Foster Anniversary

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.

Foster Parents Again!

We received word yesterday that Mau was ready for us to pick him up at the Austin Pets Alive facility. Although we were not stoked about the drive downtown, we were looking forward to helping a sweet senior cat decompress away from the shelter and receive much needed dental care.

Here is his photo from the shelter. Because his pupils are so dilated, you can’t see how blue his eyes really are. You can also see his lovely colorpoint markings and medium-length fluffiness.

When we picked him up, he meowed pitifully. I’m pretty sure he wanted to lodge a formal complaint with the management when he was transferred between carriers. I’m sure he was completely discombobulated from being transferred to the shelter to APA to us. Once in the car, though, he was quiet.

Aaron was magnanimous in loaning his office as a foster space. We set Mau up with food, water, a litter box, a bed (Boudicca’s pink one), a scratching pad, and a few toys. We visited but he remained put in the corner behind the desk. We spoke soothingly to him and sat on the floor but did not try to dig him out. If he wants to hide, that’s OK. Garrus and Charlie did that for the first couple of days in foster care.

We were pleased to note that he ate the wet food that APA provided for him, drank water, and used the litter box. At the shelter, he always snubbed wet food, preferring and apparently accustomed to eating hard food. We will continue to offer him both options. I will check on him throughout the day and hang out in the room with him, reading a book, so he can become used to my presence.

For their part, Garrus and Charlie knew something was up. As we moved the boys’ food out of the red room, Garrus came in and spotted Mau in the carrier before he left. He seemed mildly uneasy about the whole thing, but we also believe that he does not like change or the door shut. Charlie was puzzled by the shut door and investigated thoroughly, chirping. We made sure that Garrus and Charlie received ample visits and endeavored to disrupt their routine as little as possible. Of course, Garrus needed to go to the vet for his follow-up appointment so he won’t be happy about that either…

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.