Saturday, July 30, 2005

Love for Sale

...or, rather, Love for adoption.

We are reluctantly trying to find a new home for our youngest kitty, whose name means Love. Which is to say that we haven't yet tried at all, despite an offer from one of my brothers to take Love to live with him and his dog.

Love would do just fine with a doggy companion. But he needs what my brother can't give him: access to the outdoors.

Love is a beautiful, sleek, lilac-point Siamese with periwinkle eyes and a pale fawn coat. He also was slightly insane before we finally granted him access to the outdoors two years ago.

When able to go outdoors once a day, he's the perfect kitty. He's energetic and healthy, but also enough of a coward to keep himself out of harm's way. Upon returning from a day's jaunt, his needs are few. A bite of kibble. A nap. The chance to snuggle in my lap.

Sadly for Love, the vet ordered him converted to an indoor kitty, on account of the pregnant lady in the house. (We live near a woods that harbor summer ticks, and apparently the Advantage anti-tick treatment doesn't deal with tick nymphs.) Love cannot understand why his outdoor privileges were revoked, and so he spends the mornings racing around the house, wailing.

No. Not wailing. Screaming is more like it.

Love howls and rages like an angry infant. Or six. (For such a little kitty, he has powerful lungs.) He stands by the door and commands it to open. He stares up at me and says many a bad word.

Sometimes I can soothe him by holding him tight. By whispering his name and stroking his nose. Sometimes he'll fall asleep in my arms. But, twenty minutes later, he's shrieking again like one possessed.

So I try to distract him with cat toys. With an open window. With cat nip. (Bad cat mommy. But it works.) At a moment of peak frustration yesterday, I carried him to the bathroom, deposited him in the dry tub, and closed the shower curtain. This baffled him enough to produce a few minutes of silence.

Since we now live in an apartment, I worry a lot about our neighbors. After all, the walls are thin. How thin, you may ask? So thin, that when the woman next door sneezes, I have to suppress the urge to call out "Bless you!"

And I worry about Love. He's a good kitty, and, although I agonized about the decision to let him roam outdoors, there is no denying that it made him a much happier animal. He loves the stimulation of new sights and smells. And he loves to roam free in the mornings. I comprehend the enormity of what we've forced him to give up.

Our other two, more rotund, cats are very much at peace with life indoors. They sit on the windowsills and sniff the air. They do not ask to go out.

Geezer Cat sleeps through Love's rants. He's lived with them before, back when Love, then an abandoned kitten, first came to stay with him and Adam in their old apartment.

Poor G. is less certain what to do with Love's meltdowns. He surreptitiously trails Love around the apartment. He looks at me, imploring: "Make him stop!"

Early this morning, when Love sprang onto the bed with hysterical cries, G. had finally had enough. Looking as stern as a fluffy grey kitty can, G. sat up on hind legs — and bopped Love on the head.

Startled to silence, Love licked G. on the nose, as if in thanks. Then the two of them curled up and went to sleep.

Feeling groggy and grateful to G., I stroked Love’s face and thought: “How can we give you up?” And then: “How can we not?


At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might try Feliway and see if it works. I bought the plug-in diffuser, and to be honest, didn't see much of an improvement in our part-Siamese who's happier living outside, but other people have reported great success with Feliway's cat-calming properties.

When we moved from a house with a yard to a small apartment, we found a product called "Happy Cat" that was some flower-essencey thing that you put in their water. It was pretty amazing, but I haven't seen it in years.

Maybe someone could take Love just until tick season is over? I mean, I don't know where you live, but it's got to get cold sometime, right?

At 12:22 PM, Blogger YelloCello said...

Thank you for this tip! I hadn't heard of Feliway. We may try that this week.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger PPB said...

now can he become outdoor kitty again after his 9 months quarantine?

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Terminaldegree said...

You might ask your vet is there are ways to help him. (My kitty was put on antidepressants for a short period of time when he was sick, and he was one very mellow cat!)

When my cat will not shut up (usually at 2 am), I get out the squirt gun. He takes one look at it, clams up, and goes back to sleep. I don't even have to use the thing.

Poor little guy.

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous YelloCello said...

Geezer cat woke me up this morning by yurking on my Nana's beloved carpet. Love is screaming as I type this. I need some Feliway, a squirt gun, and maybe a mood enhancer for myself, right quick!

I'm not sure about Love's future as an outdoor kitty. We are thinking about approaching a former neighbor who once offered to take him in, but then had to rescind the offer when their cat became very ill. (That cat has since passed away.) We might ask if they would be willing to keep Love for a few months, during which time we would pay for all his food, litter, and vet expenses. (Finances are not an issue for these neighbors, but that only seems fair.) By next spring, they could decide to keep Love, if they've become very attached. (Hard to contemplate, but that only seems fair.) One plus: these neighbors are very, very good to cats -- as evidenced by the way they greet other people's cats on their neighborhood rounds and by the cat they tenderly cared for from birth to age 21! Only problem with this plan: these "neighbors" live back in the state we just left. Other problem: I think it would be up to me to drive the several hours each way... 'cause A. has slipped into a state of denial on Love's unhappiness these days.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Would he abide a harness? And if so, could you leash him and let him be out in a non-tick yard for a while? I know that sounds just nutty, but we used that method to transition our outdoor kitty into an indoor kitty when we moved to a house by a busy street. And he's part Siamese, so yeah. I understand the yowling. And I've heard great things about Feliway, too.

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