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SharG

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Posts: 533
 #41 
Karen, I hope they settle soon and bring you lots of pleasure for all the love and care you're giving them.

When I first got Sebastian last fall the shelter sent samples of food he was supposedly eating there. He wouldn't have any of it, wet or dry and after 5 days, we went off to the vet. She suggested making him a kitty buffet. Putting down 5 or 6 different foods and labelling them so I could tell which one he was eating.

She provided a few small sample baggies of dry food and I bought some small cans of Wellness wet. It's hard to tell if the move to his new home caused his loss of appetite or he really didn't like the food. Anyway, the eating issue resolved in a little under a week and I hope the same will happen for Ace and Sissy.

I also got him a catnip snuggle stick which he enjoyed cuddling up with. I'm very glad you have the kids home now, it was a rotten 7 months for them and a sad time for you too. Julian is very happy.

Keep posting about their progress and maybe a picture when they are ready?

Sharon
goofygirlinva

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Posts: 1,082
 #42 
Hi Karen,

I think you are doing all the right things with helping them get acclimated to their new home. Maybe you might want to give Ace more distance - instead of trying to interact with him, simply stay in the room and sit and read a book or listen to the radio or surf the internet and let him come to you. And maybe also try to play with Sissy. It sounds as though she is more willing to accept you at this time, so perhaps it would be good to see what kind of toys she likes? You know he'll be watching what you do very closely and if he sees Sissy enjoying play time with you, who knows - he might be bold enough to join in the fun! All the cats I've ever known have liked pole-type toys, and a few have liked toy mice and things they can toss up in the air and bat around. And if you can leave a catnip toy or two in the room, I'll bet they will like that too!

For the food, have you ever considered feeding a raw diet? The kind of raw food you find in stores can be pricey, but it can be more economical to make your own than what you'd pay for almost any kind of high quality wet food you can buy in a store. And it is definitely healthier than pretty much anything that is commercially available. However, what you save in $ you often make up for with how much time it can take to prepare the food (shopping for the food & supplements, making the food), LOL! But it is something to consider. If you're interested, Dr. Lisa Pierson's website - http://www.catinfo.org - has the recipe I use. Squeeker has always been a picky eater and Bud & Little Red were total carb addicts when I got them - they really only preferred dry food. But with time, patience & persistence, I was able to transition them and the rest of my feline household over to a raw diet. And they all love their raw food - they come running when it is meal time, LOL!

Looking forward to hearing more updates!
- Kelly



Lyronica

Registered:
Posts: 23
 #43 
The only tip I have to offer is patience. Cats take a long time to adjust, but they do adjust. One of my cats, Tabitha, was in a similar situation to Ace and Sissy when she came to us (though not as difficult as their story). She had had a home which she loved and an owner who took good care of her, but the owner either died or was forced to give her up (we never found out exactly), so Tabitha went to the rescue centre. She hated it. She was ill with a thyroid problem, and was overwhelmed with sadness at losing her home, and it came out in hissing, scratching and biting. When we adopted her, she would scratch us every time we tried to stroke her. She was desperate to be close to us, but would bite us without warning. She would sleep on my pillow, but panic when she woke up next to me.

It took a long time for her to settle - really a year. She got better very very slowly, with less scratching, then less biting, less panicking. She has now been with us for 4 1/2 years, and is the most loving little cat you can imagine. She is still very sensitive - our vet has had to accept that she can't have blood tests or have her teeth examined as she is just too stressed by anyone who isn't me or my partner - but with us she is devoted. So the only thing that will help is time, but it will make all the difference. Ace and Sissy are so lucky to have found you.
kamc22

Registered:
Posts: 1,910
 #44 
They are doing better.  This morning I discovered a little kitty litter on the big velvet pillow they used to sleep on, which means one or both actually spent time on top of the bed during the night instead of under it.  I figure it was both, since the past few days they're invariably next to each other under the bed.  Also I found kitty litter on the second level of the four level cat tree, maybe someone went even higher- enough to look out the window, though perhaps no litter was on their paws to leave me a clue.

They finished the 3 oz. can of Fancy Feast gravy lovers, salmon this time, during the night, haven't yet been interested in the breakfast wet food offering.  I removed a bowl of dry food that hadn't been touched and put down 22 Temptations instead; that food had been in an unmarked baggie, so even if they'd liked it I wouldn't have known what it was.

SharG, they are eating, my guesses are working half the time anyway.  Thank goodness they didn't go on a hunger strike like Sebastian.  I like the idea of a kitty buffet; maybe my veterinary has samples of things to try... maybe Petco does, too, or the Pet Express store a mile away. It looks as if they are cats who don't respond to catnip; Mike bought them a catnip toy a few months ago, it still looks brand new, and hasn't been moved from where I put it on the floor.  All my other kitties liked catnip, but it turns out only 3/4 of cats have the gene to respond to it.

Kelly, thanks for your advice.  I tried to pet Ace once yesterday and was able to barely touch him before he spit and turned to take a swipe at me.  So today I won't even attempt to, maybe not for several days.  Your tactful advice came as a relief, frankly, he does need more space now... and at his own pace. They did move a crocheted cat toy onto the base of the tree, though.  I have a pole toy and maybe this afternoon will see if it interests Sissy.  First I'm going to have a quiet session or two in there, reading on the bed and not interacting with them.  Far as switching to a raw food diet, that's another change, it will have to wait, they already have a lot to deal with right now.  Despite its convenience, I consider dry cat food kind of junk food for kitties; most of it has way more grain in it than their bodies evolved to deal with, plus the colors sometimes added, etc.  Thanks for the link.

Lyronica, Poor Tabitha.  It almost sounds as if she were abused, acting like that, which seems unlikely to have happened at the rescue center; she was "just" terrorized and alone.   Bless you for persevering for a year of her being so upset.  Cats are so sensitive emotionally, thank goodness you adopted her when she wasn't at her best, and that your partner was so patient, too.  I'm hoping for a faster adjustment for A&S, since they do have each other and weren't suddenly alone like Tabitha was.

Emailing around, I've learned that even cats who've been with their humans for years may need weeks to adjust to a new home... and some adjust in about 10 minutes.  That's a lot more variability than I'd have expected, especially on the long end.  These two are adjusting to everything except each other, so it could take a month before they feel unafraid, and maybe months longer before they're completely at home.  
InMemoryOfRascal

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Posts: 2,422
 #45 
Karen, I like the idea of putting down multiple options and marketing it so that you know what they like.  I should say that while my Rambo will eat "some" wet food in it is small portions and he prefers dry (and specific kibble sizes...lol).

I also agree with playing with Sissy with some toys as that may start to grab Ace's attention.

Other than that, I still recommend simply sitting in the room reading a book, watching TV (or taking a nap).  Ignore them and let them get brave enough to jump up to investigate - and even then let them walk around and sniff and don't try to pet them or anything.

I know that three days seems like such a long time when you want their bundles of fur in your arms but from what they have been through I believe they, and you, are making great progress.

Take care
InMemoryOfRascal
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #46 
Getting better bit by bit.  Yesterday I was lying on their bed reading and read of cats being euthanized, which got me to thinking about Julian, and I began crying.  A few minutes later before leaving the room I looked under the bed.  Sissy was about in the middle.  She looked at me, stood up and walked towards me so that I could pet her!  I think she wanted to comfort me, cats  are so astute on picking up on emotions.

I'd intended not to touch Ace yesterday, but did once by accident; their tabby rumps look about the same in the shadows under the bed.

During the night more kitty litter ended up on the big magenta pillow, also more on the cat tree.  They are definitely spending more time not under the bed.

Best of all, both of the 3 oz. cans of cat food offered for dinner (different flavors) and several tablespoons of dry food disappeared.   The "Yes" list is growing. That is definitely a maintenance amount for two cats, for the first time.  

This morning I've been able to pet Sissy.  Ace growled the whole time, then actually came towards me, still growling with a few spits thrown in.  Maybe he was trying to "protect" Sissy, or maybe he's getting braver still.  Given the sound effects I didn't try to touch him.  

Today I'll be gone for about five hours at my volunteer job at the library.  This is the longest they've been alone in the house since arriving here. Hopefully that will give them time to become calmer and not feel to them like a flashback to all the months they were alone in their former home.  This is something I do every Monday, barring holidays, it's normal.
Eddysmom1

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Posts: 2,528
 #47 
Here is a picture of Karen's beautiful new furbabies.  I am posting it for her. 

Ace & Sissy

[image]
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #48 
Oh, thank you so much, Linda!!  I'm technologically inept, you've just done your good deed for the whole month.  You are beyond wonderful.

I can't get over how beautiful their eyes are, such a vibrant color and so big, too.  Their ears aren't as big as it looks in this picture, the angle of the shot caused a bit of distortion.  

Ace is the one in front.  Sissy has a much larger bib, and also has white slippers on her front paws, which Ace does not.  You can see why I was at first confused as to who was who.  May they soon begin to have such expressions and poses again. :)

Thank you so much, Lin.
Eddysmom1

Registered:
Posts: 2,528
 #49 
Hi Karen,

No need for thanks! I just wish I could've gotten the picture bigger.

Their eyes really are gorgeous. Very unique shade of green and, yes, quite large! They are beautiful all the way around.

I am glad you let us know which is Ace and which is Sissy--nice to try to see the differences in them. They do look so very much alike. Beauties!

How have things been going today? We all want to know! :)

Love
Lin and the boys.
kamc22

Registered:
Posts: 1,910
 #50 
Things are mostly going better.  Each night I've been turning on the bedside lamp so they won't be in complete dark.  Last evening I flipped the light switch, turning on a decorative hanging lamp which bathes the room in pink light.  There are various kinds of color therapy, different colors have different physiological and psychological effects, so maybe that was a factor.  When I went in to pet them, Ace was atop the dresser, just a few feet from me. I looked at him in amazement, first time I'd seen him not under the bed, tried not to stare, and left quickly.  Later when I came in with their dinner he was sitting on the second level of the cat tree across the room.  He jumped down and went under the bed, I put down their dinners and left.  Twice in a matter of hours.

During the night the kids feasted.  They finished both flavors of Fancy Feast gravy lovers canned food (6 oz. total), and about half a cup of some Purina One salmon dry food I bought to try.  That is definitely more than a maintenance amount for half a day for two cats.  Perhaps not surprisingly, they've not eaten much yet today.

The part that concerns me now- and I figure I'll just have to wait it out, time is on my side- is that Ace isn't letting me pet Sissy for long.  If they're not together under the bed, he comes over to try to swat me when I'm petting her.  If he's next to her, he sort of dives over her to try to scratch me.  Not to anthropomorphize, but I'm trying to decide if he thinks he's protecting her, or if he wants her all to himself... or both, or something different.   This afternoon I was messing with the bedspread knowing he was behind it, and he swatted the cloth.  

Days too late when it can't be changed, I think things might be going better if someone else had captured the two cats in their old home and then delivered them here.  I would have looked blameless.  Still, plenty of people have done cat rescues, and eventually the cats calm down and become friends... and often end up being adopted by that person.  

This is probably progress, since when he first arrived he stayed as far away from me as he could, now he's, sigh, staying close  at least, but trying to swat at me.  His spirit hasn't been crushed, he's obviously not terrorized and trying to get away.

So I've been going into their room, checking under the bed to see where they are, try to pet Sissy, then lie on the bed and read, try again to pet her before leaving the room.

It's mid 80's here today, so I opened a (screened) window for them to enjoy the fresh air and warmth.  Tomorrow it's predicted to reach 90.  They'll probably really enjoy that.
brenrae

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Posts: 4,645
 #51 
I think that with time, Ace will come around. I am wondering if perhaps he is the more sensitive of the two, and doesn't handle change as will as Sissy seems to be doing. They are both beautiful and I was wondering if they have blue eyes. Or perhaps green. I think with time, it will be all right, and you have the patience that they need to make them feel secure in their new surroundings.
AmandaWI

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Posts: 1,415
 #52 
Well it sounds like things are going pretty well!  And their pictures are just beautiful!  It sounds like maybe Ace is either:  protective of Sissy, jealous that she is not as afraid to be touched, or taking more time to trust.  Regardless, progress is being made in this short time so that is a blessing.  Thanks so much for continuing to update us, I really enjoy hearing about their progress.  How did they do while you were away at the library? 

Amanda
Kodiak & Bailee's mom
InMemoryOfRascal

Registered:
Posts: 2,422
 #53 
I think that things are looking good for you all.  Really when you think about it they (and you) have made great strides.  Before you brought them home, they stayed hidden far away.  Now they are coming out and going on the tree, the bed, eating, drinking, etc...

I think you should get one of the wands with feathers and try to play with Ace a little.  But never get too close to him or try to touch him...just yet.  Sissy is already adjusting and that will help Ace - even if it seems to upset him initially.  Perhaps find some "special" treats and when you are petting Sissy drop some of the goodies over by Ace so he gets something great from you at the same time.

I know it seems like a bit of time but I swear it has been a short time.  Those two have been alone for two years so the progress that you have made with them is impressive.

Take care
InMemoryOfRascal
kamc22

Registered:
Posts: 1,910
 #54 
One week ago this afternoon the kids arrived here.

I'm ridiculously relieved at how well they ate overnight.  Both of the 3 oz. cans of Fancy Feast Gravy lovers, and nearly a cup of dry food!  Unless they've both suddenly become nervous eaters, which is highly unlikely, their appetites are again normal.  They ate so little the first few days that now they need to do some catching up, and have done it so well!  And they polished off over 4 oz. of the canned food I put down for breakfast, plus 23 Temptations.  It is so nice to see kitties eating well, having prosperous shapes. :)

This morning I caught a flash of white paws going under the bed.  That's the first time I've seen Sissy not underneath it.  

Throughout the day I hear various sounds coming from their room, so I know they are moving around actively.  It reached 90 here today, which is nice for cats whose ancestors evolved in Egypt, a window was open for them all day.

Whenever I read something, I take it into their room and lie on the bed quietly reading, so they get used to being around a human again.  I've spent something like 1 1/2 hours in there today in little 10-20 minute pieces, plus the time it takes tending to their food and water and the litter box.  I sure as heck don't dare run the vacuum cleaner in there, so have been using a whisk brush and pan to clean things quietly.  Whatever I can sweep off bed, dresser, floor and cat tree is better than nothing.

Before adding this post, I saw that this thread has been read an incredible 880 times.  There seems to be quite a following with many people interested in Ace and Sissy's new life.  Linda who posted the picture of them suggested I make sure that everyone sees just how beautiful they are.  Their picture is on page 2 of this thread, dated April 28.  

brenrae, Ace is definitely the more upset and more sensitive one at this point.  Mike said the same thing the day I first met them, which was two weeks ago today.  He's always been the more vocal one, the one most likely to run away, the less willing to be touched in the 7 months since their mommy left this world.  At this point he's built up a habit of acting like that, now I'm trying to defuse it.  That is 2 cat years, plenty of time to establish a habit, but now he doesn't need to do that any more.  Their eyes are very definitely green; by comparison Julian's eyes were a more pastel yellow green, so A&S's eyes are almost startling.  Their picture was uploaded by Mike, sent to me, forwarded to Linda, uploaded to this site, and the color faded a bit: what I received showed almost emerald green eyes, amazing.

Amanda, I was gone almost exactly 5 hours on Monday doing my volunteer stint at the library.  I think they were a little more agitated than usual when I went in to visit them after I got home.  Not a lot, but it was a mildly disappointing interaction.  Thank you for asking.  I'd not really analyzed that before, so the fact that they were a bit upset means they, believe it or not, could it be, actually missed me a little.  Or at least were affected by the change in their new schedule here.

Nicole, thank you for your encouraging words.  I'm seeing bits of improvement day by day, but you are getting sort of a time lapse view so can see a lot more progress than I have.  My apologies, I must not have been clear in what I wrote: their mommy died 7 months ago, which is two *cat* years, not two calendar years.  [Most online cat age calculators say one calendar year for adult cats equals four years of a cat's life.]
I'm definitely not trying to touch Ace now, am trying to avoid him swatting me: I have four scabs so far due to his razor sharp and fast claws.

I'd been using Temptations as sort of a form of dry food in the first days, putting 22 in a dish, just so they'd *eat* something.  They're meant to be a treat, but it was imperative that they eat *something*, *anything*, rather than make themselves ill by not eating.  They do gobble it up quickly, so it's still a treat to them.   So, erk, maybe tomorrow I'll go in with a pole toy and the Temptations and see what happens.  Happily, Kaiser Hospital is only .7 miles from here, not that I really expect it to get to that point, lol.

Thank you all for your interest, keep up the positive and hopeful thoughts.  This isn't a very fast project, but it is proceeding.
brenrae

Registered:
Posts: 4,645
 #55 
Karen, When Sandy first came in from living on the streets, he would be upset if I left, even if it was only 30 minutes. I think he was afraid of being abandoned again. They may be what Ace and Sissy are worried about, they are getting used to having you there, and when you left for those few hours, they may of been afraid of being left alone again. I believe that with time, they will come around and be more like the way they was before losing their previous human. You are doing a good job, for it seems they are at least not hiding as much as in the beginning. I know that with time and patience, they will adjust to their new lives, and be the happy and content kitties they once was.
InMemoryOfRascal

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Posts: 2,422
 #56 
Karen, LOL, don't try to touch Ace after playing with the toy!  I don't want you at the hospital!!!  My thought was when you are petting Sissy use the toy to play with Ace and see if you can get him interested.  You might want to spend longer periods of time in the room, just reading (and ignoring them).  I really do see a lot of progress.  Honestly if it was my Rambo there with you, you probably wouldn't see him ever.  He would be the one that shimmied his way under the sheets and blanket on the bed and laying there flat.  In fact, when we moved to a new home in WA (Rambo, Rascal and I) he stayed under the covers for several days, didn't eat, it was like a sauna under there because it was summer time - and he moved with ME.  His mama - the one he loves and lived with for 6 years already.  So when you think about that....your Ace and Sissy are doing very very well!!!!

I know it may sound crazy, but every night when I go to bed - I say good night to my mom's Pretty Baby and tell her that her mommy will come and sleep with her.  I then ask my mom to make sure to come and sleep with her baby.  Maybe ask their first mom to look down and in on them and help them get settled.  :)

Good job.  I can just imagine reading an update in a couple of months and you talking about them sitting next to you!!!  Can't wait.
kamc22

Registered:
Posts: 1,910
 #57 
This morning Ace was on the cat tree again.  He gave me his usual morning hiss by way of greeting, I spoke softly to him then busied myself taking up, once again *three* empty food dishes.  Nothing wrong with their appetites, which is a very good sign.  When I looked up again, he was under the bed.

Had a dentist appointment this morning.  Unusually for that practice I was half an hour late getting in, then stopped by Safeway and a pet store on the way home, so was gone nearly three hours.  It is so nice to be buying cat food again. :) :) Spent some time reading on the bed, left the room again.

Later I went in with a brand new Feline Flyer.  The flexible pole is 29" long, the string and large feather "bird" at the end is 28", nice and safe for this human.  I danced it at the edge of the bed-- and suddenly a telltale white paw snagged the bird and held it firmly to the rug.  Sissy was surprisingly playful.  Three fourths of her body came out from under the bed (that's the most of her I've seen since they arrived), she was lying half on her back trying to snag it.  When she returned to a prone position, I pet her head a few times.  Ace couldn't see it, but may have guessed what was happening; he growled softly the whole time Sissy was playing.

It's Thursday again, a sad day of the week for all of us.  Their mommy died September 12, a Thursday, my Julian went to heaven January 9, same day of the week.  He's been gone 16 weeks now, it is so sad to know it's been that long since I've held and pet and loved him.   At least I've had visits from Murphy, but Ace and Sissy had no affection at all until I showed up at their house two weeks ago.

brenrae, for all that they're not yet very affectionate to me, you raise a very good point: they could be afraid of being abandoned again, like Sandy was.  I don't have a job and sometimes don't leave the house/yard for two days at a time, but their original human was even more reclusive than I am, and that's what they are used to. 

Nicole,  Oh, I'd never even thought to attempt to pet Ace after tempting him to play, I'm just not into pain that much, lol.  Tomorrow I'll spend a lot more time in their room than I did today, likely several hours, the rest of the time they'll hear me here in the house and yard.

Actually, I've asked Julian and their original mommy to help them settle in, started asking them before A&S even arrived here.  It may even be that the furred ones mentioned on this message board will also help, since we humans have got to "know" each other online, so that would be sort of a friends of friends thing.  

As close as you and Rambo are, I would never have guessed that he would have been so upset moving to WA with you and Rascal.  Wow.  So A&S are actually doing pretty well right now, especially considering how long they were alone in their old house.  

They've been here for eight days now.




goofygirlinva

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Posts: 1,082
 #58 
I had no idea 8 days have gone by since you brought Ace & Sissy home with you - that's a lot longer than I originally thought. It's kind of funny how sometimes our perception of time just goes out the window, isn't it? :-)

I'm glad you are playing with Sissy - I truly believe this is going to be the key to helping them see you in a friendly, trusting way. I once had a foster kitty that was a very grumpy boy. He had clearly been abused and did not trust people, and he completely HATED my other cats - he would even growl at his reflection in the mirror I had attached to the back of the bedroom door, LOL! He would be out and about in the bedroom I kept  him in but would growl and even scratch/give me a warning nip if I touched him for too long a period, so I couldn't interact with him too much. But I could rather easily get him to play with me, and that is how he started coming out from underneath the sofa and looking at me as something that could be trusted. Believe it or not, after awhile I could actually get him to roll on his back and expose his tummy and let me gently rub it. And he even started to purr when I petted him! Of course that would often be followed by growling and a quick swipe with his very sharp claws, LOL! But the play time was absolutely the key to helping him get used to me and to building trust. I hope it will do the same with you and Ace!

- Kelly
AmandaWI

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Posts: 1,415
 #59 
Karen, how did you come to know about these kitties?  Who is Mike?  Any idea what happened to their mom and why it took so long to wrap up her house/things and find someone to care for the kitties?  Just wondering.  I'm so glad that you ask Julian and their mom to help with their adjustment.  My guess is that whatever happened is probably all of our worst nightmare come true--something happening to us and our beloved furbabies not having someone to look after them.  I'm sure she is very grateful that they found someone so caring.  Sounds like they are eating well, and venturing out more so that all seems positive to me.  Love the continued updates, I so look forward to them!  Tell them they have many fans sending positive thoughts their way. 

Amanda
Kodiak & Bailee's mom
kamc22

Registered:
Posts: 1,910
 #60 
Kelly, thank you for telling me about your (formerly) grumpy foster kitty.  Ace and Sissy are acting similarly, though there is no mirror in their room so I don't know how they'd respond to their own reflections.  I don't think they were ever abused, but they became so scared and skittish and lived like that for months after their mommy died.  Neither wanted to play with the cat toy yesterday, will try again this afternoon.

Amanda, Mike is the only child of Mary, who had Ace and Sissy before she passed away in September.  There were two other mostly outdoor cats who were adopted right away.  But A&S immediately hid whenever someone came into the house, so potential adopters couldn't even see them... and then were half jokingly labeled "indoor ferals".  Mary had become a hoarder in her later years, so there are literally hundreds of hiding places for them. Both Mike and my contact at FoF told me some potential adopters had been put off by the state of the house, but I said unless A&S had had a hand in decorating, which I seriously doubted, it would be no reflection on them. [And it wasn't.] Still dozens of hiding places even after Mike closed off two storage rooms.  I signed up for an online petfinder which "found" them.  I knew that the organization "Friends of Ferals" existed, but hadn't looked at their web site, thinking they worked only with ferals (imagine!)- having lived strictly indoors their whole lives A&S are not feral. There just aren't that many people who will adopt multiple adult cats, especially unfriendly ones that don't give immediate gratification, and now kitten season has begun, too.   There was a very nice man who was interested, but A&S wanted nothing to do with him, they feel much more comfortable with a female.  That cut the pool of potential adopters in half.  Mike honored his mother's last wish that A&S not be euthanized, so they continued living in that house for 7 months until someone adopted them (me).  It wasn't a very good situation, but still better than if they'd been kept in cages or turned into outside cats.  

What happened to Ace and Sissy was through no fault of their own, it's a nightmare to consider.   It looked to me like what would have happened to my Julian if I'd died before him, and he would have been an all alone one person 12 year old cat... but then both my brother and his wife separately told me that they would have adopted Julian and so did my angelic cyber friend I met on this site.  

Later that evening after my last post, I nearly wrote an addenda.  I went out back and looked in through their bedroom window.  Sissy was on the cat tree which is at the windows, she saw me, stood up on her hind legs and pretended to sniff and kiss my fingers through the glass.  The screened window is open an inch or so, so I could hear Ace softly growling.  I was so elated that she came forward like that!

Yesterday, in typical two steps forward one step back fashion, she was on the cat tree when I brought in their breakfast- and spit at me.  I couldn't believe it, but she's the only one with white paws, it was her.  I went in and out of the room all yesterday, sometimes reading for 20 minutes at a time, other visits were shorter.  Nobody would play with the cat toy, neither was touched by me all day.  

At one point Sissy was on the top of the cat tree with her back to me, avidly watching something.  I didn't approach her, and she stayed up there for almost half a minute before coming down to get under the bed.  I kept finding her on the cat tree, so would sit on the floor by the door and not try to approach her; the more time she spends not under the bed the better, and she's spending more and more time not hiding each day.

This morning I came in to find-- Ace burrowed under the bed covers.  Oh my, what a nice huge kitty lump that makes.  I wondered if he was perhaps channeling Julian, who began getting under the covers after his big surgery, and like Nicole's Rambo did when they moved.  I lay my hand gently on the big lump, it barely moved, it didn't make a sound.  Sissy was above me on the cat tree watching, less than a foot from me; I deliberately didn't look at her.  Two more times I lay my hand on the big lump, then it shifted, growled very softly and went under the bed.  

The kids continue to eat *very* well, about 12 oz. of canned food a day plus 1/2- almost a cup of dry food.  They've scrupulously used their litter box, there have been no accidents.  They are spending more and more time not under the bed, and more and more time when I'm in the room staying in plain sight before they go under it.  

They arrived here 10 days ago, and definitely are calming down. It will take time, but I figure as well as they are eating they must be in a pretty good state of mind, their appetites are in top form.
maerlyn

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 #61 
Karen, I started to reply to you last week, but the cybergremlins struck: just as I was about to "Add Reply" - my connection dropped.  Aaarrggghhhh!  Anyway, I am SO glad to read that you adopted two kitties; I knew you would!

Your situation reminds me of my own with my two "grey boys" - who are outside cats.  Smokey was coming into my barn to eat, but only when I was not around.  I'd leave food, and he'd eat it.  I knew it was he because I set up a trail cam to catch his photo.  This went on for quite a while.  Eventually, he started coming over to the house for some canned food; he'd wait on the patio while I fixed it, but as soon as I came to the door, he'd go hide in the shrubbery.  Only when I was "safely" inside would he approach to eat.

At some point, Shadow appeared; they look so much alike that for months and months, I believed there was only one cat!  Shadow was equally timid, although seemed more 'laid back' than Smokey.  I was putting food on a high table in the feed room in the barn, but I'd have to leave the room before either of them (Shadow usually) would come in to eat.  Gradually, Shadow crept closer; one evening, I stepped back from the table, and he walked right by me, jumped onto the table, and started eating.  This became our new routine.  After many evenings of this, I reached down to scratch him - and my hand just slipped along his back as he walked by.  Eventually, he let me pet him and even pick him up.  He is today completely tame; I can even get him to the vet.  Smokey remains aloof; he'll follow me to the barn and back; he'll come when I call - but I cannot touch him.

When I'm saying is - you're doing it right - giving it lots and lots of time.  I believe Smokey watched Shadow and learned that I'm harmless (well, except for trips to the vet! LOL), so he'll come near me.  Since Sissy seems to be the more amenable of the two, I'd concentrate on her; Ace will learn.  It must've been terrible for them to be living with a hoarder; I've seen some on tv -  one hoarder had a dead cat she didn't even know about until the cleaners found the dessicated body.  Disgusting.  You've rescued Ace and Sissy; given time, they'll repay you.  Best of luck!
InMemoryOfRascal

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 #62 
Karen, I think things are looking pretty good!  You know after my mom passed (I posted here of some of it) I brought her three cats to live with me initially.  Her two youngest were 2 yrs old.  And both cats had known me since they were 12 wks old (when she got them home).  It took one of them a couple of weeks to settle down at my house.  A couple of times she actually jumped and tried to attack me!  (I told my mom she better have a talk with her!!)  I share because these were two cats that were with someone that they knew - ALL of their things were around them - and yet they still struggled.  My mom's Pretty Baby she is 14yrs old and she has always been a timid thing; she was ear tipped and marked "feral" before my mom adopted her.  Crazy, she is shy,not aggressive.  She surprisingly seemed to settle in the quickest - perhaps because she was already shy that her "normal" was not that outgoing! 

The fact that both Ace and Sissy are coming out more and more; going up on the cat tree; eating, etc...are great signs.  You are doing a great job and I know that they will settle in.

It is very sad when cats are left behind when their owners pass.  I learned when we lost Rascal that Rambo grieved and felt the loss every bit as much as I did.  He as not himself for months.  Again, that was with me his mama of 10+ years (at the time).  Your Ace & Sissy are doing really well factoring in that they lost their first person; were basically alone and scared for months; now in a strange house...in fact doing better than I would be!

So excited with the progress.  You should be very proud.

Take care
InMemoryOfRascal
Nicole

kamc22

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 #63 
Sharon, you have my heartfelt empathy when your message vanished into cyber-space like that.  When it happens to me I'm usually too bleeped off to redo it again that day.  Arrgghh.  I remember when Shadow came to you, boy the time slips by.  And Smokey still cannot be petted; well, he's a cat, it's possible that since  you wrote that he'll suddenly make it untrue soon. ;) You do have a special way with cats, I've never actually dealt with feral ones like you have.  And I still maintain that when you get to the Bridge it is going to tilt because so many furred ones will rush to greet you.  

Time is what these two will get, there's no way to make it happen overnight, so thank you for the encouragement. I've seen some horrifying things about hoarders on TV, the kids' home was nothing like that.  It's the animal hoarders whose homes end up so bad that rescuers go in wearing haz mat suits and masks; Sissy and Ace were the only two kitties.   There was no stench at all, just dusty and untended. But two of the bedrooms were so filled with stuff that Mike and I agreed it was lucky that something hadn't shifted onto the cats as they burrowed into hiding places, trapping them or worse.  Once they come out of the guest room they may feel disoriented to see so much bare floor and so few hiding places, but that's in the future.

I'm definitely concentrating on Sissy, Ace at this point is all too liable to use his claws on me, though I make it a point to talk to him and look at him (without staring) each time I go into their room.  Thanks for  your advice and encouragement, I need both.

Nicole,  Yes, I read all or nearly all of your posts about adopting your mothers' three furry children after she passed away.  You brought a lot of familiar items with you, did everything you could, and it was still a big adjustment for them.  Even though they already knew you, even though two of them were only two years old.  I very much appreciate the positive spin you put on things-- and am pleased to report good news today.

A day of firsts on this Sunday which is Ace and Sissy's 11th day here.  Sissy was on the top of the cat tree when I brought them their breakfast, she neither spit nor moved, just quietly watched me gather up the empty (yay!) dishes  and put down the new offerings.  I popped in briefly a few more times, did yard work, then went in to read a book with them.  Ace didn't like me reading aloud from "Great Buildings: The World's Masterpieces of Architecture..." and growled in counterpoint.  Eventually I was quiet... and may have dozed on and off, because I spent 1 1/2 hours in there lying on the bed.  

A coupla hours later I returned with the book, Feliway (pheromone spray to comfort kitties) and the cat pole toy.  Sprayed it in the air above where both were, then began dragging the toy near Sissy.  We ended up playing together for 27 minutes!!  She came out from under the bed, followed the toy around, eventually was climbing onto the bed to chase it.  She sprawled on her back and I discovered that the middle third of her underside is a pure white long oval.  She is keeping her bib, paws and tummy immaculately, almost glowingly, white.  Sometimes she'd stop and look up at me with big round eyes.  I always blinked slowly to show contentment and talked softly to her, then distracted her with the toy.  I pet her on the floor briefly.  She got onto the bed following the "bird" and I stroked her.  She stood on her tiptoes to butt her head against my hand repeatedly, I petted her over and over.  She stayed near, she'd take a few steps towards me and I'd pet her more.  Her head is so fineboned compared to how big Julian's head was since he wasn't neutered until age 5, and was a large male.  Ace growled softly most of the time, then was silent for about the last third of the session.

I ended the session, thinking it better to leave her wanting more than for her to lose interest.  Plus my arm was getting uncomfortable holding it out like that for so long.  Very definitely interacting, very definitely she kept coming towards me instead of freezing, cringing or hiding under the bed.

What I'm seriously considering is to sleep with the kids overnight.  Not tonight, I have the volunteer job at the library tomorrow morning, but Monday night.  I deliberately didn't change the sheets on the guest bed so that my scent would be there, it's all ready.  Mike told me that when his mother was ready for bed she'd say in a high pitched soft voice, "Bedtime, bedtime, Ace. Bedtime, bedtime, Sissy", and the two cats would instantly tear through the house to get onto the bed.  They'd still have access to the litter box and to food and water, but maybe just maybe... there could be kitties on the bed.   Cats can tell when people are asleep, so if one of them came near, maybe I could even cuddle or hold one in my sleep and get away with it.  Oh my, don't I sound greedy.

Having them here has been good for me, even though they're not settled in.  Three weeks ago I began reading "The Secrets of Lost Cats," a psychologist's nonfiction account of 20 lost cat posters and the stories behind them.  I kept ending up almost in tears.  But now I'm zipping through it, it's interesting. Just having furred ones in our lives makes such a big difference.








maxsMandD

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 #64 
They are two cute kitties, sounds like things are working out for you. Keep up the good work.   ((hugs))   maxsMandD
kamc22

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 #65 
Thanks for the encouragement, maxsMandD.

Yesterday Sissy came to me *twice* to be petted.  Once she even made a cute little meow sound as she looked at me.  She sniffs my fingers shyly, and loses her nerve after about 10 pets, then retreats under the bed.  It's a very nice step forward that she's begun approaching me on her own.

Ace is under the foot of the bed whenever I come into the room and immediately growls.  I haven't touched him in several days now, not since that one morning that I found that big kitty lump under the bed covers.

Last night I slept in the kids' room.  Sissy watched me from the top of the cat tree as I clambered under the covers and began to read.  For a while she was sleeping up there where I could see her head, then she moved a bit so she wasn't visible. I don't know if anybody came onto the bed while I slept. When I woke early this morning, they were both under the bed. But my presence hadn't terrorized them= they completely emptied both dishes of cat food overnight.

Now at 5:30 am the bed has been remade, breakfast has been offered and I hear somebody moving around in their room.  Tomorrow they will have been here two weeks.  In a way this seems so slow, but considering how they spent the previous seven months there has already been progress.  I'm ready to give them a huge amount of affection and petting, and want to make up for the deficit they built up after their mommy died.  Probably they can sense that, well they must have or I wouldn't have been able to pet them when they were at their former home- nobody else ever could.  (Small pep talk to self, lol.)

brenrae

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 #66 
Maybe Ace doesn't like architecture??? It seems he will be the harder one to win over, but I bet when you do win his heart, he will be so very loving, and want to always be near you. It sounds like you are doing what you can to make them comfortable, and get them used to you. Remember all good things do not happen in a day. It took me 6 months to even get Jinx to let me pet her, and when she climbed in my arms without me coaxing her, it was one of the best moments in my life.























you are doing all you can to make them comfortable around you, 
.0
InMemoryOfRascal

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 #67 
Karen, I think that it is HUGE that you were able to sleep in the room with them and clearly they felt safe enough to eat/drink/litterbox, etc...  I think that if Ace really had an issue with you he would not have let you sleep there undisturbed!  LOL  And it is fine if they go under the bed, from watching Jackson Galaxy cats either really feel safer down low or up high.  Clearly Ace and Sissy are both more comfortable down low...but they have a safe place that they are clearly settling in to.

I don't think I ever shared here... I adopted Rambo and Rascal when they were 3 months old.  they had not been socialized.  If I was sleeping and I felt Rascal jump on the bed, I could quickly reach out and then pet her for a while.  But it took almost a year before she would search me out - and the first time that she purred (at least a year) it was one of the most special experiences of my life.  Now as someone who knows more about my Rascal from all of my posts, you know that Rascal never accepted anyone else but me and was quite the fierce little thing (that is a nice way of saying attack cat!  LOL).  I share this to let you know that even without the trauma that your two went through, it took Rascal a bit longer than Rambo to get adjusted...but I will tell you without a doubt that all the time, effort and love was SO worth it!  I miss her today and forever. 

Know that your time and patience (not to mention love) will win these two over completely.  And when that happens you will feel like the best and luckiest woman in the world!

Take care my friend
InMemoryOfRascal
kamc22

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 #68 
brenrae,  in case Ace didn't like architecture, as you'd wondered, today I read to him from a Donna Leon mystery.  He liked that even less, to my chagrin.   I can imagine how thrilled you felt when after six long months Jinx climbed into your arms; the surge of the joy and the love must have blazed through your whole world.

Ace and Sissy have now been here for 15 days.  Three times now Sissy has laid stretched out on her side on the floor to be petted.  I've pet her chest and am considering going lower, though not all cats who expose their bellies want to actually be petted there.

I'm now sleeping in the guest bed every night.  There are so many happy memories of hundreds of hours of loving and being loved by Julian in that bed after his big surgery, and I really like sleeping with kitties nearby.  Night before last I heard faint scrabbling on the bed.  Stupidly I turned towards the sound, which sent the kitty (probably Sissy) off the bed.  But if I restrain myself maybe she'll do it again.  Meanwhile that gives them literally hours of me quietly in the room with them.  They are not going to be alone any more.

Today Sissy barely played with the cat pole toy.  Ace is acting pretty much the same way for the past 12 days.  He's invariably under the bed, growls or spits when I come into the room, spits louder when I lift the bedspread to look at him.  Today he took a 2 inch lunge towards me, and I flinched back.  Sissy's getting pets each day, but he hasn't been touched since that morning I found a huge kitty lump under the covers.  Haven't seen him in the cat tree for days now.  I haven't mistreated him since he's been here, and hope he's not settled into a permanent or long term pattern.

Meanwhile both of them are eating very well, consistently, so they're not wildly stressed now. That is greatly reassuring.  In my experience, about anything can be an excuse for a cat to stop eating.  But the two of them are going through 12 oz. of canned food and nearly a cup of dry food every day. 

When I took their dinner in, Sissy was atop the cat tree with her back to me, and didn't even turn her head.  Turns out there was a bird right outside the window, it swooped very close to the glass.  For such a strictly indoor kitty, I must say she was extremely focused and interested!

I figured they might spend a month in the guest room before wanting to venture out, though hoped it would be quicker.  It'd be nice if Ace were to change his behavior at least a little, this isn't a good rut for him to get into.  Meanwhile, they are again living with a devoted female human and have a much more normal life now.
kamc22

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 #69 
Nicole, Your message wasn't on the board when I last wrote, it must have been time stamped minutes before mine.  It's amazing that you were able to establish a relationship with Rambo and Rascal; various sources I've read say that the first two months is the critical socialization period, and they were a month older than that when they arrived at your home.  Had you not been so patient they would likely have ended up lifelong ferals, from what I've read.  

Thank you for your perspective on Ace and Sissy; I was getting discouraged last night as you could tell, then along came your positive assessment, foreshadowing what happened during the night.

Today is Ace and Sissy's 16th day here.  I woke in the middle of the night, read a little, then felt a kitty on the bed.  Sissy had come down from the cat tree, and proceeded to lie on my ankle.  It was so nice to again be pinned to the bed by a cat.  It was awkward reaching down to pet her without moving my leg, but being a cat person I of course managed to do that.  She stayed there.  Pretty soon she was stretching out across my legs for pets, rolling over- almost off the bed once but I braced her, butting her head against my hand, breathing fast as if she was purring, though I didn't hear anything.  Eventually I sort of dozed then heard little sounds at the head of the bed on the other side and knew that had to be Ace, since she still had me pinned.

A bit later a kitty appeared next to my side of the bed and I pet it- before realizing that was **Ace**!!  (Remember, I was half asleep, and you can see that there is a strong family resemblance- plus I couldn't see his paws and he wasn't growling or spitting, so in my stupor I thought he was his sister, lol.) He accepted 3 pets before going under the bed, came back out a few minutes later for another few pets, this time making such a tiny little sound that I thought it was my own tummy making noises.  He didn't growl at all.  His head appeared on the other side of the bed, then he ducked down when our eyes met.  

So last night *both* of them came to be petted, for the very first time.   This is exactly what I hoped might happen, that a sleeping human would be more approachable, especially to these two who so much loved the nights with their original mommy and were such good bed kitties.  I'd already decided to keep sleeping in their room every night, this corroborates it.   
InMemoryOfRascal

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 #70 
Karen, that is SO awesome!!!!!!  Big smile on my face!

With regards to the socialization of my Rambo & Rascal, I know that the early weeks are the formative ones for getting the kitties social.  BUT personally I don't think that it is really ever too late.  My mom's Pretty Baby was 8 months old and had been rescued from a hoarding situation; she was ear clipped and marked feral.  Now Pretty Baby will never be that confident run all around the house cat, but with my mom she would sleep with her every night, give her head butts, snore next to her.  I think that if the cat is given time to settle in on their terms and not forced, at their core they want to be loved and near you.

I am so happy that the breakthrough came just when you were starting to lose a little hope.  You, Ace & Sissy are building the basis of a great family!

So happy for you!
InMemoryOfRascal
AmandaWI

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 #71 
Yayyyyy!  What a wonderful, hopeful sign(s).  Good thing that you were groggy, you registered no hesitation and maybe that's why he didn't growl or spit?  Regardless it was clearly a breakthrough and that's just fantastic.  And coming back yet again is confirmation.  Angel Julian is intervening on mom's behalf also I'm sure.  Keep the happy news coming:)

Amanda
Kodiak & Bailee's mom
kamc22

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 #72 
Nicole, I very much like your idea that it's *never* too late to socialize kitties or get them to adapt to a new home.  I suspect that you have a wonderful mix of patience and determination- how lucky all the felines are who have come into your life!  I remember reading how Baby's ear had been clipped to mark her as feral- what an awful thing to do, kind of like a feline version of "The Scarlet Letter". 

Amanda, it definitely helped that in my grogginess I thought I was petting his sister instead of Ace.  I wasn't awake enough to be hesitant, just enough to pet a kitty.   I hope that angel cat Julian is helping them to settle in, also their original mommy.  And I know that plenty of prayers, positive thoughts and energy are coming from the people on this message board.

Ace and Sissy have now been here 18 days, or will be at 4:24 pm... it's now only 5:40 am.  It may be overstating to say they are going from strength to strength, though a wonderful trend is in progress.

Sissy has slept on the bed-on me- each of the past four nights.  I don't know exactly how long, but when I wake up sometime around 3 am, there she is napping on my ankle or curled into the place behind my bent knees.  When I'm reading in bed, she's usually atop the cat tree, mostly peering down at me, or else washing or sleeping in one cute pose after another.  She continues to come towards me for petting, though at times gets skittish and goes under the bed after only a few pets.  Other times  I can pet her for several minutes.  Usually she wants to play with the cat pole toy, though sometimes she's pretty languid about it, lol.

Ace is doing a lot less spitting and growling, and the growling sessions are much shorter now.  Last night- this morning- was a first.  He jumped onto the bed!!!  I was blearily reading, and felt a definite thunk when he landed by my feet.  Being a male, he's significantly heavier than his sister, and it felt completely different when he came onto the bed than when she does.  He may have got onto the bed before when I was asleep, this is the first time I've seen him do it.  He looked at me with big round eyes, and what I was going to call his magnificent tail may have been a bit standing on end.  He was a little scared to jump on the bed and look at me- but he did it anyway.   I've actually been able to pet him a few times each of the past couple of days, too- another big step forward compared to how the first couple of weeks went.  But if he's growling I don't even try that.

I talk softly to them and tell them they are beautiful and wonderful.  They are beginning to believe it, they are definitely acting more and more like their normal selves, with way less fearfulness.  

I feel kind of sorry for them to have spend so long exclusively in the guest bedroom, but they needed the time to calm down, and need still  more time.  Neither's shown any interest in leaving that room, even though occasionally the door is cracked open an inch or so by the wind.  Sissy is definitely intrigued by the world outside the window- there are squirrels and birds, she's even interested in all the unusual sounds coming from the other side of the fence where a major home remodel/upgrade has been going on since January.  None of those noises scare her enough to go under the bed, although sometimes it gets pretty noisy.  They do say that cats are curious, she sure is.

Have to buy more canned food soon; it is so nice to again have cat food on the shopping list. :)
goofygirlinva

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 #73 
Hi Karen,

When you think about it, 18 days really is not that long. It's just a bit over 2 weeks/under 3 weeks, and for both to have made such wonderful progress in that amount of time is simply amazing, especially Ace.

It's great that Sissy is showing a lot of interest in the outside world. I imagine she will soon want to explore other parts of the house as well, and Ace will most likely be close behind whenever she decides she wants to explore. :-)

I'm glad Sissy is wanting to play - I don't know if you watch My Cat from Hell, but one of Jackson's big themes is that you develop a closer bond with your cat by playing with them. I know that is true with my cats - the more I play with them, the more likely they are to sleep with me at night, snuggle with me on the sofa, etc. I hope Ace will soon start showing signs that he wants to play with you too - only good things can come from play, right? :-)

Congratulations on such amazing progress in such a short amount of time - here's to more great moments with them and reading more awesome updates from you!

- Kelly
Blackie's mom

InMemoryOfRascal

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 #74 
Karen, with regards to socializing, I think that it is more of accepting that everything is on the kitty's terms in terms of timing and understanding that.  When you "go into it" like that, no immediate expectations or pressure I think the cat senses that.

With my mom's Pretty Baby, in the early days there was many a weekend day that I simply laid on the floor next to the bed and talked to her.  I didn't try to touch her or anything, just sat there and talked to her.  Building blocks!  One piece at a time.

I am so very happy that you and your family are moving forward so well.  Always remember...it will be so worth the wait!

:)
InMemoryOfRascal
kamc22

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 #75 
Kelly, I'm one of those strange people who doesn't watch TV; it's been unplugged for about 9 years now, so I haven't seen anything by Jackson... if he is a cat whisperer, then I did read a book by him, though.   Most days I offer Sissy a chance to play, but when she's so indifferent that about all she moves is a paw, I don't do it for long, and may not try again the next day.  

Nicole, I had an idea this could "take a while," and figured Ace and Sissy might spend a month in the guest room.  I hope it's only that long, but poor Ace spent almost two weeks under the bed and growling when I came in, and spitting is still in his reportoire, sigh.  They were their original human mommy's constant companions and devoted bed kitties by night, very socialized with her.  But I guess with no one else.  Things are slowly improving here.  It seems like it would be boring just in one room like that, but neither has shown any interest in leaving the room yet, so I guess they're fine with it for now.

Tomorrow Ace and Sissy will have been here for three weeks.  That night after I wrote the last entry, there were *two* breakthroughs.  Best of all, I woke up around 3 am to discover that both Ace and Sissy were asleep on my leg!!  First time ever for him.   The night before he kind of scared himself by walking across the bed and looking at me, the very next night he was sleeping on me and the bed. They were curled up and touching, he made sure that she was between him and me, and as far out of petting range as possible.  He rolled over in his sleep and I saw that he also has some white on his underside.

[Yesterday at the library I wickedly told another volunteer that last night I was part of a menage a trois.  That startles people, lol.  Then I explained that Houston went to heaven 11/11/11 and that was the end of me sleeping with my two  cat men,  but after 2 1/2 years I'd finally been in bed with two kitties again.  I looked so pleased about it that several people commented.]

He stayed where he was for a little while after he realized I was awake, then he jumped down.  A little later, Sissy followed him, and I saw another first.  They sat side by side on the rug and vigorously groomed each other, my goodness I had no idea how their ears had got so dirty, lol.  That is so much better than both of them hiding under the bed.

Sissy is now sleeping on the bed for a while every single night. I love it!

Last night Ace didn't sleep on the bed that I know of.  Instead he was on top of the 6 1/2 foot cat tree.  That was a first for him. Sometimes he'd wash, then he'd go back to sleep, a tail or most of a leg would be hanging over the edge.  He'd wake up and peer at me through the opening to the platform on top- then he lay across that hole and completely covered it; he's a big guy.  In a way he was in a vulnerable position: if I were to get out of bed and stand up to pet him, the only way down would be a four foot jump onto the bed, then dive under it.  But I didn't move, fell back asleep instead.

Today- he's under the bed, or wrapped in the bedspread at the foot of the bed like Julian used to do.  He growled  when I came into the room.  And yet, when I misjudged and accidentally tripped on him-- he didn't make a sound.  I immediately apologized profusely and he remained silent.  He growls when I lightly touch him through the bedding, but doesn't make a sound when he gets a very slow kicking nudge, which has a lot more force and any kind of shoe is harder than a hand.   It actually wasn't much of a contact; I instantly stop, change direction when I feel a kitty, to the point of nearly falling over if that's what it takes.

Their appetite continues to be very good;  I made a Safeway run yesterday: total $55, $23 for me, the rest for the kids.  As it should be.


brenrae

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 #76 
It must of been thrilling for Ace to finally allow you to pet him. Sounds like he is starting to come around.
 
InMemoryOfRascal

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Posts: 2,422
 #77 
Karen, the breakthroughs just keep coming!  So excited.  I really wouldn't worry about them staying in that room - they are becoming secure there; that is priceless.  Pretty soon they will feel confident enough to want to explore.  Until then, they have a whole room just for them - they are living the good life.

I also wouldn't worry about Ace's hissing when you come in the room - when you think about it that could have become a "habit" for him during the months he and his sister were left alone. 

Best yet, the pic in my mind of him sprawling over the top of the cat tree proves how comfortable he is getting!  Scared and insecure cats don't sleep like that!  LOL

Great job.  So excited for your new family.  The love is building and it is such a precious thing!

InMemoryOfRascal
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #78 
brenrae, yes I'm always very pleased to be able to touch Ace, much less to pet him.  Poor baby is taking longer to adjust than his sister is.  When I touch him when he's wrapped on the floor in the bedspread, like my Julian used to do, Ace no longer growls if it's just a quick pet or brief touch.  Major improvement.

Nicole, Your predictions are so prescient, keep them coming!  That's an excellent point you made that I hadn't realized until you wrote it: a scared and insecure cat would not be sprawled in plain sight, it would be huddling in some hidden place.

The heat wave ended during the night.  Neither has slept on  the bed with me since it began; most of the time when I'm awake they're on the top level of the cat tree in front of the opened window catching the cool night air.   Sissy is being pet 5-10 minutes a day, Ace is getting more and more quick pets, and staying quiet for them.

BREAK OUT! Something woke me in the middle of the night.   I was astonished to see that the door was open several inches.  I checked under the bed, saw no one, and began quickly searching the house.  (The clothes dryer vent door/ aka pet door was unlatched, I didn't know if anyone had found it or would go through it, so was almost afraid for them.)  Spotted Sissy ducking into the computer room.  She didn't want to be petted and scurried back into their room and went under the bed.  Then I saw that Ace was there, too.  Maybe he'd returned on his own, or else I missed seeing him, don't know.

So, just as Nicole wrote, Sissy is indeed ready to explore.  Why she chose the middle of the night (it was 1:28 when I went into the kitchen) is beyond me, although cats tend to be crepuscular creatures.

I closed the door completely and read in bed.  Within minutes both were atop the cat tree again, washing each other, sleeping so Ace had his forepaws around Sissy's rump (beyond cute!), taking turns peering down at me.  They both have very nice tails, they took turns letting their tails hang down over the edge; much fuller than very short-haired Julian's tail was.  They obviously weren't very scared, nor for long.

Also, when I bring in food, they both immediately come out; used to be I'd have to give them an hour to eat after leaving the room.  Now Sissy sometimes eats when I'm still there, and Ace is out within a minute or so, as I found out when making a second trip in for some reason.

Their original human mommy died September 12, 9 months and 4 days ago.  It's so sad that I am the only person who has touched them ever since, but they will get more and more of that, soon as they are comfortable with it.  Especially for Ace, it's not very much attention, but it's still more than he got before I met them--- which astonishingly, was one month ago today.  

One month of having kitties again, that is sooo nice!
goofygirlinva

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Posts: 1,082
 #79 
Karen, I just love reading your updates! It is so wonderful to read the excitement in your voice, and it is fabulous to read about the wonderful progress they are making! It's also quite sobering to realize it has been over 9 months since their original human mommy died, not to mention how many months elapsed until they had somebody (you) to care for them other than just bringing them food & water.

Looking forward to more updates! :-)

Take care,
- Kelly
Blackie's mom
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #80 

Kelly, Yes, nine months since losing their original human mommy and getting easily an hour a day of attention, then no one ever (could) pet them again until I did the middle of last month (the 16th for Sissy, the 18th for Ace).  Sorry that I misspoke: it will not be "one month of having kitties again" until May 23, and today is only the 17th.  I met them one month ago, but didn't decide to adopt them until I'd pet Ace... and then five more days went by until they arrived here.

Major, major breakthrough during the night:  after peering at me from the top of the cat tree, Ace jumped down onto the level nearest me and allowed me to pet him over a dozen times!!!  He stepped out of reach, I waited a little bit as I talked to him, then he took another 6-8 pets.   That is by far the most affection he's had since losing his original mommy, and he initiated it on his own.  When he'd had enough, he didn't growl or spit, he just stepped back.  Big step forward, yay!

Then, it was back to his "transitional" normal: when I brought in their breakfast this morning, he was under the bed and growled when I opened the door.  

For the first time ever last night I wished I had a cell phone so that I could take a picture of these two.  Their positions were unbelievable.  I woke up and saw them both atop the cat tree.  It looked... as if a common disaster had happened, something really heavy landed on them. About the middle third of Ace's body had "fallen through" the opening to the top platform, his white tummy bulged down through the opening and looked rather large.  About 3/4 of his hind leg was dangling off the edge, and almost all of his tail.  I can't believe that could have been a comfortable position, but he was motionless.  Meanwhile Sissy had been apparently flattened, too: both her forelegs were splayed off the edge of the platform, straight out until they touched the window, and her chin was over the edge, too.  They were both so motionless that for a moment I "wondered", then I made a sound and they both twitched.  

It's possible that these two are cats who have a sense of humor, they definitely know how to strike- and sleep in- amazing positions.  I was lying in bed half choking trying not to make a sound laughing at how they looked.  Sissy could have been fairly comfortable, but Ace had to brace himself in the opening with his other hind leg so as not to fall through the opening.  He was touching his sister, but the solid half of the platform wasn't being used, just the part with the hole in it.  

This hasn't been a very fast process: it's taken over 3 weeks before Ace would approach me and allow himself to be petted, albeit briefly.  Yet it has happened, even though he had months to get into the habit of avoiding people. 

Hope everyone has a nice weekend.


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