Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Time to Brag

Girl Kitty
 Today’s post is all about Girl and the amazing progress that she has made. Just a couple of days ago for the first time, and again last night for the second time, she played “string”. I dangled a string in front of her, she played with it, batting at the string with abandon. This lasted about 20 seconds each time. So what is so special about a cat playing with a string you might ask, don't most cats? I do not think Girl quite knew how to be a cat. Let me explain and highlight some of her steps along the way to this major milestone.

When Girl first showed up (late 2006) she was and still is a proper little lady. Even with the back door open she would not come in unless personally invited. After eating she would jump up on the couch next to me rubbing up against me to get loved and petted. At the slightest noise from out side, if I stood up, or if she saw another cat walk in (She kept a constant watch on the back door) she would run and hide for hours. She was hard to catch and put out in the mornings. Two weeks after she showed up I relented and got a litter box so she could stay in full time.

Girl didn't see Twinkie

She was a very shy and timid cat, always slinking around with her tail between her legs. She probably spent 8 months or more of her first year with me hiding under my bed. She would join me up top when I went to bed, then back under in the morning. She was always fearful of other cats. One day she came out of the bedroom looking towards the back door, keeping an eye out for other cats, she jumped on to the arm of the couch, still watching the back door. She did not see Twinkie sleeping there, about 15 minutes later when she finally noticed him she immediately ran and hid, for at least 3 hours. See how she is sitting ready and alert she used to always sleep that way, never any other position. Ready to spring away at a seconds notice.

I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with her I never heard her meow. I only knew she was purring by placing my finger on her throat. Twinkie was still around at this time, he would meow to be let in, get fed, petted, in other words a lot of the time. One day Girl started to meow to get fed and was very insistent about it. Good for her, I think she learned it from Twinkie. It was at least a year and a half before she messed up and I heard her purr, and at arms length too. Around this time also she would lay more like a cat, with her legs extended out and even started to lay on her side, she finally was starting to relax a little bit. Sometimes too much, she reminds me of a turkey spread out like that.

Turkey pose

I tried to get pictures each step along the way, but with her being so skittish it was hard. I tried playing with her but she would run from the string, at best shyly pushing it away when I put it in her face, with a half harted attempt to play. Her catnip mouse she at first ignored finally she started rubbing against it. Just a few weeks ago she started picking it up and tossing it around pouncing on it. I think she is learning how by watching the other cats play. But if she sees them watching her or hears a noise she will stop.

Girl eats in public

I used to feed her where ever I could find her, finally I got fed up with empty cans under both beds and the couch. So I made her a spot in my room and would only feed her there. One time she went to the community food bowl (where I feed the others), I have a pic of it. She does it on occasion now. I also have a pic of the first time another cat (Mittens) laid down near her and she was aware of it. The first cat she walked up to and sniffed was Lil' Bit. (Lil' Bit is smaller than Girl).

Girl with Mittens

I can only guess as to what kind of background she came from, to be so scared all the time. I have a real soft spot in my hart for her because of this. I sometimes think she might have been abused. This post shows just a little of the progress she has made, I could write so much more. Each incident is like a child taking its first step. Recently she has started to growl and swat at any cat that gets too close, will walk up to some of the others, and does not hide as much as she used to.

Progress has been slow in coming. The vet guessed her to be about 5 when he first saw her in 2007, so she is a senior cat now around 9 years old. You would think she would be set in her ways, but she is learning how to become a cat. Lil' Bit tries to play with her, by swatting Girl when she passes by. Girl just ignores her :).

Girl on piano with others :)

It has taken a lot of time and patience with Girl to get this far. She is very spoiled, and tolerances are made. Sometimes I have to pick her up and carry her into the bedroom so she will go eat. She still is afraid to use the litter box to pee in (it is not medical we checked with the vet), I place some old towels next to the boxes she uses and change them out regularly. She has some special needs and allowances need to be made for her. But she is a special little girl that I would be lost without.

So as you can see playing “string” is something amazing to brag about. This is coming from a cat that tried to crawl into a hole and pull it in after her so as not to face the world. A lost kitty that did not know how to be a cat, who was afraid of her own shadow. A senior citizen who is facing her fears and over coming them, gracefully. So yes I will brag about my special kitty because I am so proud of her and the progress she has made. Three cheers for Girl!!

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