Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bringing In a New Cat--FooFee a/k/a Manny (Writer's Workshop)

Thursday, May 15, 2008: Heard About Foofee

Turn your volume up so you can hear Manny.
Well, it's been 4 1/2 months since our cat, Moe, died and we still miss him terribly. I think our other cat misses him too, but can't be sure about that. I asked Spunky Doodle if she'd like another cat friend, but she won't say one way or the other. I've been praying about whether we should get another cat or not and decided not unless the perfect cat showed up. I was thinking about a cat about Spunky's age, a Tabby, with front paws delawed like her.

I got an email from a friend of mine the other day and guess what! She is giving away her friendly, male neutered Tabby with front paws declawed to a good home. It's just what I thought I'd like and am going to meet him tomorrow night. His name is Foofee. Things are going smoothly now with Spunky Doodle following us around like a dog and sleeping on the bed with me. My husband is leery about the idea. I am very optimistic though, because Spunky took so well to Moe. She just wanted to play. The other cat who is coming from a one-cat household may not want to be with another cat though. We'll see. Time will tell.

I may take Spunky Doodle along with me to meet Foofee. (We also may change that name.)

Friday, May 16, 2008: Met Foofee

Gerard and I went to meet Foofee were amazed at how friendly he was! He greeted us in the living room when we first came and never left. He let us pet him the WHOLE TIME and even rub a sock to get his scent on it to take back for Spunky Doodle to sniff. I hope he likes our home. We'll be bringing him home tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008: Bringing Home Foofee

Today's the day we bring in Foofee, but we've already decided to change his name to Manny (since we got him in May and he'll be staying in Gerard's "man cave" room upstairs during the adjustment period). Getting him into the carrier was no easy task, but once he was on the way, he was very quiet. He has his own private "safe room" for now. I spent a little time with him but mostly let him be by himself and relax and explore at his own pace.

When I went in to check on him later, he was lying near the door with his paws curled around him in front of him looking scared. Then after awhile, I checked again and he was laying next to the carrier in the corner. He had quite a scary, bad day. Hopefully things will improve for him.

Sunday, May 18, 2008: Relief!
This morning I went in with him around 5:45 and he was out of the corner and up on the desk looking out the window. I approached very slowly, gave him new water, checked his litter box (still not used) and then sat down and read out loud so he would get used to my voice. I didn't want to spook him. I noticed we had been in the carrier during the night because the towel was crumpled up--that's a good sign. I'd like for him to get used to that carrier.

After about 30 minutes, I brushed him a little bit. He didn't seem to mind. Then I pet him gently on and off for about 15 minutes. So far I've been successful at keeping Spunky out but found her right outside his door this morning. She's curious, of course. But not growling or hissing . . . yet.
After church, he was back in the corner behind the carrier again and didn't come out while I was in there. I left and popped in about 10 minutes later, and saw he had moved to check out the bottom built-in shelf. I felt better.

Monday, May 19, 2008: Finally Ate A Little
This morning I was encouraged to see he used his litter box for the first time since we brought him in. He hissed at me though when I went to brush him and he also hissed at Gerard. The good news is he started to eat some during the night.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008: Some Progress
We're finally showing a little progress. I saw he was in the carrier again during the night because the towel was a bit crumpled. Manny moved around the room this morning with me in it. He started walking toward me when I was laying on the floor on the opposite side of the room. I started getting excited, thinking he was coming to me, but no, he went around to the side of his litter box and hopped up on it and then up to the desk.

He was laying nice on the desk and I started to brush him but he hissed so I quit that. I touched him with one finger and he didn't hiss that time. When I moved his food dish up next to him and backed off, he looked at it and I thought he would eat some more, but he didn't. Then he jumped back off and down to his corner, so I left and will go back in to read the paper. He stayed in his hiding corner all the while I read the paper, but he watched.  When Gerard got home from work, he found Manny hiding under the tall dresser! It's really low to the floor, but at least he's finally exploring the room.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008: Hiding Under the Dresser
When I went up this morning, Manny was STILL under the dresser. He did eat some during the night though and used his litter box. I took out the bottom drawer so I could pet him easier. He jumped out right away so maybe it was hard for him to get out from under there and that's why he stayed so long. Who knows?
I was happy to see he was on the desk by the window when I came home and stayed there even with me in the room without going to the corner or under anything. He's finally beginning to come around.

Thursday, May 22, 2008: Hissed But Pet Him Anyway
This morning I was soo pleased to see the one side of his dish practically empty! Thank God he's eating!!! He was up on the desk when I went in this morning and let me pet him a little, even though he hissed some. My friend at Kitten Krazy told me I should still pet him even if he hisses because otherwise he gets his way and I'll never be able to pet him. He'll just keep doing it. I am optimistic now. I also noticed that he moved the sock I left with him that had Spunky's scent on it. At least he acknowledged it. I rubbed another sock on him, he actually let me, to get his scent on it for Spunky. When I gave it to Spunky, she hissed! That's a good thing because it confirmed his scent was on it.

(See Spunky Doodle's blog at for her view on this and Manny's perspective too--Cat Corner Section.)

I linked this old post up to Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop this week because it answers the prompt: "Tell how your pet became a member of your family."


Karen and Gerard said...

Following is an email I received from Wendy, my friend who is President of Kitten Krazy:

Well, I have good mews and bad mews after watching your video. The bad mews is that Manny is certainly a long-term case. He is visibly uncomfortable and will need more time than normal cats to adjust - if ever. The good mews is that I can point out some things that you are doing, Karen, that may change the situation.

In order to speak Manny's language, you will need to change two things:

I noticed some of your behaviors while interacting with Manny were exemplary of an "alpha kitty." What I mean is:

1. You were looking him straight in the eyes. Direct eye contact is a form of dominance - he was directly responding to you in a negative way when you looked at him straight on. What I do is turn my head to the side and periodically glance at them. Keep your eyes 1/2 shut (this is cat language for "I'm not going to hurt you" and actually more "I really like you"). If you close your eyes slowly and only 1/2 open them, it is a sign of content.

2. Don't stand up when interacting with him - he really became angry because to him, you got even bigger. When cats fight, they puff up their hair and turn sideways to get bigger. Essentially, that's what you did with him.

3. If you listen to the tape and hear the tone in his voice, you will hear the same tone in your voice when you were talking back to him. Since he was growling at you - basically, he heard you growling back at him. The best thing to do is use a normal voice or better yet, no voice. A high pitch and a low pitch in our voices indicate a threat or a growl. Your volume should be calm and your pitch as normal as possible.

4. Being in the same room working, reading or whatever and simply ignoring him would be the most calming thing you can do for now until he realizes that you aren't "looking for a fight."

He is definitely on the defensive and really needs to understand that you folks are not going to hurt him.

Here are a few more suggestions:

1. Buy a couple of cans of cat food. The best way to make friends is through their stomach. Put it in a bowl and just sit there without speaking or looking at him, but close enough that you are "sharing" the environment.

2. I know it sounds crazy, but you can play classical music on a low volume throughout the day when you are not home.

3. They have cat videos that he can watch that will stimulate him emotionally. Birds fly and chirp, chipmunks run and play, etc. Cats really do watch these videos and it will give his mind something to do that is positive and makes his environment seem more fun.

The Feliway is an excellent idea, too. You guys are such wonderful people to work with this guy - most people wouldn't even try.

God bless you and let me know if there is anything I can do to help or if these suggestions helped.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Love the vieo of Manny. I could video my cats every day they are so funny. We recently go the barn cat in the house see

Jenners said...

You really took your time and paid attention to introduce Manny to your household. I'm sure this story had a happy ending too!

Visiting from Mama Kats.

Emily Cullen said...

Getting a cat or a dog is a lot like bringing home a baby. I still remember bringing my sister cats home in 1997, just like it was yesterday, and everything that I went through to get them adjusted to living with me. One of my cats passed away but the other is still with me, 14 years later.

Alison said...

I'm glad your cat worked out and became a part of your family. It's great that you took so much time to get him acclimated to your house and your other cat. Right now we have 4 indoor and 3 outdoor cats (2 of which are feral and just live in our yard) and we love them all.
I'm stopping by from Mama Kat's.

The ZB said...

Oh, the kitty growl... Mine both growl when there's someone coming up to the door, or if they smell unfamiliar animals on my hands. One also sits in the windows and "chirps" at the birds outside. That adjustment period sure is rough, but it's totally worth it the first time you catch them playing when they're comfortable, or the first time they come to cuddle!

Also, your comment on my post didn't show up on the actual page for some reason, but it did show up in my email. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Adventures in Alyssaland said...

Have you seen the show The Cat from Hell on the Animal Planet. It is a great show and very educational about cats.

Anonymous said...

It?s difficult to find educated people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what you?re talking about!

Post a Comment