I’ll be back to read blogs and post some more this afternoon with lunch!
Friday By Request
Originally posted on Yahoo 360, April 27, 2007
Welcome back to Friday By Request, a week and half a day late, but here! To make up for waiting, this one is a long one! Chalicat asked for a story, a specific story. “Since you are a kitty mom and a kitty step-mom...what is your favorite story about your cats?”
Well, I have just a ton of cat stories! But this one is kinda special. The blog-novel you’re about to read is a story of a Michigan lady who was living with two lovely feline girls and a story of a man named David who was busy with 2 boys of his own.
Hiding From The Heat – Girls VS Boys!
Last summer I was still living at my Dad’s house. There were long stretches of record heat and the central air conditioning had died. Dad had no intent on fixing it since not only was he planning to sell the house, but he was working on the west side of Michigan and staying with my brother. I was still living there with 16 year-old Azreal, my furry sister, and Alexis Kaline, the kitten David and I had rescued the fall before who lived with me.
The days were miserable and becoming more so. I would be on the computer job searching and dripping with sweat. The heat didn’t help the computer much either as it seemed to run slow and it threw more heat out it’s fan in the back. Added to my job hunt woes and my own dealing with the heat, the cats wouldn’t stay in the basement or at least on the slate floor on the main level of the house when I was upstairs. They wanted to be with me.
Azzie was medicated twice daily to help the seizures she had from the brain tumor she’d been diagnosed with when she was 10. Getting older, terminally ill and very hot, I worried about her a lot. She pretty much slept on the floor pillow in my office, only occasionally getting up to walk around just a little and then lay back down. Kaline’s water was in my bedroom, but generally she didn’t share well, so I moved water up in the office for Az, but she didn’t seem to drink much. Even Kaline, the spunky kitten wasn’t getting into things as much and her water consumption was way up.
On a Saturday that I had planned to go out with my girlfriends for a dinner and “girls only” games night, I almost didn’t want to go! I showered, a cold shower because I couldn’t bear the thought of being in a steamy room under hot water. When I got out, I instantly started to sweat. I was uncomfortable and really feared that there was no way I could even get a bra on! But, after looking at the thermostat which told me it was 89 degrees in the upstairs hallway, I decided that the entire thought of driving to Royal Oak in Dad’s air-conditioned SUV was too good to pass up. I wasn’t at all forgetting the girls at home. I knew with me not in the house, they’d retreat to the basement where it was cooler and safer for them.
I was worried about the cats, especially Az. They don’t sweat, they have no way to cool off more and that house was trapping the heat and holding it in. I was so afraid that the cooler, but not “cool” basement, extra water and fans wasn’t enough. I was, in addition to heat that was starting to make me loopy, dealing with immense guilt.
I talked to David on the phone at the end of our girls night evening from Heather’s place. He said they were calling for high 90s Sunday and suggested that I might consider staying there. I voiced my concern about the cats and told him I needed to give Azzie her medicine in the morning. He said “Why don’t you stay there tonight then and in the morning, pack up the girls and bring them here?”
“Are you serious?” I asked. “All four cats in one house?”
“Yeah. It’s better for you and the girls.”
So, Sunday morning I packed up my clothes, cat dishes, food, a few toys and Azzie’s medicine and loaded them in the truck. I also took Kaline’s litter box. Baggle and Chester had two in the basement, but I was concerned that Az might have trouble going up and down the stairs because they were steeper than the ones in my Dad’s house. We could leave Kaline’s smaller box in the bathroom on the main level so Az could stay away from doing stairs if she didn’t want to. I pulled out the cat carrier they shared. I had no intention of putting them both in one carrier for the hour and a quarter to Toledo. It wasn’t a big carrier and, beyond comfort, if Azzie had a seizure it could be dangerous for Kaline. Both of the girls had claws on all four paws. So, Azzie traveled in the picnic basket. The wicker basket was large as picnic baskets go and tall. While it was on it’s last legs as a picnic basket, it would work fine to carry a cat that had never been over 7.5 pounds and had lost weight in the last year.
Putting Azzie in the basket was pretty easy, she was a pretty passive old lady and lethargic from the heat. I started Dad’s SUV, which I was driving at the time, to get it cooled off and put the basket on the floor of the passenger’s side. First mistake is loading the easy one first.
Kaline, after seeing Aunt Azzie loaded into the basket and taken outside wanted nothing to do with getting in the carrier. She ran. She ran from me and all over the house. It was already 90 degrees inside. I didn’t want to chase her up and down the levels of Dad’s sprawling quad-level home!
I tried the always works standard, telling her “Goodbye Kaline!” When I’d leave, she’d run as if to say “Catch me if you want to scritch me goodbye,” when I’d say goodbye, like it didn’t matter if I did, she’d run back to me as if to say, “hey! Don’t leave without giving me a scritch!” This time, nothing doin! She knew if she came back, she was going in the carrier. I had caught her once but she squirmed away and made a run for it and disappeared.
At this point I was becoming delirious from the heat and sat on the steps beginning to cry. Then suddenly I remembered that I had left the car running and Azzie in the basket! I went outside and turned off the car. A sniff inside told me that Azzie had used the basket as a littler box!
I took the basket back in and let Az out. She messed on her afghan on the bottom but it hadn’t seeped through to the basket. I took the afghan out and washed it. Then I replaced it with a towel for her to lie on. Then low and behold, Kaline resurfaced!
I grabbed the kitten before she realized that I was reaching for her and stuffed her in the carrier. Whew! Success! This time I took the carrier out and strapped it into the passenger’s seat, Kaline crying all the while. I turned the car back on getting the air pumping back in. Then I went in and repeated the easier task of collecting Azzie and putting the basket back in the car.
The trip wasn’t so eventful. I propped the top of the basket and positioned the carrier so the girls could see each other and me. They calmed down and seemed to just pretty much relax in the air-conditioned car. Kaline complained every now and then because Aunt Azzie could poke her whole head out of the basket and she couldn’t get out of the carrier.
When we got to David’s all three of us refreshed a bit from the air-conditioned trip. David came out to help get the girls in the house so they could meet Chester and Baggle and acclimate a bit. We set the carrier and basket down on the floor so the boys could have a sniff. I opened the basket and took Azzie out. David opened the carrier door.
Baggle is amazed at “Aunt Enigma”
Chester and Baggle seemed amazed at “Aunt Enigma.” Azzie’s medicine changed her body chemistry to the point where she didn’t smell like a cat to other animals. After adjusting to this critter that looked like a cat but couldn’t possibly be a cat, the boys got along well with Az. Kaline was another story!
Kaline stayed in the carrier for a while. As I recall, we finally had to dump her out of it. As Chester neared her for a sniff she hissed and Baggle took off upstairs. Chester hissed back. There was posturing and more hissing. Then they left in opposite directions.
We put Kaline’s box in the downstairs bathroom and showed the girls where that box was and the basement boxes. Azzie seemed to like the basement, maybe too much. I carried her upstairs and she went back down! Every time I carried her back up, she’d end up back downstairs. Actually, I was worried about her. She’d get in to the very open, since the flooding the day before we found Kaline, main room of the unfinished basement and just paced in large circles.
Upstairs. Chester was taking charge of the territory. That was odd because Baggle and Kaline are the alpha cats of their respective houses, but I guess with Baggle hiding from strange cats like he does when there are strange people in his house, Chester had to step up and keep the “bitchy girl” from taking over!
The first night we were all there, David and I went to bed with the boys upstairs. I’d brought Azzie up to the top floor to be near me but she only stayed a while and went back downstairs. I waited for Kaline to come in and curl up on my hip like she usually does, but she wasn’t there. David told me not to worry because she was probably just checking out the new place. He guessed that she’d be upstairs in the morning. So after a few futile attempts at calling “Kitty Kaline! Come to bed!” we went to sleep.
Chester says the kitten interloper is staying down!
In the morning the boys were upstairs, but no girls. I found out they both stayed in the basement. I wasn’t sure why Kaline didn‘t want to sleep with me and thought maybe she thought Aunt Azzie needed company or protection. I came to find out why she didn’t come upstairs on night two.
After a day of continued growling, hissing and posturing, night two came. There was a standoff in the hall in front of the bedroom. Kaline was in the landing before the stairs and Chester and Baggle were in between that landing and the bedroom. There was much staring, leering and light growling. When there was a break in eye contact, Kaline made a mad dash bounding over or past the boys and jumping right onto the bed. She climbed up on my hip and just sat there without purring, glaring at her brothers. In the morning, she was still on the bed. Chester and Baggle had managed to successfully hold the blockade for one night. That’s all it took for Kaline to adjust to her situation and take charge. The first couple weeks were rough trying to convince the kids to get along, but it worked out okay. Kaline made it clear, “I sleep with Mommy and Daddy, got it?” Baggle made his statement too, “The food is mine except for what I let you have.” Chester insisted, “As long as I get my share, whatever, Mom and Dad will take care of me.” And they all seemed to agree that we’ll be nice to the old lady that doesn’t smell like a cat, but acts like a wise old feline.