Saturday, May 05, 2012

Feather Enjoys Celebrity Status

Before the bathroom stints, Feather darted in and out of my sight, in our days here, out of reach, acting scared and feral.  I figured she would be a perimeter cat, although none of the cats here want that status.

 Her health had never been good since I trapped her unexpectedly at the rest area Christmas Eve three years ago.  She failed to thrive as she grew up.  She was way underweight for her age and starved nearly to death when I found her in that trap, middle of the night, on the brink of Christmas dawn.

She went through a growth spurt finally, late for her age.  I figured she'd fill out afterwards, she'd grown so tall and long.  But she never did.  Her legs remained petite as did all her bones, like pencils.  Then I became concerned she had some disease, maybe FIP, but she kept on living.  Periodically, I'd put her in the bathroom, give her fluids, hand feed her.

But lately, she's taken up residence in the bathroom, even when the door is open and now I know why.  Or think I do.  I had kept her in the bathroom a good ten days this last round, and then opened the door.  She was happy to go out and see her friends, until I saw her freeze outside the bathroom door.  A look of terror crossed her face, and she darted right back into the bathroom, leaped over the carrier she had used for sleeping and went inside.

I knew then she been bullied terribly.  I ran out of the bathroom to see which cat caused her such terror.  I'm still not sure, but I think it's Mops or Buffy, one or the other.

So now during the day, she comes and goes from the bathroom.  I leave the door open for her and her cave bed in the cabinet beneath the sink all made up and ready for her.  She comes running in when she sees me head that direction anxious to rub against my leg with her skeleton frame and be petted.  She's gained some weight already, with her new safety zone in place, where she can eat, sleep, drink and go to the bathroom with no fear of attack.

 If I find out for sure which cat did this to her, there will be hell to pay.  I do not tolerate bullies here.  They go into a cage, and get let out a day later.  If they repeat offense, their penalty time increases by a day each time. They learn quickly.  Once out of bully confinement, I give them all sorts of love and attention, to make sure they know they are on a fresh start, a clean slate, and they better keep it clean.

I have found that often the bullies bully if they don't get enough attention or play.  Or if they are hairball clogged.  Then I have cats who like the bully confinement cage, so that's a problem!  It's a great cage actually, with an upper shelf--a novelty to some of the cats.

Feather has new status among the cats.  She is queen of the bathroom and feels special and now acts like she knows she's worth something.  She is gaining confidence in the knowledge I will protect her.  She had been peeing where she slept but that has stopped, with safe access to a litter box.  I had no idea, years back when I began taking in cats, that one effective way cats bully is to attack another cat at their most vulnerable--when they are using a litter box.  This causes out of box bathroom habits because the cat is terrified to use the litter box, not knowing if they will be suddenly attacked when they try.

With her queen of the bathroom status, having her own private space and access to me, all the cats want to be her friend.  She literally glows with the change.

I don't know if Feather will have a normal lifespan or if she has some disease even now, like cancer. All I know is we are all enjoying Feather immensely and she seems to be having the time of her life.

Feather, I'm sorry I didn't figure out you were being targeted before now.   You are awesome!

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