Monday with Mau

In an effort to try to make Mau more comfortable, the APA vet prescribed him a painkiller and an antibiotic. We were quite pleased that we were able to mix these liquid medications into his food, which he ate without a problem. Hopefully these help him.

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mau didn’t stink! I picked him up and he smelled like mostly normal cat. I didn’t sense an overwhelmingly fetid whiff of bad breath! Amazing! I hope that’s the antibiotic at work.

Mau does not like being sequestered, and I don’t blame him. While he spends a good chunk of the day sleeping like any other cat, he mews pitifully for attention when he’s awake. I decided to help him embark on a mini-adventure by picking him up and bringing him to my office. I shut the door so he couldn’t get out and the boys could not get in. This experiment had mixed results. He got to explore and briefly settled for lap time but did seem a bit overwhelmed after a while. He also started asking most persistently for food. Mau is a sweet old man of a kitty but has a low threshold for hunger!

Look at that curious, handsome face!

“Outside!” I’m not sure if Mau ever looks out the window in Aaron’s office.

Mau found a hiding spot under one of my bookshelves.

Mau thought I could not see his magnificent tail.

Mau’s Adventure

For several reasons, we’ve kept Mau sequestered in Aaron’s office, which is our foster area. (Don’t worry, we visit him often.) On a few occasions, we’ve put Charlie and Garrus in the bedroom and let Mau slowly explore different areas of the house. He can be on the skittish side when exposed to something new, so we keep tabs on him so he doesn’t get too stressed out and overstimulated. The last time he explored the living room, he canceled lap time and put himself back up into the office, thus ending his little expedition.

Today Mau channeled his inner ninja and stealthily climbed over the two baby gates we put in the office doorway. Jailbreak! I didn’t hear him get out and only saw him when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a cat in my office. Initially I thought it was either Garrus or Charlie until I looked and saw Mau! Then he sped off into our bedroom, where he camped out beneath the bed all afternoon. He sat too far back under the bed for me to reach him and, since he wasn’t bothering anyone, I let him be.

For their part, Garrus and Charlie were exceptionally well-behaved. They knew something was up but they kept their distance from Mau and did not bother him at all. Garrus followed me once when I went to check if Mau was still under the bed; Garrus calmly sat in the doorway and looked in Mau’s general direction. No foofing, no hissing, no spats. I don’t even think that the boys acknowledged Mau when he did, briefly, venture into the hallway or kitchen. Garrus and Charlie proceeded to the afternoon adhering to their usual routine: sunbathing and snoozing.

When Aaron came home, Mau started talking and came out. He was apparently quite excited to see Aaron that he started drooling (which, by the way, is REALLY gross and stinky)!

Blep!

So much exploring!

Mau made like Bilbo Baggins and had quite the adventure! He did seem a bit overwhelmed and nervous, though, so Aaron picked him up and brought him back to our foster area. We fed him (om nom nom), after which he had a well-deserved chill session in Boudicca’s (former) pink bed. I don’t think he slept at all this afternoon; usually all three boys sleep for a while in the afternoon and wake up for dinner.

Mau likes to show us his paws. During lap time, he makes semi-biscuits.

Pet Photo Day

Clearly we need such a holiday! I couldn’t find the creator of this lighthearted pet holiday but still appreciate the sentiment. Onwards to pet photos!

Garrus really enjoys snoozing on the ottoman. In the afternoon he sunbathes here. This is also one of his favorite visiting spots. I’ve been able to occasionally put him on my lap and give him scritches.

Charlie found himself a sunny spot. This is an excellent dual birdwatching and meditation perch.

Mau chills out on the chair, patiently waiting for a human lap to appear.

Feel free to share your pet photos in the comments!

Pet-Friendly Independence Day

May you and all your furry loved ones enjoy a safe and happy Independence Day! Here are a few things to keep in mind so your pets stay safe:

  1. Safe place. Some pets become highly agitated and frightened by fireworks while others may not like lots of people coming and going in the house. Have a quiet and escape-proof area, whether it is a room or a kennel, in which your pet likes to rest.
  2. Routine. Having a set routine can help alleviate anxiety. Our cats, for example, are definitely creatures of habit and prefer to have meal times, play, and snuggles at set times of the day!
  3. Identification. Ensure your pets have current ID tags and microchip information. Hundreds of pets escape and get lost every year around the fourth of July. Having proper ID allows for lost pets to be reunited with their owners much faster.
  4. No roaming. Keep an eye on your pet when he or she goes into the yard. Pets that normally stay inside a fenced area may bolt if sufficiently spooked by loud noises etc. If you’re having a party, picnic, or barbecue, don’t allow your pet to roam around unchecked. Many table scraps can be toxic to pets.
  5. Indoors is best. While you may like fireworks displays, your pet may not, and in fact might be terrified of them. Keep your pets indoors while fireworks and other festivities are going on.

Photo courtesy of Alpine Dog Coats

For more comprehensive Fourth of July safety tips for pets and livestock, check out the handy rundown provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Update on Mau

On Sunday Aaron and I took Mau to his vet appointment. He walked right into the carrier but once he realized Aaron shut the door behind him, Mau was decidedly upset about it. He complained a bit when carried and in the car but became quiet in the waiting room.

One of the vets looked him over and diagnosed him with severe gingivitis and multiple abscessed teeth. It is likely that he will have most, if not all, of his teeth removed. Because his teeth are rotting, that is why his breath smells like death. We just have to wait for a slot to open up so Mau can have his surgery. Also, judging from the age and condition of his teeth, it looks like Mau is older than I initially thought. Rather than being 10, he’s 15 years old! He is a sweet old man and a good houseguest.

He hid and slept under the desk after we brought him back from the vet. Poor guy.

On the bright side, Mau is eating wet food well. Both he and Garrus eat about 1-1.5 cans a day! It appears that since Mau was surrendered to the shelter in May, he has gained about half a pound of weight. We spend time with him every day, brushing him frequently and providing comfy laps and scritches. He is most grateful for any and all types of attention and responds by being most affectionate.

I also recently learned that Mau and his housemates came from a hoarding situation, which shed light as to why all three had significant dental problems. The oldest of the three went into foster care and recently passed away in his sleep. The female, also older than Mau, has one eye, if I recall correctly, and chronic bronchitis. When I gave the shelter director an update on Mau, she thought that he was lucky to be in our house. Aaron and I genuinely hope that we can help him get healthy and find a loving home in which he can live out the rest of his life, preferably most of it in someone’s lap and purring.

We think that Mau may be a Himalayan or possibly a Balinese cat! Look at that sweet face!

Mau did not want me to read my book (pictured on the desk) and instead wanted me to devote all my attention to him. After all, he takes lap time most seriously, even more so than Boudicca did!

Exchanging Pleasantries

Although Mau remains in our foster suite (read: Aaron’s office) because he’s on the skittish side, we propped two baby gates in the doorway so that he could see more of the house and passively meet our cats through a barrier.

Charlie is utterly fascinated by the presence of another cat and really wants to be friends.

Charlie and Garrus hang out in the hallway sometimes when they see Mau.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap a photo of Garrus sitting politely, like the gentleman he is, on one side of the gate while Mau chatted to him on the other side. It sounded like Mau just repeated his name over and over again. I was pleased with their initial meeting. Charlie has done the same thing, sometimes punctuated with squeaks and rubbing himself against the gate.

For his part, Mau has done well. At times he seems quite curious about our cats while at other times he would prefer the company of people only. Mau has occasionally hissed at Charlie, although I think that’s because he’s not a fan of Charlie’s habit of staring at him. (Charlie is enthusiastically friendly but not always adept at reading other cats’ body language and vocal cues. Imagine a feline version of Spongebob Squarepants.)

Sometimes Mau initiates staring contests.

Garrus’ Progress

Earlier this week Garrus had his follow-up to check his response to his steroid therapy. Dr. R was very pleased to report that his stomatitis had significantly decreased and only a very small amount of inflammation remained in the back right side of his mouth. Dr R wants to keep him on a low dose of steroids every other day for the next few weeks to continue treating his stomatitis.

“Excuse me. Could you please let me out?” Garrus was exceptionally well-behaved in the carrier to and from the vet.

He gained 0.6 lbs in three weeks and needs to gain 0.5-1 lb to be at a healthy weight. We’ve been able to give him, on average, at least one can of wet food a day. If he’s a particularly hungry Garrus, he will eat up to two cans in a day. Like Boudicca, he’s a little persnickety about how his food is presented (because it’s easier to eat): he likes it well chopped, fluffed, and room temperature. We indulge him because we want him to eat, be healthy, and be a happy cat.

For the last month we also gave a dose of Zylkene in his food. We had suspected that he had developed food anxiety as a result of being bullied for food by his previous housemates, and dealing with dental pain from stomatitis exacerbated this. We noticed that the boys acted a bit uneasy after Boudicca passed away, and Dr R explained that this was due to the social hierarchical dynamic shifting. By nature, Garrus tends to be a submissive cat; Charlie, while not a dominant (“bossy”) cat per se, is the most intense cat in the household now. Dr R suggested that we try Zylkene for a month or so to help both cats settle and relax. In our experience, it helped. Garrus in particular became more affectionate and faffed about less at meal times.

Garrus enjoys claiming Aaron’s pants as a bed and gives me side-eye when I take a photo.

Wherever Garrus is, Charlie often follows, sometimes bringing a toy with him. Here he claimed a towel as his lounging spot and slow-blinked at me, purring.