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Monday, September 10, 2012

Wumpus the Wonder Cat


Argh, has it been a MONTH since I’ve posted?  Oh, the shame!  Should I write about the visits from my various children ?  My Perfect Grandchildren?  The  Spiderman quilt I’ve been madly stitching?  No, I’m going to write about my new cat.

I NEEDED a cat.  Steve's current job is in Washington State, and things were too lonely around the house.  I went to the animal shelter for a visit, just a visit.  I mean, it would be crazy to bring a cat home for six weeks and then leave for a month, right?  No, the plan was to get a cat when I return from visiting him in October, but I thought I’d visit the animal shelter.  There’s no harm in a visit, is there?  (Before I continue, I would like to make a disclosure.  This post is about my new cat and also about some litter box issues.  It's not disgusting or anything; it is his story, and it must be told.)

The animal shelter is a convenient 10 minutes from my home.  I was amazed at the bustle.  The waiting room was full with a bird, lizard, gerbil and rat (well, yes, in cages) and people (not in cages).   There was standing room only.

My turn came up, and I signed for a pass to the cat room.  There were a few kittens and several female cats, but I was interested in an older male cat, of which there were three.  One tawny three-year-old took my fancy, but he’d been wild and still had to be neutered.  Ummm, too many potential pitfalls there.  (Yeah, a visit.  Sure.) 

I took one last look around.  On a small bulletin board was a picture of a six-year-old male cat being kept in an overflow room.  He's been in the shelter one week.  I asked if I could have a fourth “visit.” 

I fell in love.  His paperwork said he’d been given up because his owners were moving.  (Yeah, makes no sense to me, either.)  I filled out the forms, but there was a snafu because he’d originally been adopted from PetCo.  Fairfax Animal Shelter calls them before adopting out one of their cats as a courtesy (like they’d want him back instead of having him adopted?  Again, no sense).  The problem?  PetCo wasn’t answering their phone.  I got halfway home, when my cell phone rang.  (I’m a good girl; I pulled over before I answered.)  The pussycat was mine!

The first thing I had to do was rename him.  His old name was fine, but it just wasn’t HIM., and let's face it, cats come equally badly no matter what you name them.  My son was in that weekend, and both he and a former student came up with excellent names.  My kitty is Wumpus McCoy.  He is extremely sociable, following me from room to room and putting himself  on the bookshelf next to me when I get on the computer.   

Cat on Shelf
 
The adoption, however, was not without Issues.  Wumpus did not poop.  Oh, c’mon, I hear you say, of course he pooped.  Well, yes, he pooped about once every three days.  This is not normal for a cat.  I was keeping him inside because (a) you promise the animal shelter to do so, and (b) said former student was going to foster him while I came to Richland.  I didn’t want him making a bee-line for her door, running out and getting lost.  Inside means you can monitor the litter box.  The litter got damp, but no poop. 

We visited the vet who took an x-ray.  “Yes, there’s a lot in there.  A LOT.”  She hydrated him, and on the drive home, my nose informed me that a few little plops had fallen out in the carrier.  While cleaning it up, I realized I’d forgotten to get the Shelter form signed and had left his paperwork in the exam room.  In the following days, there was no improvement. 

The cleaners came the next day, and after they left, I found a few poops in a trail towards the litter box.  I guess the vacuum cleaner frightened him, but he’d been moving (sorry about the pun) in the right direction.  Otherwise Wumpus was tranquil and playful, batting his pink sisal mouse to me and catching it neatly in his paws when I tossed it back. 

The vet suggested canned food (more fiber) with a little chicken stock added to it (more hydration).  Four days later, no action.  I brought him back to the vet to be cleaned out.  I flicked on my Kindle for the half hour wait, but five minutes later the vet came out saying happily, “I went back to take care of him, and all the techs were cheering.  He had a big movement on his own.”  Back home we went.  Wumpus disdainfully exited his carrier and strolled to the screened-in porch for a nap. 

Okay, you are thinking, this is getting ridiculous.  I have just read three paragraphs about Wumpus the Poopless Wonder.  Please stay with me; the drama ends soon.

What would you do with this cat?
 
A couple of days after that, I smelled a horrible smell in our guest room.  Some detective work found a mound of poop under the heavy bedspread on the bed.  Really?  REALLY?  How could he even sit up under there?   On a detective mission, I found two other little
dried-up piles in odd places around the house.  It looked like Wum wasn’t so constipated after all.  That afternoon, my former student, whose own dearly beloved cat was deathly ill, let me know she just couldn’t add the care of Wumpus McCoy while I was away. 

Setting out to simultaneously line up a house sitter and wonder if Wumpus had to be returned (and, being unadoptable, be put down), I let him outside.  VOILA!  No more problems.  The world may be your oyster, but it is Wumus McCoy’s litter box. 

I finally drove back to the vet’s and got Wum’s adoption papers back.  I was shocked to see that his previous owner had gotten him from PetCo only six months previously.  The story as I see it, based on gossamer imaginings, is that his original owner was an elderly man -- Wum is quite fond of men -- who kept him as an indoor/outdoor cat but gave him to the PetCo shelter when he (the man) had to go into assisted living.  The people who got him from PetCo foll kept him indoors.  When he refused the litter box, they brought him to the county shelter, passing the problem on to me. 

Wum is a keeper, though.  I’ve installed a pet door for him, and I love him.  No, it would be more accurate to say I am besotted with him and spoil him dreadfully which is, after all, the entire purpose of having a cat.  And Wumpus McCoy is good to me, too.  He sits next to me on the couch to watch Perception and All the Right Moves.  He jumps and flips chasing his chenille snake.  He meows until I follow him through the screened-in porch, onto the deck, into the back yard (like Lassie bringing humans to Timmy in the well).  Once on the moss, he flops on his side to be softly rolled around.  In case you visit me, he likes to have his cheeks scratched.  Wum is no longer the Poopless Wonder; now he is Wumpus the Wonder Cat.

Where will Steve sleep when he comes home?

Here is what I filk to him (to the tune of Wild Thing).

            Little Cat,
            My heart goes pitter-pat,
            I am so happy that
            I have you.

            Oh, Wum,
            You make my heart hum,
            And now everyone
            Knows I love you!

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