Blog: November 2012

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Oh great

Orlando has gone into hiding...somewhere in the subset of the house that is available to him. I last saw him Monday morning, when he was happy to eat canned food from (a dish in) my hand. He's around -- the food and water are being consumed and the litter boxes are being used -- but he's found a good spot and doesn't want to come out yet. Sigh.

There've been no feline hostilities that I'm aware of. These seems to be "new environment, scary!" anxiety.

I wonder if I need to postpone tomorrow night's vet appointment. How long does this phase usually last? (Giovanni seems to have skipped it, at least so far.)

Edit 11PM: Got him! The way to Orlando's heart is through his stomach; I used bowls of food behind closed doors to gradually narrow the search until I had it down to one room. Actually catching him in that room was a bit of a challenge, but he and Giovanni are now in my office together, where I plan to keep both of them until the vet appointment tomorrow night. After that they can have their freedom back.

The naming of cats

This will require more evaluation, but it's possible that, after watching my new cats in action for a couple days, they are Felix and Oscar.

I've been using wet food to try to lure them out of hiding and into my lap (or at least into petting range). Gumbo sees the food, stuffs his face as far into the tub as possible, and starts slurping it down. And when he eats the dry food, he manages to scatter some of it around on the floor. And the paper under the water bowl is wet. He totally seems like the kind of cat who would, if he had opposable thumbs and enough strength, drink the milk straight from the bottle and not notice that it's a few days past its expiration date besides.

Beanie, on the other hand, delicately licks up the food, moving slowly and deliberately. He washes up after meals (and at other times). If he could talk, he gives every impression of a cat who would ask for a tablecloth, cutlery, and a flower in a vase to bring his dining experience up to an acceptable level. He is also fastidious in using the litter box, covering completely and then knocking his paws on the edge of the box to avoid tracking litter.

But it's too soon to tell if these are their usual behaviors or the result of being in a strange environment. Their default positions are still "in hiding", though Beanie actually explored my office with me in it to watch today, so that's progress.

Both of them purr at length and fairly loudly, by the way. The medical notes I got said, for both of them, that the vet couldn't clearly listen to their lungs because of the noise.

Later update:

I've decided that Felix and Oscar aren't the right names for the cats; the initial behaviors that prompted them haven't continued. I'm currently leaning toward Orlando and Giovanni, which pass the random-friends-and-relatives test and the neighborhood test (would I be embarrassed calling an escapee?). A pair of perfectly-nice Italian names will suit, and if you happen to know that I'm a fan of Renaissance music, you might correctly detect a further inspiration for those names in particular. :-) (Orlando is the brown one, who's also the lovey guy who sleeps in my lap purring loudly.)


Meet the two new additions to our household, courtesy of Animal Friends:

This fellow is 4 years old according to his previous owner and 6 years old according to the shelter's vet. He was surrendered due to an illness in the family (no details). He's been living in one of the multi-cat rooms at the shelter for a couple months. He's gentle and was pretty affectionate at the shelter, though he's currently hiding behind a radiator in my office. I understand these things can take a little while. The name he came with is "Beanie", though he shows no signs of knowing it (I asked) so changing it will do no harm.

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And this fellow is 5 or 6 years old according to the shelter's vet. He was part of a rescue from a hoarder (approximately 25 cats living in terrible neglect) and has only been at the shelter a few days. He, too, was very affectionate (walked right into my lap and started purring). He is currently hiding behind some books on a bookcase in the TV room. The shelter issued him the holding name "Gumbo" and I can definitely change that. (Apparently when they get a hoard they give them grouped names. Gumbo is from the "G" hoard.)

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Even though both have lived with other cats and we all spent some time together in one of their "cat meeting rooms" today, the counselor told me to separate them for at least a couple days, and definitely confine each to one room so they don't get overwhelmed. (Then, standard cat-introduction protocols.) So there will be a small delay before they're roaming the house freely, sitting in my lap in the living room and (perhaps) sleeping on the bed.

Better pictures will presumably come when they're more settled. It's hard to tell from these pictures, but "Beanie" is much larger than "Gumbo".

So, what should I name them? Suggestions very welcome!

What a difference a few minutes can make

This morning while getting dressed and contemplating the drive to come, I made a mental note to myself to never again schedule an opthalmologist appointment on what is probably the darkest weekday morning of the year (sunrise today: 7:52AM). But as I left the house the sky lightened some, and by the time I got to the object of my discomfort, Route 28, it was light enough to see well (with headlights still, but things were no longer monochrome). We had lots of cloud cover, which I actually like.

There was an unexpected bonus: the technician did not need to dilate my pupils in order to take pictures of my retinas (that's never happened before!) and it was still cloudy when I left, so for the first time in recent memory I could drive back from the ophthalmologist without having to wear sunglasses.

I've now made a mental note to cancel the earlier mental note.