Tag Archives: pets
Kittens as problem solvers
Caution: Images of extreme kitten violence.
As it has often happened throughout history, what began with a mere property dispute escalates into an all out war….
I’m not sure if I am ready for this. I’m not even sure if I’m young enough for it, but things are rapidly changing here in the hollow. Heartache struck swiftly this spring and took both the Elderly Gent and our eighteen-year-old cat Grenny. For the first time in decades our house was without a pet. Silence reigned, but the outside cat Princess would see to it that our home didn’t stay that way for long.
We knew about the kittens she had stashed under the porch, and we had made arrangements with a farmer weeks ago. He would take them as soon as they were of age, but a predator moved into the neighborhood, and kittens began to disappear. We moved the final two into the bathroom for safety sake, and (you guessed it.) we became attached.
It’s been eighteen years since we had a kitten. Wow, are they active! Wow, are they noisy! Wow, are they messy! They get into everything, they tear up anything they get their paws on, and my legs look like I’ve been strolling through barbed wire. It’s been a great couple of days.
We are guessing Moe (the big gray one) was sired by a huge Main Coon that has been sulking around the neighborhood, and Lil’ Red is a rare, female, red tabby. We had originally given Red a boy’s name, because we had never seen a red one that was female.
Moe is a cuddly, Mama’s boy and Lil’ Red is as mischievous and energetic as she looks. The silence is over, and if we survive this, it might just turn out to be fun.
When I was a kid, I remember traveling vagrants left marks on the fences of houses that were good for a handout. If you felt a smidgen of sympathy and gave a gaunt, sunken-eyed bum a sandwich, it wouldn’t be long before more vagrants were knocking at the door. The cure to your problem was to paint your fence. I am beginning to suspect that someone has marked my fence, or perhaps I have the word “sucker” tattooed to my forehead in invisible ink? Anyway, if someone dumps a stray cat in our neighborhood, it inevitably ends up at my door. Gent was the last to be taken in of our local feral cat colony. We were free of outside cats for a few months, but….
Meet the new kids on the block.
The big one, with the fur coat that would see her through an Alaskan winter, is Skitty. (Named that because she was one skittish kitty) She has grown extremely loving in a very short period of time, and walking to the garden without tripping over her has become quite a chore. The orange one is Pumpkin. You may pull his tail or touch his nose, but petting him is out of the question. The little fluff ball is Princess. She is very delicate, very feminine, and a non-stop chatterbox. We really don’t mind their company, and someone has expressed interest in Skitty and Princess. I’ve already decided to keep Pumpkin as an outdoor cat. (We have plenty of warm shelter for the winter, and finding a home for a cat you can’t touch is difficult.)
But how? How do these cats know that out of all of the houses in the neighborhood this is the one to come to? How do they know which person will run into the house to get them a plate of cat food and a bowl of milk? I think perhaps it’s time to paint my fence, or maybe apply a little makeup?
Sometimes in life, things are just hard. Today was one of those days. At one o’clock this afternoon, we buried my dad. As humans, we were devastated, but deep in our hearts, we knew this day was coming. No, that doesn’t lessen the pain, and every time I walk past his chair, I experience the sharp stab of grief as I realize he is no longer there, but even though death was an unwelcome visitor to our home, his presence was not unexpected. But to Dad’s dedicated and loving companion cat this death was an incredible blow. The Elderly Gent had walked into our home and given his whole heart away to my father, and in a moment, that big feline heart was crushed.
The night Dad passed away, Gent forced himself beneath the china cabinet and refused to come out, except for a brief moment to have an accident upon the article nearest to his cave of exile. We swiftly found that the exterior of my brother’s suitcase was not waterproof. (or urine proof for that matter) A disposable pad I placed in front of the cabinet became a makeshift litter box. Food and water were placed nearby, but Gent showed no interest.
That night, I slept in my mother’s room, and the big tomcat slept at her feet. Aside from two hours of endless washing, Gent seemed to be making progress, but the next day when we came home from making arrangements, we walked into my Mom and Dad’s room to find a cat owner’s nightmare. Loose bowel accidents covered Dad’s pillow, the bed on which he died, and Dad’s favorite chair. Messy footprints, trailed across the furniture, and blood-tinged urine soaked the pale yellow embroidered quilt that a friend had made for me. And though I didn’t scold him when I discovered his crimes, Gent shot back under the china cabinet. When he isn’t in hiding, this loving, old cat who prefers to look at nature from the inside out, has also been trying his best to get out the door. He doesn’t want to be held, and runs at the slightest noise. The Elderly Gent appears to be in mourning.
This is a first for me. My cat Grenny mourned when her brother Pudge died, but Gent stepped in and cared for her, and though Grenny has attempted to comfort Gent, her cuddling seems to have very little affect upon his mood. I purchased a calming collar and put it on him this evening. This seems to have helped somewhat, but I was wondering if any one else has experienced this with their cat, and what methods they have tried to help the animal through this.
Thanks for reading,
(Note: because of his past health problems, blood will sometimes appear in Gent’s urine during times of stress. A dose of medicine and some cranberry juice usually straightens him out.)