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.
I am overwhelmed by all this attention. *blushes* I write one diary entry in five years and get named Diary of the Day! That's unbelievable!
Thanks to efurrykitty who sent me rosies and concatulations yesterday - I will ask Mama to help me send you purrsonal thanks. I don't have any purrsonal news since yesterday, but if you are reading this I'd like to ask you to send a few purrs to sick kitties. Miss Tethys Fluffkins has been battling a bladder infection and inflammation, sweet little Max who just found his family a little while ago had surgery on Friday, Mugsy has been feeling poorly with a fever this weekend and saw the v-e-t fur medicine, and Phantom is spending the weekend in the hospital with some Furty tummy and kidney issues. I hope all these kitties, and any others who aren't feeling so well, feel the power of purr and paw!
I am Cat of the Day! Whee! Thank you, Catster! I certainly didn't expect to wake up this morning to find I have been remembered in such a nice way!
It's been FOREVER since I posted a diary, so maybe I should say how things are going here. I am doing well. I still take my heart meds efurry day, but the cardiologist says my heart is unremarkable at this point - not too big, not too small, not beating too fast or slow, all is copacetic.
I am an honorary Olde Furt this month, but I'm really still a young'un. I purrfer to spend my days inside now, although I'll take a quick walk around the outside of the house every so often. I like playing with our Cat Dancer and our Undercover Mouse, and helping the Mama read by sitting on her chest in front of the pages. I also like snoozing on the couch. Leo is my buddy now. I still whack him occasionally, but it's just out of affection. We have a new little bother named Sam, but he doesn't mess with me too much - he'd rather pester Sid and Lady, which is just fine!
I am furry glad the Catster community is being rescued, because once upon a time the smart cats here helped save my life. This community is an incredibly valuable resource and there is nothing else like it on the internet that allows animals and their pawrents to share their knowledge with one another in organized discussions that DON'T GO AWAY. In most social media the confursations are fleeting and hard to search - two or three days later you can't find what you're looking for. But in Catster and Dogster forums the infurmation is there purrmanently, and can be very highly organized by topic if the group admins are diligent. We can't ever allow all that accumulated knowledge to disappear! So it was good that we had a "fire drill" over the past few weeks with the announcement that the communities were closing, because it alerted lots of us to the need to back up the data we contributed and maintained, and lots of our pawrents worked furry hard to do just that. But it's even better that Catster and Dogster are staying exactly where they belong, so we ALL continue to know where to find one another to share impurrtant infurmation - and to have fun as well.
I'd like to close this entry by asking fur purrs fur my furiend Macy, who is having ongoing problems with FLUTD, crystals and infection. I hope his vet can solve this issue for him.
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.