How’s It Going?

Well – well.  Really.  All things considered.

Because I come from a long tradition of double-dyed pessimism-izing not to say doom-mongering, let me be true to my heritage.  Start where I come from.  Right up front, worry and angst.

I was intensely distressed to see how, at first, Trexie fought for breath.  On Sunday and Monday, every time I went into Base Camp he got so excited, his sniffles turned into terrible rasping convulsive heavings for air.  I bled for him.

And I couldn’t believe how aggressive he was in expressing his need for closeness.  Head-butts?  Head-rams more like it.  Smearing cat-snot all over me.  Cat-snot that was so dark in color, I feared it was bloody.

What looked like a small injury near his left eye puffed up the eye and turned it weepy.

So far he’s been sustained on dry food, the first ingredient of which is corn.  This has got him where he is today, for which I am profoundly grateful.  And now I’m pleased to be able to offer him something better.  Urgently.

Also a high priority is moving him off clay litter, to pine-pellets.  I dislike the clay, the scent fumes, the unfriendly heavy feel of it.

Worrying about Bugsy has also kept me busy.  For two days, he wouldn’t eat at all, or he only pecked.  He was scared and upset, this poor little cheeky guy so full of himself when things are normal.  Except one time when he turned into a rabid vampire-bat and flung himself on Base-Camp door.  Uttering that deep unearthly rowling that rendered him unrecognizable to this loving mama.

Liberal application of Jackson Galaxy’s Spirit Essence “Peacemaker” formulation helped a lot with that.  Like, instantly!

Ditto “Changing Times,” for Trexie.  Seemed to modulate his aggressive affection.

These two days have felt, well, kind of endless.  Even given no digestive upset, no litter-box problems, no all-night yodeling, no spraying – remember my heritage.  Endless, I tell you.

And now, a transition.  From fear and angst, to a more fair and balanced view.  More process-oriented.

This morning Trexie is much, much better.  His snot has gone from dark to clear.  I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be so glad to get clear cat-snot all over me.

He seems more settled now, more kitten-like.

But he’s a biter, friends.  Play-bite, oh sure – but he goes at it as enthusiastically as he pursues the ramming of heads.  We’re going to need to modulate the biting.

Teresa came and explained he was stir-crazy and the bitey was because he needed gobs of structured play-therapy.  Here’s what he looked like, after duly therapized by Teresa.

As for me, my attention needs to return to where it ought to be.  I have been up in the air, friends, and not in a good way.  Time to put feet down on solid ground again.

Last night saw the welcome return of Bugs thundering around the place, in his favorite play “catch-me-if-you-can,” “now-I’m-going-to-pounce-and-scare-the-pants-off-you” routine.  Halleluyah again.

This morning Bugsy still wouldn’t eat, though, while I was in there with Trex.  But once I came out, he ate a little more than in prior days.  OK, live and learn.  Jackson’s advice to feed the cats near each other went out the window pretty much after the first meal.  Bugsy wouldn’t touch his food that way.  So I moved it back to his usual spot and he pecked.

This morning, though, we fed both cats treats near the door, with the door cracked a little.  Bugs was cautious and guarded – but he ate his treats.  Next mealtime I’ll try again with his actual dinner, putting it within shouting distance of the door but a little further away than before.

Trexie is a food-vacuum, so no issues there.  Bit by bit, I’m adding the high-supplement raw ground chicken and better kibble, every meal more of that and less of the dry corn stuff.

And we’ve read some blog-comments recommending applying perfume on all parties involved.  We’re going to try sage instead of perfume.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

And now, the morphing of the name.  Which, creative person that I am, I could not let stand at Trex or Trexie, cute as that may be.  I’m thinking:

Fanga Duvay.

“Duvay” as in down comforter.  Because, in paroxysms of affection, this little kitty flings himself all over top of me.  And because he’s warm.

“Fanga,” into “Fang,” given the bitey.  I expect that will modulate when he gets out of Base Camp and has more scope to express his kitten-ness.  But the bitey is what was up this morning, pre-Teresa.

“Fanga” is the name of a rhythm, dance, and song.  Its meaning is generally acknowledged to be WELCOME : I wish you peace, and wellness, in the spirit that is of all things.

Welcome, Trexie –> Fanga –> Fang.

“Fanga” seems to be a song of the African diaspora.  Pearl Primus, American anthropologist and dancer, first popularized it in this country.  Some believe it may have been brought to, not from, Liberia, by American slaves who returned to Africa after emancipation.  It’s sung in Yoruba, possibly through Creole, or maybe in some other West African dialect altogether.  (This is what happens when you rip people from their homeland.  They, unlike I, become unsure where they came from.)

Anyway, here is “Fanga,” presented by the Debbie Allen dancers and drummers of Houston.

Welcome, dear little Fangie (name already morphing yet again).  The day will come, and may it be soon, when Bugsy will join me in singing this to you.

Do you think he’s saying:

Permit me to doubt.

About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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31 Responses to How’s It Going?

  1. lahgitana says:

    They BOTH have white feet with pink toes! And are both brave boys with you as their cheerleader.

    Goodness, what a few days you have had. I’ve been thinking about you and your own health issues–I hope things are settled down. Or should I guess that you are gutting it out to care for the kitties?!

    Welcome Sir Fang! And for joining a new household, fangs a lot!

    Oh Sir BugsALot, skritch, skritch.

    • nadbugs says:

      Giggling as I write this. You make me smile, Lahgitana. And you are dear to remember about my health. Just before the transport, I visited with the specialist — thinking of you and your cold water escapade all the while. Nothing could have been further from this guy, thankfully. He was learned, elegant, and humane. AND — he gave me a clean bill of health. So relieved — and wishing the same for you. How are you these days? Has the ice melted?

  2. CATachresis says:

    You had me absorbed in the story of Trex-Fanga-Fang’s orientation! And also how Bugs reacted. Can I say I think you done good!? Your patience is being, and will be, rewarded. Can’t wait to see what happens next!!! 🙂

  3. Anya says:

    How can this not work out well? With so many cheering you on and sending best wishes – as always! 🙂

  4. I’ve been worrying! So glad you posted. I think you are off to a good start, actually…and in my mind Fango has morphed int FANDANGO! Which is so satisfying, on so many levels (to me…).

    • nadbugs says:

      Love it, Lounger! Fandango! And thank you so much for your concern. Days have passed without me visiting your place — you gotta know that’s never happened before, since I joined the CB! Must fix that asap.

  5. Wow, what a lot has happened! Do you find it helpful to sit down and write it out? I’m thinking it might have helped me with my animal transitions. Also good to log it, because pretty soon the house will work like clockwork and you’ll have trouble remembering the difficulty of the first few days. Both my cats bite when they hare happy, and it annoys me to no end – how did I end up raising cats that bite?!? My best defence is to blow on their face when they do it – they both hate that with a passion and it causes no damage to anyone. Glad to hear your hearing has shaped up as well! I didn’t want to ask as furry changes were in the works 🙂

    • nadbugs says:

      Boy, Spidey, that clockwork concept will be the day. I write because I love to communicate back and forth — can you believe how well this blog-thing works that way? I can’t wait to see your-alls’s comments! And as you say, to have the record as a log. I look back in the archives and I am regularly amazed at how much I’ve forgotten. Oh this bitey thing. How I do wish cats wouldn’t do that. I forgot about the blowing defense (what I said about memory — this is what you have to look forward to, I can’t see it getting better and quite the reverse . . . ) I do appreciate your forebearance about the health thing. It’s all felt a bit overwhelming, frankly. But the good news was a real relief. Tempered by mindfulness for those who are less fortunate.

  6. I know the adjustment can be so stressful! Harley was 6 months old when we adopted him, and the first day home from the shelter he was SUPER affectionate, too. That moderated in just a day or two.

    • nadbugs says:

      Ah, good. Honestly, while I was tickled by the effusiveness, I did think it may have been a bit over the top. Like he was trying to reassure himself. Good to hear it may moderate. Lots and lots of play seems to help too.

  7. Oldcat says:

    I used to have a lady cat with the habit of rising up under the end-tables and thunking her head on the underside with an audible thunk from time to time. Since I don’t change the names, I just gave her the nickname of Miz Bonkers when she did that.

    Its not surprising that Bugs finds you in that room with the new cat is more interesting than the food. Julie is always hovering when I give Gus medicine in the bathroom so close that the door nearly knocks him over when I open it.

  8. Oh my gosh, I’m sorry you’re having such a time of it! I’m also glad it’s starting to get better! it’s only been just a few days, but I know how stressful it can be while waiting for things to calm down. My heart is with ya! It sounds like you’re doing everything right, it just takes time.

    Ok, You say Fang/Fango, Katnip Lounge says Fandango and my head immediately goes to what you’ll probably be saying when he does the bitey! FangDango! Or at least I’d be saying that…

    Star is/was a biter, not always in affection either… But I do know that pulling away when they bite only gets you ripped skin. If you can fight past the instant urge to pull away, push toward. Not hard, but enough, it not only stops them from being able to close their mouth harder, but startles them from biting, and makes letting go their best, only choice.

  9. Melanie says:

    I was so happy to see a post from you today!

    It sounds like the lovelies are adjusting, at their own paces.

    I’m going to have to try that Peacemaker scent next time we get a new foster cat in the house! Ours always go through the whole song and dance about how “this is my house not yours” when there’s a newbie in the house. You’d think they’d eventually get used to it. 🙂 This is my rambling way of telling you that it will all be OK. Hang in there!

    • nadbugs says:

      Thank you, thank you, Melanie. It feels a bit like a roller-coaster. Plus the dern cat-face, to me, is so subtle to read — things look like they’re going OK on Mr. Bugster’s mug and rest-of-self and then boom! he’s on the attack — or is it an attack? you know what I’m saying? So great to hear you’re glad to see the post. That just makes my day.

  10. Natalie says:

    My heart goes out to you in this time of transition! When Melly came to live with me in April 2010, my resident cat, Scarlett, had a very difficult time of it–it was awful. Feeding the cats near each other (on opposite sides of the bathroom door, in my case) didn’t work for me either, although I did have some luck feeding them really special food, like pieces of roast chicken. I also found that the scent thing–you mentioned sage–was very helpful. I pretty well saturated both cats’ foreheads with vanilla extract, and they were so annoyed by that that they briefly forgot to be annoyed with each other.

    At any rate, good luck with this, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that things keep improving for you!

  11. nadbugs says:

    Wow, great to hear about the vanilla, Natalie! Thank you so much for the crossed fingers!

  12. This too shall pass, and probably fairly quickly, although it probably won’t feel like it at the time.

    Purrrrrss for you, Bugs, and your new Ferengi.

    • nadbugs says:

      Furrengi! Yet another morph! Trekkies will know this but I didn’t: Wikipedia says these Furrengi “are characterized by a mercantile obsession with profit and trade and their constant efforts to swindle people into bad deals. They are also known for their business acumen and for exploiting females.” Uh-oh.

  13. crankyoldkitty says:

    Pedro asked me to comment on this post. I think he intends for me to talk about how beautifully integrated we are now, after our own snot-filled rocky start. Right…

    The important thing is that you relax and breathe and really believe that this will work out OK for all 3 of you. The cats will sense anything less than that, and it will add to their anxiety. Be confident, and celebrate every tiny victory – Bugs’ normal thundering, treats shared by a cracked door, etc.

    My only other advice is to exhaust both of them completely. An exhausted kitty is an un-stressed kitty. That will probably help Fanga’s biting and neediness. And it’ll be good to keep Bugs’ appetite up… I know the exhaustion strategy works – the only time I like Pedro is when he’s asleep!

    • nadbugs says:

      Dear Cranky, I’m honored you took time to provide this important information. More life-lessons, for a person trained to eke out an existence on survival breathing and doom-mongering. Whose experience of exhaustion is to be pushed so far beyond her ability to relax and rest that the concepts seem completely out of reach. How to get from there to here, hmm. Like, stat — time’s a-wasting! I hear Bugs bleating in the other room! No pressure there!

  14. Dianda says:

    I love the new name! It think it fits him perfectly!
    I’ve never heard about the perfume-thing. Let us know how that goes. 😮 I’m curious if it works.

    And head-rams. Sounds very familiar. 😉

    • nadbugs says:

      I’m glad you like his name. I do, too — after a few days, it’s still at Fangie so maybe we have something here. Not sure we’ll try the perfume, now that Fangie’s in quarantine — or maybe not sage but vanilla, if we do? Love the head-rams, don’t you?

  15. Wazeau says:

    Nothing like recieving a cat head butt in the middle of the night – Neko likes to jam his head between the bed and the pillow I am sound asleep on. That’ll wake you up nicely! I can only add to what everyone else is saying – you have a great adventure ahead of you and the more relaxed you are the better for everyone. I cannot wait to see more about you and your TWO lovely cats 🙂

    • nadbugs says:

      Yes, Wazeau, I seem to remember it was you who was cheering for another cat . . . . And you ought to know, with your two! That Neko is just wacky. I think I’d enjoy being woken that way.

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