Mau the Beautiful

Mau is doing well on his regimen of antibiotics and painkillers. His coat is getting healthier and he eats up to two cans of wet food a day despite his dental issues. We brush him frequently and there are far fewer mats as a result.

Much to our delight, he has started to show a more playful side by chasing after the red dot and batting the crinkle ball and spring around. Oddly though, he only plays with the latter toys when no one else is around! When he wants to explore, though, there’s no stopping him. He really wants to be friends with Charlie and especially Garrus. In a few ways, he does not act like a senior cat! Above all, Mau is a lovey-dovey lap cat who complains when he is left alone or denied access to said lap.

Aaron took two fantastic photos of Mau. Of course I immediately wanted to share them because they show how beautiful Mau really is.

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“Hello. I am Mau and I am incredibly gorgeous. You should pet me.”

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“Oooh! What’s over there? I wanna go on an adventure!” I love the expression on his face in this photo. Mau really is a darling cat and not just in terms of looks.

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.

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.

Googly Cat Remembered

I shared this little anecdote on Facebook one year ago, a few months before I started Purry Home Companion. It’s been three weeks since I said goodbye to Boudicca but she will always be my beloved Queen B in my heart.

This exchange happens nearly every time I open the sliding laundry doors…

Boudicca: Mama, whatcha doing? Can I help? I must be involved in every activity you do!

Me: Moving laundry.

Boudicca: I must explore this place for the 4,638th time! *sneaks in as I close the doors*…Um, Mama? Why is it dark in here? Mama? OMG I’ve been abandoned and imprisoned forever! I am now INCREDIBLY CONCERNED. Meow. Meow. Mreow. MROW.

Me: Boudicca, you’ve been in there for 2.3 seconds. Calm down. *I open the doors*

Boudicca: I must make epic prison break! I am FREE AT LAST! *darts out of laundry closet and proceeds with highly googly zoomies around the house*

In seventeen years, Boudicca hasn’t learned much and it’s still hilarious.

Garrus’ Follow Up Vet Visit

As you may remember, Garrus (aka Gentleman Cat) underwent extensive dental surgery two weeks ago. Dr R wanted to check how his mouth was healing and determine the next steps needed to make Garrus a healthy and happy cat.

Aaron and I were pleasantly surprised that we were able to get Garrus into the carrier in under 10 minutes and with remarkably minimal fuss. He wasn’t too happy about it and there was at least one pitiful meow saying “I want to lodge a complaint with the management about this!”. He didn’t meow at all in the car but let me know he was quite alarmed when we were in the vet office lobby. “Excuse me but there are dogs in here and I do not like this at all!” he seemed to say. Thankfully we were put in a room lickedy-split and instantly the complaints stopped.

When a tech came in to ask me questions, I told her that he has been eating, hasn’t displayed any lethargy, and has not vomited or had any diarrhea. In general he eats about 1 can of wet food a day but frequently when we offer him more food during the day, he faffs about and seems anxious. While he expresses gratitude by being affectionate and sweet, he won’t always eat the food we offer him. We’ve experimented with how we present the food (finely chopped, at room temperature instead of right-out-of-the-fridge cold) and ensure that Charlie doesn’t come in and make him nervous. I reported that Garrus sometimes appears ill at ease around Charlie, who, in his desperation for a playmate, will occasionally get most persistent and end up pestering Garrus.

The tech took him in the back, where she weighed him and took his temperature, and brought him back to the room, where Dr R examined him. I was pleased to learn that Garrus gained 0.6 lbs in two weeks! Most of the sutures dissolved on their own but she noted that there is still some inflammation (stomatitis) in his mouth. The treatment for this is steroid therapy, and she wants to see him again in three weeks to monitor his progress. In response to the anxious behavior I reported, Dr R thought that Zylkene, a natural supplement that helps pets manage stress, might be useful. We had given the boys this when we first adopted them to help them acclimate to the house and overcome shelter shock. I hope that these treatments help Garrus feel better all around.

Dr R reported that Garrus behaved exceptionally well and acted rather calm, huge improvements from how withdrawn and skittish he was when we adopted him 10 months ago. Cat parent achievement unlocked! He didn’t fuss at all while being weighed or getting his temperature taken, and, while not happy about getting his mouth examined, did not freak out. We had no issue getting him back into the carrier either. On the car ride back I repeatedly told him that he was such a good boy. (Yes, cats need to be told this too, not just dogs.)

About an hour after I let him out, I found Garrus investigating the carrier on his own.

He moved his head up as I snapped this photo, showing me his vampy teeth.

“I am pleased to report that the carrier is clear of any dangers, madam. Thank you for your cooperation.”

This is one of his favorite sunning spots. Sometimes after he finishes a lounge like this, he comes into my office for a visit. I love petting his soft, sun-warmed fur.

Hug Your Cat Day

Last night a storm blew through our area, filling the night with lots of lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. It knocked the power out for a few hours too. The storm’s noise and emergency weather alerts woke us up. Aaron went into the living room to get his phone and found Garrus lounging unperturbed on the ottoman. Charlie, however, was ill at ease and sought us out. It was a pleasant surprise to find, while partly asleep, Charlie eagerly searching for my hands and purring loudly when I started petting him. I sleepily hugged Charlie and he settled in my arms for about a minute, kneading, before leaving to investigate what rubs Aaron had to offer.

This morning I had an ottoman visit with Garrus. I was able to place him on my lap and give him neck and chest scritches, which he loves, as well as stroking his back and kissing his head. Cue the warm fuzzies when I heard him purring.

Hug Your Cat Day is a fun excuse to give your feline companion a little extra love. If your cat is not a cuddler or into being held, respect that. Instead try a play session, tasty treats, back strokes, and/or quality bonding time together.