I have video evidence of a miracle!
So in my ever-expanding quest to catify the apartment to a) make them happy and b) help ease tensions, I re-did a corner of the living room again, all new and kitteh-like. I moved the stairstep scratcher into the bedroom (its intended purchase was to provide steps to go up to the bed, though it has never been used that way), moved a litter box into that corner, added another wall shelf, cut the Cardboard House of Awesome in half, and added a sky chair.
Wait, why did I cut the Cardboard House of Awesome in half? It has four stories inside made of super industrial cardboard. Well, one of those stories went bye-bye after it was peed upon. Two more have buckled and been clawed to death (btw, yes – considering I’ve had the House for I think a couple of years, that’s durable for them to have lasted this long). They could no longer hop through all the stories up to the rooftop. So I took the inner floor that was still intact and one of the buckling ones that was the least damaged (it wouldn’t matter if it was buckling if it was upside down and on the ground level), and made it a two-story House of Awesome instead. I added a basket with the warming blanket I made them on top, and now they have a salvaged Cardboard House of Awesome!
Now, the sky chair. Have you ever seen those beds that are pillows hung from the ceiling with cloth, like this? I’ve long wanted to get one for my kitties, but I am, alas, but a poor blogger and funds are tight. So, I made a makeshift one of my own!
All I did really was take one of their pillows that my grandmother had made them years ago, and suspended it in a macrame plant hanger. Voilà! Instant kitty sky chair!
So this is what the new-and-improved cat corner looks like:
I hope they like the changes. Yuan has already been in the cup on the stairstep scratcher in the bedroom (I’m hoping its proximity to my pillows will facilitate two – or three – cats sharing bedtime with me with less of an issue, though it has been getting better already anyway). But so far the corner has not been claimed (I just put up the sky chair this afternoon, and was modifying the Cardboard House of Awesome at about three this morning). Maybe I’ll put out some catnip to signal that construction is complete.
Now if only I could mount a sky chair for *me* from the ceiling…
Maggie loves to hang out on top of the toilet lid. I’m not sure why, but that is one of her favorite spots. Maybe that shaggy cover is really comfy…
PS – Maggie has lost .4 pounds! Woohoo! The new noms strategy is working! ^.^
So first I must share the amazing news: not only are Maggie and Yuan sniffing noses now, but Deidre has reclaimed a bunch of territory and has been super brave! She has joined me on the bed again, including when Yuan was also on the bed, and though a couple of times there were growls and hisses, there were also a couple of times where absolutely nothing happened. The other day, she not only joined Yuan and I on the bed, but she climbed over me to be on the same side where he was, growled at him a little, he gave her kitty kisses/blinky eyes, and she calmed down. Her nose was less than two inches from his foot and both of them were chill. And to boot, she had to cross within inches of Maggie, who has taken to curling up on the floor next to the bed, to hop up and join us in the first place.
So on that note, I give you the latest addition of Things That Have Helped With The Peace Process: Spirit Essences by Jackson Galaxy.
Spirit Essences are holistic remedies that you can give either in food or water, or topically (may I just say I love the topical option? Especially if your kitties are sharing dishes, and/or you’ve got food bullies (*cough*Yuan*cough*), it can be hard to separate who gets what in food sometimes if they need different things. So I can put Peacemaker (which is for everybody) in the water dishes/fountains which everyone drinks out of, and apply the Bully Remedy to Yuan and the Self Esteem to Deidre on their fur).
First of all, I have to say that they must not taste funny, because I’ve been putting Peacemaker in their water for a while now and no one seems to mind in the slightest. At first I tried it in the gravity waterer and not the fountain, figuring if they were going to turn their noses up at the taste, they’d at least have an alternative and not go thirsty – but no one avoided it, so now it’s in both. So that’s a plus from the get-go.
Secondly, the topical option, which not only is great for getting everyone their different needs, is *so easy*. I just drop some drops into my hand, rub it across my palms, and pet them. Especially Yuan, who loves the thorough, full-body pets will get into this, but I think he actually enjoys the essence itself, because he seems to get excited when I say, “It’s good juju stuff time!” …which is what I call Spirit Essences. They are Good Juju Stuff. 😉
But most importantly, they seem to be helping! We’ve made so much progress lately, which sure, you could say is a cumulative process, but the most dramatic changes have aligned pretty nicely with the continued use of Good Juju Stuff.
So – all three kitties and a human agree – Spirit Essences get two paws up!
It’s the little things that make me happy in the Quest For Kitteh Peace, and one of those things is Maggie and Yuan SNIFFING NOSES!
You may think that’s not a big deal, cats sniff noses all the time… but when they’re at war, they don’t!
Back when it was just the girls and I, one of the first signs of peace and tolerance for each other (which, incidentally, ALSO took about two years to develop) was that Deidre and Maggie would surreptitiously sniff each other. Usually that meant one of them was cuddling with me in the papasan with their tail hanging over the side, and the other would come up and sniff the tail, with the cuddler unawares. Or perhaps I was feeding them in the kitchen, and one would be so fixated on me with the food that they didn’t notice the other come up from behind and sniff their… behind.
Now Yuan and Maggie have been doing the while-they’re-not-looking sniffs, which made me happy in and of itself, but the other day they actually both turned the corner at the same time and sniffed *noses*. No growls, no hisses. Just sweet sniffs!
I am a happy human.
And yes – I’ve had Yuan for a little over two years now. Apparently that is the magic timeframe.
On a little side note, I finally got the water fountain working that had been out of commission for WAY too long (I lost two different parts at two different times when I had taken it apart for washing, and only found them months later, because yes, I think the dryer sock monster sometimes vacations in my kitchen), and Yuan is MYSTIFIED by it. The girls seem to be like, “Oh yeah, the fountain,” but for the first day Yuan was just staring at it, as though he was debating whether he should drink from it or pounce it (he eventually did drink from it, and yes, I still have other water bowls about). Simple kitty amusements.
And finally, the other kitteh news is: Maggie is frisky!!! And playing with TOYS! It’s a miracle!!!
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that Maggie, historically, generally found toys to be evil. She would growl and hiss at them, and seemed to be stressed out by their presence rather than amused. As she is the fluffiest of the three (though Yuan The Food Bully is doing his darndest to catch up despite all of them being on a diet), I could never figure out how to get her to play so she’d get some exercise and have fun! Then she got some awesome wine cork toys for Christmas from a neighbor friend, and she’d actually chase and play with them in small doses. Previously, the closest we got to play was her rolling around in catnip or licking catnip toys enthusiastically – but she never chased them. These ones she chased!
Then the other day, I couldn’t find the wine corks, so I tossed a feather-ball toy that we’ve had for years and… she actually chased it and attacked it! We’ve had a few play sessions since then, and she’s actually having fun!
*sings the hallelujah chorus*
I have a Deidre curled up leaning on me right now, so I’m going to go and snuggle a kitteh. The peace treaties are working! Yay! 🙂
Now Deidre has been claiming her royal right to the timeshare throne:
…a few more. Then I left her alone.
…which had absolutely nothing to do with my camera batteries dying. Nope. Not at all.
I will be working on a longer post soon, but just a quickie update to say that yes, the kitties and I are alive and well, and naughty blogger is naughty for not posting in so long. Sorry! As you may have noticed, I tend to blog in waves… a bunch of posts, and then a drought. Another wave of posts, and then another drought. That’s kind of how I function in most areas in my life… to everything, turn, turn, turn…
At this very moment as I type this, I am in my bed with Deidre and Yuan, playing Great Wall of China like I used to do with Maggie and Deidre. AMAZING! Especially since there has been a return of peeing-outside-the-box on the part of the girls as of late: Deidre because Yuan has been intimidating her, and Maggie because she has a boyfriend. But more on the boyfriend later in the longer post. I just repositioned a litter box again tonight – hopefully third time’s the charm on that front! I should buy stock in enzyme cleaners. And puppy peepee pads.
Yes, my cats will use puppy peepee pads when they won’t use the box.
Anyway! I also wanted to mention that as I was looking things over today, I noticed that for some mysterious technology is the spawn of Loki reason, almost all of my embedded YouTube videos on this site have transmogrified to show the last video I uploaded to YouTube – which is a drive down Pikes Peak, instead of the relevant video, such as building cat shelves. I do not know how that happened, but when I am working on the long post tomorrow I will see if it is fixible, or if Loki just wants to laugh at me some more. 😉
Finally, even though I am employing ever-more strategies to help my kitties get along all the time and hoping they will take, y’all know I have been at this for a while (Maggie joined Deidre and I four years ago this December – Yuan will be two years ago this October). For those that don’t know me outside of this blog, I have been slowly working to downsize my massive amounts of clutter – for many reasons, but especially because I have a dream of building/owning my own tiny house.
The kitties already have territory issues in 600-some square feet… going smaller would take some serious progress on the making friends front.
So with that in mind, I saw on Facebook today that My Cat From Hell is now casting.
What do ya’ll think? Should I ask Jackson Galaxy to come and play peace treaty negotiator for my kitties? I’m seriously thinking about it!
So Yuan scared the snot out of me the other day. He was sitting in the strawberry pot on the balcony (the strawberries have not sprouted at all, so really, it’s a pot of dirt and trellis at this point), staring intently at something over the ledge. I went out to distract him, because I didn’t want him making a crazy flying leap off the balcony in a moment of blind hunter instinct. Well, he didn’t leap – he snatched.
He then proceeded to carry it in his mouth to the door, like, “OK, I have dinner, let me bring it in now.”
Luckily I close the screen door behind me because I don’t want bugs to get in. But meanwhile, I’m being a silly human screaming as much as the bird is, “OH MY GOD! YUAN, LET IT GO!” …like he’s going to let it go just because I’m screaming and flailing around like a crazy woman. He luckily a moment later turned away from the door to fuss with the bird who was struggling to get free, and I ran inside, fetched a cup of water, and threw said water on Yuan to get him to let go of the bird. He did, and it flew off the side of the balcony (with Yuan in pursuit, but it got away and Yuan watched it go). So I’m pretty sure the bird is OK. But it scared the bejeezus out of me. If I had indoor/outdoor cats, if I let them roam the neighborhood, etc., I might expect that type of thing to happen every now and again. But I have indoor kitties who are allowed on my second floor apartment’s balcony… I don’t expect there to be a whole lot of hunting other than toys and the occasional bug!
Since he was just being a cat and trying to bring me a present (when kitties bring home prey to you, they are bringing you a present – sharing it with you), once I had calmed my silly human self down I gave him treats. That way he got his “hunter noms” and a “thanks for taking care of your family”. Not that I want to encourage him to snatch more birds out of the air (we had a talk about that, but again, he was just doing What Cats Do), but he was being natural. Can’t punish him for that. And I felt bad about dousing him, but I REALLY didn’t want the bird to be hurt. I do think it was OK – it flew off – just scared out of its mind. Yuan wasn’t biting on it hard, just holding it.
So that was my Yuan taking me out of my comfort zone (he’s my teacher man!) once again moment. I’ve been living with cats since I was 11, but they’ve all been indoor cats. So the whole “find a dead something on your porch” thing is alien to me. The closest I came to that was Butterscotch (my first cat – who I got when I was 11) would hunt the occasional mouse that got in the house. He would then leave the dead mouse in front of my bedroom door. Such a sweet boy bringing me a present and hunting mice! But luckily for my mice-made-me-literally-sit-on-the-table-and-scream girlie self, my parents usually found it before I did and got rid of the carcass. Butter was probably very frustrated by this, like, “Why are you throwing away HER PRESENT?!” Us humans are very confusing.
The only other experience that somewhat resonates with this is the time Deidre ate my betta fish after living with him for a year and a half. I came home from work to find his tail on the ground, and all the rest of him gone. I did initially get mad, but afterward I felt bad for it because again – she was just being a cat.
But this is why, though I would like to have fish again, I’m not going to get any until I can get a big tank that can’t be knocked over nor the lid popped off. I can just see it now – one lone betta fish in a giant tank. 😉 He’ll be king of the world!
So lately I’ve been feeding Maggie and Yuan closer and closer together whenever all three of them are getting cat food (Deidre so far is not interested in expanding her territory to the kitchen as of late, which is where the other two eat). But the other day, as I go in there to feed them, Maggie and Yuan meet at the corner of the kitchen, and *almost* sniffed noses. They both kind of hesitantly made moves like they were going to do it, but they were both a little unsure about it, so they didn’t *quite* get there. They were just an inch or so apart, face to face, no growls, no hisses. So I moved their bowls pretty much next to each other to see if they’d go for it.
The kitties are doing well. Maggie is officially on the canned diet permanently (with kibbles only occasionally, like when I know I’m going to be gone for several hours, I’ll give her a little before I leave). When I tried giving her a normal “daily dose” a couple of times, she immediately had the runs in the litter box. Poor thing. But she’s happy about the canned food! Deidre requires more perches to climb on (as I am *finally* – yes, it took this long, only doing it in patches – almost done with the carpet shampooing project, I’m hoping to get that taken care of soon once everything is in its permanent place). Yuan is still my Master Headbonker and Garden Cat. And Maggie has TAKEN TO HANGING OUT IN HER CARRIER AS HER BED.
I repeat: Maggie, who has always seemed claustrophobic, has taken to hanging out in the carrier (which I leave with a mat in it and the door open) when she’s napping, relaxing, or needs a place to hide from, say, visitors or the vacuum. Maggie. Who acted as though the carrier was the portal to hell. Now hangs out in there of her own volition! And to make it even more wow-ified: it’s in the bedroom, which has been strict Yuan-only territory for months. She shares the bedroom with him now.
A. Maz. Ing!