Saturday, November 27, 2021

Our Bachelor Household

Portia is now off on her great adventure. She left at about 10.30 this morning.

She will be exploring her new surroundings, I exepect. She did not hide when she first arrived at the Cosy Apartment, so I don’t think she will this time. She had occasion to spend several hours at a friend’s house during an inspection of my apartment some while ago, and it did not trouble her. This will be different, however; she may expect, as then, to return here toward night-time. It will be a bit of a shock to her to realise that she will be remaining in her new setting.

Because my fosters tend to be old, diabetic or otherwise less adoptable, they tend to depart through death, so this is much better than that, of course, but the effect can be the same: I heard someone crunching hard-food and when I looked, I could see only part of a face. The lighting made it look calico, and for a moment that did not seem odd to me. I am used to seeing portly Po about the place. It’s funny how some cats’ advent cause one to wish they would be adopted soon, and cease disrupting the old routine. Then, at some point, a switch is flipped, and one hopes that if there are any inquiries about them that they prove inappropriate, and they stay. But what is best for Portia is that she stay where she is now, happy in her new abode, rather than with me.

The Cosy Apartment has become a bachelors’ establishment. It hasn’t been one since the interval between Josie’s passing and Portia’s arrival; before that, never. It feels odd, a home full of single males. I feel like I should be in a university dorm-room, looking in the refrigerator for leftover pieces of pizza from the night before, or in a boarding house run by a kindly lady we all call ‘Ma’ and who thinks of us as her ‘boys’. (The benefit of the latter scenario is that we could probably work it into a hit 1940s radio series.)

This situation may not last. I suspect that there will be another addition to the Cosy Apartment, but certainly not until I am sure that Portia has found her new place. (Of course, even then, she will be welcomed back if things go awry elsewhere.) For now, however, we guys will be free to track dirt everywhere, make irritating noises, eat sloppily and stay up all night.

Wait a minute… I think that’s been happening for about fourteen years…

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Someone Else's Portia

I actually didn’t think this day would come: Portia is going on a trial-adoption. She leaves Saturday morning.

As readers may have gathered, Po is a cat who would have to have a rather specific family, if she were to leave the Cosy Apartment. She is a calico, has a strong personality, knows what she wants when she wants it, what she doesn’t want, and will not be gainsaid. She has come a long way since the stand-offish girlcat of early May. But with every change, it has been what she has wanted that counted; I may have offered, but she had to accept. Under such conditions, one can imagine the narrow parameters of possible homes for her.

But one fitting very well those conditions has been opened to her. It is undoubtedly Portia’s best chance of her own home. A single lady, mature, retired, with her own house and no other pets, saw Portia advertised. The lady is experienced not only with cats, but with calicos; her last cat died some months ago at twenty. There could be no better opportunity for Po.

I believe portly Po is satisfied living with me. But this is her chance to be happy. She will have one person to herself, without other animals to annoy her or distract the human. If my foster-cat made progress with me, then she should do immeasurably better in this new environment.

Of course, the reality may be different. Portia may simply refuse to adjust. But I don’t think she will. I believe she will be enticed by her new world and find favour with it. I hope so; she deserves such a world. If things go wrong, she will always have a place in the Cosy Apartment.

The trial will last three weeks. Nobody expects Po to become completely adapted to her new house and new human in that time; her prospective adopter knows that winning Portia over will take much more time. But we will know if the hefty calico has set her paws on her new path by then. And who knows? A new house, a new human, no other cats, may all aid her in making a rapid adjustment. The pleasing thing about winning over cats who are slow to trust is that once they trust one person, they are often open to trusting others. That has been seen in our rescue-group’s foster-homes numerous times.

So join me, if you will, in wishing my Portia the best of luck, so that soon she will decide that it is good and proper that she be someone else’s Portia.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Farewell

This morning, I learned that cat-dad Pete of “Tom Cat Commentary by Timmy” died on Saturday, 20th November.

I had inferred that he was battling some health issues recently, and his last blog-entry was from 26th October, so I knew something was wrong. As the time went by, and there was no new entry, I worried more and more, as did several others who followed his blog. A funeral home published his obituary:


But this obituary doesn’t write much about the man, really. I wish I could claim to have known him well, but aside from what I read on his blog and from the various comments we sent each other, I didn’t know him much at all.

However, I am aware of some things about Pete Cusack, gleaned from his blog and his comments. He was a funny and imaginative man. The personalities of his cats, elaborated in his blog, were as real to me as if they were cats I knew personally. The adventures he gave them were a delight to read, and I can only guess at the amount of time it took him to choose the right photographs to illustrate them. In many cases, he created images that were as inventive as they were fun.

Pete loved his cat-family; there are four remaining now, but there were many through the years. One of the reasons why I didn’t think, at least initially, that Pete’s last illness (whatever it was) would be fatal was that he hinted in a couple of blogs that he might be bringing in a new cat to join his household. That cat would have had a loving and happy life. I hope to learn that his cats - Rumpy, Toby, Einstein and Miss Fitz - are now in someone else’s loving care. I can’t believe that Pete, knowing that his health was not robust, wouldn’t have made provision for their happiness, if something bad were to occur to him.

Pete also loved his human family, his late parents, and his sister, who died before him. He would commemorate their lives on his blog at certain times.

Though I barely knew Pete, I feel that this is a personal loss, such vibrancy did he bring to his blog and his wonderful cats. I wish I could have thanked him for the enjoyment he brought me and, undoubtedly, others. Those who have never read his blog can find it here:

It may have been presumptuous of me to write all that I have above, knowing the man so little. But this is what I believe I did know of him, and it was all good. Godspeed, Pete, and thank you for all you did and wrote.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

In Good Fun

I’ve mentioned before, I think, that Hector is my easiest integration. He still runs after the other cats but, since his purpose seems to be to try to entice them to play, he is doing so with decreasing enthusiasm: he is realizing that, for the most part, he’s not going to find a playmate in the Cosy Apartment. When he is fired up and playing by himself, he will sometimes pounce on one of the others, but this rare. Usually, it is a matter of running up to one of them and tapping them with a paw. The reactions to this range from Portia taking exception to it and responding with whaps, to Tucker ignoring it.

Neville continues to be Hec’s perceived best bet for a playmate, and the boy still chases the Nevsky from time to time. But the fact that it is in good fun (on Hector’s part) and not resented (on Neville’s part) may be seen in the accompanying photograph. I don’t know who was first on the bed and who jumped up second, but in any case, the original occupant didn’t move.

Either my oldsters are becoming more tolerant in their increasing age (which seems unlikely) or they simply don’t mind the newcomer.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

A Striking Habit

What gives a cat his unique characteristics? I wonder that a great deal, especially when I meet new cats. Hector of course has his own personality, but something that he does stands out.

Sometimes, especially as I am passing near him, if he is sitting or standing, he will reach out with a paw and try to whap me with it. It’s never a strong blow, the claws are always in, and sometimes he doesn’t even connect. The significance of the action seems to be merely that it is made, not that it has an effect. It’s a gesture, more than anything else.

Where did it come from? Why does he do it? Is it the ephemeral remains of play, learned from his former humans when he was a tiny kitten? Is it the remnant of anger at some person? Is it a defence mechanism, to prevent being stepped on? (Goodness knows, he is underfoot much of the time, so if it is a protective measure, he’s defeating his own purpose.)

He doesn’t do it every time I walk past him. He sometimes acts as if he has forgotten, then tries to make up for it. And when I forget, I think I’ve accidentally kicked him in the head walking by, only to turn and see him sitting placidly on the floor, unhurt.

This is a case in which, I believe, even the cat himself couldn’t answer for his actions, if he could talk. It’s just a habit learned long, long ago; maybe even a year ago. But it’s part of him now, a part of Hector. I rather hope it always will be.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Hector Goes to the Doctor

Hector went to the veterinary hospital yesterday. This was to give him his booster vaccinations, micro-chip and de-worming (his first had not been complete), and for a general check-up. Everything went well, and the boy is in good condition.

His complaints were continual and loud in the journey over to the hospital, though, as may be seen from the photographs, his youngster’s curiosity could not be restrained. A couple of times, he resorted to climbing on my lap for re-assurance; the only time he’s sat on my lap since his first day. He cooperated with the staff, though he took exception, not to the various needles, but to having his claws cut.

The boy was estimated to be a little older than we thought - between one and two years - but his health is very good, other than a little tartar on his back teeth. I worried that the tip of his right fang, which is broken off, might have exposed a nerve, thus causing his ravenous attitude toward soft-food, and his lacklustre desire for hard (perhaps it was painful to crunch the hard-food, and he was hungry all the time) but the doctor didn’t think there was any problem, and that the merest tip of the tooth had been lost. Hec is hungry just because he is hungry.

I think Hec was glad to return to the Cosy Apartment, where he was awarded an extra ration of food for his troubles. He seemed unfazed by his ordeal. His night was ordinary - a mixture of frantic action and relaxed snoozing - and the last thing I saw of him this morning was his proud transport of a fuzzy mouse into the library, his prize dangling by its tail from his mouth.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

And One More

Though Sable has not re-appeared after showing up to have a meal the Monday past, another old diner at Café Cosy came by last night. Though this is an image of atrocious quality, it shows a cat whom I believe to be Arliss.

I have included two photographs from the past for comparison. I’m certain that it is the same cat.

It cannot be a coincidence, in my opinion, that Arliss showed up after a prolonged absence so soon after Sable ended hers. The two would periodically visit together in days gone by, though not in any great proximity to each other. I like to think that they at least are friends, or travelling companions, someone to take the away the loneliness of an outsider-cat’s life.

Arliss didn’t eat anything. Indeed, if Sable wasn’t with him in the past, it would be the merest chance Arliss would find the soft-food that I would leave out for somebody. Now, with no one coming by regularly, I don’t put soft-food outside. Arliss has eaten hard-food previously, but did not have any last night. He had a long drink of water from the bowl, and was on his way elsewhere when he saw me watching. This merely gave him speed. He was always much more shy than Sable.

But Arliss, like his friend, is still about, and he still looks to be well-fed. Where these two have been, what they have been doing since their last visit, I can’t guess. But there is some comfort in knowing they might have been together in the interval.