Two weeks ago, I met my dear friend Evelyn’s foster dog, Lakota, during our monthly Game Night. (Sorry – I meant to get this post up earlier but grad school got in the way!) I don’t have a ton of experience with German Shepherds but I think that Lakota is a rather handsome fellow. From what Evelyn told me, he was found in a sad, emaciated state but had been quickly gaining weight in her care. He has also been neutered.
During the course of Game Night, Lakota showed everyone that he was an exceptionally GOOD DOG and very much people-focused. He knows how to “sit” on command and apparently “shake”!
He didn’t bark at all but it was obvious he was happiest sitting beside someone. (Whenever he did, he was quite the gentleman.) Throughout the evening I was rather distracted because I wanted to pet this handsome boy all the time, especially since he kept giving me big sad “PLEASE PET ME” eyes!
Don’t worry – I petted him plenty, gave him chest and belly rubs (he appears to be a bit ticklish), and can confirm that he is indeed smoochable.
Lakota is available for adoption through Austin Pets Alive! You can find more information about him here.
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?)!
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.
Mau is a pretty cute cat, though I might be biased. It’s now been about 10 days since his dental surgery and being toothless hasn’t negatively affected his quality of life.
“This bed is so cozy!”
Aaron and I have noticed that he has become more playful and bats both crinkle balls and plastic springs around the house. Mau’s favorite toy might be the laser pointer, however, as he chases after the red dot with more gusto and stamina than either Garrus or Charlie. It’s highly amusing and delightful to watch all three cats skitter about the house trying to pounce on the elusive red dot. If I can, I’ll record a video of a play session and share it here on Purry Home Companion!
“Mama, I found a box! It’s such a nice box.”
Look at these handsome boys! I couldn’t resist snapping a photo when I saw them lined up like this.
Garrus and Mau demonstrate their nightly ottoman sprawl. Mau recently adopted this habit of flaunting his fluffy belly like this. It’s not a trap. I repeat: it’s not a trap!
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.
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.