Thursday, March 31, 2011

The way to Lily's heart

She may love catnip, but she loves a good grooming session just as much (if not more).

In Lily's first few days in the foster suite, she was very wary of us when we visited. But then she discovered that we had three kinds of brushes and she adored them all, coming over to request some attention for her soft coat in spite of her residual concerns.

So Lily would like you to know that she'd enjoy having a continued salon experience of sorts in her permanent home. You don't have to have three kinds of brushes, though.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Everything's better with catnip

Lily is our first foster to have a true affinity for the green stuff that makes kitties go wild -- if they have the genes for it.

Meow Meow does not, from what we can tell. When we were trying to train her to use a scratching post, we rubbed it all over with catnip, hoping to attract her. No dice. After eight months, she still responds only to the material covering it (microfiber, like the sofas we were protecting).

But on Lily's outings downstairs, we started to notice how drawn she was to the post -- not to scratch, but to rub her head all over it. There was wriggling and rolling and other general expressions of bliss. So Dieter took out the bag we'd had in storage, which drew her right to him in an instant.

We took the opportunity to give Lily some playtime. Laser pointer, watch out! Ribbons and the like are apparently in the running now to be Lily's favorite toy. (Sorry for the lighting issues -- the new camera has better sound quality than the last but I'm still trying to figure out how to adjust the white balance.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

The extra space is nice, but ...

... it's just so big.

That seemed to be Lily's impression of our downstairs when we let her take a stroll earlier this week. She skirted the furniture, sniffing and poking, making inquisitive noises the entire way. When we stepped too near, she seemed to get nervous. But as soon as I sat down on the floor, she came right up to me.

She looked left ...

... then right ...

... and decided she was happiest in her usual spot.

Did we mention that Lily is very much a lap kitty?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where have you been?

It's interesting how differently cats respond to a caregiver's absence. Dieter and I took a short overnight (just Saturday, home again Sunday evening), leaving Lily and Meow Meow in their separate suites with food, water, and litter.

When we came home, we got two very different greetings from each kitty. Lily was happy to see us and didn't seem to think anything had been amiss. "Oh, you're back. Brush me?" she seemed to say, hopping onto her carrier to get closer to me when I entered her room to make sure all was well.

Meow Meow, on the other hand, was rather distressed. Her room was a bit of a wreck (the result of what seemed to be a kitty stomach that had gotten upset more than once) and she scolded us thoroughly for leaving her.

She hasn't gotten stressed in the past when we've been gone for an overnight, and I can't tell if the recent addition of a mystery cat is (still) causing this extra angst. But she was fine all of Monday, acting (and eating) like her usual self.

We'll just keep giving her extra TLC and hope things normalize -- though I'm considering waiting a few more days to have her check out Lily's room while Lily checks out hers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Expanding horizons, sort of

Lily is getting more comfortable exploring the new space we've offered her this week. Check out her, um ... opinion on the spare room. (The space is a little messy, but we have plans for it as more than just a temporary storage space for our junk -- my thesis has to get done first, though!)

We were curious about how playful Lily might be since some of the previous reports in her file suggest that she's not especially interested. Apparently, no one's tried a laser pointer with her:

Yes, she's a twelve-year-old. But she tracks like the most playful of kittens! (And no, none of our previous very talented fosters' skills were even close.)

But of course, once playtime ends, Lily likes one thing best for winding down:

Mm hmm. Whoever gets her has to love this bundle of cozy draped over the knees, even while sitting on the floor.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mixed signals

We've started giving both Lily and Meow Meow more scent exposure to each other as of Saturday. No shows of hostility yet -- just a lot of sniffing from Lily. While Meow Meow was enjoying a dish of her favorite wet food in her (normal) dining quarters, we invited Lily to explore the room next to the foster suite and the upper hall.

Lily was very curious about the new space but was also still timid about checking it out while we were around, so we held off on taking photos. (She did perform a thorough inspection of the perimeter of each room, nose constantly to the ground.) The towel we let her examine from Meow Meow's room produced more sniffing, but after a few moments, Lily seemed to lose interest. This bodes well -- indifference is a benign response.

Once Lily was back in her own room, we let Meow Meow back out. We put the towel from Lily's suite where Meow Meow was likely to happen upon it (on the landing of the stairs, where she likes to survey the kitchen and living room):

Meow Meow stepped very deliberately around it on her way down, but that was all the attention the towel commanded. (There are cushier spots she enjoys as it is.)

Despite the fairly calm behavior, Meow Meow has had some litter box misses in her room during the night, so we're watching her closely to see if the issue is related to stress from Lily's presence. Which means no more feeding in the room next to the foster suite for this week since that seems to cause more agitation than just the smell of another cat. (Meow Meow seems oblivious to Lily's scent all over my hands when I offer to pet her -- she still wriggles with delight and rolls over for a belly rub.)

So that's the news for now. Once Lily's more comfortable with her new boundaries, we'll try to get more photos of her. And then, if things with both kitties are all right, we'll move on to the first visual meet-and-greet ...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Small bites, small steps

Last week, we moved Meow Meow's feeding station to the spare room on the other side of the door to the bathroom where Lily is spending her quarantine. (Lily will be there at least through Saturday, when that mandatory separation ends.)

Meow Meow had been pretending not to notice the presence of another cat, but once her food was right by the source of all the mysterious yowling, she couldn't ignore it anymore. During her first meal there, she actually hissed. Before that point, I think I'd only heard that happen twice since her adoption -- in general, Meow Meow's extremely mild-tempered, even when displeased.

She's been reluctant to eat by the bathroom, but with extra treats and lots of petting, she's come around to it begrudgingly. When she's super hungry, she'll follow me into the spare room (more often, though, we have to carry her in). Once she's appeased her tummy with a few big bites, she makes a quick exit as if the space is still too uncomfortable to linger in. It's understandable. I've been leaving a few crunchies on the mat after her meals to encourage her to go back on her own. So far, that's worked well, as you can see. First the amuse-bouche ...

... and then the leftovers of the main course.

I'd originally put her entire tray on the mat (it keeps the little plastic containers from sliding around) but she was especially unhappy about that arrangement. So slippery serving dishes it is for now.

Lily, on the other hand, eats her food on the bathroom side of the door without protest, as nonchalant as you please. Next week, if all's well, we'll start trying to give both cats more scent-exposure to each other.
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