I have news! Mau is no longer our foster cat. After three months of fostering, we found him a loving home!
Drum roll please!
After seriously considering the commitment of another cat, Mau’s needs and happiness (he really loves Aaron), how he fit our home, and that he ultimately got along with Garrus and Charlie after an adjustment period, we decided to adopt him! We are officially a three cat household with an established clowder – and three foster fails (or would that be wins?)!
After Mau had his surgery, we noticed he had loose stool. At first we thought it might have simply been from all the medications he was given from his surgery and/or as a side effect from the two rounds of antibiotics he had been on prior to his surgery. But it didn’t go away and progressed to diarrhea. It’s no fun for anyone to wake up at 5am every day to a cat having loud-squirting diarrhea. Then one or both of us would have to get up to make sure there wasn’t a mess to clean up. Losing sleep due to cat-related reasons is par for the course but still. Sometimes he vomited as well.
We suspected that the diarrhea was due to the antibiotics and perhaps compounded by Mau essentially transitioning himself from wet to dry food. We added Fortiflora probiotics into his food. That helped a wee bit but he continued to leave sad stools in the Cat Genie. Fortunately his appetite was undiminished and he acted normally, so there were no changes in his behavior or apparent weight loss. But we were concerned and notified APA. Last Friday, Aaron took him to the vet while I stayed at home and worked on homework. Apparently the techs were amazed that Mau hadn’t been adopted yet and fawned over our handsome boy.
Results: Mau gained 1 lb (yay!) and the vet suspected that he might have inflammatory bowel disease, the same thing Boudicca had. We’re treating him with steroids, to which he is responding. We’ll see if his diarrhea stops. If he really has IBD, his owner will need to know and formulate a plan of treatment with a vet so Mau’s quality of life remains consistent. I’m happy to learn that he gained a little weight – he know weighs slightly over 10 lbs. His hips are still bony so he needs to fill out more. When at a healthy weight and filled out, Mau will be a big boy! He’s taller than Garrus and has a generally bigger frame than either of our tabbies do, so with that splendid tail, he’ll be a sight to behold.
We’ve had Mau for almost three months now. About a dozen people have reached out to Austin Pets Alive expressing an interest in him, though several have not responded after an initial email. I’ve exchanged emails with a few and it was by mutual agreement that Mau was probably not a good fit for that particular person and home. (That’s OK. Not every pet fits every person.) Two people have met Mau in person but the main issue there is that he becomes Mr. Shy and hides under the bed whenever new people come to the house! It’s hard to convince someone that he is a lap cat when he’s nowhere to be seen and requires a lot of coaxing to come out.
After having Mau in our house for some time, we’ve been able to assess a few of his needs. If we were to draw up an ideal home for him, this is what we would want:
- Only cat home. While Mau is not overtly aggressive and seems to like other cats, he doesn’t grasp the concept of territoriality and gets in other cats’ faces when trying to play. He also steals food and butts in when another cat is receiving affection because he wants to be the center of attention. Garrus, being passive, is rather tolerant of these faux pas while Charlie does not like another cat being more intense than he is. Other cats could construe Mau’s behavior as being dominant, which, coupled with his size and clumsy manners, could lead to conflict. Furthermore, we have no idea how Mau would react to a dog or how a dog would react to him.
- Homebody. Mau would definitely do best with an owner that is home a good deal of the time. He craves human companionship and demands regular lap sessions and snuggles. Mau is the type of cat who will happily chill on the bed while you fold laundry just to be near you. He also enjoys toys and playing with the red dot, something that involves his human’s participation. Other cats are more independent and self-sufficient. Mau is not one of those cats; he’s a cuddle bug. While he is a color-point, he doesn’t demonstrate a lot of the traditional Siamese-y traits like being exceptionally vocal, extroverted, busy, precocious, and social. Instead Mau is low-key and selective but definitely a lap cat.
- Quiet home. Our home is a pretty chill environment. The most exciting thing that may happen is when we get all three cats to chase the red dot in laps across the house for a sustained period of time. We are definitely not the life of the party and our cats like it that way. Mau falls in that camp as well. Mau is not a fan of new people streaming in and out and would not like being in a loud, high-traffic, bustling house. With that in mind, Mau would probably not like being around small children. While he might do better with teenagers if they are respectful, Mau still might not do well with lots of noise and activity that often accompanies a house full of people. Because he can be timid and skittish, I suspect he would spend a lot of time hiding and being unhappy.
- Routine. This goes with #3. We have a predictable routine, something that works well for all three cats. They are most insistent about getting their meals at the same time every day and don’t care about weekends. I’m not kidding about Mau wanting regularly scheduled lap time and it is a common occurrence for Aaron to wake up with Mau sprawled on him. Mau is most persuasive with those huge Frank Sinatra blue eyes. You can’t say no to him. Then you can’t get up from the couch for a while because you have a sweet furball sprawled on your lap.
- Experienced cat owner. This would be a definite plus. Mau, now toothless, has had a rough life and may develop health issues as he gets older. While Mau is certainly cuddly with certain people, he can be very shy at first, so those expecting instant gratification might be disappointed. While he is a genuinely sweet cat, he doesn’t fit every household.
- Crazy cat man: extra brownie points. We’re not sure if Mau truly prefers men or if he’s simply enamored with Aaron. (He does look up at Aaron adoringly and wants to bro down with him early in the morning.) If the former is the case, Mau will be one happy kitty. In the same vein, Mau may be a one-person cat. He appears to be most selective.
LOOK AT HIM. He’s adorable, isn’t he?
It’s hard to believe that Mau has been with us for two months now. When we brought him home in late June, he was timid and certainly not feeling his best given the advanced state of her periodontal disease. In the Pflugerville Animal Shelter, prior to his transfer to Austin Pets Alive! and foster care, he was withdrawn, gaunt, not eating much, and spending most of his time in a plastic bin in his cat condo.
He just looked so sad, stressed out, and in need of serious TLC. Although volunteers regularly loved on him and brushed him, his coat was in a sorry state because he did not groom himself very well.
We breathed a huge sigh of relief when Mau started eating wet food and ate with relish! Because he was underweight, we gave him additional small meals. What does it say about our house that two out of three cats need to eat like Hobbits in order to get to a healthy weight?
When Aaron and I spent time with him, we were nevertheless struck by how sweet he was. With photos like this, it was quite apparent that we had a most handsome boy on our hands too.
One month later, he showed us how much he loved human company and that he was thoroughly down with snuggles. Lap time is an imperative!
After he had his long-awaited and much-needed dental surgery, he started to blossom. While sick, he demonstrated little interest in playing (understandable) but once he started feeling better, we caught him batting crinkle balls and springs around the house. He hopped into boxes and raced up the cat tree, unceremoniously unseating Charlie from his favorite platform.
Our evenings are MC’d by this lovey boy. Isn’t he cute? He greets us with an enthusiastic and demanding “MEH!” and purrs when he receives the attention he wants. And he’s charmingly fluffy too!
At last year’s Clear the Shelter event (held on Saturday, August 19th), our lives changed when we decided to foster two tabbies. We had not fostered before but Aaron and I decided jointly that these boys really needed us.
Aristotle was gaunt, pitiful-looking, and had patchy fur due to overgrooming. Because of his severe stomatitis, he had (understandably) a poor appetite.
Tink, then two years old, had spent cumulatively 18 months at the shelter (partly in foster care). He had been adopted and returned three times, and had recently lost his buddy cat Pan. While he had been successfully paired with a new buddy, Tink was decidedly not doing well in the shelter and spent 95% of the time hiding.
Both cats were skittish, extremely shy, and wary. They needed a lot of TLC and a quiet respite from the shelter. In our care they made noticeable improvements, especially because we were patient and made an effort to gain their trust. Only two weeks later they moved in! Since we brought them home during the Clear the Shelter event, the adoption fees were waived.
A year later, they are very different, and much happier, cats. They are no longer so skittish and timid. Charlie (formerly known as Tink) blossomed into a perpetually sunny, friendly, and affectionate cat. He squeaks! He flops! He snuggles! Garrus (formerly known as Aristotle) underwent dental surgery to treat his stomatitis and is now a much healthier cat with bunny-soft fur. While still on the reserved side, he now asks for visits, bats at crinkle balls, and chases after the red dot with gusto.
As you can see, Charlie and Garrus are not concerned. They may, however, be only slightly overloved in our house.
In 1992, the International Society for Animal Rights created International Homeless Animals’ Day (IHAD), celebrated worldwide. This year, the 27th annual International Homeless Animals’ Day will be observed on Saturday, August 18th.
Photo courtesy of Pexels
This campaign is intended to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of homeless and abandoned animals across the world and educate the public about pet abandonment, feral animal overpopulation, and the benefits of neutering/spaying pets. Check out ISAR’s website and Facebook page for more information.
Photo courtesy of Pexels
Clear the Shelters is an nationwide pet adoption drive that began in 2015. This year it occurs on Saturday, August 18! A number of shelters may expand this drive to the entire weekend. More than 150,000 pets have found homes as a result of this campaign!
“Don’t you wanna take me home? We could snuggle.” Photo courtesy of Pexels
Across the country, NBC and Telemundo stations are teaming up with hundreds of animal shelters to spread the word about this adoption drive. Check out this neat map that shows all the animal shelters nationwide participating in the event. You can also spread the word in your local community by word of mouth and on social media using the hashtag #cleartheshelters.
“I’ve been adopted!” Photo courtesy of Pexels