I left a note (last week) concerning the fate of the 2 “visitor cats”.  After  weeks of phone calls, e-mails and visits it was clear the cats didn’t have much of a future if they went back to the rescue center.  At 3 years old, the chances of being adopted are not all that good.  Unfortunately people like the kitties but don’t seem to be interested in them when they are older.

I asked the Oak Court Cats if they would accept the visitors as residents here on the Court.  I’m not sure what they really felt but the 3 of them stared back at me as if they understood what I was talking about.  I explained the problem and the alternatives the pair faced.  The Court Cats continued to stare at me, as if they comprehended.

Finally I finished and waited.

I don’t how they really felt, we never figured out the whole human/cat language thing.  The visitors, however, have a new home.  We (the people on the Court) decided to take them in.  They’ll learn the ways of the Court, learn how to go in and out the cat door, how to wake the old man up in the morning when there isn’t any crunchie-munchie mix in the bowl and, most importantly, they’ll learn not to chase the squirrels in the yard.

I’ll post a few pictures of the pride next week, trying to figure out how to get all  of to sit still long enough for a group photo.

Later.

During the summer the Oak Court Cats hosted 2 visitors; 2 Maine Coon siblings spent a few months here while their people found a new home.  It took a little longer than planned but they soon moved into a new apartment and were adjusting to the new place.    They spend their days together, sleeping next to each other, eating from side-by-side dishes together and sitting together on a window sill, watching the birds.

We got a call from their people yesterday; the cats will need to move again. Unfortunately they won’t be moving to a new apartment. Their person is not able to keep them and they’ll have to go back to the rescue center.  This is disheartening as they are close to 3 years old and face slim odds of adoption.  Additionally, they’ve been with each other since their birth and have only been apart for a few hours.  It’s going to be hard.

The Oak Court Cats would like to extend a welcome but  it was apparent, during the summer,  that they just didn’t fit in with the current residents. As they were indoor cats, we couldn’t leave the cat door open for our cats to go in and out during the day.  Our regular cats were not comfortable with the restrictions and we had behavioral issues.

So, what will happen to them?  I don’t know.

I’m a believer in adopting from shelters.  I also believe in giving the older cats a chance.  Of the 3 regulars here, 2 came from shelters; one was 2 years old when we selected him.  If you are interested in adopting, please look at the shelters.  The people there can help you work through a decision on the breed, age and other characteristics.  They can help you find a good lap cat or a good mouser.

I’ll post an update when I hear what happens with the visitors.

Take Care

Summer has ended on the court and that brings the visit to an end.  Last week the 2 Maine Coons who were staying with us this summer were picked up by their ‘person’ and returned home.  The Oak Court Cats took their departure much the same way cats react to most any change:  Indifference.

Missey was the first to “not” notice that the visitors were not sprawled across her favorite sleeping place on the sofa.

The big guy was able to return to the top platform  of the cat tower in the living room, resuming his position as if he’d been there every day during the summer.

Precious returned to the back window sill where she could look out over the back yard; keeping an eye out for any unfortunate critter that tried to cross the yard.

Old routines picked up as if they had not been interrupted at all. Precious was standing on the pillow at 6:00 AM looking for a snack; Missey would wait, patiently, as I put a few treats into her bowl at dinner time and the big guy wold sit by the open back door at sunset, waiting for me to come out back and lite up a cigar and scratch his ears.  With the visitors here we had to skip a number of the routine events but, as soon as they had left, the cats resumed .  Like I said, Indifference; they are not fazed much by change.

So, as the last blast of summer heat bears down on us, the cats are stretched out on the floor, trying to keep cool. Later they’ll head for the kitchen for a meal then back to cool doorways and garage floors.  For the Oak Court Cats, they don’t respond to change; they just ignore it and maybe it will go away.

It’s early September, still a few hot days but the nights are cooler.  The Oak Court Cats are starting to change habits to reflect the temperature changes.

The big guy ‘s fur is starting to fill out, his face is fuller and he’s not shedding as much.  The tonkinese has stopped hunting lizards and is focusing on the moles now.  Without the warm days the lizards don’t come out as often.  And Missey has made it known that she is reclaiming the corner of my bed.

Missey is 12 now and likes to spend 18 to 20 hours a day sleeping.  As the weather cools down she can usually be found curled up on a fleece throw on the corner of my bed.  She’s not particular about which fleece; her biggest concern is that other cats not sleep on it.  When she catches one of the other cats sleeping on it she rewards them with a swat on the face, a loud hiss followed by a growl.  “Yo! What are you doing? Get out of my spot!”  While she sleeps a lot, she wakes up int e early morning hours and  is patrolling the house while the rest of the cats sleep.

Precious, the tonkinese predator, is also spending more time in the house as it cools down.  In the heat of the summer she wants to be out by 7:00 AM.  As the seasons change, however,  she’ll not venture out until 10:00 or so; preferring to wait until it’s warmed up a bit. Ats the sun goes down, she is ready to come in, eat and settle infor the night.  She’s not nocturnal; preferring to spend the night sleeping. On really chilly mornings she’ll burrow under the blanket to keep warm.

And the big guy, Blutto, well, he likes to sleep, usually sound asleep by 10:00.  He rarely wakes up during the night; only when there’s activity in the house.  Most mornings he’s still where he settled the night before.  As mentioned earlier in this blog, he starts to fill out his fur in September.  During the heat of the summer he shed quite a bit of fur; by the end of August he drops to maybe 18 pounds and his fur is thin.  As it cools down he starts to fill out, starting with the collar around his neck.  By January he’ll fill out to where he resembles a porcupine.   Now, as to sleeping, in the warmer weather Blutto prefers to sleep on the foot of the bet, no blankets or fleece.  When it starts to cool off, however, he has a preference for throws, fleece or an electric blanket.

The cat’s eating habits also change.  During the summer they drink a lot of water and prefer dry food.  Int he cold weather they drink less but eat more of the wet  food (the preferred meal is ocean white fish).  There is also a drop off in the quantity of fresh food (Precious doesn’t bring as much in from the hunt.

More later, the cats are asking for dinner.

The Oak Court Cats enjoy a relatively good life.  There is always crunchie-munchies in the bowl; the water bowls are always clean and filled (only bottled water please, we don’t like tap water) and, of course, the daily ‘wet dish’, the canned cat food.

Ahh, the canned cat food.  What delights are safely packed into those little cans? Hmmm….

Two of the regulars have long preferred to have a bit of wet food first thing in morning.  So, instead of finding the coffee pot when I enter the kitchen, I first need to clean the bowls, open the can and spoon some of the wet food into 2 bowls, setting them on the floor exactly a foot apart.  (Seems that Missey doesn’t want to have any other cat within a foot of her when she is eating).

As I prepare the meal Missey sits on the floor, patiently waiting. The sound of the pull top ring being pulled back will result in her standing up on hind legs.  She awaits that first scent of the mystery meal  as I toss the lid into the trash (yes, the lid is recycled; wash it off before tossing  it into the recycle bin).  Her tail switches one side to the other in anticipation, as I drop a spoon full of the meal into the bowl. Finally, the moment she has been waiting for, I lower the bowl to the floor and offer it to her.   She approaches the bowl slowly at first, cautiously sniffing the dish.  She lowers her head into the dish and takes that first taste of breakfast – then – just then – she stops.

The look on her face when she looks up at me  is one of disappointment.  She slowly backs away, looks up at me again as if to say “What’s in the can?”  I’m speechless; don’t know what to say. “Missey, what do you mean, ‘what’s in the can?'”

Missey slowly turns away, not happy with what I’ve put int he bowl but she doesn’t bother to explain the problem to me; she just walks away, back into the dining room.

Don’t worry though, this is the daily routine for Missey.  Every morning we go into the kitchen and run through the same script.  She walks off then comes back in 5 minutes and eats whatever is in the bowl; if there was something wrong she quickly forgets about it and cleans the bowl.  I’ve long since given up trying to find new flavors from this or that manufacturer.  No matter what I put down I get the same reaction.

Maybe I should try fresh sockeye salmon?   Or mahi-mahi on a bed of rice?   Hmmm…

Later

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are hosting 2 cats for the summer.  Seems their “people” are in the middle of moving to a new apartment and their felines are spending the summer with us.

When the kitties first arrived, they stayed in my son’s bedroom and didn’t venture out into the rest of the house; they were a bit intimidated by the Oak Court Cats.  I don’t know why; these visitors are both Maine Coons, one weighing in excess of 20 pounds while the other was at least 25 pounds.  However, they went over a month without leaving the bedroom.

This lasted until mid July. Things changed.

Their “people” had told us that these cats had not been with other cats from the time they were removed from the litter and weren’t in to catnip, the occasional need to cleanse one’s butt in front of visitors nor did they growl, hiss, spit or claw. They were well behaved, didn’t jump up onto furniture and never touched the trash can.

Yeah.  Sure.

It seems that the Oak Court Cats started to work on their inhibitions.  The larger of the visitors has taken to rolling around in catnip for hours at a time (must be a 12 step program for cats somewhere).  Missey has taught them to hiss and spit quite well; she greets all cats with a hiss and a swat these days.  and they have started to run the length of the house with the regulars now.

Occasionally one of the pride will get the kittiy-crazies at times and will run the length  of the house, turn around and run back the other way. Depending on which cat and the mood, this can be repeated a few times.  Now I have not just my own cat running, I have 2 big Maine Coons running along side.  Tails waving in the wind, they slam into furniture as they miss  turns or hit a slippery patch.  Chairs have been knocked over, plants are dumped; it may be good fun for them but it’s dangerous to step into their path, sort of like running with the bulls in Spain.  With wood floors it can get quite noisy – especially at 3:00 in the morning.

I’ve learned how to read the newspaper with one of both the visitors sitting on the table, on top of the paper I’m trying to read.

At least once a week I find a trash can overturned, contents pulled out as if the cat needed more room for closer inspection (these guys are too big to crawl  into the trash cans).

And, to demonstrate their desire to be accepted into the pride, they have begun to sleep on my bed – on my pillows – while I’m trying to sleep.

So, the vacationing cats have finally settled in; it’s going to be rough when they have to pack up their bags and go to a new home in September.  Rough on me as I’ve finally gotten used to five cats underfoot.  Rough on their “people” as these guys have started interacting with other cats and like the activity.  I think that Missey is going to be the only one happy when they leave; she prefers not to share my pillow at night.

Nite.

Cats have personalities, ask anyone who has invited one into their home.  One aspect of this personality is in their speech.  Yes, they talk; we just don’t understand them and they don’t understand us either.   I mean, has your cat responded when you call his name?  The Oak Court Cats don’t make it a habit of acknowledging my voice when I try to get their attention.

They do, however, speak.

The maine coons don’t have much to say and that’s probably a good thing as these big cats have little squeaky little voices.  They will squeak when they want to come in the door, they squeak when they want to be scratched and when they want to be left alone . . well, you get the idea, they just squeak.

The weegie (Norwegian Forest Longhair) has a voice.  She will come forth with a loud “meow” when she wants attention (usually when the food dish is empty).  She’ll great you when you come into the room with a chirping sound.  When she wants something (like a good scratch behind the ears) she’ll quietly “meow” and it sounds like a question.

The tonkinese, on the other hand, likes to have conversations.  She’ll greet me on the sidewalk when I come home from work and will start talking, telling me what went on during the day.  It’s not just short “meow” words but long sentences where the meow may have 8 or 9 different syllables (if you would call them that). She’ll stop and wait for a response then continue complaining that the neighbor dog was barking and the other neighbor’s dog was running across the lawns and the squirrels were running in and out of the garage.  If I answer her she’ll continue the conversation for a good 5 minutes.

I don’t understand what she is complaining about and I am pretty sure that she doesn’t know what I’m saying to her but she has a lot to say.

One of the court cats learned to mimic human sounds.  You’d hear him early in the morning when he’d be looking for fresh food in the bowl.  You’d hear “her r ow” repeatedly until someone would wake up and go to the kitchen with him.  At 3 in the morning it sounded like “hello”.  He would also stand at the back door and clearly say “M  out”.   But he would never engage in a conversation with me; he was a cat of few words.

Do they talk to each other? I don’t think so.  At least I don’t think they do.  At least I can say that I’ve never caught them sitting around the table discussing the skyrocketing price of canned cat food. The communicate using gestures, spitting, swatting and other gestures.  For all I know they may have long, serious conversations on Kafka, Freud and Hawkins when we humans are not around.

But, for now, they communicate when they want to tell me something and that’s fine.

Missey is now telling me that it’s time to turn the light out and call it a day;  she sighed audibly and settled down on the pillow.  Nite.

Two of the regular inhabitants of the court are known for their thick coats; Missey is a Weegie, a Norwegian Forest Longhair while Mr Big Guy is a Maine Coon.  With the hot weather upon us, they are shedding and suffering.  Right now it’s mid day and both of them are in the coolest corner of the house, stretched out sleeping.

Both are brushed regularly and, in the warm weather, we try to help them cope by keeping an eye on their undercoat.  The Big Guy’s thick fur is thinned now and Missey, well . . . she’s not furry at all right now.

All the cats drink more water in summer; even the little tonkinese  drinks a fair amount several times a day.  Missey prefers the bottled water from the refrigerator, then again, she is the queen and has come to expect the royal treatment.

So today they’ll be dormant for a few more hours, coming to life around 6:00.  The pride will congregate at the back door, waiting to go out and resume their neighborhood patrol.  There are squirrels, birds and neighborhood dogs to be watched; neighborhood kids to be avoided and the occasional stray cat to be chased away.

Tonight they settle down around 10:00 and we’ll give them a quick brush, removing any stray grass or weed from their coats.

In the meantime, I’ve got to clean up their toys, fill the water dishes and freshen up litter boxes.

Later

It’s morning here on the Court.  Awake before 6:00, I go about the business of preparing for work:

1) Feed the cats

2) Clean the litter box

3) Separate the snarling cats

4) Let some of the cats out for the day

5) Do all the things I need (coffee, clean up kitchen debris, etc)

6) Stop and have the coffee and read the news (on line of course)

7) Separate snarling cats again

8) Feed the squirrels

9) Get out the door and drive to work, it’s got to be quieter there.

Breakfast is a busy time here; the visitor cats (yep, still here) are very active at night so they want a good meal before the curl up and sleep the day away.  The predator wants a good meal before she goes out to stalk anything smaller than she is.  The Big Guy prefers wet food in the morning, goes out side for a bit then comes back in for the next course, dry food.  Missey, always the picky eater, samples the wet bowl and daintily steps away, not wanting to let on that she really likes this one or that one.

A half hour after the morning’s activity starts, they’ve all  had their fill and drift off to different parts of the house; some to sleep and others to begin the day’s adventures.

Predator sits by me at the table, cautiously sniffing each item on my plate.  She does not like human food but I believe she is cataloging the smells, trying to identify the source.  It’s like she is compiling a list of things she’d like to hunt (eggs, they’re from birds and they’re good to eat….  yogurt is from cows, too big to attack…) and on it goes.  She tires of this and goes out to the back yard.

Missey settles down on the floor by the TV.  From here she can see the both the hallway to the bedrooms and the back door; easy for her to keep track of the comings and goings of the rest of the pride.  As she is the pride’s alpha, she needs to keep an eye out for them.

I’m finishing the coffee, the news and it’s off to work.

Later.

The Oak Court pride has 3 regular members: Missey, Precious the Predator and The Big Guy.  For the summer, we’ll be hosting 2 kitties for a friend.  Oh, the kitties,  just short of their 2nd birthday, are brother and sister.

They were introduced to the regular residents over the weekend and, aside from some staring and the occasional hiss, things have been quiet.  Missey wasn’t too pleased to see the vacationing couple come int he door with their luggage (cat food, litter box and toys).  The Oak Court gang is used to the occasional visit from a stray (strays have no luggage and don’t stay more than a day).  Missey is more concerned that they will like the place and want to spend a few months here.

Precious carefully moves through the house, looking for the visitors; she’s a little intimidated as the visitors are much larger than she (OK, they’re Maine Coons and are twice her size).  She spends her days on top of cabinets, dressers and other high places.  And Big Guy, also a big cat, isn’t sure what to make of them yet.  He doesn’t get close to them, preferring to hang out on the dining room table where he can see their comings and goings.

We haven’t seen any swatting or smacking yet; the pride seems to have accepted the presence of the vacationers.  As long as there is food in the bowls, water in the dish and clean litter in the pan, things will work out.

Nite