Toilet Flushing Cat?

Yes, a toilet flushing cat… AKA my special cookie, Prometheus.

For some reason, Prometheus and Castiel love hanging out on the rug in the bathroom.  It’s not like it’s special or anything, nor does it contain magical secrets to the universe’s problems.  It is a plain, gray rug.  That has been bleached too many times and turned a reddish gray color.

Yesterday, Castiel was hanging out on this rug.  I sat on the edge of the bathtub and gave him head scratches.  He was purring like a motorboat and showed the belly.  While Cas was chatting and purring, Prometheus wobbled in and attacked Castiel’s exposed belly.  I pried Pro off Cas and scooted him toward the toilet.  (Castiel hates having other cats attack his belly.  He’s sensitive about his weight)

While I was paying attention to Castiel, Prometheus decided to hop on the toilet seat.  He stared at me for a few minutes, then huffed.  When I looked him directly in the eyes, his head started twitching side to side like a bobble head (common in CH cats).  Pro’s stare was intent.  Out of nowhere, he took out whatever frustration that had been building up on the toilet paper roll, tearing apart about half the roll of tissue.  While I started to clean that up, he stood on his hind legs and perched his front paws on the toilet tank.  Prometheus sat back down.  The he cocked his head (which started to wobble back and forth), staring intently on the handle of the toilet tank.  Lo and behold – Propro stood up and pushed down the handle with his left front paw.  He jumped a little and arched his back when flushing commenced.  Then he laid down on the toilet seat, keeping an eye on Castiel.

Prometheus never ceases to amaze me.

On another note…

I changed all the litter out of the cat boxes yesterday.  When I set up one of the boxes in the kitchen with clean litter, Castiel was the first to use it.  (For awhile, Boots circled me like a great white when I changed them to ensure he was the first to use it)  I finally got a stool sample.  And to my relief, Castiel had a healthy poop.  Like you really needed to know that.  But I figured I’d update you since he was on meds over the weekend.

Never a dull moment with these cats!

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Adoptables and Adoptions

We had a great weekend for adoptions.  Seven cats and three dogs found forever homes!  Two more dogs were being looked at yesterday and today.  If they are adopted, then we only have three dogs left at the shelter.  Cats are starting to come in steady, but its nothing like it was last year.  It seemed kitten season started pretty early for us in 2012, and our shelter was flooded with kittens and teenagers by the beginning of March.

Harmony and her newborns are doing well in foster care.  When she is finished nursing, the kittens will be adopted out and Harmony will be spayed and adopted.

The shelter manager was able to pick up Girlfriend and bring her inside.  On Sunday she looked terrified.  Girlfriend mewed the entire morning and acted a little skittish.  I am sure the move inside was stressful for her, but we were afraid that one of the dogs were going to get her.  She started hanging out up in the front yard on the roof of the dog runs.  A couple of our pooches aren’t so cat friendly and go ballistic when they see Handsome walking in the street outside of the shelter.

Girlfriend was a bit better on Monday.  She was purring, talking, and marking me as her property.  She’s so cute.  I was giving her lots of cheek scratches and Girlfriend flopped over and showed her belly.  Soooo adoptable!  She misses being around other cats.  When Girlfriend sees Romeo in the cage next to her, she stops meowing and starts purr-meowing and chirping.  We were contemplating putting her in a large cage with Wobbles (aka April) since they were buddies outside.  We’ll have to reintroduce them first and see how they fare.

Houdini and Lucky spent a lot of time with me Monday morning.  Lucky is doing great – he put on a healthy amount of weight.  When he came in from Paterson, he was all bone, weighing in at 4 pounds.  When he got neutered a couple of weeks ago, he weighed 10 pounds.  He’s trying to play with the other cats, but it’s like he doesn’t quite know how.  Boots went through the same thing.  Maybe if we put Lucky in the playroom with some teenagers, they can teach him.  I’m sure he’ll learn fairly quick.

Houdini is such an awesome cat.  There’s no other way to describe him.  He loves to play and loves being around people.  Houdini curled up next to me and demanded belly rubs Monday.  Then he would jump over my shoulders (using my shoulders as a springboard) and ham it up on my other side.  Several weeks in a row, Houdini has won the START II Post Caturday Shelter Award for Cleanest Cage.  I think he would do best in a home with children (about 5+).  And, he would also be great for a family who has never experienced the joys of cat guardianship.  He’s easy to care for, has plenty of love to give, and just wants to be around people.

Houdini Talking

Houdini Talking

Castiel’s Vet Visit

Friday, we took Castiel to the vet. He has been having some loose stools marked with blood.  This has been going on for about a week to two weeks. Initially, I switched to a better quality, sensitive stomach food.  Still, his digestional upset presisted.

Dr. M looked him over.  I held my breath for bad news.  After Morpheus exhibiting similar symptoms a few months before he became severely ill, I worried until the vet eased my mind.  Castiel immediately was put on a diet.  The sensitive stomach food that I started him on was fine.  But he needed to drop three pounds.

Castiel weighed in at 18lbs.  “And he wears it well,” said Dr. M. 

Honestly, I thought he weighed upward toward 20-25lbs.  Still, his weight issue is something I need to tackle now, while he’s young.  I really don’t want to see him become diabetic in a few years.

Dr. M suspects that Prometheus gave Castiel giardia in November.  She said that sometimes it doesn’t display symptoms right away.  The fecal flotations in November tested negative after Prometheus finished his meds.  That included a selection from our non-quarentined cats.

So, I’ve been following Castiel to the litter box nonstop for the past few days trying to get a stool sample.  He always manages to poop when I’m not around.  And with litter boxes shared by seven cats… Well, lets just its hard to differentiate between shape and size according to each cat.  By now his stool is probably normal looking, since he’s been on meds for a few days.

Wish Cas luck.  If his diet doesn’t work, he’s gotta go on prescription diet food!  We’re aiming for 15lbs right now, but Dr. M would feel comfortable if he were 13-14lbs.

Feline Consciousness

During my last semester in college, I took a seminar on Nietzsche to fulfill my philosophy degree requirement.  It was by far one of my favorite courses I ever took.  Halfway through the semester, we discussed consciousness and animals.  I was ecstatic to learn that Nietzsche believed that certain animals were not only conscious, but also self-aware.  His basic formula was this:  if any animal has the ability to deceive and use tools, that animal is conscious of his/her actions.  My professor, Dr. S., gave an example about squirrels hiding nuts and monkeys using sticks open certain fruit shells.  I can’t remember what Dr. S. said verbatim, but that was the gist of it.  I remember my eyes glazing over as I delved deep into thought.  When Dr. S. asked if I was okay, told him I had a story for him and I wanted to know what he and Nietzsche would say about it.

Thus my story began:

When Morpheus was diagnosed with cancer, we opted not to have the surgery.  We knew that the chance of him surviving wasn’t great and we didn’t want to put him through anymore suffering, knowing he was already uncomfortable.  Instead, we gave him a steroid that stimulated his appetite.  It also had a success rate of shrinking tumors.

After 24 hours, we saw a huge improvement in Morpheus’ behavior.  He ate dry food.   That was most important because he had stopped eating a day before.  Because he was eating, his energy levels were up.  He played with water drips in the bathtub.  He went after ribbon and mice.  Morpheus wasn’t 100%, but he was on the right path.  I never saw him eat with such gusto.

Ron and I knew Morpheus was a smart cat.  He was one of the smartest animals I ever met.  Morpheus’ face was alway filled with expression.  When he was angry with us, we knew.  When he was grateful or happy, we knew.  So, when we had to give him his steroid twice a day, we knew by the expression on his face he wasn’t happy with us.

After a few weeks on the steroid, the three of us were well-versed with the routine.  Each morning, Morpheus would receive a syringe of his steroid after he ate some breakfast.  In the evening, he would receive another syringe after his dinner.  Morpheus hated taking the steroid.  He tried everything to get out of taking it – hiding in the closet, hiding under the bed, hiding under the couch…

One morning, he ate a couple of bites of breakfast.  I had just finished washing dishes and was taking his medicine out of the refrigerator.  Ron was petting him and keeping him close to the bathroom.  Morpheus heard the refrigerator door close.  He beelined for the food bowl.

“Why don’t we let him eat a little bit more,” Ron said.

“Okay.  But lets wait around the corner so we can see when he’s finished eating.”

Ron and I hid around the corner and watched Morpheus from the bathroom.  Morpheus was moving food around in his bowl with his nose.  He didn’t crunch on a single morsel.  Then, he looked up to see if we were around.  When he saw that we weren’t in sight, Morpheus put his ear back and started to walk quickly toward the living room.  The little devil tricked us to avoid taking his medicine!

After I finished telling my professor this story, he burst out laughing.  I waited patiently for him to calm down.

“What’s so funny, Dr. S?”

Dr. S. said, “Your cat outsmarted you and your husband.”  He started to laugh again.

“And how would Nietzsche interpret the situation,” I asked, laughing a little because Morpheus had outsmarted us.

“Nietzsche would say that not only was Morpheus conscious of his actions, he was also self-aware.”

For the many years I searched for this answer.  I refused to believe that animals were philosophical zombies, alive solely relying on survival instinct. I also refused to believe that animals don’t have souls.  To hear that my favorite philosopher shared my views a century before my time… well, there just aren’t words to describe that feeling.  I always said that Morpheus was my feline soul mate.  I felt such a profound connection to him, like I’d met him before and that he would exit my life too soon (again).  I hope our paths cross once more.

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the ladies – that goes for every one of you that has furbabies, too!!

Harmony came in this week from Paterson Pound.  Little did we know she was pregnant.  Today she is celebrating her first Mother’s Day with five little puffballs!  She gave birth yesterday into this morning.  Tomorrow Harmony and babies will be going to in a foster home until the little ones finish nursing.

One of Harmony's babies

One of Harmony’s babies