Saturday, December 5, 2009

Now, A Pet

Spay Day was a big success. Picked Shadow up around 5 last night and took her home. For her, it is a real home now. Except for Bella, I would be pretty happy. Poor Bella thought she was back in her position as queen. She was waiting for me at the top of the stairs, but when she saw the carrier, she knew Shadow was back. If a cat could look crestfallen, Bella did.

Mr. New Cat was hiding as usual. I let Shadow out in the bathroom but she didn't want to stay there. She seems fine, licking her stitches but OK. I dropped off a wild cat and brought back a pet. This morning she let me pet her for about 15 minutes. She feels very soft, not as silky as Bella, but nice all the same.

I just hope the three of them have a peaceful day. Last evening was not that peaceful. Bella and the male got into a fight. Her tail was enormous. She's still eating, though, and so is Shadow (also the male, but I wasn't worried about him.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spay Day

Shadow's spay day was bright and sunny, 60 degrees, and the animal hospital was easy to find. I must have passed it a dozen times in the past, and not noticed it sandwiched between a Western Beef and something else. If you blink, you miss it.

The receptionist, Lucy, was lovely, as I'd thought. I told her my suspicions about Shadow having asthma. I left her there not knowing if the doctor would be able to give her anesthetic or not, but no calls came all day. So I called them around 6, and Lucy said my little cat was just waking up. So, yay, she had her hysterectomy.

At home, all was peaceful. Bella was eating, and walking freely around the house in her old manner. She made it plain that she wanted to be fed in the kitchen. She's had enough of being stuck in my room. Mr. New Cat was on the windowsill when I left, listening to Spyro Gyra, and he spent most of the day there. I still haven't scrubbed the woodwork, but I did vacuum quite a bit. He was afraid of the vacuum cleaner, but he was basically OK. He had some treats as a reward for his bravery.

It was fun cleaning up all the fur behind and on the couch, but I wouldn't want to do it every day. I guess I'll have to do it once a week, like a normal person, though. I moved the entire couch all the way out to the middle of the LR, finding half a dozen cat toys. It's heavy, because it's a sleeper sofa. Quite a workout. I found some Carbona and cleaned parts of the carpet, cleared off the marble-topped table, adjusted a light, and hung a Monet print. The place looks so much better, just from my day at home.

Having a break from Shadow was like leaving a mischievous child in daycare, or overnight with Grandma. Like respite care, but also a little odd. I missed her, a little. At the vet's lives a big tiger cat. He is very friendly, but when he walked over to Shadow's carrier, she hissed and struck at him. "See," I told Lucy, "She is feisty." Her spirit has helped her survive thus far. She's been with me almost three months, and we'll see where she goes next. She is the boss of my house, which I don't really agree with. Bella was enough of a boss, before Shadow arrived. Bella and the male cat don't interact at all, which is good. Shadow is the instigator. Under the couch I found the other half of a brown paper Starbucks bag that Shadow and Mr. New Cat were fighting over the other night. I'd found one half and wondered where the other piece was.

Kitty, my sister, is coming after all. So, yay again.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thinking Out Loud

If I thought I was over my head a week ago, I'm even more so now.

My sister may not come visit now that she knows I have a third cat, an unspayed, unvaccinated, untested male, who might have fleas, disease, worms and germs.
He is pretty dirty. He spends a lot of time on the windowsill, and now the white paint is gray. He fell asleep there last night. Looked kinda cute, stretched out with his chin on the sill. Shadow was snoring, curled up, about two feet from me on the other side of a pile of mail. Bella was in my room. I was watching CDs of Sex and the City. They like having me home. They come out of hiding and relax.

Kitty's threat is pretty much an ultimatum. She's right. She would never have permitted a stray cat into her house. I should have had him to the vet by now.

Oh, some good news. Shadow has an appointment for her spay on Dec. 3. The people at that vet (Flushing Vet Med Center) sound very nice. If she hadn't been vaccinated, they would have done it, I think included with the Friends of Animals voucher. And, they will keep her overnight. I can pick her up on Friday, the 4th. They're open till 7.

Time is getting short. My sister is due here Dec. 7. I'd better get an FOA certificate for the male and get him done ASAP. Maybe the vet can do a blood test, flea check, and nail trim while he's unconscious. They do all surgeries on Thursdays.

Meanwhile, I am going away for Thanksgiving. My neighbor Marta has offered to take care of them, just not on Thanksgiving Day. I'll leave dry food out, and lots of litter, and they'll be all right. I'll be gone from Wed. afternoon to Sat. night.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a Menagerie!

Things are deteriorating around the old homestead. Mr. New Cat is unhappy. Last night he was on the windowsill, yowling to the outdoors. I'll bet his hormones are acting up.
Must call vet about Shadow's spaying.
Mr. New Cat is unhappy in general, because Shadow gives him such a hard time. I heard deep growling from behind the couch the other night. I am over my head with cats. Why did I take them in?
To save a life, in Shadow's case. and to get a cat out of the cold, in the case of the male. Stupid of me. He'd be happier outside.
There are a couple of bright spots. Bella seems happier, now that Shadow is concentrating on the male, and this morning Shadow let me pet her again. It is such a thrill when she holds still and lets me, purring all the while. You'd think she was a normal house cat.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Three Cats Peeing

The spay certificate was in my mailbox, only a day or two after my second request. yay, FOA!

Shadow celebrated by peeing on a pile of old mail on the living room floor, as I watched from the couch. I couldn't believe my eyes, because she's been so good about that. You're supposed to pick them up and place them in a litter box when they make a mistake. But she won't let me pick her up, yet.

I had to laugh to myself, because it made me finally throw away the mail, which may have been there for a year. Maybe she doesn't want to pee in a box frequented by a male.

Mr. New Cat did use the litter box, today and yesterday, judging by the evidence. Yay for him! I like him; he looks like Bella, white with black markings.

I think she likes him. At least they're not fighting. I saw him this morning, coming out of my room! How did he get in there, and when? Was he there all night, behind the bed?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Definitely a Male

It was interesting being home all day yesterday. Can't do that today; I have plans. But since I never saw Mr. New Cat until nighttime, my being home all day didn't seem important. Shadow will tyrannize him anyway. Well, he is definitely an unfixed male. He urinated on the bathroom rug, but luckily there were newspapers down, because that was the spot where I had put the extra litter box. Too bad I covered them with the rug, a decorator touch that Mr. New Cat must have appreciated.

Now the box is back there. He may want to hit the same spot, find the box there, and figure it out.

Either he doesn't know about litter boxes or Shadow wouldn't let him reach it, where it was in the living room. I'm not crazy about having a litter box in the LR, but was willing to try it because it's closer to the couch. Shadow spent most of her time behind the couch, too, when she first came. Her litter box has been there ever since, till I moved it to the bathroom on Sunday for Mr. New Cat. Looks like I need a third litter box. Bella uses the one in my room, and so does Shadow if I leave my door open. I could also use an extra door here, to separate the cats. Another room would be nice.

I hope Shadow doesn't go into heat with a male loose in the apartment. "Keep them separated," one of the women at the ASPCA told me. Another "duh" moment. I have to get her spayed. I'm also worried about her breathing. She sounds like she's snoring sometimes. I hope the vet can give her anesthesia in that condition. One step at a time, Barbara. You don't even have the spay certificate yet.

At that meeting, they said feral cats really do prefer to live outdoors. I believe it. Shadow spent a lot of time yesterday on the windowsill, watching the leaves fall from the trees. It's her first autumn, and falling leaves must look odd to her. We are on the second floor, so anybody on the LR windowsill has a good view.

Mr. New Cat was on the windowsill, too, wistfully breathing fresh air and looking out. He showed himself last night, walking from the kitchen. I was not aware he even went to the kitchen, but when he saw me, he ducked under the hutch. He's pretty fat, and he had a hard time fitting. He hid pretty well. Shadow didn't even know he was there. His move to the windowsill happened later, and I gave him a saucer of food on the sill. He didn't eat much.

Oh, I know why I missed his appearance: I was doing laundry, in another building.

This all makes me think of Lucky, who we got as a kitten when my daughter was in kindergarten.

She was a beautiful tuxedo cat with deep velvet fur and roaring purr and we had her 12 years. She had the best cat life. She went outside almost every night and came in in the morning, sometimes in the wee small hours. We'd hear her yelling, clinging to our bedroom screens, especially if it was raining. I'd go up on the porch and call her, but she wouldn't want to get wet by running through the rain to get to the front door. Many time my husband or I would have to go out in bad weather, detach her from the window screen, and carry her inside. I'd towel her off, till she purred. It's strange how sweet the memory is, even though it was terribly annoying at the time.

Poor Lucky died shortly after we moved here to Queens. She got out, and I wasn't too worried, but it's true what they tell you, not to let a cat out in a new location because they can get disoriented. Lucky must have. I kept going out and calling her. Finally I looked in the street and saw a black body. It was her. I hate to think she was hit by a car while running toward my calls, but she may have been.

Some people suggested she killed herself out of unhappiness at being cooped up in an apartment. She was depressed. She was certainly not feral; she just loved being able to go outdoors and hunt, climb trees, run around, whatever. She often followed us when we walked the dog in our hilly suburban neighborhood. She'd be with us the whole way, sometimes.

Ali offered to come over today and see if we can get Mr. New Cat into the bathroom, where he can at least eat, drink and use the litter box in peace, if not freedom.
I don't want to cancel my plans, so I guess that makes me irresponsible. Ali may come over tomorrow night, after work. Hope so.

Uh-oh. I have buried my lede.
Shadow let me pet her last night. It was pretty late, about midnight, and I had just turned off the TV. She came to me and rubbed around my ankles. I reached down and touched her gently on the side. She let me, so I stroked her there a few more times. I also touched her on top of the head, and rubbed behind her ears. She purred.

What am I going to do with these animals?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Are Three Too Many?

I've done it again. Ali brought me another survivor from the colony in Richmond Hill. This one is a male, we think, but so far I have not seen much of him. We intended to put him in the bathroom, which I had prepared for a wild cat, having learned from my experience with Shadow.

I'm going to call the new cat a male, until verified. He has a large face, tomcat like, and no name yet. He's pretty, white with gray markings, I think. He arrived Sunday night, same as Shadow, and now it's Tuesday, my day off. This would be the day to take him to the vet, except he is hiding behind the couch.

Shadow has turned into a little tyrant, chasing him and hissing. She's keeping him pinned behind the couch. Wish we had released him in the bathroom, so he'd be confined and I could see him. That was dumb, but we were eager to see how Bella reacted.

She was actually fine. Her ears were in "Happy Cat" position, and there was no hissing or striking out. She looked interested, and he looked calm. He went to an empty spot on the bottom shelf of the bookcase and sat there for a long time, until after Ali and his girlfriend left.

I was out late last night, not a good welcome for the new cat, but I attended a meeting at the ASPCA office in Manhattan. I thought it was worth going to, because the topic was Community Outreach and managing feral cat colonies. Not that I have one, except in my living room, but it was great to see all these interested people. Most were women, and nobody looked like a "crazy cat lady." There was one man, pretty cute and about my age, in my row, but I didn't speak to him. Belatedly it occurs to me this might be a place to meet someone special. Anyone who cares that much about animals must be OK. I was very impressed with the group and the presentation. They're real Do-ers. And, pizza and beverages were served midway through.

This morning was rough. Shadow's running around like she's had a shot of Red Bull. For some time now, her breathing has sounded bad. I called the vet this a.m. and also Friends of Animals to see where the spay certificate is. They said they sent it first class mail, on Oct. 21, a day after I had ordered it. Now they're sending a replacement.

I admit I am bad with mail and might have missed it, but I have really been watching for it. Have resolved to completely clear unopened mail off my dining room table today. Maybe I'll find the spay certificate.

Meanwhile I hope Mr. New Cat can get to the litter box. And knows what it is for.