Sunday, January 17, 2016

A TALE OF TWO KITTIES - PART 2 - Spot As He Grows

The story of our two cats

 

 

PART 2 - SPOT - TODDLER TO YOUNGSTER

 

 We have two cats now - Spot, our first feral kitten, and Max, our feral cat who adopted us.  This is their stories told in a few parts.  I'm wordy:>)

This is mostly taken from journal entries.  I'll try to keep the pictures in some semblance of proper chronological order.  I decided to write this because all the angst, all the worry, all the doubt we experienced may be helpful to someone.  A feral cat or kitten is a lot of work!  They are worth every moment of it, and You'll get to know this marvelous kitten we adopted, and the beautiful cat who adopted us.  It's quite a journey.


 
 
In case you forget, it was HE, Spot, who was the monster and wanted to trade us in for more suitable, feline companionship!  Once he decided we might be worth a bit of work, he made us his, and now everything is serene - well - kind of serene if you can overlook the fact that most of the time he's dashing through the downstairs talking to us (or perhaps himself) and growling at invisible foes.  Al made him a number of toys that he adores, but climbing and jumping and running full tilt are his favorite activities.  

He also loves attacking the fierce and deadly throw rugs that threaten us.



I could bore you for all time talking about him - he has us well trained to praise and pat.  Here is a short update :>)  He is kept to the downstairs for now.  My husband made a plywood barrier that swings on hinges and has a doorsweep at the bottom and closes with a hook and eye (This is probably best called a gate?).  It's at the bottom of the stairs and at least 3 feet high to prevent him from leaping up and over.  That won't last forever, may not even last for a couple weeks at the rate he's growing.  One could say he's growing by leaps and bounds!  

He sleeps with my husband at night, lets us pick him up and hold him for short bursts. I’m working on longer times being held, and getting him comfortable with being carried around.

He greets me in the morning by attacking the vulnerable ankle area while screaming for food.  He loves to have people around, enjoys being petted until the play virus kicks in.  He does go into the pen to climb, play, sit, watch me on the computer, do his business, and eat (Litter on ground floor, food on second floor).  I kept the pen up until the vet trip in case he was severely traumatized and reverted to feral.  That didn't happen so now I've begun moving him out of it.  Yesterday I took his empty play box; today I took his towel; tomorrow I'll start moving the litter box, then the food will be the last to relocate.  Baby steps - everything is slow and easy, no stress.  He accepts change well, it seems, but I'm in no rush and see no reason to rush him.

July 19, 2014:  I deconstructed his cage, washed his blanket that lies on the floor, and the past couple days we’ve been feeding him outside the cage and we moved his litter box to the end of the kitchen. He loved his playpen and would go into it to sleep. Removing the pen is probably more upsetting to him than the vet visit! He was up on the table, sitting on the keyboard and demanding attention. Now he’s napping on his blanket on the floor next to the table.

July 20, 2014:   We spent yesterday reclaiming the dining area.  As we deconstructed Spot's playpen, he was curious and somewhat uneasy.  It was his place to be when he chose to relax and be alone.  My husband and I, however, are ever so pleased to have all that space back. It was a BIG pen!  He's a smart kitten and appears to be okay with the change as of today.   Actually, he was okay last night and didn't keep going over to check the empty place.  My husband put up a shelf under a window and he's visited it but hasn't really slept there yet.  

I bring him a grasshopper or two each day as a food game, and he gets all caught up in the chase - no flying grasshoppers, however, or he'd be knocking everything up, down, and sideways.:>) He got triples today:>)


He’ll be an indoor cat until he’s at least a year old, then he’ll be allowed outside, but only during daylight hours.   

July 24, 2014:  Spot purrs "hi" - he's laying on the left side of the laptop - feet are touching my left hand every so softly - and he's purring his little heart out.  Scratching his chin makes him close his eyes - LOL.  About 3 minutes ago he was dragging a hand towel around, growling and pouncing then dragging it again like a leopard drags prey.

 

July 27, 2014:    Spot is growing in leaps and bounds, literally, and it would be perfectly correct to add in growls, meows, chowing down, purrs, and some tender, cuddling moments - not many, though, as he is a perpetual motion machine.  He also gets bored if we don't have lots of stuff for him to explore, attack, drag around, chase, etc.  Pens are fair game as is Kleenex - does not bode well for when he gets access to the upstairs, the bathroom, and TP (not to mention toothbrushes, etc.). He managed to actually make it up onto the kitchen counter the other day but hasn't tried again.  Scolding kind of just rolls of his kitten back.  Now he pretends he's a pogo stick and jumps up and down beside us or in front of us when either my husband or I are working in the kitchen.



July 31, 2014:    Our Spot, our baby, is terribly ill.  He had a dreadful fever and was lethargic.  Although he was eating and doing his business, he was sleeping the rest of the time.  He'd cuddle on my arm under my chin and sleep (purring), but he felt to hot to me.  We took him to the vet and there he stayed for two days with IV and broad-spectrum antibiotics.  We had the choice of bringing him home after the initial treatment of the vet putting a lot of fluid under his skin, and then we’d need to take his temp every hour, and then be going back to the vet the next morning.  We chose to leave him there for them to monitor.  We just want our spunky little hell kitten back!

August 1, 2014:  I just got off the phone with the techie at the vet's and she said his temperature is down to normal and he ate his food overnight.  They need a urine sample by he hasn't obliged them yet.  The house is so empty without his leaping, growling, purring.  He may have recovered on his own but we couldn't take the chance.  By now he's wriggled his exuberant little self into our hearts.  I won't say no amount of money is too much to spend, but we'll go to some excess.  There is no such thing as entertainment money in our budget and we aren't fancy spenders, so Spot becomes our entertainment budget:>)

The money we spend on our much-loved pets!  I was trying to think where we should draw the line on cost and didn't really settle on a firm price.  We'd probably go up to a thousand dollars and hope he didn't get sick for the rest of his life!  If that were amortized over 18 years it wouldn't be too bad????  At more than that I'd probably bring Spot home after initial treatment and do it our selves. The good thing is they gave us an option to do that if we brought him back in for follow up the next day.  We felt all the trips back and forth would be worse for him than letting him stay overnight under their constant care.  Sigh.  In the end it cost us $553.00 – well worth the price to get our kitty back healthy.

August 3, 2014:  Now he's back to the rambunctious kitten we love; all blood work came back negative for the really nasty things it could have been, so the cause of this fever is a mystery.  The vet said it is not unheard of to never know what causes these things, and we go back in another week for a checkup, more blood work, and his second round of shots (postponed because he was ill).

 

August 5, 2014:  Spot continues to "improve" if driving us crazy is defined that way.  Spot is not a quiet cat.  He talks, runs, climbs, leaps, and wails when we leave him alone downstairs.  He's growing, too, and yesterday he bridged the gate to the stairs not once but three times.  Both of his people were upstairs and he doesn't like being alone when we're in the house.  My husband immediately went to Home Depot and got a small piece of thin plywood to attach to the top. Now the gate is about five feet high instead of three, but that doesn't prevent him from leaping up against it to try to get upstairs.  He also tries to open it from the bottom.   There was a hook and eye to secure it and we originally could reach that from either side to open it.  The new height makes that impossible so my husband put a  hook and eye on each side and string on each hook that hangs over the top to the opposite side and has a washer to keep it there.  He (my husband) is amazing in his solutions. 

Before we deal with getting upstairs safe, we have to re-cement the front porch floor.  It has holes in it that make access to the stones underneath possible and Spot digs them up and carries them around,  We worry about that because he might swallow one.  Right now I have them covered with throw rugs (which he burrows under or drags away).  It's another run to Home Depot today.  Hey - if nothing else Spot is forcing us to make home repairs:>)  Thank you, Spot!

Until my husband can get his dangerous stuff organized and put away (carving tools, delicate antiques, fishing lure collection, etc) Spot has to stay downstairs.  These things laid around for years without a worry about anything being injured by them, so the organizing and putting away is a daunting task.

The excellent news is Spot now acts like his normal self, hell cat!   When he finally winds down he'll cuddle and purr and sleep; until then, it's play, play, play, then eat and repeat the process.


He fell in love with spider plants and kept trying to eat them.  My husband hung them up but, of course, Spot found his way into the baskets.

I'm attaching a very bad picture I took last night.  I've never taken a night shot, and never took an action shot, so I'll need to do some reading today and try again.  The first picture is adorable - Spot dancing - and I wish I'd been more experienced!




August 27, 2014:     Spot is sitting on his folding chair in front of the kitchen
door.  I open the "big" door so the screen door and all that viewing space is his to peer though.   The squirrels and birds, even the chipmunks, are great entertainment for him.  He sits, or stands on the chair with his front feet on the screen and watches.  The whole time he's purring - LOUDLY!  Sometimes I ask him if he wants to go see the birdies, then I pick him up and he begins purring even louder.  He loves to lie in my arms and look out the door.  I have no doubt he'd hunt if he got outside, but from inside he doesn't show any of the hunting behaviors - just watches intently.


He loves to curl up in my arms when I’m at the table working on the computer.  When he was tiny, I could type one-handed.  Now he’s bigger and it takes both arms to hold him while he sleeps and purrs – can’t type like that!  I can't type under normal conditions!

November 5, 2014: Spot had his neutering operation and now meows in soprano (just kidding - he still runs and growls like a Tasmanian Devil - LOL).  We dropped him off Monday morning at 8:00 AM and picked him up at 7:00PM.  The vet said to not give him water or food for at least 2 hours or he might get ill, and to keep him quiet.  They obviously don't know this cat!

When we were ready to take him in the morning, my husband put the open carrier on the sofa and he jumped right into it.  When we brought him home he went walking all around, checking everything out, then cried for food.  He wasn't loopy or listless so I gave him a tablespoon of both water and food.  As soon as he was done he asked for more and I gave it to him.  Then more, so I put down his water dish and the dry food. He never overeats, and when he'd snacked a bit more he went and laid down in the middle of the living room floor.  He goes up to the bedroom when his people go to sleep and generally he'll sleep on his bedroom window shelf.  

He did go up before we did and after about 1/2 hour there was a horrible dashing, growling, squeaking, scrambling.  I woke my husband up (He was sleeping on the sofa.) and said, "Spot is chasing a flying squirrel - hurry up!".  We went upstairs with the butterfly net and heavy gloves, but the squirrel was too quick and Spot was right behind him.  They dashed all over, into the closet, behind boxes and bureaus, across the wall, into the bed springs - a marathon and steeple-chase in one.  We finally gave up trying to catch the little guy and left both cat and squirrel to their own devices.

My husband fell back asleep on the sofa and I stayed downstairs for a while, hoping against hope the squirrel would find his way outside.  Nope.  There were bursts of frenetic activity - squeaks, growls, scrambling and skittering intersperced with quiet.  Both were probably panting and taking deep breaths.  So much for keeping Spot quiet!

Eventually I went upstairs to bed, leaving Al asleep on the sofa.  I figured if squirrel and cat were going to dash all over the place, My husband could at least get some rest downstairs.  As I got into bed the squirrel dashed out from under a bureau and under the bed then into the closet.  Spot was only a few steps behind, but he can't fit into the tiny places the squirrel can.  There is a place where Spot can get under the tub in the bathroom from the bedroom.  About 3 AM I heard them under the tub and I just went back to sleep.

Tuesday morning dawned and Spot was sleeping on the bed.  My husband was still downstairs, so I got up, got dressed, and went down to make coffee.  Surprise!  When my husband woke up and went into the kitchen, he saw the squirrel was asleep in a corner on the kitchen counter all curled up with his tail wrapped around his face.  Al got the heavy gloves, picked it up, and threw it out the door; it glided to safety into the hydrangeas.  That is one lucky squirrel!

When we tell the vet that Spot is a perpetual motion machine and very verbal, I don't think they understand what that means.  At any rate, he suffered no ill effects from the operation, and has discovered that the vanity sink is a fun place to chase his tail.

Everything is potentially a toy.  I clean the litter box every day (sometimes twice) and Spot thinks this is a huge game.  He jumps in the box, grabs the scoop, digs like there’s gold in there somewhere, and flies out throwing litter everywhere.  I need to get one of those rugs that grabs all the pieces of litter off a cat’s feet.

My husband and I had our 50th wedding anniversary in December 2014, and his sister sent us a bouquet.  Spot thought it was his, of course.

 

The next picture is a composite

of some of his silly poses.


December 9, 2014:    Hi:>)  Spot here. I was just looking at my baby pictures and decided I needed a hat:>) My Mommy made one just for me.  My Mom said, "See how dangerous rainy days can be!"


 

Then I, Spot the Ruler of the House, decided to take a nap on MY chair.  Mom said, "Smile", so I stuck out my tongue at her.




That was a lot of work.  I need a nap.

 

Very truly yours,

Spot





AFTERTHOUGHTS:

 

 Spot is now 1-3/4 years old, a feisty teenager with attitude.  He is not afraid of noises or people, and he welcomes all guests.  He still marches right into the cat carrier when we take him for his vet visits, no hesitation at all on his part.  I have no doubt he'd love taking rides just for fun (if he was allowed to ride outside a carrier) because he loves exploring the car if I leave the door open.

He is long, lean, lanky and prowls his domain like a panther.  The leaping is part of his nature and he jumps from a standstill five feet high.  He’s affectionate but much more his own cat than the little kitten was.  This will probably change back once those teen years are done.  For now he “lets” us pat him or hug him or carry him around, but he’s happy to go his own way.  He sleeps on the bed every night.

When he had his first birthday, we let him outside.  Oh, what joy!  He LOVES it out there in his personal jungle but never wanders far and is always inside before dark.  Whenever there is rain or wind he wants to go out but is like a child in a snowstorm – pleading to go out then, in five minutes, yelling to come in.  So goes it – in, out, in, out, in, out, in.  Sheesh!

 

 

 


 



He is the best cat in the world!  That is, except for your cat, of course:>)

TO BE CONTINUED . . .


Next time you will meet Marvelous Max the Miracle Cat, a case of mistaken identity and a fantastic survival story.