Wash’s New Roommate

As alluded to in my post about taking on a roommate, along with the normal roommate trappings, roommate also brought a cat. This has provided hours and hours of free entertainment as we get to watch the cats work out their own roommate issues: who’s in charge, who gets to play with what toys, who gets to eat what food or use which litter box.

Wash has met other cats, in fact, he’s met this cat before, but this is the first time he’s ever been the first cat in a space and had another cat come in. In the past he’s always been very quick to yield dominance—he either runs and hides under the nearest bed for about six hours or he rolls over and shows the other cat his adorable tummy. He’s very eager to be liked by other kitties. Especially kitties who are bigger than him. Unfortunately, he’s like that kid who tries to hard; he sniffs the other cat incessantly and follows ever step it takes until the other cat just gets annoyed and hisses at him or knocks him to the ground. (I have never heard Wash hiss at another cat, he only hisses at dogs. He flees from small children, but I’m fairly certain if one ever cornered him he would hiss at the small human as well.) Towards the end of our summer stay at my parents’ house he had gotten persistent enough with their cat Stormy that he would half jump/half climb on her back in an attempt to get her to play with him (this inevitably ended with him getting hissed at and smacked to the ground).

Well whether it’s because he’s had more experience or he’s emboldened by having been here first, Wash moved to that stage with new kitty within three days. New kitty is not a fan of this. New kitty is a fan of Wash’s food, but is allergic to it (which means poor Wash’s feeding schedule has had to be altered).

New kitty did bring all sorts of amazing toys. He has a squeaky toy. Wash has never had a squeaky toy. Truth be told I worried he’d be afraid of one. Nope—he loves it. Which means I’m treated to long periods of squeaks from downstairs. What he might love even more are a couple of small stuffed mice. I wondered why he found them so amazing (he’s had other small mice and hasn’t ever been that thrilled). That’s when roommate revealed they’re made out of real fur. Yes, it turns out the stuffed mice might be more or less stuffed mice (we really aren’t sure). I feel like I should be grossed out by that and yet… I’m not. I’m fairly sure no one is hunting endangered species to make these things (which my roommate got free from a pet store). And the fur might as well go to a good use. And if it satisfies my kitty’s hunting instincts so he doesn’t use them on my feet, so much the better.

New Kitty is very patient with Wash. I think he likes playing up to a point, but he does make it clear sooner or later that he’s done. Wash, however, totally misses such cues. Of late New Kitty has taken to pinning Wash on the ground and bathing him in an attempt to calm him down. This has moderate, but unpredictable, results. There are signs they are becoming friends though. At least once they’ve curled up in a chair together (granted, I’m fairly certain this started as an attempt by Wash to make the other kitty play/fight with him. When it didn’t work he decided snuggling was an acceptable alternative).

The best part of all this is that new kitty adventures are wearing Wash out! He spends much less time pestering his mommy because when he’s not following every step new kitty takes he’s generally collapsed somewhere from exhaustion. So like my own roommate situation, I think Wash’s will work out in the long run.

Wash, Year One

One year ago today I drove to the PetSmart on the outskirts of town. I bought the cheapest cat carrier I could find, a large sized litterbox, litter scoop, food and water bowls, a bag of Science Diet, a bag of Greenies and a couple of cat toys. Later that afternoon I went to my friend L’s house and picked up an adorable orange ball of fluff. His temporary mommies were a little teary to see him go, but promised to visit. Then we drove around the block to my house.

Wash spent the first hour he was at my apartment searching for the escape hatch that was bound to take him back to L’s house. He didn’t find it. He eventually gave up and played with the toys I bought him, but truth be told he wanted nothing to do with me. Having spent enough time with cats I knew not to push it. I actually left for a little while to let him get acclimated. That night he tentatively climbed up on the bed with me after a while, only to be terrified by the sound of a passing train. He spent the rest of the night under the bed.

During those first couple days I tried desperately not to get attached. He had been living on the streets but didn’t have the behavior of a feral cat. The only clue at all was two other kittens of similar ages and descriptions found about the same time in the same apartment complex. My guess is someone dumped a litter. But at the time there was an add online looking for his owner and I was taking him to the vet to get checked for a microchip in three days. I told myself I’d be fine if an owner turned up. I was happy to have him, but it really wasn’t a convenient time for me to get a cat. And if he had a family that was missing him he obviously belonged with them. I really believed I was fine with the idea of giving him up until I was driving him to the vet that Monday. I looked over at him and he made one of his adorable little squeaks (he never has learned to meow properly and he has no clue how to hiss) and I thought, “what if I don’t get to bring you home with me today?” I nearly burst into tears.

Turns out I had no reason to worry. No microchip. He did think the microchip scanner seemed like an awesome toy, but no one would let him play with it. He was so excited when the vet offered him a little dish of canned food that he didn’t even notice when she gave him a shot as he ate it. When he stayed overnight a few weeks later for his little “procedure” he had charmed every tech in the place. Three women were crowded around him cooing at him as I took him home.

Yes, my baby’s a ladies’ man. He’s alternately a sweet little snuggle bunny and the jerk who punches me in the face when I don’t feed him often enough. But he also has magical anti-depressant powers and is largely the reason I have survived the last year. A few traces of his rough beginning remain: he will eat anything left unattended. And I mean anything. His favorites are peanut butter and anything made with chickpeas. Oh yes, he’s my cat. Sometimes he plays a little rougher than he means to—not his fault Mommy isn’t another feral cat. He loves to play with toys, plot the demise of the birds outside, and eat. And I like to think he likes his mommy pretty well, even though she doesn’t feed him enough and goes to work when she should be snuggling with him.

All told, he wasn’t the cat I was planning to get and it wasn’t the time I was planning to get a cat. But he was clearly the cat I was supposed to get.

Happy anniversary little Wash. Let’s hope we have many more to come.

Wash Blogs!

Neither Kristy nor Cammy will be blogging tonight.  For I, Wash Seamus Downs, have hijacked it.  I interrupt this blog because… Mommy says I can’t type due to my lack of opposable thumbs.  Shows how much she knows.

So what’s new?  Well… last week Mommy gave me a greenie loaded with drugs and loaded me into my carrier and then into the car.  Where she imprisoned me for more than thirteen hours.  I spent most of that time curled up Mommy’s seat, but periodically she would prod me out so she could shove me back into my carrier.  This was so she could get out and stretch her legs, refuel the car, or use the restroom.  Please note:  she did not offer me any of those opportunities.  (Yes, there was a litter box in the car, but I have a little dignity).

At present we are staying at the home of Mommy’s parents.  They seem to be okay enough except that her father wears boots and walks very heavily.  The problem is that the house comes with two resident cats of its own, neither of which seems to appreciate my charms.  One of them is significantly larger than me which is kind of scary.  As are the noises she makes if I get near her.  My first day here, not only did she chase me under the bed; she sat beside it so that I couldn’t get from under it.  I’m not sure what’s worse: her or the little one.  The other cat here is definitely smaller than me.  Unfortunately, she’s also crazy. The kind of crazy that is so terrified of me she has to seek me out regularly so she can yell at me.  It took me a couple days, but I recently realized that if I just run at her she runs away.  It’s kind of fun, I’m not going to lie.

Other than that, I kind of like the temporary digs.  Things I have discovered here that I think we need to get at our house:

A refrigerator that sits low enough of the floor that wine corks don’t roll under it when I’m playing with them.

A cool combination scratching post/climbing tower.  It has things that hang off it and I can attack it.  And it only sometimes falls over on me.

A sunroom.  Windows everywhere!  Close up view of the squirrels!

An attic.  Mommy won’t let me play in it, but I’m pretty sure it’s awesome.

Hardwood floors.

A treadmill.  I don’t want to use it, but it sure is fun to pose on.

Showering with Kittens

It’s been at least a couple weeks since I updated you on the antics of my adorable, insane orange fuzzball.  Recently he’s developed yet another… quirk, shall we say?  He’s decided he’s very upset by this habit I have of showering every night.  It’s a habit I’ve had since before he came to live with me, so I’m not sure why it’s only recently become so disturbing.

If I don’t allow him in the bathroom when I take a shower he sits at the door and cries.  If I do allow him in he waits impatiently outside the shower, occasionally sticking his head around the edge of the curtain.  If I turn off the water, even for a moment, like to let conditioner set or shave my legs he tends to climb in the shower and pace around for a little while.

But the strangest thing is what he does when I get out.  He comes rushing to me as though he was afraid he would never see me again and stands up on his hind legs, putting his front paws up on my stomach or chest if he can get high enough.  And if I make the mistake of wrapping myself up in a towel, he climbs the towel until he can snuggle up against my chest.  He continues clinging to my chest until I put him down, which often requires a lot of finagling since he wants to prolong the snuggling.

I’m not going to lie: unlike some of his other oddities, this one is at least as cute as it is annoying.  What gets me is trying to imagine what’s going through his little head to prompt this behavior.  Is he thinking, “Mommy!  Don’t go in there!  It’s wet in there!”?  Or do I smell differently when I get out? (like TJ’s Tea Tree Tingle instead of Wash) Or does he just really like snuggling in a warm towel?

I don’t know, but I’ve started drying off as much as I can before removing the towel from the towel bar, just so I can be somewhat dry before I have to stand there with a crazy tabby clinging to my chest.

Kitty Calorie Counts

Lately I have a new minor obsession.  I’ve been doing a lot of research into portion sizes and calorie counts.  Turning to the internet for more information than comes on the food labels.  Looking at weight charts.  I’ve even been thinking about getting a scale.

Those of you who know me well enough are probably thinking at this, “WTF?”  I don’t count calories.  I loathe the concept of dieting.  I flat out refuse to own a scale and the only times I ever get weighed are when I’m at the doctor.  So what gives?

The answer?  None of this is for me.  It’s all for my cat.  Yes, it’s poor little Wash whose calories are being monitored.  Now let me be clear that Wash is not overweight.  Yet.  The problem is house cats have a tendency to get heavy.  There are a lot of health issues that are associated with overweight cats—more so than there are in humans.  And I’ve been in the position of trying to make an overweight cat lose weight and it isn’t fun for anyone involved.  So we’re trying to head it off at the pass.

On top of that I’m up against Wash’s lingering feral mentality towards food.  He doesn’t yet believe that I’m going to keep feeding him.  So if there is food he can reach, he must eat it ALL!  As fast as he can!  Someone might steal it!  And occasionally he finds it necessary to steal peanut butter cookies from his Mommy.  *Kristy tries to give Wash a dirty look, but he’s too adorable sleeping in her lap*  This means if I don’t closely control the amount of food he has access to, he’s gonna get heavy real fast.  Especially since he’s getting fixed on Thursday and that slows down their metabolism.

So at the vet’s suggestion I’ve been incorporating some canned food into his diet because it’s amazing how low in calories that stuff is compared with the dry stuff.  He can have a whole can of food, plus another third of another can per day or half a cup of the dried stuff.  We’re mixing it up so he gets canned food right before mommy goes to sleep (this means his tummy is full so he’s less likely to wake up Mommy) and dry food the rest of the time.  The problem is cat food does not include calorie information.  So I’ve been having to search for all this info online.

And I’m happy to do it because he’s my baby and I love him no matter what size he is (or how many cookies he steals), but sometimes I pause and think, “When did I become this pet owner?”

Meet Wash!

If you’ve had any contact with me at all this week, you know what my big news is:  I got a kitty!

His name is Wash, because like the pilot of Serenity he has orange hair, makes me laugh, and is very sweet.

Early last week he just walked into my friend’s apartment and made himself at home.  My friend can’t have cats at her apartment, so every since she’s been trying to find a home for him.  I tried to resist.  I had a plan all worked out where I was gonna get a cat in August when I got back from some summer traveling.  And it was gonna be a girl kitty.  Preferably a tortoiseshell on account of I have this running theory about how they’re the most bad ass divas in the feline kingdom (one of my childhood cats was a half Siamese tortoiseshell and in many ways she’s still my hero).  But my friend couldn’t find anyone else to take this baby.  And she was going to have to take him to the shelter if something didn’t surface soon.  And the local shelter has a high euthanasia rate because this town is full of idiotic undergrads who decide to get a cat then decide to move at the end of the semester and realize they can’t take the kitty with them.  Jackasses.

And… he’s an orange tabby.  My other childhood cat was an orange tabby.  Every orange tabby I have ever met is full of personality.  Usually really fun ones.  Also, they’re adorable.  So all my plans went out the window and he moved in yesterday.  His foster mommy had named him Simon, but in conversation we decided that if he’s any member of the Serenity crew it’s definitely Wash.  Though he may wind up being called Squeaky or Squeaks most of the time, because that’s what he does instead of meowing.  Did I mention he’s adorable?  Current theory is that he’s a kitten but not a very young kitten.  I’m guessing somewhere in the 7-9 month range.  We’ll hopefully get some idea when I take him to the vet on Monday.

Thus far he’s an absolute love.  He’ll let you just carry him around forever.  Loves to give nose kisses.  Loves to just climb all over you and purr.  If he has any negative trait it’s that he goes from cuddle time to play time in about 4 milliseconds which usually results in his suddenly attacking my arm or face or foot.  This is cute, but painful.  Also he woke me up at 5am attacking my scalp.  Not cute.  He’s also very playful and loves both his turbo scratcher and his catnip mouse.  He thinks he needs to eat constantly—something we disagree on—and a short time ago he tried to steal some roasted garbanzos from me.

So in short:  I’m sleep deprived and covered in scratches, but very happy to have the ball of fluff around.

 

And… he’s an orange tabby.  My other childhood cat was an orange tabby.  Every orange tabby I have ever met is full of personality.  Usually really fun ones.  Also, they’re adorable.  So all my plans went out the window and he moved in yesterday.  His foster mommy had named him Simon, but in conversation we decided that if he’s any member of the Serenity crew it’s definitely Wash.  Though he may wind up being called Squeaky or Squeaks most of the time, because that’s what he does instead of meowing.  Did I mention he’s adorable?  Current theory is that he’s a kitten but not a very young kitten.  I’m guessing somewhere in the 7-9 month range.  We’ll hopefully get some idea when I take him to the vet on Monday.

Thus far he’s an absolute love.  He’ll let you just carry him around forever.  Loves to give nose kisses.  Loves to just climb all over you and purr.  If he has any negative trait it’s that he goes from cuddle time to play time in about 4 milliseconds which usually results in his suddenly attacking my arm or face or foot.  This is cute, but painful.  Also he woke me up at 5am attacking my scalp.  Not cute.  He’s also very playful and loves both his turbo scratcher and his catnip mouse.  He thinks he needs to eat constantly—something we disagree on—and a short time ago he tried to steal some roasted garbanzos from me.

So in short:  I’m sleep deprived and covered in scratches, but very happy to have the ball of fluff around.