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brenrae

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 #161 
My 2 cats that will use the litter box are exuberant. I have 2 litter boxes, and one is in the kitchen. I had to move it under the table because they kept getting litter in their water bowl. Harry also would go to town, we always said he was trying to dig a hole to China. It must be something about digging and feeling the sand between their paws maybe??? This will be the second time I will leave them all with the neighbor to care for them, but they know her, and she always stays and visits them so they don't get lonely. Sandy would sometimes do the not answering when I call him. Sometimes he would be out for 3 hours or more, and his usual amount of time is 30 minutes to an hour. I would get worried wondering if he is all right. But, then he comes back, his tail held high, and marches back through the door. I worry because we live on a busy road, and though I am sure he knows how to take care of himself, having had to do it for a few months, he is still my "child" and I get concerned about him, as I am sure you do when your babies don't come when you expect them to. I bet it made you smile to see Arabella rolling around and purring, she is so very content in her new home. Her and Ace are such happy kitties now with you for their mommy. I am glad they came out of their shell and are so active in their new home.
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #162 
Yes, brenrae, it seems like a lot of kitties really enjoy splashing around in the litter box... which is why the second one I bought is actually a storage container and about 3" deeper than a usual litter box.  My Julian, who left this world 11 months ago today :(, scattered litter about 2 1/2 feet around the shallower box- so much that I'd  scoop up about a cup with my bare hands.  What's new to me with the kids is the *height* that they're getting.  Cats in the wild bury  things economically, I've never seen a lion or tiger throwing dirt way over their head like at least one of these does.  Well, they are all different.  Oh yes, and like you I do get concerned when somebody, usually Arabella, doesn't show up as usual when I expect; imagination runs rampant.  But every time now that she comes in, she throws herself down on the rug and rolls back and forth for pets.  I've told her how *sad* it is that she is such a good athlete when she's outside, but when she comes in she keeps losing her balance and falling over.  She just curls her paws and blinks at me, she knows I'm joking.

A huge storm is predicted to arrive tomorrow night.  All the emergency services and utilities are beefing up with extra crews, public service announcements and severe weather warnings are in the newspapers and online.  Parts of this county could get up to 8 inches of rain, the rest between 2-5".  Winds will gust up to 70 mph, so major power outages are expected, besides flash floods, falling trees,  flooding of low areas and mud slides in steeper terrain.   So I thought I'd better put an update in now while it's possible.  Actually, there haven't been that many power outages here, and rarely for over 8 hours, but just in case.

The kids have been here 7 1/2 months.  It turns out that not even the little nature cat Arabella much likes rain (we've had about half a foot in the past week), so even she is spending a lot more time indoors, and she's mostly under the eaves when she's outside to stay dry.  Ace has apparently decided to nap away the months until spring; he's mostly inside sleeping somewhere- by the space heater, atop an antique treadle sewing machine, in the linen closet, on a chair.  Arabella, slender little girl that she is, is eating out of boredom: about every hour or hour and a half she meows and leads me to the food cupboard for a snack... so she gets about 8 pieces of some dry treat each time.  This is the first autumn of their lives that they've been able to go outside, I don't know how they got through all the other rainy seasons when they were kept strictly indoors.  

Night after night, when I call her in around sunset, she appears in less than a minute.  If it's a wet day, she's already waiting on the door mat, or has already come in even before sunset.   When I open the door for one or both of them and don't get quick results, all I have to say now is the introductory "Count of five".  I don't have to count any more; they decide immediately whether to go in or out or stay where they are when I say that.  Some people might consider these gifted kitties, but every cat who's ever lived here could count to five, it seems pretty normal to me.

A few days ago I turned around when I heard rattling.  Ace had been sleeping on the sewing machine, he'd walked over and rattled the wooden shutters I'd closed over the single pane windows to keep some of the cold out.  So, I opened them for him.  There wasn't even a bird out there, he just wanted to look out at the sky and fence, I guess.  He's obviously confident enough to ask for whatever he wants.  And gets it, I'm a pretty indulgent cat mother.

He is now a bed kitty over 90% of the time!  Not so much an under the covers cuddler, we have love sessions first, then he settles down for the night on the other pillow. Arabella is much more variable.  About half the nights I never even see her on the bed, or in the bedroom.  The past four or five nights, though, at some point she comes onto the bed and gets between Ace and me.  So then my head is against her on one side and Ace is pressed against her on the other side, all three of us on less than three feet of pillow.  I rarely hear her actually purr, but since she's a cat, she wouldn't be there if she wasn't happy to be.  By day she's begun to actually let me pet her about half the time, instead of ducking under my hand like she did for months during the day.

Whenever somebody comes to the door, the kids immediately look to see what they can.  I'm amazed that they didn't become permanent "hiders" after doing that for seven long months at their original home after their mommy died.

It's been 13 years since I've had closely bonded cats here, and it is so cute and endearing to watch them play together, groom each other, and sleep together in a kitty pile like they're doing now next to the space heater.

I never got a new heating system after that exorbitant  $33,600 estimate two days before Julian died, and got through last winter fine with a space heater and using the clothes dryer more than usual.  If we get a power outage, the house will be cooler, but the kids have each other and fur coats: it'll be the same as if they lived in Europe in a house without central heating. And maybe they'd like it if I brought out the down comforter for the bed, too. :)

So our first winter together begins,they're happy and healthy, they're loving to each other and me, and they are just so adorably cute every single minute.



 
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #163 
This was the kids' first Christmas here.  I don't "do" Christmas at all, not a single decoration, so to them it was just another wintry day.  

Being close to the end of the year, it's pretty usual to take stock of the year that's about to end.  Last year at this time, Julian and I were together and happy, even though I nor the vet knew the cancer had returned, and that he would be leaving this world in two weeks.  The kids were alone in their house, except for each other, still mourning the loss of Mary, their original human mommy.  People were coming in every other day to feed them, but no one saw them nor was able to pet them because they were so scared and  hiding.  No one would be able pet them until I arrived in April and did that, which was months in the future.

One year later, as I was musing on this in an email, Arabella was curled up asleep on the cat chair next to me, getting little pets as she napped.  Then Ace jumped onto the desk and began purring as he butted against my shoulder, fell over onto the mousepad, and was petted and talked to.  This is so much better for them than last year. And I'm so glad that they're here.

At this point, I'm "writing over" all those sad unhappy days of last year with the love and attention I give them every day, a year later.

Arabella had a long session of chasing her tail this afternoon, circling in both directions, making dives for it, rolling over and trying to catch it as she rolled.  Although she and Ace will be 7 this coming spring, her inner kitten is alive and well. She is such a happy and silly little girl.

Since my last entry, the drought has ended for this county: we got about 16 inches of rain this month, all our reservoirs are now full.  The kids barely went outside at all, sometimes they'd watch it rain, but mostly they just slept and kept asking for little snacks all day long.  Arabella as usual spent more time outside than Ace, but not a lot: there's not much to do under the patio eaves, so often she was in for the day by 3 pm.   I don't think they've ever seen rain like this before, for sure they never have been out in it. The way they look at me, I get the impression they think it is somehow my fault, that I ought to be able to stop it somehow; my explanations that this is normal and a good thing don't seem to be sinking in very quickly.

They're in a kitty pile on the cat chair as I write this, waiting for dinner, all of us in petting range of each other, our little family. Yes, they are happy now, all those sad months are fading from their memory.







brenrae

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 #164 
I am glad they are settling in so well. And this will be a new year with new possibilities for you and your little family. Keep the updates coming. They do like to give you that look that says it is your fault when the weather doesn't agree with them. Harry used to do it to me all the time, and now Sandy does. Because somehow I brought on the rain. We should be ashamed of ourselves, huh? LOL
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #165 
A new year has begun.  This thread has now had 4,981 hits(!).

brenrae, if we really could control the weather like our cats think  we can, we'd be rich, lol.  As it turned out, once the reservoirs were full, it hasn't rained since, so I haven't had any more reproachful looks.  Oddly, the kids don't seem to think I'm in charge of the temperature.

In my last update I wrote that I was now "writing over" sad days for the kids, now, since my Julian cat left this world 1/9/2014, I'm writing over sad days for myself as well.  On Friday the kids will have been here for 9 months.

This time last year was 12 days since losing Julian.  The house was silent, I was crying in my sleep every night and would be for several more weeks, besides all the tears and sadness all day long in an empty house with no heat. January 21 of last year, the kids had lost their original human mommy four months earlier.  They may have still been mourning her, no one had been able to pet them after she died, they wouldn't be pet again until I visited them in April and was able to do that.  I doubt if either of them ever purred during those 7 months.  We didn't know each other existed.  At least they had each other and were in familiar surroundings.

Today began with Ace coming up from the foot of the bed for a morning love session.  He purred and kneaded and kept giving me little short meows, and occasionally kissing me.  He fell over on his side for more pets as he lay against me, curling his front paws in the air.  Arabella came in to watch from the chair next to the door.  They followed me to the kitchen for breakfast, then hung around waiting for it to be 8 am so they could go out.  Both were back inside within half an hour.  They've spent the day taking turns coming in to ask for snacks, or to go out, or in Arabella's case to follow her to the living room.  She throws herself onto her side on the rug for petting; she wants my undivided attention for that. She rolls back and forth and curls her front paws happily when I pet her, or when she's lying in the sun indoors or outside. Their tails are held high wherever they go, they confidently ask for whatever they want... and usually get it.  I have decades of experience as a cat valet so didn't require additional training when they arrived.

This is a much more normal and much happier life for all of us.  I still don't know how much either weighs, sigh.  It worked better when I put the baby scales on the kitchen counter and then put Ace on the platform.  The one time the needle was steady- I discovered one of his front paws was on the counter!  So he weighs something over 14.6 pounds.  The little cat girl barely tolerates being picked up and then only a few seconds of being held before she tries to get down.  She's so much smaller I figure she weighs 2/3 of what he does, or conversely he weighs half again as much as she does.    

They are so interested in everything.  Friday night well after dark someone knocked on the door.  The kids had been sleeping next to the space heater: both trotted at high speed to look out the window next to the front door.  I wasn't about to open my door to an unknown person when it was pitch dark so didn't go to the door at all, but they were curious.  

Even though both of them have access to the outdoors, a six foot cat tree and two shorter ones, and a sisal-wrapped board, they are destroying a living room wing chair.  It originally belonged to my parents, so is somewhere over 40 years old and has always been in a house with cats.  It had some damage when the kids arrived, now it has a lot more.  About half the time when he comes in, Ace goes over to take a few swipes at the chair.  One evening I was sitting there reading and realized that *both* of them were sharpening their claws on it, one on each side.  I said "Kids!!!" in astonishment  and they both stopped... for the moment.   The damage doesn't show much from the front, anyway, but the chair's basically wrecked.  It's not an heirloom so it won't be recovered.  I don't actually mind, and would never have a cat declawed (how barbaric), but this is going faster than ordinary wear and tear.  Oh well.  It is so nice to have kitties again.

Ace for months has been giving me a little meow, a thank you and/or a greeting, when I let him in.  Now he's added a quick rub against my leg to that, so endearing.

There is still no set nighttime ritual. Ace is nearly always the first onto the bed, he sleeps in different places different nights.  Usually the little cat girl joins us in half an hour or so, she sleeps in different places on different nights as well.  Luckily for me, there is almost always at least one cat on the bed, somewhere.  :)

Before writing this update I reread the first pages of this nearly gargantuan thread.  The kids were so scared and unhappy, both for the 7 months they were mostly alone in their original home and the first month here, and now they are so happy and self-confident.  It really is an amazing difference.  I'm so glad we have each other now.




brenrae

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 #166 
It sounds like they are settling in nicely. And, I can picture them walking around so confident with their surroundings and holding their tail up high to let the world know that this is their place. I try to take mine to get their claws trimmed every few months at the vet's office, but, like you, I would never have them declawed. The one arm of my couch shows the wear and tear of them sharpening their claws. My daughter has moved back in, and she as a 8 month old kitten, so at this time we are trying to get them used to each other. There was a lot of hissing in the beginning but not so much now, except between her and Jinx. I am hoping those two will become friends, since they are the closest in age. Have you ever had to introduce a new one into your family, and how did you get them to get along?
brenrae

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 #167 
Thursday night I was thinking about how scared and confused Ace and Arabella must of been after their first human had passed away. I was thinking how lucky that you and they were to find each other, and that you was able to open your home to them. I am sure they are so much more confident now that they are being cared for and loved by you. Yes, you and they were all lucky and blessed for now you have each other. Thinking about how alone, scared and confused they must of been made me want to cry, but, knowing they now have a warm and loving home made me smile.  
LoveHimForever

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Posts: 223
 #168 
Kamc22,

You are such a kind person to take in these two sweeties! It was a miracle that you intervened when you did, as they must have been very distressed after 7 months. It sounds like you are all well on your way to having a lovely life together. ;-)

Brenrae,

We kept our cats in separate rooms for about two weeks when introducing the new one. Every day, we would put them in the other room -- switching -- but not let them see each other. Sometimes we would slightly crack the door for a few minutes. Then we'd put some toys under the door, so they would start to play. Eventually they were more curious than threatened, which is the whole idea.

It worked!
InMemoryOfRascal

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Posts: 2,422
 #169 
Aww, I loved catching up on your two babies.  I remember those early days when you thought they hated you.  LOL  Looking back at the progress has to fill your heart with even more joy.  The three of you needed each other - and helped to put each others hearts back together a little piece at a time.

Thank you for continuing to update everyone on your family.  Makes me smile!

Take care
InMemoryOfRascal
Nicole
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #170 
The kids have now been here 9 1/2 months, this thread has had 5,288 hits which shows what an extensive following Ace and Arabella have.

Brenrae, thank you for your *two* replies.  Yes, the furniture of cat lovers can get a distinctive look.  I've still not taken the kids to the vet; getting them into the carrier would be a ghastly experience, but I have had cats' claws trimmed by the vet in the past.  Far as introducing a new kitty, I tend to be cautious and slow, keeping them separate for days, then closely supervising when they meet.   Some people have had very good luck introducing them within a matter of hours. I think a kitten would be easier to introduce; it's not a "threat" like a grown cat, and felines seem to be remarkably tolerant of young ones.  On the first or maybe the second page of this thread, before I brought the kids here, someone who's fostered a lot of cats gave some detailed advice that you may find helpful.

Yes, the kids had a very sad past after losing their original human, Mary.  From getting a huge amount of attention, suddenly they got none at all, and spent months getting more and more upset and unhappy.  I don't know why they so immediately began that  hiding business, it made things much worse for them, getting no human interaction at all.  Well, that is in the past now!

LoveHimForever, thanks for your kind words.  I think I found the kids in the nick of time; as it was, they were here for a month before either purred again.  I'm glad they hadn't forgotten how during all those months they were basically alone except for each other.

Nicole, yes the kids are coming along very nicely.  I don't recall thinking that they actively hated me, I thought all that spitting and scratching (only from Ace, Arabella has never scratched me) was because they were really scared.  But even knowing that, it still hurt my feelings to be on the receiving end.   Plus, I took it as a hopeful sign that I was the first- and only- person who'd ever been able to pet them after they lost their original human.  We very definitely needed each other, and now we're a family again. :)

Cat phases.  I put the velvet pillow and throw from their original home on the fireplace seat at the end of summer.  For literally months neither used it.  Then Arabella began napping there and spending the nights on the pillow instead of with me.  Then Ace joined her on the velvet pillow.  They slept for hours there, day and night, for well over a week.  A cyber-friend assured me they weren't sleeping there because they suddenly missed their original human, it was just another phase.  She was right.

The current phase is atop the clothes dryer.  Of course one of them immediately discovered the freshly dried clothes atop it and bedded down.  That remains their default napping spot after almost two weeks.  Since they liked that pile I never put things away; it's mostly nightwear so wrinkles and cat hairs don't matter.  

Ace has begun sitting on top of the patio table, even laying on it.  I wouldn't have thought a cold metal table in the shade would be that comfortable, but he seems to like looking down on the patio, a different perspective.  So now the little cat girl has begun getting up there as well.   They never were on it at all last summer or fall.

I found out what Arabella weighs!  For months a baby scale has been sitting on the floor out of the way for the kids to get used to it.  I saw her sitting on the platform exactly once, perfectly still: she is a petite little girl who weighs precisely 9 pounds.  Ace is 14.6 lbs., plus however much more didn't get registered because he had one paw on the counter.  At least I can now get some good flea stuff for her.

Two days ago Arabella began doing something so adorable.  She was walking towards me with her tail up, and I spoke to her (which I don't always do).  Instantly her tail went up higher!  Every time I talk to her now, her tail immediately goes higher.  For all that she doesn't ask for nor get nearly as much attention as her brother, she's clearly happy that I'm her mommy.  Almost all of the attention she gets is when she leads me into the living room, throws herself down on the rug and begins rolling back and forth to be petted.  She curls her paws in delight, and like her brother she enjoys having her tummy petted.  She'd get a lot more attention if she were to hang out with me when I'm on the computer, but she's not doing that now.

Somehow Ace knows when it's Thursday.  That was the day I lost my Julian cat 56 weeks ago, and I realize it's been another week usually within minutes of waking up.  Somehow, Ace manages to be there when I do, and he often stretches out along my side so that I'm not alone missing The King of All Bed Kitties.  He's not Julian, but he's a big magnificent purring cat angel right next to me- so infinitely better than how it was this time last year with nobody else in the house.  And so much better for him to be petted again from morning to night, instead of how it was for him and his sister last February.

After the driest January in over a century (we got maybe 2/100 inch of rain), a dramatic storm came in night before last.  Not only was it a very wet day, but the wind was gusting to 60 mph in this town, and rain was hitting the windows from all directions as the day wore on.  The kids carefully stayed on the leeward side of the house, neither ventured out from under the eaves, neither stayed out more than 15 minutes at a time.  This is by far the windiest weather we've had since they arrived here, and though they sampled it, the pile of clothes atop the dryer was much more appealing.

And  they really may be close to genius cats.  Every single evening, they appear on the door mat just before sunset (if not earlier).  They know when it's time to come in, I haven't had to call either of them since... last year.  Being cats, there is one evening about every two months when somebody doesn't come right in, even then it's only an hour later than I'd like. My two furry children.





kamc22

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 #171 
Today is the 10 month anniversary of the kids arriving here.  It being Monday, I kept them in since my volunteer job has me away from the house for five hours, which is way too long for them to be outside.

When I got home, they rather leisurely both went out when I opened the door for them.  Used to be they'd dash to the door from wherever they were, not wanting to miss a minute of being outside.  I was absolutely charmed how both came in again 10 minutes later.  By then I was having soup and reading in Ace's "shredding chair."  They kept butting against my shins, or lay a few feet away from me on the rug when they could have been outdoors.  I think they missed me, and that they chose to be near me even though I would have understood if they wanted outside time. 

Then after a few more brief in and outs, they both were in for the day by 4 pm, even though they could have stayed out until about 5:45 pm, now that the days are getting longer.  Tails being a good barometer of a cat's moods, it's very clear that both Ace and Arabella are *always* happy; I don't recall the last time either was walking around and their tail wasn't straight up in the air, or in Ace's case so far forward it almost touched his shoulders.  Yep, two happy cats live here.  And one human who is very happy to have them here!
goofygirlinva

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 #172 
I just love reading your updates. It is so wonderful to read how both you and Ace & Arabella are so happy. Isn't it wonderful to see our cats confident and happy, walking around with their tails straight up in the air? My youngest cat (Bud) has done that for all his life. Since 3 of my 4 cats are all black, whenever Bud walks by I know it is him without having to look at his collar or whiskers simply because he is the only one in the house that always walks with his tail straight up in the air, LOL!

This has been an incredible journey for all of you. I am so glad you found each other and are such a happy, content household...

Take care,
- Kelly
Blackie's mom

kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #173 
We do have such cute furry children, Kelly.  Your Bud and my Ace and Arabella are so endearing about showing us they are more than content, they're downright happy.  Ace even keeps his tail up when he is lying next to me sphinx-style on the bed, which must take some special muscular control, I've not seen that very often- until he came here.  Lately I've been rereading the first few pages of this thread, when the kids were so scared and unhappy and hadn't had any love for months after their original human died.  If I hadn't put in so much detail about their gradual adjustment to living here, no one would believe that these are the same two orphans who arrived last spring.  

Arabella, the little 9 lb. gymnast cat, has an exuberance of good spirits.  Some time in the wee small hours this morning, she woke from where she was sleeping atop the cat tree.  The top platform is over 6 feet above the floor.  On that platform, she began chasing her tail. I was half holding my breath, watching major kitty parts go over the edge as she played.  At one point the entire tree tipped, it didn't go far because it hit the bed and landed upright again.  Ace was wakened by the tree hitting the bed and looked up at her, one ear went the tiniest little bit back in annoyance.  Not that any cat has trouble getting back to sleep.

The kids voluntarily came in for the day around 3:30, even though there are over two more hours of daylight.   A normal person, which I apparently am not, would figure they now take it for granted that they can go out during the day, maybe the novelty is wearing off.  But, fretting cat mommy that I am, today I began wondering if lately they are seeing a strange creature in the yard and have chosen to stay safely inside.  A few times I've seen them both looking intently in the same direction but haven't seen anything.  

Thank goodness for kitties, life would not be the same without them.
goofygirlinva

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 #174 
I'm sorry I'm so late in responding to this - I must have missed it with all of the drama in my life this past week, LOL!

I loved reading your account of Arabella and her amazing gymnastics! :-) I have a cat tree in my house that is pretty much floor to ceiling with a couple of platforms on it. Bud & Rufus are the ones that use it the most, and both are quite the jumpers and acrobats as they leap in and out of it and play all around it. Bud in particular likes to play with her tail when she is on top of one of the platforms. Thankfully the tree is large enough with a wide enough base that the cats haven't been in danger of tipping it over. But they sure do love the tree, especially since I've put it smack in front of the sliding glass door that goes out to my deck. I've also attached 2 bird feeders to the exterior of the sliding glass door. All of the cats seem to like to camp out in or near the tree as they watch the birds go to and from the feeders and the squirrels eat the seed that has been dumped from the feeders to the deck. Bud has a cute little chirp and his teeth also clatter a bit whenever he sees the birds. It is so adorable to watch and it is great Cat TV for them throughout the day. I've even put kitty beds in front of the door so they can doze as they watch the birds and also catch some sunshine. Win win for all of them, just like it is a win win for your kids as they go in and out of the house and enjoy themselves in the security of their new home.

You're right - life would not be the same without them. :-)

- Kelly

Kril

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Posts: 79
 #175 
But this was started four years ago. Not minimizing your reply, but I'm curious. Why do some people today not get replies to others of four years ago.
goofygirlinva

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 #176 
Krill, I'm not sure what you mean when you say this was started 4 years ago? You might be reading the date incorrectly - I believe this thread was started last April, not April 2011...

- Kelly
Blackie's mom
AmandaWI

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Posts: 1,415
 #177 
I am still enjoying your periodic updates about Ace and Arabella, although I haven't replied in quite some time I read here regularly.  I really need to become more involved here again.  I can assume that you decided to keep Ace's name by this point?  I have to say that I wish more people would post about their new loves, I truly live vicariously as a pet parent through your descriptions of daily life.  Maybe someday I will be lucky enough to share my life with a beloved pet again but until then I so enjoy hearing about the antics of others.  Pass on some love to them from me. 

Amanda
Kodiak & Bailee's mom
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #178 

Ten days from now will be the 11 month anniversary of the kids arriving here.  Sadly, their original human died 18 months ago tomorrow, and my Julian has been gone for 14 months this past Monday.  All of us had some sad times, tragic, but now there are two cute confident kitties living with a happy human who loves them and remains so grateful that they are here. 

Kelly, oops on me-- with the name "Bud", I hadn't realized this is a girl kitty.  Or maybe not- please dispel my confusion: your post of 2/24 refers to Bud as "he", the one of 3/1 as "she".  Wonderful cat angel either way, of course!  It sounds as if we have similar cat trees; this one would have to be knocked more than a foot sideways at the top for it to fall, which is more than any of the feline residents have been able to do.  I like your idea of putting bird feeders out so the kids can watch live TV, lol. 

Amanda, welcome back!  Um, I'd still like to change Ace's name to something elaborate: looking for something that has at least three syllables, starts with "A" and doesn't have an sss sound in it.  Wherever I've looked hasn't worked.  Luckily he is a very patient guy.  Of course you will some day again have a furred one, time is on your side.

At the start of the month, Arabella had her first kill: a little fledgling that landed on the patio.  Although I eat chicken easily four days a week, I was somewhat squeamish watching her kill it and play with it afterwards.  I opened the door to let Ace in- and quick as a wink she picked up the bird and ran inside to put it on the living room rug.  A while later I came back, and no bird.  I never saw it again, despite looking under all the furniture in three different rooms more than once.   Monday morning I found a claw, feathers and a beak on the rug.  That night she got onto the bed on my legs and purred madly whenever I pet or talked to her,  and I thought it was a new phase.  Next morning, she slept through breakfast, which kitties sometimes do.  By 4:30 I was worried, then she got up and roamed around a little.  Next morning I took her to the vet.

She had a temperature, Xrays showed no hard foreign bodies in her GI tract, but the vet suspected some feathers and there was a lot of gas.  She had an infection hence the fever and "doesn't feel very good".  I protested to the vet that  "cats have been eating birds, rodents and lizards for hundreds of thousands of years, so I thought their systems had adjusted to their diet by now."  [That night I learned on Wikipedia that cats evolved from a common ancestor 8 million years ago, so I drastically understated the time frame.]  The vet said that's mainly true, but occasionally it happens that something a cat eats punctures it inside- and it can even die.


This may be the same kind of quirky "luck" that's happened before.  Houston had a collapsing trachea, I distinctly remember when  the vet came into the examination room shaking his head and half smiling in disbelief after he caught the image on X-Ray and told me.  Some online veterinary websites  claim there is no such thing at all in cats, that's how rare it is in felines.  Yes there is.  And my Julian had a cancer so rare that the pathologist's report noted only a few cases have *ever* been reported.   Theoretically if I kept the kids strictly indoors this wouldn't have happened... unless she ate a rodent, sigh, occasionally a really stupid one comes into this house.

She was given Laxatone to pass whatever was left of the bird, subq fluids to rehydrate her, a shot of antibiotics, and a tummy soother was added to her sub q fluids.  A few hours later she was bopping around on the patio, went over the fence into the next yard, her tail was held high.  It took her about a day longer to start eating again than the vet said.  It wasn't "impressive" eating, but since she is such a little feather (no pun intended), for her 2 oz. of canned food is a meal.  For a week I was giving her a dropperful of Clavamox antibiotic and half a Pepcid to soothe her tummy twice a day.  She was incredibly "good" about it: her ears always went back, but she never made a sound, never raised a claw to me.  I'd stroke her throat afterwards, holding her chin up to make sure everything went down, until her ears were upright again.  Such a brave little girl.  This never could have happened in their first months here, they were just so skittish and upset for months after they arrived.

Wednesday night the dosing was done, thank goodness for all of us.  Oh- and then Ace went off his food quite a bit, too.  It seems very unlikely that he ate part of the bird and also got sick, so more likely he was worried about his sister and was picking up on my worry as well.  Now they're both doing fine again.  That was a $325 bird; hopefully she associates getting sick with eating the bird and won't do it again.

Yesterday Ace had a bit of a problem.  I'd tossed the canvas tote bag on the floor by the space heater, since the kids like to lie on it.  He decided he wanted to get into it.  He would have fit, but he tried to go in through one of the handles.  Next thing I knew he was dragging the tote with a handle around his middle.  It took only seconds for me to gently push his forelegs out of the handle, then it easily came off over his head.  He was so calm about it.  

It reminded me of my Bartholomew.  One day I dashed into the house after planting flowers, and there he was patiently laying on the entry hall mat with a shopping bag string handle around his neck.  He'd got into the cupboard where the bags are stored, apparently.  I barely touched the string, and it tightened around his neck.  He could have choked himself struggling.  But instead of struggling or panicking, he calmly walked over to and lay down on the mat and patiently waited for me to come in.  I had to cut it off him with scissors, that's how tight it was.  He was so trusting and calm and sweet.  No wonder I still miss him.  Ace was just as calm and trusting.  Somehow, by some miracle, I keep getting incredibly sweet angel cats who do amazing things.

This morning Ace was a bit klutzy.  He's had a number of "love fits" before, where he falls off the computer desk butting against me and purring. Somehow I've always managed to catch him.  This morning he fell off the bathroom counter as I was on the commode.  Poor baby, that's not happened before.  He accidentallly scratched my arm on the way down, and embarrassed himself enough to run out of the room.   It was over before I had a chance to catch him.  I don't understand how he can get so distracted: this is the cat who can leap to the top of a six foot fence which is only inches wide, he never slips there, then falls off  the sink unit which he's been on hundreds of times. Cats are amazing and mysterious.

Now, love-starved guy that he is, he's collapsed on the computer desk, his rather substantial kitty rump is covering about 3/4 of the mouse pad. Of course he is purring even though dinner wasn't much of a hit with either of them.

Although spring doesn't officially begin until a week from tomorrow, it's been going into the mid 70's (way warmer than average).   So this is the kids' first spring that they have been outside.  They are so cute communing with nature on the patio, on the fence, getting onto the roof.  And yet often they are in for the day long before sunset, which is my deadline for them, before wild varmints come out.  Today was trash day, and both of them, taking turns, supervised me putting the collections cans out, and then bringing them back in.  There is always a kitty or two supervising me when I do yard work.  I should be humiliated to say so- every single cat who has lived here in the past 31 years this month has supervised me--- but I seem never to have learned in all that time.

So, we are all on an even keel again, and won't need to go to the vet again for a looong time, we all hope!



goofygirlinva

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Posts: 1,082
 #179 
Hi Karen,

Wow, that was a bit of a scare with Arabella; I'm glad she is doing fine once again. As you said, hopefully she has learned her lesson and will not go after birds again. It was very cute how she brought her prize in to share it with you, LOL! Cats are so different with how they will eat their prey. When I first moved into the house, a little family of mice found their way into my house through the dryer vent. I had no idea I had mice until I heard a big CRASH in my utility/laundry room one afternoon. I went downstairs to see what had happened and found the insulation surrounding the dryer vent removed from the wall and strewn atop my dryer. I also found Squeeker on the floor in front of the dryer and a little mouse huddling up against the wall and the studs trying to be invisible (my utility room does not have drywall - it just has the wall studs and insulation in it). Apparently he had patiently rooted out the mouse nest and had caught one of the mice coming and going. That was my first clue that I had mice. :-)

Anyhow, over the course of the winter, Squeeker & Rufus caught at least 5 mice - I presume they got the parents plus whatever baby mice were living in the house. I watched both of them hunt and kill the mice. It was really fascinating to watch their predatory instincts on full display. This might sound kind of gross, but on a couple of separate occasions I also watched them eat the mice. I discovered Rufus likes to eat the whole thing (no big surprise there - he is quite the chow hound, LOL!), whereas Squeeker will leave the hands, the head, the liver and the tail, and he will leave them in a very neat and tidy package without any blood or other stuff that often comes with those things. I could generally tell which cat had been the primary predator based on whether I found any mice remains the next day. :-)

That was a couple of winters ago and I hadn't had any other critter problems until this past fall when one night I noticed a chipmunk on my deck feasting on the bird feed that had fallen onto the ground from the bird feeders that are on my deck. I remember all 4 cats were obsessed with something that was on my deck. I took a look to see what it was, and sure enough it was a chipmunk. Imagine my surprise when Bud managed to catch that chipmunk the very next night - he had figured out its entry point into the house (which is now completely sealed off) and proceeded to catch it. He was so proud of himself - he brought it upstairs to show me, and almost as soon as he put it at my feet, the other 3 cats snatched it away from him and went off to play with it. I felt so bad for Bud, but I never did find any chipmunk remains in the house (I went to bed as soon as the other cats grabbed the chipmunk and went down to the lower level of the house to play with it), so I presume Squeeker must have eaten the darned thing. ;-) Thankfully, none of my cats have ever gotten sick from eating critters. And also thankfully, my house is now completely critter-free (as far as I can tell!).

Oh, and you were initially correct about Bud - he is definitely a male cat. No female diva in him whatsoever. :-)

My Blackie's 7-year RB anniversary is in about 2 weeks. We never lived in a place where there were mice, so I never got to see him in full hunter mode. But I do know he was a stray before we found each other, so I am pretty sure he spent part of his life hunting birds and other things to eat. Thankfully he never had to worry about any of that after I brought him home to live with me. I sure do miss him, just as I know you miss all of those that have come before Ace & Arabella. We never stop missing them, no matter how much time has passed, do we?

Thanks again for such a wonderful update - please keep 'em coming! 
- Kelly
Blackie's mom



kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #180 
Hi Kelly,

I completely agree with you, it is fascinating to watch our cats' hunting instincts come out.  That concentration, the split second timing are so amazing.  We have "household lions", domesticated to some degree but still with the innate abilities bred into their race, that will emerge even without formal teaching.

Squeeker and Rufus were diligent, catching an entire family of rodents over a period of months.  It was a very poor choice of nest for the parents to have made, Darwinian precepts kicked in.  Your Squeeker is the wisest, carefully rejecting the worst parts of his prey.  I hadn't realized cats would leave the leftovers out so neatly in a pile like that, like he did.  My Bartholomew would bring in prey to eat on the rug... he'd bolt down everything, then come crying because his tummy hurt.  Luckily he'd upchuck all those parts he oughtn't to have swallowed in the first place.  It was just bad luck that Arabella had such a bad time eating what cats have eaten for a few million years now.  Sighs.

The adventures continue.  Earlier this week I found a section of twitching lizard tail on the patio, carefully observed by Arabella.  Another good hunt for her.  I never saw the rest of the lizard so surmise that it escaped.  She was cautious, hasn't eaten the tail in two days now; it looks like she learned from that bad experience so won't risk herself again like that.

Then a few nights ago, I couldn't find her, she didn't come in at sunset, didn't come ;when I called.  Ace seemed calm, I fed him dinner, kept calling her for hours.  At 9 pm, when it was pitch dark and the varmints would be out, I posted a LOst Cat notice on nextdoor.com, then emailed the Marin Humane Society with a "Lost Cat" message.  At 1:30 in the morning I woke up, went to the door and called her again.  IN the morning, no sign of her.

Then I thought to check in the book case/room divider against the living room wall.  Arabella quietly stepped out.  She'd been inside of it for about 18 hours.  I'd walked past her at least 20 times, she heard me calling her dozens of times... but never made a sound nor knocked over anything inside that would make a telltale thunk.  I was quietly panicking, so distraught for hours when she was just fine.

So......

                                                              ___FOR SALE___

                                                       One 9 pound female cat.

                                                       Striped version.  Cheap.


She *knew* I was looking for her and was upset.  So, I made myself to look like a complete fool and told all the nextdoor.com readers and the Humane Society that she'd been safely inside the whole time.  But if she *had* in fact been outside, time was of the essence, so I sent out alerts sooner rather than later.  So I refuse to consider myself a dolt for having sent out lost cat messages and then having to retract them.  SIgh.

Arabella seems to be happier than ever after these few weeks that have been so grueling for me worrying about her.  She trots outside, throws herself down on the patio, then rolls back and forth, curling her little white paws. Her sides are heaving as she purrs and smiles.  She's very happy with life, and that is what is most important.  

It is *infinitely* better for me to now have kitties again, they are cute and wonderful and beautiful.  And she and her brother are so much happier and loving and self-assured than they were last year at this time.  But, whine, whine, I could easily do without this kind of cat behavior....  Next week they will have been here for 11 months, and they have very definitely blossomed and bloomed  here, knowing they are loved, interested in their world, being devoted to me their second human mommy.  
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #181 
Thursday, April 23 was the one year anniversary of the kids arriving here.  This thread has had 6,107 hits.   I haven't told Ace and Arabella how many people are interested in them, lest it go to their heads.

April 17 I reminded them was the one year anniversary of the day I came into their lives.  Within minutes of entering their house I was able to pet Arabella, the first pet she'd had since their original human mommy, Mary, died seven months earlier.  April 19 I reminded Ace was the first time last year that I'd pet him, again the first pet he'd had since their loss.

April 23, one year to the day after they arrived here, Arabella "celebrated."  That night for the first time ever, as I was lying on my side curled up reading in bed, she lay down in the circle of my thighs and torso, put a forepaw on my arm, and purred quietly until she fell asleep being held.  She stayed there for three hours.  I could tell when she woke because her little paw would press against my arm and I could feel her claws the tiniest little bit... then she'd doze off again.  Finally, one year to the day of arriving here, she's begun to cuddle.

Both of them have been catching and eating insects and spiders, but nothing larger than that, that I know of.

Finally they are no longer compulsive about dashing out the door when I open it for them; they know they don't have to desperately grab for every single second of outside time, it will always be available.  Some mornings even Arabella doesn't go out until after 10 am.  At first I worried that she was ill, but she's just getting a more relaxed approach to going out.  Ace continues to spend more than half the day inside, even when the doors are open, and Arabella checks in at least twice an hour which she didn't do last summer sometimes.

Whenever I see them, their tails are held high as they go around the house or yard.  The sole exception is if they are stalking an insect, then they get sort of low to the ground (which would help if they were going through the grass of the savannah, but doesn't do much when they're on the patio), and their tails are low, too, as they focus on their prey.  At the moment, it being a very windy day, they are piled up together on a Purr Padd on the "shredding chair" in the living room.  They're still closely bonded though spending less time together than when they first arrived: back then all they had was each other as everything else in their life had changed, now they aren't scared and they have me who loves them.

They've now been here for four cat years (one calendar year is four years for an adult cat, according to the age calculator I've most often found online for felines).  So the unhappy 7 months after their human died are now four years in their past, and her death was about six cat years ago.  It's taken them quite a while to get over that traumatic chapter of their lives, and now by everything I know of to gauge a cat's mood, they're happy and contented all the time.

Ace is again moving the entry hall mat.  He's not just attacking it, once I saw him try to get under it, silly guy.  One or both of them is nearby supervising me whenever I'm out in the yard or on the patio, just as every other cat who ever was here did.  I must be the world's slowest learner if I still need supervision after 31 years!

Apparently, they are near-genius cats.  Everyone I've told has been incredulous about how they come in at night.  They know to come in by sunset, easily adjusting to the one minute a day change.  If they're not already inside, I step onto the patio and say "Kids..." very softly (not loud enough for ordinary conversation), and within s minute more usually in seconds, a small fleet of cats forms and they trot straight across the patio into the house.  Every single night!  At least among the people I've told about this, the consensus is that *some* dogs  might do that, but not cats.   Twice Arabella stayed out after dark, once Ace did, but the last time was in November.  I've actually called them maybe three times this year and it's now the last week of April.  As quickly as they appear, they must be hanging around nearby waiting for it to be time to come in, just out of sight.  It's about all I ask of them, and I think they understand that it's for their own safety.  Of course I pet and mightily praise them each evening when they come in.

Their appetites are good, although I don't know why these two prefer meals on the living room rug; the kitchen was good enough for all the other kitties who ever lived here, but not this pair.  Luckily it's a Persian-looking patterned rug so doesn't show little spots.   They are happy and affectionate, don't hesitate to come to me to ask for snacks, petting, or to open a door... sometimes they are demanding, but they do thank me by looking into my eyes, making a little meow, or butting against me.  What cuties they are.









brenrae

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Posts: 4,645
 #182 
It is so hard to imagine a whole year has gone by. They have become such confident little cats in your care, and they know they are loved. It is wonderful how much they have changed. I have 2 cats that don't always eat where I would like them, so I wait to see where they would like their food.  They have a way of letting you know what they want don't they? Like you, I don't let Sandy outside after it gets dark. They are good supervisors aren't they? :D It seems that when I clean, they all must watch to make sure that I do it right. I am glad that Arabella and Ace are doing so much better than they did when they first came. Lots of patience and love from you has gone a long way in earning their trust and love, so now they are the kitties they were meant to be.
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #183 
brenrae, yes it's surprising how quickly the time goes by.  I see that your Harry has now been gone three years, but it doesn't seem nearly that long since I began reading about your loss.  Sometimes "Ace" jumps on the counter to supervise me washing dishes, but he and all the other kitties who have ever lived here are much more diligent about overseeing me do yard work.   You're absolutely right, the cats I describe now sound nothing like the two that I adopted a year ago in April, they are now happy and confident and affectionate like I thought they could be even in those first difficult weeks.  Thanks for your kind words.

In two more days the kids will have been here 14 months.  This thread has had an astonishing 6,541 hits since I first saw them and began this.  

Finally Ace has a new name: Adorian.  I found Andorian on a list of Star Trek-themed cat names and liked the sound of it.  But when I read a description of that (fictitious) race, they weren't very pleasant people, prone to violence at the slightest insult.  Ace was aggressive only the first month or two here, because he was so scared and upset.  So I dropped the N.  I've told him, "I love and *adore* and worship you, baby kitty," and saw an association there.  A few days later I googled it and found a definition in the urban dictionary!  It means adorable, sweet, sexy, appealing, etc.  I'd invented a name that already existed as it turns out.  Still, he may be the only cat here in California with that name.  And I do like the sound of "Arabella and Adorian."  Pretty major change from "Sissy and Ace," just as the whole rest of their lives has also changed.

Recently I received a message from Mike, the son of their original human.  He said that it sounds as if the cats are happier now, and more relaxed,  than they were with his mother, which I in no way took to be a compliment at her expense.  Her health was failing so it's unlikely she could have cat-ered to them as much as I do, at least towards the end.  Wherever they go I see their tails held high and their whiskers pointing forward, both of which are signs of happy and confident cats.  I see their sides heaving as they lie on the rug, or the patio, or in the yard, and know they are purring even when I'm not touching or talking to them.  They are enjoying life, and it shows!

They are now seven years old, in excellent health, playful and somewhat demanding.  

It is going to be a very long summer for the local fauna.  Wednesday Arabella brought a lizard tail into the house and dropped it on the living room rug.  She and Adorian sat there watching intently as it twitched.  Friday she brought in a lizard tail and dropped it almost at my feet.  They watched it twitch, then she went outside... and brought in the rest of a very much alive lizard moments later.  At that point I left the house to go buy something.  I'd left the sliding door open so the lizard could escape, and I think it did.  When I got home there was no trace of it; if it were still in the house the kids would be intently watching where it was and pawing to get at it.  This is the kind of lizard that drops its tail when threatened.  The twitching tail distracts the hunter so the lizard can escape, and it will grow a new tail again.  Arabella's finding them in the back yard of the house next door, where the weeds are four feet tall.  I don't know (yet) just how many lizards could be there, but will probably find out this summer.  

She's an amazingly good little huntress, completely self-taught in the past year once I began letting them go outside.  She's so proud of her skills, she brings them in to show us.  I do praise her... but don't particularly enjoy gathering up lizard parts to dispose of.  Or maybe, as I've read, she's bringing me gifts, knowing that I am such an inept hunter myself.  

The kids continue to come in promptly in the evening.  The past few days they'd added a minute or two to the ritual: one or both runs to the back yard, but when I get to them, they both trot straight into the house.  Sunset is now after 8:30, but I'm getting them in by 8:10, so they are taking a tiny bit of advantage of these longest days of the year.  

Meals continue to be served, variously (sigh) in the kitchen, the entry hall, the dining room or the living room.  Usually they start in one place and end up in the living room.  Still.

Adorian spends most nights, most of each of those nights, on the other pillow.  I can hold him purring in my arms for several minutes as he rests his head on the pillow next to me and curls his front paws in the air purring with happiness.  I melt every time.  Arabella spends maybe half the nights on the bed, a week on a week off.  She's still in a week off phase now so I don't even see her in the bedroom at all during the night.   She doesn't very much like being picked  up yet, but I'm considering carrying her to bed with me at night in hopes that she'll get the idea where I'd like her to be.  

One or both continue to supervise me whenever I'm doing something outside.  Adorian spends over half the day indoors usually napping near the computer where I regularly am, Arabella continues to be the nature kitty.  About half the time I find her meditating in the back yard; she doesn't go far, but loves being outdoors.  Throughout the day one or the other will come and meow at me: they want a snack or some more attention.  If it's a snack, when I open the sack the sound often brings the other one running.  Cats have incredibly acute hearing.

They are happy and healthy, in their physical prime and getting cuter and more loving every day.  



 
goofygirlinva

Registered:
Posts: 1,082
 #184 
Hi Karen,

It's amazing how their instincts will kick in and they become such good hunters, isn't it? I've had Bud (3 years old now) ever since he was a young kitten - I think I brought him home @ 8 weeks of age. He's never been an outdoors kitty, yet he knows how to hunt and kill with skill. I remember one evening last fall seeing a tiny mouse out on my deck just underneath the bird feeder that I have attached to my sliding deck door. The rodent was eating the crumbs that had fallen from the feeder, and all 4 of my cats were right there with their noses pressed up against the door watching the mouse do its business. I turned on the deck light and the mouse scurried away. This was just after the sun had set, so it was pretty early in the evening. Anyhow, about 1-2 hours later, Bud comes upstairs with the little rodent in his mouth. Apparently he knew where the mouse came in the house, and he hunted it down and killed it and then brought it upstairs to show me his conquest. Sadly, the other 3 cats immediately took Bud's prize away from him so they could play with it and eventually eat it, LOL! I was really impressed with Bud - this was the only rodent that had found its way into the house that year (that I knew of), and it was Bud's first conquest! Unlike my other 3 cats, he has never known a day as a stray, and he has never had to hunt or scavenge to find food, so this was a very impressive hunt & kill. It goes to show you that they really do know how to hunt, that it is very much an instinctive part of being a cat. :-)

As for getting Arabella to spend more nights with you on your bed, have you tried playing with her in your bedroom and even on your bed? I do that with Bud, and the more I do it, the more he is agreeable to sleeping on the bed with me. He is also one that does not like to be picked up, but he will tolerate it more and more these days. He used to immediately squirm and try to get away whenever I picked him up. But now, at age 3, perhaps he is learning to tolerate my need to hold him a bit more, so he will allow me to hold him for a bit before he insists on being let go. He will also come cuddle with me every now and then when I'm on the sofa, and once in awhile he will cuddle in my arms when I'm at the computer. He basically jumps up on the desk, asks to come in my lap and then lets me hold him in my arms while I sit there petting him and giving him little kisses on his head. He purrs away and just loves to have this one-on-one time. Since he is nearly fully grown, my arms eventually get tired and I end up putting him back on top of my desk. But when he does ask for this 1:1 time, it is really special and I have learned to cherish it.

I'm glad your kitties are so happy and relaxed. It is such a treasure to read these happy endings and know that everybody - human and feline alike - are so content and are being well cared for. :-)

- Kelly
Blackie's mom
kamc22

Registered:
Posts: 1,910
 #185 
Gosh, it's already the last day of July.

Kelly, Your Bud is an amazingly good hunter, completely self taught, too.  I've read that in the wild the mother teaches her kittens how to hunt, that otherwise "they'd never become very skilled."  So that book was wrong= Bud proved that very effectively. Cats are a fascinating mix: on the one hand, they are so fastidious and graceful, putting most of us humans to shame, epitomizing what we consider civilized behavior.   On the other hand, they can teach themselves how to hunt even if they've never seen it done; beneath that veneer lurks a small household lion.    I do think it was a pretty stupid rodent to come around; the scent of your *four* cats had to have escaped your home.  And then it came into your residence... and Darwinian precepts prevailed, the rodent is no longer in the gene pool.  

Adorian is doing a version of what Bud does, demanding one on one attention which we doting cat mothers gladly give.   But Adorian's method is to lie across the wrist of my mouse-using hand.  With difficulty I can still use the mouse, but when a 16 1/2 pound weight is on your wrist it's not easy.  My forearm has felt sore for a week or two now due to that ergonomically unsound method... but if he wants love, he will get it!

I think the kids are either geniuses and/or psychic!  Last week I attempted to renew my prescriptions using the automated phone system that's worked fine for the past five years or more.  I knew the prescription had expired, in the past that would automatically lead to staff contacting the doctor who'd renew it.  This time it didn't work, and the two follow-up phone calls were so abysmally puzzling and ineffective (and very frustrating) that I decided I'd have to go to the clinic in person.  Now, every day I let the kids out half an hour after sunrise, then get them in for the night shortly before sunset.  Monday when I have a volunteer job that keeps me away from the house for 5-6 hours I keep them in and don't let them out until I return in the early afternoon.  For the first time ever I wanted to get the kids in an hour or two after letting them out. They've been here 15 months now, I'd never done that before. Happily, they were sitting next to each other on the sidewalk in the back yard.  I approached them and said, "I have to leave for awhile."  To my astonishment, both of them instantly stood up.  Arabella literally ran back into the house, tail held high, Adorian followed walking sedately, and he went straight into the house, too!    I gave them *two* snacks of Temptations, told them how wonderful they are, said "Wish me luck," and left the house at 10:01.  Either they somehow heard my aggravated telephone conversations even though they were outside, or they picked up on my emotions and what I wanted.  They did exactly what I wanted, that I'd never asked them to do before, and did it instantly.  I can assure you, these are *not* trained dogs= these are untrained cats.  I know they are cats because... well, they purr, and they look like cats too, tee hee.

As it turned out, not only had the prescription system changed from 8 digit numbers as printed on the bottles to a 9 digit system, but my doctor had left the Clinic two months earlier, so I had no physician to renew the prescriptions. That was one too many simultaneous dislocations to be handled over the telephone.  Unusually, I was able to get an appointment that very afternoon with a new physician.   A lovely doctor who electronically sent in the renewals to the pharmacy.  Between waiting around and doing chores downtown, I was away from the house for six hours.  Had the kids not come in, I would have been too worried about them to stay the whole time and would have come home before everything was resolved.  All is groovy again, and the kids were safe inside.  How did they know, to do *exactly* what I wanted, what I'd never before requested??  And they both did it instantly, in seconds.  Vote if you wish: psychic, genius, both, or other?

Adorian is getting so confident and street smart.  A couple of weeks ago he was supervising me as I did yard work on the sidewalk that goes down the side of the house to the front door, when a lady walked by with a little leashed dog.  Adorian sat next to my toes intently watching them.  The little dog was busy sniffing the agapanthus that passing  dogs mark and never even saw him.  Adorian was bigger anyway, and the dog was on a leash.  He sat right next to me as the lady and I chatted, interested and not at all afraid.    This is so different from last spring when two large leashed dogs appeared several houses away just as I was carrying him home from the next door neighbor's yard: then he was scared and struggled, but I managed to get him into the house safely.  Now he knows that that particular dog was not a threat.

The kids discovered what Lin (EddiesMom) calls the "Magic Juniper."  One Saturday I'd planned to go to the hardware store, but one or both of them spent about 7 hours under that shrub, so all I dared do was leave the house for 14 minutes for ciggies.  Between the agapanthus and the juniper they were invisible from the street.  In the broken shade their tabby markings made them nearly invisible, even to me who knew where they were. Nevertheless I left the front door open all day for them just in case.  It is a Magic Juniper because it kept me home almost the entire day, so they could keep an eye on me just as I keep an eye on them.  "So" I thoroughly watered that shrub the next morning and was able to get to the hardware store, cruel cat mommy that I am.

The bed kitty phases continue.  The past week or so Adorian's spending most of the night curled up at the foot of the bed, most nights he doesn't sleep atop the dresser at all.  Evening and morning we have wonderful love sessions where he lies in my arms purring, butting his head against me and kissing me, then he goes off to prove he is a cat.  Arabella continues to spend the nights atop the cat tree.  At least she's in the same room now.  Lately she's been walking across my feet on her way to the cat tree, and somehow manages to jump so heavily onto the bed that I think little 9 lb. her is her 16 1/2 lb. brother.  Cats do have a sense of humor.

They both continue to closely supervise me transplanting potted plants and at least one is around for any yard work.  I ought to be too embarrassed to mention that: every cat who has lived here in the past 31 years has supervised me doing yard work.  Yet I still require constant feline supervision= that is basically no learning curve at all apparently.

The main thing is, they are happy and healthy and enjoying life.  They know they are loved, and they love me back!





                                                                     
InMemoryOfRascal

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 #186 
Karen, your two babies have come such a long way.  The bond the three of you have forged is so heart warming.

I had to laugh about the sleeping patterns for sure.  My Rambo was forever changing.  He would sleep somewhere (top of the cat tree) for months...then not.  Bottom of the bed for months...then not.  And somehow, even though he did this often, my feeble brain was surprised every time.  LOL  

I am glad that your double A's (Adorian and Arabella of course) were cooperative for your dr appt.  The part I wonder about is whether they will choose to cooperate in the future!  LOL

Take care
InMemoryOfRascal..and Rambo (forever)
kamc22

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 #187 
Nicole, the double A's continue to change their sleeping patterns.  The past week or so Arabella has been sleeping on the lowest level of the cat tree, which is only a few inches above the bed and in petting range if I lean forward.  A few times recently both have been on the bed on either side of me (stereophonic kitties) for a little while.  I'm purr-fectly capable of loving and petting both of them at the same time, but Adorian doesn't believe it- and continues to sleep atop the dresser.  

Like you, I wonder whether they'll choose to cooperate in the future.  I'm hopeful, since about all I "ask" of them is to come in before sunset, which they do wonderfully every evening.

This is a quickie update.  Yesterday my next door neighbor's ongoing plumbing problem led to the street being jackhammered up to get at the sewer main feeder from their house.  Nevertheless, midmorning there was Adorian sitting on the front door mat waiting to be let in.  This morning I went out and actually measured how far the work site is from our house.  Adorian went over the back fence, crossed the driveway and front of the house to reach the sidewalk leading to the front door which does not face the street.  He walked within 27 feet of two workmen using a jackhammer!  A while later he was actually lying on the sidewalk a ways from the front door, quietly watching them work!  

Last summer when they were both on the patio I made two swipes of the broom and it scared them enough that both ran into the house.  And last fall when I had tree work done, he went and wrapped himself in the bedspread at the foot of the bed when the chipper  began running in front of our house.  This year not even a jackhammer can dissuade my intrepid Adorian.   He is unbelievably calm and self-confident.   








InMemoryOfRascal

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 #188 
Karen, when I think back to how concerned you were in those early days that the Double A's would settle in and love you it showcases truly just how far the three of you have come.  Those two are so darn lucky to have you.  You were the picture of understanding and patience - it proves that with time and love bonds and happiness do form.

Take care
InMemoryOfRascal....and Rambo forever.
goofygirlinva

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 #189 
Karen, the sleeping pattern thing is interesting, isn't it? My Little Red always sleeps with me, largely because if he sleeps elsewhere he risks getting picked on a bit by one of my other cats. :-( But I love it, and I love falling asleep and waking up with him by my side. I'll often wake up in the middle of the night to find Squeeker on the bed with me as well. And if I'm really lucky, Bud will occasionally join me while I'm sleeping. Rufus will also join me on the bed when I'm sleeping. That rarely happens, so when it does, I'm absolutely thrilled to have him join me on the bed. 

I have a trick to get all of the boys to sleep with me, but it only works in colder weather months. In the colder months, I set the thermostat to a low enough temperature overnight so the cats will naturally come sleep with me because it is too cold in the rest of the house and they use me as a human heating blanket, LOL! I only have a full sized bed, so when I wake up in the middle of the night and discover 4 cats on the bed with me, I almost always have a really hard time moving because one is on top of my feet, one is stuck to one side of me like glue, one is stuck to the other side of me and the 4th is typically on top of me. So as much as I love having the boys sleep with me at night, sometimes it is a double-edged sword in that I am basically trapped in my bed and cannot move. ;-)

Still, I wouldn't have it any other way... :-)

- Kelly
kamc22

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 #190 

Yes, Nicole, in the first month or two all I saw were scared kitties who continued the 7 months of hiding that they did in their original home after their human mommy died, and poor Adorian spent the first six weeks or so hiding, spitting and trying to swipe at me when I entered the room or dared to pet his sister.  I have three scars from him that look to be permanent, since they still show after a year.  But I came by them "honestly." It counted as a plus when he actually walked towards me (because that wasn't a sign of terror or crushed spirit), but it was upsetting when he walked forward so that he could take a swing at me with his claws out.  As I attempt to type this tonight, he's lying on the computer desk between me and the keyboard, back against me, curling his paws around my hand, resting his head on my arm and has been purring for about 10 minutes nonstop.  He's now getting (and insisting upon)  at least an hour a day of pets, kisses, talk and love.  I think  you were the one who pointed out that they *had* known love before, so it was just a question of letting them again feel that. And now both of them are astonishingly happy kids: time, me, the spirits of their original human and my Julian, and all the good wishes, prayers, thoughts and help from other fur babies on this message board did their magic.    Thank  you all!

Kelly, I couldn't help but feel envious when you wrote about occasionally having *four* kitties on the bed with you.  What a wonderful life luxury! I've never had more than three at a time, and the last time was about six years ago.  

Your theory about a cool house to encourage bed kitties is one that I used to subscribe to.  As it turned out my heating system bit the dust 1/1/14.  My last cat (I thought at the time) Julian died at home in his sleep 1/9/14.  On 1/7/14 a plumber/heating guy arrived and left me an estimate of a shocking $33,400 to put in a new heating system.  I commented, so I guess Julian will never feel all that warm again... he died two days later.  Anyway, I've made it through the past two winters with no heating system: one space heater the first winter, two last winter;  I put on up to three tops and run the clothes dryer more than usual and it's been doable.  The kids went through this past winter in a house that dipped to 57 on cold mornings, up to 64 on warmer afternoons.  They didn't mind it at all.  Although the space heaters are pointed at or are in the middle of the house, yet I'd find the kids sleeping in other rooms day after day.  Even though they'd been kept strictly indoors since being born in their original home, last winter- the first one they'd ever been outside in- I'd find them lying on the cement patio in the shade when it was below freezing-- and purring.  Their ears and paws were so cold when they came in, but they didn't mind at all.  Despite their ancestors having evolved in Egypt, cats are a lot more rugged than I realized.  So, sigh,  winter didn't bring me bed kitties like I'd hoped and wanted and expected.

Latest update about amazing kids:  The sewer lateral line work next door drags on and still isn't done. Monday night Arabella pulled apart the screen to the sliding door of the master bedroom.  When I woke neither was inside.  Adorian was on the patio and came right in, but no Arabella.  I didn't know when they'd got out and tried not to worry, but.... I am a cat mommy.

Tuesday there were men and machines on the street, nevertheless I found Adorian at the front door at the side of the house: he'd walked past three men and their machines to get to the front door, then calmly laid down on the sidewalk in front of the narrow window next to the door to await me letting him in.  A neighbor came by late morning to look at my skylight: I'd chatted with her and her husband for about 30 years as I passed their house down the street, but this was her first visit here. "Of course" Arabella would come over the fence when Kathy was in the living room.  Arabella crouched down low and ran to the side of the house.  At least I knew the little cat girl was all right.

Early afternoon I left the house for half an hour.  When I got home, to the west of us were the plumbers in the street, and now to the east next door was a sewer service making a huge amount of noise!  I felt imperiled (and hoped that my sewers wouldn't be affected by the sewer problems on the two adjacent lots!).  Twenty minutes after all the workers had left, the kids reappeared.  They were physically fine, though seemed a bit subdued to me the rest of the day.  That was a lot of extra stress for them in what is normally a quiet neighborhood.  But they were so *brave*, they hid only when something unusual was going on in all three lots at the same time, then reappeared soon as it quieted down.  What brave kitties they are, they who spent seven *months* after their original human Mary died,  hiding from everybody who came into their original home.  Nobody saw them for weeks on end, yet here they are now being so brave even when I was feeling pretty harried.

They ate well that night, purred readily and curled their paws when I pet either of them.  The next morning they were almost glued together, but were still happy and responsive to attention.   I would never have predicted that two cats with a past like theirs would ever have become as self-assured and interested in everything as the kids are.  They are wonderful, cute and beautiful!!!


kamc22

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 #191 
Despite decades of living with them, I guess I'll never fully understand cats.

Twice in the past week Adorian has been lying on the driveway observing me working in the front yard when leashed dogs came by.  He doesn't move, just quietly watches them and doesn't run away.  Between the dogs being leashed, not seeing him, the car being only a few feet away to duck under, and me between him and the dog, he assesses the situation as being perfectly safe.  

And yet this morning when I shook a plastic bag open, it spooked him so much that he ran out onto the patio away from the "danger" in the kitchen.  This is the same cat who deliberately approached two strange men using a jackhammer... and later lay on the sidewalk to watch them.  The rustle of a plastic bag is only a tiny fraction of the noise and vibration of a jackhammer, but he ran from a plastic bag!  

Cats are truly amazing creatures... and sometimes baffling.
brenrae

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 #192 
Harry used to run from plastic bags, and yet, he would stomp, yes, stomp on them to make noise if he wanted something, and he felt we weren't "listening" to him. It could be anything from wanting outside to wanting food. And, he would do it until he got what he wanted. So spoiled, he was. He would also try to chew on them. Him and Baby Kitty did, and we got them both from the same person, so I always wondered why they did it. Gabby will run if I shake open a plastic bag also. Perhaps it has something to do with it moving and it spooks them, not really the noise. I don't know. You are right, cats are so amazing, and baffling. There is no telling why they do the things they do.  
NancyMarie

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 #193 

Dearest Kamc22,

Your post gave me a good chuckle,  cats are truly amazing creatures and yes they can baffling at times….absolutely !!

My cats can hear the guys doing the front lawn with their loud lawn mowers, making all such of noise and not bat an eye,  but all I have to do is sneeze and they all go running.

Got to love them……..

Thanks for the smile.

Nancy, Angel Smudgie’s Mom and Mom to Calie, Sparky and Jade

 

goofygirlinva

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 #194 
Karen, what you wrote about plastic bags scaring your cats made me chuckle. This weekend I ordered my groceries online and when they were delivered, I found a number of plastic bags that were used to separate some of the perishables. After I finished unpacking the groceries I gathered the plastic bags and got ready to put them in the recycling bin. A couple of the cats were in the kitchen with me as I was doing this, and they scattered like cockroaches from the sounds the bags made as I condensed all of them into a large ball, LOL! I just stopped what I was doing, looked at the boys and laughed out loud at the expressions on their faces. Let's just say they weren't very pleased with what I'd done and how I'd laughed at them. ;-)

- Kelly
Blackie's mom
kamc22

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 #195 
 On September 23 Adorian and Arabella had been here for exactly 18 months.  Where does the time go?

Well, I honestly couldn't keep from chuckling when I read about other kitties who are "afraid" of plastic bags.  It really seems so silly to me, that kind of fakey panic, but all three of you who responded have seen versions of the same thing with your own babies.

brenrae, I'm amazed that your Harry could *ever* have felt he wasn't getting enough attention nor being responded to as quickly as he wanted.  Living with you??? Who continue to dote on him years after he left this world?   I'd not heard to cats literally stomping on plastic bags before, and just had to shake my head.  Your suggestion that it is the movement of the bag that spooks makes as much sense as any theory... even though I know of cats whose humans put plastic bags down for them to play with.

Nancy, the same kind of thing used to happen here:  I'd sneeze and Adorian would leap off the desk from where he'd been lying next to me and dash out the door.  Luckily he stopped doing that after about a year... although even after a year and a half he still runs away when I open a drawer of the computer desk (which he's napping on as I type this).  He's never been in any way damaged by the drawer, and it doesn't make that much noise.  

Kelly,  great description of your cats scattering "like cockroaches" from the sound of you crumpling up the plastic bags for recycling.  Oh, and *bad* you, to have laughed at their expressions and what they were doing.  Talk about horribly abused and misunderstood kitties- NOT!

The kids are now in their second autumn here.  The pattern that began a year ago continues: Adorian actually spends at least half the day indoors when he could be outside, napping in one of his 8 or so favored spots, while little Arabella continues to be the nature kitty who comes inside every hour or two for snacks or a bit of petting.  About half the time when I see her outside and try to pet her, she is still ducking under my hand and darting out of range, tale held high, playfully bouncing like a bunny.

I'd been waiting until about five minutes before official sunset to get them in for the night, they have no trouble adjusting to the one minute change of sunset time from day to day,  but the past week or so, Arabella has been coming in 20 minutes earlier than that, by choice.  Being a doting cat mommy at first I wondered if she was sick or had been frightened, but except for voluntarily ending her outside time earlier than she has to, she's the same as always.  I think she now realizes she doesn't have to desperately take every single second of outside time that she can.  Of course I praise and pet both of them every evening for being so *good* about coming in; it really is amazing that they are so consistently reliable.  And they are *much* safer inside after dark, which is why I want them in.

Lately I've been finding both of them sacked out on the sidewalk connecting the patio with the back yard, in mirror positions, often exposing their adorable kitty bellies.  And a few nights ago they both spent time on the velvet pillow from their original home, mutually grooming, though I hadn't seen either on it for months.

Finally on Sunday, 18 months after they arrived here, I found out how much Adorian actually weighs.  He stood still long enough on the baby scale for the first time (it's been sitting on the dining room floor for at least a year so the kids could get used to it).  He weighs exactly 17 pounds- which would be 17 1/2 at the veterinary office.  They won't recalibrate their scales even though I told them that a gallon of fresh water weighs 8.3 lbs, which would be an easy check.  Adorian is a big boy, and definitely has more tummy than is ideal, yet yesterday he again jumped straight up onto the gate outside the computer room, which is six feet above the sidewalk.  I sure couldn't do that, but he can, from a standing start. Anyway, I love "kitties of substance" and he knows it, lol.

The kids have now been here for six *cat* years, they are well settled in.  I still don't have devoted bed kitties much as I'd like, but they are their own individual selves.  The main thing is that they are happy, they feel safe and secure, they know they are loved, and they are wonderfully healthy. 
 
SharG

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 #196 
Hi Karen, I have a notion about plastic bags and it begins with the feral kitten I rescued 2 weeks ago.

It actually starts with the foxes (and for my sins I have fed them for 2 years - so have my neighbours.) But, in late August, a young black cat appeared in the neighbourhood, we thought it was a male and called it Nero. Started putting out food for it. After 3 weeks, 3 small kittens appeared - 2 black and 1 grey. So this cat, little more than a kitten herself, became "Noire".

I watched the foxes hunting her kittens in the bushes where she had them hidden and tried to trap the kittens but only managed to save one - the grey and I call it Francis/Frances. The little black ones disappeared and I'm afraid the fox got them, makes me very sad.

Anyway, the noise of the rustling of the branches and leaves sounds a lot like crumpling plastic bags and maybe that noise is programmed into the kitties as a danger signal?

Francis/Frances has been indoors now for nearly 2 weeks and is making progress from the hissing, frightened kitten caught in the trap. "It" lets me pet it with my hand now (started with strong gloves!) while purring up a storm and is starting to roll onto its back for tummy rubs.

My vet is away and can't get an appointment until Oct 28 so kitten lives in the bathroom. I don't want to take any chances with my darling Sebastian until I know kitten is vaccinated and treated for parasites if necessary. My family don't want me to keep it and it wasn't my original plan, I was going to socialize it and take it to the cat rescue.  But every day, it becomes more dear to me and I think it may be a very loving little cat. Plus, it looks like a baby Felix or Oscar or Linda's little Sarah Ann!

Next, try to build a winter shelter for Noire and try to trap her and have her fixed. What am I going to do? I think I'm becoming a crazy cat lady but I love them so much.

A long tale about plastic bags and feral kittens.

Sharon
kamc22

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 #197 
Sharon,  I hope  you're giving updates about what looks to be your newest family member, although the kitten's vet appointment is still four days away.  Yes, Noire deserves a better life than she's had so far, and would probably adjust pretty quickly since her child Francis/Frances has.  Like you I'm a secret crazy cat lady; I've never had more than three at a time, but am such a pushover I'm ready and able to love any kitty I meet... and they seem to pick up on that, lol.  Oh well, there are far worse vises than loving kitties!

Your theory about plastic bags sounding kind of like rustling branches makes some sense, it just could be that a sound like that makes them think they are prey.  I'm still mystified, though, about why it scared Adorian when he saw that it is me making the noise.  Adorian *watched* me take the plastic bag out of the cupboard, he saw me pick it up- and still ran outside even though the sound was hardly of unknown origin.    Cats are mysterious and wonderful creatures.

Well, Adorian has had an eventful week.  It began last weekend when he jumped onto the computer desk with a big wet splotch on his shoulder and side.  He wasn't upset, but still I wondered if somebody had thrown something at him.  I dried most of it off with paper towels, then went outside: a very small rotten pear had fallen off the tree and hit him a glancing blow just as he walked underneath.  Bad timing.

Yesterday as I sat in the living room he dashed in from the patio with a huge tail and ran for the door to the garage.  I opened it for him.  There was no sound on the patio, all I saw was a red squirrel high up in the overhanging tree.  Neither he nor his sister are particularly interested in the squirrels, they're indifferent.  For all I know he talked himself into that big tail, wouldn't be the first time.

Last night I changed the bed and went to drop the sheets onto the laundry pile.  At the very last second I realized he was sleeping on the dirty clothes; grey and black tabbies are pretty much invisible in a dark closet.  So the sheets lay on the hall floor for several hours until he finished his nap.

Then this morning he was atop the fence outside the computer room.  Suddenly he turned around with a *huge* tail and leapt onto the gate and then down onto the sidewalk outside the front door.  I rushed to let him in.  I had heard no sound, nor saw anything.  He came right in, his tail was still big, but his eyes weren't overly rounded with fear, in a minute or two he was snacking on the priciest dry food that is available 24/7.   His sister Arabella was sleeping maybe 15 feet from the fence he was on, nothing had startled her; I woke her up when I went out the back door to fruitlessly investigate.

Meanwhile, the kids continue to come in at night within a minute or two of me going out for them.   They are so good, every single night, it's amazing.  A couple of weeks ago I learned that a coyote had been spotted on the next street over in the middle of the night by someone walking their dog.  I don't know what night that was, but the kids were inside six hours before the varmint was there, and didn't go outside until about 7 1/2 hours afterwards.  That's by far the closest sighting I know of, first time ever in the 31 1/2 years I've lived here.

Arabella isn't quite the nature kitty that she was for the first year.  Now I find her sprawled on the floor during the day instead of being constantly out communing with nature.  About six times a day she comes into the house and talks to me.  I'm trained to follow her.  It's a toss-up whether she goes into the living room to throw herself down on the rug for a few minutes of dedicated petting and sweet talk, or to the kitchen where she asks for and gets up to four little snacks at a time.  She's yet to ever come sit in my lap, rarely does she come under the covers at night, she's never actually slept in my arms.  She's a little tomboy.  But all I do is talk to her, and her tail goes even higher and I can see that she starts to purr because her sides start heaving really fast.  She's happy even with way less affection than I'd like to give her.  

Oh.  Adorian "helped" me again with the computer.  He stepped on the bottom of the keyboard somewhere... and both the address bar and stuff at the top, and the entire tool bar at the bottom vanished.  He also changed zoom to 90%, all in a second or two.  I'm not the computer doyen that he is, and feared I'd either have to call in a neighbor to help, which could take hours- or pay a small fortune for a techie to come to the house.  Somehow I managed to get some stuff at the top to reappear when I hit control/alt/delete.  But I couldn't tell which browser I was using, couldn't turn off the system except by unplugging it, couldn't get to Computer and Programs at the bottom to review the appearance stuff.  I experimented around, and not knowing what I really did (nor how to do it again), first got the tool bar to appear at the bottom when I was on desktop, then somehow both sections remained when I was using either browser.    It was next morning before everything looked normal again.  Heavy sigh.  

The kids seem to have me trained.  Adorian's mostly dozing near my elbow as I type this, Arabella's napping atop the cat tree next to the bed.  They look like happy cats to me, albeit must maybe the tiniest little bit spoiled and demanding. 
SharG

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 #198 
I smile every time I read of Arabella and Adorian's adventures. Cats! You are so right , wonderful, mysterious, poofy tailed computer experts - exactly! (Sebastian is trying to sit between me and the laptop as I type.)

Yes, Wednesday is the appointment. I think this is a little boy who now jumps right into my lap when I sit on the floor to play with *him*. A long way in a few weeks, haven't seen Noire for 2 weeks now and I've been out looking for her - worried. I still leave food out but she hasn't been eating it.

We had coyotes a few years back but they went away and I hope the one roaming your neighbourhood does too so you won't have worries about the kids.

Will post a pic of the new baby soon,

Sharon
Eddysmom1

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 #199 
I have been asked to post the below picture for Karen.  

Here are her beautiful, beautiful babies, Adorian and Arabella Marie!!!  (who, by the way, are my niece and nephew)!!!!!  

Love and purrs to Karen, Adorian, and Arabella........from me and the boys. 




[image]


kamc22

Registered:
Posts: 1,910
 #200 
Thank  you, Lin! I'm so glad that Francis and you were able to enlarge the picture, and I like the border you added.  Adorian is the one in front; his eyes are rounder and less slanted than his sister's are.  It's surprising that they look so close to the same size, since Arabella weighs 9 pounds and her brother weighs 17.  
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