This is the ongoing saga of Kitty & Cocoa, two former strays and now pets. This thread series began some 2.5yrs ago when a then 1/2 wild Kitty showed up at my door, emaciated and homeless, with 2 small kittens at her side. As she stood there quivering beneath a shrub at my front door, she hissed at me, unsure weather to seek my help or fight to defend herself and her kitten. She had been living on the streets for who knows how long and had grown fearful of all humans, and now she had 2 kittens which she had raised in the wild with no human contact at all.
I started this series then to discuss Kitty and her 2 kittens and the events surrounding my efforts to interact with them. In time I decided to adopt Kitty. One of the two kittens died after being struck by a car. The other, which I ultimately named Cocoa, remained wild. Back then he would only venture out of hiding at night in search of food. I fed him, but he would not come to me. I had him neutered via the county's TNR (trap, neuter, release) program and had to cage trap him for that.
Then one morning as I was walking my dog, I heard a cat meow and turned around to see the then mid sized, black kitten following along behind us on the sidewalk. Alone, his brother dead and his mother no longer willing to care for him, he had somehow decided that he wanted to be part of our family after all. I was very touched that day to see him feral and afraid, but nonetheless following us like a pet that day. It was a while still before he would actually let me touch him, but slowly Cocoa became a full member of the family - although he remains absolutely terrified of all other humans.
The two cats, while actually mother and son, have never been happy about living together, at least not since Cocoa was weaned. These days the two cats have ongoing jealousy issues despite my best efforts at harmony. And the story goes on...
Below is a picture from a few years ago of Kitty napping on Widget's (my little maltese) bed. (Widget's bed, btw, is at the bottom corner of my bed. Yes, he actually believes he needs a bed to sleep in the bed.)
What wonderful and much appreciated compliments. It's really good to hear that all of you are interested in a continuation of the story, and I appreciate you letting me know.
Sharon - Welcome. We are very happy to have you with us. Feel free to join in the conversation any time you like. Lurkers are also most welcome. I do that myself on occasion. Thank you for posting to let me know you are there.
I should add that ALL are welcome here. This is a wonderful, caring group where all are treated with the utmost respect.
I have a new cat. She has been with us since January. She was 9 months old and someone turned her into our vet. She is a Calico.
I have two new schnauzers. They will be a year in September. Perfect timing because now the cat and puppies are best friends. If she is outside, she follows us on our walk. We are trying everything to keep her in because we have Ravens and coyotes in the area. Raven during the early morning and coyotes at night.
I will be 70 in August and the first couple of months with the puppies just about brought me to my knees but it is going well know.
My brother had a feral cat that would feed at his back door and if he opened the door he would come inside but he could never touch him. One day the cat just disappeared. The cat had been there for over 5 years.
Yes, I there are a couple of forums I read regularly, but know that I don't have the energy to write regularly, so I don't feel comfortable involving myself. I've been following Cheryl's adventures for quite a few years, now, and she knows that I'm often quiet for long periods of time, but always here. Sometimes I feel guilty for being a voyeur...
I've admired your garden for some time - you have a greenbelt behind your house, if I remember correctly.
Emerald Hills is about 25 miles south of San Francisco in the foothills west of the bay.
If only you knew how much I have enjoyed meeting and trading with such special people. You are each very dear to my heart.
*OT (sorry)- I want all ofm y friends here and on other threads to know just how much I have learned from you and how special each and every one of you are to me.
It is looking grim on me renewing my DG membership in a couple weeks, I have had much increased medical & pharmacy charges, and find myself hanging on by a wing and a prayer.
I shall miss you all very much and will continue to lift each of you up in my prayers.
PS- Dogwood got out last Sunday and snuck in late Thurs. LoL, the way he tried to 'shrink' in size was a hoot as he crawlled past me, thinking himself invisable. Guess maybe you are familiar with the slow, low Puma crawl.
If you see this farwell in another forum, please forgive the redundancy. I didn't want to just suddenly dissapear and alsdo wanted my bfriends knew how important they are to me.
Peaace man (& women) hopefully I can join again some time.
105? Ouch! That sounds awful. I sure hope your temps have eased up a bit since you posted that, although from what I'm seeing on the news, it seems unlikely. So far here, it actually seems less hot than usual for this time of year, being only in the upper 80's. I hope our current weather holds for a while. We usually get into the high triple digits for 2 weeks or so in July/Aug. I do not look forward to that. Wishing you cooler temps!
I can also relate to the situation with your little dog. Some 7yrs ago I got a new puppy after the death of my very well trained and well behaved 13yr old dog. At the time I was still recuperating from knee surgery and a back injury due to a series of accidents, and I had no idea what I was in for with the puppy. I decided I'm too old for puppies (and you've got a couple decades on me - Wishing you a Happy upcoming Bday, btw!.)
What transpired between me and the puppy (at that time) would have been hilarious had I not been living it. I couldn't find the 'off' switch on my puppy. He just kept going and going - like the Energizer Bunny but faster - all day and all night. Like a 2yr old toddler, he was into everything.
When he was about a month old, to get him to go to sleep at night I actually had to hold him down on the bed beside me (with my hand over his back) and refuse to let him go, but that didn't stop him from waking up again later after I fell asleep. One night at 3AM while I was sleeping, he climbed up on the headboard bookshelf and then jumped down landing on MY HEAD some 2ft below. Thankfully, at the time he only weighed 2lbs, and he landed on the side of my head (rather than my face), but it still scared the @#&% out of me to be awakened so abruptly!
I can definitely relate to what you are going through with the puppy. I feel for you, truly I do, as I seriously considered sending my little menace back to the breeder during those early months. Hang in there, it does eventually get better. Hate to tell you this, but my puppy didn't really calm down much until he was about 6.
Just a quick word to let everyone know that things are still going fairly well with Kitty. She did get jealous and revert to her standoffish behavior a while back immediately following the incident in which she was at the door watching Cocoa sitting in my lap eating treats. The next day she was back to her negative behavior and would have nothing to do with me, having reverted to the old 'feed me and leave me alone' attitude. I was able to turn that around quickly though with a slice of cheese and some TLC.
Now I walk a tightrope, every few days giving her a special treat and a few minutes alone w/o Cocoa or Widget around, always seeking the right timing of these little private parties so as to keep some bond between us w/o letting her get so spoiled (from the treats) as to refuse her normal food. I save small bits of chicken and other meats for her treats when I have them. When nothing else presents itself, I use a little milk or a small bit of cheese. (She doesn't have any problems digesting milk.)
As a result of my new found insight and my efforts to reserve time & treats for her periodically, she now comes to sit beside me sometimes and follows me around when I'm outside. These are all things she was doing a year or so ago but which she had for a while ceased doing altogether until I found this new system. She also rubs up on my ankles when hungry now. She doesn't do this to the same extent as a 'normal' cat would do, but for her it's still big. Just a few weeks ago she would have nothing to do with me at all.
Kitty also now acts in a manner which I call 'flirty', doing little things to invite interaction, like rolling over on her back playfully in front of me and even looking around for her toys. She and I are really communicating again which is very so nice. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this solution and hope things continue in the current direction.
As for Cocoa, he's doing great. He can be a bit much sometimes when I'm busy, but he is now learning patience - since I started ignoring his demands and making him wait until I'm ready to hold him or pet him or let him out. Incredibly, and I thought this would never happen, he is actually getting along much better with Widget now. Cocoa used to pick on Widget rather badly. (I must have had the only cat that would chase the dog.) I don't know that he actually likes or particularly respects Widget now, but I think he has come to realize that Widget can be of benefit to him.
There was a time when Cocoa was afraid to stay in the MBR by himself. Even if I went to another room briefly like to get a drink or something, Cocoa had to get up and go with me, even if it meant getting up from a nap. Now he is comfortable staying behind even for relatively long periods as long as I make Widget stay with him. This is a huge change. Previously, Cocoa's behavior toward Widget was extremely dismissive, and he showed no sign at all of being comforted by Widget's presence. Back then he enjoyed bullying Widget, showing Widget his claws just to watch Widget cower in fear. Cocoa has now largely stopped such behavior and as a result Widget is becoming more comfortable sitting or sleeping near Cocoa. Sometimes now I also see them hanging around together outside.
Kitty & Cocoa have always gotten along well, but even they seem to be closer now. Most mornings when I let Widget out, Kitty will be there on the patio waiting. Before he goes about his business, Widget will walk over to where she is lying on the patio floor and will hang out with her for a few minutes. The two put their noses together such that they appear to be exchanging greetings and perhaps a bit of morning gossip. It's cute to see.
So glad that you've found a way to keep Miss Kitty engaged with you! It's frustrating to have a pet, whose only interaction with you is eating... Love that she's flirting with you!
I had to laugh, when I read this: "Kitty & Cocoa have always gotten along well,. Because that's not the way I remember it... Very happy to hear that things have turned around between Kitty & Cocoa, enough that you forget the difficult times. And how wonderful that Cocoa has found a symbiotic relationship with Widget.
Sounds like you've got one big happy family (for now! LOL!).
You got it right. That was a typo and was supposed to say Kitty & Widget have always gotten along well - and only because of Kitty's ongoing efforts to be his friend. While Widget has warmed up to her enough to be willing to hang with her on the patio to exchange morning pleasantries, he still readily resents having to share 'his' treats, and in his mind they are ALL his treats. This thinking is undoubtedly the result of his 5 or so years as an 'only child' during which he became accustomed to being the recipient of anything I was handing out. So it's only natural, I suppose, that he is now annoyed even when I give Cocoa & Kitty their cat treats, treats purchased for them specifically and which would not exist were they not here to eat them. All he understands is that before they showed up, he got all of the treats, and now he doesn't; therefore, they are taking his treats.
Oh, no. That was definitely a typo. I haven't had a chance to forget that Kitty & Cocoa don't get along - because they have never stopped arguing long enough. They ran upstairs this morning for a knock-down, drag-out. Not the dangerous kind though. Just the kind I described recently, the kind in which they make enough noise to have completely demolished the joint and then come down w/o a scratch - on them or the house.
This morning Kitty did the cutest thing. You probably had to be there to fully appreciate the humor, but I laughed out loud seeing it. She walked up to Cocoa in the hall downstairs. Standing there facing him and roughly an arm's length (cat's arm) from him, she very calmly reached out, placed her front paw against the side of his face - and then gave his face an unexpected, slow but forceful shove, pushing it around to the opposite side, starting out slowly and then giving his face an extra hard shove at the end, almost like a slow motion slap, except that doing it this way allowed her more power at the end of the shove than would have been possible with a slap. I had never seen a cat execute such a move. I recalled at the time thinking how Scarlet O'Hara it seemed.
The good news is that showing Kitty attention this way with food (and time w/o the others) has her starting to lighten up even at times when food is not involved.
ROTF. You are so right that the current balance in our home is tenuous at best.
I was wondering how you even managed to post a blank page. I didn't think that was possible. Good work! ;-)
Your fur kids are all quite adorable. The schnauzers are very cute, and I am very partial to calicoes as they remind me of paint horses.
Kitty & Cocoa as you know are both strays, Cocoa being Kitty's progeny, although I'm pretty sure she regrets that. Kitty is a brown tabby. Cocoa is rich, chocolate brown with an ultra dense, 1in long coat in winter and is sleek, shiny black in summer (after he sheds). It's the darnedest thing I've ever seen, a color changing cat, but he is solid brown, even a shade or so lighter than a Hershey bar in winter and as black as India ink in summer - but I rather enjoy the variety. Widget, the one that nearly drove me crazy as a puppy, is a purebred Maltese. He's like 7 or 8. I loose track.
When I last made a grocery run - again, I loose track - I made a rather startling discovery. Bilo (where I've been shopping as much as possible to get the fuel perks - got a tank of gas for < $2/gal last week, btw) had both Fancy Feast, Kitty's chosen food, and store brand tuna (human version) on sale at the time. I did some quick mental math in the store and realized that the tuna was actually cheaper than the cat food!!! I bought some 6 cans of the tuna in addition to my usual armload of FF. Both cats absolutely love tuna.
I just reran the calculations on the computer and sure enough the tuna was 2.4 cents LESS per oz than the Fancy Feast cat food! I'll have to redo the math when they are both back to normal price, but I'm pretty sure the tuna will still be close but a tad cheaper. For a while now I had been thinking this was likely the case. Even w/o doing the math, I had a general sense that the FF was probably comparable in price to tuna.
So, my question is...What do you think? Should I buy them tuna? I mean as a replacement for some of the FF, not all the time. Oz for oz the two are about the same. The cats LOVE tuna. And the tuna, being human grade, should actually be safer: no fillers, no grains, no bi-products, etc. Just 100% tuna. Rules for human food are stricter than for pet food (i.e., probably no kidney failure due to melamine, although that's not an absolute). I realize there is a nutrient that cats must get from their diet - they can manufacture all nutrients except this one, btw, but this one is absolutely essential. However, both cats also have access to unlimited dry cat food which includes the required nutrient (the name of which I can't recall at the moment, something like taurine, mayby), so that's not an issue. So I'm curious what you think? Given all the stated reasons, plus any you might think up, why shouldn't I buy them tuna to replace some of the FF they (mostly Kitty) currently eat?
Also, this store runs a LOT of BOGO (buy one, get one) sales. Periodically, they even run these 1/2 price (no limit) sales on tuna, name brand and even albacore. At 1/2 price even the name brand tuna will be significantly less than FF, so I figure why not 'dig in'. A while back I bought a 6pk of name brand albacore on BOGO. Got it for less per can than the store brand, regular tuna. I learned that it makes fabulous tuna salad. Wish I had bought more during the sale. Will definitely buy more next time - for ME.
So what are your opinions RE tuna for the cats? As I mentioned, I got them 6 cans on my last grocery run - and saved some 14 cents over the cost of FF in the process. I'll probably use that for special treats, but I'm considering tuna, when it is the same or less than FF, for some meals. To refresh your memory, both cats eat dry cat food daily, as much as they want. Kitty gets one 3oz can of FF daily, usually for breakfast. Every now and then Cocoa gets a spoonful of FF, up to about 1/3 of the tiny can. Mostly he prefers dry food, but sometimes he begs for some of the FF just because Kitty has it. He doesn't always eat it even if I give him some - and when he does, he often walks across the room and barfs it back up anyhow. Thus I try to feed her when he is not around. Thoughts?
There are times when I think I'm alone and then look up to catch the gaze of Kitty who has been oh so silently sitting nearby watching me, her 2 eyes and partial face peering out from behind a magazine rack or a basket of clothing. It's the strangest feeling, because I've no idea how long she has been there just staring at me that way and because she is 'supposed to be' off somewhere on her own ignoring me, or that's what she wants me to think. As soon as I see her sitting nearby, hiding behind furniture, watching me, she will will leap quickly to one side and bounce silently away.
Other times when I have been in my bedroom for some time and am certain I am alone and that she is off hiding out aloof in some little used corner of the house, upstairs perhaps where I rarely venture, I will arise and step out into the hallway only to stumble over her. But how could this be? Where had she been all this time when I had been completely unaware of her presence?
It's strange, but I have actually come to realize that there are times, often maybe, when Kitty is sneaking around in my footsteps and/or hiding out quietly in the shadows watching my every move even as she has me convinced that she is in some far corner of the house ignoring me entirely.
I've always heard cautions about feeding human tuna to cats. I realize that you are feeding small amounts, so it's probably okay. I've fed my cats human tuna, occasionally when I wanted them to eat a particularly distasteful medicine (& I mix it inside) or when my elderly cat wasn't eating much, so any food was better than nothing.
This is what I found on WebMD: "Cats can be addicted to tuna, whether it's packed for cats or for humans. Some tuna now and then probably won't hurt. But a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because it won't have all the nutrients a cat needs. And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning."
And another from EMax Health: "a steady diet of tuna can result in malnutrition. Another concern is mercury poisoning (which is a concern for humans as well). The human variety of tuna contains enzyme that destroys thiamine, and so cats who regularly eat tuna can develop a thiamine deficiency, which can cause neurological symptoms such as loss of equilibrium and seizures if not corrected. "
Again, I don't think an occasional treat of tuna is a problem, just tuna meals...
That is very good to know. I have let the two cats share a can of tuna on very rare occasion and even did so with greater regularity back when they 1st arrived and were eating at the front door - tuna helped to get them to come close to me back then when they were so scared. I've never noticed a problem other than the ongoing concern that they won't like their cat food if they get tuna or any other especially coveted treat too regularly.
Based on what you reported and my observations, I think I will continue to buy it on sale and give it to them infrequently for a special treat but will not seek to replace any major portion of their canned food meals with tuna as I had been considering. As you may have noticed, everything in the grocery stores is shrinking lately. Everything. It's one of the many ways manufacturers try to conceal price increases - like we are stupid - and with the current economy it is rampant. Food may even disappear completely if it continues shrinking at this rate. FF has dropped from 3.5 to 3oz while tuna has dropped from 6 or 7 down to 5oz, at least that's the size of the store brand cans I bought. So I figure the occasional 2.5oz meal of tuna won't be enough to do any harm.
The possibility of malnutrition is not a huge issue with my 2, because at most they only get a tiny bit of FF (or tuna sub now and then) and always have access to unlimited dry cat food plus anything they catch outside, and they continue to bring things home often. 2.5 to 3oz is not enough food for 1 day, so they have to eat a good bit of dry cat food daily no matter what. Even Kitty, who strongly prefers canned food, eats dry food daily to keep hunger at bay. Because of this, I know they will always get their vitamins.
I've read that their is normally only 1 nutrient that is of concern with cats. They can supposedly manufacture all of their other nutrients themselves, even vitamin C, something we can't do. This makes sense considering cats aren't inclined to eat citrus fruits or even much in the way of vegetables. The one nutrient they cannot make can be a big problem, however, if they don't get it from a food source, so all cat foods include it. Since they eat dry food daily, I know they get that nutrient. I believe the nutrient I'm talking about is taurine. Healthy cats can manufacture other essential nutrients in their liver, but they must get pre-formed taurine to live. Taurine is in all cat foods and is also available from meat sources, so either way, my cats are good to go there.
For me it sounds like there are 2 major reasons to avoid giving them tuna too often. One is the risk of them not wanting to eat their cat food. I had this concern already, because I'm bad about spoiling my pets with too many goodies and thus have seen this result too many times already, including with Widget and even the raccoons in prior years. The other is the risk of mercury poisoning, which I hadn't thought about and am super glad you mentioned. I'm surprised this didn't occur to me, because I'm even afraid to eat the 2 allowed weekly servings of fish myself these days. There is a lot of mercury out there and the fish are bathing in it.
Plus, another thing I've learned from my 2 Maltese over the years is that the effect of such things (even salt) is much greater on a small animal (than on us) just because of the amount per lb of body weight. I am very careful about not giving them much of anything w/salt (most human food). Even when giving Kitty the occasional bit of cheese, I keep it to a tiny sliver of hard cheese or 1/2 slice (or less) American cheese and even then < than once a week. When Widget eats even a tiny bit of anything with salt, even canned soup, he drinks practically his weight in water, so I can see that is very bad. I keep him away from salt. I've learned a lot from these tiny dogs. I'm sure mercury would have an even more profound effect on small animals, so I'm REALLY glad you mentioned this. See, this is why I knew it would be a good idea to get input from you guys.
To be honest, even though the rationale sounded good - buy pure tuna over tuna flavored food, if the price is the same - I don't think I was really ever going to go through with this. In the back of my mind, every time I spoke of it, I was always worried about getting them started on tuna as a regular thing. I kept thinking, "then what happens when tuna goes up and is no longer the same price as FF?" My answer to this question was always that it would be very difficult to ever get Kitty off tuna again once I got her started, and Cocoa, who currently loves and prefers his dry food would be 'ruined' once he got used to expecting tuna regularly. He already has a serious Temptations Jones to deal with.
When I sent the post it was there. But it never posted. I went back and pulled it up and copied it and opened another post, copied to that post and sent again and it still was not there. As you can see I did it many times. I am a stubborn Irish woman.
My DH use to give our female schnauzer, that died in October last year, cat food when he fed the cat, that also died in October. The vet said the worst food item you can give a dog is cat food because of ingredients in it.
I think tuna marketed for humans would be fine as a treat.
Our cat Izzy eats dry cat food freely and gets 1/3 of a can of FF everyday.
I tried giving her a little cheese today to get her to come over to me more often. She liked it and I have some by me right now but the only one interested are the puppies.
I spent the majority of the day in the front garden redoing a flower bed. Izzy spent about 4 hours with me wandering over occasionally to say hi and look to see what I was doing.
The photos I posted was introducing you to Cecil, Emma the schnauzers and Izzy the Calico.
One of the comments I made was how I laughed out loud about your story of the dog landing on your head.
I will check in tomorrow to see our your brood is doing. Sharon
As with most of the country, we are experiencing punishing temps. Today's forecast is for a heat indexed temp of 115-120F!!! Unfortunately despite these merciless temps and the sweltering humidity, Kitty & Cocoa just refuse to stay inside. We have also been under warnings the past few days for poor air quality due to elevated ozone. Widget is having difficulty with this such that I'm having to keep him on Benedryl to calm his coughing/hacking. Authorities say to keep pets indoors due to both the air quality and the punishing heat, but I can't keep Kitty & Cocoa in.
Kitty is inside right now, but she is having a fit to go back out. She stays on the back patio most of the day. It's on the north side of the house and his shaded both by the house and by the forest all day long, but it's still quite hot out there. She comes in a few times a day to munch on some kibble but refuses to stay.
I don't know where Cocoa stays. He comes inside in the morning and sometimes again around 5-6PM. He eats and then insists on going back out. I try to keep him inside hoping he will take a nap and decide to stay a while, but he wanders the hall hollering at the top of his lungs, his way of insisting on going back out.
Oh, well. They know where the house is, and they know they can stay inside if they choose to do so. Both of them usually choose to stay inside during rainy days/nights and also when it gets really cold out. I guess if the heat were bothering them that much, they would stay in.
Our weather is a slight different than yours. We are 107 today but 5% humidity. Izzy insists going outside but at least all she does is stand by the french door and look out. Or wait for one of us to trip up and leave a door open.
So we let her out in the morning. She comes back around noon and does some eating and out again. When I walk the puppies around 4:30pm she comes out of hiding and walks with us. Then she follows us in the house and we lock her down in our minds and try very hard not to let her get out of the house. We had to close the doggie door because that gave her free range to wander
Two granddaughters are here from Vancouver, Washington. Izzy had decided they are OK and follows them everywhere and has been sleeping on their beds. The girls are 16 and 20 and cannot believe this cat.
I can call her until I am blue in the face and no Izzy. But when I walk the puppies, she comes out from no where and joins us. The only times she howls is when she get closed in a room. Thank goodness.
Have a great day, Sharon
I had to laugh to myself, although at the moment I felt like screaming, when shortly after my post describing my new system of dealing with Kitty, she did something which clarified how little I really know about dealing with cat psychology. If you recall, to battle Kitty's jealousies I had begun to give her very small, high quality treats which she and I could enjoy alone w/o having to deal with Cocoa or Widget. This seemed to be working very well to show her that she is special, too, and I was just starting to applaud my new idea when...
...the next morning when both cats came inside, Kitty waited a little while to allow Cocoa to eat his meal and then picked a fight (no bloodshed) and ran him out of the house. As soon as I walked back to the kitchen from letting him out, Kitty walked up to me, arched her back, rubbed herself against my ankles, and all but said, "Ok, now that he's gone, we can enjoy our time together - where's my treat?"
Well, this was certainly and unexpected wrinkle in my wonderful new 'fix'. This was not good. No, it was bad, very bad. Kitty had just gone after Cocoa with the premeditated intention of sending him out of the house so she could have a treat. THIS was what I had taught her? So, not good. Funny, in a looking at it from a distance sort of way, but not good.
From this I learned that Kitty is much more complex than I had realized. Going with my instincts, I did not give her a treat. I petted her and then left the room. I did not want to reward, condone, or even recognize such behavior. Since then there have been no recurrences of that behavior. I continue to give Kitty treats and do so when she and I are alone; however, I have taken care to do so less often and to shrink the size of most of the treats. I want them to say, "you are special." I do not want them to say, "You can kill the others if you like."
On a more positive note, last night I awoke to find Kitty curled up at my feet sleeping. This is the 1st time she has slept in the bed with us in AGES. And she slept at my feet rather than in Widget's dog bed, a slumber ball (as seen in the cover shot), which she loves and which is stationed on the lower corner of the bed. Widget, btw, was also asleep when I awoke. He was sleeping, not in his bed, but about 4in from Kitty, something I don't believe he has ever done before. It may take forever, but with a whole lot of patience and perseverance, we just may make a family yet, a family with issues but a family nonetheless.
Do you guys remember Gladys (Kravits), my very 'community active' neighbor from across the street? She was a main character in the very early episodes of this thread series. She didn't want me to adopt Kitty. She was trying to trap Kitty and had already decided that she wanted Kitty to remain wild as part of the TNR program. She tried very hard to dissuade me when she learned I was planning to adopt her. (Just a review to prompt your memory.)
This morning I went out before sunrise to take my recyclables to the curb for pickup. Around 7AM or so when I looked out, Gladys was out there at the street looking through my recyclables! She was walking her dog as she normally does and upon seeing my recycling had stopped to browse. What's out there is just a collection of cans, bottles, paperboard from various containers, magazines, and junk mail. Still, I guess if one is that interested one can glean considerable information from such things.
I guess Gladys could be looking for magazines. Once a couple years ago I did put a large stack of magazines out for recycling and they all disappeared before pickup. Might have been her. I've seen her pick up other items I've put out for garbage pickup. Pretty much any household or garden item I put out there disappears long before the truck ever arrives.
Still, she is very nosy. As she walks her dog around the neighborhood, she stops to talk to people and gather information which she then spreads as she continues her walk - sort of like the human version of a local newspaper.
Good afternoon. I have follow the saga of Kitty and Cocoa from the very begining. Found it to be so interesting.
It seems that the Gladys type is every where. There is a lady (I don't know her name though) near me who does the same thing. Peeping in garbage and recyclables but not taking anything like magazines or cans is being very nosy. I imagine that they are lonely.
Might have missed it at this thread or another, but how do your kitties make out with the fireworks and noise?. Do you give them anything to calm them down?.
I'd have to say... I do not know how our cats handle it... can't recall being with them on the 4th.
Bud does not handle it well... we always have 'doggy downers' on hand. At home in IL it's much louder than up here in WISC, and since we are so dry up here, most places have cancelled the fireworks... one reason why DH left Buddy up here with me when he went home a few days ago.
Mrs Kravits is still 'at it', huh? Doesn't surprise me, she seems to be the poster gal for Get a Life. (giggle)
The fact that Kitty and Gizmo slept so close together is a huge statement about how they are feeling about each other☺ That is so wonderful to read that they really are behaving more and more like family.
This is how we do recycling in Korea. We have to break down all of our trash ourselves into these many, many different containers. There is one security guard and one snoopy old lady that always walk over to see what the Americans are throwing out, LOL! I always just hand them my magazines and newspapers as these are such 'hot commodities'. I will never figure out why these kinds of people want to see the ...What? evidence of how we live? idk, it is such a weird thing to me.
As someone else mentioned here, I don't always know what's going on with my 2 cats, because mine are indoor/outdoor cats that are often not here during things like fireworks. I do know that Kitty is terrified of thunder. Her fear is the worst I've encountered. She almost totally shuts down, huddles at my ankles, and, if necessary to follow me, creeps along with her tummy hugging the ground as though expecting an ambush. It's heart wrenching to watch.
Sadly, I don't know of anything I can do for her other than just being here and continuing day in and day out to exhibit patience and perseverance in showing that I will always be be here for her. My hope is that in time she may eventually come to realize that she is safe now. I don't know what else I can do.
As I mentioned before, my dog Widget, who at 5lbs is about the size of a cat, is not afraid of storms or fireworks. He treats fireworks exactly the same as no fireworks. He and Kitty get along well and have begun to hang around together a bit, and I actually believe I see signs that he may be helping Kitty with her fears. She does pay attention to him. When he barks, for instance, she runs for cover, perhaps because she has learned that he barks when someone is at the door, and she is afraid of people. It makes sense that after 2+yrs around him she would have to realize that he is totally undaunted by storms/thunder. I think that is starting to have a bit of an effect on her, such that while she is still afraid, lately she seems less panicky during storms.
Sorry. I wish I had more to offer. I'm relatively knew to cats, so Kitty, Cocoa, and I are learning together as we go.
Edited to add that it is heartbreaking for me to have to watch Kitty when she is so terrified and not be able to help her, so I do understand how you must feel. Still, I just don't have any answers.
Last night I went out in the middle of all of the fireworks to see if I could find any of my cats and bring them inside. I knew it was a long shot, but I figured I would give it a try. It was a non-stop cacophony out there with the sound of rockets and machine gun fire, and the [grown] kids next door were even out there shooting off fireworks just a few feet from my fence (not that I hold that against them, btw. I figure everyone has the right to enjoy the evening. just pointing out that the fireworks were going off very close to my yard/house, not just at a distance.)
The raccoons had finished their food and left, so I went out on the back patio and called Kitty & Cocoa. I went outside instead of calling her from the door as I usually do. I was hoping my presence outside would make her more likely to take the risk to come out of hiding, but it didn't work. Then I went out of the front door and tried again. In the front yard I was particularly targeting Cocoa, as that is his hangout. I called to him & Kitty repeatedly and walked all the way out to the street in hopes that he would see me from across the street where he sometimes hides in the neighbors shrubs and would come home. Still no response.
I headed back across the lawn to the house and was about to step up to the front door when Cocoa emerged from behind the foundation shrubs to follow me. I was totally shocked. He had apparently been waiting out there between the shrubs and the house all along waiting to get inside. He just wasn't about to walk across the yard to me with all that commotion going on. He had waited for me to head back inside and had then come out of hiding only at the last moment and only a few steps from the door.
I was just too shocked that he had come out at all in the middle of the fireworks 'mess'. He came inside, ate a 'ton' of food and treats (ok, I let him have extras to calm his nerves - like us eating ice cream) and then curled up in my lap where he continually demanded more petting any time I tried to quit. It was clear the noise had him a little on edge, but he was not in a state of panic I suspect Kitty was (wherever she was hiding).
While Cocoa was still eating, Widget decided he had to go outside (for 'you know'). Widget is not afraid of fireworks, so I took him out front where he squatted, watered the grass, and came back in like any other evening. When taking him out, I had been afraid that Cocoa might get away. Anytime we go out when he is inside, he always has to go out with us, even if he plans to come back in afterward. In all that commotion, I was afraid if he went out with us, he would run away.
I worried for nothing, however, because this time Cocoa wouldn't go anywhere NEAR the door. He followed us but stopped in the hall a good 20ft or so from the door. He waited there for us to return. It was clear that he did NOT want to risk getting stuck outside again in that 'mess'. He was happier and felt safer inside during all of this, made me very happy. It really showed just how far he has come from those early days when he didn't even feel comfortable inside when all was quiet.
Cocoa spent the night inside, even after the fireworks had ceased. He slept on the bed beside my legs. About 3AM when I got up to get a drink, Kitty showed up at the kitchen door meowing loudly. I let her in, and, with the fireworks over, she seemed fine. The contrast between Kitty & Cocoa is growing almost daily now. Cocoa was raised in the wild, but unlike her he has never been abused or neglected, and it really makes a huge difference in his willingness to trust.
I do plan to come back over the weekend to get caught up on responses. Just had to much going on lately, but sometimes that's actually a good thing.
Hope all of the puppies & kitties (and their caretakers) out there got through the fireworks ok - so far. I say 'so far', because the 4th doesn't seem to be over at my house. Fireworks resume every evening. It doesn't seem to be such a bad thing though. The tapering days of fireworks following the big display on the 4th seems to be giving my bunch a greater opportunity to realize the fireworks aren't really going to hurt them.
Cocoa has come inside each night for shelter from the commotion. By the 2nd night he didn't seem all that stressed. I am thrilled that his response to this event was to seek shelter inside with us. There is no way I can see that this isn't yet another huge step forward for him.
Kitty surprised me, too, during this event. The 1st 2 nights she hid outside somewhere, only coming home for dinner around 3AM when the fireworks stopped for the day. Last night around dusk when I opened the back door to check for raccoons, Kitty shot across the yard & through the door like a rocket. I could tell she was already upset (anticipating more fireworks) by the way she crouched close to the floor and hugged my ankles. She was stressed, but not as much as on previous nights when she had been frozen in fear and unwilling even to risk coming to the house. This time she, too, had chosen the shelter of the house, and I was very happy to see this.
Cocoa was already inside at the time. She normally doesn't like to be inside when he is there, so I was concerned about how this would go. When I went to bed, I called her to come with me, and, incredibly, she did despite the fact that Cocoa was already in the MBR sleeping in a chair. I say 'incredibly' because normally Kitty won't come into the bedroom or come when called even w/o Cocoa being there, and she normally goes off to hide somewhere if Cocoa is around.
Kitty sat on the floor beside the bed and let me feed her some cat treats - even though, as usual, Cocoa came over to get into the middle of things. She usually runs off to hang out alone or go outside when he comes around, so I was thrilled that she stayed this time and continued to take treats even with him standing there. I continued to hand feed her treats, too, while momentarily ignoring Cocoa. I wanted to continue to reinforce the fact that she is important, too.
Shortly after that I fell asleep with Kitty still on the floor beside the bed, beside my side of the bed, and Cocoa back in his chair sleeping. I awoke several hours later to find Kitty curled up sleeping at my feet (ON the bed), again with Widget a sleeping a few inches from her. All in all, we seem to be making progress again. Fingers crossed, since historically we seem to always make progress up to a certain point, and then everything goes to heck and Kitty goes back to being overly aloof, and we have to start this tiring cycle all over again.
Izzy goes with us when we walk the puppies. She either comes out of the house with us or we coax her out of hiding on the walk.
Today we picked her up on the walk of the greenbelt. As we got close to the beginning of the greenbelt, just around the corner from the house, she became very interested in several bushes. She leaped into a small bush and all hell broke loose. There were young fledgling Grackles and she caught one. Almost immediately she was surrounded by 5 very large and angry Grackles. She dropped the bird, unharmed, and ran for her life with 5 angry mothers and fathers chasing her.
I actually had to pick her up about one house away from home because they were still stalking her.
Photo is Izzy waiting on the arm of the couch waiting for a puppy to wander by. We are so lucky she was sent our way. Sharon
Izzy is such a lovely color, and she looks like she has lots of energy for play.
Actually, while Kitty & Cocoa don't like to stay inside at the same time, they will do so from time to time. They always call a truce and stay inside together during bad weather (cold, wet, stormy, very hot). Each retires to a different room to nap in peace w/o the other. Once the thing that brought them inside is over, be it fireworks or bad weather, they resume their enmity. I keep hoping someday they will learn to be friends, but it looks like that's going to take a very, very long time. The crazy thing about it is, they are not strangers trying to learn to live together. They are mother and son! Go figure.
Now I'm going back to try to catch up on posts I didn't have time to respond to earlier:
torriesmom - How nice to hear that you've enjoyed the Kitty & Cocoa story and have been with us all this time. Thank you.
I've never given either of my cats anything to calm them down. I would be very difficult to get them to a vet, esp Cocoa who is really still feral in every sense of the word, except that he learned to accept me back when he was still young enough to do so. He goes completely nuts if I even try to walk to with 30-40ft of another person while holding him. You can tell he's not just afraid in a normal, house cat sort of way. He really believes his life depends on getting away and hiding from other humans.
Both cats showed signs of stress on the 4th, the 1st day of the fireworks, and both seemed to be somewhat less afraid by the 3rd day. (yes, around here the fireworks continued through Sat night). Kitty is the most afraid. She's afraid of thunder, too, and even gets upset if she hears me raise my voice even slightly, even though I'm not talking to her. Sometimes I have to get a little forceful with Widget to get him to listen. If Kitty is around, she gets upset. It's hard to say what she might have been through in life before I adopted her.
Thunder and fireworks make Kitty so upset that she used to shut down entirely. It was like the lights were on but nobody was home. She would stick close to my ankles and crawl along with her tummy hugging the floor. There was no way to comfort her then. She still gets upset and sticks close by me, but I see a difference in her lately, such that she's afraid but not so totally terrified, and she no longer shuts down completely.
Cocoa never lived with any other people, so he hasn't had the bad experiences that Kitty has. He was stressed the 1st night of the fireworks, but no where near as much as Kitty. He was able to come to the house even in the middle of all the commotion. He ate, and eventually went to sleep. By the 2nd night of the fireworks, he was almost back to normal.
Bottom line, the only way I know to help them is to let them know that they have a home to come to for shelter. I also try to show through my actions that they are safe here, and there is nothing to fear. I actually thing that approach is working, however slowly.
That must be difficult having that many pets stuck to your ankles during the fireworks shows. Sometimes the 1st sign I have of an approaching storm is when I turn around suddenly (while working in the kitchen, for instance) and almost fall over Kitty, having been previously unaware she was even at my feet. She starts hugging my ankles long before I even hear any thunder, and she is so quiet, I'm often completely unaware she's down there, until I stumble over her. I can't imagine that times 6 - then again with so many, perhaps their presence is at least more obvious.
Glad you have the doggy meds, because it is down right painful to have to endure hours of watching a pet that is stressed out. Widget is completely nonplussed by either thunder or fireworks, but he goes ballistic just riding in the car, of all things. In the car, he whines LOUDLY and endlessly from the time the engine starts until it stops. It's horrible to see him so upset, and the noise is maddening. Naturally, I don't take him anywhere unless I absolutely must. I dread the thought of having to take him with me the next time we flee a hurricane and have to sit for hours on the interstate. I need to ask the vet for some meds for him.
I am positively convinced that how you handle the initial event when they are small puppies makes all the difference in the world. I knew from success with my prior dog to ignore him early on when he got nervous during a storm or fireworks - and that worked. To this day, he is totally fine with both. But the day I picked him up from the airport and put him in the car for the ride home (in his crate), I felt sorry for him having taken that long trip on the plane alone at such a young age, so when he started whimpering in the car I tried everything I could think of to comfort him. I cooed. I sweet talked. I took him out of the crate and tried to hold him while I was driving. And all of that only made it worse.
I really am convinced of this. Once they are older and the fear is deeply intrenched, it's much harder to turn things around, but I believe in many cases it's possible to teach them not to fear things if we ignore those things when they are very young. Everything I handled early on by calmly ignoring it, he is now totally over. Everything I handled early on by trying to comfort him, he's now terrified of. With my next one, I'm going to try to remember these lessons. It's not at all intuitive, but I think by comforting them early on when they show fear of something, we are actually acknowledging that there is something to fear. This has worked for me now with 2 dogs.
Anyhow, glad you have the meds and hope Buddy didn't get too terribly upset.
Sometimes Gladys is kind of interesting to watch. She's so very passionate about the espionage and gossip thing she does - and so transparent. She walks her dog 2x a day, stopping at every house where she finds anyone outside. She stops to politely interrogate people, gathering information and dispersing it again as she goes along her path. She watches everything and knows everything about every body. Until I saw her out there rummaging through my recycling, I hadn't realized she was also gathering info that way. Kinda creepy.
One day a while back she made a comment about me feeding the cats 'that expensive food'. I wondered at the time how she knew what I was feeding them. Now I get it. I use the cat/dog food bags (inside those blue containers) to hold and separate cans vs magazines vs paperboard, etc.
She watches everything. My house is 'deep'. The living quarters are on the back of the house. The foyer, stairs, formal LR, formal dining room, and garage are on the front of the house. Even the MBR is downstairs and on the back of the house. If I'm in the great room, kitchen, or MBR, the lights are not visible from the street. I turn the formal LR light on most nights just so the house doesn't look abandoned. One night when I forgot to turn the LR light on, Gladys rang the doorbell to see if I was ok. I had mixed feelings. It was nice of her to check on me, but kinda creepy that she has me on a schedule.
I guess it's mostly creepy because she ONLY stops to talk to me when she wants to know something. When I was out of work 2yrs ago, she stopped by the 1st time she saw me outside, and even though we are not particularly friends, right away she mentioned that she had been seeing my car home a lot and asked if I was working. I mean, wow, that's pretty bold, I think. Then she stopped by to pump me for info when she saw me sitting at the front door feeding Kitty & her kittens. If you recall, back then Gladys was trying to trap them for the TNR program. She wanted me to 'butt out', but I didn't. There have been numerous other such events, times when she saw me outside and stopped to pump me for info on something she had noticed.
From your photo, that looks like a community or multi-family recycling site. Right? There's a place about 2mi from here where I can stop to drop off cardboard, cans, bottles, newspaper, etc anytime day or night, 7 days a week. The site in your picture looks similar to that. Here we also have individual-house, curb-side pickup. Each family takes there blue recycling container out to the curb in front of their house on 'pickup day'. I mention this because it seems like it would be harder for a Gladys type to link the items to an individual or family at your site. Here I put my recycling containers at the curb in front of my house and others do the same. Each house's container or group of containers is separate, so it's very easy to know what belonged to whom, and it's even more invasive when someone stops off to snoop. Gladys was literally standing in front of my house going through what was clearly my recycling.
If they stop because they actually want to read the magazines of are otherwise interested in reusing items from recycling, that's ok. I'm all for reuse. Gladys may be doing that, but knowing her she is probably also snooping. She is the proverbial Mrs Kravitz.
Your recycling site looks very organized. It also looks like you guys must be recycling a lot more items than we do, or maybe there again it's the organization that makes it look that way. Here we are lazy. They used to ask us to separate junk mail and other paper products from the cans & bottles, but now they've even given up on that. Now we just put everything together in one container, and they separate them. I think they know we are too lazy, and most people here wouldn't do it at all if they had to do that much work. They used to tell us to rinse things and take labels off. Now they just say, toss it in there, and they will handle it. Again, we are lazy. Your site is so incredibly neat and tidy by our standards. LOL. Do they fine you if you do it wrong?
Terese is right, of course, that my dog's name is Widget. No harm done though. What REALLY funny is that I didn't even catch that. I had to look back at your post after I read Terese's - and I did pay attention the 1st time. It's just that little things like that are not 'important' to me, so my mind just automatically fixes them when I'm reading. My mind knew what you meant, so it didn't even bother to note that you actually got it wrong. Over the course of my life, people have called me every possible variation of Cheryl, everything from Shirley to Sherry to Sharon and even Cher. My grandfather called me Cherry (like the fruit) until the day he died. I pretty much answer to anything vaguely resembling Cheryl and don't even bother to correct them.
Terese is very good at noticing things. Terese, that is one of your strengths. You notice everything, what's actually there and the subtleties between the lines. You should definitely make note of this in case you are ever looking to start a career or even looking for a temporary job. There are numerous jobs in which these skills would be golden. Editor comes to mind, but I'm sure there are many, many more.
As to you June, think nothing of it. I am not good with names at all myself. I can't begin to keep track of the names of everyone's pets. I have enough trouble keeping track of the names of the people in my life. Plus, as I said before, I didn't even notice the error.
Oh, and, incidentally, Gizmo was one of my top choices when naming Widget. The only reason I didn't use it, was because I felt it was too prominent at the time. In addition to the movie, I believe there was a very popular toy by that name at the time. I wanted a more unique name. If I were naming him today, now that the movie and toy are a distant memory, I would likely go with Gizmo. It was just too hot at that moment.
I forgot to say that the recycling/garbage site is for 120 families - 2 apartment buildings. The place that I live in now does not have a recycling center so we have to put everything into the white garbage bags or take it to a place that has recycling - the bags are about a buck a piece and that is how they charge you for garbage pickup =on how much garbage you throw out.
We don't pay according to what we throw out (yet), neither recyclables nor garbage. I totally appreciate not having to pay by the lb (or gallon). If they are going to charge, I would think it better to charge for garbage (what goes to the landfill) than for recycling as that would encourage maximum recycling. We pay a flat fee for garbage pickup along with our water/sewer bill. The city generates some of the cost by selling recyclables and by selling the compost they generate from yard waste. (I forgot, momentarily, what you said about how crowded it is there - i.e. multi-family dwellings vs single family homes.)
Izzy saw rain for the first time today. As I am sure you all know, Las Vegas does not get a lot of rain.
I let her out by the master bedroom patio door and she walked right into the rain. Then she instantly got her paws wet and did not like that at all. Jumped backward right back into the bedroom. About a hour later I got ready to take the puppies for their walk and she wanted to join us. It was still raining. I thought she would jump back into the garage but she just joined the crowd.
We all had a ball, got wet and all of our neighbors probably think I am crazy. I had a nail appointment later so I did not take my shower until we got back so I did not care if we got wet. But none of the three liked me drying their paws. So I had to do a quick wipe up of the wood floors from all the paw prints. I should have taken my video camera because the crazy cat kept trying to catch the rain drops. I have no idea what she thought they were.
I hadn't thought about the fact that in some places pets may not see rain very often. Sounds a lot like how animals around here react to snow, which many will only see once in their lives, since we typically only get a light dusting of snow every 10yrs or so. A dog may be geriatric (or at least well up in years) before he/she ever sees snow for the 1st time. If can be amusing to observe their "what the heck is this stuff" reactions to that 1st snow day.
Kitty & I have continued our little get-togethers, those brief moments together enjoyed over a small qty of finger food - sort of like the British afternoon tea, except roughly every 3 days. We are still getting along pretty well, all things considered, although she remains unhappy that we still have Cocoa around. I've no doubt she would be most thrilled if he just went 'poof' one day and disappeared entirely.
Kitty's behavior, especially where Cocoa is concerned, can sometimes be as comical as it is, well, sad. Sometimes when I'm at home, Cocoa will come inside and spend the entire day and 1/2 the night - on occasion I have 'bounce' him in the wee hours so I can get some sleep. Love him dearly, but he can get cloying over time, I'm afraid, and often disrupts my sleep. Anyhow, Kitty does not appreciate it when Cocoa hogs the house.
At night when I'm in bed reading or web surfing or watching TV, Cocoa hangs out in the bedroom, too. He'll spend time on the bed, on his favorite chair, and/or lying on the floor on the far side of the bed, you know, that side of the bed that gets little traffic because it's farthest from the door. That has become Cocoa's private space. In addition to lying on the floor over there beside the bed, he also likes to hang out on the padded bench under the dressing table on that side of the room - and climb on and explore the stacks of books on the bookshelves, all in that small and rather isolated part of the room to which he has recently laid claim. (I've recently come to think this may be the reason for that one 'out of the box' urination Kitty did a while back, since she did it over there in what has become Cocoa's area.)
One night recently, both cats were inside, something they don't do often. Kitty was elsewhere in the house, I was in bed reading, and Cocoa was luxuriating over there beside the bed in his little fiefdom, where he was lying on his side sprawled long across the floor beside the bed, his head and neck upright, surveying and enjoying his space. Suddenly Kitty appeared at the foot of the bed, another thing she doesn't do often lately. She walked across the bed, spoke to me briefly, and then made her way directly to the edge of the bed that looked down upon Cocoa's space. She stood there for a minute or two looking down with obvious disdain at him lying their so smugly on the floor below. Then, in one move, she leapt down onto the floor where she landed mere centimeters from his body, quickly dealt him 3 or 4 right jabs and jumped over him to bounce out of the room and away.
The entire scene from the moment she appeared on the bed until I watched her tail flip past the door facing and out of sight probably occurred within the space of mere minutes, fewer than 5 I would say, and yet the sentiment and message had been as clear as if she spoke perfect English. Cocoa is now more than big enough to take care of himself, and his reaction had been along the lines of, "hey, watch it!" But by that time she had already delivered 3 or more ultra quick slaps and was about to make her getaway. I guess this is why cats rarely require therapy. They don't seem inclined to keep their feelings bottled up.
A year or so ago I mentioned a program called "My Cat From He__." If you haven't seen it yet, and especially if you love cats, I recommend it. I'm not sure the title does it justice, and the unorthodox appearance of the main character, the cat behaviorist, may give some a bad impression of the show and send them channel surfing before they've had the chance to really evaluate it on it's merit, but if you watch a show or two, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I've found the methods and insights of the cat behaviorist to be quite impressive. At few examples follow:
On one show he shared his experience as to the best product for removing cat urine from carpet/upholstery. When dealing with a cat that urinates outside the box (often just outside the box), his 1st question is always whether the cat has been declawed. He shares that declawed cats often have tender, sensitive paws which hurt when they try to dig in cat litter. For this problem he recommends a specific type of litter which is less coarse and less like sandpaper on their tender paws.
On a recent show, he dealt with an issue of two cats (same home) that fight. That was of particular interest to me because of my problems with Kitty & Cocoa. I was curious to see how he would get the two cats to be friends. First let me say that the two cats on that episode REALLY fought big time, not the relatively painless disagreements my cats have. He didn't try to get them to like each other. He just removed the things that made the fights possible, things I never would have thought of - but will now. I learn a lot from that show.
He observed the environment and watched a typical battle, which in the case of those particular cats often occurred after a meal. He saw that (1) the aggressor wolfed down his food, finished 1st and then set up an ambush for the other and (2) the design of the house made for a sort of blind alley in the hallway such that the 2nd cat could not leave the kitchen w/o being going past the ambush point and being attacked. The owner had been keeping a broom nearby to try to separate them after the cats after they hooked up, something which never worked.
To resolve the 1st problems, he got one of those dog bowls with the giant hump in the center designed to stop dogs from gulping their food. He put the aggressors (wet) food around the outer ring of this dish. This he theorized would slow the aggressor down causing him to have to eat around that big hump. The other cat would continue to eat from his usual, flat dish. This allowed the other cat to finish first (without racing) and have time to exit before the aggressor finished eating. No ambush. No fight.
To resolve the 2nd problem, that of the hallway which provided a perfect blind alley for ambushes, he designed a relatively small and not unsightly 2nd route out of the room, this one up and over (a few artfully placed, stepped, shelves up to one long shelf and then more steps down). With only the one, narrow hallway leading out of the kitchen, the less aggressive cat had no way to get from the kitchen to the rest of the house except the one route where the aggressor would lay in wait. Adding a 2nd route, removed this power from the aggressor. The other cat could just take the other route. The fighting stopped immediately. The two cats still didn't like each other, but once the aggressor could no longer ambush the other, they were able to live in the same house w/o fights.
Like I said, I find his insights into cat behavior quite interesting. If you have the time, I recommend the program highly. Tivo it and give it a try. Ignore the name and look past the guy doesn't look like what you may think a cat behaviorist should look like. He clearly loves cats and understands them better than anyone I've known. I record all new episodes. I have to admit that I often find myself not wanting to watch an episode, despite all that I've just said, BUT once I make myself sit down and give the episode a try, I always find myself glued to the screen, spellbound, learning a lot, and not wanting it to end.
Just thought I would add one more thing. While that program didn't help me with how to get Kitty & Cocoa to like each other (something which will have to come from them), it did provide valuable insight into their antics. As I mentioned before, sometimes they go upstairs for a big 'fight'. This always begins when one cat goes upstairs for whatever reason. The other cat quickly follows. Then I hear all this commotion up there, like they are killing each other and destroying the house, after which both cats come back downstairs and resume normal behavior.
I used to think they actually went upstairs intentionally whenever they wanted to have it out away from my prying eyes. I figured when one went upstairs it was like a signal for the other to follow. NOW, I understand what is really going on up there.
The upstairs is like that blind alley. From the time one goes a short distance up the stairs, their is only one route, no escape. The upstairs hallway is like a loft or balcony that looks down into the great room on one side and the foyer on the other. Like the stairs, there is one route, no escape. Several rooms upstairs are closed off (doors closed). There are only 2 rooms the can go into to even try to get away from an aggressor. One is a bedroom, the other a bathroom with attached dressing area. There is also a ledge about 1.5ft wide around 3 sides of the great room that they can access from upstairs. It's about 12-14 ft or so high. The cats enjoy sitting up there where they can look down on what is going on in much of the house and just enjoy being up high. Kitty also enjoys jumping up from that ledge onto a narrow window ledge another 2ft or so up in the air, if you might recall. The ledge is a good, leisurely perch but a bad place to be trapped by an aggressor.
Except for the two open rooms which at least offer some hope for a getaway, the entire upstairs is a series of single, relatively narrow routes with no escape routes. Once one cat goes about 1/4 way up the stairs (too high to escape off the side via furniture), that cat can be easily ambushed by a 2nd cat coming up the stairs behind him or her. The 1st cat has to come down eventually, so all the 2nd cat has to do is sit near the top of the stairs and lie in wait, or the 2nd cat cat follow the 1st up the stairs and launch an attack on the upper hallway, etc, etc. As long as the 2nd cat is careful to always stay on the one and only route out, he can ambush the 1st.
This is why whenever one cat goes upstairs, the other, if inside, is quick to follow and why a heck of a brawl always ensues. The 2nd cat, usually Kitty, knows this is his/her chance to ambush the 1st. Luckily, while my cats don't like each other, they are not willing to harm each other. They slat and spit, but don't really 'get down' in any serious way. There battle, one to attack, the other to escape, sound rough from down here, but neither the cats nor the house are ever actually harmed, so I will probably ignore it for now. If they were at risk of injury, the solution would involve providing some other way down other than the stairs, maybe a serious of simple, decorative, staggered, short shelves on a great room wall so placed as to provide a series of cat steps down from the upstairs ledge.
Before watching the episode of My Cat From He__ I was clueless about the upstairs issue. Now if it were ever to become a serious problem, I know how to diffuse the whole thing quickly and easily w/o great expense and w/o adverse effects on the appearance of the house. Adding a few, staggered, shelf steps down from upstairs would render the whole game null and void. No reason for the 2nd cat to follow the 1st up there and lie in wait, because both would know the 2nd could simply exit via those stepped wall shelves back to the downstairs floor.
I thought of you this morning, when I read this article from Dr. Weil:
Want to feed your cat human food? Understanding your pet's nutritional needs is the first step. Cats are classified as obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat to survive and thrive. If you want to cook for a cat, I urge you to talk to your vet or consult with a veterinary nutritionist about the individual needs of your feline companion animal and how those needs change with age. You'll also want to pay close attention to how much home-cooked food your cat should eat in order for him or her to maintain a healthy weight - a good rule of thumb is that human food should not make up more than 15 percent of a cat's diet. Follow these guidelines for foods that are safe to feed cats.
Meat: Cats are carnivores, and cooked animal meat is safe for them. Cooked poultry is a good choice.
Veggies: Cats don't get much nutrition from vegetables, but they aren't unhealthy for them, either. Choose washed, cooked vegetables to aid digestion, such as baked carrots, steamed broccoli, green beans and winter squash.
Cheese: It's a good source of protein for cats, but be aware that some cats become lactose intolerant as they get older. Start with a small amount of cheese to see how your cat digests it - if he or she gets diarrhea, don't feed it any dairy.
Fish: It can provide some much-needed nutrients for cats, and a bit of fish such as tuna here and there is fine. But don't give your cat too much - the high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in a diet heavy on tuna can deplete a cat's supply of vitamin E.
Eggs: In nature, cats raid bird nests for the eggs, which is an indication that eggs are fine for your feline friends! Scrambled or hardboiled eggs are a good source of protein, but don't feed your cat raw eggs.
Good info. Thank. Our cat does not get any people food. When you give them cooked poultry, should it be seasoned?
My cat Izzy is actually skinny. I am actually thinking about taking her to the Vet to make sure she is not to skinny. With our current weather above 105 she is not spending to much time outside. Sharon
Good morning all. I subscribe to Dr.Weil's newsletter. Found it to be very interesting this morning when I was trying to think on ways to fatten up my Torrie since her surgery. The food on the list I never even thought of giving her was bones, chocolate or raisins among other things.
Some years ago, I thought Torrie was a bit thin because I see the impression of her hip bones when she walks. Took her to the vet and was charged $377.00 to be told that she is just a thin cat. That just was her shape. For her age, her size in lbs. was fine. I guess I was comparing her to to plump stray cats that are outside in the alley. I was relieved though.
So figure how much does Izzy weigh and is she losing weight?. When is her next check up?. Your vet will check and tell you the next step to take. Hope she picks up her appetite.
Torriesmom, just want to make sure that everyone know that the foods you were mentioning (bones, chocolate or raisins) was on the list of foods NOT to feed felines. :-)
WormsLovSharon, am I correct in recalling that Izzy is a young cat? They often don't fill out in the first year. I've been researching re. a stray, who I'm bringing home from work, and the info. I've found says they reach 70 - 80% of their full size in the first year.
Yes, I know. I never fed Torrie human or table food so those listed were some of the things I would never have given her in the first place. Sorry about that. Since she has been recuperating, her appetite is low on top of being finicky all her life. I was just trying to give her tasty food and that newsletter happen to appear about the forbidden foods. Thanks for the correction.
Kitty won't eat eggs at all, neither scrambled, boiled, or poached. She loves chicken and tuna, but only gets those on extremely rare occasions. I have given her a nickle sized piece pinched from a hamburger patty once or twice. She likes that, too, it's a rarity, as well. Since she won't eat egg, most of the time when I want to give her a treat I give her a small bit of cheese, either 1/2 to 1/4 slice of American/sandwich cheese or a small, ultra-thin sliver (about 1in x .5in) of hard cheese. The idea is to give her something good but not to give her much as I don't won't to ruin her taste for her cat food. Lately, I do this about once a week or less.
If I have chicken on hand (cooked), I'll give her a tiny piece of that instead, but that's not often. A time or two I gave her a small piece of sliced deli ham or turkey, but I don't like to do that due to the saltiness. I've pretty much stopped buying that stuff even for me, because I hate how salty it is.
Every now and then if she is hanging around the kitchen begging for something, I'll give her a small bit of watered down milk in a saucer. She doesn't show any sign of problems digesting milk.
Cocoa is the complete opposite of Kitty when it comes to food. He loves his dry food and his (dry) Temptations treats. He'll eat a little Fancy Feast now and then. He will sometimes take a little milk, not much, and maybe a sliver of cheese. He won't have anything to do with chicken, egg, or hamburger. He loves tuna, but he and Kitty have only shared the one can in the past year.
Neither of them will have anything at all to do with sardines. I say that because, once I bought a small assortment of Tikki Cat canned food. They ate the tuna flavors, but most of the other flavors were something with sardines (crab and sardines, salmon and sardines, etc) - and I do mean actual, cross-wise slices of sardines in aspic. There are even several cans of just sardines. They won't touch any of those. I'm thinking of offering those to the raccoons.
Thank you very much for thinking of us and taking the time to post the info from Dr Weil. In my vegetarian days I was a big time follower of Dr Weil's recommendations.
Since you made such a compelling case for not giving cats tuna very often, I haven't opened any of those cans of tuna I bought them on sale a while back. I figure I will just keep the tuna for rare and very special occasions. Mostly Kitty gets the small sliver of cheese for her treat once or twice a week. The treats go a LONG way toward helping me connect with her.
Today I deboned 2 chicken breasts for my dinner (& lunch tomorrow). I cooked the remaining rib & breast bones a few minutes, picked the bits of lean chicken from them, and put it in the fridge where it will make a few very nice, very small treats for Kitty who loves chicken. (I'm not very accomplished at deboning, so there was a fair bit left on the bones, at least enough to fill a Fancy Feast can.)
If you put those chicken bones in a pressure for a while they will come out very soft and crumbly. They are a wonderful source of calcium. Also hard cooked liver will stop diarrhea and raw liver will stop constipation.
Hey guys, great info. I am so glad I read all the posts. I was thinking Izzy would really like the chocolate.
Yes, Izzy is 1 year old. Do not know her exact date of birth. She is a long cat and eats dry cat food the majority of the time. My DH gives her a little fancy feast a few times a week. I was making tuna salad yesterday and I gave her some tuna before anything was added. She liked it but after two pinches, she left the third. I have not purchased any treats because I do not like the ingredient list.
We have had temperatures from 104 to 108. She is a smart cat. She spends the majority of the day now inside. And I do not let her out at night.
I have a vine rooting in a glass of water in the kitchen window. Izzy insists on drinking the water in that glass. I cannot determine why she insists on drinking that water but I do not think I will ever get it rooted.
Next time I cook some chicken breasts, I will try some unseasoned on her.
silvwilo, what do you mean by hard cooked liver.
Izzy has been sleeping all afternoon and just came into the great room to announce she is up.
The liver must be completely cooked or it has the opposite effect. I used to boil the liver to cook it. Back when I was showing and breeding Persian cats (in the 1960's) (good gracious has it been that long???!!!) I used these treatments for my cats. There is nothing worse than a Persian with a dirty bottom especially when she is just about to go into the show cage. A silver cat with a brown bottom doesn't win anything.
I had to laugh at your comment that such a cat does not win anything - although I realize that is not a funny situation at the time of occurence.
As the owner of a Maltese, tiny dogs with floor length, soft, fine, snow white hair, that is an issue to which I can totally relate. You learn very fast the importance of being especially careful about their diets. Although I don't show mine, it is still not an issue one wants to deal with twice.
Interesting idea about using the pressure cooker to render the bones soft. At one time I considered trying to grind cooked chicken bones for use as an additive in dog treats. My thinking was that would eliminate the health risk due to sharp edges while retaining the nutrients and flavor. I hadn't thought about the pressure cooker. I have one, but don't use it much. Even though it's a newer variety with safety measures in place, I'm still a bit uncomfortable with it.
WormsLovSharon, I'm giggling at your comment about giving Izzy chocolate! Were you seriously thinking of giving it to her? I love my pets, but don't know that I'd go as far as sharing my precious chocolate with them! Being Mom has to have some perks! LOL!
lizzipa, I know this is hard to imagine but I do not eat chocolate. I actually eat very little sweets. When I was young, they made me nauseated. It no longer happen but I never got in the habit of eating sweets.
Izzy did have her first small piece of cheese today and she liked it.
I nearly blew up a kitchen back in the late 50's with a pressure cooker. A girlfriend and I were cooking dinner for two brothers we were dating. When we thought the corn was done we tried to remove the top. We had no idea you were suppose to let the cooker cool down. We did get the top off and I cannot believe we did not burn ourselves. So I do not own a pressure cooker. Any other way to cook the livers well done??
My male schnauzer puppy Cecil love to eat small sticks and plant stems. When he poops, sometimes they get stuck when coming out and then he runs around in a total panic. So picture this. I am running around with a Kleenex in my hand trying to catch him so I can pull this stringy thing out of his butt. On second thought, do not picture that...
I worked in the garden today for about 7 hours but I am use to the high heat. I worked in my courtyard so had no direct hot sun. We had a terrible hail storm 2 weeks ago and my brother is getting married here at our home on August 12th, so I have no choice. I had a worker helping me but he was actually slowing me down. But I did have him move some very heavy items yesterday afternoon into the courtyard so I did not have to do that.
Talk to you all tomorrow. Our babies are now sound asleep. Sharon
They now make electronically controlled pressure cookers, such as mine, which have safety controls to prevent you from doing things like taking the top off under pressure. Mine is locked (controlled by electronic circuit board) until the pressure is below a certain safety threshold. Thus I cannot accidentally remove the top at the wrong time. It has other safety controls as well. If you would be interested in using a pressure cooker again, you might want to look into these newer, safer types. There are many brands out there. Just look for ones with safety features (and probably electronic controls).
As I mentioned before, I still feel a little uneasy about pressure cookers, despite all the controls, but I do feel much safer with this one than with the old one I got from my grandmother years ago. You had to know how to use that old one safely. This newer one 'knows' the stuff for you. I do use mine occasionally. I would probably use it more if I new more about how to cook in it and what I could cook in it, recipes, that sort of thing.
You just boil the liver. The pressure cooker is used only for making the chicken bones into meal.
I had a friend that was making homemade noodles when she blew up her pressure cooker. She lived in a small mobile home so she ended up with noodle hanging from he ceiling from one end of her "house" to the other. Very "artistic". LOL
I can sympathize with you on chasing "butts". I had a bi-color Persian male that I found pawing at his mouth one day. He had a small length of packing type string hanging out of his mouth. When I gently tried to pull on it, it didn't want to come, so off to the vet we went. The vet x-rayed him & gave him a laxative. Then told us to watch for the results. Two days later I pulled 45 inches of string out of his butt. (Yes, I washed it out & measured it!!) We were never able to figure out where he found it. The barbs on a cats tongue angle towards the back of their mouth so as they lick anything goes in. Cats are famous for swallowing strings, yarn, etc.
Just a few quick, assorted things. 1st, I've pretty much decided that Cocoa is jealous of the laptop. Any time I get it out, he comes and wants to get in my lap. No matter how cozy he was minutes earlier curled up elsewhere in the room, when I open the laptop, I here he comes. Happens every time. It's like a simple way to find him when he's hiding.
Recently I noticed an open wound on the back of Cocoa's hind leg. I saw it as he was walking away. It wasn't deep, very shallow actually, but the color of fresh blood. It was an oval shaped wound roughly the size of 1/2 a dime and located on the recessed (inward) curve of his hind leg just above the elbow or hock. For the life of me I could not imagine how it was made. Being a very shallow oval, a scrape almost, it did not fit any kind of tooth or claw wound, yet being in such a recessed location a scrape seemed out of the question, as well. It was not a bad wound. I knew it would heal, as now it has. I was just curious what it might tell me about his life, whether he's getting in [serious] fights with Kitty or some other cat outside, but, again, it didn't look like a tooth or claw wound.
Cocoa is lying 1/2 on the keyboard even now. He was sleeping peacefully on the dressing table bench - until he heard/saw me open the laptop. Now he's pushing the laptop slowly off my lap, making it harder and harder for me to type in peace. Which reminds me...If you have a cat and a keyboard, you should seriously consider some method for cleaning the keyboard. One day, and this was BEFORE Cocoa was at all comfortable coming into the MBR where I often keep the laptop,
I used some of that goopy, modeling clay type stuff made for cleaning keyboards. I was shocked at the long, black, brown, and gray cat hairs that thing picked up when I pressed it into my laptop keyboard - and I'm using a MacBook in which the keyboard is flat and the gap between keys is virtually nonexistent, unlike most Windows type laptops. Still my keyboard had many more cat hairs than I ever would have expected, hairs I never saw lying deep w/in the keyboard but which the goop plucked out with relative ease. That was the result of less than 1 year with my cats, most of that time spent trying to get them comfortable enough around me to come inside.
So if you have cats and keyboards, you should probably look into one of the methods of cleaning them, the keyboards not the cats. The forced air cans didn't work that well for me. The 'goop' made for keyboards picked up quite a few cat hairs. You can also use it for phones, ipads, nooks, and such. You can also get tiny vacuum attachments and/or USB vacuums made for keyboards. I've never tried them. I also have some Ninja cleaner for electronics. It's a lot like A/C coolant. It's in a can w/that straw attachment to aim into keyboards. The can gets scary cold when you use it. It didn't get any hair out of the keyboard though. At this point my money is on the goop or maybe the vacuum thingies that I haven't tried yet.
One last thing for tonight. It has been 8mo now and I keep forgetting to tell you about the stop sign. One afternoon 8mo or so ago I came home to find a stop sign in the street in front of my house - well, actually in front of my next door neighbor's house, but close enough. I hated it. Still do actually. No one knows why they put it there. It's stupid really. In 8mo of stopping there 2x a day, I have yet to meet another car there - ever. There is very, very little traffic on this street. Except in the morning and evening when people are coming and going for work or school, you could go an hour w/o seeing a car on the street. Even during 'rush' hours, there are still never 2 cars at the stop sign at the same time. That's how not busy it is - yet the city saw fit to add a stop sign in the middle of the road and during a time when money is scarce.
Everyone hates it. No one can figure out the reason for it. The reason we've come up with, both the neighbors and I, is that they put it there to discourage my next door neighbor from parking upteen cars on the street daily/nightly. Cars are not supposed to stay on the street overnight, but my neighbor on that side has 3 young grown kids all with cars plus his and his wife's and the MILs. No way they can fit all those in the garage. I don't mind if they park on the street, but my guess is all those cars get in the way of mail delivery, garbage pickup, and so forth. I'm thinking one of those workers complained.
Anyhow, while I don't like the stop sign almost in front of my house - I mean, if there ever IS any traffic the stop will only queue them up making it difficult to get out of my drive, but that's not an issue for the foreseeable future - the ONE bright spot in all of this is that the stop sign forces all traffic through here to not only slow down but come to a dead stop. That, btw, is the other reason some came up with for the stop sign, to slow traffic. Most people weren't going fast anyhow. The limit is 20mph, but there are always the exceptions. At any rate, stopping traffic is, I figure, much safer for my cats, especially Cocoa who stays across the street (pond, shade trees, etc) during the heat of the day and crosses the street a lot coming and going.
I'm always afraid Cocoa will get hit by a car out there in that street. Whenever either cat is late for dinner, it's the 1st thing I think of, and when Cocoa goes on his 3 day jaunts I always worry that he's been hit. I figure Kitty, having stayed alive out there this long, is much more street wise. As some of you may recall, Cocoa did witness his brother being struck by a car in the street and killed when they were kittens. That made him terrified of moving cars. It's the only thing that gives me any comfort that maybe he will be careful, but a time or two I've seen him do risky things, mostly when he sees me in the front yard and is in a hurry to get across the street.
Now the cars coming from one direction have to stop well before the are where he crosses, so I figure that is safer for him. The cars have to stop and take off again, so they will be much less likely to hit him or any animal than if they were cruising by. The cars going in the opposite direction don't reach the stop until after they pass his crossing spot, but still they will be slowing down for the stop, so there again it will be safer for him - and other animals.
Speaking of other animals, one morning around 5AM I went out for the mail and a doe (female deer) clippety-clopped across the street maybe 30ft from me. It was awesome! They cross the street there on the side of my yard to get to the pond across the street and go down the side of my house, munching roses along the way, to get back to the forest. I don't know if she didn't see me or if she's accustomed to people - and probably knows my smell by now. A deer wouldn't normally go so close to a person. She was kind of running but very slowly due to the pavement. I think they slip easily on pavement. She didn't shy away from me or pick up speed. She stopped for a minute at the sidewalk and looked at me before going on. Way cool. I was tempted to go out at 5AM every morning!
Cocoa is sleeping now, still sharing my lap w/the computer, each having 1 thigh - luckily my thighs are wide enough to handle that. ;-)
I posted again because I just had to tell you he's sort of purr-snoring - very loudly. It's cute. It's like a really intense purr, like he's very happy and content, but with a bit of a pattern to match his breathing, a pattern that suggests snoring - yet it's a 'pretty' sound, melodic as purring is known to be. If only humans snored with such melody.
Cocoa and Widget (my dog) are funny together. They are getting along much better these days, although I don't know that I would call them buddies. I'm still unclear on the extent of their 'friendship'.
Widget is not a huggy, kissy dog. He wants to be near me all the time and often likes to lie close to me to sleep, but he doesn't care that much for being petted. I blame that on the traditional Maltese hairdo with the little bow(es) on top of the head. Until very recently he had that hairdo 24/7 even when he arrived here at 2mo old. The little ponytails and bows make it impossible to pet them in the normal manner, so he never learned to expect or like that. He likes to play with me and be near me but doesn't want to be cuddled and such - another result of all the brushing, clipping, combing, pampering that goes into dealing with all that hair, all things he hates.
When I'm home, Widget sits or lies maybe 2ft away from me, wherever I am. When Cocoa comes inside, usually at night, Cocoa gets in my lap and curls up. Suddenly, Widget, who moments earlier was happy to be a few ft away, is now jealous because Cocoa is in my lap. Widget could have been with me all day - for hours - and didn't want to get in my lap even once, but the moment Cocoa comes and gets in my lap, Widget comes over, starts whining, and looks at me like I'm supposed to make Cocoa move.
Then if Cocoa gets up for some reason, say to get some water, Widget will quickly move in and take Cocoa's place, curling up really close to me or in my lap, wherever Cocoa was before. It's too funny to watch, because Widget never, ever does that except to steal Cocoa's spot. Of course, Widget is afraid of Cocoa's claws, so when Cocoa returns all he has to do is walk up to Widget and put his paw gently on Widgets shoulder - which is also very funny to watch, as Widget will then immediately get up and go back to his bed, allowing Cocoa to reclaim his spot on my lap.
They are a hoot to watch though. Their antics are so transparent and so like those of humans.
Oh, about the keyboard thing I mentioned earlier, I'm now using a rubbery keyboard cover made to fit my MacBook keyboard exactly. It stays in place even when I'm typing and keeps the cat hairs and other debris out of the keyboard. If they make something like that for your keyboard, that might be another option for dealing with cats and keys. Just not sure if they make them for Windows types. Windows computers come from a lot of different manufacturers and have much more design diversity which may make it more difficult to get a cover that exactly fits a specific keyboard. MacBooks have only one or two keyboard styles. Something to consider though.
Interesting. I was wondering if other cats did this. Cocoa's purr-snoring is louder than normal purring, but not a loud and unpleasant sound like what we usually associate with snoring. It really just sounds like loud purring, except that he was doing it while sleeping soundly.
Cocoa has some [other] oddities. He drools when he gets really calm, like when I'm petting him and he's in that nirvana state. He's a bit strange, but he's my buddy.
Cocoa isn't that bad, thank goodness. His is minimal. I only noticed it one day when I was petting him and a drop of water fell on the back of my hand - like it was raining in the house or something. He doesn't do it every day or every time you pet him, just occasionally when he gets very 'emotional'. When he does it, mostly I just notice that his lips are very moist and he has a single, very SLOW drop hanging from one corner of his mouth. It's not enough to be annoying just comical.
His one other weird thing, and he has mostly gotten beyond this one now, is that when he was a kitten he could not seem to figure out how to lie down in that semi-circle shape. I know it seems obvious, but it was a challenge for him for many months. It was all I could do to keep from laughing at him. He would be standing upright and he would start by putting his head down, sometimes the top of his head, sometimes the side of his face, and then with his head on the floor (or other surface) he would roll the rest of his body down slowly, 1st head then neck then shoulders, side of tummy, and finally his rump. So basically he would sit on his head momentarily while rolling the rest of his body down. It was almost a year before he figured out that he should start by lowering the other end. Probably not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he's mine and I love him. :-)
Just realized I should have gotten a photo of that. He's finally doing it right now, so that photo op is gone for good.
The deer here, lots of them, have an established route through my yard to get to the pond across the street for water. The deer come out of the forest behind my house and make a trek along the side of the house all the way to the street (munching my roses along the foundation all the way). They do this at 10PM each evening. I didn't know about the morning 'run' until that morning when I went out so early for the mail. Makes sense though that they would need water morning and night.
When the roses and daylilies are blooming the deer, same ones that travel through my yard each evening (and morning) even come around the front of the house where they stand around right up around the front door eating flowers. I've seen droppings a time or two in the lawn and in flower beds, plus it's hard not to notice when all the roses disappear over night. Once when I 1st moved here, I had a nice yellow hibiscus in a large pot right next to the front door. The deer walked up on the [small] porch to eat the blooms and leaves off that plant leaving just the pot with a very short stick coming out of it. They are lovely animals, but they can strip a yard down to twigs in one evening.
As for Widget, I think I didn't explain that very well. He only wants to get in my lap when Cocoa is inside and even then only when Cocoa has been lying in my lap and gets up for something. Then (and only then) Widget will rush to grab Cocoa's spot before he gets back. Also Widget stands around whining and looking at me like I'm supposed to make Cocoa go away. The funny thing is that the rest of the time, all the many, many hours when Cocoa is not inside, Widget sleeps a few feet away from me, having no interest in sleeping in my lap.
Widget snores sometimes. He also barks, quips, yelps, and kind of half runs while dreaming - like he's chasing a squirrel or raccoon. Sometimes he will let out a sharp yelp and I will jump up to see what happened to him, thinking he is hurt - but he's just dreaming.
Sorry haven't had a chance to get pics yet but wanted to report something promising. As you know, Kitty & Cocoa don't like each other. That hasn't changed. Just this morning Kitty hissed at Cocoa as he walked past her. Still no love between them. However, they do seem to be tolerating each other much better just lately.
For the longest time they avoided staying in the house at the same time. When one came in, the other would take that as his/her cue to leave. If, due to particularly inclement weather, they needed to stay in at the same time, say overnight on a very cold night, for instance, they would call a temporary truce and retire to separate parts of the house so as to avoid each other.
Just lately, they have been staying inside at the same time and, incredibly, the past 2 days have been seen lounging around on adjacent furniture where they are only about 2ft apart, both napping in front of the same large window, Cocoa on a chaise lounge, Kitty on an upholstered bench beside the chaise. There are many more windows in this house with open or partially open drapes/blinds, so they are not forced to sleep next to each other to enjoy the sunshine, yet for several days now I've seen them there together in the great room.
It's a small thing, and the dynamics could change again at any time, but it seems like a positive sign - for now.
I think that is wonderful. It takes time to feel that the other feline is not such a great threat. So if they can tolerate each other in a close area, and not scatter to opposite ends of the house, this truce may be coming to be a permanent one eventually. Peace all around!.
I just came here to add even more incredible news. I'm in the MBR with Cocoa & the laptop sharing my lap as described in an earlier post - sharing my lap w/the laptop is his MO. He's sound asleep upside down, tummy exposed, and all contorted in a manner that definitely suggests he's feeling very safe.
I should probably add that Kitty is not afraid of Cocoa. Cocoa is her son. I think she is jealous of him. From the time he was weaned she insisted he leave. Once she realized he wasn't leaving, she stopped having anything to do with me or him, and started hiding out elsewhere in the house. It's been 2yrs or so during which she has refused to engage in any activities as long as he is around - or even permit me to pet her around him.
A little while ago Kitty came in the room. She usually won't come in the room when he is in here w/me, except to walk through quickly to let me know she is ready to be let outside, but the last few days she has been exhibiting new behaviors which I wasn't quite sure how to interpret. Among those behaviors, she had begun coming into the MBR when Cocoa is here. She doesn't want to go outside. She actually looks as though she wants to be part of the family again - something she has stubbornly refused to do for 2yrs now, since Cocoa became part of our household.
When Kitty 1st came in the room tonight, she was hiding behind a magazine rack just watching us. I called to her sweetly and repeatedly, and she came over here and sat beside the bed - normally, she would ignore me. I continued talking to her and inviting her to get up on the bed with us. She looked up here, looked at Cocoa on 1/2 my lap, and sort of 1/2 closed her eyes, squinting in a manner which seemed to express that she didn't like what she saw. Still I continued talking to her.
Finally, she got up on the upholstered bench at the foot of the bed where she is now resting. YAY! Kitty never does this. She never lies on the bench when Cocoa is on the bed, not because she's afraid of him - he never attacks her - but apparently because she is jealous and angry. This is incredible. This plus her resting near him in the great room suggests she may be taking steps to accept him and try to be part of the family again. Wow. Big wow. I can't even believe it.
I've been doing something different lately. Don't know if you read it. She was so standoffish for years. I started sitting alone with her in the kitchen for a few minutes every few days to share a special treat, a piece of cheese or chicken, something like that. The treat was necessary to get her to interact with me. Doing it with her alone, not including Widget or Cocoa was intended to let her know she is special. I was hoping this might help me bond with her. Everything else had failed since Cocoa had joined us. In the beginning, I couldn't even touch her during these treat sessions, but I quickly started to see signs that it was working. She started to warm up to me more and more as we continued these little sessions. This morning she was rubbing her body against my legs, something she never did in the past. Now she is showing signs of accepting Cocoa's presence. I don't want to get my hopes up too much, but this does look promising.
It really is big. I wasn't sure if I could explain it at all well and thus if others would see it, so thanks for your view.
Edited to add: Although I would love it if they were great friends some day, I would be very happy if they could just co-exist in a manner which allowed me to be close to them both - and events of the last few days make that seem at least possible, so I'm happy.
Last night Kitty & Cocoa were both inside at the same time again as has become the new normal. Cocoa makes a habit of lying on the edge of a chaise lounge along a major artery, and I often stop there briefly to stroke his silky body. I had just stopped on my way by to stroke him oh so gently and lovingly when I looked up to see Kitty watching me from across the room. Her eyes squinting, her demeanor clearly disapproving all seemed to say, "Oh, he's so special. Kiss, kiss. Hug, hug. I hate him."
This was by far not the 1st time I had caught her watching us together. Many times I've looked up from hugging or petting Cocoa, often with him in my lap, to see Kitty watching from afar, sometimes sitting in the MBR doorway, other times peering out from behind a piece of furniture. These incidents along with her extremely aloof behavior and her absolute hatred of Cocoa are among the reasons I've concluded that she harbors a lot of jealousy toward him.
It's quite ironic really, because I would love to pet and hug her, except that she will rarely permit me to do so. For two years now she has repeatedly rejected and rebuffed my every attempt at getting close to her, yet she very clearly seems to resent my interactions with Cocoa - and to have considerable interest in observing them. I've no idea where Kitty came from and can only guess about the details of her former life, but she is for sure a very complicated cat and one which I truly believe could make good use of years on the Freudian couch and a whole LOT of psychoanalysis.
No to being picked up. She is very much afraid of being picked up or restrained. It took me a while to realize that. I'm hoping I will live long enough to see her overcome that fear. When picked up, she becomes stiff, doesn't want to be cuddled, wants to get down, and starts growling lightly after a minute or so. She never does anything to make good on the threats, but holding her doesn't help our relationship at all.
The best I've gotten so far is sometimes, more often lately, she will let me pet her when she is standing on solid ground or stroke her side gently (like I did Cocoa) when she is lying down. It's a special treat when she responds in appropriate manner by arching her body up against my hand when I pet her. She does this a lot lately, too, and every now and then she even purrs. Right now that's the most I can hope for, and it's a lot for her.
At one point in our relationship these last 2.5yrs I had pretty much stopped trying to pet her at all, because she used to shrink away from my hand and walk away. If she was lying down, she would get up and leave the room. I stopped trying, because I didn't want to be constantly running her out of the room.
Then a month or two back I got this idea to pet her just a few strokes every time before I fed her. It was a little 'dangerous', as there was a chance she would become afraid to come to her chair to eat with me there. It was one place that had always been a neutral zone for us. My hope was that I might get petting reassigned to something more pleasant like food as opposed to something scary like being picked up. It seemed to work. In the beginning, I would pet her and she would ignore me and not respond. Then over time she became more responsive. The food thing seemed to help because she was already in a good mood thinking of her morning Fancy Feast and she was motivated to get along.
Now she gets in her chair and arches up as though actually looking forward to being petted, and lately she has even begun to 'hug my legs' and let me pet her when we are in the kitchen for her treats. She used to turn on her heals and run away if I reached to pet her during that event, so we do seem to be making steps in the right direction. Of course, since you have been with us from the beginning of the story, you must know that she sometimes makes progress for a while and only to suddenly backslide at some point. That aspect of her behavior is reminiscent of the boyfriend with a fear of marriage/commitment.
Kitty watches A LOT of things, not just when I'm petting Cocoa but almost everything I do and often while peaking out of some hiding spot. Her fear of being picked up is so HUGE that her eyes grow big like saucers and she looks momentarily frozen in terror whenever she sees me pick Widget up. It's like she mentally puts herself in his place, and the idea of being picked up that way is just unbelievably terrifying for her. It's like the equivalent of me or you watching a person being lifted off the ground by a 9ft grizzly bear. (Her face is very expressive at time like this when something unexpected happens. Otherwise, she often has her emotions locked down and is expressionless.)
I realize this isn't exactly what you had in mind when you asked for updated pics of the cats, but I ran across these recent pics of kitty playing with the 'Yeowww Pollock' (part of a line of cat toys filled with organic catnip which is apparently very potent based on my cats' reactions). The Yeowww Pollock and Banana are on the very short list of toys Kitty & Cocoa will play with on their own.
Now we see the unfortunate downside of this thing of giving Kitty special treats. We've already seen plenty of benefits. Now the disadvantages rear their ugly heads. For the past few days Kitty has begun expecting not just daily treats but treats pretty much every time she sees me and especially if I go to the kitchen for anything - even if she just finished eating her FF. I hate it when this happens. It gets very frustrating for me, because she will keep leading me to the kitchen or cat room over and over trying to get a treat.
To make matters worse, this week I've been extremely busy and pressured pretty much round the clock. I just haven't had the time to deal with her leading me to the kitchen again and again hoping for food. It's especially frustrating because it screws up our communications about everything. Usually, I know that when she comes into the MBR at night, for instance, and then leaves again she wants to be let out, but now everything, this included, means, "come to the kitchen and give me a treat." My fault for using this method, but frustrating still. She has probably led me to the kitchen a dozen or more times today alone.
And it gets worse still. Since I'm so busy, a few times I caved and offered her treats just so I could get back to work and not have to deal with this, BUT then she refused the treats I offered, while continuing to beg for something, something else. She refused lean, roast pork loin, even though she had enjoyed a small piece the day before. (Look, I just don't have chicken and other favorites on hand right now.) She also refused turkey, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, egg, & milk. Clearly, she was not really hungry at all but just wanted a treat.
And worse yet, late this afternoon my back started to hurt severely. I probably just over did something. I really have been going a mile a minute this week. I took some pain medicine and went to bed, only to have Kitty come in here a few minutes ago and do her "ready to go out" routine. I fell for it, and got up. The pain was so bad, I could barely walk at all. My back just wanted to cave in, letting me crumple to the ground in a heap, so when Kitty AGAIN led me to the kitchen where I've been with her SO many times already today and where I already know there is nothing she wants anyhow - plus at this point I don't want to encourage or reward this behavior - I politely put her outside. I wasn't mean at all. I held her sweetly. I just carried her to the door and said, "good night" to her. I just did not feel like dealing with her waking me up repeatedly tonight for another kitchen run. I imagine she will be mad tomorrow, but I have to get up early for yet another long, grueling day, so I can't deal with her issues right now.
So this is what life with Kitty is like. You know, as I was typing this, trying to explain it to you, something occurred to me. She keeps taking me to the kitchen, but she refuses all of the treats we have. Is it possible she just wants attention and perhaps doesn't know how to ask for it otherwise? I mean, the treat thing had been our way of having time together, me petting her, that sort of thing. If she is taking me to the kitchen over and over, but is not hungry, could it be that I've missed the cues altogether? Could she be asking for the 'time together' not the treat?
I did go over to where she was sleeping once today to stroke her side, but mostly I guess I've been ignoring both cats a bit this week just because I'm scheduled to the max, a bit stressed, and have no time right now. Maybe she's feeling left out and asking for affection the only way she knows how - and, oh, boy, I reacted to that by putting her outside so I can get some sleep. Argh! This is HARD, very hard, hard to deal with, hard to figure out, hard to know what to do when. I think maybe I blew it tonight. I'll try to give her an extra pet or two when I get home tomorrow afternoon. For now, I'm going back to sleep.
Tough being an animal psychologist, isn't it? If only they would just SPEAK to us! LOL! Hope that this is just a way of asking for attention. Also, hope your back pain abates - very likely a reaction to the stress (or worry about Heidi - just kidding). Hope all areas of your life relax soon!
lizzipa wrote:If only they would just SPEAK to us!
Yes! That would make everything SO much easier. Everything would be crystal clear if only they could just tell us exactly what they want & how they feel - the way other humans do. After all, we are never confused about the needs and intentions of other humans who can speak to us. Right? ;-)
lizzipa wrote:Hope that this is just a way of asking for attention.
This afternoon when I got home, Kitty again wanted a treat. I held a tiny bit of cheese out to her. She showed interest, was putting her mouth to it, licking it lightly, but was 'messing around', taking too long to actually take it and eat it. I was in a huge hurry still. Ultra busy week. I put it in a container in front of her. Suddenly, she lost all interest in it. This was how she had been behaving all week. Then it hit me. Usually, I hand her the bite sized treats and wait calmly for her to take them. Usually there is a lot more interaction between us this way. All week, in my hurry I had been tossing something yummy like a bit of meat or cheese in a dish, shoving it at her, and running off - it was as if I had forgotten the entire point of the exercise.
I picked the piece of cheese up from the dish and held it out to her again, this time waiting patiently. She ate it. I put the next tiny piece in the dish. She looked at it and then looked away, disinterested. I picked it up and offered it by hand. She ate it and the next one, also offered by hand. She wanted to be hand fed. Of course. She wanted attention not just food. That, after all, was what these little sessions had been about all along - otherwise, I could have put the food in her dish all along. In my rush this week, I had forgotten the point of the exercise - again.
This, btw, was not the 1st time Kitty had been unwilling to eat a treat unless I hand fed her patiently. She had done this once a long time ago. I had been giving Cocoa his treats by hand at the time. When she came up, I put hers on the floor in front of her. It was during a time when she was being especially aloof (oh, heck, when isn't she?), so I just figured she would prefer it that way. Then, too, she refused to eat it until I hand fed her as I had been doing with Cocoa. I keep forgetting these lessons, I think because 99.9% of the time her attitude suggests she wants nothing to do with me - but, clearly, she does. (Thank goodness, humans never act in such confusing manner. lol)
lizzipa wrote:hope your back pain abates - very likely a reaction to the stress (or worry about Heidi - just kidding).
I only mentioned this to explain my sudden impatience. My back just started hurting quite suddenly Wednesday evening. It was bad enough to require the extra pain meds, the ones I've not needed much at all lately. When I got out of bed to see what she wanted, the pain was severe, leaving me more than a little frustrated to learn that she wanted to repeat the 'come to the kitchen' thing yet again.
I'm not complaining. These days I'm virtually pain free some 29 or so days out of every month. Compared to just a year ago, that's a GIFT. Actually, I often notice this kind of low back pain for 1-3 days at the same time each month, starting on the day I reach the 'hot' (need estrogen) part of my cycle, the part which corresponds to what used to be PMS time. As I often had similar, low back pain in those days preceding my period (all my life since puberty), I've learned to regard these brief and cyclic intervals of low back pain as temporary and no big deal. They never last more than a day or three, and while painful, are not the kind of screaming, debilitating, sciatica pain I used to have over the past several years.
This one was a bit worse that the low back discomfort I often feel at this point in my cycle. I'm thinking that may be, like you said, a reaction to stress and the things going on in my life right now.
lizzipa wrote:Hope all areas of your life relax soon!
Oh, me, too. Bless you. I'm told w/o stress we would be bored, but I really think I could deal with a little of that kind of boredom. :-)
I think it is especially difficult to be alone at this point in life, a point when one must face some new and difficult situations. Things are further exacerbated if one's parents/family are gone, leaving one largely devoid of the usual support system. Aging, I think, is not for the faint of heart. I'm doing ok, but, alas, there are these occasional bumps in the road.
I wrote this earlier but was interrupted before I sent it. Thus it may be a little bit out of sequence, but sending anyhow.
Last night when I put Kitty out (so I could sleep), Cocoa was out there waiting to come in. Eager to get back to sleep and not wanting to deal with him either, I quickly closed the door and left the foyer. From the other end of the hallway, I could hear him out there meowing loudly. I felt guilty. I knew he was hungry. I went back to the door and let him in. Kitty was sitting at the end of the walkway outside, her back to the door. As I opened the door and Cocoa came inside, Kitty turned her head around to look. Now I REALLY felt awful. I had just put her out, and here I was letting Cocoa in - and she was watching. It was not my night, and I could not seem to win.
Around 5AM this morning, Cocoa was bugging me. I awoke of my own accord, but I wanted to lie quietly in the stillness of early morning. Once Cocoa realized I was awake, he began to bug me. After a few minutes of trying to ignore him, I took him to the door and put him out. Then, since Kitty was out there, I let her in. Now I figured I had made things right - either that or perhaps I had simply made everybody angry with me. Either way, I went back to bed.
One more quick point RE the pain, which, incidentally, while not entirely gone has been better today. I'm optimistic that it will be history soon, probably by Sat or before. Here's the thing:
For a while now I've been toying with the notion that if progesterone exerts such a profound effect on my pain by reducing or eliminating the underlying inflammatory process, then sugar with its known ability to cause and exacerbate inflammation may have the opposite effect. Like most things, the problem is very likely more complex than just the positive or negative effects of a single product or chemical. Multiple things probably plan a part.
I've seen 1st hand how dramatically progesterone effects the pain/inflammation process. Now I'm experimenting with the idea that sugar may also exert a noticeable effect. As I mentioned, I've noticed that while my overall pain is substantially decreased as has been the case for many months now, I do tend to notice a bit of low back pain on certain very specific days corresponding to my cycle. It could be that this cyclic pain is due to changing hormone levels on the days in question. It may also be that I'm driven to eat chocolate and sugary foods on those days, and the sugar is dialing up the inflammation and thus the pain.
I don't have pain very often now, 1-3 days a month if that. That makes it much easier now to observe any other changes which might correlate with the pain. For months now when I've felt even minor knee or back pain, I have invariably found that it was during a brief period of sugar intake. Most of the time these days I avoid sugar and severely curtail refined foods, and my tendency to do so is increasing over time as I notice how my body feels when I do/don't partake of them. Those couple of 'hot' days in my cycle mentioned above correspond not only with days I'm more likely to experience pain but also with days I'm more likely to crave and indulge in sweets.
I've been feeling awesome 98% of the time these last 6mo or so, since I started HRT. Feeling good has changed my life dramatically, such that I want MORE of it and am all the more motivated to eek out the things which detract from my well-being and purge them from my life. Thus I've been noticing things like intermittent pain and what is going on with me at the time. This time the pain began on Tuesday which is the day I gave in to a sweet tooth (probably due to the combination of cycle and stress) and bought a container of ice cream (much of which I ate on Tues and Wed). Not necessarily the cause but definitely a correlation.
Now if you read my Rants thread or if you saw the spot on the news the other night about the blogger who was threatened with a 'practicing medicine w/o a license' suit, then you know why I'm hoping the sugar industry isn't reading this. (Let me just say to all of you out there that I'm not suggesting you give up or even reduce sugar, I'm just thinking out loud about those things which appear to correlate with my pain and/or bad days. That's all.)
Yes, the pic of the dog & his sweet master is very touching!
Just curious, now, that you've put together the treat/attention connection, will you attempt to eliminate the treat & just give them attention?
Tonight, I bring home the stray, who've I've been caring for (at work) for the past 5 months. I'm very excited & prepared her room last night - felt like I was preparing a baby's room, (that's what happens when kids grow up, we treat our pets like kids - at least I do)! I'm crossing my fingers that this cat fits into the household better than the one I rescued last fall, who supposedly came to the shelter with another cat (ha!) & was 4 years old (another ha! - the vet guessed closer to 8) & who they thought was unadoptable (but didn't tell me, until AFTER I committed to adopting her)... She's turned into a sweet (most of the time) cat, but still doesn't like my other cat & they each have their own territory in the house.
I'm hoping the new kitty will be a better companion for my almost 13 yr. old cat, who's always had a cat companion, except for a gap of a couple of month. She's barely a year old & always seeks out the feral cat, who I care for (also at work), but is contantly rebuffed by her. The new little girl has become a lap kitty & has me wrapped around her little paw. But she's terrified of everyone except me, so she'll have to adjust to my DH & son.
Oh, I do so hope things work out with the new kitty, that she learns to love your DH & son and becomes a good companion for your 13yr old cat. Match making (including for platonic friends) for cats seems to be a very difficult task. Terese's son brought home a kitten a year or so ago and now she is posting pics of the two hanging around and cuddling together like siblings. I, as you know, have a mother cat and her now 2yr old son, and they pretty much despise each other, although, perhaps because they are mother and son, I don't have to actually separate them or worry that one will harm the other. Picking friends for cats seems difficult at best. I do hope things work out with the new kitty.
You probably know all about this already, but cat authorities now recommend introducing cats slowly over a period of time rather than just tossing the new one in the open house with the existing one to let them duke it out. As you know, I've gained substantial respect for cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy from the show "My Cat From He__". His look is unorthodox, but his insight into how cats think is amazing as are his ideas for solving problems by thinking of things from the cat's perspective. I checked his website and found that he does have a brief, one page discussion on how best to introduce cats: http://jacksongalaxy.com/2010/10/01/cat-to-cat-introductions/
I can't recommend him highly enough. I think this guy is 'the real thing'. Now I just need to scoot back over to his website to see if he has any guidance on how to deal with psycho Kitty who pretends she doesn't want any human contact but then follows me around, watching from behind furniture, and gets offended when she sees me giving affection to the other cat.
As to your question: "Just curious, now, that you've put together the treat/attention connection, will you attempt to eliminate the treat & just give them attention?" First of all, a slight correction to "...just give THEM attention..." I already give Cocoa and Widget lots of attention. I spend a lot of time with Widget daily during which I play with him (toss/fetch, catch the hand, and faux fighting), talk to him, pet him, praise him, and so forth. When Cocoa come inside, he gets showered with affection starting with copious hugging and petting before he gets his meal. Then, as he most often comes home at night, he will usually lie around in my lap or share my lap with the laptop if necessary. I stroke him endlessly (good for my health, too, according to science). Over the duration of his stay indoors, I stop by to stroke his side pretty much every time I pass him when he lies on the great room chaise or on the bench at the foot of the bed.
I mention this because I wouldn't want you to think, incorrectly, that I give them all treats instead of affection. I do give them all treats, and I've come to realize that I do seem to have a tendency to go overboard with treats - in my somewhat misguided desire to see them all happy - but my reasons for giving them treats differ with each pet.
Although Widget is getting better now that he is getting older (7 or 8yrs), as a puppy and young adult, he was very difficult to deal with. Unlike my prior Malt who aimed to please, learned quickly, and followed the rules, Widget was willful, had the attention span of a gnat, and did what he pleased as soon as my back was turned (Maltese seem to be born with a huge sense of entitlement), including tipping over trash cans and scattering the contents all about the floor, grabbing food the moment my back is turned, and doing his business in the house (even immediately after returning from outside) because he prefers the feel of flooring to grass and likes the climate controls - and those are just a few of his worst behaviors.
With him, I started using treats as a training aid as incentives to focus his ADHD self, pay attention, and follow the rules. Through the use of lavish praise plus treats I've managed to get him potty trained and teach him to 'stay' even when I leave the room for an hour or more. When he does these things, he understands that he will get a treat, and that makes all the difference in terms of getting Widget to cooperate. Widget gets plenty of affection. He does NOT want affection instead of his treat. He has an almost amusing sense of currency, such that he knows what he has earned and what he is owed. When he does a treat worthy of Treat X, if you offer him the lesser Treat Y, he will refuse to take it (even though he also likes Treat Y). He holds out for Treat X which he earned. It's like someone offering you $10 when they promised you $50. He knows the difference - and he wants his treat. I can give him all the praise and pets in the world, but he will still be standing their with his hand out waiting for that treat.
With Cocoa, who still has some issues due to his feral upbringing, I started using treats as a way to help him get over his fear of the MBR, and it worked better than I ever could have imagined. Before, he would sit just outside the MBR door meowing, but would not come inside. The rest of the house is very open with very high ceilings (up to 22ft), missing walls, and very few doors. The MBR, on the other hand, is secluded at the end of a short hallway, has a lower 10ft ceiling, and is fully enclosed (no missing walls keeping it open like the rest of the house). While the openness of the rest of the house was fairly easy for his semi-feral mind to accept, the MBR felt like a cave or cage or trap to him, so he was never comfortable there. His refusal to come into the MBR meant that he was missing out on the opportunity to lie around with us in the late evening and/or sleep in the MBR with us.
I tried a number of other things before resorting to treats. I tried playing with him at the door to try to lure him into the MBR. I tried carrying him into the MBR to pet him, but he would run out again as soon as I let him go. I tried feeding him his regular meals in the MBR (dry food), but that only got him to come in, scarf down his food, and leave again asap. Finally, I tried treats, which I would give him only in the MBR. My hope was to help him overcome his fears by making the MBR a positive experience. The treats worked beautifully. Today he not only comes freely into the MBR and sleeps in their overnight, he even tries repeatedly to lead me in there whenever I'm in the kitchen working or elsewhere in the house.
Unfortunately, while treats worked well for training Widget and for getting Cocoa over his fear, both have developed weight issues. Neither is huge like those really fat pets you see occasionally, but I want to fix the problem now, before it gets worse. I've cut back sharply on treats for both. Widget is now limited to 2 treats a day which I initially cut into tiny pieces to spread them over day. Now I've cut the frequency of treats for him as well. Cocoa now gets 5 treats at 2cal each and that's it no matter how he begs. I just hug him, pet him, and then, if I'm busy, gently send him away (to nap nearby).
Now, finally, to address Kitty. I'm not sure how to answer that, mostly because Kitty is SO difficult to deal with. It's not as simple as just giving her affection instead of treats. I had tried many, many, oh, so many times over the past 2 years to give Kitty affection and had been repeatedly rebuffed. If I bent down to pet her, she would shrink down and away from my hand, refusing me the opportunity to pet her. If I saw her napping on a chair and went over to pet her as I do Cocoa, she would get up and leave the room. She acts like she doesn't want affection, even though she apparently does. She is a very difficult case. Very difficult.
Sometimes she would act afraid, as though she thought it was a trick of some kind, when I tried to pet her. Other times she would just act like she didn't want anything to do with me - just 'feed me', 'open doors for me' and otherwise 'leave me alone' was her attitude. Other times I would see her hiding behind furniture to watch me in secret and watching me through squinting, angry eyes from across the room as I pet Cocoa. I tell you, she is not an easy feline to figure out or deal with.
In desperation, I tried small bits of top quality treats (1/2 slice cheese) as a way to draw her out and try to make friends with her. I doubted it would work and knew it was risky, but, honestly, I was desperate. Somewhat serendipitously I learned that she responded best when I did this for her alone, w/o Cocoa or Widget around to complicate things. I didn't give her more than a bit or two each time and then only once every few days. It really worked better than I had dared dream it might. Today she interacts with me (all the time, even w/o treats) much, much better than before I started the treat thing. Now she doesn't walk away when I try to pet her, and she seems less inclined to suspect ulterior motives when I approach her. The treats really did seem to work to break the ice and make friends with her.
This past week I had to pack way too many appointments, work sessions, and events into too few hours. I think in my rush I failed to take enough time with Kitty. The others are confident enough to look the other way for a few days when I'm too busy to spend much time with them, but it was probably too soon in my new relationship with Kitty. Things are back to normal with Kitty now, the good normal - and I haven't given her a treat since the evening I had to put her outside. I do try to pet her whenever the opportunity presents itself. I can't say that I will never give her another treat. I think I will try to keep the incidence of treats even farther apart now, and try to increase the incidence of affection - when she allows it, that is.
The one big change I thought of following the week of treat insanity with Kitty is play. I'm going to try to introduce play as a replacement for treats except on rare occasions. If I can get her to work with me on this, play should allow us to bond as before but w/o the problems associated with too many treats. Back before I started the treat thing with her, back when she was so unwilling to have anything to do with me, she wouldn't play with me. I tried several times and even bought replacements for her favorite toys. On one occasion, I gave her a fresh, new catnip filled pollack (one of her favorites) right out of the package. She left the room as though disinterested. Curious, I watched her from afar and found that she went back to play with the pollack alone as soon as I was out of the room. That's just how she used to act. I hoping now that we have formed a better bond through treats maybe she will agree to play with me again. Fingers crossed.
Bottom line, I do have a 'problem' with going to excess with treats and toys. Widget has a 36in wide, 24in deep storage bench that is so full of toys, most played with only once or twice, that the lid/seat won't close. In fact, the toys are up to top of the back rest. I haven't bought him any new toys in two or three years now, since he's getting older and rarely plays with the ones he has. Still, he has way too many toys - and that's after giving a dozen or more to the raccoon kits and a few to a friend's dog. Since they don't have a 12 step program for people who give their pets too many treats and toys, I'll have to work on this on my own. Economy induced fears of poverty have helped considerably to curtain my toy purchases, and I'm working daily to keep the lid on the treat jar.
Keeping my fingers crossed that things go well with your new kitty.
Recently you requested updated pics of Kitty & Cocoa. I look forward to providing those; unfortunately, we will have to wait a few more weeks. I take much better pics outside in sunlight, so that's where I take my pet pics. Right now it is quite simply horrible outside. It is even hot and muggy at midnight this time of year, with overnight lows in the low 90s. It's awful out there. This time of year, I just board myself up and camp out inside with my friend Mr A/C.
As soon as the temps drop back to something reasonable - 'hot' as apposed to 'open flame' - I'll go out one AM and take some pics when I can round up a cat or two. (They are indoor outdoor and aren't always on hand, but I'll catch them when they are here.) Temps usually drop in Sept, so it's not that long now. I find that the temp doesn't have to fall to 'cool'. After weeks of 'open flame', even normal 'hot' starts to feel good.
Well Dream, you were right. Izzy, has gained weight. She is filling out big time. Now I am going to have to watch what she eats. She is so long but it has been so hot she does not goes outside. And we had the hail storm about a month ago and all the greenbelt birds disappeared. She has no birds to chase.
We were 108 today but humidity was 12% but it was still hot.
I had a very large family function at my home on Sunday. My baby brother married his high school sweetheart. his wife died close to to years ago and he made contact with old highschool sweetheart on Facebook. When they asked me and I had no problem using my home for the wedding. Oh my goodness, never again. I have never worked so hard to make everything perfect. But it was great and all my hard work looked lovely.
I will post photo of Izzy when I get back down to earth. Right now I am resting. My son and his family are here visiting for a few days before they head to San Diego and the beach. Then there is nothing on the schedule until Christmas. Yahoo... Sharon
Yes, I can see from the weather map on the news that it is hot all over this year. I think we may be starting to cool down a tiny bit now. I say that because I'm starting to see decent temps at night and in the early morning again. For a while there it was in the 90's at midnight, so getting those overnight temps back down in the 70's is a good start toward returning to something normal.
I'll try to remember to get those pics in Sept. If I fail for some reason, don't hesitate to remind me. :-)
Sounds like the wedding was hugely successful. What a wonderful gift for your brother and his new wife. I can 'hear' both the pride (in your word) and the exhaustion (from a lot of hard work) in your 'voice'. Glad you have tome now to rest.
I've cut back on the treats I give Cocoa, because I notice that he is getting a bit of a tummy. He isn't huge, but I want to head the problem off before he gets there. Unfortunately, he is indoor/outdoor and often only eats here every 2 or 3 days, so I have little control over his diet. He is all over the neighborhood catching mice, rats, insects, birds, you name it. I figure that kind of food is self-limiting though. If he eats so much that he gets to fat, he won't be able to catch prey, so then he will loose the weight. Hmm. Maybe that would be a good diet/exercise program for us humans. If I had to chase down my lunch, I'm quite sure I would eat a LOT less. lol.
Poor Kitty & Cocoa. Now the neighbor is getting his roof redone. (You have to think 'city' to realize how close his roof is to my house.) The workers cars are parked end to end in front of my house (leaving the drive open this time, thank goodness), and there is much activity in his yard (only a few feet from my house). Consequently, Kitty & Cocoa are hiding away somewhere, unable to come home again until evening when the workers break for the day. If I don't get up and let them in for breakfast before work starts next door each day, they have to wait until evening to eat.
Don't misunderstand. I'm not unhappy with the neighbor. I'm glad for him that he is able to get some work done on his house. I just realize, while it's no one's fault (other than the mean person who dumped Kitty to begin with), Kitty & Cocoa are very sensitive to the presence of other people, strangers especially and thus will feel forced to stay away from home pretty much from dawn 'til dusk until the job is done. Understanding their extreme fear of people, I just tend to view activity in the area in terms of how it will effect them. I wish I had been more successful in helping them overcome their fears.
On the other hand, I guess maybe the presence of the workers could be an opportunity for Kitty & Cocoa to experience being around people and seeing that nothing bad happens to them - except that in actuality the cats just high tail it down the street at 1st sight of the workers and don't return until the workers are gone. Oh, well, they have dealt with worse conditions (when they had no home at all). At least they can come home each evening to refuel, rest up, and get some hugs before they go into hiding again.
Thanks so much for th good thoughts. Son and his family leave tomorrow morning for San Diego and the beach. They live in Spokane so thy are loving the heat and sun.
Izzy threw up yesterday. I think just to many people and the 2 year old grandson running around. DH and I walk pretty slow and this two year old is always going on full speed. My son, the doctor, got married at 45 and married some one much younger. He had never been married before. That is the reason for the two year old.
I love all my family but I am going to be very happy to see everyone going down the road and DH and I can get back to our quiet life. Good luck to Kitty and Cocoa. May that work get completed in record time. Sharon
Just a very quick update. The roofing job next door was done before 10AM the next day (Sat). The work was impressive in both appearance and, to my mind, speed. Of course, there had been a very large crew over there, such that they covered every inch of street parking several houses down in both directions. I'm told the company is owned by a former Navy Seal, who runs a very tight ship and accepts nothing less than perfection. They even had a young lady out there with a large, magnetic 'rake' working the yard to pick up fallen nails, something I had been concerned about for the next time I take the riding lawn mower out for a spin. I think I will look to this company when I'm ready to redo my roof.
At any rate, the project is over now and actually only kept the cats away from home for a single day. I'm happy. I've seen roofing projects elsewhere on my street drag on for a week or more, probably because they used only a few people.
Last night I 'talked' to Kitty in her language - and she responded!
On the last episode of that cat show I watch (My cat from he__), Jackson told us how to say "I love you" in Cat. (Actually, I think it was the next to last episode, since I have one more saved episode on the DVR.) Basically, you close your eyes very slowly, hold for a second or so, and then open slowly. You have probably seen a cat doing that before and, if you are like me, didn't know what it meant. Jackson says it's Cat for "I love you".
When dealing with a troubled and distrustful cat, he will take his glasses off, make eye contact, and do the very slow blink. If the cat doesn't return the gesture, he will repeat it (slowly) until the cat does so, resting a few seconds between each slow blink to give the cat a chance to respond.
So I tried it with Kitty last night when she came into the MBR. She was hiding behind some furniture and looking out at me as she often does when she wants me to follow her and let her out. She sat there staring at me. This time instead of going to let her out, I decided to try the blink thing. I was curious if it would help to let her know that I'm really on her side.
When I opened my eyes from my 2nd slow blink, Kitty was already in the middle of a slow blink of her own. Then I did a 3rd slow blink - and she came over to me, hopped up on the bed and came right up to me, something she NEVER does. She let me pet her a few minutes and scratch her chin. Then she went outside.
You would have to be around us for a while to know how incredible her response was. She comes in the room like that from time to time, always when she needs to go outside or is very hungry. Either way, it's always a business visit. She will sit there until I get up and follow her. If I call her, she will ignore me. She never comes over to me. That she (1) returned the slow blink and (2) came across the room and to me, allowing me to pet her immediately afterward was nothing short of amazing. I really felt as though I had actually communicated with her. She came back inside a little later and stayed in until morning. She remained in a very friendly mood the entire time.
My crazy cat, Izzy, jumped up on the couch tonight. I was sitting with my left arm over a pillow. She immediately became interested in my underarm and actually started acting very weird. She kept rolling her face back and forth and I knew she was getting really excited. Then she bit me gently. That startled me and I moved my arm and she just sat by me and played with the keys on my laptop. She stayed there for about 20 minutes and then moved onto the ottoman and laid down by the male puppy.
I will have to Google that and see what I can find out attracted her to me. She is always sleeping on our folded clothes before I put them away. My blouse was clean so maybe it was my fabric softener.
I did check and I could not smell any odor. My DH thought it was hilarious.
That's what I was thinking. Isn't it awesome?! I'm so glad Jackson told us this method for talking to cats.
Jackson seems to be like those 'whisperer' types. The word has become overused now, but the original intent of the word was for those rare individuals who, instead of hoping the animal will eventually come to understand our language, attempt instead to communicate with a species by studying its language & the manner in which its members communicate with each other.
Although this is the 1st time he has explained it to us, the slow blink is what he always uses on the show when dealing with a very frightened cat hidden under or behind furniture and threatening to strike out in self defense if approached. Instead of reaching in there and dragging the cat out, he will lie down on the floor (if the animal is under a sofa or bed). He'll take off his glasses and slowly offer them to the cat, so the animal can get used to his smell. Then he will get eye contact and begin doing the slow blink. After a few blinks, the cat will usually return the gesture and will then give up its hiding place and come out from under the furniture to play with him when he drags a string or reed in front of it.
I was so thrilled when he explained the slow blink to us. I think it's THE most important thing I've learned so far from the program. This was my 1st chance to use it with Kitty and it worked better than I had dared hope. I will definitely use it again. Since that event, she has continued to be friendly. When I'm in the kitchen now she arches her back and rubs her body and face all over my legs the way cats normally do when asking for food. Better yet, I can reach down and pet her, and she will react 'correctly' by continuing to arch and push against my hand - rather than shrinking away from my hand and running away as was her usual reaction.
I think she 'kind of' understood that I loved her but still continued to harbor some distrust, often thinking the good things I did for her might just be a ruse. I think telling her "I love you" very specifically and in her language helped to convey my intent more clearly, to say "I really care about you. There is no trick. I just want to take care of you and make you happy." All I know is, her immediate reaction seemed to indicate she that this time she really 'got it'.
Sorry, I have no idea why Izzy did that. The slow blink is the only Cat language I now know. I hope to learn more though. I'm hoping Jackson Galaxy will reveal more of what he knows, and maybe there are other such people out there who have also studied cat interactions enough to know and reveal some more of their language.
Edited to add: As to getting in the basket of clothes, cats do that a lot. I figure for starters a hamper of mostly soft clothing makes a fabulous bed, sort of the cat version of the memory foam mattress. In addition, even after laundering the clothes probably harbor your familiar scent at a level well below our own threshold but which is readily available to a cat's much better sense of smell. Your scent likely makes her feel calm and cared for during her nap.
Just a quick update to let you know that, incredibly, since that day when I used cat language to tell Kitty "I love you", she has been like a new cat. No kidding. I would never have expected that one simple thing could make such a huge difference - and I haven't even been giving her any treats! She is now so loving and responsive, like a 'normal' cat. She comes to me, arches her back & rubs up against me. She seems so happy now, so lively and engaged. She even looks happy and proud. In the mornings when she jumps up into her chair for breakfast, I scratch her head (possibly her favorite thing) and she pushes her head up against my hand. It's just so hard to describe the difference, but trust me. It's huge.
I would recommend that everyone out there, if you haven't already done so, the next time you and your cat make eye contact, take advantage of the opportunity to say, "I love you" in Cattish. In case you have forgotten, Cattish for "I love you" is a slow blink. Close you eyes very slowly, hold for a second or two, then open again slowly. You have almost certainly seen a cat do this before, at least once, and perhaps never realized what it meant. Now you do. Try it for a wonderful opportunity to speak to your cat like never before.
Cheryl -- so happy to hear she had 'turned that corner'
I know how much you love her, and now you know she feels the same, and she also knows -
ya just gotta wonder if her feel of possible abandonment was always in the back of her mind... but now she knows how much she is loved and that she is finally safe.
What wonderful news to hear about you & Kitty! I'd heard about this "kitty speak" from my boss a couple of years ago, but my cats don't seem to respond to my blinks... maybe, they already know they're loved?
I think your assessment of Kitty's problems is probably correct. When I decided to try out that method for telling her I loved her in cat language, I never dreamed it would have such an immediate, profound, and lasting effect. She really is like a new cat now - and, yes, I am thrilled. The changes in her are too numerous to mention here, but here are a few. As mentioned, she now seems very happy and beams with pride, whereas before she seemed to be in a permanent bad mood and looked at every nice thing I did as if it were a trick of some kind. From the moment she hops up in her chair for breakfast each morning, she practically glows now with happiness. When I go to scratch her head, she pushes her head up against my hand and every ounce of her being seems to be fully engaged in just enjoying the moment.
Sometimes at night when I'm doing a little last minute work in the kitchen, I'll feel something soft against my leg and look down to find her there sitting at my feet. Before she spent most of her indoor time hiding out in some dark corner of the house alone. Sometimes she would watch me from afar, often while hiding behind furniture. Now she sits at my feet.
One of the most noticeable changes in her behavior - aside from just seeming so happy, proud, and content - is that her attitude toward Cocoa has changed as has her behavior around him. Before she would never come into the MBR if Cocoa was in the house and especially if he was in the bedroom. You might recall that some time back I started keeping a small container of dry cat food in the MBR for him (I did this to combat some of his fears and now he is habituated to eating in the MBR). Before, Kitty went out of her way to avoid Cocoa, and she never once came into the MBR to eat with him. I think once or twice she came in here and slept on the bench at the foot of the bed while he was sleeping on the bed, but even then she kept her distance, never coming onto the bed where he was. Now the new Kitty has come into the MBR a couple times and walked right up beside Cocoa while he was eating. Each time she walked right up to his dish (while he was eating), gently nudged her way in, and began eating from the dish with him. She didn't growl or hiss or spit or otherwise behave in a warlike manner as the old Kitty usually did any time she was close to Cocoa. She just calmly and quietly ate beside him. The most incredible thing was that she even came into the MBR while he was there. She would never have done that before. It's as though she not only feels loved now but also feels entitled, as though she really has confidence now that she belongs here just as much as he does. It's just warms my heart to see her so happy now.
The other day Cocoa came in while Kitty was eating in the cat room. I had removed his dish to wash it. It was still in the dishwasher. I didn't think much of it since he rarely eats in there anyhow. When I went into the cat room for something, Kitty and Cocoa were standing side by side on her chair, both eating from her dish, no pushing, shoving, hissing, etc, just the two of them calmly eating side by side. The old Kitty would have jumped down and walked away looking frustrated the moment Cocoa tried to eat from her dish. The new Kitty seemed unaffected by his presence. I still don't think they are great friends, but now she is much more tolerant of him.
There are many, many more examples like these of how she has changed dramatically. I'm just very happy to see her finally happy and feeling loved and accepted - and finally believing this is her home.
That's interesting. I feel sure your cats already know they are loved. I think that is probably true of most cats. I think Kitty is (or was) truly the exception, probably due to her past experiences which I take it were less than desirable. Being abandoned by her former family, and at a time when she was carrying kittens and needed them most, really seemed to do a number on her.
It doesn't surprise me at all that the "I love you" thing didn't have the same dramatic effect on your cats as on Kitty, this because presumably your cats already knew you loved them. What does surprise me though is that your cats didn't respond by returning the gesture. I'm new at this, but it's my understanding that they should have done so. If they didn't, that makes me wonder if either (1) you missed the response, perhaps while your eyes were closed or (2) they didn't 'hear' you, either because you didn't do it right or because they weren't watching.
Did you do the blink thing more than once? When Jackson does this, he repeats it several times until he gets the response. I got the response from Kitty after the 2nd slow blink. If I had stopped after the 1st time, I wouldn't have gotten the response either. Also, it's possible, depending on how long it takes you to open your eyes again, that you may have missed the response. Kitty was in the middle of the response when I opened my eyes after the 2nd blink. If I had held my eyes closed a little longer, I may have missed it.
Also, when you execute the slow blink, do you do this in a very definitive manner? By this I mean that the slow blink should be single, definitive motion such that it doesn't just look like a lazy or sleepy blink. There is a barely perceptible squeeze when the eyes close, like a brief & gentle exclamation point at the end of the sentence. Do you recall having seen a cat execute the slow blink at some point in the past? If so, that would help as you would know for sure how it should look. I had the benefit of having seen Jackson perform the blink on his program. Once I saw him do it, I instantly recalled having seen cats do this. I just never realized it was a form of communication.
Again, I'm not at all surprised that your cats didn't show any kind of profound behavior change in response to the blink, but I am surprised that they didn't return the slow blink. I almost wish you would try it again, as now I'm curious.
I'm finding that it's not always so easy to get and sustain eye contact with a cat. Since that one day when I did the slow blink with Kitty, I've not had another chance to do it with her or with Cocoa. I'm finding it's more difficult than it sounds, because you need to get their attention and maintain eye contact long enough for them to realize you are trying to talk to them. Kitty had a habit of staring at me from across the room. When I successfully did the blink thing, I took advantage of one of those moments when she was staring at me from about 12-15ft away. We had eye contact, so I did the blink, and it worked. The 'new' Kitty doesn't stare at me from across the room anymore. She comes to me, rubs against me, etc. As a result, it's harder to get sustained eye contact with her. (Just commiserating in case anyone else finds it difficult to get and sustain eye contact long enough to do this.)
It really does appear that Kitty did need to hear it in a language she could understand, just to be certain. She really does seem like a new cat now, and for the 1st time, I don't sense that she will revert back. Not saying it won't happen, but this time I don't feel like I have to tip toe around for fear that she will. Somehow this time it feels permanent. I guess time will tell.
So how are you? I heard on the news that there was a powerful cyclone in your area. I meant to post something then to check on you, but I got busy and forgot. I never heard anything else about it on the news, no indication of whether it made landfall and where. I sure hope you were not effected by it.
Today I had a brief opportunity to fix eye contact with Kitty, so I again tried the slow blink thing. Much to my surprise, Kitty did not respond. Very interesting. She was quite seriously distracted at the time. She was in the process of trying to decide if she wanted to go outside (while I was at the door and available to open it) or continue sitting in the sunny window just watching the outside go by. Her tail whipped the air relentlessly, evidencing her inner conflict. It was then, while she was preoccupied with the decision at hand that I caught her eye and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to try the blink thing again. Moreover, being rushed and thinking she might jump down from the window at any moment, I must admit that I was only able to manage a single, poorly configured attempt at the blink before she made her decision and jumped down heading for the door.
All things considered, if she did even catch my malformed attempt, it likely came across much like that person who interjects something so totally irrelevant and ill timed into a conversation as to leave everyone momentarily slack jawed and speechless. It's also quite possible that she, being completely engrossed in the question at hand, never even noticed my poorly executed and ill formed slow blink. Or is something more at work here? Could it be that cats only respond to this gesture once and then only when it is offered in the context of a relationship fraught with fear, doubt, and misunderstandings? At 1st that seems all wrong, but then...as I ponder things a bit more it occurs to me that cats are not exactly the types one might expect to participate repeatedly in that rather silly "lover's" conversation of "I love you", "No, I love you", "I love you, too", blah, blah, blah, sugar, syrup, saccharine, gag.
I have been thinking that I might leave a message on Jackson's website, assuming that's an option, to describe the immediate and profound effects the slow blink had on my relationship with Kitty. In view of this new evidence, perhaps I will also ask this newly emerging question about whether cats should be expected to respond to the blink every time, especially in such cases as those for whom the love of their humans was never at question.
If you manage to contact Jackson, I'll be very interested in his take on the blink. I've know about it for a couple of years & tried it on my two most recent rescues - one I got a year ago & one about 6 weeks ago - have never seen any response... Regardless, glad to hear of the softening in your relationship with Kitty!
I had to look up 'cat communication' and there is a lot of info out there! Cool beans!
We've been hit by 3 hurricanes last month and 2 more are headed into the region now...ugh. At least we live in a pretty well protected valley and have only had to deal with the heavy rains and trees and signs being blown around. I am Really glad that we moved south to the Daegu area from our old post north of Seoul - we are pretty far inland now and surrounded by many, many mountains☺
I will be sure to keep you guys updated on any correspondence with Jackson and/or his website. I haven't written him yet, but I do plan to do so. I'm very eager (and hoping) to hear his insight on this issue. Like I said before, I'm quite new to all of this, so I've probably gotten something wrong. Hopefully, he will help me get it straight.
I was surprised when you mentioned that your boss told you about the blink thing. Is your boss 'one of us', by which I mean someone who cares deeply for animals in general and/or cats in particular? He/she would almost have to be, as that information doesn't seem particularly well known or mainstream.
It's good to hear that you are well and are located in what seems to be a fairly 'hurricane-safe' location - not close to the coast like me. I'm a stone's throw from the ocean and on flat land which is at or slightly below sea level. Not good. Luckily, we are sort of tucked up under NC such that most hurricanes hit the steering currents and make the turn in time to miss us, but for the rare one that fails to turn, we are sitting ducks here w/no where to hide. No mountains, not even a hill.
I only heard about that last, big hurricane in your area recently. They said it was the largest anywhere in the last couple years. About those nearby mountains, hope they are very sturdy and don't pose a landslide risk. Man, hurricanes, landslides, tornadoes, earthquakes, does it sometimes seem as though the planet is just out to get us?!
When Liz mentioned hearing about the blink from her boss, I realized this information is obviously known by some group of people somewhere. I was planning to do some research into the subject to see what else I might find. Good to hear that you have already done so and found that there is info out there - and thanks for the search tip. I will be looking into this subject as time allows. (Of course, I'm still working on a backlog from 2011.)
Yes, my boss is "one of us". She & her DH didn't have kids; they had cats. And they were very active with the Stanford Homeless Cat Network - helping to take care of the feral cat colony at Stanford. She taught me a lot about cats! Unfortunately, she retired last year & moved away... When I had a local rescue group (that she was active with) come out to my work to TNR the kitten I now have, my DH was with me. The head lady said that it was encouraging to meet a cat lady with a DH! LOL!
Yes, my boss is "one of us". She & her DH didn't have kids; they had cats. And they were very active with the Stanford Homeless Cat Network - helping to take care of the feral cat colony at Stanford. She taught me a lot about cats! Unfortunately, she retired last year & moved away... When I had a local rescue group (that she was active with) come out to my work to TNR the kitten I now have, my DH was with me. The head lady said that it was encouraging to meet a cat lady who is married, (apparently a rarity)! LOL!
I was starting to wonder if maybe you were working for the lady (seen on APL) who converted her entire [large] estate into a home for [formerly homeless] cats. I believe they said it is the largest, no kill facility in the world. I know its in CA but don't know what area. They showed how she makes trips to various shelters to pickup cats to take back to her place, which is a very expansive and nice home for the cats, and the cats are all well cared for, not at ALL like a hording type situation. When deciding which cats to take with her per the show, she is swayed by those individuals which are sick, cancer-ridden, injured or otherwise unlikely to be adopted. Despite the realization that such cats will drain her now dwindling budget, she is driven in her desire to save them from being put down. Apparently, her site manager or accountant is constantly 'fussing' with her about money, because of her tendency to think 1st about saving the cats rather than about the budget. I was impressed beyond words.
Whoever your boss is, she, too, is clearly a wonderful person. From all accounts it would appear that you have a great job.
For many years I had only the one, small dog, 1st the one my x-fiance gave me for my bday and later Widget. Then I met Heidi. One night as I was sitting out back amidst a group of 20 or more wild raccoons which had become quasi-pets, I suddenly realized, "OMG, I have become the crazy, cat lady - on steroids!" You don't plan it, it just sneaks up on you. I've loved animals (all of them) all my life, so I suppose it was only to be expected. Then when my 2 cats showed up, I was initially adamant that I absolutely did not want a cat, much less a family of them, but, there again, it was clear from the start that I would end up taking them in. It's probably for the best that where I live I am constrained by law to a max of 2 pets - and I currently have 3 of my 2 already.
I would think that cat ladies with DHs would be the exception to the rule, but there actually seems to be quite a few here at DG, more than one might expect. The head lady's joke is cute though.
While we are on the subject, how is you new kitten working out? I gather you have taken him/her home now right? I hope integrating her into your existing group hasn't been too difficult.
Yes, I brought the new kitten, Cali, home. It was quite a saga & so traumatizing that I couldn't talk about it at the time.
The day after I brought her home, she escaped from her room, at the same moment that someone was coming in the back door, & ran outside. I was really distraught & thought I'd never see her again & felt awful that I'd put her at risk by bringing her home. I put an alert out on our neighborhood website, and my next door neighbor called that night to say she could hear a kitten mewing. I set up a bed & food/water underneath her deck. Fortunately, my neighbor was very gracious & allowed me to go into her backyard all hours of the day & night, which I did for the next 4 days.
She stayed close by (we had a close bond, before I brought her home,)& answered me, when I called her, but unfortunately, she reverted to being quite feral & ripped my arm to shreds, when I got my hands on her. Several injuries later & having tried a live trap for a couple of days, she found her way back into my backyard - despite her badly healed broken leg, she managed to scale the 8 ft. fence.
Then the next traumatic event started. My two other cats were determined to chase her away, especially the Kitzen, the 13 year old who had never been territorial. Cali seemed very happy in my back yard & gradually let me get closer to her, but wouldn't let me touch her. However, Kitzen stopped sleeping inside all day & took to patrolling the property looking for poor little Cali. After a week in my backyard, Cali suddenly approached me one day & jumped on my lap, like nothing had happened! However, Kitzen's aggression escalated to an actual fight & the following day, Kitzen, chased her across the street.
This was all such an emotional roller coaster - distraught one day, overjoyed the next. I learned some interesting things about myself. Specifically, that I become overwrought about situations that I think I created or involved a living being who I feel responsible for . I see this, now, in how I react about my kids & pets. However, natural life occurrences - ie. illness or death - involving the elderly don't lead to such a level of distress, because I don't have the same feeling of responsibility, so acceptance is easier.
The evening after Cali fled across the street, I went all over calling her &, finally, she answered me from the across-the-street neighbors front yard. I got her some food & fed her there, then she jumped into my lap, where I had a pillowcase waiting. She seemed relieved to be back in the room that had been so scary the first night I brought her home.
Thankfully, she's adjusted well to being inside. We've progressed to the point where she has the run of the house during the day, sharing the space with Marni, who doesn't like any cats. Marni stays upstairs & Cali stays downstairs. Kitzen has the MBR, which is closed to the rest of the house & has a cat door to the outside. At night, Cali is locked in her room, which has two baby gates stacked vertically in the doorway, and Kitzen has the run of the house along with Marni. We've just start giving Marni the run of the house at night, last week, after having her for a year, and she & Kitzen are finally co-existing well - that's another whole story... For two nights, we didn't lock Cali in at night, but the second night she & Kitzen tangled. Cali growls, now, when Kitzen is nearby, so that may incite him to attack. I figure that it took Marni a year to settle in to living with Kitzen, so it may take Cali & Kitzen that long to adjust to each other.
Of course, the vet's checked her out & she's great, except for some extra bone growth, where the leg was broken. She's up to normal weight - a relief, because she was frail & underweight when I had her TNR'd last April
Regardless, I'm THRILLED at the happy ending. Cali is a delight - she seems happy, & is playful & loving. I haven't had a kitten in 13 years, because I typically rescue older cats & her energy is fun to be around. Initially, she was terrified of my DH & 22 year old son, but they feed her in the evening now, so she's adjusting to them. But if anyone else comes into the house, she's terrified! We won't let her outside until she & Kitzen form a truce, because I worry that Kitzen will try to chase her away again.
Cats communicate with a slow blink, according to feline experts. With their own kind, it's a peace sign, meant to put other felines at ease. Aimed at a human, this seductive blink shows affection, even love. People can return the love with a long gaze and slow blink to "blow a kiss" back in cat body language. The calming blink works on house cats, feral cats, and even tigers in the wild, according to behaviorist Roger Tabor.
What an ordeal! I don't even know where to begin. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I can understand why you didn't want to talk about it for a while there. You and the kitten have BOTH been through SO much. I just want to hug you both and tell you it will all be ok. I can't imagine how horrible and distressing that must have been for you. I'm impressed at how relentlessly you 'fought' for the kitten and how much time you invested in getting her home again. As I read your account, I was afraid you would not be able to catch the poor, frightened kitten again. I'm so glad you were able to do so, and that she is finally safe in her room now.
As I read your account, I was transported back to the days and weeks several years ago when I was struggling to make contact with the kittens at my front door, remembering the extreme roller coaster ride minute to minute, day to day, as I struggled to find my way through the 'maize', never knowing for sure which of my actions my help and which might erase all of the benefits I had accrued up to that moment, causing everything to come 'tumbling down' around me, forcing me to "skip past 'go' & not collect $200", and, worst case, maybe even cause the kittens to leave altogether and never return. I know that feeling you mentioned, that extreme concern for anything that might befall an animal, child, or other for which you feel responsible. Sorry, not at my most articulate today. Having trouble putting it into words, but I share that fear/feeling, the one where you become responsible merely as a result of your efforts to help - or really anything you may have done to alter the situation/events. I'm having trouble articulating it, but, trust me, I'm right there with you.
After all the kitten went through while 'lost' (after running away), 'alone', hungry, and pursued by the other cats, I'll bet she IS very happy to be back inside her room. After all that drama, the solitude of her room is probably much appreciated by comparison. It's almost like you are, however unintentionally, using meezers' method for teaching indoor cats to think of outdoors as an unpleasant place. (Meezers said she only lets hers out once every year or so on a day when its very wet and cold out with ice/snow covering everything so that, after a brief walk on ice/snow, the cats are eager to get back inside and don't want to go out again any time soon. I had to laugh when she told us that. Sounds like you have given the kitten a dose of that same medicine even if by accident.)
I'm humbled and impressed by all that you and your DH go through in your efforts to make the cats in your charge feel comfortable in your home. It made me tired just thinking it: letting this one out for a while, moving that one, now shutting this one in his/her room to let the other one have the run of the place. Wow. You are truly a wonderful person to care for the cats as you do. Please try to cut yourself some slack whenever things don't go as planned. It's clear that you are doing all that you can and then some. If you are anything like me, you probably need to focus on treating yourself as you would treat someone else. You probably wouldn't give another person anywhere near as much grief as you do yourself should something go wrong (when you perceive yourself as in charge or responsible).
At any rate, I'm glad to hear that things are finally going well with the new kitten. She sounds so loving - reminds me of Cocoa when he was a kitten. I didn't want him at all to begin with, but he was just so incredibly sweet and so determined to be a part of our family, even despite the fact that he was afraid of me. I just couldn't turn him away under the circumstances - and now I'm so glad I didn't. That day when he followed Widget and me down the sidewalk (at a distance) when we went for a walk, he really won my heart. I just knew it was such a huge risk for him even to be out in daylight, much less to be following us down the street. It was clear to me that he needed and wanted to be friends. I just couldn't turn him down, and it has been well worth the effort for me, because he has been more loving than any cat I've ever known. I wonder if the wild ones, especially when you are able to reach them at such a young age, may appreciate their relationship with you all the more for having experienced life on the other side: alone, afraid, hungry.
Hope things continue to go well. You have BOTH earned it.
Correction. Shortly after I posted the above, it occurred to me that I really stepped on my words - told you I wasn't in a particularly articulate mood, right? When I mentioned that reading your post took me back to those early days when I was trying so hard (and hopelessly) to tame the kittens (Cocoa and Tabby) before they were too old, I didn't in ANY way mean to indicate a comparison between the two situations, only that the situation you described reminded me in some ways of those days. Your situation, having moved the kitten from a location where she was at least getting by to one where she was for a time lost, was particularly terrifying even to read about. I can only imagine how upsetting it must have been for you during that time while she was lost and you were feeling it was your fault for having moved her - even though you were only trying to help her. During that time when you couldn't know for sure if you would ever get her back or what might happen to her, you must have been unbelievably distraught, and my heart goes out to you.
In no way does the time I spent trying to catch and tame Kitty & her kittens rise to that level. I know you aren't worried about comparisons, and you are probably wondering why I'm even saying this. It's just that as I read your account, I was stricken with the sense of just how difficult all of that must have been for you, and in no way did I want, in my bumbling attempt to communicate, for my words to give any impression that I thought the two situations were similar. In mentioning that your words transported me back to the time years ago when I was trying to figure out how to tame my group, I meant only to let your know that I could relate very personally to some aspects of what you were going through, things like spending time outside in the dark trying to call them to me and wondering each step of the way if 'this' or 'that' was the right thing to do to help them feel more comfortable (or something which might drive them farther away).
I'm just very glad to hear that the kitten is home again. Hope things are still going well. I realize with things such as this things can turn on a dime, going from good to bad or vice versa in a moment. Sorry it took me so long to respond to your post. I've been having some issues of my own of late - as if that's new. I really did appreciate that you shared your story with us.
Thanks for clarifying the blink. While Jackson specifically described it as meaning, "I love you", I sort of figured it was likely a more general indication of affection. On his show, he uses the slow blink whenever he encounters a particularly traumatized cat that is hiding behind furniture and afraid to come out even for its owners. In such situations he uses the blink to let the cat know that he is on its side. He gets right down on the floor, lying down to get his face down to the cat's level and then executes the slow blink repeatedly until the cat returns the gesture. His steps when meeting a frightened cat include the slow blink to let the cat know he is friend not foe, taking his glasses off and offering them to the cat so it can 'read' his smell, and trying to interest the cat in some form of play when the situation seems right.
Most importantly, I'm going to try to remember your words if ever I'm being chased by a tiger. :-)
I repeated the blink again the other day with Ms Kitty and got back a response this time. I like to repeat it every week or so to make sure she still knows how I feel. It seems to be working well still. She has changed in so many small but very distinct ways since I 1st tried the slow blink.
One additional example of how she is different is that whereas before she was always stubbornly determined to do everything for herself, now she is willing to ask me for help. Last night for the 1st time she meowed when she wanted to go outside. Cocoa yells at the top of his lungs whenever he wants anything - sounds a lot like the crying sound my Siamese used to make. Not only does he scream repeatedly to go out, he will lie on the great room chaise waling endlessly when he just wants me to stop whatever I'm doing (cooking, cleaning, etc) and spend time petting him. He does that all the time (much to my chagrin, although I am slowly learning to block him out until I finish what I'm doing). I've always wondered why Kitty doesn't learn from him, since nothing ever happens to him (for all that yelling), and eventually he gets what he's asking for. I don't want her to learn to be annoying about it as Cocoa can sometimes be, but I would like for her to feel comfortable asking nicely. I was so glad the other day when she finally meowed twice, lightly to let me know she needed to go out.
She is communicating with me so much better lately, in so many ways, whereas before she was just so 'stiff' and non-communicative. One morning I awoke around 4AM and went to the kitchen for a drink. While there I heard a meow and found Kitty at the back door asking to be let in. She had apparently heard me in the kitchen and come to the door in hopes of summoning me.
She never used to 'ask' to be let in. She would just wait near the door and then try to dash in or out when it opened. That was characteristic of her 'take care of myself' lifestyle. Often this worked out badly, as I wouldn't see her hiding out against the house waiting to make that mad dash through the door. Sometimes I would close the door on her, not realizing she was there and narrowly miss hurting her. That probably reinforced her belief that I was 'bad' and against her. I tried to remember to check for her every time before closing the door, but sometimes I would just forget, especially early in the morning when I was still 1/2 asleep.
Now she is beginning to understand that she doesn't have to 'dive' through the door and that she can ask to be 'let in' instead of her trying to 'dive' in when she can find an opening. It's the little things. Yesterday, I went for a few groceries - mostly cat food & dog and cat treats. Kitty stayed inside while I was gone. Before, even just a few months ago, if I left her inside as sometimes happened, she would always be waiting at the door to bolt out as soon as it opened - as though afraid I was never coming back and she was trapped inside. Yesterday, when I got home I was surprised that she was not at the door waiting to get out. I was surprised again after I brought a few bags in to find her waiting in the hall hoping for a treat, having apparently made the connection between grocery bags and food.
The good part of all this is that instead of bolting out the door when I got home, she was waiting in the hall to ask if I had brought a treat home for her. I caved and opened an extra can of cat food. I'm a hopeless pushover. It's a shame it took her so long to realize she can ask for things and get them. Interestingly, even though she is trusting me more now, communicating with me, and asking for what she needs, she hasn't been begging for treats like she was doing for a while there - except yesterday when she associated grocery bags with food, that is.
Bottom line, Kitty is much more of a pleasure to have around lately.
You're sweet to worry about stepping on my words. But no worries, I didn't even think of that. I was just thrilled you empathized with my feels of responsibility & guilt & understood the reason for my distress... instead of thinking I'm nuts! ;-)
So sorry that you going through issues - hope they resolve soon & in a good way!
Sorry I've been 'away' for a while. I didn't realize I had been gone so long or that I had left several posts unanswered. Sorry about that. I've just had SO much going on lately, lots of conflicting deadlines, everything due at once. The good news is I've been getting a lot done (as compared to those years when I was 'treading water' just trying to survive the worst of the 'M' coma).
Unfortunately, I have a very full day again today, so I'm going to have to try REALLY hard to get back soon to respond to posts. I came here today because I just could not wait another day to tell all of you the wonderful news about Kitty. Usually, when she makes any kind of improvement I hold my breath knowing it is only a matter of time before she reverts back to her usual aloof state, but from that very 1st magical moment when I gave her the slow blink, this time felt different - and still does.
From time to time, pretty much any time we have eye contact for any amount of time, I repeat the slow blink just to be sure she knows that I still love her. Now it has become a two way thing. Sometimes she comes into the room, sits a little distance away from me, and gives me the slow blink (1st). I always answer in kind, of course. It's become our own little 'dance' now.
During this time Kitty has continued to change in myriad little ways, too many to list here. Perhaps the most incredible change occurred last week. That evening she came into the MBR, sat a little distance from the bed, and proceeded to send me a slow blink. I was thrilled, of course, that she was now initiating the gesture. I quickly replied with a slow blink of my own, and then the most incredible thing happened...
Immediately upon receiving my return blink, Kitty walked over, hopped up on the bed, and curled up close against me, where she slept for the night. Kitty has a soft, private bed down the hall, away from the glaring lights and the noisy TV. That she chose to spend her night with me instead, spoke volumes. Since then she has spent 3 additional nights curled up so close to me that, quite frankly, she interferes with my movements and thus my sleep - but I'm thrilled, just the same.
Last night a few minutes after I went to bed, Kitty hopped up on the bed, came up to my face, and gave me the slow blink up really close, and then, upon receiving my responding blink, proceeded to nestle in on top of the covers and between my two calves, where she again slept all night. I was particularly taken aback by the way that she walked up to my face to execute the slow blink up close so that I could see her in the semi darkness. Now that she is initiating the slow blinks, there is no doubt in my mind that she and I are actually communicating. Isn't it grand?
There are many, many more changes, far too many to recount on such a busy day. I can even see a profound difference in the way she looks at me now. Gone are those "I hate you" looks. This is a whole new cat.
For those whose cats did not return the slow blink, I should tell you that Cocoa, who I know loves me very much, blew me off as well. Perhaps the gesture does only have real meaning between those who are unsure of their relationship. I don't know enough about this yet to be able to say. But I do know that it has worked miracles with Kitty.
Isn't it wonderful after all this time?! It is fabulous that we now have this way of communicating and reassuring each other. I'm also elated - and I think I may have obscured this point in my post - that Kitty is now choosing to sleep not just in the bed with me, and that alone is huge, but also up close against me. It has been a year or more since she slept in the bed, and even when she used to do so, in the early days before Cocoa invaded her space & 'ruined' everything, she never slept so close up against my body as now. A couple years ago, when she 1st joined the family, she used to sleep on Widget's little puff-ball bed at the foot of the bed, opposite side from me. Even then, I was just thrilled to have her sleeping in the bed with us. (The cover shot for this thread is from that 'era' and shows Kitty curled up in Widgets bed.)
A few years ago when things were going well (pre-Cocoa) and when Kitty was sleeping in Widget's bed most nights, she would often only sleep there for an hour or so and then slip out in the middle of the night to sleep somewhere quieter, more private, and away from the glare of lights. Now, she settles in right up against me at the start of the night and remains in that same spot until I get out of bed the next morning - even if my bad leg is aching relentlessly from being held in a less than optimum position for 8hrs and even if by 5AM I'm secretly hoping she will decide it's time to go outside so I can move my 'screaming' leg and get a few hours sleep before morning. :-)
I recall one night when she nestled between my calves when I had just gotten into bed and was still on my back. Once she got settled in, there was no way that I could turn onto my side, my usual sleeping position, without forcing her to move. Not wanting to make her feel unwelcome, I spent the night on my back, so as not to disturb her. By midnight or so my leg had begun to ache terribly. As the night wore on, I found myself half awake and counting the hours til morning even after taking 2 pain pills. Remembering how she rarely spent the whole night in the bed and how she always used to be ready to go outside by 4:30AM, I secretly hoped she would wake early and get up, but, no, she slept glued to that spot all night long until I finally got up around 6AM, unable to handle the pain any longer.
I tell that story only to accent how she now sleeps with me all night - even if my leg is cramped. Thankfully, that particular night when she caught me in an uncomfortable position was not the norm. Most nights have gone quite well. Two nights when I was sleeping on my side, knees slightly bent, she actually curled up in the angle between the backs of my thighs and my calves - luckily most nights I don't turn over once settled in! And she doesn't just sleep in the middle of the space, away from my body. She sleeps right up against my body, often using a leg or other body part as a pillow. When sleeping between my thighs and calves as described here, she was right up against my thighs. Likewise, when sleeping between my calves, she was pushed up against and practically on one calf. This, sleeping close against me, is something she never did before.
A major improvement, even if I did loose a little sleep.
No, I don't think the Heidi thread is over. After Heidi died, the situation got out of hand. I decided to take a time-out to give the raccoons time to sort things out, 'elect' a new leader, and regroup. This is the time of year when the raccoons are not very hungry anyhow. They can find adequate food on their own now. I plan to go back out there in early spring when breeding season once again marks the beginning of their race to eat as much as possible. By then I fully expect that a new leader will have emerged and things will have calmed down once more - at least, that's the hope.
While I'm 'back', I do need to go over to the Heidi thread to post some responses.
For those who are not followers of the Heidi threads, Heidi was a wild raccoon who came out of the forest to make friends with me some 6 or more years ago. Over the years since then, I've fed her and her babies most evenings, spent time with them, observed them, learned a LOT about them, and enjoyed every minute. For several years I kept a kid's wading pool in the backyard for them to swim and play in. I supplied treats for the babies (cookies, cupcakes, marshmallows), which they took from my hand. I bought them small dog and cat toys which they played with and carried all about the yard year after year. Heidi became such a 'pet' that she would sit right up against the (glass) patio door each night waiting patiently for her dinner. I could walk right up to her, pet her, and even put my hand in her dish (while she was eating) to get a handful (of dry cat food) to share with one of the others.
These last few years we had known that she was getting old. She was well beyond the average lifespan of a wild raccoon, so we knew the end was coming. A few months ago she finally crossed the rainbow bridge. It was very, very hard to see her go, as difficult really as loosing any other beloved pet, but I decided to focus on and be thankful for the many wonderful years we had together (and all the secrets Heidi shared with me along the way) rather than bemoan her passing.
If you are referring to the Heidi story, it was an incredibly beautiful story to have experienced, magical even, and I feel lucky beyond words to have been part of it. I have to admit though that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my many DG friends who helped to steer me in the right direction early on. When Heidi 1st came down the fence, practically at my feet, that day so long ago, I was terrified of her. Having grown up here where rabies runs rampant in wild raccoon populations, I had been taught at an early age to fear and avoid raccoons at all costs, so my 1st instinct was to chase her away. Much thanks to those who helped me see the light. The most important thing I learned from my time with Heidi is that sometimes the things in life you think you don't want may actually be wonderful gifts in disguise.
As for Ms Kitty, she is now sleeping on the bed beside me pretty much ever night (except when I fall asleep early w/o letting her back inside). In fact, now she is even joining me for afternoon catnaps like on Sunday afternoon when I napped for an hour or so and woke to find her at my feet and even now. She slept with me last night. We both got up early this morning. Right now I'm sitting on the bed doing some work on my laptop before heading out to run errands. A little while ago, Kitty joined me. She is curled up snoozing inches from the screen even now as I type this.
I do believe we are become very good friends, she and I.
One thing that makes me very optimistic this time around is that, while Kitty still has moments of fear and envy, moments when she returns temporarily to her old ways, now I see her 'righting' herself when this happens, requiring no action on my part. This is something she never, ever did before. In fact, now when on occasion I see her showing fear or envy (the old ways), I can just ignore it entirely, knowing that she will be ok again in 30min or an hour.
There is one other thing I've been meaning to mention for a while now. I mentioned before that Cocoa used to eat Blue dog food. At the time that was the only brand I had seen him eat. Recently, he ate a few mouthfuls of Nature's Balance. Then several weeks ago I received a free (small) bag of Iams Naturals dog food.
Cocoa seems to have fallen in love with the Iams Naturals dog food. He eats it instead of his cat food, even when I put his cat food right beside him to be sure he sees/smells it. Just FYI, his current cat food is TOTW. That's a more expensive and better quality (supposedly) food vs Iams, AND we are talking cat food vs dog food (all dry varieties). Every morning Cocoa would come inside and eat all of the food from Widget's dish, ignoring his own food.
Curious to see if he really liked the dog food better, I filled Cocoa's dish with cat food on one side and the Iams Naturals dog food on the other. Day after day I did this, and day after day, he ate all of the dog food and begged for more, leaving most of the cat food behind. He picks at the cat food now and then, but mostly gobbles up the dog food - and begs for more dog food when that side of the dish is empty.
I don't know what to make of this. Anyone else ever seen such a thing. Since cats are carnivores, and dogs are omnivores, the cat food should contain more protein and probably higher quality protein vs the dog food, but that's not what Cocoa seems to be telling me. I checked the ingredient list on the Iams Naturals bag. The 1st 2 ingredients are chicken and chicken byproduct meal followed by numerous grains (corn meal, rice, etc), a few more proteins like eggs and brewer's yeast, and fruits/veggies such as apples, carrots, and beets. I think the TOTW is grain free, and is salmon and 'something' (maybe venison or duck, don't recall now). Whatever the deal is, Cocoa is adamant that he prefers the dog food, choosing only to eat a few nibbles of his cat food for variety. Even a small bag of food usually lasts Widget forever, but Cocoa eats like a horse and has already finished off the entire bag in just a few short weeks.
Wishing all of you a wonderful - and very thankful - thanksgiving day!
Wishing you lots of turkey, cranberry sauce, and ham, lots of stuffing and gravy, and tons of candied yams and pumpkin pie - or whatever your family enjoys this time of year. Oh, and, godspeed on your shopping marathon, if you're one of those Thanksgiving athletes!
May you enjoy good food and family time - and may Aunt Sophie and your father manage to get through the day w/o an argument. :-)
Oh, and don't forget the felines, many of whom also enjoy the spoils of Thanksgiving day.
lizzipa - please excuse the intrusion, but I saw your post about not feeding dog food to cats. I have the opposite issue. My Toy Fox Terrier, Charlie eats his Merrick and Paul Newman Organic wet canned dog food just fine. But he does not appear to like dog kibble. The only way to get him to eat it is to give it to him and let him miss several meals until he breaks down and eats it. That may be good discipline, but I don't like doing it. I wondered about giving him a small bit of cat kibble just to get him to crunch a bit for his teeth. He does get large beef bones and he chews them with gusto. So his teeth get cleaning that way. Does anyone have an opinion about giving a bit of cat kibble to a small dog - good idea, bad idea, or somewhere in between. His breeder mom recently said she did not consider it a problem - if he is chewing his bones, his teeth should be cleaned just fine. What do you think?
Edited to say I meant his breeder mom thinks it is not absolutely necessary for Charlie to eat kibble since he gets his teeth cleaned chewing on the big raw beef bones. She says kibble is more a people convenience than really so essential for the pets. I respect her judgement, but also would like to know what DG people think.
I know you meant this question for Liz, and hopefully she will weigh in on it, too, as she is, indeed, quite knowledgeable on pet matters; however, I thought I would add my few cents to the mix, as well. In my opinion (and that of my small dog's vet), it would be better to avoid giving cat food, kibble or otherwise, to the dog. I don't think it would hurt to give him a very small amount on rare occasion, but it's not advisable to do so on a regular basis. As seems to be my way, I learned this the hard way. :-)
Formulated to meet the needs of a true carnivore, cat food has too much protein for a dog. My vet warned that feeding it to a dog on a regular basis might lead to kidney damage. If you need more reason to avoid the switch, during the time (less than a year) that my Widget was permitted to nibble the cat's kibble, he gained 2 lbs, nearly 50% of his 4.5lb body weight.
I knew Widget wasn't supposed to eat cat food, but that year we rescued 2 stray cats, and Widget decided the cat food smelled much better than his food. He began giving me his 'oh, poor me' face whenever I fed the cats and excluded him. Over time I began to feel like Cinderella's evil step mother, and eventually I 'caved', thinking 'what can it hurt?' On Widget's next annual checkup, he had a weight problem for the 1st time in his life - 7 or 8yrs, I loose count.
Maltese are predisposed to dental problems. Many loose teeth at a relatively young age. For this reason, the veterinarians with which we've worked always urge me to keep them on a dry food diet. Although one veterinarian said this problem is common to small dogs in general, I don't know for sure if it is an issue of major concern for your dog's breed.
I think it would be better to avoid the cat kibble for your dog. If he won't eat the dry dog food (unless you 'starve' him), I would be inclined to give up on the idea. I think wet dog food plus dog 'bones' should be adequate. If you are concerned about his teeth, you might consider brushing his teeth with an enzyme toothpaste formulated for this purpose (never use human toothpaste on pets). If he doesn't tolerate brushing, just smearing the (meat flavored) enzyme paste on his teeth will help.
My prior Maltese Sassy also refused to eat dry food. In the beginning, the vet recommended I mix her wet food with dry (1:1 ratio at 1st, tapering to just dry food over time) or mix cottage cheese with the dry food to make it more palatable and get her accustomed to eating it. This did not work at all with Sassy. She would pick the dry food out and eat the remaining wet food, leaving a pile of dry food on the floor. Sassy never learned to eat dry food, no matter what I did. I ended up feeding Sassy wet/canned dog food exclusively. With the (prescription) enzyme tooth paste and a few dental cleanings under anesthesia when warranted, Sassy managed to keep her teeth until the end.
That is the benefit of cooking your own. You can tailor it to your needs, and you know exactly what is in it. You really can't say that about food from anywhere else. Hope you enjoyed a tasty, low carb Thanksgiving!
I am SO bad, am I not? Letting the dog eat the cat's food and the cat eat the dog's food. Breaking ALL the rules. Then again, surely I must have the only cat who prefers dog food.
I do know better; after all, it is written right there on the label. There's probably a reason it doesn't say "Dog & Cat Food". (But I don't always do what I'm supposed to do. Yep, I think that may be the problem here.)
I never actually planned to feed dog food to the cat. I fed the cat's up high to keep the dog out of their food. Cat food being preferred by both breeds due to it's higher protein content (and higher quality proteins), it never occurred to me that I might also need to worry about keeping the cat out of the dog food. But once Cocoa decided he liked the dry dog food better, he began eating from the dog's dish rather than his own. Even placing his (more expensive & better quality) cat food beside him did not deter him from eating the dog's food. I filled his dish with cat food side-by-side with dog food just to see if he still choose the dog food. I even placed the dish so that the dog food was on the opposite side of the dish from him - and STILL he gobbled up the dog food 1st.
I actually did know about the importance of taurine in a cat's diet, but I'm glad you reminded me, and I'm glad you mentioned taurine especially for the benefit of others who might read this. From my understanding, taurine is more of an issue for indoor cats (and others that can't hunt for whatever reason). Taurine is the only necessary nutrient that cat's can't manufacture. For this reason, all cat foods are mandated to contain taurine. (Cats make their own Vitamin C and other such things which we must get from food.)
I don't really worry about Cocoa getting enough taurine, because (1) he does eat some cat food daily - when he comes home to eat, that is, and (2) he's an avid hunter. (Mice, birds, etc supply taurine.) Cocoa is a very BIG boy now, and he eats like a horse. When he comes inside, he eats and eats and eats. Then he naps a while before eating some more. Even when he eats the dog's food (and when I put some dog food in his dish for 'research' purposes), he still eats a fair quantity of cat food, too (so I know he's getting some taurine). Then he goes outside and catches (and eats) mice, rats, insects, you name it (and the occasional bird).
Cocoa and/or Kitty routinely deposit rats, mice, and ground moles (and the occasional pile of bird feathers) at my door. Since their arrival I've gone from a lawn riddled with mole hills to one totally devoid of such trails, and I'm happy to report that the rat population I unwittingly supported when I used to feed the birds has fallen off quite precipitously. When the cats 1st arrived, the rat 'gifts' they left at the door where sizable and fat. Now, some 2yrs later, the pickings are clearly getting sparse. These days the 'gifts' are very small and thin and look much less healthy. One neighbor even reported seeing Cocoa catch a rat in his flower bed. The cats are actually quite popular for this reason. Some days there are 2 and even 3 moles (or combination of moles and mice) left at my door. They are such amazing predators.
On one dreadful occasion I had the 'opportunity' to see (and hear!) Cocoa consume a small rat. He ate the whole thing, fur, bones, insides, and all! I tried calling him, but he would not stop until he had devoured the thing. It took me some time to get that sound out of my mind. I wouldn't even let him in the house that day. I was too grossed out. Bottom line, I have very little control over Cocoa's diet. He wanders the neighborhood eating as he pleases - and there are outside dogs close by, probably with dog food he can pilfer. Sometimes he spends a lot of time inside. Other times he eats and runs. Sometimes he comes in 3 or more times in one day. Other times he doesn't come home for 3 or 4 days at a time. Even when he does show up, he's no hungrier than usual, and he's not skinny.
I'll try to cut down on his dog kibble. I figured it probably wasn't best for him to eat dog food. If nothing else, it's probably wasteful, since he can't digest the vegetable and grain components, and the vegetable proteins are of negligible use to him as a carnivore.
I did make one improvement in his diet - and my behavior - already, but to tell you about it, I 1st have to admit to yet another personal vice. When I got the word a while back that I had to put Widget on a diet, I decided I might as well work on Cocoa's weight issues at the same time. I hadn't noticed Widget's weight gain under all that hair, but I had been concerned for some time about Cocoa's pooch. Cocoa had a visible 'tummy', and I had noticed him sitting with his back feet well apart to make room for it (while eating).
I cut Cocoa's treats from almost unlimited down to just a few a day (at 2 calories each). It wasn't easy. He begged and begged and begged. He lay in my lap looking up at me devotedly. He shoved forcefully at my hand trying to tell me he wanted more treats. He stood in front of his dish and stared at me like he was starving. He did these things over and over and over again. For a while he all but drove me crazy, the little Temptations addict. I was shocked, but with that one change to his diet, he quickly regained his svelte physique - even though he still eats like a horse and even though I can't control his outdoor eating.
When I 1st started feeding Cocoa the Temptations treats, it was as an extra incentive to come into the house and later into the bedroom, where he as a formerly feral cat was quite uncomfortable. He loved the treats, so they worked really well. Thinking in 'human' terms, I though 2 calories was nothing, so I gave them freely. Soon he was staying inside all day - and going through 2 or 3 bags a week! I was surprised to learn that the average cat only needs some 200 calories a day. Suddenly 2 calories took on a whole new meaning. Now a bag lasts us a month or so, and Cocoa is back down to his fighting weight, but he does still beg a little to see if he can get even 1 more treat. I've created a monsters.
Dream - your take on a dog eating dry cat food agrees with other information I have read. I do attempt to brush Charlie's teeth - not terrible successful. I will try doing just the paste. Smearing it on with my finger (or a finger cot) does do a bit of brushing. I love the phrase "feel like Cinderella's evil step mother"! That is what I feel like when I force him to go several meals without in hopes of forcing dry kibble on him. He is a good little fellow and never begs when we are eating. He actually eats very little (good thing since he is so small and I don't want to face what you did with Widget!). Maybe I need to get away from worrying so much about getting him to eat kibble and just be sure what he does eat is good for him. I wish he would eat apple, carrots, peppers, etc as some people on the Pets thread say their dogs do. He just sniffs these items and then looks up at me as if puzzled. He ate some green beans once and I thought - OKAY! The next time I offered them, he said no thanks. I have done the mixing of kibble with other food and he does as your Sassy did - eats the good part and left the kibble (even if soaked) on the floor around his dish - as if to say I could not fool him. I have tried him on a wide variety of kibbles (all extra good quality - no regular grocery store stuff), but he basically smells them and rejects them. Maybe time focus on something else. I feel silly spending so much thought on feeding a dog when so many people in the world are really hungry, but they are beyond my control or help. I can only look after Charlie (oh, also my DH - he has not been totally replaced by Charlie although he says he thinks he has slipped to third place in the household!).
Sorry I missed you back when I was AWOL. Yes, it truly is wonderful now to watch the real Ms Kitty slowly emerge. Lately, I pretty much have to reserve a spot for her (on my side of the bed). She's there now any time I am, night or day, whether I'm sleeping or just sitting on the bed while working on my laptop. No matter. If I'm in or on the bed, Kitty is in her spot napping. When I'm on the laptop, she naps just behind the screen, where I know the constant clicking of keys must surely annoy her, but she stays right there until I get up to leave the room.
New (and more normal) behaviors are emerging often now. She is starting to play a lot and even initiate play, whereas before she had come to refuse play when offered. She was just so serious before. This morning I saw her sniffing around an area where we played with a catnip toy yesterday. Realizing she was probably looking for that toy again, I went to my stash and got out another catnip filled toy, one I had been keeping in a sealed bag. It was the 'pollack', and as soon as I offered it to her, she began rolling and tumbling with it quite vigorously while giving it bunny kicks. It was so wonderful to see her just having fun for a change. Before she was particularly reluctant to engage in play in front of me, whereas now she just takes the toy and goes all 'kitten' right there immediately. Before she would sometimes play with a toy if I put it down a foot or so away from her and then left the room.
Another big change in her now is that I can pet her anytime, and she will be responsive. The only exception to this is when she is standing at the door waiting to go outside. Then/there it's a tossup as to whether she responds by pushing her back up against my hand or by 'shrinking' downward and away. Before she was very rarely responsive to petting and then only if she initiated it. Now it's so delightful to be able to reach out and pet her at will and have her react like a 'normal', loving pet.
Yesterday - note that I started this post yesterday and am now picking it up again a day later - we reached yet another milestone when I found (with great surprise) that I was able to just walk up to her and lean down to pet her when she was on the floor, just anywhere at random in the house. Before she would almost always turn and run away when I tried to approach her in such manner.
From the time she first arrived here, she developed specific expectations and responses for various different locations within the house and even within a particular room. I could reach out and touch her if she was standing in front of her dish waiting to be fed or if she was lying on a particular chair or stool, although in either case she was unlikely to respond to being petted, but she would remain in place allowing me to touch her. In other locations and particularly if she was on the floor, she would dart away if I leaned down and reached out a hand to touch her.
Living with her was difficult in those before. On the rare occasion that she hopped up on my bed (when I was there), I could touch her only if she initiated contact; otherwise, she would flee upon seeing my hand coming towards her. Even when I was giving her special treats, small slivers of chicken or cheese in the kitchen, I was absolutely not permitted to touch her. If I tried to do so, she would dart away and, in many cases, refuse to return to eat more treats. If I tried to pet her while she was eating treats in the kitchen, she would act as though I was up to something 'bad', and the whole thing with the treats was just a ruse to lure her near. Thus she would leave, refusing to return even for more prime, boneless chicken breast, tuna, or cheese.
After 2 yrs of living by her old and stringent rules, it's nice to be able to reach out anywhere and anytime and pet her freely and have her respond positively rather than dart away or remain in place but shrink away from my touch. I was particularly surprised when she permitted me to lean down and pet her on the floor. That was pretty much always her cue to flee before. Big changes now and all great.
Oops. I think I may have missed the earlier opportunity to respond to your kind words, as well. Very sorry. I was just so busy and preoccupied at that time. As for Kitty, I must admit that loving her has not been easy. With Cocoa around and always so incredibly loving, it would have been so easy to just ignore her entirely and shun her even. I did at times have to make a special effort to continue reaching out to her, even knowing my efforts would be rebuffed yet again. I just had to keep reminding myself that none of this was her fault and that she was just trying to protect herself the only way she knew how. Above all I had to remind myself that she was the victim.
Shortly before the 'turnaround', I had finally accepted that this (the way things were back then) might be all I would ever get from her. I had resigned myself to care for her for life and just accept that I would probably never be able to hug her or pet her, not that I would stop trying, but that I would accept that it just might never be any different.
Hi Cheryl, I wanted to acknowledge your nice long message, but don't have the energy to respond in kind. I'm working too many hours at my second job - doing the accounting for an extremely successful start-up (in cloud computing) that a former co-worker work co-founded & my son works for. They're in the middle of due diligence for their second round of funding.
stillwood, I think Cheryl would agree that no one intrudes on this thread - everyone is welcome. I've enjoyed reading about your adventures with your new little boy on other threads.
So sorry. You folks must know by now that, well, sometimes I ramble. Mostly I just wanted to thank you for responding to my question about Cocoa and the dog food, that and I wanted to let you know that Cocoa eats quite a varied diet both indoors and out, so I don't worry too much about him not getting proper nutrition. If the shine on his coat (even in shadow) is any indication, he is in very good condition. He looks like he was dipped in black lacquer. I need to get a new pic of him for all to see.
Wishing everyone involved the best of luck with the new startup. Don't worry about not responding. I of all people totally understand about working long hours and about getting too busy to respond sometimes.
I didn't even catch that about stillwood 'not wanting to intrude'. Thanks for responding to that. Definitely, nothing is considered an intrusion here. All are welcome.
Tonight we are getting a lot wind plus some rain and Tstorms from that storm that is moving across the US. Some tornado risk, but unless the wind causes problems, we should be ok. No snow risk here as in the north. Thinking of all of you in the storms path.
I worked at getting (and keeping) the cats in for the night. Wanted them in for the storm. Expecting a sharp overnight drop in temp following the storm, down to low to mid 30's, so wanted the cats in. Kitty insisted on going out at one point, once she saw that Cocoa was staying in. She was outside the door, but I managed to convince her to come back in, thankfully.
For a while there things were tense. Cocoa was in his bed/fort/hiding spot in the MBR. Kitty came in. I watched as she went over toward him, her body language indicative of trouble. As she stopped short of him and prepared to pounce, I spoke to her, "No, Kitty. Bad. No." My voice was demonstrative but not loud, not shouting, calm but authoritative. It was sufficient to cause her to stop, turn around, and exit the room.
A little later she came back into the MBR, this time sitting across the room to look at me from the very same spot where I first told her I loved her in cat language. By that time, Cocoa was lying on the bed beside me in the very same spot where Kitty often sleeps. Moreover, I was petting him lovingly at the time and he basking in the attention. Inside I cringed a bit at the idea of Kitty coming in to watch this, especially on the heals of the prior event in which I had so clearly sided with Cocoa (stopping her from attacking him).
As Kitty stood there watching, Cocoa lying against me on the bed and me petting him, I looked at her and gave her the slow blink. At 1st nothing in return. I repeated it 3 times, after which she finally responded in kind. Kitty continued sitting there and watching us. After a few minutes, I repeated the slow blinks several more times. Again Kitty responded. Then she came over and curled up on the bench at the foot of the bed, even as Cocoa was still sleeping beside me on the bed.
I had been concerned about how this moment which has begun on such a sour note might end. Now, with Kitty napping calmly on the bench at the foot of the bed and Cocoa resting beside me on the bed, all seems well with the world. It seems as though we may have managed to pull this evening off, after all, both cats inside, both in the MBR even, both resting peacefully in fairly close proximity.
For a while after Kitty and I got on good terms, she stopped messing with Cocoa. They weren't great friends or anything still, but she tolerated him pretty well. That ended one day when she came into the room to find me feeding Cocoa a few small bits of chicken. Earlier while poaching a few chicken breasts fillets for a meal, I had also poached and salvaged the bits of meat from the bones, saving that in a small container for cat treats. I had already given Kitty some of the chix earlier that day and the night before. Still, seeing Cocoa eating some of the chix seemed to push her buttons.
Kitty lay in wait for him outside the room. As he walked out she gave chaise running him up the stairs, which seems to be her favorite spot to corner him. In the past I had chosen to stay out of their arguments. Although they made a big ruckus up there, I never saw in any signs of injury to either of them, so I thought it best not to take sides and risk fanning the flames of jealousy even more.
On that particular day, when Cocoa came back downstairs I saw him licking his hind quarter. Later when he curled up on my lap, I noticed 'bumps' and irregularities beneath his skin as I petted him. Checking more closely I found small, superficial scratches and tears in the skin beneath his fur, and, in one spot, even the sheath of a claw still attached to the skin. I reiterate that all of the 'bumps' and scratches were very superficial. They were small, 1/4 in or so in length and ultra-shallow with most having barely broken the most outer layer of skin, the kind of scratch that doesn't even draw blood. A few were a tiny bit deeper, leaving dried skin where I presume there had been blood.
Now had evidence of injury, however slight, and I wasn't happy to see this continue. (Prior to this I hadn't realized how easily a cat's coat might hide such evidence from human eyes.) The very next time the cats headed upstairs, something they almost always do for a fight, I decided to get involved. I called up after them, "No. No fighting, you guys", my voice stern but calm. I was quite surprised to find that this actually worked. Until recently I hadn't thought of cats as trainable, but clearly I underestimated them. A few minutes later they came back downstairs, this time w/o having made the usual ruckus while up there and w/o any signs of injury. Now, I intercede in this manner (verbally) any time I notice signs of an impending argument. It seems to be working incredibly well. Apparently, neither cat wants to risk loosing my favor, not to mention future treats, so just a few demonstratives words are sufficient to prevent altercations.
I knew that they were somewhat trainable, but I thought that you would have to teach them from birth for them to know how to learn from a human. I am so glad that they are learning and Doing what you say when you tell them not to fight!
Great to 'see' you again. Hope all is well in your area.
I just didn't think cats cared what anyone else wanted them to do. I do recall, however, that someone on here mentioned once that the cats would be motivated to please me in order to continue to get treats, affection, and any other favors I provide. It now seems that person had it right. I'm not sure if I'm actually training the cats (as in to prevent them from fighting in the future, for instance), but I do find that both cats respond immediately when told, "No" in a demonstrative and assertive tone (not yelling or raised voice). Each cat also seems to understand now that I don't condone fighting, so at a minimum they at least avoid aggressive behavior in front of me.
I was especially surprised when they immediately stopped fighting when I showed displeasure. It seems all the more impressive that with just a few words spoken from downstairs I can stop a fight upstairs.
Now that I think about it, maybe I am training them to some extent. They have been inside together for several days now (due to cold front), and I haven't seen any signs of trouble at all since I spoke to them about their behavior several days ago (1st day inside together). I guess now that I have a relationship with each of them, each is motivated to stay on my good side. Who knew?
It has been cold and rainy for some 4 days now. Both cats are staying inside most of the time with only brief excursions outside for 'business' and a little fresh air. Actually, Kitty has been staying indoors almost 24/7 for quite some time now. She goes out once or twice a day, and comes right back in as soon as a door opens. She even stays in a lot when I'm away these days.
On an unrelated note, recently I started walking Widget regularly on sunny days. Most days both cats walk with us. They are so cute. I feel like the Pied Piper or a crazy cat lady, me walking a small dog with 2 untethered cats following along with us step for step on the sidewalk.
Our cat Izzy goes with us for every walk. If she is inside, she runs for the door the same time they do. If she is outside, she will just join us. When outside, she is still close by. Our neighbors thinks it is so strange and they actually stop their cars and watch. When we get in the large grass area up by the tennis courts, the three of them play and chase each other. The two dogs are on a long leash and she is free.
Have a Merry Christmas and stay warm and safe. Sharon
Wow. That's pretty much the same as with Kitty & Cocoa - except that they don't play with each other. Neighbors comment on our little 'walking club'. Haven't noticed anyone stop in the street to watch though.
Kitty has started playing with Widget (small dog) lately when we are in the house. Widget had been trying to get Kitty to play with him for years, but until recently she had always refused. Then last week on a couple of occasions while I was out in the kitchen working, I heard a lot of ruckus coming from elsewhere in the house. I couldn't see them at the time, but I figured it had to be Kitty and Widget, because they were the only ones inside at the time. I knew they had to be playing, running and chasing, about the house, because those two never argue much less fight.
Then this morning when both Kitty & Widget were outside in the fenced back yard, I saw them play. What's more, this time I saw that Kitty actually initiated play. Given her background, I was thrilled. The game started when Widget was on the patio waiting to be let back inside. Kitty was standing near him. As I walked toward the door to let them in, Kitty began pushing her head against Widget's head and neck. Then she fell over on her side in front of him, her paws up around his neck. Still holding onto his neck, she rolled completely over onto her back as they began playing in earnest. At some point Kitty 'escaped', and Widget chased her across the yard a ways where she flopped over once more on the grass for more frolicking.
For the longest time when Widget used to try to get Kitty to play, I wished she would do so. He needed a playmate, someone to tussle with and chase. I had given up on them ever actually playing though. Just figured dog games didn't interest Kitty. I can't tell you how happy I am to see them playing now. It has to be great fun and therapy for them both. Widget needed someone other than me to play with. Kitty, until recently, has always been very 'stiff' and largely unwilling to let go and just have fun. It was great to see her initiating play for a change.
Kitty really is doing so much better these days. I wish I had been able to get a pic of her playing with Widget. They were romping up and down the hall again today. I might get that picture yet one day.
This afternoon I went upstairs to do a little work in my office. As I was heading up the stairs, I could see Kitty snoozing in her favorite chair in the Living Room. I was in my office for some 30 - 60 min. I had no idea I wasn't alone until I saw Kitty coming out from under the desk as I was leaving the room. She had apparently followed me upstairs and had been sleeping under the desk, keeping me company. She and I descended the stairs together.
I was pleasantly surprised at her behavior. I can only assume she wanted to spend time with me. You would have to know how aloof she had always been to realize why that comes as such a surprise to me now.
We don't really have snow here in Charleston. We get a light dusting about once per decade, and even then it only lasts until the sun comes up. Most of the time we have shirt sleeve weather even in winter. With so few days when it's cold enough for snow to form, much less stick, it's difficult to get all the variables - low temp + 'rain' - together at the same time here.
With so little snow occurring here, it's a big event when we do get snow - and it's fun to see the looks of confusion on our pet's faces, too. Do you have snow often in NV? Does it tend to stick for days at a time?
I don't believe we have had a single snow on Christmas day in my entire life. We are still having spring-like days right now. Some nights get pretty chilly, although well above freezing, but days are running in the high 60's to low 80's. My azaleas are blooming, and my daffodils are all up, both confused by the spring-like weather.
When I was stationed at Charleston AFB there was a BIG snow (at least 5"). I have pictures of me and my cat makin snow angels ...well me at least. Dusty just stepped carefully around me on a little leash.
That may have been the year, some time back, now affectionately known as the year of our 'blizzard'. 5in of snow is a lot for Charleston. We don't usually even get that in the highest drifts - unfortunately. Most of us actually like snow and secretly long for more, since we see it so rarely here. Usually, we wait 10 yrs or more only to get what I call a 'dusting', because it reminds me of the thin layer of powdered sugar on doughnuts or topping a cake. Often what falls isn't even sufficient to completely cover the ground. Other times we gather at the window with excitement at the sight of a handful of snowflakes dancing on the air, only to watch them disappear instantly upon touching the ground, leaving our world devoid of the much coveted blanket of white.
The year of the blizzard, my Mom made snow cream. I was instantly hooked only to learn in subsequent years that most snows here are not deep enough even to provide for a clean place to scoop a bowl full of the stuff (w/o also getting the leaves and debris underneath). I still recall a particularly disappointing snowfall in the late 90's and me, bowl in hand, running about the neighborhood searching in vain for of a drift from which I might gather even a few scant spoonfuls. Perhaps because of its scarcity, I've come to like snow cream even more than the finest ice cream.
On a related note, as though in answer to my recent post about the spring-like temps we are enjoying, that night the mercury plummeted into the 30's; however, in true Charleston fashion the following night (tonight) was back up into the mid 50's - and now the rain, which would have been glorious snow had it come just one day sooner, is falling.
Most of us here covet more snow. It's lucky we don't get it though, since we are ill equipped to deal with it. During that late 90's snowfall mentioned above - and, yes, snowfalls here are so few and far between that we remember them individually - the evening news 'entertained' us with video of our fellow citizens trying in vain to scale a particularly steep bridge over to the islands, drivers making a go of it one at a time, each car getting only 1/2 way up before sliding back to earth. It was an amusing sight, since no one was injured; but, sadly, it meant that some people, unable to clear the bridge to get home, were forced to spend the night in hotels or with friends.
We love what little snow we get here, but those in areas where snow is a common winter scene would surely laugh themselves silly watching us deal with it. As soon as a few flakes start to gather on roadways, everyone here heads for home and stays there for the duration, which is almost always just one day. Schools rush to send kids home and businesses close so workers can pick up their children. Even if we are at work when the snow starts to fall, we grab our coats, abandon our posts, and head for home. In a city riddled with waterways, there are dozens of bridges to be traversed on pretty much any trip. Having no snow plows, no road salt, no snow tires, no chains, and little if any experience maneuvering through the white stuff, we are simply ill-equipped to drive in even a little snow. Thus we roll up the city and put it to bed at the 1st sign of snow.
Even as I type this our 'snow' is streaming to earth in liquid form.
Well, that 'blizzard' was either the winter of '72 or '73. And the snow stayed for at least a couple days or more. I remember catching a baby as it popped out of his/her Mom while another medic and I traversed v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y from Chas. AFB ER to the naval hospital. or maybe Roper. We were over 3 hours getting back to base.
Yep, that's was the year of the 'blizzard'! I believe we got as much as 10-12in in the drifts in places that year, and, yes, as I recall it lasted some 3 days. That did happen here but only once and then several decades ago, and it was so unusual that we tagged it as our 'blizzard'. That was the year my Mom made snow cream for the very 1st time. I LOVED that year and all the snow that stuck around for days - even if we were essentially trapped at home for days w/o electricity or heat or hot water. I had to trudge through the snow to Grandma's house to borrow a carton of cream for the snow cream, but I didn't mind. For me it was like a true winter wonderland.
You were lucky to get where you were going in that snow. Some guys were dispatched in a 4-wheel drive truck to pick up my Dad and take him to his office. Unable to tell the difference between roads, ditches, and fields under that blanket of snow, the guys ended up stuck in a ditch. They had to hike to our house, where they spent the night. On the 3rd day another vehicle was sent out to pick up the lot of them.
Yep, that was our Blizzard. A white, Arabian colt born that year at a nearby stud farm was named Blizzard in honor of the event.
Hard to believe that was so many years ago.
I have done the slow blink with my smallest & oldest kitty, Sara. She has really become a relaxed velcro cat in my arms day & night swhen available. She knows she is safe from the 3 big bully cats when with me.
Did you notice any difference in Sara after you did the slow blink? Also, did she return the slow blink? Kitty doesn't always return the gesture. She does so maybe 70% of the time, and then I usually have to do it 2 or 3 times to get her to do it back. My relationship with Kitty has improved dramatically since I 1st did the slow blink, and this time I actually believe the changes are more or less permanent - as apposed to past improvements which usually lasted only a short time before she reverted back to her norm.
It is so funny with this snow and the places that are getting it that are not equipped for snow. Little Rock, Arkansas got hammered and they own only a ½ of a snow plow ! They share one with Memphis, Tenn and it was parked there during the latest storm. My small town of WaegWan and the tiny Camp Carroll have both had to borrow plows from cities up north to deal with this snow storm and freaky-cold weather. It only happens every couple of decades that the winter is cold enough to snow and that the snow stays on the ground. This winter is setting records for each month being the coldest and iciest in southern South Korea.
I am only leaning enough Korean to be able to get around. Everyone here seems to speak English - from the little toddlers on up to the old folks. We are always interrupted when we try to speak Korean - everyone wants to speak and hear English☺
Yes Cheryl...Sara has always cuddled with me but after we did the first slow blink interaction (she definitely returned with a couple SB's to me) she comes to me for refuge & safety much more quickly especially when any one of the 3 bigger cats (fully clawed) are after her. Chester a beautiful B&W tuxedo male just loves to stare her downing to play, but he is about 3 times Sara's size, front claws intact and a 2 year old. Sara is 14 years old and not interested in playtimes.
When she and I engaged in the first mutual slow blink session...it seemed to validate for her that I am indeed a source of protection and love.
I've been repeatedly surprised to learn how many people around the world learn and speak English in addition to their native language. I'm sure having them speak English where you are makes your stay there much easier than it would otherwise be. It's still cool that you have learned some Korean, as well.
As far as I know, around here we don't get (or borrow) snow plows even when we do get snow, but then we almost never get more than a smidgen of the stuff. The 5in snow to which Sheri referred was a once in a lifetime thing - truly the only time we had anywhere near that much or snow that lasted that long (3 days) in my entire life. But I do know the chaos that ensues when southern towns get inundated with snow for which they are totally unprepared. Like I said before, we just close up shop around here until the snow melts, which is almost always as soon as the sun comes out the next morning, thankfully.
This past Sunday night it got COLD here, end of the world cold, which for me is 29F. Yet, by 10AM the following day when I was leaving to run errands, it was already too warm for my coat. I ended up leaving my coat at home and heading out in shirt sleeves. That's how it is here. I love it that our weather changes so quickly that way in winter, but some people hate it. One of my coworkers that came here from Ohio last year said he found that (the way the temp goes up so high during the day) to be the most notable difference between here and Ohio. He actually lives and works in a small town some 30mi inland of Charleston in an area where it gets a bit colder and does so more often. He was surprised to see that even when the overnight low drops into the 20's, the following day will usually make it up to the 60s or even 70s again. He said in Ohio the temp might rise 10 or 20 degrees the next day but not 50 or 60 degrees as happens here. For some time now I had been trying to characterize the difference between our winters and those up north, so I found his observation very helpful.
For the most part, even with all the winter storms going through the country, it hasn't been bad here. We had 2 cold nights recently, not consecutive. The rest of the time days have been in the 50s - 70s, so I really can't complain. When we have a cold night or day, the temp usually goes back up right away, so that you never have to stay cold for any period of time. If only our summers followed the same principle in reverse!
I'm finding, btw, that the one big downside of HRT is that now when it does get cold, I freeze just like I did when I was younger - I was always cold back then. When my hormones were all out of whack, I was never cold. It could be 40 degrees out and I was fine in a tank top. Now, I'm freezing when the mercury dips into the 60s. For a few minutes there, I was actually thinking maybe I should just do HRT in summer only. Then I remembered the other symptoms and realized that wouldn't be such a good idea.
That is wonderful to hear how the slow blink has effected Sara.
Yesterday afternoon I took a nap. A time or two I sort of woke part-way before drifting back off again. During those times, I could feel something nestled against my upper thighs. I was on my side, and the 'something' was up against the front of my thighs. I just figured it was Widget, as he usually sleeps with me.
When I awoke, I was surprised to find that my sleep partner was actually Kitty. For several weeks there, she hadn't been sleeping with me. Before that she was sleeping with me often, always choosing a spot between my calves. As long as I knew she was there, I was careful to keep my legs relatively still so as not to kick her. One night a few weeks ago, I awoke to find my leg in the air and Kitty high tailing it off the bed. She had apparently slipped silently into bed with me during the night. Unaware of her presence, I kicked her when turning over. After that she slept somewhere else until yesterday afternoon when I awoke to find her cuddled against my thighs. I was happy to see that she had decided to give me another chance and that she had chosen to move up higher (thighs vs calves) this time to avoid being kicked. I am much more likely to kick her (if she sleeps down around my feet) than roll on her (if she sleeps up higher on my body).
I had been doing pretty well, or at least better, in my effort to stay on topic, that is until recently when I started going on about the weather again. Sorry about that. I'm going to get back on track now, but 1st I would like to clarify one thing. I've probably gotten the point across that it's rarely very cold here in winter, and on the rare occasion that the mercury does drop down into the upper 20s, it rarely stays there more than a day. All things considered, that's a good thing, I think, although many of us do miss snow, not the deep kind you have to shovel, blow, and plow, nor the kind that lasts for days, just the afternoon off, winter wonderland, gone by tomorrow type that we see about once every 10yrs or so.
What I'd like to clarify is what we have in winter instead of snow. You know those long, dreary, overcast, grey wintery days you have up there in 'snow country', the kind where the snow is coming down pretty much all day. We have those days, too. Lots of them. It's just that instead of snow, we have rain. Where you have torrents of snow coming down hard, we have a sudden downpour. Where you have a slow, all day long trickle of snow flakes, we have light rain. The clouds don't go away just because there is no snow. We have pretty much the same precipitation as you. It's just that ours isn't packaged in pretty, dancing snowflakes that cover an otherwise dead and dying world in a beautiful, fluffy blanket of white. Here on such days, it's just wet - as is the case today.
Looks like I need to start a new thread very soon, like 6mo ago. Will work on that soon.
Right now I'm here to tell you about yet a another new chapter in Kitty's life. This is surely Kitty 2.0. As I've probably told you before, for some time now she has been living as an indoor cat, going out only for about 15min each day to do the stinky thing, before returning to the house once again. Now she has begun playing, often and with unbridled enthusiasm, playing all over the house and daily. This is something Kitty 1.0 NEVER did, not ever since the day I found her at my front door. She has always been exceedingly conservative and reserved in all her actions, bordering on repressed. At times she has played a bit here and there, but not often and always with extreme control like those people who can never seem to really let go. Mostly she played now and then with the catnip filled toys I provided, and primarily did so when she thought no one was around.
But now, she really is a whole new cat. Now whenever I'm in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc, I will hear or see something unusual and find Kitty playing fiercely nearby. The day I came back from the grocery store, I suddenly realized the large, paper bag on the floor was 'vibrating'. I couldn't see her, but I knew it had to be Kitty, and sure enough there she was inside the overturned paper bag playing up a storm with this impromptu toy. I was especially surprised because Kitty had always been too afraid to play in boxes or bags or even that cat tunnel I bought years ago for the raccoon kits. She had always been afraid of being caught in the box or bag, and now here she was playing feverishly and with complete abandon in the grocery bag. I was SO happy for her!
The next day I saw the throw over the chair move as I walked by. Figuring there almost certainly had to be a cat under there moving it, I grasped the top of the throw and tugged at it. Now Kitty 1.0 would never have let herself be 'caught' up under/behind the throw to begin with, but if she had she would certainly have jumped up and run the instant she knew I was there tugging on it. But this is Kitty 2.0, the improved version with the play feature, and she didn't run away. She played all the more vigorously as any 'normal' cat might. I continued to tug and she continued to play, still wrapped up in the bottom of the throw, only a paw visible for a moment here and there.
The other day when she got up on the bed beside me, I had no idea what she wanted, but knowing this was the new Playtime version of Kitty, I grabbed a catnip toy that I keep in the nightstand and began dangling it before her. Instantly, and w/o reservation she leaped for the toy and the game was on. We played for maybe 15-20 minutes, me dangling the small toy from my hand and Kitty tackling it. A time or two she overreached scratching the back of my hand by mistake. Ordinarily I wouldn't have thought that a good thing, but for Kitty it seemed a major milestone. All these years she had always seemed ultra careful as though fearful she might accidentally start a war if she touched me with a claw or tooth by mistake. She wouldn't play with toys if I was holding one end and she wouldn't take food from my hand. I was so glad to see her finally playing w/abandon and trusting me not to get upset and hurt her if a claw caught me in error. It was a huge step forward for us both and well worth a couple of small and superficial scratches. Oh, and that evening after we finished playing, Kitty curled up to sleep beside me for the night.
Since then she and I have played several times in the foyer and with various toys. I still need to dig out some of the toys I bought years back and gave up on. We have lots more playing to do now!
How wonderful for you both. I think that you speaking her 'love language ' has really brought her out of her shell. She knows you love her. I'm so happy that you have such a special reltionship with her now.
What does her son think of this new Mom, 2.0?
You've brought a smile to my face! So glad to hear that Miss Kitty FINALLY can relax & be herself... One of my rescues is finally starting to play a lot, after being with us for almost a year & a half - throwing toys in the air & just having fun. Makes one wonder what awful things happened in their past to scar them so...
She & Cocoa are still not friends. These days they tolerate each other pretty well, no fighting, but they don't socialize or even hang out together. Most of the time he just comes in to eat and then leaves. Some days he does decide to stay inside though, as has been the case the past few days. When he stays inside, they mostly stay on opposite sides of the house. Kitty naps in her new favorite chair in the LR (front of the house), and Cocoa naps in a chair in the MBR (back of the house). Kitty will sometimes come to the MBR now (to see me) even if Cocoa is in there, but right now she enjoys sleeping in the LR chair most of the time, even when Cocoa isn't around. Cocoa, on the other hand, likes to sleep in the MBR chair even if I am elsewhere in the house. They have never enjoyed a mother and son relationship since he grew up and she told him it was time to move out. Mostly, they ignore each other, even though they inhabit the same house & yard.
I'm so happy to hear that your rescue is coming around now, too. I know how very hard it can be when they don't want to be touched or petted. It's hard being rebuffed and harder still to know that it means they are suffering, unable to fully accept our love and care. What you said about wondering what terrible things they must have gone through is something I've been thinking for years now as I've watched Kitty's behavior, wondering what people might have done to make her this way. (I say 'this' way, because all though she is very loving now, I still see signs of trauma. Will explain soon. There is still work to be done with her, but I'm very optimistic now, since we have come so far.)
Me, too (2.0 != beta). Somehow though, this time I knew from the beginning it was permanent, even though all of her past improvements were brief and temporary. This time it just felt different. So glad.
This thread has grown way too long, so it's [past] time to move to a new one. I've created the new thread here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1297254/
If you would, please make any additional comments on the new thread - and don't forget to 'watch' the new thread. Hope to see you there!