While there have been no big changes there have been tiny ones. Tishka seems to be coming upstairs earlier than she was and eating from the bowl at the top of the stairs. When I peeked in at her in her self-imposed closet, she was nearest the door on the top most shelf, her eyes half-closed. I tried to be casual, looking around the space before softly closing the door.
If Tishka isn’t bored, I am. The vet said that it could take four or five days for the pheromone to work its magic and it could easily take two months for an older cat to adjust to a new home. We are almost at two months from when she first came to live with us so…keeping watch, using whatever ploys we can muster….thanks.
The appears to be a little thaw in our relationship. Tishka has been coming up to snack, still out of sight, but during time when we are in the living room. Our veterinarian’s office suggest trying a pheromone diff user which I purchased from their office. I also had a conversation with our vet.
Dr Stratman had read through the medical records and said according to the records, Tishka was a friendly cat. That may well be, but she also appears to be fearful. He said part of the problem is, that as an older cat who has been moved now three times, she has good reason to be fearful of settling in with us. It can take several weeks for her to get comfortable.
I put out the tuna, which she initially sampled but didn’t eat much. Later, she ate the whole amount I gave her and seems to be getting more comfortable coming upstairs while we are still about…so, we go on.
The pheromone is cat specific and is similar to the hormone that a mother cat releases when she gives birth assure her kittens that they are safe. It can take four or five days for it to take affect with an older cat. The veterinary assistant said she uses it at her house to diffuse arguments among her cats and she can always tell when the supply is running low because hissing starts…interesting. So more learning here for us.
Last night Tishka ate from the bowl at the top of the basement stairs while we were in the living room. Frank hear her but she was quiet enough that I didn’t. She is willing to come close to us, but not within sight or more importantly, touch.
This morning the website Mental Floss posted an article titled “10 Science-Backed Tips for Making a Cat Like You.” Very funny. Basically it described what we are doing but also suggested how to choose a cat companion. I remember that Liz told me that she didn’t choose Tishka and Tishka didn’t choose her. Well we didn’t exactly choose Tishka originally but now we are all stuck with one another and since she appears to be creeping toward rapprochement we will continue to let her move toward us until we simply can’t stand it any more and try to pick up the pace! I will follow up with our vet for that.
I wrote about our experiment with the cat dancer yesterday. I repeated the experiment today and also, thanks to our neighbors John and Corinne, I also tried the cat laser. No sign that she was enticed or even noticed. I was concerned that Tishka would not eat last night but we seem to be past that issue now. She came up for a snack while we watched TV somewhere between seven and eight and made all of her usual rounds during the night.
John gave us a can of tuna fish which works well to bribe their cat, Rufus. Rufus is easy to bribe. He is not big on being held, but he does love his snacks. John’s instructions for getting the most out of the tuna are to leave her regular food and water out as per usual, but no special treats or wet food for a day. Then put out the tuna. He says we have to create a demand. Not today, but I will consider it. I feel caught between being consistent and creating an appetite. A dilemma.
Another chalk mark on the wall. I contacted an on-line advice service about Tishka’s reluctance to come out of hiding during the day. The vet who responded gave me the same advice I have been getting. She added that a mild tranquilizer slipped into her food might be appropriate. I will contact our veterinarian and see what he would suggest. As he has Tishka’s complete medical records I am thinking he would know what is safe for her. And since he likes cats, I trust any advice he would give. My big question: Would another cat/kitten be helpful here?
Out of a combination of frustration and boredom, I spent some time in the basement with a little toy called a ” cat dancer.” It is basically a bit of cardboard on a wire that can be moved about to entice a cat to pounce. I slipped the wire into the area where Tishka has been hiding and jiggled it about. Nothing. So after about ten or fifteen minutes I left some food at the bottom of the stairs and returned to the first floor. (I also peeked into her den. I did not see her…could she have moved? If so, where? I think she is perched on the shelf nearest the door and I did not want to to into the space so I could not see her. Though maybe she has found a new spot .)
Given her past behavior, she has probably not change locations. Even though Liz and Sandy pulled her out of her hiding spot in their house, she returned to it whenever she decided to hide until she got acclimated to them and their house.
Avoid eye contact.
Yesterday I was tired and a little fed up with Tishka. I put out her food as usual around 4 and she came up while we were eating supper and ate the wet food at the top of the basement stairs. I replenished the food and put her usual two servings in the living room before I washed our supper dishes and went to bed for the night.
This morning all the cat signs were present. Tishka had eaten her wet food, her kibble and used her litter box.
On our walk yesterday a friend asked what would happen if I didn’t give Tishka her treats. My instinct is to try to provide consistency for the cat but I have to admit to playing with the idea.
Tishka, come out of you prison, the wall is down!
Sunset view of Charleston from Mount Pleasant
In a collection of essays written at the end of her life and titled “No Time to Spare,” Ursula Le Guin writes about adjusting to old age and her love of cats.
At the end of Le Guin’s own life, her cat Zorro died, leaving her with a cat void. However, she wrote that a cat has always volunteered to live with them and she wants to be open to the possibility of such an animal.again. No cat appears at her door or is offered by a neighbor so she goes to the pound to adopt one. Her daughter went with her and the two of them explained the situation to a volunteer.
The shelter volunteer brought out a little tom cat for her to meet. After spending some time with him, Le Guin agreed to take him. The volunteer indicated that they might want to meet other cats before they choose. Le Guin has decided that this is her cat and she would worry about him if she took a different cat home.
I also wanted a cat to volunteer when Lilith died, but none did. Tishka was advertised at our Vet’s office. A lovely ginger tabby in need of a new home. I called and arranged with her family for her to come live with us. I did not anticipate that she would live in our basement for so long.
Since Tishka came to live with us we have been offered several cats who were in need of a home but Tishka lives here and until we can acclimate her to us, she is a one and only.
Last night I slept for a while on the floor in the dining room. Tishka did her usual rounds but since I was asleep, I don’t know how close she came to me. I am still looking for a strategy but so far our strategy seems to be to wait her out and hope she comes around.
Come out of your shell please.