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ProfessorTomoe

Loudmouth's Journey Inside

139 posts in this topic

Mrs. Prof just heard Loudmouth meowing. She wasn't sure why, so she went back and checked. Seemed like he just wanted a bit of attention. She made a discovery, though—the Feliway is an overpowering scent. She's not one who can pick up on smells easily, but even she picked up on this.

The cat room is, unfortunately, rather small. It's not much bigger than 100 square feet, which is why I've been pushing to get the meet & greet out of the way. Anyway, the Feliway can handle a room up to 700 square feet. Suffice it to say that Loudmouth is getting a hefty dose of pheromones from the thing.

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Mrs. Prof has decided that approx. 100 square feet is too small for a Feliway unit designed for 700 square feet. She's unplugged the unit in Loudmouth's room and is saving it for when we do the "base camp switch" to the larger bedroom that's usually Baker's territory.

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I don't know why I forgot to mention this: we did about a 7-minute switch between Baker and Loudmouth. Baker usually sleeps on his window perch in the master bedroom midday, so we closed the bedroom door and opened up Loudmouth's door.

Loudmouth needed a little coaxing to come out. Once he did, he tentatively left the room. I had Mrs. Prof take something out of his room and put it out in the main computer room to expand his territory a bit. It worked—he walked back and forth between the hallway and the scratch pad she pulled from his room, tail up and confident. He tried to explore under my computer, but I said, "No." He immediately complied, doing a 180° and getting out from under my computer table. Makes me wonder what he went through when he was someone else's cat.

The whole time, his tail was up and doing this crazy little shaking movement at the tip. He did a lot of face marking on Baker's things, but no spray marking. All in all, it was a little nervous trip for him, but not a bad experience.

Eventually, Baker must have either woke up or figured out what was going on, because I heard him scratching at the bedroom door and meowing. We led Loudmouth back to his room. Lo and behold, he went right back in with no argument. Mrs. Prof closed the door and went to release Baker, who came running out of the bedroom. We watched for signs of odd behavior, but we didn't see any. He didn't try to re-mark anything that Loudmouth had marked, nor did he act suspicious about another cat being in his territory.

I don't know what this test will prove, but we were both excited by it. I think we might try it again, this time with the smell object either down the hall or in our living room.

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4 hours ago, ProfessorTomoe said:

Mrs. Prof has decided that approx. 100 square feet is too small for a Feliway unit designed for 700 square feet. She's unplugged the unit in Loudmouth's room and is saving it for when we do the "base camp switch" to the larger bedroom that's usually Baker's territory.

Hmm, sometimes when I spray Feliway on a towel I notice the scent, but I guess I've never smelled it that strongly in a small enclosed space.  Perhaps you could plug it in for half an hour once a day, or whatever leads to a more tolerable level.  At least all the pheromones released into the room should linger for a bit and help him feel at home!

Sounds like things are proceeding well overall.  Having a familiar thing and having familiar, supportive people around him will definitely help Loudmouth's confidence.  Have you brought something with Baker's scent into Loudmouth's room, other than yourselves, yet, to see how he reacts?

I know you're nowhere near there yet, but when you do eventually let them meet face to face, I highly recommend having a couple of big fluffy towels or blankets and a broom handy, just in case; much safer to try to separate fighting cats, or to steer them apart if a fight seems likely, with an inanimate object within biting range instead of using your hands!  And veterinary superstition holds that if you are prepared, everything will go smoothly, but if you think of potential problems and don't prepare for them, you're just inviting them to happen.  ;-)

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4 hours ago, ProfessorTomoe said:

...

He immediately complied
...
We led Loudmouth back to his room. Lo and behold, he went right back in with no argument.

I don't know what this test will prove

it proves that Loudmouth is not really a cat at all. He's an alien in disguise. Cats simply are not obedient.

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1 hour ago, CritterKeeper said:

Sounds like things are proceeding well overall.  Having a familiar thing and having familiar, supportive people around him will definitely help Loudmouth's confidence.  Have you brought something with Baker's scent into Loudmouth's room, other than yourselves, yet, to see how he reacts?

We've rotated a scratching pad back and forth between the main house and the cat room so that Loudmouth and Baker can get used to each other's scents. I've suggested to Mrs. Prof that she put some of Baker's other toys in the cat room to get more scent in there.

Right now, she's just trying to get Loudmouth to come out from under the bed. She thinks he's freaking over the scent of the last cat she worked with at the pet adoption center.

1 hour ago, CritterKeeper said:

I know you're nowhere near there yet, but when you do eventually let them meet face to face, I highly recommend having a couple of big fluffy towels or blankets and a broom handy, just in case; much safer to try to separate fighting cats, or to steer them apart if a fight seems likely, with an inanimate object within biting range instead of using your hands!  And veterinary superstition holds that if you are prepared, everything will go smoothly, but if you think of potential problems and don't prepare for them, you're just inviting them to happen.

Mrs. Prof is preparing, as am I. She's got experience separating cats at the Garland pet adoption center. They use strong cardboard. She says it works, and she says we have some. I'll stand as backup with a broom, or with my cane if I'm having trouble walking.

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54 minutes ago, Don Edwards said:

Cats simply are not obedient.

Cats are perfectly happy to do what you ask them to do.  As long as you ask them to do what they were about to do anyway.

...

Sometimes.

...

And sometimes a cat will stop doing what it wants to do just to confuse you.

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Loudmouth might be sick.

You know about him peeing on the bed, which stopped. You also know that he barfed his wet food last night. Well, tonight he hasn't eaten or drank anything, and he's running a fever. He is urinating and defecating, but otherwise he's not acting normal.

Mrs. Prof knows a 24-hour emergency vet, so she's going to take him in.

:eusa_pray:

EDIT: Loudmouth really must not be feeling good. He let Mrs. Prof pick him up and put him straight into the cat carrier without any objection. That's unusual behavior.

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Mrs. Prof is at the emergency clinic with Loudmouth. He has a 104°F fever and is dehydrated. His lungs and heart sound fine now, although the vet techs had to stabilize him when he first got there by putting alcohol pads on the soles of his feet. Their first level of treatment is to give him subcutaneous fluids and antibiotics, then take a urine sample once he's hydrated for analysis.

I've also asked her to inquire about how much a CBC/basic metabolic panel would cost. If it's not exorbitant, she's going to get that run as well.

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2 hours ago, ProfessorTomoe said:

Mrs. Prof is at the emergency clinic with Loudmouth. He has a 104°F fever and is dehydrated. His lungs and heart sound fine now, although the vet techs had to stabilize him when he first got there by putting alcohol pads on the soles of his feet. Their first level of treatment is to give him subcutaneous fluids and antibiotics, then take a urine sample once he's hydrated for analysis.

I've also asked her to inquire about how much a CBC/basic metabolic panel would cost. If it's not exorbitant, she's going to get that run as well.

Sorry to hear it.  Pity the vet doesn't have a way to put the bloodwork on an Amazon wish list.  Perhaps there's some everyday expense which could be, so that I could help pay for bloodwork indirectly?  It does sound like a urine culture and a CBC/Chem/T4 would be a good idea.

Keep in mind that 104°F isn't as high a fever for them as it is for us, since their normal temperature averages 101.5°.

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21 hours ago, ProfessorTomoe said:

I've reached my like quota for the day, somehow. Consider this post liked. :)

I liked it on the Prof's behalf. :)

 

1 hour ago, CritterKeeper said:

Sorry to hear it.  Pity the vet doesn't have a way to put the bloodwork on an Amazon wish list.  Perhaps there's some everyday expense which could be, so that I could help pay for bloodwork indirectly?  It does sound like a urine culture and a CBC/Chem/T4 would be a good idea.

Keep in mind that 104°F isn't as high a fever for them as it is for us, since their normal temperature averages 101.5°.

Seconded here. If I can help chip in, I will.

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Thanks, both of you.

4:35 a.m. CDT 20170715. Loudmouth is home and actually eating again after $355.89 worth of vet's bills. They ran the urinalysis "w/micro", whatever that means, with the comment "Cocci noted on sediment." They also ran a "General Health Profile/CBC/Electrolytes" test. Three items were low on the ProCyte Dx test, while three items were high on the Catalyst Dx test. They are as follows:

RBC low at 5.79 M/µL
HGB low at 8.7 g/dL
PLT low at 88 K/µL

GLU high at 164 mg/dL
TP high at 9.1 g/dL
GLOB high at 6.3 g/dL

All other values were within the normal range. Everything that was high or low was barely high or low.

In the end, after getting subcutaneous fluids, he got injections of Meloxicam 5mg/ml and Convenia. The most expensive test was the Health Profile, while the most expensive drug was the Convenia.

He woke us all up at around 4:00 a.m. CDT, banging on the cat room door and sticking his paws under it. I'm glad I fell asleep with my shoe on, because Mrs. Prof and I got to the door at about the same time. We herded him away from the door and gave him some attention. I picked him up—he was noticeably cooler, and actually purring. I put him down, after which he went to a cushion to start kneading, or "making biscuits," as my smallish-town-raised (Victoria, TX) Mrs. Prof would say.

(I spent most of my growing up years in the Metro Houston area, while she spent *all* of hers in Victoria before both of us moved to Austin (back to Austin, in my case, where I was born).)

After a bit of kneading, Loudmouth surprised the hell out of me by going over to the now slightly-opened window and eating! (The window is open and a fan is running because Mrs. Prof is trying to get the Feliway odor out of the room, but then what does she do? She puts a Febreze diffuser in its place. I worry about her at times. The Febreze has been removed. Now I'm going to have to convince her that the Feliway didn't make Loudmouth sick. Wish me luck.)

I'm going to go and get another glass of tea now. If I weren't on this damned hydrocodone, I'd say this calls for a nice Trappist ale (I've got a bottle of Chimay blue in the fridge, and I can't touch it due to the pain pills). Sigh.

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I contacted the seller on Amazon who shipped the Feliway diffuser and told them about the burnt smell. They got back to me within hours (!) and issued me a full refund without requiring me to return the bottle of pheromones. Basically, they said that I must have got a defective unit, which they told me to throw away immediately. Excellent customer service, especially when Amazon says to allow two days for a reply to any inquiries. Amazon has already processed the refund, which I used to purchase another diffuser from the same storefront in thanks for their effort to make things right.

Back to Loudmouth: he's back to his usual self today, thank goodness. No sign of illness. He's eating and drinking well. We even did the house swap with Baker asleep, this time with the living room as the focal point. Lasted a few more minutes than yesterday, I think. He was a little bit more tentative, since there's so many more objects in the room and, correspondingly, so much more of Baker's scent. Loudmouth's tail wasn't up all the time, but he did explore most of the room. He refused to jump up onto the sectional sofa, though.

At one point after the swap, Baker stuck his head into Loudmouth's room as Mrs. Prof was leaving. She says the two just looked at each other for a couple of seconds, then turned and went their separate ways. I *think* this is a good thing as far as getting them together.

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I just measured. We're right at nine feet away Baker's feeding station to Loudmouth's door, which means we're eight feet away from our goal. That's well past the halfway point. I'm going to guess that we can cover those eight feet in 4 or 5 days.

Why so long? Well, Baker's always eaten right up against something: the back door at first, and bookshelves during the move. Now, somehow, we're going to have to cross the ocean blue, as it were. Open space from one wall to the other. I give it one more day along the bookshelves, then an attempt at the other wall. I predict that attempt will fail. We'll probably have to move closer to the bookshelves, then try the other wall again on day three. Otherwise, if the jump works, we can inch toward Loudmouth's door on day three. Day four will be the inching to Loudmouth's door if the jump doesn't work. Then, on our last day, food within two feet of Loudmouth's feeding dish with the door in between, as prescribed in the introduction instructions we've been following. I'm hoping for a 4 day move (that's a lie—I'm really hoping for a 3 day move, but I think Mrs. Prof will be too afraid to make the big jump. We'll see.).

(I'm sorry for all the Imperial measurements. For our metric friends, just imagine the distance from the inside of your elbow to your wrist, and that'll be a close estimate of one foot.)

EDIT: WHOA! Mrs. Prof surprised the hell out of me by crossing part of the ocean already. I told her when she woke up from her nap about the eight foot distance to Loudmouth's door and told her I didn't know how we were going to get across the open floor. She figured it out on her own. She put Baker's feeding station at the far corner of the hall and gave Baker his "taste" of wet food. He ate a few bites before doing the "covering" behavior.  He's going to get his on-demand food in the same spot. I think she's going to try and beat my estimate, which I also told her about. I'm stoked!

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11 minutes ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

Nothing quite like turning a delicate procedure into a competition..

I don't know if she took it that way, but you might be right. I hope it gave her some impetus to speed things up.

Anyway, she's was just the cat room, having some play time with Loudmouth. One change from pre-illness is where he's spending his time. He used to stay on top of the bed. Now he stays on some sort of cushion under the bed. He still keeps coming out when she enters the room.

Mrs. Prof just left the cat room and said, "Now he's going downhill again." I think she's overreacting. You see, she put a new cushion that we bought from Chewy.com in the room, under the bed. He's happy as a clam to stay there. He's not meowing when she goes in to meet him, but I don't think that's necessary given how much attention he's had today. He's not running a fever, he looks okay—I don't see a problem. We'll see how he is in the morning.

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Well, it's 5:22 a.m. CDT, and Loudmouth hasn't done his yowling symphony tonight. Mrs. Prof went in after the previous post and said he did come out meowing. So, probably no problem. I think he was just chilling in his new luxury fleece bed. Predicting that he'll be okay when she goes in to feed him later this morning.

Baker has become more lovey-dovey as the days go by. He likes to wrap himself around my legs when I'm standing. However, his speed bump / road block behavior is getting worse, too. I don't know if he wants attention before he'll let us by, or if he wants us to "answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see." (My favorite color is grey, BTW.) I'm seriously worried that I'm going to try stepping over him and he's going to bolt, making me fall over again. I am an official medical fall risk—my bones and the wood veneer floor do not like each other, and it's the floor that comes out on the winning side.

I can only wonder how Loudmouth will behave. Even on the non-lovey-dovey side and the hopes that he won't clash with Baker, I wonder about his behavior. Will he any of the current taboos, like trying to crawl under the sofa, crawling on the top of the back cushions of the sofa, crawling on top of desks (BIG taboo), getting on the counter, or any number of other things we've trained Baker not to do? I have a feeling that we're going to have to pull out the old Ssscat Pet Deterrent air cans that we used to train Baker (they do work).

As much as I want this introduction to work, it's sending my anxiety levels higher exponentially as the day approaches.

Oh, BTW, Mrs. Prof had me order a hepper Nomnom Pet Bowl for Loudmouth. She bought a grey one with an extra set of stainless steel bowls for Baker. I wanted to make sure that Loudmouth got his own color, but the only colors available other than grey were lime green and white. I went with the white. Besides, they wanted more money for the lime green one, and the color just wasn't worth it. (It probably would have scared Loudmouth away, anyway.)

Current note: I think I just heard Loudmouth bang on his door. I haven't heard the accompanying yowl, but I don't have my hearing aids in. Yes, his yowl can be low decibel at times. I told Mrs. Prof that it was her turn to check on him this morning, but I'm up, I've had coffee, so I might as well see if he's okay.

EDIT: He's just fine. He was up on the bed (i.e., I was hearing things). He jumped down from the bed and greeted me, but he didn't like it when I sat on his extraordinarily noisy bed. I stood up, at which point he jumped back up on the bed and started rubbing himself against me, purring all the time. He even let me give him a tummy rub—something Baker absolutely will not tolerate. Seeing that everything was fine, I left.

He wasn't done. He shoved his arm under the door and started yowling. Enough was enough. I invoked the treaty from last night. Mrs. Prof went ahead and got up completely to do her morning cat chores, including feeding Loudmouth. That calmed him down.

She also cheated Baker's dish around the corner of the hallway entrance. Still opposite Loudmouth's door, but ever so close to the introduction. He nibbled, but not for long. The point was still made—he ate something in the new location. Now, we have to get both of them eating at the door at the same time. Only then can we call this a successful introduction.

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Spoke too soon. We're having problems with Baker wanting to cover up his food. Mrs. Prof had been leaving just one bowl in the feeding station (it's got two spaces, for anyone who didn't look at the link in the previous message). Baker's been using it to drag the station around as if he's been exhibiting covering action, in addition to real covering action outside the bowl area. I've asked her to put an empty bowl in the open space so he can't drag it.

I can understand the covering behavior, but this is his on-demand dry food he's "covering." He shouldn't be doing that. Yet another problem on the way toward the meeting with Loudmouth. Any suggestions, anyone?

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2 minutes ago, ProfessorTomoe said:

I can understand the covering behavior, but this is his on-demand dry food he's "covering." He shouldn't be doing that. Yet another problem on the way toward the meeting with Loudmouth. Any suggestions, anyone?

I dunno if this is the same, but the last cat we had, when she was a year or two old she would growl and swipe at us if we got too close to her food bowl while she was eating. We unintentionally got her to stop by hand feeding her bits of deli meat, my mom and I had a habit of just taking a couple slices of ham or something at eating it as is, and the cat would come over and we'd give her pieces of it, she'd growl as she took each piece and covered them while she ate until it was gone and then she'd look up expecting more. At some point she didn't cover her food but still growled a bit, then later stopped growling as well.

I dunno if being hand fed helped or she just grew out of it, seems like she got used to us being in close proximity while she was eating.

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3 hours ago, Scotty said:

I dunno if this is the same, but the last cat we had, when she was a year or two old she would growl and swipe at us if we got too close to her food bowl while she was eating. We unintentionally got her to stop by hand feeding her bits of deli meat, my mom and I had a habit of just taking a couple slices of ham or something at eating it as is, and the cat would come over and we'd give her pieces of it, she'd growl as she took each piece and covered them while she ate until it was gone and then she'd look up expecting more. At some point she didn't cover her food but still growled a bit, then later stopped growling as well.

I dunno if being hand fed helped or she just grew out of it, seems like she got used to us being in close proximity while she was eating.

Thanks, but I'm not sure if that would apply in Baker's case. He doesn't have food possession / growling issues. All he has is the covering and pawing issues. He did it occasionally when we were feeding him by our back door, but it's gotten worse since we've moved his food.

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Loudmouth came out and played today—literally! We didn't think that he would be predisposed to chasing a laser, but he went after it almost the same way that Baker does. His pupils dilated, he crouched down, and he went into full tracking mode. A tad less energetic than Baker, mind you, but Loudmouth revealed that there's still a bit of kitten left in that old geezer cat.

He also branched out and explored other parts of the house. including the dining room and Baker's bed room (technically Baker's, although he doesn't spend that much time in it). Loudmouth went in there and perched up on the windowsill, watching the activity outside.

Mrs. Prof brought Loudmouth's food outside to where Baker's food station is now sitting (after moving Baker's, of course). Loudmouth cheerily chowed down. He does not seem to have any problem with food whatsoever. I'm still chalking that up to his history as a semi-feral.

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Baker's feeding station is now on the opposite side of the hall from Loudmouth's door. By tomorrow, they will be eating two feet away from each other! At long last. I realize this is where the introduction of a new cat is supposed to *start*, but for us this will be a major event. Fingers crossed! Still, we won't be able to do the actual introduction for a few days, due to Mrs. Prof's schedule.

Loudmouth just started meowing a couple of seconds ago. No idea why. Mrs. Prof went into his room and went into baby talk mode, so I can't understand a word she's saying. She's doing something to calm him down.

Baker had been eating. Now, he's buggered off again. Mrs. Prof has come out and taken both cats' wet foods. Now, she's prepping their dry.

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On 7/16/2017 at 8:11 AM, ProfessorTomoe said:

Spoke too soon. We're having problems with Baker wanting to cover up his food. Mrs. Prof had been leaving just one bowl in the feeding station (it's got two spaces, for anyone who didn't look at the link in the previous message). Baker's been using it to drag the station around as if he's been exhibiting covering action, in addition to real covering action outside the bowl area. I've asked her to put an empty bowl in the open space so he can't drag it.

I can understand the covering behavior, but this is his on-demand dry food he's "covering." He shouldn't be doing that. Yet another problem on the way toward the meeting with Loudmouth. Any suggestions, anyone?

I know it's not what you want to hear, but you could try slowing down your moving his food dishes.  Especially as you say the full introduction will have to wait a few more days, what's the rush?  Let him adjust to the new situation a little longer, before you push him further.  It really isn't a race.  Better to go slower and have happier cats when the meeting finally comes.

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1 hour ago, CritterKeeper said:

I know it's not what you want to hear, but you could try slowing down your moving his food dishes.  Especially as you say the full introduction will have to wait a few more days, what's the rush?  Let him adjust to the new situation a little longer, before you push him further.  It really isn't a race.  Better to go slower and have happier cats when the meeting finally comes.

Well, we have another more pressing problem–or, the return of a problem now: bed pee.

@CritterKeeper, did you see anything in those numbers I posted from his tests that would indicate a problem? He was doing fine until sometime between breakfast and around noon. He's been out walking through the house for the last couple of days since getting treated, and we haven't had this problem. What do you think might trigger it now?

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Baker is being stubborn today. Mrs. Prof has been checking to see when he'll go up into his hammock in the master bedroom and chill so that she can let Loudmouth out and roam for a bit. I think Baker's on to that little game. Baker has gone up to the window, but only as high as the cat tree we have placed for him. He won't let the bedroom door out of his sight.

I think this might be a perfect night for "base camp swapping." Put Baker in the cat room and let Loudmouth out. I don't know if Baker will play along, but we can try. Mrs. Prof agrees. She's got some chores to run first before we try it.

In the meanwhile, she found an old plastic translucent babygate. It slides to fit the door, but it doesn't allow direct sight between the two cats. My main worry is that the only way their scent can get through is over the top. All I know is we're not using it tonight or tomorrow.

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