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Did You Hear the Angels Sing?

Whew what a time it's been. Work is crazy busy. And we have this crazy new cat! Robyn says he's a drama queen. I think she's spot-on.

So I was pretty discouraged for awhile there. Robyn said this little guy was a scaredy cat, but would probably warm up to us in a day or two.

Ha.

Ha. Ha. Ha. Hahahahahaah!

Not so much.

I had visions of my new little lap cat dancing in my head when I went up to hang out with him in his room for the first time. I went in, and he was still in the carrier where DreamGuy had set him down, but once I was in, he started darting around the room. He went into the bathroom at one point and I thought that was good, smaller space, maybe we can get a little closer.

Ha.

Ha ha ha hahahahaha!

He jumped up on the sink and looked at me. He didn't seem to be particularly panicked or anything, so I reached out toward him.

Well. He didn't care for that in the slightest. He went straigt up and tried to grab onto the light fixture, sliding down the mirror and landing on the toothbrushes. Once they went clanging into the sink, it was ON. He went straight back up in the air and somehow flew across the top of the bathroom door and over the top of the shower curtain into the tub!

Little fucker!

I peeked in there to be sure he was OK, and left for awhile, figuring we'd try again when he calmed down a little.

He stayed so deeply hidden in his room at first that I was afraid he'd escaped. The only reason I was sure he was there was the evidence that he'd been using the litter box. I don't think he even did that for his first 24 hours here, actually. He seemed to hardly eat a thing for the whole first week. I started bringing Beau in there, setting out another bowl, and letting him eat up there, and I'd pull him into my lap and get him purring, which you can practically hear all over the house - all in hopes of encouraging Reacher to come around by example, if nothing else.

One night at the end of his first week, Reacher slipped around my feet, and got out into the rest of the house. OK. It ought to be time. But it really wasn't. This time I really couldn't find him. Big old house here. And I couldn't be sure he was eating because now he could get to Beau's food - and Beau to his. Ugh. Well I did find his little contributions to the downstairs litter box so I knew he was here and eating and drinking, just coming out when nobody was around.

Little fucker.

I was desperate to find him after a couple of days. I really wanted to have him a little more comfortable with the people types so that we could get him into a carrier and to the vet or even just give him meds if necessary. I called Rod from work one day and asked him to check Reacher's room while he was home for lunch, and if he was in there, to lock him in. Rod found him sitting in my desk chair all, "What? I've been busy!"

So he was back in confinement, and I wasn't sure this was going to work. I sent Robyn a downer of an email about what a hard time we were having, and told her I was going to try a few more things to bring him around and hope for the best. Except we had to leave him alone for all of Saturday because we had to go out of town. Ugh.

I went around his rom and closed off the deep hiding places, leaving him several places he could hid, but not be completely out of my reach or sight. He still had his little kitty cubes and stuff, but no deep dark recesses under furniture. He didn't like that at all, but he had the day to get used to the changes. When I came into the room that night, he would start darting around to avoid me, and eventually he took to working his way under the window blinds and scaling his way up to sit on the center of the window frame.

I worried about him strangling himself or getting caught up, but I can't exactly take down the blinds. Hmm. I got some welding (elbow length suede) gloves, shoved my fingers through the slats of the blind, and rubbed his back a little. He tolerated that, so I kept it up. Then I pulled the slats apart and shoved my whole hand in there to pet and skritch him, and he started purrrring.

And the angels sang! Did you hear them?

I let Robyn know right away that we seemed to have come over the hump. And I think we have. I'm still not sure how far he's going to come, but he's doing better. He is still acting like i am the devil incarnate if I so much as look at him. He will hiss and swipe if he's out in the open, or if he's cornered. But when he's in the window, he will let me pet him, and I can even pick him up and hold him a bit before he squirms away. He stays in hiding, and I have to root him out gently, and he acts like a lunatic and goes for the window, which, I swear, he's thinking he can get out of at some point. I still think he's in panic mode and trying to escape.

But he's torn, and the minute he's behind the blinds and I come close and talk to him, he starts to purr. I can only pet him when he's in the window right now.

Little fucker!

I leave Beau in there with him sometimes, since they are getting along great (just a little hissing now and then, no lovey dovey shit, but they sniff each other out & then do their own thing). But let me take Beau and leave the room, and Reacher starts howling. I don't think he likes being alone.

So cross your fingers. I hope he'll continue to come around. He has been quite the challenge, to say the least!

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
Poor Reacher! Poor Katherine! Please be patient with him and he'll come around. Something which has worked for timid cats in my past is to let them come to you. Just hang out with a book in the room on the floor, if possible. Do that for an hour or so a day until the scaredy cat is coming to you. There's also a guide for dealing with scaredy cats on the web somewhere, but it starts with caging them, which you probably not want to do...

Hang in there. Oh, and you're other cat is as gorgeous as Reacher. Wow!
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Oldcat with advice
The sitting/lying down idea is a good one - I have two cats that will only initiate a petting session if I am lying down on a couch or in bed. One has been doing it for 13 years, so I don't expect much change.

Reacher may have found it himself, but making other places where he can get high beside the window is another good way to get him more in the room but still feel safe. A high perch means safety to a cat. A tall cat tree or a way to get on top of a bookshelf may make him calmer and let you approach in other places besides the window.

I adopted a Persian rescue last year at this time. Despite huge mats under her legs her first move after leaving the closet was to jump to the top of shelves near the ceiling. She still prefers to perch on a cat tree about arms length above me when I watch TV rather than come to my lap.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
Reacher
Poor baby! He was used to be being in house full of other kitties! Have you considered a Feli-way diffuser? It helped mine when we moved to new house. He was my favorite Bookworm, I sure hope he is happy soon!

Good luck!
Beth (one of Robyn's readers)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 23rd, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
Reacher
Awwwww he is just so beautiful & I'm sure Mr. Dramapants will come around. Beau is so gorgeous too! I think I've found a new blog to read =). I adopted one of Robyn's fosters, Hoyt, a year ago. I love him so much it's just ridiculous lol. I wanted to come and get all the bookworms, but I had to resist for many reasons.

Anyway, best of luck fellow lover of the kitties!!
Robyn's reader Michelle in NC
(Anonymous)
Feb. 23rd, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
Reacher Creature
Hang in there! I got a foster kitty last October and it took him a little more than a month to come around. Now he won't stay off of my lap--he even tries to crawl into my arms when I am standing up and he wants attention. It was pretty weird there at first--he would rub up against me, but if I petted him, he'd start growling and snarling, all the while leaning into the scritch.

Amy (another of Robyn's readers)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 23rd, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
Feliway
I would definitely suggest trying Feliway. It helped two of my cats get along much better, and later helped our third kitty feel more comfortable when she moved in with us.

From Feliway.com: "Feliway® is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure.

By mimicking the cat’s natural facial pheromones, Feliway® creates a state of familiarity and security in the cat's local environment.

As a result, Feliway® can be used to help comfort and reassure cats, while they cope with a challenging situation and/or help prevent or reduce the stress caused to a cat during a change in their environment."

-Jeni
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )