I hope Nelson never grows into his paws, legs, eyes and ears.
That’s his name. Of course, I’ve been busy with him, and also, I had been treating Fred and Mo to canned cat food last week to make up for the uproar and new smells Nelson brought with him. Big mistake. They weren’t used to eating canned cat food several days in a row – even though it was served to them for only one meal a day – and they’ve both been experiencing intestinal difficulties, and made a couple of, ahem, messes. It doesn’t help that it’s pretty much fall now and they get a little blah this time of year anyway. If you own cats, you know that any change in posture or appetite or facial expression is cause for concern. Needless to say, I was very worried until I figured out that it was the canned food. Who knows, maybe it was bad. But they both seem to have recovered, and their appetite is back to normal. In fact, Fred and Mo are politely requesting and quacking incessantly after their dinner, respectively, at this very moment. Nelson, of course, is fine. He was used to eating whatever the neighbors and I gave him, and I don’t even want to know what else he ate when he was out all summer. Everyone’s back on the kibble, and that’s fine with me because canned cat food makes me a little nauseous.
nelson's adoptive siblings
So, now that we’ve named him, it means we have to keep him. I’ve been hesitant to get into the story, but since his chances of staying are still pretty good at this point, I’ll tell you. Remember the 3 black and white kittens + momma cat I told you about a couple of months ago? A stripey kitten showed up out of nowhere, right about the time the other kittens were about to be weaned. The momma cat adopted him immediately, which was exactly what the person who left him was counting on – Momma treated him like he was her own. Everyone on our end of the block had been working with these little black and white kittens and getting them accustomed to being handled by people so that they would be easier to find homes for. (And I was still vehemently opposed to having another cat at that moment.) They didn’t mind being handled by then, loved to play and were starting to wander around on their own. The stripey one, however, was not in the same frame of mind and was extremely frightened of people. I could twitch my toe and he would run away and not come back to the food until I went inside. Since we had no idea where he came from or exactly how old he was, and since we weren’t able to catch him (not that we didn’t try with all of our might to trap him, entice him with toys and displays of affection), we left him with Momma when we took the three kittens to the shelter since we couldn’t find anyone to take them.
nelson hears a fred behind him, but the toy is over THERE
Another neighbor had “claimed” Momma, and even though it had been so hot, the two cats refused to go inside anywhere. Nelson was panting from the heat some days, but would come no closer to me than 5 or 6 feet. I’d hose down the deck to cool it off and made sure they always had fresh water and a little something to nibble on. Momma took very good care of him over the last couple of months, she found cool places for them to hang out and made sure the two of them were well fed by making the rounds to all of the softhearted neighbors’ homes. They’d been inseparable, and the bigger he got, the more friendly and bold Nelson became. In the last couple of weeks before I was able to bring him inside, he’d let me pet his head and skritch his ears, and he would reluctantly let me, but only while he ate. Then that last week, he allowed me to pick him up and put him on my lap, and he barely mewed in protest. One Wednesday evening was the last straw – some other cat had him cornered on a neighbor’s porch and was yelling at him, and Momma and I hurried over to see what was happening. Nothing really, but it was a close call. At the same time, however, Momma was showing definite signs of being done with Nelson. She was running him off and hissing at him – she was ready to send him on his way towards gnarly tomcatdom, or a fate much worse.
My resistance to having another cat still stood, but had been wavering a bit. Mr. Sarah was adoring him right along with me, and was just as determined to get his hands on him. I knew something had to be done about him whether we decided to keep him or not, so the next morning, I made the quick decision to grab him while he was eating and bring him inside. I had tried that numerous times over the summer, but this time, it took. That did not please Nelson in the least. I had already cleared out and prepared the bathroom for him, where it wouldn’t matter as much if he wasn’t litter box trained (and he is, thanks be), and he would be safe from the other two cats, and they would be safe from whatever might be ailing him. So, we get him in the bathroom, and as expected, he completely freaked out – trying to climb the walls, howling like a stuck pig, making a mess of the various potions lined up on the bathtub ledge. He couldn’t get out of the bathtub, and I was afraid he might bite me if I tried to help him, so Mr. Sarah grabbed him and gently convinced him to settle. And he did, no biting or hissing, even. We had him purring within fifteen minutes. It’s been uphill from there. I looked him over and couldn’t find a single flea or flea evidence on him and his ears were immaculately clean. We took him to the vet the very next day, and he came out with good results – a negative FIV/FeLV test, a deworming, and the first few of his vaccinations. The vet and I both were surprised at what good shape he was in, having been outside constantly since June, and hanging out with all kinds of animals. I’m sure it helped that he was a clever escape artist and lightning fast. He was just a bit underweight, the vet said his hips were a bit too bony, but we’ve gotten that licked. The next round of vaccinations and the testicular removal are coming right up.
I am this big
Thing is, I didn’t exactly want a kitten. There are few better things in life than the friendship of a trained, mature cat. Sugar was fully grown when we adopted her, so I haven’t had kittens since Fred and Mo were small, and that was about 12 years ago. Lucky for Nelson, I conveniently forgot that I like kittens only slightly better than I like small children. Yes, kittens are cute because everything about them is small. But don’t let the small sized poopies fool you – they stink huge. Kittens and their nearly constant movement and play annoys me. But Nelson isn’t so bad… yet. He hasn’t hit the adolescent phase of his kittenhood. Fred drove me up the wall when he was a big kitten – talk about stolen bead stringing projects and spilled size 11 seed beads – but he’s a very good cat now. Mo never got into anything or made messes – she was sharp as a tack and trained quickly and preferred chit-chatting with us to playing with a toy. Nelson’s pretty relaxed most of the time, and when he’s in the mood to play, he won’t stop, so I wear him out with the string. And now that he’s discovered the red dot (laser pointer) I have all the accountrement I need to zonk him out.
I’m not sure what his personality will be like when he’s older, but he seems to like and trust us. He greets us with a meep when we walk into the room and squeaks when he wants food, purrs loudly when we pet him and poops in the box, and that’s all I care about. He’s smart and gentle with his claws, he isn’t destructive, and doesn’t climb everything, and that’s good, too. I can hardly believe that this cat, who I’ve been chasing and pining for all summer, is now inside my house and snuggling and licking my ears and demanding breakfast. Fred has adjusted to him and isn’t bothered by him at all now. But Mo, who we thought was actually going to play nice for the first time in her life, finally got him the other day. Nelson was minding his own business, like always, and I hear a scuffle-thump and a “SCREEEOOOWWW!” After Mo was squirted several times with the spray bottle and put into time out, we pulled the poor little guy out from behind the bed to find a shedded claw stuck in his forehead. Mo shoots first and asks questions later. Actually, she doesn’t ask questions, ever, she just shoots and leaves. I’ve kept him separate from her most of the time, but the musical litterbox/food dish extravaganza is getting old. I don’t want to keep him locked up in my bedroom all the time because I want him to get plenty of exercise, but the fact that Mo is a big old bitch will be the determining factor in whether or not he must stay separated from her forever. Even the vet and the receptionist said the same thing: “Calicos Are Bitches.” Mo could live many more years, and I hope she does, but dang. Does she have to be so evil? Nelson’s going to get big, so she’d better watch it. I keep telling her that, but she’s a cat, so…
Life with cats. We may try the Feliway. Any comments on that?
Anyway, that’s the skinny on Nelson. I plan to make some Etsy listings happen later today, so keep an eye out for the announcement here. Thanks for reading!
(I miss my Shoogs, she would have been Nelson's best buddy, no questions asked)
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