Desk Buddies

Aaron recently bought me larger monitors for my computer – highly useful for grad school – but the cats apparently think my desk is even more irresistible. Now all three regularly stop by for desk visits.

Garrus can be very persuasive when asking for desk visits. Thank goodness he is a Gentleman Cat.
Mau rarely visited my office before but recently that changed. Once he saw Garrus up there, he made himself at home!
Mau decided to ponder cat things while up on my desk.
Charlie did get up on my desk but after chasing the cursor on my screen, I asked him to get down. He gave me this face afterward.
Charlie likes to trot into my office and ask for pets around 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon. He flirts like this on the window seat to get my attention.

Dinner Now!

Our cats like their routine and stick to it – and steadfastly ignore Daylight Savings Time. Now that we are no longer free-feeding so that Mau gets his Tylosin and to ensure everyone gets equal portions (and thus prevent pigging out or bullying), the cats let us know when they’re hungry. Mau, in particular, is very vocal when he thinks it’s time for dinner and would like to lodge a complaint with management about the delay in service. This afternoon he took it upon himself to get dinner now.

After the cats finish eating, we take the bowls up and put them in the pantry, with the door firmly closed. Why? If we put them on the counter, Mau might climb up and help himself to his food along with everyone else’s (we’ve caught him doing this in the past, hence why we now put the bowls in the pantry). That is not a habit we want him to continue – counters are not acceptable places for kitties in our house – and we don’t want Mau to teach Garrus and Charlie this habit either. Mau decided to go counter surfing and climbed onto the trash can to get leverage. He promptly knocked over the trash can and a couple things off the counter (unbreakable, fortunately) and skittered off, startled by the CRASH. I saw him skedaddle and followed him into the hallway. He turned and gave me such a look of innocence with those big, slightly googly blue eyes. It’s difficult to get mad at him because he’s so cute.

Cue the dramatic yammering. “Mama, I’m STARVING! FEED ME NOW BEFORE I WASTE AWAY INTO NOTHINGNESS! Oh, by the way, I have no idea how the trash can got knocked over. I had absolutely nothing to do with that and I wasn’t anywhere near the counter. See? I’m too adorable and TOO HUNGRY.”

Charlie and Garrus, hearing the drama unfold from their snoozing spots in the bedroom, came out to give their two cents and squeaked too – comments from the peanut gallery, I suppose. At least they were more polite about it and even threw in prancey walks and tail hugs with their “please feed me” requests. Cats are so demanding.

Garrus contemplates his dinner options next to the ottoman.

Charlie tries to be coy after squeaking up a storm.

Are your cats fed on a schedule? How do they react to Daylight Savings Time? When they are hungry, how do they let you know? Share in the comments!

Still Looking for A Furever Home for Mau

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

Toothless King of the House

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!

Rainy Day Shelter Visit

Aaron decided to take the afternoon off to fix our garage door. We went to Home Depot to pick up parts and, while we were out, stopped at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter to visit the cat adoption room. What a lovely way to spend a gloppy afternoon!

Mau really enjoys his box. Here he is demonstrating the swishy magnificence of his tail.

While we were not able to get photos of it, Mau did come out of his box and we brushed him. He has thin patches of fur on his sides, likely evidence of stress-related overgrooming. While he apparently eats, he is quite skinny. Amazingly, he refuses to eat wet food and insists on dry food, even though that must hurt him. The volunteers I spoke to suspect he does so because that’s what he is used to eating. He reminds me of Garrus when we first got him. Aaron agreed with me that he looked sad, a bit scraggly, and in need of our help.

While we were there, two other volunteers, Carolyn and Grandma Jean came into the adoption room. Both had worked more with Mau than I have, so I asked them questions about his temperament. When he first came to the shelter a month ago, he was terrified (understandable). Gradually, he started softening and demonstrating that he is a calm but friendly cat who likes to be held and brushed. He has toe floof! Evidently he has been handled a lot more than Garrus was, so that’s a plus, but he’s also quite a bit older than Garrus and Charlie and presumably spent years with his previous owner.

Mau doesn’t like new environments so being taken out into the open space of the adoption room is overwhelming. Grandma Jean said that he does better in the small interaction rooms. As Carolyn reached into the condo to pet him, he started licking her hand repeatedly, which I thought was an odd quirk. When Aaron and I held a kitten, he didn’t seem to mind them at all, whereas his neighbor Chester growled at the the mere sight of the kittens.

As to if and when Aaron and I will be able to foster Mau, we’re waiting for him to be transferred from the shelter to Austin Pets Alive!, since he needs extensive dental work. I contacted both the shelter director and APA and have been approved as a foster (yay), and let APA know that I wanted to foster this particular cat from the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. In the interim I’ll visit and love on him.

Peace…for about 3 minutes!

Shortly after I took this photo, the grey tabbies woke up and started yammering for attention. Obviously we had to plunk on the floor and hold kittens because I couldn’t resist giving these babies lovies. (Who would?)

The tabbies had adorable spotted tummies (!), and all of them had eaten recently, so they had little fat bellies begging for rubs. The black kitten was calm and cuddly today and, mercifully, not so pointy after having his nails trimmed. The orange bicolor and grey bicolor were chatty and bold little explorers. They are clearly used to climbing into volunteers’ laps and being adored. The orange tabby was a genuine extrovert and threw a squeaky, wiggly tantrum until he was picked up again. Once held, he wanted to chill and started to doze off against my chest. There was much internal squeeing on my end.

“Helpful” Cats

This afternoon I tried to practice gentle yoga for at least half an hour. All the cats were sleeping. I figured I should do yoga instead of succumbing to the cats’ charms and taking a nap with them. So I pulled out my yoga mat and started to meditate.

Then who shows up? Queen Boudicca. Talking a bit, she was very curious and slightly confused as to what exactly I was doing. She tried her best to nudge my hands into petting her and climb onto my lap.

“Excuse me, Mother, I have declared that it is time for you to adore me. Not meditate.”

I did a few poses and suppressed a giggle as Boudicca wound herself around my legs and persistently sought out my hands for pets. Do you realize how difficult it is to execute yoga when your cat is giving you a tail hug and giving you a running commentary at the same time?

Needless to say, my yoga practice was not very successful. Finally I gave in–my focus had been entirely interrupted and I could not resist Boudicca’s hopeful eyes‒and petted her. Then she presented her head for me to kiss, purring all the while. Queen B was victorious. She can only get away with this because she’s cute.

After she left I attempted to refocus and restart my yoga practice. However, the boys decided to wake up at that time and start their afternoon scamper session, which included venturing into my office, squeaking, playing, and wanting pets too. Sigh.

Do your cats try to “help” you do tasks, such as making the bed or laundry? Do they get in the way when you try to exercise or work? What do you do when they do this? Do your cats ultimately win?