Ferguson Cat – the gift of happiness

FC was not around when I arrived home to feed him yesterday.  I had an extremely bad day, that had been the nadir of several bad weeks.  And when he didn’t trot out to meet me or come when I called, I decided he was dead.  And the tears that had been falling down my face fairly consistently all day, started again.  Welcome to my broken brain – always focusing on the worst outlook.

As I leaned over to put his food down, I caught sight of him.  Under the truck – eating a chipmunk.  And he was not even considering the fine Fancy Feast cat food I was offering him.  He clearly prefers fresh to canned.

I was soo relieved.  On all levels.  Not just because he was alive and well, but because he is clearly able to hunt well and feed himself.  And while I don’t plan to stop feeding him, it’s just a comfort somehow.  He’s a wild being.

This morning he came trotting up to me to lead me to his dining area so he could have his breakfast.  He’s too wise to ignore a gift of food.

 

FC – Ferguson Cat

He’s been given a proper name, so now he is not FC – Feral Cat.  He is FC Ferguson Cat.

FC is getting closer to making full on friends with me.

It used to be that he was only there 1 in 4 times when I went to feed.  Then it was once a day.  Now it’s everytime.  I put out food 2x a day.

It used to be that when I showed up, he would run to the spot under the truck where he knew I would place the food.  Now he runs toward me and then proudly leads me to his spot under the truck, with his tail high.

It used to be I didn’t know his gender because I never saw his tail up in the air.  Now it’s a happy flag pole when I arrive.

On Saturday I put the food out in the open, in front of where I was standing.  And he walked right over and ate, without showing signs of anxiety.

I have not made any attempt to touch him.Since he is no longer hurt, I feel no need to hurry this process.  I want him to feel completely unpressured to be my friend.

This is his spot under the truck.

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I don’t keep the water under the truck because black flaky yuck ends up falling into the water.  So it sits just outside the truck on the ground.  It gets plant debris in it, but I’m not as worried that plant leaves are going to give him some form of cancer.  Who knows what sort of horrors are lining the bottom of that truck.  They certainly shouldn’t be ingested.

I’d like to move the food to a different spot, but it’s problematic about where to move it.

I’ve been giving serious thought to moving to the empty apartment below me.  Most of my worries about this cat would disappear if I did.  He can come and go from that balcony with ease. But I really do like my apartment.  Which is just slightly larger and also more private because it’s on the second floor.  And also – moving!  Yuck.  Yuck.  yuck. sigh.

But all of that is kind of selfish of me.

The alternative is a cat house.  Like this one.  I’d have to get permission from my landlord to place it against the building in the backyard.  But would it be enough?  And would he even go in?  Both my indoor cats were trapped ferals.  Neither will even sit in a shoe box and absolutely abhor the cat carrier.  I’m wondering if FC will go into anything that resembles a cage.  I wish I knew.

 

 

 

FC – FeralCat – The interim update

I’ve finally seen FC.  He was waiting for his dinner last night.  His limp is very much worse.  He holds his paw in the air when sitting or standing still.

Under good news – I don’t think it’s an infected wound.  He doesn’t act sick and infected cat bite wounds make cats feels super shitty.

It’s obviously painful though and I would really like to catch him and take him to the vet.  Although it might take me 6 months to recover any trust after that.  Ideally he would trust me completely before I took him to the vet, but that is not the current circumstance.

So – trapping him and probably getting bitten and losing trust – is the path forward.  sigh.

Why can’t life be a bit simpler?

A Third Cat?

Back in the fall, my little grey cat Timmy jumped off my balcony and got lost for 3 horrible weeks.  It was a misery for me and I think also for him.  He’s shown zero interest in going out on the balcony since.

While he was out, I would walk the neighborhood calling, holding an open can of smelly catfood.  That’s how I met FC (FeralCat).  FC owned the backyard of this apartment building.  And lived under the box truck that is permanently parked in the parking lot that abuts the yard.  After my fruitless wandering I would end up putting down the food for FC, because the cat was following me.

I am normally not a proponent of feeding feral cats.  Wild animal populations tend to equalize to the available resources and when you feed cats – you promote more feral cats.  And being a feral cat is NOT a glad life.  So while it seems on the surface like a kindness, it’s actually a systemic evil.  Groups that feed and sterilize are at least mitigating the problem, but it’s slippery slope.

But once you do feed a feral cat, you have a problem.  Because I did it for 3 weeks, the cat was using me as a reliable source of food.  Happily, my downstairs neighbors were enchanted by the slow taming of the wild cat and began to participate in feeding it, eventually gaining it’s trust and letting in/out of their apartment during the cold winter days/nights.

They had never had a cat and everything about FC was novel and unexplained.   I thought the problem of FC was solved and went happily on with my life.  Then the neighbors decided to move.  And didn’t take FC.  I have a lot of thoughts on people who treat animals as disposable when they are inconvenient, but I will summarize with they are scum.  This neighbor was bold enough to ask me to feed and look out for the cat they consciously abandoned.

So now I’m feeding FC again.  It’s not been particularly easy on my mental landscape.  For one thing, FC isn’t always around when I put out the food.  So I have no idea if FC got the food or some other animal did.  Last time I saw FC he had a pronounced limp.  But will not let me anywhere near him…

And worse – I haven’t seen him in 3 days.  He’s feral.  Or maybe she.  I’m not sure because FC is never so comfortable as give me a high tail.

But feral cats fight.  And cat bites get infected and need to be looked after.  And now I have no idea where FC is, so I can’t concentrate on taming him and getting a look at that limp.

In my ideal world I would take FC in, all three cats would form a giant cuddle puddle of happiness and I wouldn’t have to worry anymore about FC.  But reality is not like that.  The two cats I have just coexist and are in a constant land war over disputed territories.  They tolerate each other, occasionally play chase, but never groom each other or sleep together.  It’s not a big apartment.  Adding a third cat would easily disturb the power dynamics of the relationship and cause them to destroy my apartment.

Even then – keeping an outdoor cat entirely inside is cruel.  But I live on the second floor and there isn’t a good way for FC to get up and down.  I suppose I could let him in and out of the front door, but the idea of trudging out into a public hallway and down the stairs to let a cat in and out is borderline insane.  Only people who have indoor/outdoor cats will understand.  Cats have a thing about doors.  Just an insanity really.  They will beg to be let out, walk three feet, turn around and beg to let in.  And they do this many times a day and night, before they decide that yes, actually the conditions are all perfect for a bit of a walkabout.

So.  I don’t know what to do.  It’s exhausting my brain at the moment.  I had originally thought I would have the whole summer to tame him and consider alternatives.  But the limp is really weighing on me.  I wish he would show up and let me see him.

 

Still Missing

My little Tim cat is still not home.  He jumped off the balcony on October 1st.  I’m exhausted from the anxiety and despair.  It’s been a hellish 2 and half weeks.

The last Pawsboost blast I did got no responses.

I’ve put out about 200 flyers.  I’ve walked and called with an open can of cat food.

I’ve got water and food out.

I hear people say – my cat came home 2 months later… But all I keep thinking is Winter is Coming.

I miss him so much.  I can start crying about it just by spending a moment considering what plight he might be in.  Lost, hurt, scared, starved, thirsty…  I’m not particularly functional while I’m worried.  I am on the verge of tears at work quite often.  I’m so tired from lack of sleep that I don’t stay focused.

I want him to be home.  Safe and annoying me all the ways that I love him to.  It feels like as soon as he is home I will be released from the mental hell that I’ve been living in for weeks.

But I can’t help but feel like he won’t be coming home.  That I’ve lost him for always and I don’t even know how I can cope with that.

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Worrisome Behavior

Rebel Tim, the grey kitten whose not a kitten anymore, has been acting a bit off.  Odd.

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He’s started doing obsessive digging in the kitty litter and yesterday he was digging at a random place on the hardwood floor.  Nothing there.  I smelled it worried that someone had peed there.  But nope.  I distracted him for a bit but once the distraction was over he was back to digging obsessively.

I picked him up to check his bladder – I’ve had cats with urinary tract blocks and it killed one and cost more than a fortune to fix the other one.   But his bladder wasn’t full.

I wonder if he is constipated?  But the kitty litter seems to have the requisite amount of poop. His stomach isn’t distended, although he is too fat.

Last night it finally occurred to me.  He’s bored.  And is acting out in odd ways.  He needs more playtime than Bijou is willing to give him.

I have been seriously considering getting those indoor hunter feeder things that Katzenworld recommended last week.  I have hesitated because I picture my own hunt to find the empty toys every day.  Also stepping on random uneaten pieces of dry food.  But I might be wrong about the food, he is a piglet.  I won’t be wrong about the annoying hunt.

I’m also worried that the more active recently a kitten will get a disproportionate amount of the food.  I’m not sure how to make sure that doesn’t happen, but I guess that’s part of the process.  Making them work and compete.  Maybe??

Has anyone tried the indoor hunter feeder for a multi-cat household?

Addicted to the Dot.

My cats are addicted to the laser dot.

It’s problematic in that I keep 2 lasers hanging on bedside table.  Every morning, I let the cats into my bedroom and they begin a quest to reach the lasers.

I’m not a fan of playing laser dot.  It eventually cramps my fingers from pressing the button and it’s awkward to run two different dots in two different parts of the room.

But they won’t share a dot.  And Tim is ruder than Bijou, he is entirely focused on the chase and has no boundaries when the chase is on.  Her calico highness will just sit back and wait for him unless it’s directly in front of her.  But that means she gets very little fun or exercise from the dot.  So I usually have two going at once.

It’s the quest to reach the lasers that is annoying.  Because I’m between them and the bedside table.  More accurately, I’m the path they prefer to the bedside table.  They could just jump up from the floor, but that isn’t quite so annoying and therefore not Good Cat Policy.

And then once on the table there is a great deal of pushing and biting at the pointer as though this will some how create a dot that they can chase.  This often involves knocking things over and is noisy.

They understand I’m the one moving the dot.  It’s not a mystery to them.  They still adore it.  Lily loved the dot as a kitten until she realized it wasn’t real and that I was the one creating the moving dot.  Then she lost interest entirely and never did more than watch it with bored disinterest.

But they get it fully and still ADORE the dot.  Related image

Watering the Beasts

rebel tim

Above us is the Rebel, Tim.  He is usually referred to as The Kitten.  But I think he’s all grown up now.  He’s not a big cat though, so I will probably always call him The Kitten.

He’s excellent at distracting me from my chores and just generally being in the way.  In other words, he cats very well.

One of his peculiarities is that he insists on drinking his water just when he knows I will be picking it up to change it.  I’m not sure why.  It’s not because he prefers the old water because he will also immediately drink the fresh.  I’m pretty sure it’s because he knows I will stop and wait for him.  And any action that causes me to change direction or pause is  GOOD CAT POLICY.

Recently I’ve taken to putting a giant ice cube in the water bowl.  I don’t actually have an ice cube tray.  I freeze water in solo cups.  I keep two standard size cups frozen and one small dixie cup frozen.  I put the dixie one in the cat’s water.  It bobs around and makes for an excellent distracting toy and he likes to lick it.  Bijou shows zero interest.  She’s above such things.  Royalty does not deem to notice icebergs in water bowls.

Seeing that he is interested in water generally, I decided a water fountain would probably work well.  So I bought one.  Naturally, since I’ve invested money he just stares, doesn’t drink.  At least so far.  I really need for it to work because I’m supposed to take a small trip and this water fountain will make me feel less worried about the water situation with the cats.  It has a large reservoir and a filter.  So I think it will keep fresh water for up to 4 days.  And hopefully I won’t be gone more than 3.

The more you rely on cat’s reacting a certain way, the less they are reliable.  sigh.

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Here’s a young Tim, involving himself in my interests. 🙂  

 

I’ve recently been covered in fur.

I took my cats the to vet.  When cats are stressed they shed.  ALOT.

I, and I would imagine most caretakers, try to comfort the stressed cat at the vet by petting and cuddling it.  This transfers all the fur on their body onto your body.

I did it twice because Bijou, her calico highness, has deep and unnatural hatred for the carrier and I think she would probably rip poor little passive Tim into a bloody pillow if I took them together.  Particularly since I only have one carrier.  It’s a bigger carrier, and it would hold them both if required, but I decided it wasn’t required.

Bijou hates the cage so to her the actual exam room was not terrible.  She explored it thoroughly while we waited and clearly developed an escape plan.  She didn’t hide from me when I picked her up and put her on the table and submitted with dignity to all the indignities they did to her.

Tim, however, doesn’t think the carrier is a cage of horrors.  So he had to be pulled out the carrier and then glued himself into me, hiding his little face in the crook of my elbow.  There is very little as pathetic and endearing as a cat burying its face into you for safety. He did not see the exam room as an interesting place to explore.  Which is upsetting because he’s going back next week for his neutering.  When I turned away from  him to get my purse he jumped off and hid in a corner under the chair.

When we finally let him back into the carrier he scrambled in like it was home sweet home and settled in the back.

People who don’t have cats probably think of them as a monolithic sort of detached personality.  But they are not.  Like humans they come in a huge spectrum of personalities and a trip to the vet is a great place to see that.

Particularly this vet because they have a big orange office cat who helps the receptionists.  He likes to lay across the keyboards and get in their way as much as possible.  He has no fear of the barking, and meowing going on in the waiting room.  He thinks all animals are inferior to him.  It’s written so clearly in his attitude.

There was a whining pit bull in the waiting room.  His pathetic cowering noises made my Tim look brave.  Office Cat looked at that dog like he would not have bothered to bury him after he took him down in any fight he cared to enter into.    And despite the odds, I think I would have taken Office Cat in that fight.  But office cat didn’t even growl at him, just looked disdainful and walked away.   He’s wise and generous.   He let the dog live and didn’t jeopardize the good life he’s leading as Official Office Cat.

Anyway we all survived and Tim will be deballed next Friday.

 

Growing a Kitten

They mostly grow on their own, but they do need a lot of food.

When you get a young kitten it is a delicate fragile ball of bravado.  They walk around, with the tiny brush tails sticking straight up and act like NOTHING can hurt them.

But just picking them up makes you utterly aware of how they are just fragile bones covered in fur with a tiny buddha belly if they’ve been eating properly.

Then they grow.  They stretch out in all directions and look mostly starved, like lanky teenagers often do.  They hold onto that fragile feeling because all the major muscles that bind together cats and make them such tangibly tough animals haven’t quite caught up with the growth.

So you pick them up, expecting to hold something solid with weight and instead you get a floaty bundle of fur.  Which sounds more romantic and relaxing than it is, because it’s actually a spastic floaty bundle and so you have try not to break the fragile spastic kitten that refuses to sit still while you hold it.

And then their muscles catch up.  And one day you pick up a kitten, thinking it will be floaty fragile flotsam and it’s a solid chunk.

I love the solidity of cats.  The fact that they can be given a good solid patting and it sort of rings on their body.  And what is most fun is that cats seem to like a good solid patting.   I call it banging on the kitty.   I mostly do it on their back leg or their back.  But it can’t be done to a fragile kitten.

Rebel Tim has just started to get his solid muscles.  And so I gave him some bangs and he loved it.  You would think cats would hate that sort of thing.  But I’ve never had a cat that didn’t love it.   Often it riles them up and they end up running around like maniacs. Unsurprisingly this is how it worked on Tim.

Tim is going to be one of those long lanky cats that are mostly just sleek fur over defined muscle, unlike Mrs. Fluffbutt, Her Highness Bijou.  Who is mostly thick fluff pasted to muscle and a bit of rounding out fat.  She is an exceptionally comfortable cat to hold as a result.  Just soft in all the ways.  Until she wants down.  Which is mostly immediately because she doesn’t enjoy being held.  She wants cuddles on her terms.  But every evening she condescends to allowing me pick her up for a good hug.  And doesn’t even complain.  bijou and tim