Jan 082006

We’re still seeking a home for our foster cat. (If you know anyone who wants one…) I think she came to us to learn how to be a housecat before going to her permanent home. She’s now allowing us to walk past her without bolting away, and we can walk towards her to pet her instead of crouching down and coaxing her over. When I say hello to her in the morning she perks up, knowing a petting is imminent. A couple of times she’s curled up on the couch next to me and gone to sleep.

Oddly enough, her favorite person has been, from day one, my hyperactive ten-year-old son. When anyone else would approach she would scuttle away, yet by the third day he would leap across the room to pet her and she would wait for him. I suspect this is because they are about the same relative age, and are both total attention hogs. The little cat will bug Phurball in much the same way my son bugs his older brother, and for exactly the same reason: she wants someone to play with.

Phurball is still attempting to maintain his policy of “ignore it and it’ll go away.” At first she had him totally cowed and he wouldn’t even enter the hardwood area that she had claimed as “hers.” Now, however, he takes little notice of her. I believe this is explained by the fact that she was in heat when we took her to be spayed; males of every species are intimidated by hormonal females.

She, on the other hand, is having great fun stalking him whenever he appears. Now and then she’ll work up the nerve to pounce on his tail. I can always tell when she does this, even if I’m not in the room, as I will hear a thump, an irritated vocalization from Phurball, and the galloping of little feet as she scampers away, giggling.

Only once has Phurball been aggressive towards her, and that was when he caught her with me in my room in the basement. He walked in the door looking for me and found her in the room as well. Oh, he was irked. He rattled off a series of short, curt meows, glaring at her—but he was standing in the door so she couldn’t acquiesce.

I picked him up and sat down with him in my lap so that she could get out of the room. She went to the doorway and then sat down, looking back at us. Incensed, Phurball jumped out of my lap and went after her, uttering several more of those irritated meows and swatting at her. She got the point and fled upstairs. Clearly Phurball’s tolerance of her ends when she starts infringing on his person.

I’m hoping we can find a home for her with another young cat who will play with her. We’ve been teaching her basic housecat rules, such as what she is and is not allowed to jump up on. Basically, she may not walk anywhere that we eat or prepare food. I’ve caught her up on the table a couple of times, exploring; not having the Bad Kitty bottle handy I used the other time-honored method of cat discipline: clapping my hands sharply while exclaiming, “No!” then going on about my business after she had jumped down, as if nothing had happened. She’s a bright little cat and twice appears to be all it took to get the message across.

She’s a nice little cat. I wonder if she’ll remember her foster family after she’s grown up and moved away.

 Posted by at 3:58 pm

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