Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Together for Movie-night

Movie night was a success. It was not the best it could be. That would involve all the perma-cats lounging about me, with Tungsten lifting a glass of champagne in toast to Bear-Bear’s stay with us. That did not happen. However, Renn did brave the newcomer’s presence. My big boy waggled nervously into the parlour, encouraged by me and the fact that Bear-Bear was half-asleep, purring himself into contentment on my lap. Renn jumped up cautiously, but within a couple of minutes was lying down, rolled over on his back and himself purring while I rubbed his chest.

After Josie, Renn is the least troubled by Bear-Bear. I suspected that it wouldn’t be long until he tried to regain normalcy by joining us on movie-night. Once my big boy smells popcorn, he knows a show is about to begin. He and my foster-cat have been sniffing each other more and more and, though there has been hissing and growling - all on Renn’s part - I’m not at all worried about the two of them and, if it were just him and my Chubs, would gladly leave Bear-Bear out all day while I was gone. But Tungsten still has a long way to go before she accepts the interloper’s presence, and Tucker could use some more time, too. But if any cat can convince another that he is harmless, it’s Bear-Bear.

But this little article is about Renn, so I will leave you with a comparison. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that he was a lazy dog, and not quite metaphorically. Take a look at these pictures and tell me if you don’t expect Renn to bark at me one day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Chubs: Still Here

Josie is a neat fat cat. She tends to get lost in the news about the other felines. Bear-Bear is the new foster-cat, so he receives much attention in my blog. Tungsten’s health is a great concern to me, so she too figures prominently. Tucker is cute and playful and a roly poly baby, while Renn is active, and gives me something to write about at movie- and bath-times. Josie is inconspicuous, with no dangerous or painful health issues. She doesn’t play rambunctiously or hasten to spend time with me at any particular moment of the day. But I am very fond of her.

I place her on my lap sometimes, just to give her time with me. She initially dislikes the action, probably because she loathes being carried, but once I start petting her, her two-tone purring begins. This has become more common for her; she used to be reluctant to let me hear her purr, but now it starts as soon as she is placed on my legs. She also purrs when she comes to bed.

She is not active, even when playing. She lies on the floor expecting the toy to come to her. She snuggles close to a piece of honeysuckle when she finds it, and enjoys rolling over it, to acquire its intoxicating scent. It's like her little glass of sherry before bed.

She likes her food, my Chubs does. She will complain that I am not serving up the soft-food fast enough at dinner- and snack-times. But when it is in everyone’s dish - but the dishes are not yet on the floor - I say, “All right, here we go.” That, she knows, means the actual disbursement is complete; so why are the dishes not in their right and proper positions? That’s when she truly gives vent to her annoyance.

Josie is not a great connoisseur of soft cat foods. She will eat a variety, though there are some flavours of Wellness brand that she disdains. She also likes her hard-food, though not as much as the soft. Her veterinarian tells me that she is overweight and needs to lose some poundage. I know that is the case, but she enjoys her meals, and looks forward to little else in her easy but boring life. To watch her walk or, more so, hurry away is rather like watching a tiny, furry Holstein cow trot away, its udder moving transversely to its direction of locomotion. But with Josie, it’s not an udder. “No, that ain’t fur. Your cat’s fat…” Yes, she is.

The Great White can’t keep herself as clean as the other cats; she can’t reach the important areas. I must do that for her from time to time. She dislikes the familiarity with which I wash her nether regions, yet doesn’t put up the struggle that she used to. I think she feels better afterward; cleaner, fresher. Who wouldn’t?

I’m sure I have written about these things before. Josie doesn’t often do anything that may be the subject of a blog article by itself. She is unspectacular, not really newsworthy. But I wanted to write about my quiet little loner, to include her in the blog, to remind the world that she is here and well. She turns ten this year, wider and friendlier than ever. Just a neat fat cat whom I’m glad to have as my friend.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Test of Movie-night

Movie-night was a bit of a test for the new situation at my house. The recent addition of a foster-cat, Bear-Bear, has, as you may imagine, created some difficulties for the perma-cats. Bear-Bear himself seems to be enjoying things, especially since I have started letting him out most of the time that I am present. Tungsten’s dislike of him means that I will give her more opportunity to grow accustomed to Bear-Bear before he is released on a full-time basis.

Saturday nights are usually spent watching a movie, with a bowl of popcorn in my lap and Renn beside me on the parlour couch; Tucker often joins us for a snooze on the ottoman. Last weekend disrupted the boys’ routine, unfortunately. Bear-Bear saw no reason not to spend the entire movie on my lap, purring. He loves people. Renn would periodically appear at the open door and look in, then wander away, only to return later. He is growing braver every day, but didn’t feel that he could brave the new situation just yet.

Since then, both Renn and Tucker have been coming into the parlour, the latter to slumber on the ottoman, the former to gaze out the window. My big boy especially likes having the parlour door open again because when he sees something of interest (such as an intruder-cat) outside on the back lawn, he can rush from the bedroom window to the parlour, or vice versa, to continue watching it as it moves. I like that he has that chance again.

This to-ing and fro-ing will help the boys realise that the parlour is not a place to avoid, even though Bear-Bear sleeps there. (Just in case you are wondering, the girls have never spent much time either watching a film with me - though Tungsten has joined me once in a while - or even visiting the parlour.) I am hoping that this Saturday will bring an increased presence of Renn and Tucker in that room. A couple of relaxed mancats are as important a part of movie-night as a good film.

Breakfast in Bed, M'lady?

Tungsten’s eating has always been a concern to me, never more so than now. She has hyperthyroidism, and has been receiving medicine for it for a couple of months. For a while thereafter, she had been gaining weight, a small amount, but still a gain. That momentum has ceased and she has remained stalled at 2.63 kilograms.

Consequently, I am worried about her not eating enough even to maintain the little weight she has. She seems to be hungrier than she has been, which makes me think she may be sliding back on her recovery. I will continue to weigh her and if her poundage reduces still further, will consult the veterinary about it.

In the meantime, I am taking extraordinary steps. My new foster-feline, Bear-Bear, is doing very well integrating with the perma-cats, with the exception of Tungsten, who still hates him. She spends much of her time snoozing on the bed, where Bear-Bear, polite fellow that he is, does not venture. I think he is also afraid of the tiny terror, which is fine by me. It may be that that has caused Tungsten not always to come to the dining room to get her meals, though since she will brave the new boy’s presence when something special is in the air (eg. the aroma of potato chips or ice cream), I think she is just being lazy. So I bring food to her.

I may be too indulgent. I may be spoiling the orange one. But I'll provide her a dish of food even when it’s not the regular meal times, in order to get her to eat as much as possible. And if having her gain weight means an extra effort on my part, then I would go to the moon to bring her nourishment. She’s the household’s top-cat, and we can’t do without her.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bear-Bear at Play

My new foster-cat, Bear-Bear, does not seem to have suffered from a period of adjustment. This is strange, since I’ve found that many cats, even the most affable, one who may clearly love his new environment, will experience a kind of discouragement upon arriving in a new place. Tucker, of instance, a very sensitive animal, was outgoing and excited to be in my apartment when he first came. Then after a day or two, retreated, and stopped eating. Even Tungsten, a most practical and stolid cat, became temporarily depressed after a time of initial interest.

Bear-Bear did not seem to suffer this period, at least not from what I could see. He was probably anxious, but dealt with it by trying to be my friend, a tactic which worked. He’s a loveable gentleman, and wants to be chums with every human. He is largely indifferent to other cats.

At first, he gave the impression of being confused when invited to play with the toys laid out for the felines. He would watch something roll or fall, listen to it squeak or ring, but do nothing about it. Perhaps this was his period of adjustment. It couldn’t have been a case similar to Tucker’s: that roly poly seemed not to know how to play, and had to be instructed. Bear-Bear, when he decided to enjoy himself, certainly knew what he was doing.

He likes the Undercover Mouse. This is a battery-driven toy which features a revolving wand. The interest in it among the perma-cats is varied. Rachael had been frightened of it, while Luther’s enthusiasm over it caused him to launch himself upon it from across a room, knocking the wand off its stick every time. Bear-Bear's enjoyment is a bit more restrained and he sensibly uses both forepaws to seize the wand.

He also likes a fuzzy mouse, which appears to be the last of its breed in my house. Remind me to get more. He chases it when I throw it, knocks it around, picks it up in his mouth and tosses it. It’s already in its final stages. Bear-Bear also runs after a simple plastic coil, which none of the others cared about. He skids across floors and rolls up rugs in his attempts to seize it.

Bear-Bear strikes me as a good-natured fellow, usually happy, pleased with things, glad to explore and a gently vibrating motor of purring when he’s petted. Why he isn’t already someone’s prized friend baffles me.

Bear-Bear and the Boys

Bear-Bear is settling in very well. My previous fostering had been ordeals in some ways, though the cats I took care of were little wonders of affection. Luther and Rachael each had their troubles dealing with my perma-cats. Yet I must have had good integrations previously, since I kept two of the cats I fostered, Renn and Tucker. Bear-Bear is doing as well, if not better, than they did.

He is completely without aggression of even the most playful kind. Josie, as I mentioned in an earlier article, has taken easily to him. Tungsten hates him, while the boys are less accepting than my Chubs but more willing to give the new fellow a chance than is my orange one.

Tucker, to my surprise, is almost unaffected by Bear-Bear’s presence. The roly poly is a very sensitive cat, yet allows Bear-Bear to wander about, even to within a few feet of him, without reacting. If he were truly afraid of, or angry at, Bear-Bear, Tucker would stay hidden from him. Yet he has flopped down in the middle of the sitting room rug, while the guest-cat explores. He hisses at him if the approach is too close, but that is to be expected. Tucker has transferred some hostility to Josie; as I recall, he did the same when other foster-cats came to stay. He hisses at Josie, which he normally does not, and they come to blows from time to time. But this will pass.

Renn’s reaction to Bear-Bear is interesting. He too hisses and growls at any proximity, yet he appears fascinated by the newcomer. My big boy could stay in the bedroom (the door of which is always open now, not closed to provide an inviolable refuge for the perma-cats) or at the top of a cat-tree, if he wanted to avoid Bear-Bear. He does not. Even when he tells the new boy he dislikes him, then slinks cautiously away, Renn will return a moment later to watch whatever Bear-Bear is doing.

As one of the ladies who works in the rescue-group with which I volunteer stated, my cats probably pick up on the easy-going personality Bear-Bear possesses, and realise that he is without any aggression. They understand instinctively that they don’t need to fear him, or even keep an eye on him. Tucker and Josie will close their eyes and snooze, even as the guest-cat wanders about. He may be an annoyance to them right now, an inconvenience, but not a danger.

Saturday night will be interesting. That’s traditionally movie-night at my household, and Renn likes to watch a film with me (ie. he slumbers on the couch next to me.) Will he brave the parlour to do so this time? He has come into the parlour, where Bear-Bear sleeps and is still kept isolated some of the time. He sniffs and looks out the window, but only when Bear-Bear is elsewhere. The lure of movie-time is strong for Renn; he hurries into the parlour even before I arrive with my popcorn - and no, it’s not the food that draws him; he doesn’t seem to care for popcorn, thank goodness. So what will he do this week? Tucker, too, comes in after the movie has started and sleeps on the ottoman. What will he do? It will all depend, I think, on what Bear-Bear does.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Promising Start...

My luck with integrating foster-cats has not been good in the past year. First, there was Luther, who, though a wonderful little fellow and very friendly to people, attacked my other cats on sight. He went to another foster-home where he was an only-cat, until he was paired with a kitten, Fortune. The two became good friends, though Fortune was, if anything, too rambunctious for Luther. (Luther will have to excuse a certain schadenfreude on my part.) They were adopted together a couple of months ago and are prospering.

Then came Rachael. A little aloof at first, she grew to be warm and friendly, and played cheerfully and snoozed on my lap. But she was highly-strung and the presence of other cats kept her on edge. She is now doing better in a single-cat foster-home.

Now, there is Bear-Bear.

This orange and white boy lived with a large number of other cats previously and did not display much of an interest in them. This sounded promising. I have begun releasing Bear-Bear from his back parlour isolation for an hour at a time, with Tungsten and Josie also free. The boys are put in the bedroom for that time. Tungsten, predictably, hisses and growls at the newcomer. She hates new cats. She hates anything new. I wonder where she got that from… Anyway, the surprise was Josie.

While Tungsten demanded to be let in the bedroom with the boys, away from the guest-cat, Josie remained outside, watching Bear-Bear. Twice now, she has descended from the cat-tree where she had been lying when Bear-Bear was released - not the action of a cat afraid of contact. Last evening, she came down again. The Great White lie under a chair and remained there even as Bear-Bear walked around her. For his part, he wasn’t that interested in her. Then Josie move over to a mat by the door and lie down.

“Come and meet me,” she seemed to say. I donned my oven mitts, ready for a confrontation, and watched Bear-Bear approach. (Please excuse the bad quality of the pictures; I was in a hurry to take them.)

At one point, my Chubs got up and settled in a cat-bed. That’s when Bear-Bear and she actually sniffed noses. Josie, not unexpectedly, then gave one of her cranky snarls and swatted at Bear-Bear. This doesn’t mean hostility: she does it when any of the perma-cats comes too close, as well. In other words, she let Bear-Bear smell her, then reacted as she always does. And Bear-Bear did not show aggression, annoyance or even disappointment. He turned to see what else there was to smell. When he eventually wandered away, Josie’s expression was one of chagrin and hurt pride.

Well, what did you expect, Chubs?

But what this means is that Bear-Bear’s integration may go well. He doesn’t bother Tungsten, for all my orange one’s dislike of his presence. The next step is to introduce him to the boys, one at a time, though this will not occur until he’s more used to the girls. Poor Bear-Bear is going to wonder where all these cats keep popping in from…

As for the guest-cat himself, he is a friendly little wonder, loving to be on my lap for extended periods, purring his throaty purr and scolding me raucously when I come home from not seeing him for hours on end. I hope not to jinx him, but I believe this may be a feline who will NOT need to be an only-cat, and may in fact be a perfect second or third pet. He uses scratching posts without fail, and always has perfect hygiene. A clean and affectionate animal, his only failing is not being accustomed to playing. We conquer that one next.