Friday, March 31, 2023

Renn and His Buffet

My big boy, Renn, has never eaten much. He has, nonetheless, maintained his size and strength through much of his life with me. As he’s aged, however, he’s shrunk. There are now bigger boys than Renn. But, while his coordination isn’t quite what it was, his kidneys continue to fail and he suffers a chronic but mild respiratory affliction, he nonetheless is largely enjoying his later years.

Part of this is attributable to his continued appetite. But it is not easy to keep Renn fed; it never has been. His intake of soft-food is, most of the time, negligible. Even when he eats, he will spend ten minutes over a bowl and end up consuming almost nothing. Fortunately, he drinks an adequate amount of water. Even so, his hard-food is very important.

For a couple of years now, his preferred varieties have not included the high-quality food that was once the staple in the household. Instead, he likes two other kinds, another good and expensive brand, and a second, even more expensive brand, a type of food meant for diabetics (Neville also receives that.)

Recently, though, he had a taste of the food I have been giving to the outsider-cats. It is a very good brand, but I obtained a number of bags that were near their expiry dates; the cost was lower and the food still good. Now, however, Renn seems to like this variety. But he also likes the others - besides which, I have a large supply of them to get rid of, even if he prefers the latest sort. So Renn has his buffet.

Furthermore, he likes to have it set out for him whenever he asks. He could go to the food-bowls on the floor in the corridor. He would receive the same selection. But he doesn’t. And because he would rather starve than not be served, I acquiesce to his demands. And the demands are now made in a low whine that doesn’t end except when his mouth is in a food-bowl.

For all this, Renn is a pretty undemanding sort. He reminds me of the man in the old folks’ home who is easy-going and friendly, but always wants the same chair at the same table by the same window at every meal, and if he doesn’t get it, well, then he’ll skip dinner tonight, thank you - no, no, that’s all right; he wasn’t hungry, anyway - and he’ll see you at breakfast tomorrow.

I can’t have that, so Renn has his buffet.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Something About the Stairs

Just a month ago, I wrote an entry describing how Zofia liked to sleep under the staircase by the bed. Yesterday evening, I walked into the sitting room and noticed the smaller staircase, leading to the ottoman and couch, had been moved. When I tried to replace it, I felt something underneath it. Apparently, the principal is smaller cat, big stairs - bigger cat, small stairs.

Imogen is still discovering her places in the Cosy Apartment.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Wild Goose Chase

I was riding home from work yesterday, turned the corner and there they were. We often see geese flying over-head, and sometimes on the roofs of buildings. This is the first time I’ve seen them on the sidewalk, ten feet in front of me.

One of them looked like he was about to cross the street. He must have thought he was a chicken. I figured that the principal street of a city was a bad place for a goose to go walking, so I managed to insert myself between them and the vehicular traffic, and ushered them to the grass strip next the building.

They seemed untroubled by their surroundings, and I suspect that they flew away - or at least up to a rooftop - soon afterward. It was an interesting sight to see. I didn’t quite chase them, though they were wild geese; I suppose the title of this blog-entry fits well enough.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Watching Evolution

One of the delights of having a new cat is seeing her evolve. It is especially pleasing when she evolves in unexpected but promising ways. Such is the case with Imogen.

She is becoming more at ease with me and the other cats (more about that later), and a little more vocal. Tonight she ate her meals at meal-times – a first – and though I don’t know that that will continue (I usually have to leave her dish aside for whenever she wants to eat), it may bode well for the future.

Imogen rarely runs to the library, her safe-room, anymore. She will still be startled by sudden noises or movements, but she recovers from the start more quickly, and doesn’t always run to the library. She has, in fact, found her favourite spot. It’s the cylinder-house cat-tree. She usually sleeps there at night, and snoozes there more than anywhere else at other times. Periodically, she lies on top of it, though I have noticed from her jumps there and at other locations that she doesn’t have the strength or balance that she thinks she has. This hasn’t to do with any health issues; it’s just over-confidence.

This is illustrated in the manner in which she will slip into the cylinder-house from a position atop. She will simply turn herself upside down and insert herself through one of the lunette openings in the side. This of course means that, as her centre of gravity changes with her movement, she might throw herself out of the cat-tree as she’s trying to slide farther in. She hasn’t yet but, as I wrote above, she may have a problem with over-confidence…

Imo is becoming more playful. She likes the string-toy but her preference for our games is the red-dot. She’s no Zofia, exhausting herself in its pursuit, but she does pretty well, nonetheless. And she entertains herself, a milk-jug ring being an enjoyable toy. But last night, after I went to bed, I heard Miss Silky knocking something about the dining area.

And…I think, possibly, maybe, this cat, who never met another feline until seven weeks ago, might, perhaps, be happy with a playmate. I watched her this evening observing Renn come into the sitting room. He was wary of her – as he is with all new cats – and she slipped into the nylon tunnel. As he passed the far mouth of it, Imogen scuttled toward him in the tunnel. She stopped short of him, of course, but the simple fact that she ran towards him suggests play to me. I can’t see her suddenly developing aggression, when the most she worked herself into even when new to the Cosy Apartment was a severe hiss. Renn will never play with Imo, but maybe another, younger, more gregarious cat?

Well, it’s still early days yet. Imogen hasn’t been here two months. I may not have seen her true personality; it may be that she will discover joys – and grievances – that she herself never suspected.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Her Parting Shot

Zofia is doing very well in her new home; I hope to share soon more information and maybe some images of her life there.

In the meantime, I must acknowledge a parting gift that she left me; it is so Zofia. A few days before she left the Cosy Apartment, I found her playing with what looked like a little sensor or perhaps a motor of some sort. She was knocking it about on the floor as a toy. I had no idea where it had come from.

Today, I found the gutted remains of a toy. Some months ago, I purchased a stuffed mouse that squeaked when it was touched. I heard that blasted thing chirping at all hours. I eventually sent it with little Miss Zed to her new home… Before her departure, I thought I would buy another, since the first was so enjoyed. This one’s squeaker did not work. I could feel it inside the mouse, which I could not in the first, so I imagine it was disconnected in some way, probably from its creation. In any case, it was not a hit. I found it this morning.

Zo was apparently dissatisfied with its non-operational status and had fun with it as best she could; this evidently meant ripping it apart.

What’s a departure without a parting shot?

Friday, March 24, 2023

Hector Writes Farewell

I spoke with Hector’s new human a couple of days ago, and learned about Hector’s new life. He is adapting very well and has become friends with the resident cat. It is early days yet, but the adoption is, as mentioned in a previous blog, finalised. With his human’s permission, I am publishing some photos of my former foster-cat. I hope his person will forgive one last presumption of mine with regard to Hector: publishing a final letter from him to the Cosy Apartment Feline Sanitarium.

Deer Doctur Dr Bellen.

Hellow frum muy noo home! Itz vary eksiting heer. Nawt lyke wen I kaem to the Feeline Cosie Apnooparium, cuz I was scared then, too, tho I gawt yused to it qwik. Noww I kno noo hoomans an noo cats can bee fun, so Iyem givving them awl a chantcs chantz chansse, an thinggs ar tirning owt reel good!

This is...well, Iyel kawl her B... We had to gett the mezhure of eech other ferst...

Butt the hooman wumun noo howw to extrapolate infiltrate interrogate bring uss tigevver.

B thingks I smel funnee. She thingks I smel funnee!!

Soon tho wee doent mynd eech other so mutch that wee can tuch. A littel...

Butt tekkin a baf tigevver is rite owt!

Thare is a groen-up hooman heer and a littel hooman (she maibee will gro, too) and toys and wee plae and its lots ov fun. I hav a fevrit sleepee plaece...

Iyem happy heer and sayfe and I wil bee luvved. Maibee I woent remembler the Cozee Aptatadium wen I get oldir, butt thank yoo fir luvving mee and keeping mee sayfe. That ment evree thing to mee.


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Getting to Know Them

I believe that fostering is an important factor is making an adoption work. The foster-guardian comes to know an animal - in my case, a cat - and sees what her character is like, sees her preferences, sees what she does and can do.

I have had this belief reinforced in my association with Imogen. She is now out and about in the Cosy Apartment all the time. When she first came to me, I wondered if that would be possible. She had, in her previous life, so far as is known, never met another cat; she certainly acted like it. We thought initially that Imo would not be able to live with other cats. But since she was first allowed out of her safe-room, the library, and especially now that she is free both while I am asleep and absent, I have learned much about her.

Miss Silky Black can indeed live with other cats. Right now, I would recommend older, largely sedentary cats who are apathetic to other felines. That describes Renn and Neville well. They tolerate other cats - eventually - but are uninterested in spending time with them. Imogen wouldn’t come near them at first, ‘near’ being within twenty feet. She would hiss at them from across the room.

Now, she will pass by them with inches to spare. She doesn’t care for such proximity, it’s true. She still hisses. On the other hand, I recently watched her sneak past the Nevsky. The latter had his back turned and Imo had to work up the nerve to slip by him in the doorway he was blocking. About half a dozen aborted attempts led to a quick burst through the available space. Nev was barely cognizant of the successful passage. But it represented another step forward for Imogen, who previously would have sat and waited interminably for the way to be clear.

She was also quite active this morning, rushing about while I prepared to leave for work. She has started using the nylon tunnel as a ‘secret’ corridor. She runs at speed up Minuet’s cat-tree in the library and trots across the tops of the bookcases. She explores the bathroom to see what changed over-night. Will she do this every morning? Perhaps not, but I suspect she is more energetic than I originally believed. She is, after all, only about four years old.

All of this tells us not just about the cat, but about what person would be right to adopt her, and what sort of home she would find comfortable. She can live with older cats who want nothing to do with her. That increases greatly the number of homes into which she could be placed, as opposed to going only to those with no other cats. Could she live with younger, more exuberant cats? Could she find that she would like a feline roommate? These are questions that might never be answered. If they are, though, it will be because Imogen is being fostered.

Yes, fostering is an important factor is making an adoption work. It’s also fun for the human involved, as he comes to know the cat in his care.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Imogen in the Round

Imogen continues her exploration of the apartment, discovering new places. On Monday, she found the cylinder-house cat-tree. It had been there all the time, of course, but she first started eyeing it that afternoon, and later jumped to its top. From there, she noticed the interior, and was soon comfortably lying inside.

I decided to let her stay out of the library through the night. After an hour or so of enjoying her freedom at this unprecedented hour, she probably realised, like a child permitted to stay up past her bedtime, that what there was to experience at such a late hour was the same as there was earlier, only in the dark. Thereupon, she climbed into the cylinder of the cat-tree, and slept there most of the night.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Sonata in the Dark

This badly blurred photograph is nonetheless interesting to me. These are some of the feral cats who are fed behind my work-place. I caught them all in various neutering/spaying operations over the years.

The four on the table are regulars, who show up almost every morning and afternoon for meals. On the far left is either Nocturne or Philo - both are black with a tuft of white on the chest, just like Hector; that pattern is why identifying lost black cats is so difficult. Nocturne is one of four kittens - offspring of Bauble - who were caught in early 2021 during Operation Mini-Raffles; Philo is a year or so older, caught in October, 2019. I know both are alive and well because I’ve seen them together some mornings. Next to Nocturne/Philo is Bauble herself (October, 2020). Behind and to the right of Bauble are Shasta and Fresca (summer of 2020), brothers, but not related to Bauble. They are almost identical except for a black dot on one of their noses, and I can’t really tell them apart most days.

But what is interesting about the picture is in the background. That is Sonata, another of Bauble’s kittens. I haven’t seen her in years. She is distinguished from her equally tortoiseshell sister, Serenade, by a pale patch on her chest. I am sure she’s been around all this time, though she hasn’t shown herself to me.

Though I haven’t seen Serenade - or the fourth of Bauble’s young, Scherzo - in some time, it is pleasing to see that little Sonata, very shy and rather small, is still a going concern. It saddens me, though, that her survival was and is an open question. Most of the feral colony could be socialised, I believe, as they have grown accustomed to humans over the years. There is just no one willing to take them in.

Socilaising feral cats is a project, of course, and many ferals will never come around to trusting humans, never mind tolerating living with them. I suspect that my outsider-cat, Sable, is in that category. But if all the people who expressed a desire to see them in homes accepted one, the problem of homeless felines would be greatly alleviated.

However, it was a small gift to see Sonata this morning. To know that she has been doing reasonably well all this time - and not adding to the outsider-cat population - is encouraging, and we can all use such incitement in our lives. Maybe Sonata herself thinks that having breakfast and dinner provided each day is just as encouraging in her rather harder life.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Imogen's Vanishing Act

Imogen is becoming a little more comfortable around the apartment. She lie down on the bed near me not long ago, which is a first. Since Friday, she has used the bed just as a passage from one side of the room to the other. She lie down for several minutes on a corner of the bedspread, though she kept hearing noises, so I don’t know how relaxed she was.

Then she saw the comforter at the foot of the bed. I think she may have realised then that it was not an integral part of the bed. And she found that she could, in fact, burrow under it. You may recall Hector’s disappearing act, when he first came to stay with me, when he slipped into the bathroom cabinet, closing the door behind him. Vanishing is a trait shared by all cats, but somehow, I think it is particularly practiced by black cats.

I may not see her again for a while…