Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Kitties!

Time to round out the coverage of the little ones. These are the cats who travelled with us from Tucson. The orange tabby at top is Marley, and our grey and white is Sugar Pants.
The trip with the cats went quite well. Last year I made the road trip from Tucson to Chicago(just under 1800 miles) with Hopper who spent most of the time riding shotgun in the front seat of the van with me. It went particularly well, I thought, because as a kitten Hopper (an Iowa kitten) made the trip with me before. This time with cats whose only travel experience was to the vet, I was pretty nervous, but they did great. My hints is to have them in their cages. I've seen people suggest they stay in the cage, but I would think that a little cruel for a multi-day trip. Of course, in the van, there was plenty of space for them to move around as well, and they also had access to food and water and a literbox, none of which we saw them use while we were in motion. After 45 minutes or so on the road we turned them out. Marley immediately looked for a hiding place, but Sugar Pants stayed in his cage. With time they wandered out, but really didn't enjoy looking out the window - the world moves a little to fast for them while in motion. But since both of these were truly lapcats, they came out for some attention and reassurance. Whenever we stopped for gas or snacks, we made sure they were in their cages so there was no chance of losing them in the wilderness somewhere. We stayed at Motel 6, who is pet friendly, where they ate and used the "facilities" thru the night. Marley was still mostly comfortable under the bed, but wasn't in a panic about it. In November we return to Tucson with 4 - now THAT may be an adventure!
Marley is about 10 years old. We got him as a kitten when we got Hannah - always seems to work best when introducing kittens to get 2 the same age so the young ones have someone to bond with while all the older cats are picking on them! I had brought Hannah back from Iowa, and at the time my wife Vicki was volunteering with an animal foster group. Marley came to her attention because he was ill - his fosterhome had a flea infestation and had been overmedicated with fleapowder for some time to the point he could hardly walk. So Vicki rescued him from his foster home and became part of our household. He is quite shy round strangers, but he is loving towards his owners - he sleeps next to me most nights and will take his turn on my lap watching TV at night. His only bad habit is that he "playfully" bites, sometimes not so playfully. I'm trying to discourage it, but he has done it for a long time, so I'm likely helpless. Probably my favorite cat - always nice to have a pet that wants to spend time with you!
Sugar Pants walked up to the house as a feral cat. Likely not a true feral as he tamed down quite quickly as he ate dry food in front of our house when he showed up about 4 years ago. He is a beautiful cat, and I couldn't come up with a name, then my housemate Erica started calling him Sugar Pants, so that is how the name came to be - blame her! Also friendly and outgoing, and also politely waits till your lap is empty before coming to get undivided attention. He also occasionally sleeps with me, but has the rather unpleasant habit of reaching out his paw and touching your face just as you are falling asleep. Sugar Pants is likely the first cat that will come up to visitors and say hi, so a little unusual in that respect.
Both these guys are friendly and don't start any quarrels in Tucson, so I thought they would do well in St Charles, but Melinda's two are definately picking on them. Sugar Pants is doing best, but Marley is quick to flee a confrontation, so Annie especially has been dominating him and making sure he mostly stays under the bed! It has only been 2 weeks so they'll learn to get along - Melinda's two will need friends when they move to Tucson!

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