Thursday, December 25, 2014

Meowy Catmas, a Therapy Cat Tale, and a Sherbet Report

Heimdall writes:

Meowy Catmas, everyfurry!  We've been having so much fun over here at the PDX pride!  Thank you to all our friends who have sent Catmas cards!  Mommy and Daddy read them to us and let us look at the wonderful piccies when we get them!  We'll send out cards, too, but it will be a few days before we get them mailed.

I've been taking care of Mommy again.  She got sick and had to go to the ER, but she's doing better now.  I try to take care of her tummy, but she says purring on it doesn't help it heal.  She lets me purr next to her tummy, though, and that helps a lot!  It's a furry important job, and that's why I got a special Christmas bandana this year!  I paraded all around the living room, showing it off to everyone.

Tabby writes:

I got a new outfit, too!  I was so excited to get it; I couldn't even sit still for the picture!  It's a black & plaid dress, and it matches Heimdall's bandana perfectly!  Mommy and I couldn't go to H. or C. this month because of Mommy's tummy, but we'll be able to go next month, and she says I can wear my new dress on those visits instead of a Christmas visit.  That's ok with me, I guess.

I did go on a very important visit at the beginning of this month, though!  I went to Mommy's church in Vancouver, WA, to entertain kids whose families participate in the Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO) shelter program.  WHO was putting on a health fair for the participating families, who are homeless and need assistance of various kinds (housing, medical, monetary, nutrition, etc.).  The health fair had information on free medical & dental clinics, food assistance, housing assistance, and hands-on stations with basic checkups from nurses, medicine checkups, manicures, massages, and foot-washing.  For the kids, they also had gingerbread house decorating, coloring masks, and playing with toys.  I was there to entertain the kids and take some stress off the parents, plus promote healthy interactions with animals.  I was very important!

Mommy and I took a taxi to the church, because we had to be there pretty early in the morning.  The driver was the same one who took us to the pet expo last April!  He was glad to see me again, and told us how his kitty was doing.  He even let us sit up front and petted me while he was driving!  When we got to the church, the lady in charge told us what we would be doing and I got settled in.  At first I wondered what I was supposed to do, because it was a totally new environment for me.  Where were the people crowding around to see me and pet me?  Where were the beds, walkers, laps, and chairs?  Why weren't people calling me over?  What was I supposed to do in this large, open space, with only two rows of mostly-empty chairs and some long tables scattered about?

It took me a while to realize that I was supposed to just be myself, like I do at home, and not like I do on a regular visit.  I was supposed to walk around on my leash, say hi to people, ask them for pets, and hop onto chairs.  Those parts of my duties and training didn't change.  But on this visit, I could also talk a little (as long as I didn't scream), play with the toys the kids put near me, and investigate things!  I'm usually not allowed to do those things on a visit!  It was fun; more like playing with JJ than being on a visit!

The kids naturally gravitated toward me.  Two kids in particular wanted to be my assistant trainers, because Mommy told the kids I was learning how to interact with people in this new environment.  The two boys shared me nicely.  The older one pushed me in the stroller around the room and got me used to being there, then gave me a nice chair to curl up in.  He sat in another chair next to me, petting me and talking to Mommy about me.  A lady with a walker came up, and I immediately switched into my regular visiting mode.  She has an emotional assistance cat, but she can't have her with her at the hotel where they were staying.  I visited with her, her husband, and their young daughter for a while, then the second boy came to see me.  He and his sisters had met me when the first boy had, but his sisters had gotten bitten by a cat in the past so they were leery of petting me or being close to me much.  The brother wanted to be sure I wouldn't bite or scratch, but once he was convinced that I would be good, he was my very best friend for the rest of the time we were there!

The boy held onto my leash just like Mommy showed him, and we walked around the whole narthex of the church, investigating all the windowsills.  It was so much fun, and everything smelled differently than my windows at home!  At one point, I walked under a rolling table and the organizer of the event had to get Mommy's attention to have her "rescue" me.  Mommy walked right over and called me to come out, and I came right back out.  All I wanted to do was have a nice nap in a quiet space, and that looked about as inviting as anywhere else!  Mommy brought my stroller over and I got in, taking about a half-hour nap while she visited with some people who were at one of the tables.

After my nap, the little boy found us again.  He wanted to have me help him with his gingerbread house, but I couldn't.  I did play trains and cars with him and the girls, though!  I think I was a bridge at one point, but I'm not quite sure, because sometimes the cars flew over me and sometimes they went around me.  I politely sniffed them, and pushed a couple with my nose, but wasn't really interested in batting at them right then.  The boy wanted to push me around in my stroller some more, so he, Mommy, and I walked all around the church and back out into the narthex.  Those two rows of chairs were still there!  I wanted to get out of the stroller and investigate them, because they intrigued me, so I hopped out and got pets from one of the other volunteers.  I then walked over him to the next chair in line.  Mommy told my friend that I like to walk from chair to chair, so he very nicely moved all the chairs in the line so they were touching each other, like a huge train!  I happily walked about three-quarters of the length, about 10 chairs, then got tired again.  Back into my stroller I went, while the little boy and Mommy talked about the functions of my harness and leash, my stroller, and my walking jacket.  After seeing me in action and walking around with me for that long, he had a lot of good questions!  He wanted to know why I ran out of energy so quickly, where my food and water were, did I sleep in the stroller, and did I have a home.  Mommy answered that I ran out of energy faster because I am smaller, my food and water were in bowls in the closet area, I do sleep in the stroller, and I have a home in a house with Mommy, Daddy, and the other kitties.

It was an exhausting day, but very fun!  Even the two little girls who were afraid of me were happy to see me and know now that not every cat will attack them.  I'm glad I made a difference for all those kids and people!

Sherbet writes:

Hello, everyone.  I'm still inside!  At the moment, I'm under the bed again, where I've been for most of the time.  I come out to eat, drink, and use the box, but the rest of the time I stay hidden.  It's a very different life from being outside!  A couple weeks ago, Auntie Shawnee came to clean the room I'm hiding in.  Boy, was that ever a traumatic day!  All those sounds, and wondering what was going on, and then a horrible thing happened!  They moved my bed!  They actually moved it clear across to the other side of the room!  I scooted out of there so quickly I was just a blur, bounced off the wall in the hallway, and ended up on the sink counter in the bathroom!  I'm still not quite sure how I got up there!

Panther hit my seat while I was trying to see if the window would open.  It wouldn't, so I turned and hissed at my brother.  He backed off when everyone told him to, so I hopped down and started for the living room.  Panther started chasing me!  We ran into the living room at top speed, so I looked around for the highest safe spot.  Seeing a bookcase, I climbed it, but it was full of computer parts that crashed down around me!  They and I were alright, but what a commotion!  Everyone in the household came out to see what in the world was going on, and I got out of there as fast as I could.  I ran to the other side of the fireplace and hopped onto the small table next to the end of the couch.  There was a nice pillow on it that I used as a bunker, as you can see from the picture!  This is where I stayed for the next hour and a half until everyone and everything calmed down.  Mommy sat in the chair and worked on a project, Daddy fell asleep in his chair, and the other cats went about their routines.  Dare checked on me and Tabby walked over to touch noses, make friends, and lie down almost touching me!  Both of them check on me under the bed now, as does Rori.  When there are visitors in the house, Rori even comes under the bed to hide with me, and we talk!  I'll come out when I'm ready, but it may be a while.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Feral Friday: Sherbet's Big Adventure!

Sherbet writes:

Hi, everyone!  I'm Panther's brother, and I normally live outside.  I was unmercifully tricked into this metal box on Tuesday, kept inside for a day, then rode in a car somewhere.  I was drugged then rode back home in another car.  I had a big adventure, and it's still continuing!   More on that later, though....

I never came inside when Panther did, because the humans didn't know about me then.  I started coming around after Tigress came back, once Panther was already inside.  He gets so excited when he sees me, and we have the same eyes and facial structure, so we must be related somehow.  That's why the humans call us brothers.  From the humans' estimation, we're the same age:  2 years old (just barely).

On Tuesday, the box appeared in my usual eating spot on the back porch.  I saw the human lady put it out there.  She talked softly to me, but I hid under the deck until she was done arranging the box.  She put food in it, but I didn't believe it was food for me.  I waited a while, then decided to try to eat it.  I went into the box, stepped over the trip plate with my front paws, and ate what I could of the dry food.  The lady put more food out, then some tuna.  I had to put my back feet on the trip plate to get at the yummy stuff, and that's when it happened.  I jumped so high I hit my head and back on the top of the trap and it jumped, too!  I didn't like that, so I didn't jump anymore.  I froze, even when the lady brought the trap inside.  I figured the others wouldn't see me if I didn't move, but they saw me anyway.  Once I was inside, my silly brother walked right up to the trap and swatted my behind through the wires!  I guess he wanted to play, but it surprised me.  I didn't do anything, though, and he got in trouble for it.

The others circled around me, walking in a line around the trap and sniffing me.  Once they completed three or four circles each, they settled into the formation in the picture above.  From left to right, it's Freya, Panther, Carbon, Tabby, Autumn, and then Little Bit is on the tote box under the table.  Heimdall also played, but had walked off into the living room before this picture was taken.  They are all really nice kitties, and my friend Tigress from outside is also in here.  I'm glad I have someone familiar!  The human man is nice, too, as well as the lady.  The human man told me that I was safe inside this house and that no one would hurt me or fight with me.  Autumn, the kitten, guarded me and hissed at anyone who dared to come right up to the trap to try to touch noses with me!

I was offered some wet food, but I didn't eat any of it.  Carbon got mad that I got wet food and he didn't, so he lay down on top of the trap!  The humans said that's a regular thing for him to do.  It didn't bother me, except it was confusing.  I kept looking up at him, but didn't move out from under where he was.  I peed in the trap after scrambling to get out, but the lady cleaned it up because there was a towel and a garbage sack under the trap.

Auntie Cai took the lady and me over to the clinic that the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon did and left me there!  I was such a good boy for both my car rides, and didn't make any sounds or anything!  I played teeter-totter with the trap while I was carried, though, walking from one end of it to the other.  Well, what did they expect?  I'm used to solid ground under my paws!  The people at FCCO neutered me, cleaned my ears, gave me ear mite medicine, flea medicine, and my vaccinations.  They thought I was a senior cat!  I don't know where they got that idea, but that's definitely not what I look like.  Maybe they thought my teeth were that old?  Auntie Shawnee came with the lady to pick me up again, and I played teeter-totter a little.  I was still very groggy from the anesthesia, though, so I didn't move around as much.

I spent a while longer at home in the trap, then I peed again.  The people at FCCO had put a piece of newspaper as a lining in the trap, so the lady opened the door a little to take the newspaper out.  I didn't want to let it go!  I rode the newspaper from the end of the trap almost to the door of it, then I bit the lady's finger and ran out of the trap!  To be fair, she had been holding her finger out for me to sniff, so I took that as an indication that it was something to bite.  I didn't bite hard, though, just a warning chomp.

I found this roll-top desk in the dining room and climbed it.  I stayed up there for about an hour, just watching everyone and taking in everything, trying to acclimatize to my new environment.  The man walked right up to the other end of the desk and talked softly to me, telling me no one would hurt me here, and then blinked really slowly at me to tell me he loves me.  I blinked back at him, so he blinked again.  I like it in here, so I stayed inside even when the lady offered me the open door!  After a while, I moved to the door but still didn't want to go out.  The lady started watching tv, so I cruised around the dining room and even the living room before being spooked by the magic picture box and flying down the hallway.  I found another desk in the far bedroom and hid there, hissing at a couple of the others when they came to find me.  After a while, I wandered into the next room and found a quiet spot under the big bed.

I stayed under the bed most of yesterday and will probably stay under here for today, too.  The lady put food and water in this room, but I don't trust anyone enough to go out to eat it or drink it yet.  The man and the lady have both been coming in to talk to me, and the lady looked at me from the middle of the room.  The others have been looking at me, too, but haven't really bothered me.  I'm glad that everyone's giving me space and time to get used to everyone and everything.  The lady put this odd thing called a Feliway diffuser on the wall, and that's helping to calm me down and make me feel more secure here.  I don't know whether I want to stay inside all the time, but it's a nice place to be right now, at least under this bed.