My Cats - About Cats
I have been a cat lover and keeper for 15 years. I am currently a volunteer at the ARF (the Animal Rescue Foundation) - a wonderful organization located here in Walnut Creek California.
Recently the last of my two original kitties (Melissa) passed away (see below) so this April I adopted one of my ARF charges (Cosmo) and kept him in a foster home until I was able to occupy my new residence also in Concord.
So - I now have two interesting guys;
Tabby (on the bed)
- and recently adopted :
Cosmo (under the bed)
seen as thy can usually be found in the daytime.
And while Tabby is older Cosmo is really bigger although he is reportedly just 3 years old.
Here are some pictures of the boys playing:
When I adopted my first cats in 1991 (Willy and Melissa), I had my first experience as a cat owner.
► On October 24th 2001at approximately 11:30 AM Willy died of stomach cancer.
► Melissa lived out her normal lifespan and died in April of 2008 of apparent old age - she was 20.
After losing Willy I found an apparently abandoned cat who was clearly a previous pet. He kept following me around in the street during evening walks so I took him home and looked for missing cat listings. I found none so he is now my cat. Quite a character too.
Ham sandwich without the bread
In 1998 I moved to Concord California. I moved into a "senior citizens complex." Here the doors have lever handles instead of round knobs. I guess these are easier for old folks to use especially if they are frail. It is also easy for a cat to use. It didn't take long for Willy to find out that he could open the doors by pulling on the lever which he could reach. If I closed the door to my bedroom he let himself in by using the door handle. I must lock the door if I do not want him in the bedroom. (Tabby quickly learned to do this too.)
Finally I have a cat door installed in my
bedroom that leads out to the balcony. Cats learn to use pet doors just like
dogs. So now Tabby can get outside and back at will (Melissa isn't interested in
Communicating by Body Language
Tabby is good at communications. He tells me what he wants. He can communicate:
- when he wants to go out - he sits in front of the door in front of me scratching on the wall next to the door then looking at the door with a dedicated stare. Note: he cannot open the front or balcony doors with the handles. Those doors are too heavy.
- when he wants out to the balcony via the regular door in the living room (which is a glass door with a Venetian blind over it), he rattles the blind with his paws.
Once, when I lived in a multi-storey house in Massachusetts, her companion Willy, discovered that he could get outside through a window I had kept open in summer in my bedroom. The fist time he jumped out of the window to get out, I was away. When I returned Melissa met me at the door (not usual behavior). She immediately meowed and led me to the window. She was very upset (not at all like her usual self). It took me only a minute to realize what she was trying to say, that Willy had disappeared out the window. This was remarkable. The jump was almost 10 feet, so he could not get back up. As it turned out that was no problem since our house had a big backyard fenced in by secure storm fences. Eventually I let Willy out at will through a window more suitable for his coming and going.
Melissa understands the word Yum-Yum. It is the expression I say to her when food is on the way, and when I actually deliver it to her (she is old and was always rather sedentary so she only sometimes comes off her perch to come for food. At her age I think she deserves to be fed wherever she is. When I come into the room that is her territory with a bowl of food I say Yum-yum and she responds with a specific meow and sits up at attention. She has also learned to tell me when she is hungry by sitting up in that same posture - with a wanting look on her face (not an emotion) just the way she looks at me. I also use a tongue lick since this is associated with food.
3 years getting Willy and Melissa to be "friends."
. . .
Walking the feral cats with Paulette
. . .
Willy was the most mild mannered sweet and friendly and well behaved cat I have seen. He behaved more like a dog that a cat in many ways. I have a blind friend in New York that used to visit me in Boston a lot. He was accompanied by one of the several black Labrador guide dogs. At that Willy would greet them (or any dog for that matter). I seems his "vibes" did not include a sense of fear of dogs but rather of brotherhood. He often curled up with my friend's Lab to sleep.
One time I took Willy to the vet (in a carrier) and waiting along with us was a guy with a gigantic dog - I believe a huge Alaskan Husky type. The dog was bigger than his owner it seems. But Willy was "chafing at the bit" to meet this monster so I let him out of his carrier from which he went directly to this dog and exchanged greetings (nose rubs).
I sincerely believe he must have been raised with a clutch of puppies. He really thought he was a dog.
Willy and Nash
Once after I started letting Willy out of the kitchen window on his own (via a landing of the rear stairway to the upper floor) a new cat "moved in" up the stairs with his owners, some college students who were out a lot. His name was "Nash" and he immediately made friends with Willy. Nash and Willy became real good friends, and since the window was left open and his owners were out long hours, he started coming inside and at first shared food with Willy. Nash might have been Willy's counterpart. Eventually he became so friendly that he started napping on my bed when Willy and Melissa took some daytime snoozes. There was Nash, stretched out on my bed. Finally one night the guys were out so late, that I let Nash stay overnight. He joined us for the entire night, sleeping on my queen sized bed (lots of room for me and three cats). In the morning the guys asked me if I had seen Nash, to which I replied "sure - he slept over."