Home Again

cats-in-the-window
Our rescue animals Blue and Shadow.  

After a few days with my daughter and her family, we are back home.  The e-mails were stacked up, and unable to bear the stress, I just deleted the bunch.  Was there anything of an urgent nature?  I certainly hope not.  In my experience, I just don’t get really important things through e-mail.

Facebook is another matter.

The wedding plans for my niece are moving forward, and apparently puppies and rescue animals play a major role.  This is not something I understand.  I thought weddings were supposed to be about the bride and groom, and their future.

Citizens are admonishing each other for their reactions in the wake of our presidential election.  Horror is expressed about some political fear or another.  Puppies and kittens don’t seem to ease the uncertainty,confusion, disappointment, and fear.

I love my rescue kitties, plus our Boston, Brutus, who entered our house when his original owner, our son, went over-seas for two years.  I’m doing my part.  There have been other rescued cats and dogs in my life.  They are as cute, fun, lovable as any pure-breed papered dog or cat, and you can get them at a bargain price.  Free is a bargain price.

Caring for an animal does cost money, for food, shots, and necessary medical care.  Having more animals than you have money, time or energy to care for doesn’t create a good environment for man nor beast.  In fact, hording animals, is a severe mental health issue leading to animal abuse, rather than rescue.

I needed the down time of just being with family.  We saw our oldest granddaughter in a musical, let the kids walk the dogs, and even sleep with them if they want.  The youngest little Curlytop is ready for a dog.  Curlytop was the first to volunteer for walking duty, and did not cringe at cleanup.  Curlytop played tirelessly with the dogs, and helped with feeding, and bedtime treats.

The kitties ran out the door as we were bringing our suitcases into the hose.  Ungrateful strays!  I caught up with the news, got a cup of tea with milk and honey, and sat down to blog.

The prompts I missed?  Fish.  Lofty.  Flames.  Or.  (I’m cheating. I know, but I am not the first one to pull this trick out.)

Feral

Crouched defensively, hissing and spitting with claws drawn.  The message was clear.  Stay away.  Unfortunately this was my bathroom and I needed to be in there.

I know people who have said, “Okay cat, this is your space, and I’ll run down stairs to the guest bath as long as you live.”  The bathroom door is closed, and posted with a keep out sign.  Food and water is shoveled in, and you get in and out to take care of the cat box as quickly as possible.  It’s just life with cat.

Whisper wasn’t that lucky.  Whisper had me, and the door was left open.  Whisper came to our home with our boy, who brought this critter with him when he joined our family.  Trying to prove to us that he knew better, our boy promptly got bit.  We were not going to have a cat biting our boy in our home.  We made a plan.

The food was taken out of the bathroom and the door was left open.  Only our boy hand-fed Whisper, who was his cat.  A bonding experience for cat and boy.  Whisper did get a little hungry before he would accept the food offered.  Ironically, when our boy was first adopted, he got a little hungry when he refused to take part in our family life, and was served his food at the dining room table like a boarder, as the kitchen was for family.  Bonding can be a difficult processes when you haven’t had a loving family.

Feeding Whisper twice a day our boy tested how far he could get the cat to go out of the bathroom.  After a week Whisper was out in the hall, but would run back to the safety of the bathroom.  Fortunately we could use the room again, while the cat watched for any threatening moves.  At the end of the second week, Whisper would come down the stairs to the main level of the house for his food.  It took a month to get Whisper to the foodbowl in the laundry room where our other cat, Francis Ann, would eat.

Once Whisper got out of the bathroom, conflict between the cats was addressed, with a water bottle.  The cat that hissed, or showed any thought of aggression, got discouraged with a spray. Our 85 pound dog, Buster, longed to be friends with Whisper, and would stay just far enough away to be protected from a swipe of the paws.  Eventually, Whisper accepted the big lug.

Getting Whisper out of the bathroom was only part of the plan.  We also needed to be able to handle him without getting bit.  We used a back-scratcher with a long handle to gently touch the cat.  Whisper quickly learned he could not intimidate the back scratcher with his claws.  Soon Whisper was tolerating the scratcher, I’m not sure he ever got to the point of enjoying it.  Slowly I inched my hand to the claw of the scratcher, until I could actually touch Whisper.  A few times a day, I would force this attention onto the once aggressive Whisper.

At some point, Whisper was able to live peacefully with the family, enjoyed petting from everyone, shared the cat box and food bowl, made friends with Buster, and enjoyed the freedom of the entire house.

I call this a happy ending.

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A Black Cat Crossed My Path

With coat black as midnight and green eyes, the howling creature came slinking into my life on a cold fall morning just over a week before Halloween.

They say black cats are the least likely to be adopted because of the taint of superstition, and here is a kitten on my back porch crying forlornly.  They also say that black cats are in danger this time of year from those who might want to dabble in dark rituals as part of their Halloween revelries.  While I hope neither one of those things are true, I can’t leave such a cute little kitten to the mercies of uncertain fate and bring it in, only to discover fleas!  While running the flea comb over it, I discover it is female.  Next is a trip up to the store for flea killer, before the pests infest my other cat and two dogs.

I really hate taking on other people’s problems, and that is how I see stray animals.  Other people did not have the courtesy to properly spay or neuter their animals and ended up with unwanted kittens or puppies that they could not find homes for.  Or worse, actually allowed their animal to get pregnant for the experience of having puppies or kittens, and then couldn’t find homes for all the babies.  There is even worse.  There are breeders who decide to go out of business and just release the animals to nature and whatever fate befalls them.  There are people who would lay out for you exactly what this fate would be, but I don’t feel that is necessary.  You are intelligent people.

These people could have done the decent thing and taken their unwanted animals to a shelter.  If possible they could have made a small donation, if that was not possible, the shelter most likely would have taken the animal anyway.

There is an off-chance that someone actually lost this kitten.  I will watch for fliers, and the local vet should know if anyone has lost their pet.  She is very sweet and loving.

In the last week I know several people who have taken in stray kittens, including my sister and niece.  I have watched their cute kitten videos on Facebook.  I guess I was primed as an easy mark.

Now I need a name:  Spooky, Blackie, Midnight…. Suggestions welcome.

And I need to get some flea killer!

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