31 December, 2013

Visiting the Kitty

Looking out the window

So sweet and floofy!

Sleeping kittens
After weeks of mourning the loss of Loretta/Shadow, I screwed up my courage and drove out to visit her at the big box store.  The Paws for the Cause folks were incredibly nice, allowing me to hold her, and we played and hung out together for a long time.  She's doing fine, and seems to like to negotiate the small store enclosure.  She has been taken to a foster home too, so she's not 'trapped' inside the store enclosure all of the time.  We watched her introduce herself to a new kitty who had just been brought in, and she was quiet and tentative, but no aggression or fear.

Although I miss her in the house, one worry has now slipped from my mind.  I was informed that a person has already sent in an adoption application for her.  And while I stood there chatting about ferals (these folks are a fabulous resource!), many, MANY folks walked by to look over the kittens and other cats available for adoption.  Mind you, Paws for the Cause carefully screens potential adopters, and they will take extra care that Loretta/Shadow goes to a really good home.

Of course, the kittens are so squee that I wanted to hug and smooch every one.  Several of the older cats are so pretty, that people just couldn't help but stop and stare.  One black-and-white boy drew so many lookee-loos that I was sure someone was going to adopt him on the spot!  I hope the coming year will bring many adopters to welcome these cats into their hearts and homes.

29 December, 2013

Paying the Chuck Tax

Bring me my tax!
We try to feed both sets of cats at the same time each day.  Ideally, it's 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, and I mix up Angel and Chuck's food first.  I give them their bowls on the kitchen floor, then work fast to pull together the 'o' cats's meal.  However, a while ago we realized that ANY CAT FOOD in the house belongs to Chuck, and he must get a portion of it; no matter when or why.  We call this "The Chuck Tax", and make sure we drop a bit of whatever we have into his bowl.  Normally, he's still got a full meal still, but he'll break off eating and follow me around until I put a taste of the other food out for him.  Angel and Chuck are on a special limited ingredient diet, to combat his past intestinal tract issues.  The 'o' cats get healthy food, but it is not quite as fancy, plus they get kibble, especially in the cold weather when wet food freezes easily.  He only gets an 1/8th of a teaspoon as tax, if even that much, but peace reigns when Chucky gets paid his due.  We also place a food bowl in front of him first, then Angel, to acknowledge his highest standing.

28 December, 2013

Sunset Yummies

I rarely get a photo of the 'o' cats eating together, let alone a video!  This ccurred yesterday, and it was very nice to have them in bunch.  Often Mama Mia jumps down to the lower level, while Sammy and Patty eat with their bodies going in opposite directions.  The temps are warmish (!) for Michigan in late December for the next couple of days, and it's a treat to see my cat friends hanging out on the deck, rather than cooped up inside their shelters.    Their feeding station is an old picnic table that was used for years as a workshop table, and a card table with sawed-off legs as the canopy.  I like it because it's the same height as the deck; I can easily walk up and put out food without any bending.  The three usually dance around a bit, for some petting and smooches.  However, I only get a few moments of 'love' time, for the demand for food outweighs the need for snuggles.

Oh Spring, be early this year!  Yeah, I know, it's not even 2014 yet, but I'm hopeful.

25 December, 2013

Merry Catmas

Wishing you all a Happy and Peaceful Holiday.  The photos are of how the inside cats enjoy the cold weather; licks on the wet window, and paw prints in the snow; made by the outside cats.

22 December, 2013


Angel at rest

Chuck relaxing
I cannot tell you how emotional this past week has been.  Doubt, anger, sadness, self-recrimination, relief, worry are only the tip of the feelings iceberg that I have experienced.  Angel and Chuck appear to be fine, however Angel seems to get very anxious when she's upstairs near my computer table.  And no cat has entered the parlor, which was the safe room.  We just placed a brand-new litter box in there, so we hope we'll see some 'action' in that direction soon.  I find myself mulling it all over at odd times of the day, and the desire to visit Shadow/Loretta at the PetSmart draws me, but I know better to torture myself that way.  I pray a new family falls in love with her, as she so deserves, and she will have a home to enjoy.

In the meantime, we've had very wet weather in Michigan, and the outside cats barely received two meals yesterday as the rain prevented us from hanging out together.  They stayed in their shelters until I showed up with food, then they dashed back inside...well, except for Patty who will rub against me irregardless of weather.  I have a small hand towel reserved for them only, and I tried to dry each cat off while they ate.  Mia won't allow the towel treatment, but Patty and Sammy purr and eat as I rub them down.  They really teach me how to overcome adversity, especially when you don't classify it as adversity.  They are just living.  No worries about the job, the holidays, the gas bill or an absent friend.  How lucky I am to have them in my life!

19 December, 2013

She's Gone

Immediately after my last post, we had a major altercation between Chucky and Loretta.  With profound sadness, I called the rescue group and they quickly agreed to find her a new home.  I arrived at the pet store with her bed and toys, and Loretta/Shadow was placed in the store adoption area behind Plexiglas.  I whispered my good-byes and my apologies, and cried tears of heartbreak.  Perhaps a period of socializing and play therapy would have worked, but I feel that I was fighting against the odds.  We all are pretty upset, although Angel and Chuck have rebounded and are no longer tentative and scared; they walk around with tails up now.  Hubby cleaned out the safe room.  The rescue group thanked me (!) for trying hard, and each one was understanding and sympathetic, which made me feel more like a heel.  They promised to let me know when she finds her true forever home, and I'll be happy for the lucky family who will enjoy her floofy tail and playful personality.  Loretta sank her claws deep into my heart; I continue to be rather emotional about it, which is why it's taken me awhile to post the news.  

15 December, 2013

Busy Sunday Morning

Loretta has quite the play drive.  Although we put her in the safe room overnight, she's been out all morning, and I've used every wand toy we have to keep her entertained.  Loretta ignores the other cats when she is so engaged, but I can't get anything done if I'm on the wand end of the wand toy!  Angel hisses at Loretta, and they stare at each other if we humans don't distract them.  Chuck, however, gets chased.  Loretta discovered the cat shelves, and had no problem walked up to the ceiling and hanging out up there.  Wherever I go, she follows, except for right now; I can hear hubby talking to her from downstairs.  Oops, no...now she's at my feet again.

We had at least six inches of snow yesterday, and more is falling now.  I am sure the roads will be clear for the Monday commute; oh joy!

14 December, 2013


Loretta decided it was time to meet the family, and she set herself free this morning before breakfast...by sneaking around my feet and chasing Chuck up the stairs.  Hubby and I are remaining as neutral as we can, as each cat meets each other and assesses the new situation.  Of course, Chuck just wants to eat up three bowls of food now.  Angel is more standoffish, but no blows have been struck, just some hissing and the tail-down creep.  Loretta has easily learned how to us the cat flaps that we've installed between several rooms, and it's fun to see her floofy tail disappear around a bend.  We are in the middle of a snow storm also, so looks like the family will be inside today, although I'm sure I'll find a way to get out there for a bit of shopping this afternoon.

10 December, 2013

Loretta Update

In the Parlor
Loretta continues to live in the safe room that we made out of the parlor.  Since there are two sets of french doors, we taped newspaper to block out the glass panes.  Several times a day, hubby and I go in, to just hang out, play, or give her meals.  I try to feed Chuck and Angel on the other side of one door, so each can associate good things with the other.  We also put her in a carrier and bring her out into the family/dining room, so Angel and Chuck can get a chance to sniff and/or observe.  Loretta gets out to explore too, when we can make sure there is no interaction from Chuck and Angel.

I'll admit, all of this is tiring, and a bit disappointing.  We thought seriously about returning her to the rescue group, and even made an appointment with them to hand her back over.  But after much reflection (and some crying on my part), we decided that we need to see this through.  Many cat-owning folks have questioned me; why not just toss 'em in together...they will find a way to work it out.  Yep, that's true, yet Angel and Chuck were here first, and have had run of the house for over nine years.  In deference to them, I would like to see them more accepting...and not running, hiding, and hissing.  If we give this slow introduction enough time, at some point, the cats will ignore each other, or at least be neutral...instead of aggressive, fearful, nervous, and scared.  Loretta is coming from a difficult situation; away from the only humans she knew, then in veterinary offices, surgery, sickness, then foster home, and finally a cage to get her adopted.  She KNOWS she's in the middle of someone else's territory, which makes her uncertain and a bit aggressive.  Angel and Chuck are shy and insecure with a new-comer.

We want to build up every one's confidence, by giving them good things when they are together, and good things when apart.  Lots of play, lots of love, good food and no concerns about not having enough.  A feeling of abundance.

Loretta is a sweet little joy, who loves a snuggle and walks on my lap when I'm reading a book and not paying attention to her.  She chirps and meows, dances and jumps.  She brings youth, energy, and curiosity to our family group.  What's not to like?

04 December, 2013

Patty OH!

Pounds o' Patty
Patty O'Malley has gotten quite large in a short time.  I swear, I am feeding the outside cats the same amounts as ever, but Patty is either pushing the other's off their bowls, or he's snacking somewhere else as well as eating my food.
3 and a half cats!
As you can see by the photo above, he's much bigger than Sammy or Mama Mia.  He grew large last year, in the winter, but I think he's moving into sumo wrestler range now.    

I hate to withhold food, especially when it's cold, however Pounds O' Patty needs a break!  I've cut back on the amount of kibble, since that's so full of carbs.   Wonder how I can get him exercising...?  

03 December, 2013

Gentle Sammy

Tonight, I traveled out back to give the outside cats an extra pour of kibble, for it had rained and sleeted, and no doubt the cats stayed hidden most of the day.  Patty O'Malley and Sammy came out of their houses right away; Mama Mia was fashionably late but still managed to snag a good snack.

Funny thing was that Sammy did not eat a single kibble.  He simply walked to me and let me pet him for a really long time.  I stroked his head, his chest, his ruff, back, sides, and legs.  He simply purred and stood there.  After a few minutes, I could feel my world of worries and timetables and responsibilities smooth away, and there was only Sammy and me.  We kept at it, until finally Patty had had enough of me ignoring him, and with head bunts and finally smacking his tail against my face, the spell between Sammy and I broke.  The feeling of peace lasted awhile longer, as I listened to Mia crunch her kibble.

Gentle Sammy gave me a lovely gift tonight!

01 December, 2013

Update on Shadow

We have tried dozens of names, but she just did not respond.  She's never responded to Shadow either!  So, late last week, the name Loretta popped into hubby's head, and I tried it out.  She came running to me!  Wow, I was so excited that I shed a tear.  Since then, I've been using Loretta as her name.  She is still in the safe room, since all of the cats seem uneasy still.  We play with her in there, I've taken naps in her safe room, and she watches out the windows at the world.  We feed one meal a day on either side of the door; all three cats appear to be nervous about that.  We'll keep doing it, until they all ignore each other.   A general lack of enthusiasm is exactly where we would like the cats to have (not have?), so we can add Loretta to the family group.  I believe her small size may be a sticky point, since Angel is over eleven pounds, and Chuck is probably four pounds more.  Loretta is only four pounds, even with the couple of ounces she's gained in two weeks.  Her belly is beginning to fur, as are the two shaved areas on her front legs, but it will no doubt take months for a uniform length.  In the meantime, she's adorably vocal, and she's beginning to relax into the rhythms of the household.  Now, if only I could relax my concerns about a successful (and fight-free) integration!  Yikes...what a Nervous Nelly I am!