I had already gone to the door to call her several times and, being in a hurry, was not planning to do so again. Had it not been for Widget, she would have missed breakfast this morning.
That is so sweet that Widget really wanted to help Kitty. I have very fond memories of my mare responding to distress calls of a blind horse who panicked when he got separated from the herd. Upon hearing him, she immediately galloped over to him and led him back to safety, even though she was just a visitor, rather than an established member of the group.
What a sweet story. I find animal behavior very interesting. I also find that they are more similar to us than most people think.
As for Widget, Kitty very definitely would have missed breakfast that morning had it not been for Widget's actions of very clearly alerting me that she was at the door wanting in. I was surprised to see him do this because, while Kitty goes out of her way to be friendly to him, Widget doesn't usually seem that fond of her, mostly because of jealousy. He's jealous of any treats or affection I give her and will often try to get between me and her to crowd her out. Thus I was shocked that when it counted, he came to her rescue and let me know she wanted in.
As this post explains, 'Cheryl' is a fictitious character created for the purpose of my doctoral work at the Ecole Polytechnique. The characters of Kitty & Cocoa were also fictitious composites created for my research. I want to extend my thanks to all of you on the Kitty & Cocoa threads as well for your help in furthering my doctoral work.
Oh, no, I'm sorry, but the thesis is the property of the university. I'm sure it would only bore you anyhow. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy must make application in person. Sorry. French law. You can use google maps for directions. The Ecole Polytechnique is in Paris.
What is this, how you say, "April Fool's joke"? I will need to google this and get back to you.
I had the feeling for a while there that you might be about to jump across the Atlantic to choke Alain. Your response was my 1st clue that people might react strongly to 'Alain'. After that I spent some time today fearing I might come back to find several pages of 'flame' here.
Just so we are all on the same page. This is Cheryl. I am real. (I can tell that from the pain in my lower back and the soreness in my knees.)
The upset earlier and the note from Alain was all part of an April Fool's joke. It is Alain who is fictitious, btw.
Oh, and Ms Kitty and her son Cocoa are very, very real. Ms Kitty waits for her breakfast in a shady spot in the backyard each morning and then comes racing across the yard like a greyhound the moment I open the door. It's a scene I enjoy watching very much, Kitty galloping full speed across the small backyard and through the back door all the way to her chair in the cat room where she waits impatiently for me to fill her dish.
Cocoa is a bit more hit and miss. Sometimes he comes in the morning, sometimes in the evening. Often he skips a day or two, but he always finds his way back home, and when he does show up, he expects 100% of my attention during his visits - even to the rather annoying extend of trying to sit in my lap while I'm eating my breakfast, if that's what it takes to get full attention. Despite missing meals, he is looking a tiny bit rotund lately. His girth is beginning to alarm me, but since he only eats here every day or three, there is little I can do to control his intake.
He is not huge, mind you, not like some butterball cats I've seen on TV, but his tummy is clearly sprawling a bit, as evidenced by the way he now sits with his back feet spread out a bit to make room for his gut. For a while now I have noticed that he is really heavy to lift. He makes Kitty seem weightless. Recently, I saw a show about the plight of obese cats. I was surprised when they said that, in general, a healthy weight for most cats is between 6 to 10lbs, maybe 12. Cocoa weighed over 13lbs back when he was still looking skinny. I'm almost scared to weigh him now.
Oops. Didn't realize how late it had become. Gotta get some z's.
I guess we've pretty much settled into fairly familiar patterns now. Kitty has her routine, and Cocoa has his. These days Kitty eats here but otherwise ignores me most of the time. I guess I've sort of given up, for now at least, on getting really close to her. Except that I do pet her and even occasionally pick her up (but only for a minute and then right back down before she has a chance to protest) when I feed her. The hope is that she may eventually connect being held & petted with food. I figure food is a positive thing, so maybe if I can get her to connect food w/being held and petted, maybe she will learn to view these things in a positive light as well. I figure it can't hurt. Not much to lose by trying. No sign of improvement on that front so far.
Today, however, Kitty really surprised me. I came home early. On the way home, I stopped off and picked up some groceries. Kitty was on the back patio where she spends much of her time lately. As I was carrying bags into the kitchen, I heard her meow loudly at the patio window. I let her it and then went back to work putting away groceries. I was standing in front of the fridge where I had several bags of frozen and refrigerated items that I was sorting through, putting each in its proper place.
Kitty was sniffing around in the bags, checking out each item one by one. At 1st I thought maybe she wanted to get by, but then I realized she was actually checking to see what I had gotten for her. It was the 1st time I had ever noticed this behavior. She seemed to understand that I had been grocery shopping and that I usually get things for her. She seemed to know exactly what she was doing as she rifled through the bags as though checking to see what was in there for her. She continued this behavior even as I went back for several more bags.
I don't go grocery shopping often. I usually wait until there is almost nothing left to eat. I probably only go about 1x month lately. Often when I do go it's because we've run out of cat/dog food. Actually, we did run out of cat food about a week ago. The cats have been eating high quality food for some time now. When we ran out, I didn't feel like going to the store right away. I figured they would probably be willing to eat the cheaper food (the one I buy for the raccoons) for a couple days. Sometimes they actually show an interest in that cheap food (even when they have the good food). I think it's just that it's something different. Normally, I don't give it to them, although they do scurry to grab any bits that I may drop while scooping up food for the raccoons.
They had been eating that cheaper food for a few days, and I could tell they were both getting tired of it. As Kitty continued rifling through the grocery bags, I thought maybe she was checking to see if I had gotten her more dry food. I stopped what I was doing, and went out to the car to get the bag of Iams I had bought them (to get by until I can order more of their food). I took the bag of Iams to the cat room, and she followed me. I filled her dish, and she stayed in there eating while I finished unloading groceries. Then she went outside.
It almost seemed as though she really had been snooping through grocery bags for that dry food. Either way, it was sort of cute, something I hadn't seen her do before, and something that seemed to acknowledge that she lives here, that this is her home, and that at least some of the groceries may be for her.
I'm here battling the typical and not so.. medical challenges. Latest being Rt. ear infection that Dr is treating aggressively as possible Shingles. We never know what lies just around the corner!! I have faith that this tool shall pass!
I'm very sorry to hear that you are having problems with your ear - and possible shingles. Shingles sounds very scary - and horribly painful. When my sister had it recently, she was in the hospital on morphine. Sure hope you will be feeling better very soon.
BTW, there is a vaccine for shingles now. I'm not sure how it works exactly, whether you can benefit from it after you have experienced a bout of shingles, etc, but you should probably ask your doctor about it to see if it might be recommended for you. It's my understanding that you can have shingles more than once. (Isn't that awful?)
I'm still here, and Kitty, Cocoa, and I are all doing fine. I've been very busy lately - feeling great and having tons of energy now that I'm on the hormones, so I've been super busy doing all those things I didn't do the past few years when I was feeling so bad - but the main reason I haven't posted in a while is that, well, I had begun to think maybe no one was interested anymore (sniffle, sniffle, honk) - either that or everyone was mad with me about that Apr Fools fiasco (h-o-n-k!). I'm very happy to hear from you and see that some may still be here. :-)
I have a long ToDo list for today, so need to keep it short - like that's actually possible. LOL.
Quick update on Kitty & Cocoa:
Both are happy and healthy. They still don't particularly like each other, but they seem to have learned tolerance. Some mornings when they are eating breakfast, I look in there and they are so twisted and contorted around each other, each standing in his/her own spot while eating from the others dish, that they appear to be in the middle of a game of Twister. Cocoa tries to steal Kitty's food, and rather than argue, she just reaches over him and helps herself to his food. There contorted postures are all the more humorous considering that it's all the same food. (I think Cocoa just wants to be bossy - and, luckily, Kitty ignores him.)
Kitty remains aloof and mostly unwilling even to be petted, this despite the patience with which I make sure she gets her can of Fancy Feast each morning, carefully chosen from among her very favorite flavors. Even after 2+ years, I remain her waitress, doorman, and litterbox attendant. I've come to accept that this may always be the case but remain forever hopeful, nonetheless. She is one strange cat, too. A few nights ago as I was sitting on the patio with the raccoons, I looked over my shoulder to see Kitty sitting there behind me (and on the other side of the glass paneled door), just sitting there watching us through the bottom pane of glass - unwilling to have anything to do with me and yet sufficiently interested to sit there watching the entire time I was outside. Very strange.
Cocoa is the antithesis of Kitty. He's a big, loveable guy who demands to be the center of attention. When he comes inside, he wants me to sit with him. He knows he has a dish of food in the cat room, but he wants me to hold him and feed him on the bed (dry food), a 'bad' habit I started last year when he was afraid to go to the cat room alone to eat. Now he's just spoiled, not afraid. If I'm working in the kitchen, doing housework, etc, he will sit on the great room chaise and call me loudly and repeatedly, insisting that I drop everything to sit with him and pet him while he eats. Other times, and this really drives me crazy when I'm busy, he'll get in front of my feet (if I'm in the hall or other narrow area) and move at a snails pace so that I cannot get past him to get things done. He does this intentionally trying to get me to sit down with him. And it's NOT ok if I sit beside him (while he eats) and work on my laptop or read a book. No.no.no. He'll stop eating and curl up trying to sit on my laptop (or book). He won't be happy (and eat his food) until/unless I drop everything and focus entirely on HIM.
He can be annoying when I'm particularly busy, but he's such a sweetie that I'm usually very happy to see him and spend a little time with him. He makes me smile. :-D
So nice to hear from you on both threads Cheryl! No, we're not tired of hearing about your adventures... on the other hand, I don't expect you to "entertain" us & thought you might need a break.
I'm getting ready to embark on an adventure similar to your Kitty & Coca one. I've taken care of a semi-feral cat at work for a number of years & a stray kitten showed up a couple of months ago. Long story short, when I got her in to be TNR'd, they told me she was 8 months old, weighed 4 lb. 4 oz (after I'd fattened her up for 5 weeks) & had a broken leg, that had somewhat healed. I'd fallen in love with her, but didn't have room at home for another cat. I have 1) a 12 1/2 yr. old Siamese mix (from a rescue at 10 weeks); 2) a Maine Coon, from a rescue last fall - who supposedly was 4-6 years old, she's more like 8 according to my vet. She came from a multiple cat environment, a requirement, because I'd recently lost my semi-feral who was great buddies with the Siamese mix - HA! - she HATES the other two cats, and it turns out that she has CRF. After several really challenging months, she's become a love, but we have to separate her from the other cats. Finally, cat #3) a 16 yr old cat, who I was fostering for my DIL for 4 weeks, (that was 11 months ago!), who has severe social anxiety (I'd never seen her in the 9 years that I'd visited them) & has never been around other cats, (she attacks my Siamese through the sliding glass door).
Luckily, the 16 year old will be going to my DIL's sister in July (fingers crossed!), so I plan to bring the sweet little stray home. She wouldn't let me near her at first, but kneaded & rolled onto her back, when I came to feed her, so I knew she was people friendly. Over the course of the past month, we've gone from having her quickly touch my nose with her hand; to loving it when I pet her (she lays down on my foot) & trips me when I try to get her food, because she's constantly winding around my legs; to - ta da - picking her up today & she actually relaxed, after a second, and didn't run away when I put her down!!! So, I'm looking forward to taking her home, when we return from vacation in mid-August. I haven't had a kitten, since we rescued the Siamese mix & am receiving so much joy from the kitten charm, and I'm sure she will be a good companion for the Siamese, because she tries to play with the semi-feral here, who doesn't want anything to do with it...
So, I'll end up with one more cat than I planned, but feel like it's a happy accident, since this little charmer found me! :-)
What a sweet story. The kitten sounds wonderful. Reminds me so much of my experiences with Cocoa. I don't know if you remember, but in the beginning, Cocoa wouldn't even come close to me to eat, even when his Mom and brother did. He would hang back, hiding in the edge of the front door shrubs while the other 2 ate. Back then sometimes I would give them a can of tuna, and he wouldn't come out in time to get any of it. He would only come out to eat whatever was left after I was gone, which was mostly dry food. And now look at him.
I'm so glad she found you.
PS. Wow. that's a big, cat family you've got there. A lot of rescues and a lot of love. Wow. My 2 can barely live together in the one yard/neighborhood. You did 'good'.
I'm still here, and still reading... just way tired today. Back in IL for a few days... woke up at 5am and have pretty much been on the "go" ever since... I think i',m gonna get ready for bed, but the sun is still up.
we are working on next yrs vacation... by using time shares, it really helps keep the costs down... think we are up to 7-8 weeks again... including a cruise. I just hope the weather is more like it was last year, and not 2010.
Here's something I neglected to mention about Mr Cocoa - who, btw, slept inside last night, slept right by me, slept with all 4 legs wrapped around his Pollock fish, plush toy as if hugging it close while he slept. The fish is stuffed with very strong catnip such that both cats find it irresistible. I had stored it away in a plastic bag for a while before returning it to them recently. Cocoa was alternating between bunny kicks and licking the fish when he fell asleep hugging it that way. He was still hugging it this AM when I awoke. Cute. Too bad I didn't have a camera handy.
So that thing I was going to tell you...When Cocoa was about a yr old I started using treats to entice him to come into the MBR. If you recall, back then he was ok with the rest of the house, which is very open, but afraid to venture into the more cave-like MBR. Later I started feeding him (dry food) in the MBR when he was afraid to go in the similarly cavelike cat room and also afraid of Kitty.
It's funny looking back at those decisions. He's over his house fears and his fears of Kitty now. He's a BIG fella now. He dwarfs Kitty, and these days I have to scold him about stealing her food. It's the ultimate Karma story with them. He just walks up to her dish now, and she walks away letting him have what he wants. I don't condone that, btw, despite how she used to treat him. I mostly feed her when he isn't inside now, to avoid conflicts.
Anyhow, the treat thing worked a LOT better than I ever expected. Not only is he fine with the MBR now, but he works on getting treats - as many as he can. He will eat his food at 1st when he's actually hungry. Then about 1/2 way through, he'll sit there starring at his bowl. That's his way of say, "I sure wish I had a treat." If sitting and staring at his food for a while doesn't get results, he'll come sit in my lap, hug up on me, etc. Finally, if even THAT doesn't work, he'll start poking me with his head, poking me harder and harder, saying, "where is my treat?!" Even if I give him 1 or 2 - or 5 - he'll just keep doing these things over and over. He'll try to eat the whole bag if I let him.
He's addicted to Whiskas Temptations. Sometimes he'll be doing these things, poking me with his head, staring at his food, and so on, and I'll be thinking, "What on earth is with you?" Then I'll realize, "oh, temptations treats. Ok." And since I always give in and give him one - and another and another - he keeps doing what works. Sometimes, after I've given him a handful already, I'll have to leave the room to get him to cut it out. He's a sweetie, but he's also a bad boy sometimes.
Kitty isn't that big on the Temptations. She will only very rarely even eat one. If I want to treat Kitty, it will cost me. I have to break out the big guns to get her attention: a bit of chicken, tuna, cheese, and sometimes milk. Oddly enough, Cocoa won't touch chicken and will only nibble a bit of cheese and a few laps of milk - but he does love tuna. I buy them a can of the cheap store brand tuna occasionally or the regular brands when there's a BOGO sale. Also I give them the juice drained from water pack tuna when I make tuna salad. They don't get tuna often. Not even weekly. Just every now and then.
The other day I baked a chicken (for the humans). Instead of tossing that bag of giblets as I usually do, I got smart and put those items in the microwave (in a little water) for a few minutes. Then I chopped the giblets and neck into small bits and put them in a container in the fridge for Kitty & Widget - both of whom LOVED them. I will never throw free treats away again.
This morning I awoke early-ish (for me, that is). I was excited to greet the day and get started on my many projects, the list of which I was going over in my mind even as I rubbed my sleepy eyes and headed to the back door to let dogs out and cats in. Now here I sit an hour or two later with Cocoa curled up asleep on my lap.
What to do. What to do. I really want to get some things done this morning, & time is rapidly escaping. Still, I hate to wake the big guy - and dump him on the floor. He seems so carefree, content, & happy here in my lap. Since he just made a 1/4 turn to stick his tummy up in the air, I gather he also feels quite safe here.
Isn't this just the way? If I were planning to sit for a while, perhaps to watch TV or read, he would never opt to take a nap here - only when I have things to do and places to go. But, oh, I do so hate to wake him - and there is no way I'm going to be able to move him w/o waking him. I'm pretty sure he placed himself here on my lap for a purpose, and being relocated elsewhere will not be ok with him. Plus, I hate to waste this opportunity to hold Mr Sleeping Beauty.
Oh, well. Maybe I'll try to split the difference - let him sleep a while longer and enjoy, then get up and do things.
For several months Kitty wouldn't have anything to do with me. She would stand still and allow me to pet her 2 to 3 strokes (don't get selfish and start trying to go for 4) ONLY when she was on her chair in the cat room either eating her Fancy Feast or waiting for me to open the can. Otherwise, forget it. Hands off. Leave her alone.
She would come in, eat, and leave again as soon as I opened a door. She was quite literally worse in this respect than when I 1st met her. It was more than a little disappointing. After some 2.5yrs of feeding her that can of FF daily, sharing my chicken sandwiches and rotisserie chicken with her, giving her my last slice of cheese, and pouring up a saucer of canned milk for her nightcap when she begged, I had somehow become an evil, evil person who should be avoided at all cost.
I tried everything I could think of but to no avail. I tried to play with her, tried the rod & reel toy she like so much but all for naught as she would have nothing to do with me at all. I had almost given up when, a few weeks ago, I got one last idea. Tuna. I waited for a time when Kitty was inside w/o Cocoa. I put Widget on the bed in the MBR and told him to stay. I needed to be alone with Kitty where she did not feel any competition from the 'boys' eager to gobble up the food. She needed to be able to taker her time to assess the situation.
The 1st night I just gave her the juice drained from a can of water packed tuna, something I hadn't given her in ages (at the time). She drank it all - and then demanded to go outside. The next night I sat on the kitchen floor and offered her a dish filled with the drained tuna - but ONLY if she would come to me to eat it. She could not eat the tuna in the cat room alone as with other food. If she wanted tuna, she had to come and sit by me to eat it.
She ate about 1/2 of the tuna and then got paranoid and demanded to go outside. Anytime I do something different (like sitting on the kitchen floor to feed her tuna), she eyes the behavior with extreme caution as though I am certainly up to no good & it's a trick or trap of some kind. She came to me long enough to eat enough tuna to knock the edge off her hunger and then insisted on leaving, eager to get away before I could spring the trick on her.
Frustrated and thinking the whole thing had failed, I gave up. I gave the rest of the tuna to Cocoa when he came in. I didn't feel like going through another round of the whole thing...but I was wrong. Within the next few days, I began to notice a difference in Kitty. She had changed. She had 'lightened up' considerably. The next night she came and hopped up beside me on the bed and asked me to pet her, something she hadn't done in ages. She has been friendly again ever since. Not normal cat friendly, mind you. Kitty friendly, but it's still a heck of an improvement over the cold shoulder she had been giving me for months now.
I was surprised that the one can of tuna (1/2 can really, since she left before eating it all) had made such a huge difference. I mean, already I had been giving her the FF daily plus little tastes here and there of whatever meat I had on hand. I didn't get any 'credit' for any of that stuff, just the tuna. The tuna turned things around 180 degrees. I think it was not just the tuna but also the fact that I sat down with her (even if that did frighten her). I sat down with her alone, gave her the dish of tuna alone. No Widget sitting behind her waiting for a chance to gobble it up. No Cocoa sticking his big head in the dish and pushing her aside.
Odd as it may sound, I really do think she is jealous of Cocoa. Even though she refuses to let me spend time with her, I really think she is jealous of the time Cocoa spends with me. Ever since I started letting him come inside the house, she has refused to come around me if Cocoa is there. If she comes to the MBR door and sees Cocoa curled up in my lap, she'll turn and leave no matter how much I call her. It the same outside, inside, everywhere. I think it's because she needs more time to go slow, time to decide if she should trust me. She can't compete with Cocoa whose already curled up in my lap when she needs time to decide. So she just says, "Oh, forget it."
AND, I actually think Cocoa knows this, enjoys it, and works on stirring the pot to make things worse. He likes having me all to himself. He likes lording it over her. He doesn't have to share. He's like the king of the castle, and she's like the church mouse. He eats that up. When I'm not around, he probably tells her how much I don't like her and how I only feed her to be nice. When he's around even her demeanor changes. She walks like the church mouse - not like the regal feline she is. I try everything I know to call her to me, to pet her (if she will even let me), but I can't get through.
I think it helped though when I gave her the tuna w/o the others around - helped because I did it that way, so she was special, so she didn't have to think she was competing with them, so Cocoa couldn't saunter around talking down to her in body language. Even though she didn't stay long enough to finish the tuna, once she got outside and realized that (1) it wasn't a trick and (2) it had been just for her, it finally did break though at least that latest wall she had erected. So now I've managed to get back where I was this time LAST year. Yay.
Saturday morning I went out in the backyard to stop and smell the lilies - and photograph them. Kitty joined me. Like old times, she accompanied me every step of the way as I walked around the yard. I tried to take some photos of her, but she spent the whole time right up under me feet such that the only thing I ever saw in the viewfinder was her back and the top of her head. (See Photo Attachments #1 and #2.) Photo 1 is representative of my normal view for most of the walk. Photo 2 is about the best I could manage w/o getting down on the ground with her. Still, they make the point of how close she stayed throughout my walk - and how much things have changed since the tuna incident which apparently made her feel special.
I was really enjoying our walk when I heard the faint call of a crying baby, or so it sounded. I looked up to find, well, see Photo #3, a zoom shot of Cocoa coming from far across the yard. Is it just me or does he look a bit annoyed to see us having fun without him?
As soon as Cocoa made his appearance on the scene, I knew Kitty would be leaving, and she did. She still hung around nearby, so she could go inside with us at the end, but she didn't hang with me anymore. Photo# 4, taken only moments later, shows Kitty in a chair on the far side of the patio table where she stayed until we went inside.
You know, I think Cocoa may be the feline analog of the boyfriend you just love, but none of your friends can stand, you know, that bad boy who looks so awesome in the macro lens but whose bad behavior is, oh, so evident to those who can see the whole picture clearly.
Finally, last night we had a Tstorm, lots rumbling thunder, raging wind, and torrential rain but really just your average variety, late afternoon or early evening summer storm. Nothing catastrophic. I was doing some work on my laptop during the storm when out of the bottom corner of my eye I saw something that didn't fit. I looked down to see the top of Kitty's head as she huddled close to my feet for protection.
Yep, things were truly back to normal, because no matter if she lets me pet her or not, when the thunder hits the air and the trees start to rock and roll, Kitty can always, always be found super glued to my ankles. No matter how much she claims to be afraid of me - or maybe just unsure - when she is in fear for her life (and Kitty is terrified of Tstorms), I am the one she crawls to, slinking low as she makes her way across the room as though expecting enemy fire to break out at any moment, and when she reaches my ankles, she is determined to stay with them step for step until the crisis is over. It is at such moments when I find her crouching at my ankles in a storm that I know I do matter in her life (as more than just a waitress/doorman, and when it really hits the fan, she knows I'm there for her.
Isn't it the truth - both that it's a shame I can't tell her and that you have to wonder what she went through in her earlier life. The farther we go down this path with her continuing to resist all forms of affections, the more I think she must have had it pretty rough somewhere along the way. You have to wonder if her prior owners maybe got a new cat on which they heaped all their affections while abusing her - and then finally dropping her off on the side of the road. She is a very sad case. At this point, I'm not at all sure that she will ever come around entirely. This may be the best we can hope for.
Over these past few years, I've tried and tried to invite her to stay (when Cocoa shows up) and be part of the group, but she always refuses. As soon as he shows up or if she comes into a room to find him there, she always makes a bee-line out of there, usually hiding out somewhere for hours after. It's a shame really.
Kitty came in again. She is still being noticeably more friendly ever since the tuna incident. I think that may be the thing I need to do to try to get through to her. I need to make a point to find some time occasionally to do something special with her alone. It doesn't have to be tuna all the time. I have to be careful not to spoil her too much. Don't want her to stop eating her cat food.
Sometimes maybe we could get together briefly over a couple spoons of milk in a small saucer or a half slice of cheese or single bite of chicken, just enough to let her know she is special. Sometimes maybe we could play with toys. Tonight she was actually in there snooping around in the toy bag, looking as though she wanted to initiate play, but then Cocoa came in and she left. Whether its food or play, I'll have to work at finding times when Cocoa is outside and then put Widget in the MBR, so it will just be Kitty and me. I can just see such a big difference in her since we did the tuna thing w/o the others. It seemed to mean a lot to her. She's been 100% different ever since.
I wrote most of this earlier but didn't send. Just want to add that, whew, balancing and juggling 3 insecure pets is going to take a lot of energy. Cocoa expects me to sit with him while he eats. Widget has to have some face time, too, and now I have to make special time for Kitty. Whew. Tonight I ordered a pizza. Cocoa was with me while I was eating, but he was just eating his dry cat food. Kitty refused to come near. She sat in the doorway for a few minutes watching jealously. After I finished eating and while Cocoa was busy upstairs, I called Kitty to the kitchen where I gave her a piece of cheese off the pizza and a small bit of milk and sat with her while she ate. After that she went outside. I can see it's going to be a LOT of work.
I won't be able to bring the new kitty home until the second week in August. The cat I'm fostering will be with us until mid-July, then we're going on vacation the end of July/beginning of August, and I think the new little girl, Cali, will be happier staying outside, on the grounds where I work, (it's a beautiful estate), instead of being shut in a bedroom in my house. I anticipate quite an adjustment period, before I can the other cats around her... or should I say cat. I'm not worried about how she'll get along with my Siamese mix, Kitzen - in fact, I think she'll be a great companion for him - but the new rescue, Marni, is a real diva... and, as I mentioned before, hates other cats. Unfortunately, Kitzen (although bigger than her) is very passive & is intimidated by her. I don't think Cali will be intimidated by Marni, because the semi-feral, at work, Tortie only tolerates her & often hisses or chases her; then 30 seconds later Cali will be stalking Tortie.
Meanwhile Cali charms me more each day. In the past couple of weeks, she's become one of those cats who simply can't get enough love. Today, I stepped on her paw for the first time, because she's always under my feet - fortunately, it wasn't the leg that was broken. Cali has become a lap cat, and only shows a bit of fear when my face is near her's; she's perfectly happy laying in my arms against my chest, if she doesn't see my face. I can't wait to bring her home! And I'm looking forward to her standing up to Marni, (really hope this will happen). I really empathized with your comment about juggling: Widget in the MBR & Cocoa outside, so you can spend "quality" time with Kitty. Right now, I'm in the guest bedroom with the foster kitty, while Marni wanders the house & keeps DH company, and Kitzen's outside. Come bedtime, Marni will be locked in her room & Muriel (the foster) will wander the downstairs, while Kitzen roams the upstairs. We will probably find a mouse or remains at the foot of our bed, in the morning, as we have the past 3 mornings - sigh, Kitzen loves us. I, too, wish that I could explain to Marni that there's enough love for all the kitties, (as she complains & swears, when we lock her in her room for the night,) and that we would like nothing better than to let her wander the house with the other kitties & share our bed, while we sleep...
Thanks for asking! Your situation reminds me of parents who are advised to give each child their special alone time with the parent. :-)
Wow. Your situation really gives me perspective. Our situations sound rather similar. Your fur family sounds like it takes a lot of energy, too.
When I need to make time for Kitty, I can put Widget on the bed and tell him to stay and he will sit right there for hours waiting for the signal that he can get down - one of the benefits of dogs. I don't put Cocoa outside as I don't want to cause him to feel slighted. I just find times when Kitty is in and he is out. That happens a lot. Kitty comes in each AM like clockwork and again when I get home. Plus she will come in several more times each day if I'm home. Cocoa isn't on a schedule like Kitty, and unlike her, he doesn't seem to stick so close to home. Being a young male, he's more inclined to wander a bit. He shows up when he shows up, although often he will stay inside all day or night when he does.
Kitty & Cocoa still have their spats (as with Marni and the others), but I don't worry about separating them because they have never shown a tendency to harm each other, and they both seem equipped to hold their own in the scuffles. These days they take their disagreements upstairs. I guess they realize that I disprove, so they go up there for privacy. One cat will slip away and head upstairs. As soon as the other cat realizes this, often when he/she hears the 1st ascending the stairs, he/she (2nd cat) will head for the stairs, too. It's as if ascending the stairs is the signal that "it's on".
When the 2nd cat hits the bottom of the stairs, both break into an all out gallop racing upstairs. After that I hear a lot of commotion up there, like there are 2 bulls up there having a knock-down, drag-out and wrecking the joint in the process. A couple minutes later, they both come back down the stairs, each looking very calm, collected, and innocent. Aren't cats a blast? Despite the sounds that emanate from up there where it sounds like one is tossing the other up against a wall a time or two, they come down w/o a scratch and the upstairs looks untouched as well, so I ignore them.
When you talk about Cali, it's often as though you are speaking of Cocoa as a kitten - all the way down to being constantly under foot. He, too, was/is exceptionally loving and always was once he got beyond his fear of me - plus early on he learned that he could corral me and control my steps by standing right in front of my legs and either refusing to move at all or moving at a snails pace while steering me where he wanted me to go, something he still does, although now I'm on to his trick. Like Cali, he, too, needs a lot of cuddling, so much so that I shutter any time I'm reminded how close he came to a life of being totally feral and alone, a situation that would have been so very wrong for such a loving, hands-on cat.
Glad to hear that things are still going well with Cali (and the others), and that she will be coming home soon. Keep us updated. :-)