Samson and Delilah – Redux

Samson and Delilah aren’t going anywhere. I “illegally imported cats” into the state, said Tricia, Animal Control here in Bangor, Maine. Only “licensed rescues” are allowed to “import cats” and then adopt them out. So as long as I don’t adopt them out, I’m doing fine. She said she doesn’t “freak out like some people do.” Oh boy. She’s actually super nice. It’s just. That importing cats thing.

I know a reader or two is from the UK, and it must seem very odd, importing from another part of my country.

These two are difficult. Samson has been in the “bedroom/bathroom suite.” He fights with my other male, Wave, if he doesn’t keep his own room. Delilah has had diarrhea for almost six months now. I have tried attacking it several ways and the latest is steroid shots. We’ve done one and it slows the pace but hasn’t changed the poop, yet. Samson shares the same pack of needles and liquid because he has stomatitis, a painful condition where the immune system attacks itself, in the back of his mouth.

Samson is a love, though. He cuddles with me every night. This is a new thing for him and I could see him going through the steps of learning cuddling and actually stepping on a human body. He used to jump over me like I was a polluted quagmire.

Delilah has always loved affection and hogs my lap. This isn’t as good, though. She meows to sit on my lap or get something–attention, food, I know not what–many times each day. She has a meow that is very unpleasant and she uses it often. She doesn’t have her own room and she protects her space, and guards me against the other, read: four, cats.

These cats are challenges but they bring joy. Delilah feels warm and small on my lap. Samson is a nighttime companion. My four “owned” cats continue to put up with it and are cute, too.20191027_21354120191019_094437

Samson and Delilah

I have two new foster cats – and they are from Queens, New York! Yes, I live in Maine. I have this thing where I hear about something and I can’t help but help. Samson and Delilah (formerly My Son and Manicure) lived with an older lady in Queens. She left this world, and the cats were left with her daughter threatening to throw them out on the street. Need I say there were twelve? I follow various cat rescues on Instagram, and @the_crazy_cat_fam wrote, terrified she wouldn’t be able to take care of the cats. I offered to take a foster.

It was a while before I heard back from her. She and her rescue partner, @catcastlenyc, were conferring. How weird was I? If they had a good feeling about me, could they trust it? Meanwhile the cats got shots and spay/neuter. By the time I stopped expecting to foster, I got a chat on Instagram asking if I would want to foster 2 cats.

Delilah has a fused right elbow. That means it looks like she is holding her right paw up all the time. She also has a VERY demanding meow.

Samson, once he arrived at my house, was discovered to have serious dental and periodontal disease. I sponsored a full dental for him–he has one snaggletooth left where there was too little bone in the jaw to safely take it out. We have a fundraiser going!

It’s been over three weeks since I’ve had them but my excuse for not writing remains, besides my regular job, that the cats always walk on the laptop and demand attention. Here are some photos: 1) Samson and 2) Delilah.

 

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Notes:

This is my blog to tell stories, don’t feel you have to contribute to the fundraiser. If there is anybody who wants to, though, I won’t keep the link from you: 2 of the 12 cats fundraiser .

If anyone wants to follow my household on Instagram, I’m @fourkittysmom.

Pearl

 

Pearl came into my life with three sisters. All black with tiny spots of white under their armpits and lower bellies. Four friendly females. They had been found in a yard by a lady in Worcester, Massachusetts. Another lady took them from her so she wouldn’t put them on Craigslist, then gave them to Broken Tail Rescue, the group I was fostering for at the time. There is nothing like kitten energy and I needed some.

Pearl & Friends

I named them all after jewels: Pearl, Topaz, Ruby, and Sapphire. They were precious jewels of cat friendliness and they crawled all over me. In the beginning they were nothing but eyes. Pearl was the smallest. She and the second smallest, Topaz, liked to ride on my shoulders. The kittens were in the bathroom until their dewormer was sure to work, then they were in the kitchen being treated for an upper respiratory infection. Finally they got the run of the apartment. Pearl would greet me after work by jumping on my shoulders when I bent down to say hi, or else trying to climb me.

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When I took the last two girls to the vet to be cleared of their URI diagnosis, she told me that Pearl had a small indentation in her chest: pectus excavatum. There was a little less room for Pearl’s heart and lungs. I could put my finger in the depression, just the tip. Pearl should probably be in a non-smoking home, and have any upper respiratory issues attended to immediately.

Sapphire and Ruby, the biggest, left my apartment first and were adopted quickly. Pearl and Topaz were next. I got so far as letting Pearl go with Topaz to what we called ISO: the isolation room prior to entering the PetSmart adoption center. This is also in PetSmart but the animals are required by law to be quarantined there for a couple days before entering a place where the public can interact with them.

I knew I had three cats. That was a lot of cats. I probably wanted to continue to foster, too. But Pearl had that motor purr, greeted me, and even tried to wash my hair and neck when I lay down. She made me smile and I felt like I was in love whenever I held her. Of course I could provide her a non-smoking home, but people reminded me that many individuals were out there who could provide her good care. Even my boyfriend said, as he always did, “No more cats!” For days before bringing Pearl to ISO and a night and a day after, my insides battled.

Then I finally disregarded my boyfriend and went with my heart. I wrote my foster coordinator: “I must adopt Pearl.” Done and done! She was able to integrate with my other cats because she was still a kitten, although she occasionally comes to fisticuffs with my Noodle-cat if she gets too close.

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(Topaz was quickly adopted by a family after she got into the Adoption Center although I am a mush and could hardly wait for her to get out of there. As much as it saves cats, I hate seeing them cooped up in cages.)

Pearl is a purrsonality unlike any I’ve met before. She is active and energetic. She burns off all her calories. She sits with one hip up, one down, too engaged in staring at whatever she is staring at to employ proper cat posture. She jumps on my back off of whatever launching pad she can find, or climbs to my shoulders. This isn’t always comfortable and it’s often shocking to feel a cat-bat landing on my back as I wash a frying pan. I recently contacted The Acrocats and let them know I wanted to train Pearl to jump between two stools, and asked where to buy some (turns out almost any big box store has the kind with the round top.)

She murrrrps and meeps and expresses herself–often, before and during her jumping, she’ll make a sound. It’s like a mini weightlifter’s grunt, only this is Pearl throwing the weight of her whole body up on top of the bureau, or towards unsuspecting me.

Pearl doesn’t mind riding in the car and has taken four- to five-hour journeys with me.

She loves being pet but she’s so active that she will circle around while getting pets and then parade off to find the next most interesting thing. My fireplace mantel with its bevy of photographs and shells is no challenge, and many a moon snail shell has been batted to the ground. She is fascinated by water drops coming down the shower curtain and shower wall after I turn the water off. She can fit just about anywhere. She’ll attack a toy from inside the cat tree’s enclosed cave. If I “fly” an interactive toy over her head while she’s on the cat tree/cat tower, she will easily reach for it, mouth open, claws extended, back and forth with half of her body on a lower level and the top of her body emerging through the next level.

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Lately, when I wake up in the morning, she realizes I’m conscious, and this makes her come over, get a few pets, and plop either next to my side or on my chest with her butt facing my face. Butt-face is a sign of trust: if she didn’t trust me she’d need to have her eyes on me so she could ward off an attack if needed.

Every cat has their own rituals with their humans and I look forward to playing with and petting Pearl and hope to find a mentor to help me train her, too. I’m so happy I adopted her.

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Kitty-Kitter Goes to a New Home!

Your intrepid blog owner here, Jennifer. I’ve been studying for a test that has to do with my job so the blog has been very quiet. But I’m back and want to fill you in on Kitty-Kitter, who got adopted!

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Her new owner is a single professional who needed some company outside of work hours. She especially loved longhaired black cats. She has sent photos of Kitter sitting happily on the cushy part of a drink console between two parts of her couch, like Queen of the House. She is Queen of the House, too. She is the only cat in the whole apartment.

I’ve also gotten all the updates I wanted about Kitter’s adjustment! When in the past I considered surrendering her to a larger shelter, I was told I wouldn’t be able to offer my email for the next adopter to even potentially communicate. It just got too complicated with their numerous intakes and I’m guessing that sometimes if the communicators are previous long-time owner/new adopter there could be trouble. I understood, but my dear neighbor and I wanted to hear how our stray turned Queen was doing!

The group that eventually helped is PAWS Brave Hearts, a small shelter in Northern Maine dedicated to saving all cats, reducing population, but especially caring for special-needs cats. I emailed them for help and they eventually connected me to a program on Adopt-a-Pet called Rehome. It is run through Adopt-a-Pet and you select the charity you are working with. The person with whom the cat is living takes care of the cat, contacts and interviews the prospective adopters–who submit applications through Adopt-a-Pet–and passes the cat right to the new adopter from the home. The charity gets the adoption fee.

Just before Kitty-Kitter got an application, she was coming out of the bedroom more and more and exploring my apartment. There was always tension with my cats and sometimes it ended in a chase or swipe. She could no longer be denied and would meow at the door of the bedroom. Now she does not need to worry about cat social dynamics!

Kitty-Kitter’s new name is Penelope. It’s something I came up with just before I posted her on Rehome.

I am left with a little sadness, a lot of joy, and for the first time since May of 2018, no foster cats in my home.

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Tummy Rub Tuesday – Noodle

Noodle is a foster fail from a few years ago. She and her litter were brought in to PALS Animal Life Savers at the Salem, Massachusetts PetSmart where I volunteered at the time. They were in a dirty little crate. Teenage girls at the store loved playing with the fluffy females, but Noodle and her brother got less attention. Noodle was a shorthair and her shorthaired tabby brother had had such a bad eye infection his eyes were covered with white. He hid in the back of the crate, unnoticed. We told the girls they would have to adopt, and after our President had a conniption, we did take all four kittens and my friend and I began fostering them.

Noodle always liked to roll over and show her belly. Here she is this year:

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The New Year and Miss Kitty-Kitter

At home right now I don’t have many fosters, and no fosters at all for any group outside myself. The foster cat, in so many words, is Kitty-Kitter, who has been with me since approximately October 25, 2018.

Miss Kitter, as I sometimes call her, is such a well-behaved cat, mainly happy to stay in her bedroom, which used to be my bedroom. Furniture moving and change is always part of the equation with cat fostering! Instead of my bed, I have a chair in the room that I can sit on where Kitty-Kitter can jump up on my lap. She loves that.

She is shy of others, and I want to be able to give out my information for updates from a future adopter. So she is here in my apartment still. Bangor Humane Society will not let me give my information. I am working with another group too, but want to make one more inquiry with the Humane Society about something called the Adoption Ambassador program. I am so close to just thinking she needs to get adopted out and that I can let her go. Still, on the edge, I hesitate.

Thus, the new year enters quietly, but I hope for lots of love and care for Kitty-Kitter no matter where she stays.

Kitty-Kitter is Still Here (and a Digression on Petting)

Kitty-Kitter is cuter than ever. I have gotten her first round of vaccinations and her booster FRVCP vaccination is tomorrow. Her fur is fluffy and soft, although I swear she’s still having scabs erupt from bug bites long ago. First some showed up on her right lower neck, then one right in the middle of her back neck. She hasn’t encountered one of my cats in a long time, so it can’t be fresh from any kind of fight. Yet I got to know her first round of scabs and these weren’t them!

Petting a cat tells you all these things. This is one reason that vets and behaviorists like Pam Johnson-Bennett tell you to touch and examine your cat every day. Just rubbing Kitty-Kitter’s neck and cheek fur and running my hands down her back let me encounter all kinds of historic scabs and bumps. Like a monkey grooming another, I’ve had a perverse satisfaction in helping some of the scabs come off with my fingernail, but there are others that feel weirdly, well, sharp, and I don’t believe she would like me picking at them.

Running your hands over a cat’s paws and under the belly, if permitted, eventually makes it easier to clip claws and to pick the cat up. Placing a finger at each corner of the cat’s mouth, at the gums, will help with cat toothbrushing if kept up! I used to use a little cat toothpaste on Wave’s teeth for a treat. Unlike human toothpaste, this is enzymatic toothpaste. Chicken flavor. I’d smear it on sideways, he’d lick it off. We never got beyond the “that feels weird” phase but my consistency wasn’t the best.

I am really falling in love with Kitty-Kitter. At this time, however, I still think five is too many for my one-bedroom apartment. Must email PAWS Brave Hearts, the small rescue I’d like to check with!