TacoCat has been adjusting nicely to his new home and new life.  Today he’s going in for his neuter (he’s thrilled), so we can expect him to be unhappy with us for the rest of the week as his hormone levels freak out.  Then, later, a trip to the vet for start of care, blood work, and anything else that turns out to need tending to.  Busy week for the little guy.  Since transferring from the liquid antibiotics to a milder pill, he’s been a lot less stressed with taking medication.  Granted, he’s been too smart to eat any food or treat that I’ve hidden a pill in, but since I know how to make a cat take a pill by hand, it’s not been a big deal.  Generally he’s fine with getting a scratch session right after a pill as a way to calm down.  Much better than the foamy drooling/vomiting that the liquid antibiotic was causing.

Vir has come a long way in the last week.  He’s gotten comfortable enough with his new owners that if you get down on the floor to his level, he’ll come out from his hiding spot for some attention… if he isn’t sleeping.  He’s even fine with visiting with Tron, though he’s not as thrilled about the noisy toddler as with the more sedate adults.  However, since Tron is always at Vir’s level, I think Tron tends to be less threatening than the giant two-legs who walk around being all super tall and scary.  And, with Vir being a lover and not a fighter, if Tron gets a little too rough Vir just takes off for a hiding spot rather than taking a swat at the offending toddler.  It’s one situation where TacoCat’s timid and non-confrontational nature is a relative boon.  Even with a full set of claws, Vir has only scratched me twice: once when I was giving him the liquid antibiotic, and once when I was carrying him without enough support on his back legs (my fault really).

His stress level is also way down from where it was the first two nights.  His upper respiratory infection is almost cleared up (either by the antibiotics, or because his stress is down low enough that his body can fight off any potential Herpes Simplex flare ups), and he’s started grooming himself again.  His coat is much better, and the few times I’ve brushed him out, there wasn’t much in the way of excess fur coming off him.  A much healthier looking cat all around.  He’s also been eating like a pig.  He’ll eat pretty much as much food as we want to give him, so we picked up a measuring cup to make sure we don’t over-feed him and end up with a Jabba-the-Cat.  The one bid peculiarity is his general disdain for wet food.  He’ll eat it, given no other choice and enough hunger, but he quite obviously prefers the dry food.  That would make him the first cat that I’ve seen with such a preference.  He also doesn’t really like treats, and he’ll only eat them if you put them in his food dish on top of a pile of dry food.  Weirdest. Cat. Ever.

TacoCat is certainly coming along on the bravery front too; which isn’t entirely a good thing.  Vir’s room is also our craft room.  The idea was to keep him in there until after the neuter, just in case he got the notion in him that he needed to spray his new territory.  Also, given his accident on our old couch, we felt it necessary to confine him until he proved himself more capable of using his litter box.  Such confinement turned out to be a pipe dream.  The craft room’s door has a 3 inch gap under one side, mostly because it’s an old house with a basement floor that isn’t terribly level.  The first few nights I put a piece of packing foam in the way to dissuade him from getting out of the room.  I figured, given how scared and timid he was, that simply blocking the opening would be enough.  And it was… for about 3 nights. 

Wednesday night he became brave enough to move the foam out of the way and explore the basement.  He parked himself on our futon (can’t blame him, it’s a comfy futon), and retreated under it when we came down the stairs.  He didn’t have any accidents, so not a big deal.  We plopped him back in the craft room that night, added some heavier foam and figured that if he had to work at getting out, he wouldn’t.  Come morning, we found that he’d moved the foam and escaped again.  Undaunted, I replaced the foam with two 10-pound bricks, figuring he wouldn’t be able to move them.  Again, come morning, the bricks were moved and he was chilling on the futon.  Finally, I used two big pieces of foam, weighed them down with the bricks and added 3 gallons of water on all sides to prevent it being pushed out of the way.  Less than 20 minutes later he was out.

At that point I gave up and just left the door open.  Since he’s been really good about making it back to the liter box, and there have been no accidents or spraying, I figure he’s showing me that he can be trusted to have free reign of the basement.  Plus, short of building a wooden gap blocker that clamps into place (a project I’m planning on doing sometime this week), there is nothing that is going to keep him in that craft room.  Well, aside from fattening him up to the point where he can’t crawl under the door… which is an idea with merit.

I’ve also almost gotten Vir to play with me.  He’ll take a few tentative swats at a feather rod, and I almost got him chasing a round toy.  Given a few more weeks he might even turn into a real cat.

Tron still doesn’t really know what to make of the cat.  He’s certainly interested, but once he gets right up to the cat… he runs out of ideas.  Tron does know that the parents stroke the kitty, so he’ll often grab our hands and put them on the cat.  Eventually I’m sure he’ll figure out that he can use his own hands to pet the cat, but it’s pretty funny that he’s all about vicarious petting right now.  Mostly, though, Tron just walks over to the cat, crouches down, and jabbers at Vir in toddler gibberish for a few minutes before losing interest and going off to play with his blocks.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

Addendum:  His talent as an escape artist was further displayed this morning when wrangling him for the trip to the humane society for his neuter. It took him less than 2 minutes to figure out how to escape from his pet carrier.  Only a liberal application of bungee cords was able to keep him in the thing.  After we pick him up from his surgery and drop him off at home this afternoon, it’ll be time for a trip to the pet store to exchange his carrier for something far more robust.  *Sigh*  I’ve had a few dozen cats in my day (My day being the 80s and 90s) and NONE of them showed this level of escape aptitude.  An unfortunate skill for him to have, too.  This very skill is probably why he was a stray.  Somebody was undoubtedly taking him to the vet in a pet carrier that didn’t have an ASCEP security rating of Kumquat or better. 

I’m thinking of buying a combination safe and drilling  a few holes in it.  At least that would keep him in for 20 minutes or so.