Aby-a-Day – May 2: More Hallway Adventures (Hipstamatic Monday)

When I get home from work, I need to scoop the litter boxes and feed the cats their nightly can of wet food. In between these two chores, I have to take the bag of litter box scoopings out to the garbage room. Jacoby generally accompanies me and then we have a little free-range hallway time. I prefer to have this one-on-one time with him, but occasionally Tessie will come along. I don’t like to take out more than two at a time, because it becomes exponentially more difficult to keep track of them all.

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Basically, it’s like herding cats.

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Which I am actually fairly good at, but just because you have a knack for something doesn’t mean you really want to do it all the time.

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But lately, both Tessie and Angel have been insisting to be let out with Jake, and it’s hard to say no to them. It’s especially hard to not let shy, skittish Angel out when she asks, because it’s so rare.

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She doesn’t often feel secure enough inside our apartment to parade with her banner tail held high!

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Seeing it aloft in unfamiliar territory is just such a miracle!

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Especially in the presence of Tessie, with whom she still has the most strained relationship.

Not so smooth tranistion…

The other day, I sent my husband the following email:
How was the baby this morning? I forgot to tell you she comes running up to the door when I get home…and then when I open the bedroom door, she RUNS back and jumps on the bed and hides behind the comforter…so cutey!

He responded with the following:
I found Kylie tip-toeing stalking towards the baby in the bed while I was brushing my teeth. I spanked Kylie lightly and she ran away sulking, really timid even when I made treat-shaking noises. Eventually, she came out slowly from under chairs and ate the treats very quietly. Hope she’s learning.

She’s not though. Tonight, I had the bedroom door open (we’ve been keeping them apart while we’re at work) and Angel…it was so sad! She ran up to Kylie all, “hey, hiya!” and Kylie responded with flat ears, hissing and hitting Angel with her paws! I yelled at her, and when I gave Angel her canned food, Kylie didn’t get any…but it’s looking like Kylie (who was the first to accept Gun-Hee) is the stopping point, not Tessie.

It breaks my heart though. Angel wants to be friends but the “mean girls” won’t let her in…

Angel’s First Week in Boston

I picked up Angel a week ago today, Friday, 10 October. and I drove to Pleasanton to meet Angel’s foster mom, Karen, and her cats. We got there at 7pm and Karen welcomed us into her home. First we met Karen’s resident cats, including her two Abys Megan (15 year old Ruddy Aby) and Cody (4 year old Ruddy Aby. Then we went upstairs to meet Angel and Tino, who were quarantined in one bedroom. Tino was a lover! We had to put him into the closet for a while as he wouldn’t let us give Angel any attention. We also saw Buffy, another Fawn Aby rescue and her two seven-week-old kittens Rusty (Red) and Lucy (Fawn). They were quarantined in the bathroom because of ringworm, but the kittens were so cute! And Buffy was so protective of them; when she saw us peeking over the “fence” into the bathroom, she’d glower at us and stand infront of her kittens. Karen also had another momma Fawn in another room who had one-week-old kittens, but we didn’t get to see her. We spent two hours there, looking at and playing with all the cats.

Finally we bundled Angel into the carrier I bought for her, made by PETote. I can honestly say that this is the best cat carrier I’ve ever used. We buckled her into the backseat and drove to my mom’s house. Angel talked during the entire trip.

Saturday, Angel explored my mom’s house, climbing up to the top of the cat tree and walking along the top of the sliding glass doors. I will post photos when I get a chance. I also managed to clip her claws with minimal bloodshed (she tried to launch off my solar plexus before I’d gotten to her back feet, so I got one good gouge from her).

On Sunday we flew back to Boston. The flight left at 2:30 so we were planning on leaving the house at 1, and I was planning to give Angel her Benedryl at 12:30. She did not want to take her Benedryl at 12:30 or any other time, and, let me tell you, Abys are strong. They’re also wiry and slippery. It took both my mom and I a few tries to get the half-pill a) in her mouth and b) down her throat – we managed a) about six times before we managed to achieve b), and I got another wicked gouge on the palm of my left hand. While clipped claws are less sharp than unclipped claws, they are still claws and, just as you can get a bad cut from a plastic butter knife (trust me on this one), they can do a bit of damage if they hit you just so. She also wailed like a banshee til my ears rang. Siamese have gotten a bad rap; I have never heard a Siamese howl the way Angel did when I was trying to give her her pill. Mom’s boycats, all twice her size, looked nervous, as males tend to do when confronted with a furious, screaming female. Of course, once she finally swallowed the pill, she was fine.

The Benedryl had absolutely no effect on her, which I’ll expand on later.

We went to the airport, Angel yelling the whole time that she was being kidnapped and OMG stranger danger! Seriously, Abys > Siamese in the screaming department. I went through security, which was fun; you have to take pets out of their carriers to go through the metal detector. At least she didn’t squirm out of my hands or anything dramatic like that…but she yelled in the waiting area, she yelled as I was boarding, and she yelled as I walked through the plane to my seat. I felt like I was running some sort of gauntlet, but at the same time, I felt like I was finally getting revenge for all those screaming babies and little kids kicking the backs of my seats all these years. Angel continued to yell during takeoff, but then quieted down and remained quiet until we started the landing approach in Denver, when she started yelling again.

She continued to yell as I got off the plane, and as I walked to the next gate. I had a little folding box and some litter so I set up on the changing table to see if she needed to go to the bathroom. She didn’t seem to, but she did like being out of the bag for a little bit. All too soon I had to put her back inside and when I did, the yelling started back up. She wasn’t so bad getting on in Sacto, but getting off and back on in Denver really upset her. She was YELLING (She is louder than any Siamese I’ve ever known when she wants to be), and trying to force her way out of the bag (she’s 7.5lbs and all muscle; I think she’s stronger than I am).

She was quiet under the seat while we were actually in flight, but not in the waiting area. Worse, all the other people waiting to board could hear her, and I was getting a lot of “Oh god, please don’t sit next to me” looks.

If there was ever a time I needed to get on board and get settled, this was it. So I went up and politely explained that I had this yelling, squirming cat who would quiet down as soon as she was back under the seat, so I was requesting the preboarding.

And the flight attendent told me I “couldn’t preboard.” Not because Angel was a cat and not a child, but because “I was in an aisle seat.”

WTF? I asked what difference that made, and didn’t get a very good response, other than they wanted to seat the window seats first. I asked what would happen if she were an infant and I was sitting in the aisle seat, and didn’t get an answer at all. While I waited for my group to board (we were Group 4 – out of 4!) Angel was telling everyone in earshot that she was being kidnapped and to call the FBI. Whee, fun.

When I finally got onto the plane and was making my way up the aisle to my seat, Angel decided to get herself tangled up in her harness and the inside of the carrier. As marvelous as it is, this carrier does have a design flaw; there’s an inside pocket and it’s only attached at top and bottom. The sides are open and an arm – or a cat – can go through it. So this + harness + inside hook to keep her inside in case the carrier is opened = really pissed off, scared kitty. I didn’t think it was possible, but she started yelling even louder and more frenzied. And I still had to walk past half the airplane. I tried to explain that she was just tangled up inside, and that once I got her free she’d quiet down, and the male flight attendent said, snottily, “Oh, we all hope so.”

(Oh, yes, I plan to write a letter to United.)

Luckily, I was seated near a pack of cat people. One helped me get Angel untangled (she’d done something with the clip and I wasn’t able to get it sorted on my own) and the couple sitting next to me were like, “Hey, beats a baby.” And she did calm down once we took off. But the Benedryl did absolutely nothing to calm her down.

After the traumatic trip, Angel’s settled in quite nicely. We’re taking her to the vet tomorrow (she’s been sneezing; I’m sure it’s a flare-up of her herpesvirus from the trip, but I want to make sure she’s all right) and then we can formally introduce her to Kylie and Tessie, which will be interesting.

Angel is a doll though. My husband fell in love with her the moment he saw her in person. She’s eating and drinking well, and she plays with toys and uses the box perfectly. When she’s happy, she purrs and rubs and headbutts with her whole body, and she’s slept in bed with us every night this week. She’s still a little skittish, and she still hides under furniture, but she’s blossoming more and more every day, and I have no doubt that by the end of the month it’ll be like she’s always lived with us.

I’ll try to post some photos of her this weekend.