Miss Teensy herself:
And what was with the fridge escapade?
Let’s… just not talk about it.
Miss Teensy herself:
And what was with the fridge escapade?
Let’s… just not talk about it.
A neat thing about This Old House is that there are plant hooks everywhere on the ceiling. I’ve taken the opportunity to finally acquire some houseplants! There is a golden pothos in the kitchen, and a lavender African Violet (African Lavendar? Ha. DH affectionately calls it the ‘Frikkin Violet) I have had to be very good and not buy any more yet. We haven’t been able to have them because Batman is terrible about plants. “Oh hey, looks like that could use a little off the- *gas powered hedge trimmer sound*” He doesn’t eat them, just likes to chew. This cat is OCD about flossing. His favorite is the plastic mesh that you can get vegetables or fruit in. if his piece gets thrown away, he walks around trying to find a suitable replacement. AAARRRGH!
I am usually pretty stern about no-one hitting the cats, but I wanted to get my point across when he went to go “help” with the violet. I was turning it and he came over for a sniff and then he decided that he was going to take a right tasty bite and SWACK! I swatted the bejeezus out of him with my work gloves from behind. Cured that habit. He won’t even look at the violet now, hides behind me when I offer it to him. No problems with the gloves, no flinching if I go to mock-hit him. Success! So far it has carried over with the other random leafy things that have been in and out of the house for short periods. Wonderful! I wish I had the patience to sit and shape something like that, but for potentially life-preserving things I’m willing to resort to a little bit of force.
We’ll have to see if this carries over to cut flowers. DH kept me in flowers from early in our relationship to the day we got the cats. I’ve had perhaps four bunches since, all of them “creatively razored” courtesy of Batman, no matter where they were placed.
Pat and I agreed that we needed to bring a new cat into the house fairly quickly so that Batman did not get too territorial about having the house all to himself. We agreed that we would probably bring a new cat home around mid-week. I had gone out with Boo on my own, and after she had gone, I needed to do something to calm myself. I ended up deciding to do the first round of visits to the large cat colony to see which cats caught my eye. It did not open until three, and my errands only took me through two o’clock, so I stopped by a tiny shelter way across town that I used to volunteer at before my schedule changed and we moved. The quality of care had gone way up in the past two years, and the cats were all well-cared for. I visited with the cats for a while and spoke about putting Boo down with some of the staff, and just shed some stress. None of the cats were really speaking to me, and I was on my way out when the volunteer said, “Oh, I forgot about Lucky, he’s up in the basket on the wall. They should have named him Love Bug.”
I walked over and peered in to an amorphous stripe-and-white blob. I stoked the fur once, and the mass rolled over onto its back, revealing a pink nose and white paws, which pulled my hand in so that he could rub his face on me and have me rub his belly. He was soft like a rabbit. I needed to pull him out of the basket to take a look at him, and as is the way with cats, he had wedged himself into a very small space. It was like pulling handkerchiefs from a magician’s sleeve, he just kept coming and coming, and eventually I had an armful of limp, contented cat. I sat down and he ragdolled onto my lap. I had to set him on his feet before I could entice him to stand up and walk around so I could get a look at him. He’s way bigger than Batman, very clean, amenable to fingers in his ears and mouth, no complaints when handling his paws or palpitating his innards, no sensitive spots on his skin, not overweight, interested in toys, good manners, very gentlemanly. A very nice cat all around. He clicked, and I decided to go ahead and fill out an application. They said since it was close to close of business, they’d check references on Monday and I’d be able to bring him home on Tuesday if everything checked out. Tuesday sounded good, I’d be able to talk it over with Pat in the meantime. They called that same evening, saying I could pick him up on Monday. Well. Serendipity.
On that end, at least. It remained to be seen if he and Batman would get along. I am familiar with the integration process, so I had a room all set aside for the newcomer, and when I brought him home Monday afternoon, Batman greeted us at the door, relaxed and curious. Neither one was hostile, merely curious, and I decided to set the crate down to let them get a sniff. Nose to nose sniffs were exchanged, and I let the new cat out. They said he hid at the shelter for the first two weeks, so I expected him to go to ground. He walked around the whole house before I cloistered him, me, and Batman in the cat room. He hid in my arms as I laid on the floor for about 15 minutes. Then he saw a spider, stalked and ate it, and seemed much more at ease. Good on him! We all hung out for around a half hour, then I left him alone in the room for a few hours, visiting every now and then. After a while, I opened the door and let him explore the house. He slunk around the bottom floor, laid down on every stair, scoped out the kitchen, and then settled down contentedly on the bed in our temporary bedroom/livingroom. Batman alternated tailing the new cat around with his nose up his butt and giving me looks that said: “Are you serious?!”
When Patrick came home, he heartily approved of the new addition. I said I had been ruminating on names, and that the cat was very definitely a country gentleman, a nice fellow, and needed a suitable name that reflected this. I put forth “Tweed” and Patrick said it was a good cat name. That it “suited” him. Hehe.
So far there’s only been a few bouts of half-hearted fisticuffs, with Tweed mostly ignoring Batman and Batman ranging from wary to pouncing and cleaning the tip of Tweed’s tail. They’re cut from the same cloth, these two. They’re both currently sacked out, bellies up on the bed. They’re not comfortable enough to groom one another for real yet, but I think they will be buddies.
Since before the wedding we’ve been struggling with whether or not to put our little cat, Boomerang, to sleep. We got her and Batman on December 31st 2006, and she was not quite a year and a half old. We think she had some major genetic damage or vaccinosis, because she was generally nervous and anxious, we were never able to keep weight on her, and by three, she was a wreck, with odd eye problems, teeth basically disintegrating out of her head and opening up abscesses in her mouth, and all through this there was nothing “medically” wrong with her. Even though we knew she was in pain, she was still living a full, normal life. She ate with enthusiasm, played hard, was very active around the house, was curious and snuggly. I have been looking into homeopathy as a possible way to work through this.
The last couple of days of last week it was like someone took our cat away and replaced it with a completely different cat. She followed us around and just wanted to be held, she spent long hours crouched alone in the middle of the kitchen floor, we would leave the house and she would not have moved by the time we got back, she stopped grooming, she stopped eating without major coaxing, and the big one: she would watch but not chase her toys–for a cat who lived for her toys, this development beyond any other–we knew it was time.
I took her in on Saturday, and cried over her and almost took her home. There were times when she was her old self, and through it all she never stopped being a loving cat. I could struggle through feedings, I could keep her brushed and clean…but I could not in good conscience leave her in pain and watch her world become more scary and confusing for her. So she is gone, and the tears are relieving. Boo being sick was tied in with all the stress before the wedding, and also with Patrick’s MRSA scare after the honeymoon and wondering if I was going to be a widow. Not lying awake wondering how much pain she was in, and whether it was time or not… those things have been lifted from me, and I can thank her for the wonderful life we had together.
Recently, I read an article about the Buddhist belief that the suffering of an animal is cleansing for it, and that humans should neither interfere with that process nor incur that sort of debt upon themselves. If that is the correct path, I cannot currently walk that road. This whole ordeal has been a learning process for me. There are things I would do differently with hindsight, but there are many, many decisions I have made that have been good ones, and the lesson learned is to have faith in my intuitions.
One of the decisions I am struggling to make peace with is my decision to feed a raw, species appropriate diet. Of course, for Boo, I have wondered all along if the diet was contributing to her unbalance. But her anxiety lessened considerably, her coat was beautiful, her intact teeth were sparkling, and she had an unlimited amount of energy until the very end. In desperation, I had gone out and gotten some high-fat and protein kitten food to try to entice her to eat. Her body’s reaction to it was violent and smelly, and though she ate some, she wanted the meat more.
Batman has been a kibble hound since it’s been in the house. He has picked his way through the cabinetry to get to it, opened drawers, chewed through bags, and tries to paw and drag and beg. I gave him a few to get him to leave Boo alone, but it has only served to make him beg for food at all hours, and to not eat well at mealtime.
When we first brought him home, he had been used to being a free-fed fat cat. He was overweight with low muscle tone and all the energy of a loaf of bread. His fur was dry and prone to mats. His teeth were very scaled with orangey green gunk. They had come home from a 300 cat colony shelter that was free-fed by necessity. Batman was food obsessive, did not play, and was not very curious. The introduction of an active companion, better quality kibble (haha) and regular grooming only went so far. When we introduced the raw food it only took a few tries before he was crunching and chewing with abandon. When the kibble went away, he did not seem to miss it. Food went down twice a day, was finished quickly, and there was no begging, no cries for food, no pacing, nothing. His fur turned plush and glassy, his teeth lost the scaling and his breath is sweet. Best of all, he lost weight, he is active and playful and except for a blocked tear duct and a lifelong cat virus from being in the shelter he is extremely healthy. On top of all of this, the litter box is not smelly, something I take for granted until I am around conventionally fed cats.