Likes: terrorizing Leo, being with Mama, being brushed, reading the newspaper with Daddy
Pet-Peeves: sudden movements, loud noises, the people going inside or not petting him as long as he wants, Pixie and Leo screeching and growling at him, Dougal MacDuff
Favorite Toy: At first when it wasn't terrifying him the real world was his toybox; he had no use for conventional cat toys or even a laser pointer. In fall '07, to my great joy, he started playing w/small objects & catnip socks. 2009 - chases his tail!
Favorite Nap Spot: under the forsythia; on the picnic table; the papasan chair on the porch; on the cool concrete floor when it's hot; cat tree middle shelf; on top of or next to Mama
Favorite Food: Friskies Special Diet wet, Verus dry, cat tuna (it's a great way to give him his meds!);
Arrival Story: Cow!Cat first came around in spring '06, a shy stray cat who looked hungry and beat-up. We started putting out food and water for him, and gradually he became less cautious around us. After a summer living in the open air , in fall '06 we started sheltering him with a small, purr-pad-lined dog house, and in winter he progressed to blankets and a few basic furnishings along with a space heater on an enclosed porch. We free-fed him, gave him water, and paid him some attention daily. He also was fed by our back neighbour and took shelter in their garage on occasion. With consistent feeding he became healthier, and after about six months of regular unthreatening contact from us, he began greeting me and my family if he was around when we went outside. He'd talk to us and insistently seek physical affection. (I started thinking of him as our friendly backyard stalker - whenever I'd open the door to go outside, there he was ready to wind between my ankles. Whenever any of us pulled a car into the driveway, he came running to see what's up, and of course to demand some attention.)
Feb 2007: after trapping and neutering him, he moved onto our sheltered front porch.
December 2007 : after a few daytime explorations, he made the move into the house for overnight warmth, and has integrated pretty smoothly, although recently he's shown some inappropriate urination issues that we're working on.
Bio: Medical/behavioral history and rundown of integration into household: As a young tom living the life of a lone feral, Cow!Cat started out extremely wary of humans, highly aggressive toward other male cats including those in our household, and extremely territorial about things/places he wanted to be "his". He used to tree Leo regularly. Halloween 2006 he bit me quite hard, when I startled him into reacting by foolishly trying to soothe him with a scruff-touch from behind, while he was tense over the proximity of 2 other cats. This necessitated antibiotics and precautionary rabies shots for me, as at the time he had no record of vaccination or any medical care. (The silver lining to that episode, I guess, is that now I have rabies immunity if I'm ever bitten again by a stray.)
The first time I coaxed him on the porch in bad weather he showed lots of spraying behaviour, and he was only allowed back on the porch due to extenuating circumstances. In early 2007 I finally found some information about a local TNR program and I was able to trap him and have him neutered, eartipped, and given shots on February 1 2007, as well as tested for FeLV and FIV (both negative). Bitterly cold temps that weekend forced the issue - he had to have a sheltered, warm place to recuperate from surgery. So I cleared out everything on the porch thatI didn't want damaged, and made him a bed of disposable items.
Within a few months he progressed to pretty much having his own apartment out there, without damaging any furnishings even after the other cats hung out on the porch while he was locked outside. Our wild boy also calmed down considerably post-neutering, although he still has a strong will and lots of "herding" behaviour toward me. Now he is fully vaccinated and basically healthy, although apparently he has allergies that result in chronic tear stains. His eyes clear up with antibiotic treatment, but once the course of treatment is over the eye discharge and stains recur within a few weeks. Not using plastic food and water dishes, and being diligent with flea treatment, also seem to minimize his allergic symptoms.
August 2007 he had some trouble with crystals, requiring hospitalization. He was switched to a diet of Hills C/D.
Problems with integrating him indoors were as follows: I have many allergies including cats, and dander is often the tipping point between my feeling okay and feeling miserable even with extensive daily meds. So adding one more copiously-shedding feline to the indoor environment is not the most brilliant notion I've ever had. In addition, we have one elder, FIV+ cat who didn't really need to be stressed out by a young ruffian. But a few months post-neutering, Cow!Cat's response to Thomas became more and more respectful and submissive. His moving into our house (and not just the porch) was not the ideal solution, but we were not able to find anyone to adopt him, and he deserves - and made it clear that he wants - a proper home. So once his behavior showed he was ready to move indoors, he did so in late 2007.
February 2008: we are now harboring another feral tom (see Dougal MacDuff) on our porch intermittently, and this has caused Cow!Cat some stress. I suspect this is one of the reasons for his renewed inappropriate urination. He's also been more "herding" in his behaviour toward me. He also has had a bout of conjunctivitis, so he's taking eyedrops and antibiotics for that.
March 2008: After a month of repeated veterinary visits for urination issues and two more urinary blockages, Cow!Cat had perineal urethrostomy surgery and switched to a diet of Royal Canin SO and Friskies Special Diet food. He's done well for the past 8 months on that, aside from some persistent inappropriate urination, and hopefully he will have no further problems with crystals or other urinary tract conditions.
May 2009 diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, treating with atenolol, condition improved as of March 2010.
My sisfur Pixie and I both saw a heart speshulist doctor vet today. I didn't like it much. He and the tech lady purrson were nice, but they put a muzzle on me and held me tight for a furry long time while they rubbed stinky stuff on me, and attached clippy things to me, and pressed things against my chest and tummy.
I growled and whimpered, but they just kept saying I was a good boy. What? I did NOT want to be a good boy! If that is what a good boy acts like, next time I'll have to scratch 'em!
They said I have something called Hokum, which means Hypertrophic CardioMyopathy, which means I have a thick heart muscle. Apparently this is not a good thing. They gave Mama some beta blocker medicine that I have to take efurry day. The speshulist doctor vet said that if I'm lucky, that will make the heart muscle shrink back to normal thickness and I'll have a nice normal life. Or, it could just stay the way it is, which is a mild to moderate heart condition. Or, it could not help at all, and I'd need more medicine to help me breathe properly. :(
I don't feel bad, so I don't know why they say I have a bad heart. I don't want to have a bad heart! I want to have a nice happy snuggly heart that works just fine and isn't too thick or too thin or too anything.
Pixie has the same exact condition as me, and the same exact meds but a different dose because she's littler than I am. She's also older than I am. So now Mama has to check both of us regularly to make sure we're breathing okay - not too fast, and not too hard.
I hope that both of our hearts go back to normal thickness with the medicine, and that we both keep feeling fine, and that I get to live a good long healthy life. And I hope my good furriend Sam LLoyd, who also has a heart murmur, gets to live a good long healthy life too.
First of all - this is very exciting - Mama took me for a walk outside today.
Can you imagine that? Big ol' bad ol' formerly feral ol' me on a harness and lead? I know, I can't either.
Actually this was my second walk. Mama knew I was going bonkers having to stay inside all the time, so she bought me the harness and lead on Sunday, but by the time she got it fitted on me Sunday night I didn't want any parts of it. Monday she was busy and didn't have time to take me out with it, and she promised me a walk on Tuesday. Then she was really really really sick on Tuesday, so she asked Daddy to take me out instead when he got home from work, and he did.
But that was nighttime, and this was daytime, so it was like two completely different walks!
It was very windy out today, so that got me all excited. I sniffed things, and marked some of my spots, then tried to go through the gate next door but Mama wouldn't let me, so instead I sat on my bench with Mama. Then Lady came over to investigate us and stalk some birdies, and that got me all excited too. I finished up by sitting on my pickanick table for awhile. Then Mama brought me inside, and I was all feisty and didn't cooperate much with her taking off the harness and putting the e-collar back on me. I also promptly cornered and terrorized Leo, so Mama put me out on my porch to work off a little steam.
I am proud of the fact that I have worked hard on not always being a good or cooperative patient, as the vet staff seem to think I am. Hey, people - don't you know that if I'm THAT good, I have to be -really- sick?
Item 1) The paper litter the vet wants me to use? Ain't happenin'. Nor do I want anything to do with Exquisicat or other silica-gel litter. I insist on using Cat Attract and other clay litter only, so Mama or Daddy have to escort me to the litterbox regularly and supervise so that I don't get it stuck on me. Hee hee!
Item 2) Since Mama and Daddy won't leave clay litter on my porch for me, I have taken to peeing overnight in a variety of locations, so they can play hunt-down-the-puddle every morning. This drives Daddy pretty bonkers, which is fun. Mama says she'll cope with it until I'm healed - it's better than me not peeing! - and then she'll work on solving this problem behavior. We'll see about that. But for now, she's doing lots of laundry and using lots of Nature's Miracle cat odor remover.
Item 3) I think plain Royal Canin SO or Hills CD prescription canned food is pretty yucky, because that's what Dr. Luetke wants me to eat. What I really want is my dry CD, and he says some of that is okay but he wants me on a mostly-wet diet. So Mama is trying out a variety of things she can mix the SO or CD with to make it more attractive to me. So far I really like it mixed with Friskies Special Diet Salmon. The Friskies Special Diet Beef and Liver is okay straight, but I don't like it mixed with the prescription food. And of course if Mama mixes some cat tuna in with the prescription food that's yummy, but it's not really ideal for my tendency to crystal formation, so she's trying not to do that. She hasn't tried the Trader J0e's regular canned cat food yet, but she said when I'm done with the current can of Friskies she'll try that and see if I like it. She also says tomorrow she's going to Superior Pet and picking up some Wellness or other holistic canned food to see if I might like that, because it will be better for me than the cat tuna or other nonprescription food. I don't know. What I do know is, there are about 35 cans of food in the cupboard, all for me! I say that's a well-provided larder, and just how it should be!
Also in the area of food, I have decided room-temperature food is MUCH better than refrigerated, so whenever she mixes up already-opened food for me she microwaves it for 10 seconds or so and then stirs it up again. I really have her wrapped around my paw!
Item 4) I have of course learned how to remove my e-collar. Mama bought a new one on Sunday because the old one was getting tattered - but the tattiness was also allowing her to tighten it more, and making it more difficult for me to slip. The new one? Piece of cake! So much that she put the old one back on me this morning. She warned me that if I keep slipping it, I might have to go with a hard plastic collar that will not be as comfortable. Hmmm. I still think it's my duty to make her job as my nurse challenging! (And expensive - the Tyvek e-collars cost $22 each.) She called the vet today to ask him if he wanted to make sure my stitches were still okay since I slipped it a few times overnight and she doesn't know to what extent I was grooming, but he said as long as I'm not bleeding and I'm still peeing, I'm okay for now.
Lest you think I am always difficult for Mama, I will point out that I gave her a bit of a break on Tuesday when she was sick. I only slipped the collar once - overnight - and I took care of her by sitting on the couch with her. I wanted to sit on her lap, but for some reason that made her feel worse not better, so I curled up behind her legs instead. I know how to be a good nurse cat too!
So that's been my life. Hangin' out, eating a variety of catered meals, getting all sorts of new stuff bought for me, making sure my displeasure with the inadequacy of my bathroom facilities is known, and hangin' out. I go back to the vet for a recheck on Monday, and maybe he'll say I can use my clay litter again, or I don't have to wear this silly collar anymore. I sure hope so. That's also when I should be finished with that foul banana-flavored antibiotic. Bananas? What do I look like, a baboon?
Also, Mama says the fur on my legs is growing back nicely, so hopefully the fur on my body is only a week or so behind, and I'll have a nice coat again in a little while, instead of having my pink and black skin show through and look all patchy and weird. I'll tell you, it was purrty cold outside today in that wind, with only half a fur coat on! (Mama said she might try to "trim" my coat a little with the haircutting gadget she used to use for the Boy when he was little, just to "even up" my fur a little. AHEM. Mama, I may have on this silly aprony collar, but I am NOT your barbershop client! And you are NOT a barber!)
Actually I've been home fur a day now, but Mama's been sick and she's terribly behind on Catster and hasn't even been able to help me with my Thank Mew notes.
I feel purrty good. I'm not allowed outside, which is annoying, and I am being locked out of the basement except when Mama follows me, which is also annoying. But I have chased Leo a couple of times, and I have scratched on my scratchy mats, and I have napped on the cat tree and on the couch on top of Mama, and I have also spent a lot of time looking out my window. I have a ridiculous blue daisy thing around my neck, so I can't see or reach the bottom of me, but Mama gives me scritches so that's not too bad. And I can lick the end of my tail, and my paws, so at least I can stay a little clean.
I wish I could sleep on Mama and Daddy's bed, but they say "Not Yet". Something about needing to keep me in a room with a litterbox that no other cats can use. Phooey.
Anyway, I sure am glad to be home. And I want to STAY HERE now.