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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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!

Kitty-Kitter Update

Kitty-Kitter got rabies and distemper vaccines yesterday. She just needs a distemper booster in a month. She is getting smoother–scabs are coming off bit by bit and her fur is nice. She gained one ounce! She is healthy.

Kitty-Kitter still needs another home. She lunges at Wave. Whether he’s on the giving end or the receiving end, Wave is always the problem. So Kitty-Kitter, sweet as she is (to me), stays in the bedroom.

Here is an updated picture and video:

This evening

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About five days ago, with catnip:

Kitty-Kitter Needs Affection

Kitty-Kitter wouldn’t let me look at my Criminal Law “law keys” as I study again for the bar exam. It’s far from now and I’m just flipping through, no panic yet. But I was trying to do it as I sat on the bed and stroked her (drooling happily) face. I was flipping little pieces of cardboard with my left hand and staring down to the left while I petted with my right. She insisted on walking in front of me. Then she walked so I couldn’t see the keys. Then she stepped on them.

Girl, you know what’s up! You want petting with two hands and my focus on you!

I do apologize for the cat food crumbs you may see.

Here she is with her tongue a little out:

Kitty-Kitter 5 law keys

Here she is on top of the law keys:

Kitty-Kitter 6 law keys

By the way, I was not reading A Civil Action–book, upper right. I’ve had that book for years. I had been carrying the book around last night. Kitty-Kitter and Wave were expressing that they wanted me to open up the bedroom door, so I did, but held onto the book to drop it and startle the cats away from each other if they looked like they were going to get into a confrontation. I walked around following cats when I really wanted to lie down. Nonetheless, it all ended well and Kitty-Kitter went back to her bedroom more satisfied to be in there.

How I got Wave, and his Meeping and Meowing

Wave and Iris

Wave’s on the left; Iris on the right. He looks so innocent.

I love my cat Wave like I love some family members. Deep down. That means that on the surface, things can be pretty irritating sometimes.

Wave, like all my cats, is a foster fail. Back in 2015, my good friend from PALS Animal Life Savers http://www.palscats.org/ was not only the volunteer coordinator, but very subtly had christened me to foster cats. She had me over to hang out with her shy foster kittens and cuddle them. She gave me the books of my favorite behaviorist to this day, Pam Johnson-Bennett. She told me various things. At that time we were very into separating shy kittens so that the kitten sees the human as where it gets its emotional needs from, and bonds. At this point I think we took this too far.

She gave me a calico older kitten named Penny, and I cuddled her and she got friendly right away. She went to the PetSmart adoption center and was adopted out quickly. Then my friend passed Seven, whom I named Dakota Paws, to me. He wasn’t quite ready by the time he went to the adoption center. He got adopted but the last we heard he was afraid of the dog, even though we were told the dog was old and did not do much of anything. The adopter kept him in the basement which was ALLEGEDLY furnished…we called for updates but never heard anything after one surprise call during which we learned this information. We sent his one-year anniversary card. I will regret that adoption forever.

Next was Wave. I often think that Wave and Seven would have been a great pair to raise. Wave had the coloration of Seven aka Dakota Paws, a black and white tuxedo. He was longer and skinnier. He was VERY shy.

When I first got Wave, I lived with my boyfriend, and Wave never got to know him. He would hide every time he heard Clay climbing the stairs to the bedroom. The petting sessions at first weren’t petting sessions because I generally don’t socialize in crates and I couldn’t get over to him or get him over to me. He wasn’t food-motivated, and he stayed skinny. The worst luck was when I attempted to socialize with Gerber chicken baby food and it must have been out of date. He vomited all night and I had to take him to the vet in the morning. I was just a temp who didn’t get paid if she didn’t work, and had to commute an hour and a half besides that. I remember sitting the in chair at the vet’s office with no sleep, staring and stressing. I picked him up hydrated at the end of the day, though, and he wasn’t the only one who felt much better.

Wave was only sort of into playing, too. There was nothing he especially loved. Eventually, he did start coming within reach when I was sitting on the bed so I could pet him.

Then I got Tidbit, who was feral! But that’s another story.

The only thing Wave really liked to do was run around at 4am, either by himself, or chasing our adopted cats. He would incorporate a good hearty scratching at the litter box in the bedroom, so intense that litter would be on the floor in the morning, into his wee hours routine. And when he would run, he would meep. “Mmmmmmeeeeeep!” over and over. Stress city for me. Clay sleeps through anything.

I was hired permanently at the temp job, I moved closer, and there was some pushing to get Wave into the adoption center. Maybe I should have known better, but I didn’t like this. I moved with Wave, and by then it had been six months. I was not the amazing socializing machine I had thought I was! I adopted him because I thought at six months, you have to either fish or cut bait, as the expression goes. (There’s another one, “shit or get off the pot,” which I definitely thought to myself but have to put at least in parenthesis for crudeness.) Also, I didn’t want what happened to Dakota Paws to happen to him. I didn’t yet have the experience of having so many cats already that the foster cat stays a foster cat no matter how long that cat takes.

When I began to foster, Wave would meep at the door of the foster’s room most of the night. He was aggravated, egged on, by these cats’ existence. Usually it ended up being a female in the room, and each female wanted to be in her own space, and it was not good. One time he leaped a four-foot high cat door and all of a sudden I heard squalling. He has a small notch in his ear from Roxie the tortoiseshell.

He would also just generally walk around and meep. At night. And in the wee hours. And now he does it for Kitty-Kitter. Meeping, scratching at the door…then I open up the door and he’s deathly afraid of her! What a silly cat.

I’ve gotten to be an expert at quickly dividing a can of food at 4am mostly to shut Wave up. But I don’t like it. Giving cats food to shut them up is like plunking a kid in front of the TV for the same reason: most of us have done it, but you do it too much and it’s not healthy for them. I don’t have a solution right now, but I’m too concerned for his welfare to surrender him to…any rescue or shelter at all. See, I love him. Just deep down in my sleep-deprived soul.