Friday, July 20, 2012

The Adventures of Luther

Luther, my foster-cat, is doing well, and I am getting to know more about this energetic little fellow. His age is estimated to be about a year, and he certainly has the enthusiasm of a kitten, though his size and weight are an adult’s.

He loves to play and talk, more of the latter than the former, in fact. I think he is the feline equivalent of a human who must verbalize all his thoughts. He issues little grunts all the time, and not just when he’s seeking attention. He will be lying peacefully - he does that, sometimes - then come out with a grunt, as if he were thinking of something and suddenly came to a realisation about it. But he loves to talk to people, though I’m sure it’s frustrating to him because I - the only person he sees regularly or frequently - don’t know him well enough to comprehend what he wants much of the time. I do know that when there is a closed door, he wants it open. That one is easy.

He enjoys playing, too, as I mentioned. He’s very active. He likes the string-toy the best, running after it, lying in wait for it to come by and leaping for it. He also likes playing with fuzzy mice near a scratching post. He will wrap himself around the post, between it and the wall, then want you to toss him a toy. He will then kick and bite and chew, and, not infrequently, run away at high-speed.

Luther will meow and fuss while I have a shower. He will stand on his hind legs and pound the walls of the shower-stall. He dislikes closed doors, and the stall door is closed at that time. When I am finished, he pokes his head into the stall to find out what the attraction was.

Like all cats, he loves watching out a window. When the window is open, he will lean forward on his elbows and observe. He is not an inveterate observer, though, as is Renn, nor is he largely indifferent to his exterior environment, like Tungsten. It’s a quiet time for Luther, really, when he watches the wide world. He spent an unknown time outside before he was rescued; nonetheless, other than a generic dislike of all closed doors, no matter where they lead, he has shown no inclination to leave the comfort of soft furniture, supplied food and safety at night.

I do regret that my foster-cat is still largely quarantined. He spends his nights in the bathroom downstairs and his days, when I am at work, in the back parlour. There, at least, he has a window open to a screen, with a good view, fresh air and smells; a bowl of water, a small supply of food (to keep him from starving but not enough to spoil his dinner), his litter-box and soft cushions. I cannot let him out unsupervised among the other cats.

Luther continues to attack my perma-cats. He does it without any malice, without growling or hissing. It has been suggested that he is trying to play. I suspect that is not the case, since the reaction he induces is violent enough to let him know that no one else is playing. He launches himself at all the others, regardless of who they are or where they are. He merely has to see them. I do allow him to roam the house on my days off, though I can’t do it for long; he requires continuous surveillance as he will throw himself at one of the others if he is given the slightest opportunity. Fortunately, his intentions are usually transparent.

I do not want this to inhibit his possible adoption, however. Another cat may not provoke the same reaction in Luther - or may give him a lesson that will alter his behaviour, though I wouldn’t like to see a cat-fight that bad. In truth, Luther would be perfect for a single-cat household. He is wonderful with people and, in fact, would provide so much entertainment that a prospective adopter probably would not have time for another cat. He’s a joyous way to pass a day. In the evening, as he tires, he will lie beside someone and relax under petting and stroking.

His appetite is excellent, his litter-box habits just as good. He could be let loose in a house (with doors closed and windows secured, of course) and he would entertain himself for hours. I’m sure he would sleep on a bed with his person the very first night. Surely there must be someone out there who, unlike myself, feels he must (and has the will-power to) limit himself to one cat. That person would love Luther, and Luther would love him.

I can’t provide the sort of full and expansive environment this bundle of energy  deserves. He’s content with me, I think, pleased with what he has. But he needs a permanent home and permanent person to be happy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just a Little More Tucker

And writing of Tucker… Of my cats, he is the most likely to amuse himself with the toys at his disposal. His favourites are two fuzzy, soft, bendable mice, one green, one blue. He will chase them about, stamp on them and bite them. Then he will pick them up and rub them all over his face, alternating with bites. This may be his rudimentary paternal instinct, first expressing anger, then love, of his furry little child. Or he may just like biting the toy and rubbing it against his face.

Then, after a tiring session of play, spent mostly in one position on the floor, hardly moving at all, Tucker will retire to a soft location where he will annoy me greatly by pretending that this posture is comfortable.


Tucker is an adorable sausage of a cat, but he is, perhaps, not the smartest fried food on the skillet. He likes to play by himself, which is admirable, and was chasing a fuzzy mouse about the sitting room floor yesterday. He knocked it into the nylon tunnel and, as he will from time to time, charged in there after it. He’s not lean and little like Tungsten, so he often drags the tunnel with him when he rushes in at speed.

This evening, he crashed it against a cat-bed and because the tube lost its straightforward shape, was rather perplexed at how to get out of it. Don’t worry, though: I pulled it back, it regained its familiar shape and he escaped, ready for more fun. My roly poly.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where They Sit

Cats are like people in some aspects; in some aspects, indeed, they are like people but more so. They have their habits. I’ve noticed that these habits are prone to change suddenly but not irreversibly. Nonetheless, while they remain, they have all the characteristics of habits.

Cats have their favourite food, their favourite toys, their favourite places to sit and lie. It must have been interesting for them when they came with me to the new house a couple of years ago, and discovered everything moved about - and continuing to be moved about for a few weeks. New locations had to be found for resting, for watching the outdoors, for watching the indoors. Old furniture had to be located and tested to make sure it was as good as before. Sometimes it was no longer satisfactory and explorations had to be launched to find better.

But the beasts have long since made their places in the house. Tungsten has four spots in which she may be seen passing the time. One is on a cushion of a dining room chair. It is a good size for her and is thick and comfy. She will usually be found curled up there.

Other times, she will lie on my bed after it is made in the mornings, revelling in the cleft formed where the two pillows meet. It too is a good size for her, and she’s light enough not to sink between the pillows. She also enjoys lying in the near corner of the sitting room couch, where I sit. Sometimes she sits there without me, sometimes with me, in which case, she will lie on my lap. She is my only lap-cat, though Josie and Tucker will stay there for a little while, if I place them there. But they are fat and heavy and I lose the feeling in my legs if they stay too long anyway. So the orange one makes the best lap-cat. She seems to like it.

Renn likes the top of the tallest cat-tree in the sitting room, and doesn’t frequent the lower cat-tree much. He likes the highest spot for sleeping. He also enjoys the far corner of the couch in the sitting room. This is a favourite sleeping spot, where he feels quite safe and not worried at all about exposing his unprotected belly. Besides, he may get a gratuitous chest-rub.

But for watching, nothing beats the cat-trees in the bedroom. Sometimes, he will observe the back lawn from the parlour, at the opposite end of the house. It’s especially entertaining to see my big boy catch sight of something that needs urgent attention, which will cause him to rush between one room and the other, trying to get a better view of it from one window, then the other. But for routine reconnaissance, the bedroom is the better location. He will spend hours there, often leaning on the sill of the open window, never testing the screen - he knows he mustn’t - simply watching the world. Of all the cats, I feel sorry for Renn the most come autumn and winter, when the screens are removed and replaced with the storm windows.

Josie, as I’ve mentioned before, loves the top of the tallest cat-tree. From there, she can survey the world outside the big picture-window in the sitting room, and, being the loner she is, and a bit of a nervous feline, she can make certain no one is sneaking up on her from below. She snoozes there, and she watches from there. It’s her place. She will repose on the lower cat-tree,  though only when the taller is occupied. But I like seeing her make the climb up the steps to the loftiest perch available, knowing that she’ll be comfortable and happy in a few seconds.

Josie will be found other places, too, such as the cat-trees in the bedroom. There are two there, and she and Renn frequently share them. She likes the new cat-beds I bought late last year, and her favourite was the one nearer the front door. She resorted to it much longer than either Renn or Tungsten did once the weather warmed, but now even she eschews it for cooler spots.

The oddest place I’ve found my Chubs is the mantel of the fireplace. Why she enjoys periodically lying there I don’t know; it’s hard and doesn’t give good visibility. Perhaps it’s because no one else goes there.

Finally, Tucker too has his spots. He likes the tops of the cat-trees, usually the shorter of the two in the sitting room. Uniquely, he prefers the middle level for sleeping; though he sometimes snoozes farther up, he likes the half-way mark.

He likes the armchair, as well, the thick cushion and arms give him plenty of scope for different positions. But my roly poly one is not ambitious. Another sign of this is the fact that he will simply lie on the floor, on rug or hardwood. Perhaps his chubbiness provides the padding that is otherwise lacking. In the summer, the fresh air of an open window beckons Tucker, and he lies on the sill as much as on a cat-tree's platform. In any case, his choices of places to relax are as easy-going as he is.

How a cat behaves is indicative of how he feels about his environment. When they moved with me from the old apartment to the new house, the beasts were apprehensive but, because I was there, and familiar furniture and toys came with us, they gave the change a chance. They soon settled in and found their places. Few things can delight me more than seeing my cats lying at their ease about our home, obviously feeling safe and content.