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New Product Idea. Stackable Cat Hotel.

So you can't get your cat into the cat carrier when it's time to go to the Vet, but maybe if you leave your cat carrier out with the door open, the cats will come up with another use for what was once their fear locker.

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Petunia, below and Blitzen obove, for once are in close proximity without any conflict.

Introducing, the Stackable Cat Hotel!

Reminds me of those Capsule hotels in Japan, sans the TVs and clean linens.

Behind the Scenes on Blitzen's Adoption

I thought I'd share a few extra bits of information regarding Blitzen's recent adoption that you might find amusing (written while Blitzen is literally hanging over my shoulder, purring loudly).

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Blitz really enjoys catnip!

Some of you remarked that Sam is a “Saint” for being willing to go along with my urging that we bring another cat into the household. In fact, Sam was the one who was ready to adopt Blitzen weeks ago. It was I who was doing the feet-dragging. Sam took a liking to Blitz waaaay back when he was just a tiny tike. For myself, I'm so used to telling myself I can't adopt any foster, that I pushed away any notion of it happening. It's simply not done!-not when you have SEVEN cats who don't get along like perfect little angels.

I was the one who worried about what it would mean for our other cats and worried about the urine marking festival that would and did take place. Yes, there was some fighting, too and urine marking all over the house, once Blitzen was out and about. Was Blitzen the culprit? No. Petunia, as ever, has been neurotically marking and I'm guessing Cricket may have followed suit. Regardless of who did it, over the past four weeks or so, the marking seems to have stopped (of course you have to be diligent and LOOK for it every day and make sure to clean it up VERY WELL). There doesn't seem to be any fighting and I've noticed some very subtle shifting around of where each cat hangs out.

Gracie and Petunia, the skittish twosome, are now residing in our bedroom most of the day, but it's sunny in there and they enjoy their selection of cat beds that are right next to a sliding glass door for a view of the woods. They've physically separated themselves from everyone else, but, they DO still come downstairs and eat well and Gracie even “chats” with me on occasion.

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(From left: Nora, Spencer, Bob. Blitzen, front and Nicky far rear of photo on left)

What's even weirder is that most of the cats now cover the bed at night. Bob, who stopped coming up the stairs (due to his advancing age and ill health), has returned. Cricket is the only cat who never comes up stairs. He just doesn't. On top of that, the cats don't seem to be fighting in the bedroom any more. This morning I woke up and saw Blitzen and Nicky, side by side, Bob, Spencer, Gracie and Petunia, all on or near the bed.

I have to wonder if this has something to do with the raw diet, because the cats are HUNGRY when it's time for breakfast, but they are also feeling better. Bob must be feeling great to get his butt up the stairs and be able to hop up onto our bed, which is rather high off the floor.

I don't have answers, I just find it all very curious. I hope this is all good signs for a comfortable and companionable future for us all. Blitzen is sitting on a chair a few feet away from me. He's purring so loud I can hear him. I have to keep taking a momentary break to pet him while I write. I swear he's smiling.

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Okay, so maybe Nora needs a bit more time to warm up to Blitzen!

So I admit I was taking it slow and being cautious about moving forward with Blitzen's adoption. Sam was ready to go. I was also sad that now I really can't adopt a giant, fluffy Tuxedo kitty, but Sam surprised me the other day.

After all this, he said to me that he thought Blitzen needed a buddy close to his age and that if I wanted to adopt a Tux, then I should just go ahead and do it.

I guess you guys are right. Sam IS a Saint!

Peace Between My Beasts

Some of my cats just don't get along. For whatever reason, Bob (on the far right ) and Petunia (center) don't like each other. Bob always goes after Petunia and is quick to give her a swat if she gets too close. Is it because SHE wants to be the alpha cat and Bob wants to keep his position of authority? Perhaps.

I bought an electric blanket (on sale at Tar-gay), thinking it would be a cozy treat for my cats, since I keep the heat low in the winter. It took all of five minutes before the cats were lining up to lay on it. Not only lay on it, but stretch out, relaxed, without a care in the world. This is pretty big stuff around here. Gracie usually is really tense and high strung and Petunia is very jumpy, too. Yet, once on the warm blanket, they started to unwind, the tension falling away, as they turned into furry puddles of bliss.

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I think I'm on to something! Here are mortal enemies, hanging out together, peacefully. It makes me wonder if the same thing could happen in the Middle East if everyone would just have a Spa Day together? Think about it. Put down your weapons and get a hot stone massage and a dead sea salt scrub. I mean, really, if the warmth of an electric blanket can get my cats to get along, just think what aromatherapy might do for World Peace?

What I Want For Christmas

I've decided I want someone to build me a "safe room" in my house. You know, those rooms you hide in that even some crazed assassin with a battering ram can't enter if you happen to be the victim of a home invasion.

I'm not particularly fearful of someone breaking into my house while I'm here. I just want a place to EAT MY LEFTOVER MEATLOAF SANDWICH IN PEACE!!!


All the Best Intentions May Still Lead Nowhere

It doesn't suprise anyone that I want to do the BEST I can for each of my "resident" cats, as well as my fosters, but it isn't always possible. I realize that having seven cats (plus God knows how many fosters) means that each cat might not get everything they need every day. Sure, they get FED daily, and if I'm not feeling too lazy, I slug their water fountain over to the sink to rinse it out every few days (and they get a small bowl of fresh water every day, too). I try to play with the cats and give them each, at least a few minutes of my time. Some get more than others. Some gravitate to Sam, so that lightens the load a bit, but it has to be tough on the cats-especially Gracie and Petunia.

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Gracie came to me six years ago as an "unwed Mother" with her three offspring. Because I had trouble placing her and her daughter, Petunia, I decided I had room in my home to keep them. I never really had a strong bond with them, but I also didn't want to continue trying to find them homes after almost a year. I was with the wrong rescue group who put my kitten on the back burner, until she was too big to be attractive to many families, and both of the cats were skittish and showed poorly.

Over the years, Petunia has developed territorial aggression and some aggression towards a few of the other cats. She did a lot of inappropriate urination, which drove me mad. Getting a consult with a behaviorist, seeing my Vet, reading about cat behavior, I came to be able to work with Petunia, to a point. Clearly, she feels she is not getting enough attention and does not care to have other cats in "her" space-like my bedroom. I've worked on giving her more attention and playtime, but, again, with the duties of a foster mom and the other cats having their issues, there isn't a lot of time for her. It's my fault.

Meanwhile, it's been a YEAR since Gracie began her odyssey with Miliary Dermatitis, possibly brought on by her own high strung emotional state. Gracie will RUN if anyone comes close to her. Partly it was from all the medications and baths she's gotten over the past year, partly because she is a nervous cat. She's been pulling out her fur, over grooming herself and vomiting it up. I haven't seen her pull her fur, but there are clear signs something is going on. Even with all this, Gracie STILL wants to sleep near me at night and still wants attention, but is fearful if I step closer to pet her.


Dr. Larry says to re-home the both of them. As I've written before, they are 6 and 9 years old. It would be VERY tough to find them a home I'd feel was good enough to care for them. I'd also miss them. They do have some adorable qualities! I just wish they could relax...

So, after all this time, I've decided to try one last thing-Elavil. Yes, my cats are on anti-anxiety meds. Here I am, studying cat behavior, trying to help other people with their cats, when my own are so messed up I finally decided to medicate them. Surely, there is another way? Surely if there is, I'm not sure what it would be at this point.

I started Gracie on 10mg, once per day. In two days, whatever existed of Gracie's personality was gone. She was lifeless and very depressed. She didn't run off, but she seemed to lose interest in life. She ate like a pig, but stayed by herself, not wanting to be around anyone else. I could not get near her. I took her off the meds for a week, spoke with Super-Deb, the Vet tech, and decided to halve the dose and see if that helped.

Right around this time, I was seeing more and more aggression from Petunia towards Nora-who was doing NOTHING, just minding her own business. Unprovoked attacks on the rise, another call to Super-Deb and we agreed it was time to put Petunia on the other half dose.

Both girls have been on the half dose for a week now. Gracie is perky, eating well, wants to be close to me, but is still nervous. Her skin improved with a shot of vetalog and I'm waiting to see if it STAYS that way now she's not so nervous. So far, so good. Just a tiny outbreak, but not bad. She likes to visit me at night and purrs and like her pets, she's just not quite so stressed out.

Petunia seemed more clingy to her mom, but also seemed to be less high strung. I thought it was going all right, but in the past day she's actually gotten MORE aggressive towards Nora. Is she fighting her "mellow" feelings by overcompensating her attacks? I put her on the full 10mg dose today to see if that makes a difference.

My hope is to give it a month and re-evaluate. If the girls are doing better, I may continue it another month or may wean them off it slowly. I want them to gain confidence and reduce aggression or self-multilation. I WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY, but the price they have to pay to get there is the problem. I hope, in the end, it's worth it. Right now it feels like I'm running out of options. This is my last chance to make it work for them to continue living here.


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