Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A Little Off the Top...and Back...and Bottom...

Neville can suffer from some terrible mats. His fur is long and, despite combining in locks, is individually fine. He dislikes being brushed or combed, so I fall behind on taking care of the mats. I tried picking them out with the tines of a comb, and I tried using a seam-ripper on them. Both methods tugged and pulled the Nevsky this way and that, causing him some discomfort and even more annoyance.

Then, I saw on Tim’s Tomcat Commentary that Rumpy, who is also prone to matting, is periodically given a trim in certain places by his dad. I don’t think Rumpy likes it much, but it is over quickly and effectively. I have electric trimmers myself, so I thought I would use them on Nev.

This plan worked well. Neville didn’t care for having to lie still through it, but it was much less of a bother than other methods of dealing with his mats, and he wasn’t startled or frightened by the clippers. I was able to rid his fur of the worst clogs, and will be dealing with the smaller ones, as well.

Neville doesn’t look pretty after a bit of trimming (and yes, he has a bit of dandruff, due to his diabetes), but it worries him less than any other way, and doesn’t cost anything, unlike taking him to a groomer or a vet. And I think if he had to choose, he would plump for treatment at home. After all, that comes with a few treats as a reward. Thanks, Timmy and Rumpy.

Monday, May 10, 2021

My Other Guest

While my new foster-cat, Portia, occupies much attention, both in my home and on my blog, I have another visitor to the apartment. Actually, he comes just to Café Cosy. His hours are usually late, and he misses even dinner-time, preferring a nocturnal supper. I call him Orlac, because of his hands…

The food-bowl is in its little shelter, and it’s awkward for Orlac to put his head in there to eat directly from the bowl. Instead, he reaches in and grabs a handful of kernels and drops them on the ground, to eat them from there. Earlier, I had wondered why there were so many pieces of hard-food on the ground in front of the bowl. He reminds me of me, eating popcorn on movie night.

I once had three young raccoons and their mother visiting. I worry about what happened to them, and hope they simply moved and that they suffered nothing bad. Orlac may be one of the youngsters. If so, he may be a lone survivor of the family.

But he is always welcome at Café Cosy. Here, his visit is benevolently observed by Neville, who was working the late shift as maître d’ this night.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

At the Movies with Portia

Last night was movie night in the Cosy Apartment, a rainy, cool night outside, but warm and snug inside. I spent the evening with Portia. As you can see, she is largely untroubled by my presence; indeed, by my propinquity.

Her behaviour is still divided, however. I find the fact that she allowed me to sit on the couch with her and did not move from there most encouraging. She eventually stood up, hissed at me and walked away, though she only climbed up to the bookcase under the window and lie there, with her back to me. This may have demonstrated her opinion of me but nonetheless left her vulnerable to my touch – or attack, if I were hostile. That Portia presented her back to me suggests that she does not view me as a threat.

She continues to hiss at me, however. I think this is merely her way of showing that she is in charge of the situation – or would like me to think so. But she also purred. She purred while I stroked her head. She purred – until she hissed and got up to stalk away.

Progress is good, I think. My new house-guest is eating soft-food, and is also eating her old hard-food with the new, better quality, mixed in. Since the little of her previous litter that I had poured on top of the kind that’s used here is now lost in the general mix of scooped, tossed and churned litter, yet she continues to use the box, I would venture that she is now converted to the apartment’s brand.

It may be a while until she is let out of the library – I can’t let her out until I know I can put her back in – but each day makes her more familiar with her new surroundings. Movie night was both a big step forward, and a sign of more steps to come.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

More Steps Forward for Portia

Portia continues to adjust to her new situation, slowly. It must be a wrench for her. I have observed in the past that being taken out of even a disadvantageous environment is a severe wrench, if it was a familiar environment, and can result in great homesickness. And there is no evidence that Portia’s previous home was a bad one. She was undoubtedly content and comfortable there. And now, suddenly, she is here, among strangers.

But she has eaten, and used the litter-box. She is gradually allowing me to touch her more, and more often. And last night, she ate soft food for the first time here; the first time ever, according to what her former people said. (That's the empty bowl in the picture.)

My new house-guest is making progress. It requires time, of course, as many readers have pointed out. Now that Portia is eating, and using the litter-box, she can have that time. Neither of us is in a hurry, and growing accustomed to her new home will be at her pace, as will be trusting me. For now, as you can see, she remains rather suspicious of the new human in her life…

Friday, May 7, 2021

Good News from the Library

There is good news from the Cosy Apartment’s library this morning: Portia both ate and used the litter-box. The fact that she consumed some food is a relief for me - just as the visit to the litter-box was probably a relief for her - as it forestalls the danger of fatty liver disease, which may ensue if a cat doesn’t eat after a couple of days. Syringe-feeding her at this point would have been impossible.

Now that she has taken in some food, I can slowly introduce a better quality nutrition. To tempt her, I used only that with which she was familiar; I didn’t want anything to put her off. She has never eaten soft-food, her previous people stating that she always turned her nose up at it. But if there is one thing I am used to in the care of cats, it’s offering a wide variety of fare in order to entice them to eat better. (The fact that it’s rarely worked is immaterial…)

Using the litter-box is also important, of course. She both wet and pooped. The litter in the box is the same as the perma-cats use (corn-based) with a prominent, though relatively small, amount of the clay litter to which Portia is accustomed. There is nothing wrong with that sort, but it is more convenient to have her use the same as the others. And her use of it in this case suggests that switching her to another, when she is adopted, will be simple.

Rather more difficult will be getting Portia to trust me. She hides behind a bookcase most of the time, but when I come in and find her out, she will seemingly encourage me to pet her, coming up close to me, and even lying down, permitting me to stroke her head. Then she will hiss and, this morning, she swatted at me. My new house-guest appears to be of two minds about me, but I am encouraged that part of her wants some attention. I think this aspect of her presence in the Cosy Apartment is a matter of time. Now that she has eaten and used the litter-box, there is nothing that is chronologically constrained, and I can leave it all to her as to when she will trust me. I don’t think that will be too long in coming; in any case, I can wait.

(The photograph is rather terrible, but when she was closer, I was trying to pet her, and the lighting is that of a still-dark morning.)

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Welcome to the Madhouse

Portia arrived yesterday at six in the evening. The poor girl was scared and confused, and probably is this morning. During the evening, she alternated hiding and lying in the open; she allowed me to pet her but would hiss at me, as well. She doesn’t trust me, but neither is she terrified of me.

It turned out not to be the most propitious day for her arrival. The knob on my apartment door stopped working on the inside: it wouldn’t turn the latch, and I couldn’t open the door. I had to leave through the door to the concrete ditch and come around again. I could get in to the apartment but couldn’t get out. I and the resident manager replaced the mechanism; there was the pounding of hammers and the whirring of electric drills.

Then later, about ten-thirty, when all was quiet, I heard an explosion of anger and violence from the bedroom. I rushed in to see Renn having a spirited argument with a strange black cat on the other side of the open window. Tucker jumped up on the cat-tree to see what was going on and Renn turned his anger on the roly poly. The two of them ran out to the sitting room where Tucker took it out on poor Neville. It took a few minutes to calm everyone.

Then later that night, both Renn and Tucker threw up at different times; I had to clean up their results, with lights on and noises of moving about.

I didn’t hear Portia during all of this; she must have been trying not to attract notice in this madhouse to which she had been brought…

But this morning, she was lying on the bookcase under the window, looking out. I feel sorry for her. She’ll have a much harder adjustment to make than did Xanadu, or the Felons; even Jessel, during his temporary stay with me, had the advantage of coming in to safety from the outside. Portia will miss her home for quite a while, I suspect. In time, I hope she will realise that her new residence isn’t quite as crazy as it seems.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Portia of Our Chambers

If all goes as planned, this little lady will be coming tomorrow to stay with me and the beasts in the Cosy Apartment. She will be called Portia.

Portia will not be with me permanently; she will be be available for adoption once I get to know her. There will be a number of adjustments I hope she will make: her food has been only hard, and not of the best quality; her litter is different than my cats’ and, perhaps as important a change for her as any, she has not previously lived with feline roommates. At eight years old, Portia has not known many people, either, so I too will be a bit of a shock to her.

I don’t think she need start out in the bathroom. I will place her in the library, where there will be comfort and light and fresh air, and also a heated towel-bed on the couch, if she wants it. Something that I am viewing with some trepidation is that she has previously been allowed out of her house (just into the house’s yard) whenever she has asked. It’s the asking that worries me a bit, especially if it comes at night.

However, I will confront difficulties when and if they arise. The goal is to make my house-guest comfortable, to put her at ease, and to get to know her, the new “Portia of our chambers”.