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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shadows Are Changeable

It was another Squirt Bottle morning, vs. Shadow, after she tried to scratch Bella right in the face. She gets this nasty attitude, hissing and striking out for no reason I can see.
I put food out for them and it must have touched off the jealousy fuse somehow, again. Shadow's was in the kitchen, and Bella's was in my room, as usual. It looked to me like they wanted to switch.
Bella had not eaten anything in a while, so I tried to give her one of her appetite stimulant pills, but I couldn't get her to take it. Later, she was in the kitchen nibbling dry kitten food. So that's some relief. I have to go out for more food, for the cats and me.

I spent some of my day off listening to my new Roseanne Cash album, "The List," which seemed to relax the cats. Shadow is sleeping or at least reclining, on my bed, while Bella is hiding somewhere.

I really should be cleaning, but I've been on the Internet all day.

Yesterday morning was much better. I woke up to bright sunshine and a gentle tapping of a paw on my left elbow, which was sort of hanging off the bed. Bella was on my other side, so I knew it wasn't her, even thru the haze of sleep. The little feral initiating physical contact again! Pleasant physical contact, tapping as if to wake me up. It was quite sweet.
How can she be such a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality? and when is that spaying certificate going to get here, so I can move on to the next phase of Shadow's life?

Monday, November 2, 2009


Shadow discovered catnip this morning. She was scratching at the cardboard pad, which came infused with catnip, and is in a wooden frame. Wish I had a picture to post, but please imagine it.

The scratching thing is in the hallway. She had flipped the cardboard part out of the wood frame, and it landed upside down. A pile of catnip fell on the floor. I picked some up and scattered it on the cardboard scratching pad, which I replaced in the frame, and left for work. The rest I left on the floor.

Now I'm at the office, imagining her stoned out of her mind. And Bella is missing all the fun, closed off in my room with her food, water and litter box, like a prisoner.

Dog's Best Friend told me it was okay to pick up the little cat the other day. He even said to keep doing it, so she gets used to it. Well, good. I will. Maybe it wasn't a move too soon, after all. My intuition has to count for something.