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24 September 2010

Kitty updates

RavenRaven here. It's been 1 week since Mozart left us. Mom is still upset that she could not keep him and fulfill her desire to have a 3-cat home, but she knows it's best for all of us (me, Sammi, and Mozart) that he went back to the shelter to wait for a home that is better suited to him.

I'm a playful girl, but that big orange & white thing terrified me. I spent as much time as I could hiding in the garage, even though he was closed up on the bedroom side of the house. The problem was that he was desperate to come play with me and Sammi, and we were not interested in playing with him. Sammi doesn't even let me get cozy with her, so she certainly wasn't going to let a big, young boy get in her face.  He was very respectful of her warning hisses, but being a playful boy, he just kept trying to approach and play with her.  Sammi was getting annoyed, and started taking out her frustrations by being snippy with me!

Mom thought Mozart and I would be good playmates, but she was wrong. I like my quiet home and I don't want to play with anyone but Sammi.  We have our games all worked out and I know all the rules about how to play gently with my 3-legged sister. 

Mom still doesn't know what it was, but Mozart scared the dickens out of me and I didn't want to even look at him through a baby gate.  It certainly didn't reassure me that he meowed and banged on the door to get onto our side of the house, even when mom was spending the evenings with him on his side of the house. He even learned to put his big, strong paw under the door and pull it open and get onto our side!  We think he's more interested in being with other kitties than being with people, and we girls don't want a rambunctous boy bothering us all the time.

After Mozart left, it took me 4 days to stop being scared and start acting normally again.  I still like to visit the garage, but I'm not hiding out there any more. I'm back to playing in the hallway, watching mom get ready for work in the morning, and sleeping in my favorite window during the day - free of fear that that big orange & white boy will escape from his side of the house and come get me.  Last night I got scared when I thought I heard something coming into my room, but it turned out to be nothing and mom gave me a good cuddle to calm me down.  

Mom went to check on Mozart in the shelter a couple days ago.  He's in a multi-cat room and even though he was upset to have his world turned upside-down, he did seem very happy to be with two other boys who were eager to play with him. Mom spent 2 hours with him and took him lots of toys.

Mom was certain that Mozart would be a good kitty for our family and that he was meant to be ours. But his personality at home was very different from what it was at the shelter (over 7 days of visits).  But my very stressed and fearful reaction to Mozart has convinced mom that it will be just Sammi and me from now on. We're happy, and that's what's most important. Maybe mom's role in Mozart's life was to get him out the shelter for some good vet care and get him started on journey to finding his perfect home.

19 September 2010

Sad hearts but hoping for the best

It's been a stressful and disappointing time here at the Indulged Furries home. After spending several visits with Mozart at the shelter and deciding he would make a great addition to our family, we adopted him and began the settling-in and introduction process. Things went well at first, but that didn't last long. Mozart was a very calm kitty in the shelter. I know there's a lot of stress there and his behavior wasn't "normal", but I didn't see any signs that he would become an extremely alert and active boy. He liked other cats, but I had no idea he craved being with cats more than with people.

After the first week or so, he started reacting to every sound and movement and wanted to play, play, play. And it was pretty fiesy play - biting his toys, pulling the feathers or other parts off of toys - nothing bad, just very strong, predatory play behavior. He didn't exhibit that type of behavior in the shelter so maybe it was his true nature after getting into a home and starting to feel better. He was extremely matted in the shelter, so I had him shaved. I knew that alone had to make him feel better. He also had what appeared to be a pretty heavy tapeworm burden, which we had treated. And we got him started on  medications for his mouth condition, which I did not know he had until after we adopted him and took him to our vet.

After 2 weeks of "meetings" through louvered doors, the introduction to Sammi went well and Mozart was very respecful of Sammi's alpha-kitty status. Whenever he tried to approach  and greet or play with her, she'd give him a hiss and he'd walk away. That frustrated him, and he'd keep trying to play with her, but he didn't chase or become pushy. We expected Sammi to be standoff-ish and was hoping Raven would be his playmate. But Raven didn't share my goals. She had accepted him through the door, but after 5 weeks of trying to introduce them using very gradual methods, the sight of him still scared her. She did not want to see him, even through screen doors when he was in a bedroom and she was in the living room and they could see each other across our back patio. And there was no way she was getting near a baby-gate barrier we installed in the hallway. She was stressed, scared, hiding in the garage, and not acting normally. She and Sammi were also starting to act sassy with each other, which they had never done before.

Over the last week, all the cats were getting more frustrated and stressed. When I supervised Mozart's outings from his bedroom, Sammi was always on alert to Mozart's where-abouts. Raven was still safely secured in another room  not wanting to meet him.  Mozart frequently meowed & banged on the door to get out and play with the girls, even if I was on "his" side of the house with him. His goal was to play with the girls, and their goal was to avoid him.

We know peaceful introductions can take time, but things were getting worse instead of better. Because Sammi has only 3 legs, we cannot risk her being chased or played with too boisterously. She also has other health issues that are not helped by high stress levels. Since Raven was obviously much more shy than we though, we did not have any hope that she would want to be a playmate for Mozart.

Taking everyone's stress levels and frustration into consideration, we made the very difficult decision to take Mozart back to the shelter. Our girls need their quiet home and Mozart needs a home where he can be an only cat or have cat family members who want to play with him.

It was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make, but despite my sadness, disappointment, and concern for Mozart's future, I know it is the best decision.