By Elisa Black-Taylor
This article will be not only about Midnight’s first road trip, but also my adventure tending for a house full of cats with Laura gone for the weekend. It’s been quite a confusing week for all of us.
Laura left on Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving weekend with her grandmother. Her black cat Midnight (our sole feline distemper survivor last year) went with her on this trip. The reason Midnight had to tag along is because on Laura’s last visit with her dad’s family, Midnight had a hard time dealing with her absence. Midnight refused to come out when I called her and I wasn’t sure if she was even eating. So it was decided months ago that Midnight would make her first road trip this Thanksgiving.
Midnight is accustomed to her carrier. She eats her canned food in there. She’s on wet food to keep weight on her. We came very close to losing her to the panleuk and she’s on a different diet than the other cats. She and Sealy basically eat the same foods. Midnight had a good ride on the hour trip to Anderson. She meowed a minute or two, then was quiet the rest of the trip.
Laura’s cousin Kayliah came running out to the car when I arrived with Laura. Kayliah doesn’t have her own cat and fell in love with Midnight immediately. That’s good, because by the time Laura’s visit was over, Midnight had really shown out.
Midnight was a good cat on her visit during the day. She ate her canned food, went to the litter box, and made a cat-less young lady (Kayliah) fall in love with her. I hope this made up for the fact that Midnight meowed off and on all night long. She walked all through the house looking for her cat friends. This was a bit surprising, because at home she tends to stay close to Laura rather than play with the other cats.
Midnight was alone in the house Thanksgiving day. Laura brought Midnight some turkey for a treat. This cat is so spoiled she’ll only eat a treat if it’s hand fed to her. Laura fed Midnight KMC formula using a syringe when she had the panleuk, so she’s probably spoiled for life. Midnight must have had a good rest during Thanksgiving day, because come bedtime she started her meowing and searching again. Laura eventually had to get up with her several times during the night to quiet her down.
I had to include this little collage (at the top of the page) of Kayliah with Midnight. Laura’s phone doesn’t take good quality photos, but they’re sweet. I know Kayliah wishes she could keep Midnight.
ELISA AT HOME
Before leaving, Laura had to divide the cats up as to who gets along and who doesn’t. I had to head to work as soon as I dropped Laura off at her grandmothers, so the cats were left alone for 10 hours.
Some of the cats are so quiet, it’s easy to forget they’re here. Then there’s Jasper and Sammy, the two brothers who were neutered back during the summer. They’ve become very aggressive since their surgery. I don’t know whether this is normal. The boys are great lap cats and love to be petted. They tend to pick on Renny, our smallest boy. Now they’ve added Lucky, another male, to the list of those they wish to chase. We don’t know whether they want to play rough or are out to hurt those two. These cats have all been neutered. Furby usually tries to stick his nose into their mischief, but he’s more of an observer than a participant. I’m just glad Renny and Lucky don’t mind living in my bedroom and master bath. They sleep together on my bed during the day, with me joining them at night.
Cujo, our cat-dog, is the only member of the family who can play as rough as Jasper and Sammy want to play. Thankfully, Cujo manages to wear them out most nights so everyone sleeps well.
Before Laura and I left, Lucky, Renny and Sealy were put in Laura’s bedroom so they’d be safe. The rest of the cats were given free reign between the living room, my bedroom and the master bath. When I came in at night, I had to put Sammy and Jasper in the feeding cage in the living room just long enough to transfer Renny and Lucky to my bedroom. Sealy would stay in the living room to eat in his feeding cage. I can imagine how confusing it’s been to Sealy to find Sammy and Jasper in his feeding cage. So after getting the cats settled in my bedroom with their food, I’d have to free “the bad boys,” then get Sealy his food. Sealy would already be settled in his cage waiting. It’s how he tells us he wants to eat. Um…about 10 times a day!
I had poop scooping and litter changing duty every night when I came in from work, then again every afternoon before leaving for work. That’s a lot of work because we have quite a few litter boxes.
My routine changed a bit on Saturday, as I have weekends off. I had to go to the Laundromat to wash the towels and Sealys special blankets. I left Renny, Sealy and Lucky in my bedroom. They tend to escape from my room, and I knew I also had to put the boys up. They ran into Laura’s bedroom. Cats have a way of knowing when you’re trying to catch them. I surprised them when I shut the door. So Sammy, Jasper, Lola and Cassie stayed in Lauras room for the two hours I was gone.
When I arrived back home, I had the whole scooping, feeding, watering routine to do all over again.
In the midst of all this, we have Sheela back with us. She was adopted out with her sister Shirley last year. Her mommy has her daughter living with her at this time and Sheela doesn’t like toddlers and small dogs. Sheela had taken to hiding so we offered to take her back until the situation gets more under control.
I think I finally know what “change in lifestyle” means. I used to see that as a reason people surrender their cats and never had a clue what it meant. It’s definitely a change in lifestyle when your grown daughter moves back into your house bringing her two toddlers and several small barking dogs. Shirley doesn’t seem to mind the excitement, but Sheela was terrified. She was shaking from head to toe the first day she was back with us.
Sheela has her own set of criteria we have to meet. For one thing, we couldn’t get her to eat the first few days back with us. Laura had to syringe feed her the KMC formula. It’s dangerous for a cat to go several days with no food or liquid, and the KMC has saved several of our cats now. On the third day, Sheela began to eat canned food when left alone in Laura’s bedroom. Sheela finally ventured out into the living room on the fourth day back. By day five she was following us from room to room.She was with us several months last year before she was adopted out and we’d like to believe she’s remembering all of her old friends here. Sheela has also decided she likes the idea of napping in a big pot under the kitchen sink. It’s dark and quiet and cats love big pots to sleep in.
This worked well until Laura left me alone with a house full of cats. Sheela would have to be retrieved from under the kitchen sink every night when I came home from work. This usually involved me getting on my hands and knees several times while trying to catch her before she went behind the kitchen drawers while holding a flashlight in my mouth to see her. Some of the other cats live in Laura’s bedroom. So Cassie, Lola and Coral had to be run into the living room to allow Sheela the privacy she insists on while eating. All of this while hoping Mandy (sister to Jasper and Sammy) doesn’t run into the room to steal her food.
Mandy is our sneaky cat. She waits at doors waiting to run into or out of rooms. I’ve had to put down one cat being moved to catch Mandy and get her back in the living room. I’ve also had to keep a close watch on Gizzy when I enter and exit. She’s our escape artist. Her first outside adventure left her outside for three days. Her last was an overnight outing, and she was asleep in the back seat of my car the next morning. With all of the deer hunters and gun happy people in the neighborhood, we’re afraid to let Gizzy out without her jacket and leash.
Sealy appears amused at what I’ve gone through this week. As long as I feed him in his cage, he’s a happy cat. He lays next to me or in my lap on the couch. Then he goes to bed with me for the night. I’ll be carrying Sealy in one arm and Cujo in the other. Cujo has to have playtime with Renny, so I don’t get to go to sleep right away. They chase each other under and over the bed until they get tired.
I wake up every day on my back with Sealy laying on top of me. STARING at me. It’s a bit unnerving until you get used to it. Sometimes I wonder whether Sealy ever sleeps. He does sleep curled up on my pillow next to my head. I’m just not sure for how long. He and Renny and Lucky share the wet food in the feeding cage.
Laura had a good visit with her dad’s family, and I had some good alone time with the cats. I wanted to do this story because a lot of people think we have perfect cats who rarely get into trouble. I wanted to tell everyone we have a few troublemakers, just like most people who care for several cats. While we don’t know why certain cats don’t like each other, we’ve learned to handle the situation so no one gets hurt and each cat gets a good amount of attention paid to it. It’s interesting sitting on the couch surrounded by cats. Especially at mealtime. Furby, I forgive you for biting my finger. It was my fault for not getting it out of the way while you were eating your treat.
I’d like to close by saying I’d never tackle caring for this many cats without Laura. She’s the one that holds this family together while I work.
Did any of you take your cats with you for the holiday? Any interesting stories?