Love Me, Pet Me, Feed Me!

I am pleased to report that Queen B is doing very well! She responded swimmingly to her vitamin B-12 injections (not that she particularly enjoyed getting the shots). Afterward, she’d be perky, her appetite would go up, and she would digest her food better. Since she would swing between constipation and diarrhea (never pleasant) due to her small bowel disease, it took us some time to strike a perfect balance in terms of the right Miralax dosage. She started grooming herself more, hanging out in my office with me (I’ve enjoyed having my office supurrviser “helping” me work), seeking us out for attention, greeting me at the door, and being very assertive (read: meower mouth and underfoot) about regularly scheduled feeding time. She is decidedly not a fan of Daylight Savings Time. When she says it’s food o’clock, there’s no dissuading her!

This is how my office supurrviser takes a well-deserved break. Her schedule is packed: begging for food, getting fed, napping, being ridiculously cute, birdwatching, sprawling, being brushed, purring, being underfoot, talking to her humans, giving tail hugs, being a reading buddy, and snuggling.

Because she’s been rather hungry and we want her to gain some weight, we’ve been adding feedings. Twice a day she gets medication mixed into her food (breakfast and dinner) and just simple wet food at lunchtime and late afternoon. Sometimes if she did not eat all the food from an earlier meal, we will offer her a small portion before bedtime. Of course, this means that Boudicca now thinks that she will get food when either of us is in the kitchen. (Cue begging.) At present she only likes Friskies© Paté (any of the seafood varieties) and Blue Buffalo kitten kibble (ahem, Queen B is most persnickety). Essentially Boudicca is eating like a feline Hobbit!

Of course, Garrus and Charlie are intensely interested in the food that materializes around Boudicca at regular intervals. Charlie’s motive isn’t solely about food; since he’s a busybody, he just wants to be involved with whatever is going on. Garrus, on the other hand, alternates between pleading and determinedly attempting to sneak past me and, in the most genteel way possible, pilfer Boudicca’s leftovers. (I’m serious. He slinks on his belly and acts like he’s invisible. He thinks he’s such a smooth criminal, even when I catch him mid-pussyfoot.) I’ve even caught the boys loitering around my office, apparently guarding Boudicca and waiting for their human (me) to bring forth sustenance.

“You do not have food for me? How…disappointing.”

I gave Dr. R an update on Boudicca’s progress, to which she was quite pleased. She encouraged me to feed her what she wants as much as she wants, with the hopes she will put on some weight and be a happy old kitty. Dr. R explained that this guarding behavior I noted with the boys is somewhat normal in cats. Since Garrus and Charlie have not been aggressive toward Queen B (every day Charlie tries to make friends with and/or play with her), Dr. R told me that this healthy cats do this around a sick or injured cat. Hooray for a peaceful multi-cat household! She approved the idea of giving the boys a tablespoon or so of wet food, especially if it helped distract the boys and made them happy while Boudicca ate her meals. Garrus could use the extra calories while Charlie does not (he’s at a healthy weight), so I could give him half a tablespoon. I’m also happy that all three cats like their new dental treats (also vet approved, yay!).

“Hi Mom! You found me in my new spot!”

All in all it’s a pretty nice day when I get sequential visits and affection from each of the cats. I have ensured that each has been properly smooched. Don’t worry. They are only slightly over-loved in this house.

Mornings with the Cats

Cats are creatures of routine, and this definitely applies to my little pounce. While Garrus does not always come up onto the bed for a visit as we wake up, as Boudicca and Charlie do on a regular basis, Garrus greets us with his characteristically jaunty trot and lots of tail hugs. He habitually escorts one of us into Aaron’s office to his food bowl and waits patiently by the door. “Good morning, my caretakers! I trust you slept well. It’s time for breakfast!” he seems to say. Keep in mind that Garrus only meows (politely, mind you) when in the carrier; otherwise he does not meow, squeak, chatter, or make any other noise. Even his purr is so quiet most of the time that you can’t tell he is purring unless you feel his neck.

After we feed the cats and refresh their water, it is our routine to visit each of the cats, or sometimes, they come to us. Boudicca wakes up and joins us by the kitchen table, where she stares intently at Aaron as she attempts to execute the Schnauzer Mind Meld. (As I have mentioned before, Boudicca has not yet figured out that she is, in fact, not a Miniature Schnauzer.) Aaron sits on the Morsel Distribution Throne and has the Morsel Distribution Hand. Apparently his morsels taste better than mine. We occasionally give her tiny bits of egg (good for her coat) or meat. (There are people food items that are safe for cats.) When Aaron has waffles or pancakes, Boudicca seems to pout, since she firmly believes that all people food is for kitties and does not understand when we don’t share.

This past week, there was a beautifully choreographed kitty ballet in our kitchen whenever we gave Boudicca her medication in wet food. The boys were keenly interested in what prompted Boudicca to become such a Meower Mouth. Charlie had to contribute his two cents by squeaking. Garrus, a characteristically quiet Gentleman Cat, simply pirouetted with his tail high and a hopeful expression, “I used to eat wet food. I like it…May I have some please?” Unfortunately I was not able to get the kitty ballet on video but I did capture a short video of Boudicca demonstrating her Meower Mouth alter ego.

Usually Charlie comes to us as we wake up and happily purrs when we give him rubs. Once we wake up, he trots off to play in the living room, snuggle with Garrus on the ottoman, or hang out on his favorite platform on the cat tower. Sometimes he will stroll by the kitchen table as we eat breakfast, squeaking, polishing our ankles, giving tail hugs, and generally being cute. Incidentally, his presence occasionally bugs Boudicca, although she will ignore him if she is intent on begging. After breakfast, we stop by the cat tower, where Charlie has taken up his post, and remind him how cute he is. Cue slow blinks.

Garrus doesn’t often visit us while we eat breakfast. He tends to hang out in the living room, where his favorite spot (the ottoman) is. Boudicca meanwhile claims her spot on the couch. Garrus has a habit of following us into the bedroom–or me into the bathroom–and asks for pets. If I am standing up and wiggle my fingers in invitation, he can be convinced to jump onto the bed for scritches. His preferred spot for visits, however, is on the ottoman.

This morning I sat on the ottoman and called Garrus. He trotted over with a marked spring in his step and tail-hugged my legs. Then he hopped up onto the ottoman and rubbed himself against my back and hands, semi-flopping next to me. He started purring quietly when I scritched this side of his neck and shoulder, or when I scritched the base of his tail. (Cue elevator butt.)

Since we’ve been working on getting him acclimated to being handled, I gently picked him up and placed him on my lap. I do this regularly but he tends to jump off after about 10-30 seconds. This morning he appeared to be calmer and more relaxed because he remained on my lap for a few minutes. I gently stroked him (not too much so he would not get over-stimulated) and talked to him, telling him how handsome and good he was. He continued to purr and slow blinked. When he decided to end our lovely lap session, he did not abruptly kick off my lap but instead stood up and leisurely walked over to the free space on the ottoman next to me. Lying down, he looked up at me with those big yellow eyes and asked me to continue petting him, which of course I did. What a breakthrough!

During our visit, Charlie woke up and started playing. As per his habit, he plucked the toy mice from the highest platform, choosing one by one with his mouth or paws and deliberately throwing them onto the floor. He held the largest (his newest prize) in his mouth and carried it as he climbed down the cat tree and strolled over to me. He gave one muffled squeak, dropped the mouse at my feet, and flopped over so I could give him a belly rub. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me or else I would have recorded it. But he was SO CUTE. All in all it was a very pleasant morning!

Do your cats like to greet you in the morning? What are your morning routines with your fur people? Are they lovey in the morning or in the evening? Tell your stories in the comments section!