Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hail the Conquering Hero Returns!!!

A few PS's, written after the fact, in reply to comments ......

PS #1: Fortunately, UNLIKE US, Fluffy and Noodle's (who we found out were actually named Buddy and Madge) owner DID HAVE the sense God gave a goose and had a rabies tag on one of them. We kept them in our garage over night (another reason I was worried Blackie would never return .... what if he came back and the garage smelled like two strange dogs???) and then called the vet's office the next day. They gave me the owner's name and number, and he was here, gratefully, by noon to pick them up and take them home. As happy as he was to see his two dogs, believe me, *I* was happier to see *HIM* !!

PS #2: Re. declawing ..... wow. I had no idea. I have never had a cat as a pet my entire life. (Literally, in my entire life. Never. Not even a kitten as a kid. The only person who is LESS of a cat-person than me was my mom. No cats in our house growing up. Just a big, goofy boxer named Patty who I still miss to this day.) So truly, I had no idea about the de-clawing. I assumed it was as benign as having an animal micro-chipped ..... Although I know several families whose cats are de-clawed and they don't seem to have any problem, hmmmm. I read the articles you guys sent, and considered it. More than articles, however, I trust the opinion of Lauren, mom to Fergus, who I have "known" online for several years. The articles had me re-considering the procedure .... her comments sealed the deal. We will know, in a good-faith attempt, keep Blackie inside *with* claws, purchasing a scratching post (or two ... maybe one upstairs and one downstairs?), check into the scent-thing, and will place the slickiest blankets I can find on the furniture so that if the cat *does* try to claw and stretch he will slip off the furniture and fall on his fat little head. I am a FIRM behavior in behavior modification if it will help!

Plus, the other arguments are sound --- he might despise being indoors; he might not hurt the furniture like I assumed he would; the possible ramifications of the surgery bother me; with Barley around, it seems only fair to leave the cat one form of self-defense! (Barley LOVES him ..... I'm just not sure yet the admiration is mutual.)

So thank you, genuinely, for the information, oh Peoples of the Internet. I had no idea, and have been enlightened. I thank you, and Blackie thanks you. We'll give this indoor-cat-with-claws thing a go.

***********************************************
Although really, I'm not sure a stray cat can be considered a conquering hero --- but after seven days and seven nights, Blackie has come home!!!!!!!!!

(I seriously don't think there can be an overuse of the exclamation point at this time.)

We had tears, we had stress, we had wailing and gnashing of teeth, we had vivid imaginations gone horribly wrong. We also had three erroneous neighborhood sightings this past week --- one where a lady called after seeing the "lost cat" signs we posted, to tell me there was an extremely thin stray cat in her yard, and was the cat we were looking for mal-nourished? I think she was trying to find a polite way to ask if we actually fed the thing ..... I was able to reassure her that actually, the vet had recommended he LOSE a few pounds, so definitely not ours.

One when my sister called to tell us they were parked a few blocks away and had Blackie in their eyesight .... Blaine and the kids hurried over, only to realize the cat wasn't Blackie at all.

Later that same night I thought I saw him a few blocks away in the other direction, and again, Blaine and the kids rushed to the scene. Again, wrong cat.

In hindsite, we've discovered there is an inordinately large number of stray black cats in this neighborhood. And that despite living in my garage for the past year, technically, I wasn't exactly sure what he looked like. I guess when you've seen one black cat, you think you've seen them all.

Tonight, before bed, Kellen went to the back door to set the alarm. The back door and the door to the garage are in the same corner at the bottom of the stairs, and he could hear meowing coming from the garage. Disbelieving, he opened the door and viola! Blackie, asking to be let inside!

He's a few pounds lighter, but not terribly worse for the wear. He's either been fairly successful at digging in garbage cans this past week, or managed to wrangle hand-outs from a kind neighbor or two. And he didn't immediately fall upon the food and water in the garage, so I'm certain he's been fed somehow, somewhere.

The first thing we did was lock the pet-door so it no longer opens. Yeah, ok, maybe "freedoms just another word for nothin left to lose, And nothin aint worth nothin but its free........" Well, Blackie's freedom is OVER. We are not about to go through this again. Tomorrow we will manage collar, tag, purchase a litter box, and call the vet to schedule the de-clawing. And maybe this makes us cold, heartless humans who are nipping his Freedom in the Wild and Born to be Free spontenaiety, but I don't care. Instead, I'm going to tell myself it's called "responsible pet ownership" .... even if he doesn't want to technically be "owned". I can't take the stress of the cat going missing again, and I will willingly and cheerfully vacuum the cat hair of our "new, inside" pet.

Thank you to whoever suggested putting personal items outside to help the cat orient himself home with the scent. I don't know if that's what brought him home, or if he just got tired of roaming the streets (and no, he wasn't looking for a lady cat because *that* was taken care of before he ever came our way ....) but we're SO happy he's home.

(huge sigh of relief)

And I don't even *like* cats! Who could imagine I would be so stinking happy to see this one again?!?!?

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now that Blackie is home again, are you planning to keep Fluffy & Noodles?

Anonymous said...

Yeah!!! I know the kids were very excited.
Rena'

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled for you (and Brayden!) that the cat is back.

But...HOW IS BLAINE???

Rita

hayleymaygray said...

Glad to hear Blackie is back safe and sound!

Before you make his vet appointment, please read this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onychectomy

Anonymous said...

Congrats on Blackie's return! You must be very relieved! PLEASE don't declaw him, though...it is just a cruel, cruel practice. Imagine getting your fingers and toes amputated. See this link: http://cats.about.com/od/declawing/tp/reasonsnot.htm It's easy to keep a cats claws trimmed and avoid the torture. Again, I'm very happy for you and the kids that Blackie is home safe!!

Anonymous said...

Since the cruelty of declawing is being debated already, I want to share this snippit that came from the link some here posted:

"Examples of human medical conditions where declawing the person's cat is considered necessary include individuals with AIDS, diabetes, those with cancer who are taking chemotherapy, and organ transplant recipients taking anti-rejection medications. In such cases, the procedure of declawing a cat is more likely to be tolerated by veterinarians. It is considered more appropriate to respect the animal-human bond between the patient and the cat, than to take the cat away from the owner."

May I remind everyone that not only did Kristie's daughter have cancer, but her husband did as well and is currently in treatment.

I think it is wonderful Kristie took in the cat that someone else obviously ditched and is concerned enough about the cat's well-being to make changes to protect the cat. Let's not assume she is cruel and is acting in both her familys' and the cats best interest.

Rita

jojo said...

Yay Blackie! Now what happens to the other two you found a few days ago?

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristie, sorry but I need to put my 2 cents in in regard to the declawing as well. I do understand Ritas point about the possibility that it may be necessary for Blaines health which should come first of course, but I think this would only be applicable if the cat actually scratches. I can't think of any other reason why this would be a problem for an immun supressed person other than that a scratch could get infected. Not every cat uses its claws in play with their human so I would consider this as well. I have a story about a declawed cat of a former co-worker: The cat was generally kept in the house but frequently went out on the Patio, one day a dog came by and started hunting the cat, the cat tried to get away in climbing a tree but since she didn't have claws she couldn't and the dog actually bit her to death. The owner was devastated of course. I really think it is worth to think twice about doing this, especially since you can't be sure how Blackie will except the house arrest, I know my cat would find a way out and out in the big bad world she can certainly use her claws ;-). Also with her there is no problem in regard to scatching furniture or anything, she uses her scratching post for that. Anyway and I second Rita we would really like to know how Blaine is doing. Candy

Stephanie D. said...

OMG Kristie - I lost my beloved cat 20 months ago (but who's counting)... and I still do a double take when I see a cute little grey cat in the s/d. *sigh*

SO glad Blackie came home. :)

Oh and don't worry about taking his freedom away. When I got my new cat 16 months ago I immediately made her an inside cat ONLY. She has never been outside and never will. I've lived thru the heartache once - never again.

Glad your story turned out so happy!!

Rita said...

I'm glad the advice about putting out your stuff worked. Like I said, we lost our cat twice and this worked. The first time he came back he was covered in pine tree pitch so he must have been treed. The next time it took him 28 days to come back (he's not that bright) and he dropped from 17 pounds to 10 pounds so they figure he was treed most of the time. Maybe that's a dieting technique I could try.....

Rita

Lauren said...

That's so cool Blackie came back! Two years ago, our cat Doce disappeared for 2 weeks, then showed up a little thin. I still remember the relief and joy I felt watching her walk across the yard. Then this year her brother Ocho was killed by a car. The kids bounced back when they got a new kitten, but I still grieve when I think of him. It's what makes the indoor/outdoor decision so complicated. And really the answer is, it depends on the cat. Some cats can be quite happy being indoors only. Sometimes it helps, when making a stray cat an indoor cat, to make sure there are good climbing and scratching places right away--they like to get up high. And ask your vet about Feliway, in a diffuser. Laugh if you must, but it really helps: it's a synthetic version of the pheromone cats release from their cheeks when they are happy and calm. Real live veterinary behaviorists use it in situations that might be stressful--moving/adding a cat/making an outdoor cat indoor. It looks like a plug-in air freshener, but only the cat smells it. I promise it's not a scam :)

As for the declawing, you'll get even more comments, I suspect. As a vet, this is what I tell people (not that you asked, but, hey what are comments for?)...our practice does do it, though I stopped doing it after the first year because I didn't feel right about it; it is not a simple benign surgery (some people think it is because declawing doesn't sound so bad), it is an amputation of 10 toes; it is much better tolerated if done in a young cat; older cats can handle the surgery if truly necessary, but it is imperative to have pretty serious pain control for the first few days (you should hear things like some combination of: buprenorphine, Fentanyl patch, Metacam, maybe even nerve block, from your vet); some adult cats will have chronic nerve pain afterward, but some will be 100% fine.

And if you can, I'd try having Blackie indoors for a couple of weeks before the surgery, for 2 reasons. You might find he is impossible to keep inside--some cats once they realize they can't get out become enormous pains--yowling, attacking doors, even expressing frustration by getting cranky with family. If he gets like that, you could end up needing him to be out sometimes, and it would be better if he had claws. Also, has he proven himself to be a furniture or human scratcher already, or are you just figuring he will? Because some cats really do limit themselves to scratching posts, as long as they have enough of them.

Congrats on his return; feel free to ask me any questions if you like (free vet advice via the Internet, now that sounds reliable...). Hope I didn't sound preachy--just making sure you have the facts!

Lauren

Missy K said...

Woohoo!! So happy Blackie came home. I have checked every day hoping to see this post.

I am glad you rethought the declawing for now. My cat went from an outside to inside cat & we never really had any issues with her scratching where she isn't supposed to. When she first came "in", we kept a small spray bottle of water & if she tried to scratch where she wasn't supposed to (or tried to get on counters, etc.) we just gave her a little spritz accompanied by a stern "No". Very soon just the "No" worked & in no time even that wasn't needed since she learned quick. :)

Stephanie from Portland said...

Hi Kristie,
My two cents: we put "glamour nails" on our cats and the scratching does minimal damage. They are rubber caps that go over the nails and you can get them at the vet or PetsMart. They don't hurt the cat, and they saved our furniture. I'm not exactly sure what the real name is, so we just call them glamour nails. you could just ask the vet.
Good luck with your new house mate!!

Laura in Michigan said...

Make sure you get Blackie checked for worms. Digging in garbage cans is a very good way to get those critters, and kitties look fat and sassy when they have them. Yuck.

P. Savetz said...

I adopted a cat that refused to be kept indoors. Yowling, destruction, it was horrible. We gave up after 3 weeks, maybe 4. At 3 in the morning I just couldn't take it and put her out. I think it's harder for the older ones. When we got a white kitten a few years ago we never let him out and he's fine, but if the cat is used to going outdoors? It very well may not work.

The Running Girl said...

I'm glad Blackie is home. I had a cat growing up that disappeared for a month before returning (we had moved out to the country and we think she tried to go back to our previous home). She lost her freedom after that and lived to be 17. Hopefully Blackie will have a long happy life with your family.

ACMSTheaterArts said...

Look on Amazon for the scratching posts. I got a huge tree house thing for our cats (we have four, we are officially cat people) on there and it was SO much cheaper than going to a pet store to get it.

Since we are cat people, not only should you look into the cat scent (feliway is what we use) but you can also get this additive for the litter box called Cat Attract that makes them LOVE the litter box.

We've tried several behavior modification things with the baby coming to keep them off of the crib and with three of our cats we found they HATE tinfoil... the sound, the feel of it... so you might try that too.

Ryley said...

I am sooo glad you rethought the declawing.. i dont think people have any idea that they actually cut their toes off.. ouch!!!

I second the nomination for claw caps. My sister in law uses them and they are great! Look into them...

Lisa from IA said...

Please be sure to ask your vet to deworm Blackie, just in case his "on the road" food wasn't USDA approved. Trust me. We found out the hard way after our black cat returned from being AWOL for 6 months. Good luck and congratulations!

lizinsumner said...

Wow - I'm so glad he's back - but, uhm, as a lifetime cat person, I have to say good luck with trying to keep an indoor/outdoor cat inside all of the time. See, the thing about cats is that no one ever really OWNS them - it's more like you LIVE with them. And although they may love you dearly (or they wouldn't "LET" you feed and care for them!!), they are very much their own person (well, cat).....and, if they don't want to stick around, there's not much you can do to make them stick around. It's taken me years, because I was once Brayden's age too and believe me, I know where she (and you) are coming from - but now my cats (and I presently only "have" one - Elvis)are very "loosely held", if that makes any sense.......

As for declawing?? Never had the heart to do it to any of "my" cats, although I inherited more than one that had already been declawed. I never have problems with cats clawing - but then, I let them go outside and I think they keep their destructive tendencies confined to outside. I also have never had a problem with my male cats spraying....maybe I've just been lucky. Elvis, who currently "owns" us, is VERY laid back........

Renee said...

Welcome home, Blackie!

Anonymous said...

It's totally not impossible to keep a formerly outdoors cat inside...both of my adopted cats used to be strays, but have no problem being totally indoor cats now. In fact, even if we leave the door open, they both walk right past it without even thinking about going out. With 3 kids, it seems like Blackie will get plenty of play time, and getting a tall cat-scratch post can help you kill two birds with one stone - tt will help with keep the nails short/make sure Blackie isn't tempted to scratch elsewhere, AND give him something to climb on. Good luck!

Susan said...

Yay for Blackie's return! As for the claws, as a couple commenters already said, not all cats scratch at the furniture. I had cats growing up, and my mom insisted that they always be declawed. When my husband and I got two of our own, we decided against it since I now knew more about the procedure. And so far, it hasn't been a problem. They just don't scratch at the furniture.

The only problem we have is that one of them likes to knead your lap for about 5 minutes before she finally settles (and can't help but stick her claws out as she does so). It's fine though, as long as you have a thick blanket over your legs before she starts.

As for scratching posts, I've found my cats always prefer the tall, sturdy ones so they can really stretch as they scratch.

Good luck and I'm so glad he's home!

Susan said...

Oops -- I forgot to add that a squirt bottle is great to have on hand if he does start scratching a the furniture -- they especially hate it when you squirt them in the face.

Gina said...

I also used a squirt bottle with my cats. It doesn't take long before you don't even have to squirt them. Mine stop what ever they are doing when I pick up the bottle now.

Anonymous said...

Here is one more pitiful story for you to read that is confirming that it is difficult to keep a previously indoor/outdoor cat indoors all the time. We inherited our one and only cat ever from a friend who let Thumper in/out and we were indoor people with him. Let's just say that it did not work. As hard as we tried to keep him in ~ he tried harder to get out! We had a crack in the window once when we were draining our waterbed with a hose (back when we could sleep on one and not have our bodies aching in the morning)and that little booger squeezed out the hole and into the wide world of fun and fleas. Oh the pain of fleas. Glad to hear that your kitty is back!
Tammy in Ohio

Cindi said...

We never envisioned ourselves as "cat" people. However, that changed as soon as we found a mouse in our brand new house. The initial purpose of getting a cat was to take care of the mouse.

Then we fell in love with her. It didn't hurt that she turned out to be a great mouser!

We got her from the shelter, and a year later got another kitten from the shelter. And a year later, a male gray cat showed up on our back porch. Yes, we had him checked out and neutered and brought him inside.

The female cats are spayed, but none of the three are declawed. We just couldn't do it. Check out one of our recliners http://anotherdayinmylife-cindi.blogspot.com/2008/10/our-chair.html

It's okay though...we really don't mind because they've brought us so much joy. We can always purchase another recliner if we have to, but our felines can NEVER be replaced!

Tiffany said...

i wanted to tell you kristie about soft paws,we have a cat that we put them on so she cant claw the furniture. works really good.. i found them in petsmart

Katie said...

I am SO glad to hear Blackie is home!!!

We've had 4 cats in our house and no issues with clawing the furniture. They have a place on each floor that we encourage them to scratch. It's the kids that are killing the furniture, LOL.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to hear that Blackie is home again! I know what a relief that is! I hope he'll be happy inside. It seems like once they have had a taste of outside it's really hard to keep them in all the time. We currently have 4 cats. Two are inside/outside and two are only outside (they were previously feral). The inside/outside cats are declawed on the front paws and can still climb trees and fences just like any other cat. They were both declawed as kittens and had no problems. I did do the research and knew what I was doing. We also had an older cat that we adopted years ago that started clawing furniture. We had her declawed as well, and she lived a long, happy life. Our vet's philosophy is that he'd much rather see a cat be allowed to happily live in the house than to be thrown outside because he's ruining furniture. Anyway, I'm glad he's back!! :)

Gayle in AL

Anonymous said...

Funny story- When we took in our stray cat who we thought for sure belonged to someone in the neighborhood because she was wearing a flea collar.(Two weeks later after posting signs and searching high and low for her owner one of my daughter's friends came over and said Oh that cat used to hang around my house. My Mom gave it that flea collar so that she wouldn't spread fleas to our cats.!)Anyway, I was not so worried about the furniture but the fact that my kids looked like 'cutters' because they had so many scratches up and down their arms. The stray was older so we were afraid we would kill the cat having her declawed so we opted for soft claws. They are available at pet stores and you simply glue them on the cat's claws. They fit right over the claw and stay on for quite a while until the nail grows and sheds. They come in fun colors too and look like little fake finger nails. It worked great for us. Our stray was kind of mellow and we would put them on when she was sleepy and snuggly. It saved the furniture and the kids reputations. ha ha

After spending oodles of money on this stray, we finally had to put her to sleep because of health issues. We replaced her with another stray from the Humane Society and we did have him declawed. He is fine. He can catch lizards with the best of them and defend himself, climb trees, etc. They definitely adapt so if you do decide to go that route, don't feel too guilty.

Anonymous said...

Have had indoor cats since 1984. Would never let them outdoors -- too dangerous.
They have a happy life indoors!

beanieb said...

I own two cats and one of them has deformed paws. She only has two toes to each paw and cannot retract her claws like a normal cat. One of the claws is a double. When I got her, the no-kill shelter that had rescued her had been trimming her nails. So I kept up the practice. We have cat scissors that I use on her and my other cat. There was only one arm of an old old sofa that my other cat did scratch and somewhat shred the material of (a friend's old couch who had cats as well). Other than that, we have owned them now for 7 years and have never had anything destroyed tdue to them scratching. We have a circular thing with a ball on the outer edges and a cardboard scratchpad that is repaceable in the center. With a little bit of catnip sprinkled on it and a light up LED ball this is their favorite toy. They actually lay overtop of it when they aren't scratching. I'm so glad to see that you have reconsidered not getting Blackie declawed. For 4 or 5 dollars you can buy the scissors and do it yourself. Just take off the "hooks" you can see the pink in the nail where the bloodline is, just steer clear of that and you'll do fine! Congrats on getting Blackie back. I bet the kids are thrilled to have him home and inside!