Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kitty Journal 51 - Goodbye Slim

I had just finished cleaning the kitty room. Sad moment, but I had no choice after all. Earlier, I made the hardest decision ever in my life. I released Slim into the streets. After much contemplating and discussion, I decided to let him go. He is a handsome boy, all muscle and active but regretfully he can't get along with my cats. Seeing Sherbet cower in fear whenever I let Slim out of the cage breaks my heart. Seeing the friendly Salem tiptoeing around Slim makes me sad. I wonder if Slim could ever get along with any cats, maybe a young kitten somewhere.

Slim was miserable in his cage, he wanted out and he wanted food anytime of the day and consume any food he sees. I can't let him out of the cage since he always gets aggressive towards Sherbet and initiates a fight. I don't think integration will ever work. Two months of seeing and smelling each others face and scent but still can't get along, I'm thinking they never were meant to get along. I've had enough of Slim's caterwauling and at my mother's suggestion, decided to let him go. She was worried Slim might have escaped from his cage and attacked Sherbet while I was sleeping or out.

With heavy heart I took a bowl of kibble and lure him to the nearby staircase and left him there. He came back twice but I closed the door and ignored him. I think he would make a great cat from first timer cat owners or anyone with no other pets but not me. He was so affectionate with me, my bf and my family. Sadly, he never liked my furry family. I bid him farewell and wish him well but I still open his adoption to anyone that is interested. He would make a great cat for any cat lover out there, granted they have a sweet kitten or non alpha pets. I will feed him daily as usual but alas, he cannot step into my house ever again. The last time he fought with Sherbet, I had migraine for days. Do I regret taking him in? Not really. He is a great cat, all muscle and soft fur. Loud purring and beautiful bushy tail. But sometimes we cannot save everything. I had done my duty by giving him medical treatment, food, shelter and neuter. I hope someone will see his charm and take him in. I have to say sorry to Slim, he is a great cat but Sherbet is my priority. Goodbye Slim, have a great life!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kitty Journal 50 - Slim the dominator

Sighs, that's all I can do these days. On the second day of integration, everything looks okay. At one time, they slept near each other. They seemed to tolerate each other though I still see Sherbet staying away from Slim most of the time. Salem just run away from Slim whenever he tried to pounce him. I thought maybe my cats need time to adjust with the new cat but I was naive.

On the third night, I left them by themselves for a few minutes while cleaning their litter box. I was shocked to hear them fighting and I know which of my three cats were fighting. When I opened the door I was truly shocked to see Sherbet and Slim neck to neck in an all out fight. This is no mere cat fight, this was totally battle of dominance. Slim was challenging Sherbet, who is the house's alpha male. Sherbet, knowing his rank in the house didn't stand down and put out a fight. I tried using spray bottle but it was useless, they chased each other and fought like mad. I was screaming like mad myself. It was frightening but I know approaching them might be hazardous for me. I soon realized Slim was doing most of the chasing while Sherbet defended himself and tried to get away. In desperation I threw a shoe at them, it didn't work. Eventually I got so angry, I took a huge amount of water and splash them. They eventually broke apart and I direct Slim into the nearest carrier and Sherbet into the other one.

I had never had such experience and it was frightening. Poor Salem stood watching anxiously from far. I surveyed my home, luckily I was never the type to collect breakable mementos. Half of my house was wet, some of my door mats were soggy. I found out Sherbet even defecates in one of the spot they fought earlier. He had some feces still stuck on his behind, I took him into the bathroom and clean him up. At some spot, he even urinated but I think it was due to stress. I called my bf over to help me settle back those two cats. As we were putting in Slim into his cage, Sherbet came into the room and immediately Slim went aggressive and tried to dash for Sherbet. I was lucky my bf had good reflex and stuck his foot on the cage door. Sherbet was so scared that for the next 12 hours, he slept by my feet and didn't even dare to go into the kitty room (where Slim is in his cage and the cat's litter box are).

After discussing with my bf, we decided to put him up for adoption. Although to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure anyone would adopt him. Granted his fur is soft, he has beautiful markings and has beautiful bushy tail but temperament-wise, he won't get along with other cats unless they submit to him. Him being a stray cat for quite some time (the vet told me he's between 1-2 years of age) made him quite a survivalist but that makes him wary of human and other cats too. The somewhat high adoption fee might also deter potential adopters, at RM200. It wasn't a price I put for fun or profit but rather the cost of his treatments, vaccinations, neuter and feLv/FIP test. Sad to see him go but I think I was too naive to think I could tame a stray cat like that. My mere 1 year plus cat experience was not good enough for me to mellow him down. To be honest, I am somewhat scared of Slim now. He is hard to read and change mood quite swiftly.

After much contemplation, I decided to give Slim a month to integrate and accept my other cats. While waiting for adoption, I will give him a chance to get along with my cats and help improve his socialization. I found a website that teaches procedures to integrate cats and I'm following as close as I can. I think I should have passed the 'scent familiarization' since they are mostly in the same room, only separated by a cage. Alas, I was wrong. The cloth with Sherbet's scent was totally rubbed off by Slim. When I took out the cloth to rub more of Sherbet's scent into it, he ran away frightened (body crouch low) and hid in his safe spot. While the cloth with Slim's scent was ignored by the food bowl (which means my two cat doesn't care about his scent) and my two cats ate as usual from their food bowl. Next, I tried swapping area. I took Slim and Sherbet into separate carriers and put Sherbet in Slim's cage while Slim was let free in the kitty room. Sherbet sat on one spot and didn't move much. From his body language, Sherbet looks alert but not too comfortable (his eyes were erect, but his whiskers were somewhat close to his face) and my observations says he was not in a relaxed pose. Slim on the other hand, just started rubbing his face and body all over the room and then just sat at one corner. I tried to crack open the cage door a bit (they can smell and look at each other but their head won't pass through), Sherbet tried to get out but Slim came to the door and immediately got irritated. His tail was swishing back and forth faster, I even heard a low hiss coming from Slim. I closed the cage door and touched Slim's back to tell him to back up, he immediately tried to pounce my hand. His tail was still swishing irritatedly and I showed him his carrier. He ignored me and lay down at a corner, watching me. After a while, his tail stopped swishing vigorously and I picked him up by his scruff and put him in the carrier. Conclusion : he still hates Sherbet and wants to pick a fight with him. I let Sherbet out of the room and put back Slim inside.

I called my bf and told him what happened and decided to give Slim until the end of the month. If he still can't get along and no one adopts him, I have to let him go out as a stray. It's sad and a cruel decision but I have no choice. But at least I've done my best and tried my hardest. I hope and pray Slim will change and live in harmony with my other cats but I have my worries. An alpha male stray which reigns over my apartment block for more or almost a year has lived as a tough street cat and a survivalist. When he fought, he will fought for his life and probably till his death. If I let him and Sherbet battle it out for one of them to stand down, I am sure one of them will be scarred for life. If I let him live his whole life in a cage, I think he will go mad or die eventually. Cats have to have their freedom, confining them in small space forever is such a cruel fate. For now I can only sighs. Tomorrow is another training day for him and me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kitty Journal 49 - Sherbet, Salem & Slim

Oh my, I haven't written anything in quite awhile. It's been weeks since I last typed something in here. Oh well, let's recap what has happen in my household since mid April. After Slim got better from his neuter surgery, I still kept him in the cage separately. I still worry about feLv and FIP that he could have carried as a stray. Though he still makes a lot of noises (especially early in the morning), I endured it all for the sake of my two other boys. I have to say Slim is still the stinky boy in the house, phew his poo and pee could make my nose fall off (laughs).

One nice morning, I was boggled-eyed to see Slim running around with my two cats. I practically woke up and caught him and put him back into the cage. Male cats are so energetic, he even manages to open the cage door ..

Another same situation happened while I was preparing canned food for them, suddenly there were three cats by my feet mewing for food. I was taken aback for awhile and laughs later on. Seems somewhat harmless since all of them were eying the plates of wet food in my hands. After handing everyone their meals, I put Slim back into his cage.

April 28th, I took Sherbet for his 2nd vaccination and Salem the next day for his annual booster. It all went well, but the next day Sherbet had watery eyes. I thought that maybe something got into his eyes but after some examination, nothing was there and his eye kept on oozing clear liquid. On Saturday, I brought Slim and Sherbet to our vet for checkup and 2 in 1 (feLv & FIP test). The good new is that Slim is negative on for both disease and Sherbet had a mild case of fever (suspected from the side-effect of vaccination). Bad news was, it sure burned a deep hole in my pocket! (smile sheepishly). Upon the good news, I decided to let Slim out of his cage and mingle with the crowd at home.

At first they avoided each other but when I whip out the dangling toy, Slim and Salem forgets about everything else and played to their hearts content. Though I noticed Sherbet shying away every time Slim pounces the toy near him. After awhile, I had to go out with my family and decided to leave all of them in the cat room. Less than 5 minutes, the cats broke into a fight. The sound was almost alien in my house it took me a few seconds to realize it was coming from the room. I quickly open the door to the kitty room while my family stood aghast. Salem ran out, disoriented and fur standing on all ends. Sherbet was engaged in an all out battle with Slim, wrapped in each other ignoring everything else. I armed myself with my trusty fly swatter and a spray bottle. A squirt at them and they broke apart, Sherbet ran under the bed in my bedroom while Slim hissed madly and bared his fangs at me. I closed the kitty room door and braced myself for a showdown. Slim was spitting mad, from his body language I can see he was aggressive defensive. Touch him and he will swipe at me. I hit the fly swatter on the floor to scare him and after awhile, sprayed water on him at an angle. He dashed into the cage and I put in his litter box and close the cage door. Let him calm down.

My bf who came over helped me calm Sherbet down and called him from under the bed. The rest of my family was laughing at cute Salem with his fur standing on all ends, going back on forth in front of the room. Seems like he can't make up his mind either to help big bro Sherbet or ran for his life. We all agreed Salem is always the cute one. After thinking for awhile, I realized Slim has to go through a series of rehab. He has been on the street for quite awhile and god knows how his last owner treats him. I decided I will let him out of the cage on days I am free, to watch them mingle and accept each other. But Slim will definitely be in his cage when I am not around the house or sleeping. It will take weeks or months for them to accept each other but it's the only way. My bf asks me if I want to give away Slim but I told him firmly if Slim is unsociable, giving away is useless. He might get aggressive with new owner, their household, other pets, gets thrown away or send back to me. It's better for him to stay with me so I can train him and care for him.

Today is the 3rd day I let him out of his cage. He seems to mingle well with Salem, they chased each other around the house and tag each other. I don't see any aggressive behavior between those two so far. No hissing or standing fur or even wide swishing tail. Salem is a very friendly cat and always looks for a new friend. Sherbet is somewhat reluctant. I figured he would be tough to accept new cat in the house since he's the first cat in my home, and he knows it. Although I'm not sure whether he sees Slim as a prey or a predator. Slim would try to get closer to him but he'd run away of growl (I heard it once). I'm guessing Sherbet would need sometime to realize Slim is another friend and family. It will take some more time for them to accept each other. Integrating an adult cat to another adult cat is not an easy task in my opinion. They can be somewhat territorial and defensive. I guess it will take some patience and love to make the integration smooth. I wish them well and I hope this will wield a positive result in the end.

Oh yes, these are the latest picture of Slim. Though he's no longer 'Slim', he's actually a bottomless pit. I had to hide all the kibbles from him whenever I let him out of the cage. He'd eat any food he sees..

Slim drinking from their water bowl

Slim's face (looks so healthy now)

Slim stretched out .. he never stay put for a snapshot

Only time he's stays put.. while stuffing his face..



Sherbet's Cute Mew

Click Play to listen!