stevenpiziks: (Default)
Don't worry--she didn't die.

Yesterday evening, I texted the contact at the cat agency and told them what happened to Ceiling Cat.  This brought up some back-and-forth, as you might imagine.  N---, the cat agency lady, asked if she could come out and try to trap Ceiling Cat, on the chance CC was still hanging around.  I said she could.  I told her I had a humane trap for raccoons (I didn't mention I'd already used it to snag CC earlier), but that I didn't want to use it outside because we have skunks, and I was unwilling to trap one.  She allowed that she had a trap that was safer for cats anyway and she would bring it.  I wasn't sure how a trap that was human for wildlife would be somehow be unsafe for cats, especially since the one I bought specifically mentioned that it was useful for cats, but hey--she wanted to do it.  I wasn't all that sure CC was catchable, even if she was still around.

She came out this afternoon with a friend and with Ceiling Cat's brother, who she had lived with until she came to us.  They put Brother in a pen near the bathroom window, along with a baited cage trap that looked like an older version of mine.  I had already put her litter box and the bed she came with on the front porch, hoping she might come back to them, and they arranged these out there as well.

Then they disseminated flyers all about the neighborhood, and searched everywhere, including the woods behind our house.  I think they even recruited our subdivision animal lady, the one who always sounds the alert whenever someone sees a coyote, because they had three people out looking for a while. 

It began to rain, and I don't know if that helped or hindered matters.  It might have made Ceiling Cat more willing to seek shelter, but it definitely made the ladies miserable.  I didn't go out and help--I'd already scoured the neighborhood for CC, despite the fact that I knew CC would avoid me as the person who kept locking her up.

N--- and her friend left the neighborhood for an hour, then came back and looked again, then left, then came back.  This pattern went on for several hours.  You had to admire their dedication, though I was also annoyed that any of it had to happen at all.  I didn't want any harm to come to Ceiling Cat, and was trying to make her a part of the household, but she was clearly freaked out and wanted no part of it--and it seems like the cat agency should have warned me she was so badly skittish.  I wouldn't have taken her if I'd known.

At one point, the cat ladies packed up Brother and took him away, but left his pen and the trap.

At about 10:00, I noticed a flashlight bobbing outside my window.  I was a little startled--the cat lady was still here?  I thought she had gone home for the night.  I slid the window open a tiny bit, and heard her talking in a coaxing voice to "baby girl."  Had she found Ceiling Cat?

I waited a bit, not wanting to go outside and startle CC into running away.  When I saw the flashlight had gone out, I went out to check and found the cat lady near the trap and pen.

"Did you find her?" I called.

"Yes," N--- called back shortly, and this was accompanied by an echoing yowl.  She had Ceiling Cat in Brother's pen.

"Did you trap her, or did she come to you?"

"She came to me."

I have to say I was impressed as well as relieved.  Ceiling Cat was safe! 

Here's where things got a little strange.  N--- didn't acknowledge me any further, and instead just took Ceiling Cat to her car, where her friend was waiting.  She bundled CC into the car without a word to me.  Darwin and I had already decided that if Ceiling Cat showed up again, we were going to ask the cat agency to take her back--integrating her into the household was clearly going to take a LOT of work, and I didn't think she'd ever adjust.  However, she was legally our cat, and N--- didn't even ask what we wanted to do.  She seemed intent on taking CC, whether I was willing to allow it or not.

N--- seemed pretty upset, and I don't blame her for being grumpy after searching a strange neighborhood in the rain for six hours for a cat.  However, she seemed to take the position that this was my fault, and I was somehow a terrible pet owner.  Well, no.  We hadn't done anything wrong with CC.  We worked with her quite a lot, and I used every trick I knew to help her.  I feel the cat agency misled me and took my money, and now they have the temerity to be upset with me over something I had no way to control?

As N--- and her friend climbed into the car, I stiffly said, "Good night."

"Good night," she replied.

It was on the tip of my tongue to say, "I was talking to the cat, not you," but I forbore and instead strode into the house.

At least I don't have to think about Ceiling Cat anymore.
stevenpiziks: (Default)
This morning when Darwin looked in on Ceiling Cat, he met a strange sight.  The small, high bathroom window above the shower was wide open.  The screen behind it was open.  Ceiling Cat was nowhere in the room.  He dashed back into the bedroom, where I was getting dressed.

"Did you leave the bathroom window open?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said.  "About an inch, for ventilation.  The litter box and the cat made it really close in there."

"The cat got out through it."

I thought he was joking, playing on Ceiling Cat's previous escape.  But no.  When I checked, the bathroom window had indeed been slid all the way open, and the screen too.  Ceiling Cat was gone.  Somehow, she had OPENED THE FREAKING WINDOW.  It slides, and not easily so.  But she not only figured out that the window would open farther, she pushed it open ALL THE WAY.  She could have gotten out with just four inches or so, but went the distance.  Then she slid the screen open.  The screen wasn't initially open at all.  This means she must have figured out how to hook her claws into it so it would slide sideways.  She didn't damage the screen in any way, in fact.  And then she jumped for it.

There's no sign of her anywhere in the area.  Not that she'd come to us even if we found her.  I can't put the trap out for her, either.  A trap baited with cat food would attract raccoons, possums, or--worse--skunks as easily as it would a cat.

Clearly Ceiling Cat was more frightened and unhappy than we thought.  I also think she was more feral than the cat agency let on.

I'm done with more cats.  If one falls into my lap, I won't turn it away, but I'm not seeking out any others.  Dinah will have to survive as a single cat.
stevenpiziks: (Default)
This morning when I went downstairs to check the animal trap, the door was shut and a pissed-off Ceiling Cat crouched inside.  The bait bowl was flipped upside-down, so I'm guessing there was a frantic moment when the door snapped shut.

She yowled all the way upstairs to the bathroom.  I shut the bathroom door, set the cage in the tub, and opened it. 

Ceiling Cat eeled out of the trap and zipped around the bathroom, looking for an escape route.  She spotted the window and jumped straight at it, expecting to go through.  BOP!  That confused her mightily.  Then she dove in the sink and curled up.

I petted her for a while, and she finally decided that was all right.  I had to leave for work.

Later, when I got home, I found her still curled up in the sink.  I petted her again, and she finally started to purr.  Then I scratched her back.  This she liked quite a lot.  She licked my hand, and batted at me when I tried to stop.  Eventually I had to leave her again.  When I came back, she was hiding in the litter box.  Ew!

The plan is to keep her in there for at least a week.

New Kitty

Apr. 13th, 2017 08:06 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
While I was dealing with the Great Spring Break Plague, the cat lady announced that we had passed her background check and were qualified to own an actual cat.  Gasp with amazement and clap your paws with glee, everyone!

She was willing to bring the cat to us on Tuesday evening.  All rightie, then.  The cat lady showed up--a 45 minute drive for her--and we brought New Kitty into the house.  She's 10 months old, all black, short hair.  We put her in the bathroom with a litter box and food dishes.

After the cat lady left, we left the cat mostly alone except to peek in on her and pet her a little.  She was unhappy and only the petting with bad grace.  We let Dinah in for a quick look.  She sniffed about, hissed once at New Kitty, and stalked out, her dominance established.

We left New Kitty in the bathroom for the next day and a half.  She mostly stayed in the cat bed she came with.  I petted her extensively, and she started licking my hand and purring.  She didn't like being picked up, though.  I let her out of the bathroom, and she vanished into the house.

For two days.  We saw nothing of her.  Not one hair of her.  We thought she must have somehow gotten out.  I've had more than a dozen cats over the years, and I've never seen one vanish like this.

At last we turned the house upside-down and finally found her huddling in a dark basement corner. I put her back in the bathrooms alone for a couple more days, with occasional peaking in on her, and she finally let me pet her again, but later she got out of the bathroom and vanished completely and has not been seen since.

When I first met her, I noticed her right ear was clipped. I recognized this as part of the catch-spay-mark-release program for feral cats and asked the cat agency about it. The cat lady said New Kitty and her brother were found outdoors and caught, but they were clearly used to humans, so they weren't put into the barn cat category. Both New Kitty and her brother (who was taken by someone else) let me pet and hold them at the cat event, though they were both nervous about it, which I expected in a strange cat stuck in a weird environment.

However, after nearly a week in her new home, New Kitty still hides obsessively. I've had more than a dozen cats of all stripes in my life, and I've never seen this--except among the feral barn cats we (unsuccessfully) brought into the house and tried to tame. New Kitty never, ever comes out of hiding on her own. Ever. She hasn't eaten that I can tell. The litter is stirred around, but that might be from Dinah.

Every other cat I've had hides for a while, but eventually creeps out for cautious exploring, and eventually gives the humans some wary sniffing. Not New Kitty.

Today we're going to hunt her down again and put her in the bathroom and make double-sure she stays in there until she's completely calm, even if it's a week.

 



stevenpiziks: (Default)
Okay, peeps--what's your experience here? New Kitty is having some problems. She arrived last Tuesday, and now nearly a week later, she's still extremely sky and skittish. In fact, she vanishes to the point where we thought she must have gotten out and run away. A few days ago, we turned the house upside-down and finally found her huddling in a dark basement corner. I put her in one of the bathrooms alone for a couple more days, with occasional peaking in on her, and she finally let me pet her and even purred and licked my hand, but the moment she got out of the bathroom, she vanished completely and has not been seen once in two more days.

When I first met her, I noticed her right ear was clipped. I recognized this as part of the catch-spay-mark-release program for feral cats and asked the cat agency about it. The cat lady said New Kitty and her brother were found outdoors and caught, but they were clearly used to humans, so they weren't put into the barn cat category. Both New Kitty and her brother let me pet and hold them, though they were both nervous about it, which I expected in a strange cat stuck in a weird environment.

However, after nearly a week in her new home, New Kitty still hides obsessively. I've had more than a dozen cats of all stripes in my life, and I've never seen this--except among the feral barn cats we (unsuccessfully) brought into the house and tried to tame. New Kitty never, ever comes out of hiding on her own. Ever. She hasn't eaten that I can tell. The litter is stirred around, but that might be from Dinah.

Every other cat I've had hides for a while, but eventually creeps out for cautious exploring, and eventually gives the humans some wary sniffing. Not New Kitty.

Has she gone feral? Did the shock of rehoming freak her out too badly? Will she eventually come around? Has anyone else seen this before? Or should I call the cat people and tell them they gave me a feral cat?

New Cat

Apr. 8th, 2017 08:40 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
We finally have a new cat.

It was an unexpectedly laborious process.  The cat rehousing people (I don't like calling it an adoption--adoption is for human beings) wanted three references, the name of my veterinarian, and a signed contract stating, among other things, that they could enter my house to inspect it any time over the next four years.  What are you, the Gestapo?  Seriously, people--it's a cat.  It's not a human child.  It's a freakin' cat.  I changed the inspection clause to remove its teeth and crossed out a few other clauses.  (One read, "I understand cats are animals and that they do not react the same way human beings do."  No, really?)

I also had to promise to send them vet records showing I did regular vet visits for the next four years.  Sure.  I'll get right on that.

In reality, though, I think they'll forget about it.  Lots of other cats to rescue, you know.

Anyway, we now have a new kitty.  She's a black shorthair, about 10 months old, and extremely shy.  We put her in one of the bathrooms with her own litter box, food dishes, and a cat bed the cat lady said she used a lot.  We put the cat bed in the tub.  The first day, new kitty refused to leave her cat bed.  She let us pet her, but she didn't respond.  After a couple hours, we let Dinah into the bathroom.  Dinah sniffed her way up to the tub, peeked over the edge, hissed once, and stalked away.

The second night, we left the bathroom door cracked open.  In the morning, new kitty had vanished.  Later, we found her in various hiding places--under the bed, behind the dryer.  Each time we found her, she moved to a different hiding place.

Dinah's personality instantly changed, which I find interesting.  When she's the lone cat in the house, she's Needy Kitty, Greedy Kitty, demanding attention and petting, to the point where it gets annoying.  You can have her on your lap for an entire two-hour movie or a three-hour nap, and the moment you get up, she demands more attention.  But whenever there's a second cat in the house, she becomes quiet and reserved.  Right now, she's sitting on top of the cat tree, surveying the house.  Watching.  That other cat is here somewhere, and damned if she's going to let it get away with anything!

We're thinking of names.  The cat's original name was Little Black, which we don't like.  Darwin has plumped for "Fraidy," since she's so shy, but I don't know.  We'll have to think some more.



stevenpiziks: (Keep Off)
The cats Dinah and Bernard know they aren't allowed on the cupboards and tables.  We can tell they know because if one of us enters the kitchen or dining room unexpectedly and one of them--usually Bernard--is on the cupboard, said cat immediately scrambles down and bolts from the room to escape the inevitable consequences.

We get lots of other evidence of Bernard's incursions.  (Dinah is rather better behaved.)  We keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter for snacking.  Often the bowl includes grapes.  But something about the grapes just drives Bernard bananas.  He can't leave them alone.  If we leave a bunch of grapes unattended for more than an hour or two, we'll eventually return to find them scattered all over the kitchen floor with puncture marks in them.  I think Bernard likes how his claws sink into them, and the enticing way they roll across the floor.  It means we can never leave grapes out, which also means we often forget we have them and they rot in the fridge.

Water squirtings, duckings, head-thwaps, and other punishments haven't stopped the problem.  The cats know they aren't supposed to be up there, but they go anyway.  Every day I have to clean the counters several times.  Litter box paws where I prepare food?  Digusting!

Finally, I resorted to more drastic measures.  I went to the office supply store and bought a set of chair mats.  You know--the vinyl thingies you put down on the floor so your desk chair will roll around without damaging the carpet.  The underside of these mats is set with hundreds of prickly little tacks so the mat will grip the floor and not scoot around.

I turned the mats prickly side up on the cupboards and the table.  Now when an unsuspecting feline jumps into forbidden territory, he'll get a painful surprise.  The picky parts won't draw blood, but they will hurt.  We'll leave the mats out for a few days, until the cats grow used to the idea that cupboard = pain, and we can remove them.

And then we can put out grapes again.
stevenpiziks: (Outdoors)
Dinah and Bernard don't get along very well.  Bernard and Dinah are roughly the same age, but Dinah has little of the kitten about her, and she has little interest in playing.  Bernard, on the other hand, wants to PLAY.  He loves pouncing on Dinah to PLAY.  This always turns into a scuffle, with much spitting, hissing, and yowling, until Bernard scampers away.

I don't quite understand it.  Dinah and Alec did play, but when it comes to Bernard, Dinah shows no interest.  Maybe it's that Dinah misses Alec and she sees Bernard as an interloper, or maybe Bernard is too aggressive.  Alec also liked to snuggle with Dinah, something Bernard refuses to do.  I can't quite figure it out.

New Kitty

Nov. 24th, 2009 08:31 pm
stevenpiziks: (Good News)
We have a new kitty from a local shelter. Kala has named her Maybe. She's four months old and a calico, or would be if she didn't have white on her. She adapted to Sam the Dog very quickly. Sirius is outside and hasn't met her yet.

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