And then there were four

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Ruth B
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And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:16 am

Many years ago, when one of my, then, two cat was terminally ill I introduced a third cat thinking it would be a playmate to the remaining one and give the terminally ill one some peace. It went horribly wrong and after three months the newcomer was returned to the charity she came from and I firmly decided that two cats were plenty in a two bedroom semi.

Then when Blue, our old Ragdoll, passed away, I was left with my 14 - 15 year old tabby moggy, Tiggy. Thinking that two youngsters would play together and give her some peace I got Freyja and Saturn. It hasn't quite gone according to plan but they are coping and I thought 'OK I'm at my limit'.

Unfortunately at the start of December my Mother was taken ill and ended up spending over a month in hospital. My sister and I divided the weeks so one of us could be available to visit her in hospital, and house and cat sit, I live over 80 miles away from her and my sister lives about twice that, and the hospital was another 20 miles further away. It soon however became clear that our Mother wouldn't be safe to be living alone in her own home when she came out so I set about trying to find a care home for her close to where I live. She was finally discharged and moved up last week. While I stayed in Wolverhampton to help get her settled in, Sara stayed at her house to get everything sorted there. Saturday, I finally came home with a car full of stuff and two cat baskets, one occupied. Sara's work can take her away from home from time to time, so it was always assumed that if need be my Mum's cat would come to live with me and hopefully shake down with my three.

My Mum's cat is a foster failure, her and her sister were taken in when my Mum helped at at cat charity and the kittens' mother became very ill, she was probably about 4 to 5 weeks old when Mum got her. The kittens were given silly names as most people choose to rename kittens when adopted. Her sister was a ginger kitten that overnight went from being short haired to being long haired, and literally was found one morning with tufts of fur sticking out at all directions, she became Tufty, the other was a fairly normally short haired ginger tabby, not quite stripey, not quite spotty, so became known as Stroppy. Tufty had to be pts early last year due to her diabetes which just left my Mother with Stroppy.

So here I am, already with one grumpy granny cat and two juniors, trying to introduce another granny cat, Stroppy is about 16 - 17 years old (I'll know for sure when i find the safe place my Mother put the microchip paperwork in), who also lives up to her name. I was also warned that she only likes Gourmet Gold pate, and really only the Ocean Fish flavour, she only has Go Cat dried food and eats very little of that, and never uses the litter tray, preferring to go out to the garden whatever the weather, but there were a couple of bags of wood pellet litter I could take left over from before Tufty went as she would use it.

I didn't really want a cat on a special diet after I get her integrated with mine, and as she has to stay inside for a few weeks I was rather apprehensive about the litter tray issue, but I would prefer only to have to have one type of litter around, so I decided I would see how she got on regardless. So I filled a tray with the Catsan Clumping litter i normally use, filled a bowl with Purina One dried cat food and left her with a bowl of Gourmet Gold Ocean Fish pate for her to settle in with, carefully shut in the lounge (the only room I can keep a cat seperate in). Within 12 hours she had eaten most of the Purina One and left most of the pate, she had had a good dig in the litter tray and made use of it and had a good drink from the water fountain. She has totally ignored the cat bed we brought back for her and taken to the sofa, which ar rather lower than my Mothers lounge furniture so easier for an arthritic cat to jump on.

I think it is a typical case of a cat being a cat, and an elderly owner doing things because they have always been done that way.

I just hope she will settle in a four cat household.

Photos will follow when I remember to take my camera down when I go to pay her a visit.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:10 am

:D :D :D

SOMEBODY'S fallen on their paws!

Good on you, Ruth, the whole process sounds to have been exhausting, never mind adopting and settling in a geriatric cat.

Hope Stroppy realises her good fortune and settles in well, fusses to them all :)

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Re: And then there were four

Post by bobbys girl » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:11 am

Love the story of how she got her name. :D She sounds like she is settling in well.

I know what you mean about multiple cats in a small house. We now have six in a two bed bungalow! Roll on the better weather, when the kittens will be old enough to venture outside.

How do your other cats feel about being shut out of the lounge? Are they all queuing up to get back in? :D

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:52 am

She is settling in quite well, it's a big upheaval for an old cat.

The others don't seem to mind being shut out of the lounge although Saturn did decided to see where i was taking a bowl of food (I think he was wondering if he could grab any of it) and came face to face with Stroppy in the doorway, about 4 to 5 feet between them and me in the middle. Stroppy had a good hiss and Saturn decided he wasn't bothered about the food bowl and retreated halfway up stairs. Stroppy had a dose of what her Mum had when she was a kitten and it stunted her growth a bit, Saturn is about twice her size, but a big brave lad he isn't, unless it involves mice and rats.

I wasn't intending to introduce them yet, I've got various cloths and towels skatted about for them all to sleep on and then to do a few exchanges, but sometimes cats will take things into their own paws.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by alanc » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:22 pm

Glad one thing at least is going right in what must be a very stressful time. Badger would have sympathized with Saturn!

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:40 pm

Things are moving forward, Stroppy has settled right in and has already learnt that a good yell will get me to clean her litter tray out.

Tiggy has had a quick look in the lounge and slouched off with the 'oh no, not again' look.

Freyja is a little concerned about being shut out of the lounge because it limits her escape routes when someone approaches her coming down stairs.
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Re: And then there were four

Post by Kay » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:13 pm

She's a handsome girl as are all ginger girls

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:21 pm

Just what I was thinking, Kay.

Your mother must be so thankful she's with you, Ruth - it's everyone's worst nightmare, what will happen to the cat/s if anything happens to them.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:17 pm

I promised her over and over, even when there were the two of them and the other girl was diabetic that if anything happened they could come to mine, but I don't think the worry ever truly went away. I can now take photos in and give her regular updates on how Stroppy is doing, and eventually when everything is settled the home have said that it is ok for me to take Stroppy in to visit occasionally, which is going to be fun :roll:

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Kay » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:22 pm

that would be really lovely Ruth

best not tell the home Stroppy's name though ;)

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:46 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:

What an enlightened place by the sound - it will be marvellous if your mother and Stroppy can meet and cuddle; it will make all the difference to your mother's morale :)

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:32 am

I'm sure the home already knows Stroppy's name, they probably know more about Stroppy than either me or my sister.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:04 am

The number of times people come on here asking for advice about introducing new cats to resident cats, and I always explain about scent exchanges, feeding close together and all the rest of the good advice that is normally given. Well it is definitely a case of do as I say, not as I do.

I brought some of the bed covers that Stroppy used in Monmouth back to Wolverhampton with me for scent exchange purposes, put one in with Stroppy and the other three on my bed for the residents to sleep on. The first day was fine one cat per throw, since then all four have managed to avoid going on them at all costs, even it it means sleeping close together on the bed. So yesterday, I decided that as I was doing a bit of work in the dining room and my three were all on the bed, I would let Stroppy have a look around the rest of the ground floor, blocked off the stairs and cat flap and let her out.

That went well so later on while tea was cooking and I was waiting for my OH to get home, i decided on some short introductions. Freyja had been nosying at the lounge door, but took fright when I moved to put a box across the stairs and dashed up to the landing, I did leave the cat flap open this time as I'm not worried about Stroppy getting out as I very much doubt she could jump the fences that are now repaired and complete, and blocking the cat flap would just get my three up tight. Saturn was around wondering where his tea was and could he have any of ours, and quickly came to see who the new comer was, they slowly got nose to nose and then Stroppy started hissing at him, he looked rather shocked and like he wasn't quite sure what to do, and it was then that I realised i hadn't got anything to hand in case it turned nasty. My OH's jumper was on the back of the chair so I went to get that, which sent both cats into a panic, Stroppy retreated to the lounge and one of the sofas, while Saturn dashed upstairs, jumping over the box, but landing rather ungainly on the stairs above, fortunately unhurt.

Not the best of starts but certainly not the worst of them.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Kay » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:28 am

no fur shed or blood drawn - I'd say very much a 'could have been a lot worse' start

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Re: And then there were four

Post by bobbys girl » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:13 pm

Been there, done that! :lol: :lol: Theory is all well and good - trouble is cats haven't read the theory.

At the moment the 'out' part of the cat flap is locked during the day and open only at night, this does cause some confusion (and flat faced cats! ;) ) but has been accepted now.

Kittens have found their feet and are learning - very slowly, just how far they can push the adults.

But just as I was typing this Bobby went to see what they were whacking around behind the sofa (a plastic container :roll: ), there was a hiss, and Bob came out and promptly pee'd up the side of the sofa! :shock: He is normally so well mannered. I don't know what the little gits said to him!

Thinking of you and hoping your introductions are going better than mine.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:52 pm

Oh naughty Bob! :o :shock: Smacked paw!

What a bad example to the younger generation!

They'll get there, Ruth :) Sounds like Stroppy's handling the situation quite errrm, gingerly? :oops: :D

Someone I used to know, who bred Siamese and kept stud cats, had a very good idea when it came to ushering the girl back into her own quarters after mating, as girls can fly into a kind of post-coital rage and attack the boy or a handy human. A tennis racquet. Long-handled, a good shield against a cross cat but not too menacing...a whole new take on the phrase 'ball game' ...

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:34 pm

I think (?) things are progressing fairly well, there seems to have developed a mutual ignore it and it might go away attitude.

There have already been several meetings and a bit of hissing, mainly on Stroppy's part, but Tiggy was giving as good as she got, so as I was going to be about all day today I decided it was time to leave the door open and see what happened. Saturn wandered in first thing and finished off Stroppy's breakfast (a normal hazard in this house) while getting a hard stare from Stroppy who was sat on my knee. Then they all went to sleep, Stroppy on the sofa in the lounge, the other three up on the bed.

About lunch time Stroppy got up and came upstairs for an explore, about the same time Saturn and Freyja got up and went downstairs. When Stroppy wanted to go back downstairs she found a Freyja sat half way down. There was a mix of hissing, growling and grumbling , mainly on placid Freyja's part, I think Stroppy was a bit in shock, she's not used to other cats standing up for themselves, but it all settled itself after a bit and Stroppy managed to get back downstairs and retreat back to her sofa in the lounge.

She will have to stay in there for a bit longer yet at night and while we are both out, but I think during the day, when someone is in the she can have the run of the house, i just have to hope she doesn't discover the cat flap too quickly.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:19 pm

Sounds about normal! :D

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:25 pm

A successful trip to the vets this evening for Stroppy and Tiggy.

I had been intending to take Stroppy and get her registered with the vets that I use and for her to have a basic check up, when I noticed Tiggy seemed to be having trouble with her ears over the weekend I decided to book them both in. Stroppy is fine, a bit underweight and there may need to be some dental work done in the not too distant future but she doesn't seem to be having problems eating so it is a case of monitoring her and seeing if she puts weight on. I think she had been playing my Mum up a bit when it came to food so it might be that or it might be that blood tests will be needed to check for any underlying problems. I also need to contact the microchip people and see about changing contact details, the vets have given me the chip number as the original paperwork has been put somewhere safe and neither my sister or i can find it.

Tiggy on the other hand has an ear infection. I had noticed that she seemed to be rubbing her ears, particularly the left one, like she was washing it but without licking her paw in between strokes. So we now have the fun of cleaning her ears twice a day and putting antibiotic / steroid drops in once a day. On one hand it is nice to know that I wasn't imagining things and I do pick up when something is wrong, on the other hand she is going to hate me by the middle of next week.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:11 pm

Oh boy I sympathise!

My Emily has mucky ears and a bit of a sniffle (which I know can't be anything infectious.) Using drops for her ears and she's very patient, but soon she will need to go in for a full check up; I suspect a dental's needed and she's lost weight although she hangs like a vulture over my plate even if it's only veggies. She does NOT like going into the carrier. She bites. I suspect my old Ali Kat, aka the Bitey Whitey, was her father; she's inherited his possessive temperament and kinked tail.

Glad your vet visit was successful; always a relief to get them checked out. Yes, I can imagine Stroppy holding your mother to ransom over food; they're not daft are they? It's the first thing you do if you're worried you might not cope - is the cat getting enough to eat, and the cat takes full advantage! I take it they're all continuing to settle in ok? :)

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:43 pm

At the moment they are all just trying to ignore the situation as much as possible, Stroppy stays in the lounge, the other have the rest of the house. During the day while i'm home the lounge door is open and there is occasional faces peering around it, but mostly they have accepted on avoidance being the best option. At night or while both of us are out then the door is shut, I'm not quite ready to just leave them to while no one is around. There has been a good deal of hissing, and some growling and grumbling but nothing more. I'm happy with the way things are going, while they are hissing and growling they aren't coming to blows nor are they going into a territory marking battle which to be honest is my big dread having gone through it before. I know I can't hand Stroppy back, my sister life and career don't fit well with pet ownership, she is away too often, and a grumpy 16 or 17 year old cat is not exactly an easy option to try and rehome.

On the other hand I did get a box of some catnip sardines, a make that I got a couple of when I got the juniors almost two years ago and they are still firm favourites, I think they are actually stuffed full of catnip, so I thought get a few more and see if doping them up makes them more tolerant of each other.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:10 am

Things are definitely progressing well.

We took Stroppy in to see Mum just over a week ago and made Mum's day. Stroppy was totally unfazed by the whole thing (except for meowing all the way there and back), she had a look around the room, a peer out of the window, which is a floor length one, perfect for an elderly cat, sat on Mum's knee for a while then curled up on the bed on my fleece. We stayed a couple of hours and several of the staff popped in to see her as well. I think she will be going in every two to three weeks for visits.

She is still being kept in the lounge at night and fed in there, though probably not for much longer. She has worked out where the others get fed and where the food is prepared and this morning I was getting the pouches opened to look around to see her marching into the kitchen. Saturn was already in with me (he hates to miss a meal), glared at her a bit, but was too interested in what I was doing to worry about her too much. As she was there we decide to feed her there. I always have done 4 bowls between my three, partly because it was easier to divide two pouches into four bowls and partly if Saturn decides someone else's is better than his there is still another bowl for the other cat to move onto, so it ended up as five bowls between 4 cats. We didn't hear any hissing or growling going on so they must have sorted themselves out.

Having had a bit of time in the lounge with us Stroppy did go back for second breakfast and there was a bit of hissing from Tiggy as Stroppy walked passed, then Tiggy just went to sulk under the table for a bit.

If Stroppy would just start using the other bigger, higher sided, litter trays she might not spread the litter quite so far and wide, but I certainly can't complain, things seem to be going pretty well all things considered.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:20 pm

Hey Ruth that is brilliant, and I'm so glad your mother's found such an enlightened place to stay - with all the horror stories that go round it's very reassuring to hear of a decent care home. Stroppy will become a seasoned traveller by the sound; I'm so glad things are turning out well :D

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:03 am

It's been a few months now and Stroppy seems to have settled in quite well, although she does tend to stay in her room (the lounge), prefers to take her meals in there and yells when she wants something, so, as has been commented, rather like my Mum in the nursing home.

Peace is reigning to the greater extent, although there is still some hissing going on. The others will go in to the lounge when they want to although if Tiggy sees Stroppy there is a definite glare and Tiggy stalks back out again. Stroppy has given Saturn a few really good hisses, often when he wasn't doing anything and she was having a wander around and came across him somewhere, subsequently he is very wary around her and comes to me to protect him from 'the evil granny cat invader'.

I think one of the problems is her eyesight isn't good. I can see her looking around so she still has some left, but i have also seen her almost walk into things. She can literally get within a whisker of them before she seem to realise something is in her way. She will climb onto things but is wary of jumping down unless it is a big evenly coloured area, like a floor. She got onto the dining table the other day and couldn't seem to work out how to jump on to the chair and then onto the floor, she could obviously see where the chair seat was, but something about it was confusing her and stopped her jumping back down onto it. The other day she came upstairs while Saturn was lounging on the landing. She got to the top of the stairs before she noticed him (his back foot was literally hanging over the top stair), had a good sniff and then a really good hiss at him before retreating back downstairs.

I'm certainly not planning on doing anything about her eyesight even if surgery is an option, i don't think it is worth the stress at her time of life. She can still get around even if she does have to take it a bit slow, she still goes out into the garden, but fortunately hasn't ventured over the fence again, she has her hearing, sense of smell and her whiskers to help her get around and we just have to be a bit more aware of her needs.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Mayday21 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:27 am

Hi Ruth Little Paws has had a cat, Stevie, who has been blind since a kitten ... genetic issue. Stevie’s two siblings blind in one eye. Stevie’s the best fly catcher & races round the house, in & out the cat flap onto the enclosed verandah... guess who he’s Named after .... sure Stroppy’s coping better than you think. Ear rubs to the ol’ girl. FYI Snow Girl & Pebbles still detest ea other & now Pebbles has decided to occasionally target Gentle Bentley...children. Vivian & the Famous Five from Oz.

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Ruth B » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:46 pm

Up to now I had really been thinking that I owned 3 cats and Stroppy was just being fostered for my Mum, yesterday that changed. My Mum died at about 5.00 Friday morning.

Sunday afternoon we had been to see her and took Stroppy with us and she was fine giving Stroppy lots of fuss and attention. She was fine on Wednesday when I talked to her on the phone, Thursday she took a rapid turn for the worse, my sister and I were both there as there was a residents and relatives meeting scheduled, but left about 4.00 as she wasn't even registering we were in the room with her. I got the call to say an ambulance had been called at about 9.30 Thursday night. I went to the hospital and you know things aren't good when you are called through within about 10 minutes of asking whether she had arrived. I stayed with her until about half past one and they had stabilised her and were going to send her up to the ward, it was a matter of if she survived the night she could last for days or weeks on palliative care, I decided I needed to try and get at least a few hours sleep.

The phone went at 5.00 to tell me to get in as quickly as possible, but by the time we arrived, about 5.30, she had already gone.

So now Stroppy is officially mine. I had dreaded the day that I had to tell my Mum that Stroppy's time had come, while I can't tell Stroppy what has happened I think she has picked up on it anyway.

Not the normal type of post on here, but as is so often said it helps to talk and I know people here will be willing to listen

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Re: And then there were four

Post by booktigger » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:07 pm

I'm sorry to hear this Ruth, RIP, I'm sure knowing Stroppy was well cared for helped a lot recently

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Lilith » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:54 pm

Ruth, I'm so very sorry to hear. So glad though that your mother could stay in touch with Stroppy and see her and know she's safe with you - it must have mattered a great deal to her x

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Re: And then there were four

Post by Mayday21 » Wed May 02, 2018 1:42 am

Hi Ruth thinking of you on your mum’s passing. Give fusses to Stroppy & your other fur babes. Tough time. Vivian

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Re: And then there were four

Post by fjm » Wed May 02, 2018 6:39 am

I am so sorry. It must have been a great comfort to your mother in these last months to know that her cat was safe with you, and to be able to still have visits from her. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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