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

20181116_193336

About five days ago, with catnip:

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.

Human Nature (meaning me) and Cat Feeding

Cindy eating

Cindy. She only ate a little of this.

My cats have only been eating a diet including dry food for a couple months or so. At this point, they seem no longer hungry. To me, they are not “normal” cats–for example, hungry for chicken. I cooked them a chicken and gave drumstick meat in broth to them this evening. Not a lot of the meat was eaten. They liked the broth.

I guess I need to cut out the dry food again because it is affecting my ability to sneak them pill quarters with treats. They had a round of upper respiratory infection and I have bottles of famiciclovir to combat it. The pill is very bitter. Usually, I can disguise it in food. But when they are feeling so fancy eating corn or wheat product with “animal digest” sprayed on it, they get picky. I can glue the dry food pieces to a pill pocket. Plain pill pockets aren’t enough. Then they pick them off.

My investigations into food started with my cat Chomsky getting fat. Chomsky, now deceased as of 2014, had dry food down all day and ate Nine Lives canned food and the like, often from the convenience store. I hated buying cat food after a night out but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do when you’re in your twenties–ahem!–thirties. Then Chomsky kept on needing to have dental cleanings. This was annoying and expensive. So I got the dental food that was in those really big pieces, and this dry food was free fed. He got so fat he had “cystic fat” which I felt as bumps beneath the layer of his skin. He had also had some urinary blockages, a couple of an emergency nature.

I only did some internet research into diet for felines when I had had Chomsky for approximately twelve years! I came upon the website Catinfo.org which explained animal digest–basically sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor that are pressed to make juice and then this is sprayed on dry food so it smells like the meatiest meat thing to cats–and many other things. The author said “any wet food is better than dry food” which led to a vet visit involving bloat and my second cat, Fletcher–lesson learned and I don’t recommend the Friskies canned with gravy–but overall the cat as obligate carnivore needing protein and hydration made sense.

The trainer Karen Pryor recommends schedule-feeding, and in her book Click! is adamant about keeping every area scrupulously clean and free of leftover cat food or coated plates–this excites the digestive system all day. She recommends keeping food around for only half an hour and feeding twice a day–and that leaves room for clicker training with an item of your choice. I’ve admired this approach for ages.

Now I’m trying to schedule-feed and my human nature says “well, I’m too tired to pick the food up that they didn’t eat after half an hour, I’ll let it go for an hour.”

“Oops, it’s nine-thirty and I haven’t picked it up yet..”

“They’re looking at me and meowing for dry food, let me pick up this wet food and set down some dry.” (I set down using a 1/3 cup scoop for each cat, but they move around.)

My human nature also says, “Wave is meowing at 4am. I just need to get him to shut up. Let me give him some food” and

“I’m in too much of a rush to clear and clean the plates in the morning.”

So much for human nature! I think this is one of those times where “I’m trying” means “I’m mentally stressing about this issue while doing everything just the same”! Tune in for updates on 1) schedule feeding and 2) wet food feeding. If I get crazy one day we may go back to raw food, which I used with new adoptees in 2015.

 

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.

 

 

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.