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

Cindy Arrived in Cambridge!

Cindy endured the 4.5 hour ride on various highways down to Cambridge. I forgot how busy the Whole Foods in the mall used to get–and still does. It was gridlock in that parking lot. I had to pass this and the PetSmart location of Broken Tail to get to the new foster home. Cindy didn’t die of a heart attack or anything, but she did “spit” at me at the rest area when I was looking into the airholes in her carrier and talking baby talk to her trying to see her eyes and make sure she was ok. She was ok! Just upset and she expressed that clearly.

She was resting and adjusting in the carrier when I left her new place. She will have one friendly cat friend. He is a male and black-and-white (like Wave) but he is REALLY good with the fosters, becomes friendly, and helps all the shy ones along. If she can get over her association of fear with a full-grown B&W cat I think she will do very well.

The carrier ended up being NOT the one I called “Cindy’s Carrier” for most of the time she was with me. This morning, she preferred to catnap in the large plastic top-loading carrier. It had two clean, comfy new cat blankets in it and was covered almost completely. I just added a towel on top and closed the door. I’ve now donated that carrier so it can be with her.

I’m grateful to Broken Tail Rescue for coordinating Cindy’s transfer to a new foster home and for Broken Tail’s foster network. As her new foster mom said, “they always get adopted.” And they do!

Cindy is Going to Her New Foster Home Tomorrow

Cindy, my sweet little all-gray hoarding house foster cat, is moving back to Cambridge, Massachusetts tomorrow. I am so excited for her and her future. I love her, but she can’t thrive here where there is a brooding large Wave-cat to chase her back into her carrier-cave all the time. This is one of the few times where I’ve been most excited to see a foster move on.

Cindy and her brother came to me on May 6, 2018. Cindy and her brother Roscoe (formerly Zinfandel and Rose–pronounced like the wine) were in a tiny carrier, huddled together in the carrier in their cage in the isolation room at the Cambridge PetSmart. I started blogging on them on my first blog, Digital (Word) Diaries, to keep a record of when they arrived and how they made progress. Roscoe became friendly first and we did separate them. Here I am six months and ten days after Cindy and Roscoe came to me. It’s a milestone.

Cindy is friendlier, but not all the way there yet. I’m hoping her new place is where she can blossom. Her brother was found by his new adopters to have cataracts at a young age and I am hoping she gets friendly enough to be examined for this as well.

Her foster-to-be from my former rescue group, Broken Tail Rescue, has one cat and a husband. Fewer cats and more people! Way to go for socialization! Also, if Cindy needs more vetting she won’t be up here in Maine any more, far away from the services BTR uses.

I’ll post an update on the trip and drop-off tomorrow.

Cindy Comes Out in the Evening

Cindy, my shy foster cat and the inspiration for this blog’s name, has been spending more time out like a non-shy cat and I love it. I mean, she still has her ruffled fur like she’s thinking about this and not sure if she likes it, but she makes it out into the living room and its accoutrements.

Last night I don’t know why I was so beat, but I treated myself to a browse of Instagram for as long as I wanted. This was on my bed-setup in the living room: a long story for another time. I was scrolling, scrolling, and I saw Cindy come out of her carrier-cave and walk about a bit. I petted her but had not a lot of energy for play. She ended up sitting in what I call the “turkey position” on the rug:

cindy ruffled fur sitting

cindy sitting living room resized

Tonight, she came out and played like crazy for a random three minutes. My young kitty Pearl, just a little older than Cindy, made it difficult when she pounced on her because seeing Cindy attacking the Cat Charmer was so exciting. (It’s pretty harmless, they’re almost friends, but Pearl still has a distinct advantage because she has no fear.)

All the cats calmed down then. I got some petting in and Cindy ended up on top of the latest carrier setup:

cindy on carrier

This is a cheap carrier from Broken Tail Rescue, my Massachusetts rescue and one I worked with for about a year and a half (Cindy is the remaining attachment). I put a big, folded, white towel in it and I thought it would be too cushy for Cindy. She’s indicated before that extra-cushy things feel odd to her and she doesn’t trust them. It is also covered with a thin white towel. She likes it! I think she likes the covering and privacy, so she has gotten used to the inner cushiness, which is great.

Seeing Cindy on TOP of the carrier dozing off, instead of INSIDE it as a carrier-cave was very sweet and warmed my heart.

Don’t get me wrong, she still hides most of the time and most of her day, and I still have to get up at 4am and say “no” to Wave who has decided this is the time to investigate her latest carrier-cave. But these last two days there has been this little ray of sunshine. This is good because she’s moving to a new foster home about 4.5 hours away on Saturday. She will need all the non-shy-cat behavior training she can get in order to adapt more quickly rather than slowly.

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.

 

 

Cindy Continues Progress…and a Funny Video

Playtime! I’ve been away for a weekend but Cindy seems emboldened even more just as long as Wave isn’t too close. My neighbor, Kitty-Kitter’s former caretaker, was my cat sitter and she did a wonderful job. I can always tell by the cats’ attitudes when I return.

Here is a video featuring Pearl, my small black one-year-old female, Noodle, the bigger black-and-white girl who is only seen once, and Cindy, in gorgeous gray. You can see Cindy isn’t as involved as Pearl, but is stretching and is interested. Play is so important for cats to stretch their mental and physical muscles. I gotta say I don’t always feel like doing it but often they enjoy interrupting any home yoga sessions. I give in and it turns into playing with the cats.

Away from Home

I’m down in Massachusetts for two–count ’em, two!–whole days with my boyfriend and of course, his cats.

Back at home in Maine, Cindy the shy cat is in the general population of 5 in the kitchen-living room combo, and Kitty-Kitter the former stray is in the bedroom-bathroom combo. My sitter is the wonderful lady who was the caretaker for Kitty-Kitter for over a year while she was outdoors. Still, I’m afraid for Cindy at 4am when big Wave gets antsy and wants to chase her and might get his claws into her. But I put her in the playpen with all her stuff and she complained–made it quite clear that she wanted out. I worry and I will worry but unlike previously when I actually lived in the same state as my dear significant other, I insist on sleeping over every now and then here, and traveling.

I can’t get over this shot of him with feline friends Loki and Chaplin:

20181102_2148341