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!

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!

Monday with Mau

In an effort to try to make Mau more comfortable, the APA vet prescribed him a painkiller and an antibiotic. We were quite pleased that we were able to mix these liquid medications into his food, which he ate without a problem. Hopefully these help him.

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mau didn’t stink! I picked him up and he smelled like mostly normal cat. I didn’t sense an overwhelmingly fetid whiff of bad breath! Amazing! I hope that’s the antibiotic at work.

Mau does not like being sequestered, and I don’t blame him. While he spends a good chunk of the day sleeping like any other cat, he mews pitifully for attention when he’s awake. I decided to help him embark on a mini-adventure by picking him up and bringing him to my office. I shut the door so he couldn’t get out and the boys could not get in. This experiment had mixed results. He got to explore and briefly settled for lap time but did seem a bit overwhelmed after a while. He also started asking most persistently for food. Mau is a sweet old man of a kitty but has a low threshold for hunger!

Look at that curious, handsome face!

“Outside!” I’m not sure if Mau ever looks out the window in Aaron’s office.

Mau found a hiding spot under one of my bookshelves.

Mau thought I could not see his magnificent tail.

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.

Greetings from Mau

Aaron and I visited Mau this morning as we brought him food and cleaned his litterbox. He was firmly camped out behind the desk in the corner but looked at us curiously as we sat on the floor. If he wanted to hide, that was OK with us. A bit later I came back into the red room and chilled on the chair, reading a book. I babbled at him and beckoned him to come over to my hand for rubs if he wanted any. He did not, apparently, but he made eye contact with me on several occasions.

I checked on him throughout the day and found him sleeping. I did not want to disturb him so I didn’t linger.

When Aaron came home, we visited our foster kitty. We were so happy when Mau came out of hiding! Very casually, he waltzed right into Aaron’s lap and started purring.

He came over to me too, showed me his floofy tail, and asked for pets. He’s a sweetheart.

We were quite happy when he ate up all the wet food we offered. At the shelter, he had refused to eat the wet food they presented. Maybe that was due to stress or a matter of preference. In any case, we’ll be going through a lot more cat food at this rate! It’s all good though. We’re just happy to help this sweet boy.

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.