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Mon Mar 18, 2013, 05:56 PM

I need some advice from people who are cat savvy -- the journey continues (PART TWO)

Last edited Mon Mar 18, 2013, 06:36 PM - Edit history (1)

I have received some inquiries in my DU inbox about Nikita's and my journey. If you were a participant on this thread http://www.democraticunderground.com/1018319954, this update is for you.

Someone told me once I started this journey, I had no idea what I was in for ... and at this point, I have to say they were right. But despite the challenges that have occurred since we last "talked" in the earlier thread, my love for Nikita, and I believe her love for me, has only gone stronger.

I am going to post a couple of emails in which I discuss what has happened so you will get a sense of the last few days events. I think I have struggled with some things simply because I started this adventure knowing nothing about cats. Had these things happened to one of you cat-savvy du'ers, I am sure there would have been a lot less anguish and a lot less second-guessing.

At this point, Nikita is still outside, but I believe she is contemplating coming in part time. I have opened the door, and she has started in, but each time backs back out. Yet, when I leave the door open, she often looks around as if studying the environment like a prospective tenant considering a new move. Her eyes inevitably land on Cheyenne, who is usually asleep on the couch and impervious to the scrutiny. It appears to me that Nikita is weighing whether or not this would be a situation that works. She has made a couple of moves when we have been out on our walks to engage Cheyenne, but Cheyenne has no idea what is going on. This will simply take time I believe.

So just to start this thread off, I will post a couple of messages in my private email on situations which one DU'er was so kind and generous enough to help me through. These will follow soon.

Sam

31 replies, 3508 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply I need some advice from people who are cat savvy -- the journey continues (PART TWO) (Original post)
Samantha Mar 2013 OP
Samantha Mar 2013 #1
Samantha Mar 2013 #2
Samantha Mar 2013 #3
BrotherIvan Mar 2013 #4
Samantha Mar 2013 #5
Samantha Mar 2013 #6
BrotherIvan Mar 2013 #8
BrotherIvan Mar 2013 #7
Samantha Mar 2013 #9
JanMichael Mar 2013 #10
Samantha Mar 2013 #14
BrotherIvan Mar 2013 #18
BrotherIvan Mar 2013 #19
Samantha Mar 2013 #22
grasswire Mar 2013 #11
Samantha Mar 2013 #15
winter is coming Mar 2013 #28
Flaxbee Mar 2013 #12
Samantha Mar 2013 #16
BrotherIvan Mar 2013 #21
Flaxbee Mar 2013 #27
Samantha Mar 2013 #25
Mnpaul Mar 2013 #26
Samantha Mar 2013 #31
Honeycombe8 Mar 2013 #13
Samantha Mar 2013 #17
Honeycombe8 Mar 2013 #29
Samantha Mar 2013 #20
BrotherIvan Mar 2013 #23
Samantha Mar 2013 #24
Samantha Mar 2013 #30

Response to Samantha (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 06:02 PM

1. A reply to an inquiry to a DU friend regarding the biggest difficulty that occurred recently

Hey, It is nice to hear from you. The answer to your question depends on what day you ask! Generally, things have improved everyday. We are at the point now where when I turn to come into the house, she puts her paw on my pant leg, as if to say, don't go. Once, she put her paw on my shoe. Yesterday, she put her paw on my hand, rested it there. I am not at the point where I have picked her up. I think that will be some time. But she does love to have me pet her.

She is going to the vet at the end of the month to be spayed. She has lost some weight since I adjusted the amount I was giving her. I do not think she is pregnant. She does continue to follow Cheyenne and us on our walks. She gets very close to Cheyenne, but Cheyenne does not know she is there.

I have acquired a list of the shots she needs, and will start her on those after the vet sees her. I dread taking her there, but the PAWS lady said she could trap her and take her. I am going too. I think our relationship will take a tumble after that happens, but hopefully, it will heal.

The hard thing that has happened recently is that one, then two other cats have started hanging around the house. It is obvious they want to stay. I was afraid of them at first. They just posted themselves near the house waiting for me to come out with Nikita's food. They appear to be feral to me, but what do I know? They might have come out of the house where the lady was evicted. They have a place to stay; they sleep under one of my neighbor's foundation but no one is feeding them. So I am trying to find two neighbors who will put food out for them and sort of adopt them. Wish me luck on that.

The first night one appeared was the night before last. I heard a terrible screeching from Nikita and ran out. The cat jumped from the porch onto the bushes. I don't know what was going on there -- cat fight, looking for food? But the cat was not afraid of me, I could not scare him or her away, and he or she stayed all night in the bushes.


The other cat appeared yesterday morning.

I just can't take on another cat. I am pushing my limits to take Nikita because it is hard to acclimate Cheyenne to another animal (remember she cannot see). But financially, I can't afford to support another cat either. So I do hope I can find two good Samaritans.

I need to run out before it gets dark. Thank you for writing to me. I hope we can keep in touch.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 06:08 PM

2. The desolation when Nikita disappeared (text of message to a DU'er for consolation)

I was not myself when Nikita left. I reached out to the same person who has been giving me great advice:

It is odd I happened to find this message at this moment. For the first time, I have been crying over Nikita. The last 2 to 3 days have changed our relationship. Everything was going so perfectly until those other two cats showed up. She has taken to hanging out with them and being here less. Today when she came back after disappearing with the carmel-colored cat for a long time, her attitude towards me was more standoffish.

There had been a couple more instances of the shrieking noises today and I ran out to find out what was going on, I couldn't see them anywhere. So I don't know what the relationship is between her and the other two cats; I do believe she lived with them under my neighbor's foundation. So perhaps the three of them were friends, pals, they missed her being there and came here to be with her and to share her food. When that didn't happen, she went back to from whence she came. I have a very bad feeling this is where this relationship is heading. So just now when I thought I heard her meowing, I went to feed her, but she was not there. I stood out in the yard and called her name, and she didn't respond. I have done this before, and she has come running. Not tonight.

I do think I am losing my appeal to her, and she will only come back if she is hungry. I had such great hopes for this but now I think I am losing the battle.

I think I mentioned before I don't really know much about cats, I have never had one. I am thinking you might know more about the psychology of what is going on here. If you have any thoughts, I would welcome them. Up until a couple of days ago, I had a plan and was implementing it, but circumstances seem to have taken over.

Thank you for listening,

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 06:14 PM

3. The coming home (another email message)

SHE CAME BACK THIS MORNING. I ran to get her food, but she seemed more interested in being petted. I petted her for a long time. I am going to start talking to her more.

I ran into another friend walking her dog this morning. I kept telling her about the Carmel-colored cat. She said that cat lived up at the end of the street and "stalked" her dog. Her dog is a big boxer. The cat catches up with them on walks and tries to swat and hit at Brandi. I thought her use of the word "stalk" was interesting. That is the way the carmel-colored cat and the black cat make me feel.

Thank you for your words which helped me get thru the night. I am now braced for the fact that this might happen again and I will be better prepared. I do think after I have her spayed at the end of the month, there will be less traffic around her.

Thank you again. Wanted you to know the great news.

***

I would like to post some of the advice I was given, but I don't know if that is okay to do without permission from the person giving the advice. I am sure people will let me know if it is okay, and I will do so if they do not mind. One kept me up when I was down, and I owe that DU'er a big thank you.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 10:51 PM

4. Rooting for you!

You are doing such a great job and our family is rooting for you -- including the unstoppable Wombat and Spicy Tuna, two found cats who wish you and and Nikita a long, happy and surprising friendship.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 10:56 PM

5. You might be surprised at some of the friends I have made here

Just by telling Nikita's story.

Sam

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 10:59 PM

6. By the way, here's a question

She threw up this morning out on the porch. Then she gagged again and threw up a little more. Then she moved off the porch into the yard like she was embarrassed. So I yelled, "It's okay. I can fix it." So I cleaned up and put some fresh water out, but she waited until I went back inside to come back up. I am wondering if it was something she ate or dirty water she drank while she was away?????

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 11:10 PM

8. I replied to the wrong place

But also your description of yelling, I can fix it! made me laugh!

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 11:08 PM

7. Unfortunately, cats throw up more often than one would like

They are pretty good at throwing up anything that doesn't sit well. That's why there is less worry about food poisoning with cats. They will often eat grass then throw up, sort of a way of purging their stomachs (some cultures teach people to do this as well). They also throw up hairballs that look like *graphic warning* poo in liquid. But it isn't really a sign of illness or a cause to worry.

There are many signs that a cat is ill, like loss of appetite, listlessness, etc. But barfing isn't an alarm bell. And yes, some cats do seem to be embarrassed

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #7)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 11:13 PM

9. You are a wealth of information

Pass the grass, please.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #9)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 11:35 PM

10. Re: barfing hairballs

They generally like to barf their hairballs on things like mail you leave by the door, books on the floor (the more you want to keep the books, the better a barfing place), new throw rugs (awesome!), or any expensive carpet. They rarely puke up their hairballs in easy to clean places like tiled floors. If they do, it's an accident.

Watch your slippers and shoes too.....prime puke real estate!

you are going to be a good kitty friend.

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Response to JanMichael (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:27 AM

14. This is a riot - but let's get to another important question

Is she going to claw up my beautiful white brocade arm chair, or my sofa, or my carpet? I got my eyes closed now. Go ahead and answer.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #14)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 01:07 AM

18. If you have furniture you love, get a good scratching post

We have one in every room and when we got out our new couches, the first corner they scratched, the scratching post went right by it. My cats sort of like an "entrance scratch" sort of I'm walkin in here now, I'll scratch, stretch and then lay down to sleep. The post didn't have to stay there forever, just until they associated scratching with the post.

I recommend the SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post because it's tall enough for them to stretch. Some cats also prefer horizontal scratching pads or carpet covered places. They also like to be up high and look down or look out, so cat shelves or a cat tree are great, or a window seat for cats. As long as cats have an alternate place they are trained to scratch, they'll leave the furniture alone.

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Response to JanMichael (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 01:14 AM

19. Prime Puke Real Estate!



Mine like the hallway or the stairs, so when you are sleepy or barefooted in the morning, you are sure to find it. ewwww. We have maine coons too which = lots of hairballs. I'm childfree, but I figure no one gets through life without experiencing at least a little puke.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #19)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 01:21 AM

22. Too funny

When I was just outside a few minutes ago, I noticed Nikita was trying to rub up against the iron railing to scratch herself. She is probably getting itchy, itchy from the soon arrival of spring. Cheyenne certainly is. I thought about taking the cat scratcher out on the porch, but it is raining. It that got wet, it probably would be ruined, right?

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 11:47 PM

11. is kitty in heat?

Sure sounds like it with screeching and disappearing, and other cats hanging around.

Kitty may not have been pregnant when she came to you, but she will be before long!

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Response to grasswire (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:29 AM

15. Now exactly how would I know, grasswire?

That is why I have you guys, to tell me about these things. Go ahead.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #15)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 07:20 PM

28. It's March, and she's outdoors.

Unless she's been spayed she either is pregnant or will soon be.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:16 AM

12. Hey Samantha - thanks for the "Part 2" :)

Glad to hear she'll be getting spayed. She may already be spayed - we started caring for a skittish (but obviously a former pet) cat a while back; caught her and took her to the vet and he shaved her little belly only to find she'd been spayed already, and someone had probably just dumped her... (found her a good home with a fellow DUer).

Re puking, some cats do it a LOT. We have two cats who are part Maine Coon and have very long fur; they seem to be continually producing furballs. We have another short haired male who eats too fast and often barfs it back up. And then we have two other short haired females who puke very rarely, but because cats groom so often, it's inevitable. If Nikita becomes an indoor only cat, you'll want to provide her with some cat grass - easy to buy already grown at PetCo-type stores, but I prefer to buy cat grass seeds and have a few cat-grasses going in pretty flower pots around the house. They last about a week or two, then I pitch the old, straggly, dying grass and plant fresh seeds so there's always one flowerpot full of cat grass for them to chew on.

And re the two other ferals that showed up -- it's hard to turn away creatures looking for food. I feed at least one other feral who is so wild I can't even get a good look at him - but I put the food away from the house, always in the same place - somewhere somewhat sheltered - we have a copse of trees across from our house and I put out kibble in two bowls every afternoon. I don't want the cats associating my house with food but I also want to help supplement whatever else they get. We live in a very rural area with lots of mice, moles, etc. so there is plenty of prey, but some kibble n ever hurts!


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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #12)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:39 AM

16. This is a sincere question

How do you know you are not feeding the mice or rats? We had some under a house on this street, and they were very hard to get rid of. But other than that, I am not sure if you focused on that part about my neighbor walking her boxer told me one of the cats "stalks" her dog. I immediately conjured up a mental picture of me walking Cheyenne and the Carmel-colored cat doing that to her. My neighbor referred to this cat as an "attack cat." She lives up the street and has a home, so I would think her owner would be feeding her.

The black cat has not been back for the last two days.

You are welcome for this thread. Someone sent me a message today and said she missed getting the updates on the old thread, so I started this one. I was kind of polarized for three days after the two cats were hanging here and she left and was gone. I just couldn't talk about that on that thread. I wasn't sure I would ever see her again.

I really, really love this cat. Never thought I would "hear" myself say that.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #16)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 01:19 AM

21. We have a problem with raccoons and skunks

I feed them early in the morning to make sure to bypass all the nocturnal animals.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #16)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 07:02 PM

27. I love all my kitties very much. They do tend to work their way into your heart...

The issue here is raccoons and other nocturnal wildlife. I am not even remotely a morning person; I'm usually up very late at night. I put kibble out around 3-4 pm when I'm heading into my office. The other feral cat I fed for years used to show up around 7-8 p.m. and then the raccoons would start foraging later, so my feral at the time usually got a good meal.

The one I'm leaving food out for now is like a shadow - I don't even know if s/he is getting the food I leave out but at least the opportunity is there. I saw him/her a few nights ago on our porch, staring in the window at one of our cats - I put food out immediately as soon as I saw this cat, but s/he took off like a shot, and never returned for the food - it was still there 12 hours later. So, this cat is VERY feral -- like I said, I just hope he or she has found the kibble stash I put out in the woods - probably somewhere s/he feels safer eating because humans are obviously very scary to this cat ...

Sweet kitties. They're wonderful companions. Thanks for caring so much, Samantha.

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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #12)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 01:36 AM

25. I just remembered something

I saw Nikita eating grass on the walk. I wondered then if she did it for the same reason Cheyenne has done it, to help her stomach.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #25)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 03:37 PM

26. Mine loves kohlrabi leaves

Whenever I get some from friend's organic garden, he is ripping them off before I can even get them out of the bag. He likes them more than fresh catnip. Of course, he eats too much of them and then ends up puking them out.

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Response to Mnpaul (Reply #26)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 06:10 PM

31. I am saving post of these threads to my journal

so I can keep track of good hints I have been given by people like you.

Thanks.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:27 AM

13. Awwww...so glad to hear things are progressing. What happened to the big mean gray cat?

At least I think it was grey.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #13)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 12:44 AM

17. That cat was not really gray -- it turned out to be Carmel-colored

I didn't know that until I saw her completely in the daylight. She is what my neighbor describes as an "attack cat." If you check out the rest of this thread, you will see why. She is not a feral cat but lives up the street. She has not been back since Nikita returned from running away, but I still carry a flashlight and check under the bushes before I step out with Cheyenne. (Nikita continues to follow us on the walks. Today she surprised me, and actually passed us up!

I went to look for a water gun, but I could not find any. My renter downstairs told me it is to early for kids to be using them.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #17)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 08:49 PM

29. I think WalMart has water guns. But I have several cheapo plastic containers...

that squirt water. You can find them at Target or any discount store. Large ones, small ones, ones that squirt only a sorta-high-pressure stream, and ones where the tip turns so you can change it from a stream to a spray.

I have one in the bedroom (water + fabric softener to spray on clothes for wrinkles, and for ironing), one in my laundry area for general purpose, one I use for gardening chemicals spray (organic preferably), and I couple extra which are small (you'd find these handy) - I got those somewhere real cheap like $1.00 (Dollar General maybe? Target in the area where you buy trial sizes of things? On sale at Target maybe?).

Since they're round, they're not as handy to carry, though.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 01:18 AM

20. I have two important questions to ask you cat-savvy DU'ers

Someone suggested I carry a squirt gun to shoot at the two cats if they approached again. But since my neighbor told me about the Carmel-colored cat "stalking" her and her boxer on walks, I have wondered if the cat does that in retaliation for her shooting him or her with her spray bottle she carries. The Carmel-colored cat has not hissed at Cheyenne or attempted to claw her, but if that happened I would probably croak. Cheyenne has absolutely no defensively maneuvers, and being blind, she couldn't even see what was happening. So do you think cats when pelted with water guns might try to retaliate?

I run a humidifier in my house because Cheyenne and I both have allergies. If Nikita does comes in, will a humidifier make her susceptible to feline pneumonia? Or is that simply a disease that is transmitted other ways?

I am thinking someone here knows the answers to these questions.

I just came back in from petting her, after which she turned around and spotted Cheyenne sleeping on the rug. She walked up closely to the screen door, stared at her, and started wagging her tail. I am sure Cheyenne is very different from the animals she has been running around with because Cheyenne is very calm and easy-going. I thought it was neat that Nikita wagged her tail at her.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #20)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 01:23 AM

23. I think a squirt gun is a good idea actually

Does this carmel cat have unusually large jowels or look very sturdy for a cat? Sound like an unfixed tom male. But I don't think the cat is attacking the dog because of the squirt gun, and I would sure run off any animal that was attacking your helpless dog. A squirt gun sounds like a good idea.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #23)

Tue Mar 19, 2013, 01:30 AM

24. That cat has no fear

I tried to scare it off when it planted itself under the bushes that one night. It just stared me in the eyes unwaveringly as if to ask, "Why are you going to do?" It is a big cat and I would say it looks sturdy, but I am not sure if it has large jowls. But that night, that cat came right up on the porch after I tried to scare it off, and it kept staring at Nikita who has learned to hide in her igloo and wail. She knows if I hear the wail, I will come running. She has trained me right, and she knows it!!! The Black Cat was the same way. It had no fear. But that cat has not been back for a couple of days.

My neighbor told me he saw the cat standing on the porch again early in the morning staring into the igloo.

Leaving the porch light on seems to have helped as well. Both of those cats liked appearing under cover of the darkness. I also leave the blinds partially up so the light from the living room I leave on shines onto the bushes.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 12:14 AM

30. Nikita might be having Carmel-colored kittens in a few weeks

I opened the door this evening and there was THAT CAT. Nikita was sitting on the porch, and he was just climbing the steps. I grabbed the flashlight and started shinning it right in his eyes, saying, Go, Go! He looked away from the light but did not budge. I started telling Nikita to get into Nikita's house. Nikita's House! Nikita's House! She finished cleaning herself, then ran down the steps. THAT CAT followed her. I followed THAT CAT. He caught with her and started taking care of business and she ran away. By the time I got out into the street, neither one was there.

She is going to the vet at the end of the month. Knowing what you know about THAT CAT, if the question comes up, what would you do?

We discussed this in the first thread, and I said if she was pregnant, I would let her have the kittens and find good homes for them. I probably will disappoint a lot of you in saying this, but I am not so sure I would feel that know knowing THAT CAT had fathered the kittens. I could not honesty recommend to anyone they adopt one of the kittens. My neighbor, in case you missed the post, refers to THAT CAT as an attack cat.

But Nikita is very small, looks like not quite a full-grown cat. THAT CAT is HUGE.

I know many of you will blame me for not taking her sooner, but the simple truth of the matter is that I could not afford to until the end of the month. So you could say this is my fault and you would be right.

Sam

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