Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Cat Report (W. 3/4-15)

Little Sofia having come and gone since last week, there were still two new cats this week, for a total of seven: LEO BRYANT (a great big smooth black cat, very like Salem in appearance) and PRINCESS MERITA (our little lion-colored cat, ten years old and with her fur newly shaved). Both were very shy, which means that along with shy Seville and shyer-than-shy Dougal that just left us with three out-and-about cats: Salem (who kept mostly to herself), Mimi (who explored as usual), and Emma Jemima (who was hostile to both Salem and Seville at different points). 

Of all the cats I think Mimi, Leo, and Salem had the best day, followed perhaps by The Princess. Emma, Seville, and Dougal didn't enjoy themselves much, for one reason or another.

Started out the morning by greeting the newcomers. PRINCESS MERITA is very gentle, very loving. She sat in my lap and purred, doing her paws all the while. I assume her fur must have been all in a tangle to have been shaved off; it's now growing back, so she's covered all over with soft soft buff-colored fuzz. Her coloring and the fact that her head, legs, and tail hadn't been shaved made her look like a tiny delicate lion. After our initial get-to-know-each-other session she went into the basket on the bench and peacefully slept the morning away.

The other new cat, LEO, looks like a great big black tomcat but is actually shy and worried about what the other cats might do to him. We had a great breakthrough when I got out the fresh catnip. He thought catnip, in a box, was the best thing ever. Even though the box was a little too small for him, he stayed in it all the rest of the morning, and was particularly pleased when I put it and him atop the cages. He also loves a leather-string toy that'd been fixed up to dangle in front of his cage.

By mid-morning the cats were distributed thusly around the room: Emma around the cat-stand near the door (sometimes atop it, sometimes down around below). The Princess was in the basket on the bench. Salem, Leo, and Mima were all up high, Salem to the left (over near the door), Leo in his box in the middle, and little Mima over near the cabinet; they seemed content to share, each with his or her own spot. Dougal was in his double-wide, hidden under the blankets, and Seville was in there as well, not knowing she was sharing her refuge with another cat a few inches away.  

MIMA remains a delightful little cat. She explores, she plays, she comes up for attention and welcomes being petted, she goes off and finds comfy spots she likes and settles herself down in them. A perfectly normal little cat in a room full of Cats with Issues.

SALEM was on the quiet side, as usual. She got swatted at by Emma at one point when Emma was atop the cat-stand and Salem on the middle level, but simply flattened herself so Emma couldn't reach her. She seemed much happier once I moved her to the cage-tops, where she could see all without being disturbed by hisses. 
DOUGAL doesn't seem to have made much progress since last week: he's still scared of coming out. At least he wasn't hiding when I arrived, and later he did let me lift him out to clean his cage (turns out he's willing to accept the top shelf in the cabinet as a reasonable substitute, so long as you close at least one of the doors to give him a little privacy). He took it well when Emma poked her head in his cage, and simply hid when Seville moved in (see below). So I don't think he's scared of the other cats so much as the new strange place he finds himself in. 

SEVILLE had a rough morning. She was hidden behind and beneath her blankets when I arrived, as usual. Each time she came out something seemed to go wrong for her and she went tearing back into her refuge. Her worst mishap was being atop the cat-tree by the cabinet and deciding to jump atop the cabinet. She didn't make it, but she did manage to pull all those cans up there down on herself as she plunged to the floor. The door to Dougal-and-Mimi's cage being open she dashed inside and burrowed down one of the little stands. I don't think she knew that Dougal was in the other right next to her, laying low -- at least if she did, she showed no sign of it. Took a good bit of doing to cox her out at noon and back into her own cage next door. 
   That makes three times over two Wednesday's I've seen Seville attempt a jump and fail to arrive where she wanted to get; I can only conclude she used to be able to jump pretty well, can no longer do so, and hasn't realized the fact. Poor Seville! She likes being petted one-on-one but hasn't found any place in the room outside her cube where she feels comfortable or can relax. I'd like to take her out on a walk but haven't tried it yet.

And then there's EMMA, who's having a really rough time of it. She's desperate for attention but so jealous of the other cats that she stalked off if she saw me petting one of the others. She picked on Seville a little, and swatted at Salem a little; the other cats avoided her end of the room. Took her out for two short walks, and both times she really enjoyed being out and about. She displayed a great interest in doors: goes up and scratches on them if they're closed and wants to go through them if there's open. She was particularly interested in the office and the kitchen, especially after she got a glimpse into the kitchen (think she must remember kitchens from her past life). She didn't mind going back into the room after a while, but I felt bad when she had to go back in her cage: she struggled and mewed desperately, and continued to cry for several minutes after I'd closed the door.
   I think it all comes down to territory. She's okay so long as she has about half the room and the cat-stand near the door all to herself, but this forces the other cats into too small an area. Is there any way we can get her to share, or stake out less territory for herself? She's a smart cat, and she loves people, and loves attention. There must be some way to show off her lovable side to visitors and potential adopters, rather than the hissy side. 

Several visitors, but none that seemed likely adopters anytime soon. Katrina dropped by, and the cats loved the extra attention.

--John R.

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