Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wee Beasties

Last June, we drove to the nearby Animal Protection Administration of Missouri shelter and adopted a five-year-old tortoise-shell female cat named Taz. Our kitty Oddball, whom we had for twelve years, had passed away three days earlier (see my 6/15/10 post). The house was just too empty without a cat.

Unfortunately (this has a happy ending), Taz disappeared almost immediately after we brought her home! We confined her to one side of the house, but soon after her arrival she trotted down a hallway, went around the corner, and wasn’t seen again. We looked under the bed and the sofa, looked up the fireplace in the living room, but didn’t see her. Did she get out of the house unnoticed? (Oddball had once slipped outside very stealthily when we’d opened a door to talk to a neighbor.) No, because when we rose in the morning, food and water had been sampled, and the litter box had been used. Spooky!

Two days later, as Beth sat quietly, she saw Taz descend from another fireplace--the one in the TV room---in order to partake from her water and food bowls. I hadn’t looked up there because she’d disappeared when she'd left the TV room and trotted around to the living room toward the other fireplace. Obviously she had gone around another corner while I was following her and returned to the TV room. Clever!

I quickly closed all the fireplace dampers. Although brown and black to begin with, Taz was obviously very sooty. Bathing a fully-armed cat (i.e., not declawed, as Oddball had been when we adopted her) seemed foolhardy, so we carefully wiped her off with wash cloths.

The last three and a half months have been much more uneventful. Her APA papers indicated she was shy at first but warmed up to people quickly. She soon became one of the family, slept with Emily and us, and she lounges on either of her two cat towers beside glass doors at opposite ends of the house. It was wonderful to have a cat while we were grieving Oddball's loss, and also Emily got to bond with Taz for two months before she returned to college.

“Pets have such different personalities,” a friend said as I updated her on Stroble cat news. Like our other cats, Taz tries to get us up unconscionably early in the morning. Oddball seldom meowed, more often she squeaked when she was happy, and she made the fussy cat-sound eh-eh-eh at birds. Our earlier cat Domino, who was part Siamese, strolled around meowing for no apparent reason. Taz “talks” a lot, too, but she’s not a very vocal purr-er.

Beth looked up “Taz” on the internet and found a description of the frantic cartoon character, the Tazmanian Devil, which fit our cat rather well, especially her wild gallops across the room that do resemble whirlwinds. This is our first cat who likes to play fetch, with a toy mouse.

Speaking of mice, Taz caught a real mouse the other day and had a short, happy time playing with the poor thing. I took the jittery mouse away inside a garbage bag and released it outside, where it was either caught by the owl we hear in the night, or got away and has begun therapy…

Fortunately, Taz doesn’t go in for what I call “recreational vomiting,” a definite downside of cats. She’s only puked twice since we got her, while Oddball and Domino regularly upchucked just for the heck of it.

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