Monday, October 27, 2008

Back To Square One?

CC hates the tarps we had to put all over the house while they destroyed our roof (so's we can gets a new roof and then solar panels!!). Those tarps smell BAD! Also, there was all kinds of crap falling on everything making a huge mess. I ended up messing up my neck and back too. The roof people really should have warned us to evacuate. This has been very traumatic...but I will actually spare you the details.
The big bad news is that I went out of town for gigs this weekend and when I returned...I was told the kitties were not fighting (statement naive at best). They weren't getting their Bach Flower Essences either! This afternoon, INKY was after CC with a vengeance! He chased her up the spiral staircase and actually caught her and pulled out chunks of fur. There was screaming and hissing from all 3 of us and I had to run over and smack the TV so many times to scare him off her that I hurt my hand. Then he started hyperventilating and making awful sounds. This is the worst I've seen him in months. Seems like we may be back to square one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What's Up?

Inky is up! He's up top of the spiral kitty staircase. We now have our new windows. No, they did not pass inspection, so the dudes are here YET AGAIN banging windows and opening and closing doors etc. CC has made a break for it out the front door a few times. She is so over INKY and his shenanigans! She made it to the front lawn the first time the inspector came.
So, what is the latest feline behavior? My felines are behaving pretty much the same. INKY stalks CC and CC hides from him. Plus, he goes after Scooter sometimes. Also, Spike goes after CC and smacks her with his clawless paws like she's a bongo drum and he is Andy Garcia. He's cuter than Andy Garcia, I must say!
I have been stuffing Bach Flower Essences down Inky's throat every day. Vervain and Vine. I dunno if this is helping at all, though there does seem to be slightly less, I will continue. Also, I give CC water spiked with Mimulus and put Mimulus in Scooters dinner.'s update is rather dull. No change really. Maybe a little.
If anyone out there is actually reading this blog, please say a prayer for my sister-in-law. She is going in for a serious operation (as opposed to those really funny on Doctor 90210) tomorrow. The more prayers the better! Thanks.
And don't forget to vote for Romeo! Click here: Thanks to those of you who already voted and supported this wonderful cause. Dogs are our friends.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cutest Cocker

What on earth is a DOG doing on my feline behavior blog???? Don't worry: I'm still the crazy cat lady and I do prefer cats over dogs....but I also love dogs. I want to hug them (even though my dog-crazy friend Wendy says that might be intimidating for most dogs.) This pic is of one of my gorgeous nephews. I've posted it to inspire you to please go to Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England ( and vote for ROMEO for the Cutest Pet Contest. Votes are only $2 each and all proceeds go to help rescue Cocker Spaniels in need. They do great work there. Maybe you could even consider adopting a dog while you are on the website. Oh, I should warn you that last year this contest was called the Cutest Cocker, but this year they have opened it up to other pets. The top 12 pets will be featured in a 2009 calendar. Romeo was Mr. July last year. Romeo is lucky to live with my brother, Food, his girlfriend Eva, another Cocker Spaniel named Woody and 2 longhaired Dachshunds named Pan and Lira. And they have an upstairs uncle named Bob. It's a happy doggy home and I love visiting them whenever I go to Bahhhhstin. Please goto the website and vote for Romeo. Please!
As for my kitties...CC has become a bit of a domestic house cat. She is friendlier than ever to me and even slept in the bed with us 2 nights this week. Of course, I had put her there to protect her from INKY and I had 2 restless nights fighting him off! She sometimes waits by the front door thinking she might be suddenly allowed out again. No deal. Inky still stalks her and there are hissy fits everyday. She pretty much hides all day and night and only comes out to eat and do her business when I am there to protect her. I have begun giving CC and Scooter Bach Flower Essences Mimulus and Inky gets Vervain. I put it on the pads of their paws and/or in their ear flaps. I want to believe it is helping...but, really, I'm not convinced.
Good luck to everyone dealing with these storms this season. Don't forget to vote for ROMEO!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

String Theory

INKY really loves his toys. In this picture he is climbing into his basket of toys to pick just the right one. Today he was insistent on playing with a broken toy. He jumped up on my desk, sniffing around my music and rubbing all over my flute to try to get to the remains of his wand toy they call Da Bird. By now da bird feathers and da clasp dat holds da bird feathers have been chewed off. Noone ate the clasp: don't worry. He cried until I dropped what I was doing and dragged the 10 or so inches of string attached to the wand all around the house for him to chase. We ran through the kitchen, through the piano bar and into the bedroom, circled all over the waterbed, down the back hallway and back into the piano bar. Over and over. He wasn't tiring from this but I had work to do. Finally, I had him complete the prey cycle by catching it one last time in the kitchen. As a reward I poured him a small bowl of shrimp treat crumbs. I figured it would take him a while to eat all that, so I made the mistake of leaving the room to finish my work on the piano. This was a bad idea as, when I returned less than 5 minutes later to check on him (mind you, he was barely out of sight and only 6 feet away from me the whole time)...I found the cat, the bowl with some shrimp still in it and the wand. NO STRING! He ate the string! INKY bit about 6 inches off the string and consumed it. It was nowhere to be found and none of the other cats had moved from their sleeping posts around the house. INKY ATE THE STRING!!! Of course I panicked could get stuck in his intestines or something bad like that (I imagined some pretty horrific possibilities). Throwing it up as he had once done before with a long piece of fleece that he bit off a wand wouldn't have been so bad. String can be very dangerous for a kitty!!! I picked up the phone to call Dr. Yao, hysterically, again. Then I stopped myself. I ended up just giving him some hairball medicine and praying that he didn't eat it all in one piece. Or, maybe Da Bird is da bomb and is easily digested by cats. All the feline behaviorists recommend Da, hopefully they know something I don't and he will be OK. He seems a little mopey tonight. But then... he is a cat - he sleeps a lot. I keep checking on him and will give him more fur ball meds to help pass the string. Anyone have a theory about how this will turn out?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Laundry Fay

No school in Dade, Broward and Monroe counties today and tomorrow due to Tropical Storm Fay. These would be the only enjoyable days of school teaching, if I were still doing that. Instead, I spent all day doing laundry (after having another blood test to find out why I get so cold all the time). Usually the kitties like to help. Spike really likes rolling all over the clean laundry while I try to fold it and as you can see, INKY enjoys monopolizing the basket so his poor Cinderella of a mother doesn't have to do yet another load. But today is a special laundry day. We got a new High Efficiency washing machine by Frigidaire. It's so fun and different. I know I don't get out much, but I couldn't resist shining the flashlight through the little window to spy on my clothes as they were tumbled around in the new machine. What does this have to do with cat behavior? Everything I do is controlled by cat behavior. I am constantly moving about and planning my day around the cats. If CC is not up on her perch atop the spiral kitty stairs...INKY is after her and I have to protect her. I throw in a load of laundry while INKY is taking a bath. I move the clean clothes into the bedroom while CC is hiding under the chair and INKY is mistakenly looking in the guest bedroom for her. I don't recall any scuffles today. I was busy preventing them. CC has been spending a lot of time in solitary (locked in guest bedroom) for her own safety and my peace of mind. Yesterday I found someone had sprayed a tiny bit on the plastic covering the bookshelves (because of new window installation) in the guest bedroom. I cleaned that up with Urine-off. And I switched the litterbox in there to a giant sterilite box. Someone was peeing over the edge of the old little(small) box. Cat owners: don't waste your time buying commercial litter boxes. Buy BIG sterilite boxes. They are roomy and don't absorb smells like the cheap litterboxes. Good news is, they are actually less expensive than most litterboxes. They just aren't as pretty. I know that will kill some of you people who live in museum like homes and obviously don't care that much about your cats well being. ME-OW!!
So, we have the same problem as usual: INKY spends most of his day hunting down CC and she in turn spends most of her time trying to hide. I just found a sweet new Champagne box from Total Wine that I want to give to CC to hide in. I'm looking for the best location for it. INKY already took it for a test sit. I really don't know what my next move should be with these 2. It's getting old again: desperately trying to keep them apart, yet still together. They don't get into real cat fights. Just a little hissing and smacking and running and yelling. No real fur flying usually. Are any behaviorists out there reading this??? Please help.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I've been called the crazy cat lady. An old college buddy used to call me cat-woman. With the edition of one letter, some people used to turn my maiden name into a cat's cry (they do get so clever with names, don't they?). A student once said, "no offense, but I can only picture you going home every night and sitting with your cats grading our papers". It was better that they thought I was only doing THAT. So...I do find it ironic to discover I am allergic to cats! Yes, I finally went to an allergist who used me 2 times (so far) as a human pin cushion and found out I am allergic to cats (and dogs and american cockroaches and several types of grasses). Even though my car broke that day and cost me more money than I've made all summer and other mayhem ensued...all I could think about was, "I am allergic to cats!!!". Luckily, it doesn't seem to be a bad allergy (one of my best friends can't even step foot in my house without tearing up and sneezing for days afterward) and, naturally, the cats will not be moving out of the house. I'll probably do the shots and remove the carpeting (thank God! Now I have an excuse to get rid of that carpeting. It was disgusting from the beginning and filled with dog-dander from the previous owner - I mean her dogs!) and maybe get new pillows or something.
Next topic: today's photo is of my sister Dorothy's cat smelling the roses after Dorothy's beautiful wedding in her back yard which happens to be LAKE TAHOE! Gorgeous!
And...the cats continue to behave badly. INKY has rushed at CC several times since we've been back from Tahoe. I have resorted to a high pitched yelp (thanks Victoria Stillwell) when I see this. I figure they might not pin the horrid sound on me, but are startled enough to halt the pursuit. And last night, JP decided to spray the corner near the spiral staircase as we all sat watching him/the TV. Like I need THIS problem again. I soaked up a bunch and sprayed Urine-Off on it. He loves to spray in that corner right near the felliway plugin! I can't wait for the windows and roof to be done and for us to magically have money to redo the floors! Then I can properly clean that corner and get rid of the nasty carpeting. Then will I have perfectly behaved little kitties???
Also, I'm thinking Spike (cat) may have allergies and that is why he is constantly scratching the whiskers right off his face!
Right now CC is hiding under the Zero Gravity Chair and INKY and Spike are taking turns bugging her as I fight them away each time.
Still hoping a great feline behaviorist moves into my neighborhood.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Knock Knock!

We're getting new (impact) windows and the kitties DO NOT LIKE ALL THE KNOCKING SOUNDS! I got back from the doctors to find these dudes in and out of my house banging away scaring the kitties. The boys have come out of hiding and I did find CC wedged under the futon, but Scooter is, of course, eluding us all. At least I don't think she'll make a break for it and the guys do one whole window at a, it seems.
Update (already). INKY just found CC under the futon and went for her. I had to cover him with a blanket and remove him from the room. He is currently quarantined in the studio while CC is locked in the guest bedroom. The others are...wandering. I think Scooter is stuck with INKY. I hope he doesn't find her too! Ugghhh! The knocking!! I hate it! INKY is now scratching at the door.
So...we went on vacation for a week and my cat care givers claim there were no problems. Bill thinks I am the problem. All I can say is, they are only truly relaxed around ME as opposed to other people. Even though they love uncle Bill and seemed to take right to Jen and Remy and they like Tabitha too.
INKY figured out how to get out of the studio. I wonder if I leave to go to my next appointment, will they get scared and hide again? That would be much better.
And, of course, INKY still spends most of his time and energy stalking CC and she is constantly trying to hide from him! What can I do now?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

INKY Devil!

Inky has been devilish again. Friday, after I blogged, Inky (as well as Spike, JP and possibly Scooter!!) was smacking at CC who was hiding in her cat-cave. He has chased her up the spiral staircase at least 3 times and smacked at her as she rests on her kitchen chair. He continues to stalk her most of the day. I just managed to prevent him from smacking her on the kitchen chair again by walking up to him and telling him NO! Now he is sleeping on the tupperware furniture near the computer as JP cries from another room. We are waiting for Jen to come over. Then everyone (except CC) will probably head for the hills. Wait...there's no hills in FLA! They'll just hide behind the bed like Scooter did all weekend while our niece Lucy was here. These kitties are not accustomed to having company! I am putting Rescue Remedy in their water now more often. I'd like to believe it is working. I don't have the alcohol free pet version though. Is that bad? OK. I don't have much interesting to say today. Maybe later. ciao.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Girls

CC has found a new hiding place and it is near where Scooter hangs out. The 2 of them are now playing the staring game. It looks kinda cute because CC is holed up in an ottoman that Spike(dude) pimped into a perfect cat-cave, and Scooter is on the classy tupperware furniture (as seen in second picture above-believe it or not). Scooter is lying down on her leopard pad gazing at CC below. Like I said (typed), it LOOKS cute...but I have a feeling there is kitty-intimidation happening. Perhaps some bullying? Even Scooter gets sucked in to the game! I want so much for the girls to be buddies...but it never seems to happen.
Now INKY has joined the girls. He is sitting on the other tupperware furniture (can I get a kickback from Tupperware for mentioning them so often? We just love Tupperware, we have Tupperware in every room of our house. We even have tupperware in the bathroom. Or is that rubbermaid?). INKY has hissed at CC in her cat-cave, but then he settled down to a mere glaring at my poor girl. And...finally, he has fallen asleep. But fear not! (or, if you are cc or me: FEAR!) INKY is right there ready to wake up in case CC moves a muscle, makes any sound or, God-forbid, BREATHES! Scooter has left the scene. It got to be too intense for her.
And now for something completely different:
The Miami Shores Flute Ensemble (not only am I the director, I'm actually a member) played last night at the TASTE OF THE NATION extravaganza at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne. We had a lot of fun playing and even more fun eating and drinking after. I was so excited to see all my favourite chefs in person! I have great admiration and respect for good cheffing. And I convinced my cohorts to stay for the Chef afterparty (And Jen thought flute players were nerdy! They actually called it The Chef After-Party). Time to plug one of my favourite restaurants: North One 10. Had a nice chat with Chef Dewey at the Chef afterparty. Looks like the MSFE will be playing again this year at his holiday shin-dig at North One 10. More info to follow on that. Thanks to Chef Allen, Dale and Dewey LoSasso, Jen Karetnik and everyone who was so kind to us last night.
Now everyone be quiet soasnot to wake the sleeping kitties!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Too Close

Immediate update...
I get up for 2 minutes to do laundry and INKY went for CC in the box at the base of the staircase. I screamed (sudden high pitched gasp to distract them-ala Victoria Stillwell in It's Me Or The Dog) and banged on the french doors to really distract them. CC was not fazed and INKY soon walked away. Still I think these negative interactions are supposed to be avoided at all costs right now. I hear cats don't just "work it out".

Cats, fabulous hair and Zappa!

I wish INKY would just stay in this box and be good!
I have a trip coming up soon and I am worried sick about the cat dynamics in my home. I am weening INKY off his Buspar so that my multiple cat care givers (one of which has never even been in my house and met my cats) don't have to chase him down and medicate him (even though his medication is not in pill form - it is trans dermal: BRILLIANT!!!). But what if they fight while I'm not there? I'm trying to formulate and emergency plan along the lines of...CC goes to Dr. Yao's for the week or gets locked in the guest bedroom. Poor CC has to pay for INKY's insanity because INKY will go completely mental if confined to one space. God bless CC for her adaptability and patience! I love her.
Nothing new with kitties today. I had a short bribery session this AM before going to Van Michael's Salon for a fabulous cut/style with Jessica (she rocks!!). Made appointment to see Stephanie soon (who rocks my colour!).
Saw Zappa Plays Zappa last night at crappy Club Cinema. Band was awesome, venue was the worst! They charged $10 to park at a strip mall (I feel kinda bad for the poor souls trying to get their chicken on at KFC - some of them got charged $10 - smart one's split and hopefully found something healthier to eat), line went around the block, didn't see ANY security all night and the AC didn't seem to be working. I was drenched in sweat and straining to see Dweezil between the necks of 2 older sweatier Frank fans. Never mind the $8 swill they called beer!!! I have a good mind to write a strongly worded email....well, at least I will never go back to club cinema and I encourage you all to avoid the place also! Al and didn't really miss out this time. Go catch Zappa in Orlando tonight! Anyhow, I really missed Steve Vai.
Back to the cats...CC is bravely sitting in the box at the bottom of the spiral cat staircase and INKY, belly full of tuna treats and turkey, is sitting about 4-5 feet away staring at her. I need to go back and sit in between them (with the treats) for a while.
Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


FISH! My kitties love fish. They like fish flavoured food, actual fish and fish flavoured treats. I have been feeding INKY (and Spike and CC, consequently) fishy treats all day long since I discovered this new bribery thing. Whenever I see INKY get near CC, I give him treats (as long as he remains calm and cool). He's already around 18 lbs!!! So...I decided to start breaking the treats into smaller pieces so I don't have a bunch of Chunky Monkey's on my hands! But it seems like I could spend all day just stuffing their faces to keep them from fighting.
Last night I grew tired of the treating and let INKY get closer to CC and even let him get whiny and growly. Then...I squirted him with water (remember, never let your cat CATCH you doing this!!!!). I had to squirt him a few times to get him to stop the insanity then I just ignored him. I had to do this again today. Same scenario: CC on the spiral kitty staircase and INKY on the TV next to the structure making noises.
Last night I took INKY into the guest bedroom and tried to play with him. Most good feline behaviorists will tell you to play with your cats daily. It is important to complete the prey cycle (I'll have to write about THAT another time). But, I've been having trouble doing that with my cats lately. At least he played a little and we got to spend some quality time together without the other buggers (until they started scratching at the door). Anyone have insight about my cats not playing properly? I know they are distracted and paranoid about the other cats ruining their game (which tends to happen when the other cats miss mommy and start scratching at the door and crying. OK...maybe it's not me...maybe they just NEED to know what is going on on the other side of the door!)
For now, I continue to use the bribery technique for counter conditioning as often as I can STAND it! God only knows what happens between them when I am not here!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Turkey Day

Here's a pic of INKY in his younger and innocenter days! How cute!!
I watched Barking Mad the other day and saw a crazy cat that was attacking dogs - unprovoked. His violently dynamic reaction to dogs reminded me of INKY's reaction to CC (and all foreign cats). So, I took note of the therapy. They used HAM as a treat to recondition the cat SLOWLY. They put a dog near the cat and as long as the cat remained calm they fed him ham.
Now, I am philosophically opposed to bribery (even with my students I was never really into the candy/sticker rewards thing. I just don't like the concept)...but... I saw it work for Grim on, I did that yesterday and today - but with turkey. As soon as CC came down to eat/drink etc., INKY was right there...but before he could get all whiny and whatnot...I began stuffing his face with turkey. I gave some to CC too. Amazingly, this worked and INKY even just walked away content after a while.
RIGHT NOW, CC is sleeping (of course) on a chair near the feeding station. JP is sleeping soundly near me, Scooter is getting a snack and...oh ohhhhh! INKY is lying on the floor kinda close to sleeping CC. A few minutes ago Spike walked near INKY and hissed at him. Spike does not approve of INKY's rambunctious ways! Well, I'll just keep my fingers crossed for now. I have to run some errands and teach some piano! Maybe I'll need to break out the turkey again.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I dunno.

While I was writing JP's blog....INKY and CC mysteriously dissappeared. Maybe they ran off after eachother when I walked into the other room to pry JP off Scooter (he dominates her by biting the back of her neck when she tries to eat - haven't even begun to address THAT problem!). So... I found INKY howling in the guest bedroom. He had CC cornered behind the futon. She looked comfy enough, she has a bed and pillows there....but INKY was guarding her. He sat 3 feet away growling, moaning and howling. I snuck up and squirted his behind and hid in the hallway. That distracted him for about a second. I didn't know what I should have done. Seemed cruel to leave him there all agitated while CC is trying to get some peace and quiet. I sat down on the futon, put the TV on and ignored him until he came up to me all sweet and lovey. then I ushered him out of the room, put on Animal Planet for CC and shut the door so she could get some peace and quiet.
I moved into my bedroom to watch Housecat Housecalls with JP sprawled on my lap. Apparently at this time, INKY had redirected his anger and my husband caught him going after Scooter. Scooter and CC kinda look alike and they are both kinda anti-social. I'm not sure exactly what Spike(husband) did to stop INKY....but...everyone seems fine now.
I need to communicate again with Mieshelle. My contract with her is wayyyyy up and she's busy being newlywed and all (damn, I wanted her to marry a friend of mine down here in Miami) but she said she will write me again. I'm sure I've flooded her box with emails. You see I can't stop e-ying! I just have so many questions. I know many of the basic theories of feline behavior but because I have 5 totally different all gets complicated.
Would it be better for me to let CC go back outside (she used to be indoor/outdoor before she got attacked and abscessed in Jan. 2008) so she can get the heck away from INKY or will that cause more problems (other than the obvious dangers of being outdoors!!!) such smells setting INKY off like crazy and one of the old problems where CC is afraid to use her cat door because the other indoor kitties are waiting for her just inside. How do you answer THAT?


Here's a pic of JP hitting the Ouzo I brought back from my concert tour of Greece!
JP joined my clowder (look it up!) in 1999. I must have just broken up with a boyfriend and decided he could easily be replaced with a kitten (I shall refrain from any further commentary on this subject at this time). I contacted the Cat Network (still don't know how to link to a word!! Der!) and went to a home in Miami Shores to pick myself a lovely kitty. At the time I had Spike (shorthair white with dark gray splotches (one shaped like a hidden mickey!!), Jazz (Spike's brother...long grey fur) and Zebe (foster child, dark longhaired... uhhh.. tabby kinda thing? I'm not too good with breed ID's. I'm not into breeding at all!). Anyhow...I wanted a different looking, an orange kitty or siamese or something I didn't already have. I've always wanted a black cat, but I actually had a black haired Mufasa a few years earlier.
Well, at this home of a cat network person (I believe it was 2 women that lived there as well as the cats and dogs)...there were many cages filled with many kittens. Any one of them would have been wonderful...but most of them looked like the cats I already had at home. I was harboring a pretty good cross section of cat breeds. Then I met little JP. He was mostly white with grey and black. He looks a lot like I kept passing by him. But he wasnt having it! He kept crying and crying for me. He wanted out of the cage full of black monkey-kittens (they were the most insane kittens I had ever met. They frightened me a little). Well, I finally picked him up and instantly fell in love. I really didnt want a repeat of the white with grey theme....but everytime I put him down he cried hysterically until I picked him back up. Then the woman let her wolf dog in the house (yes, the dog was part wolf). He was beautiful. And HUGE. The dog went up to little JP and sniffed him. I though JP was a gonner...but NO! That randy little kitten smacked the wolf in the face and scared him away. That sealed the deal. I signed the adoption paperwork.
The next few days were TORTURE waiting for the women to get JP neutered and physically checked out. I wanted that little kitten in my home so bad. The day I was supposed to adopt him, I went real early to the Luna Star Cafe in North Miami (I figured out the link thing!!) to wait for the call.
They called, I chugged my beer (maybe it was actually coffee?) and bolted over to pick up my little angel. I made my friend drive so I could pet kitten all the way home.
Why JP? Well, being a single private-school teacher (read...poor old maid)living in the big city with no family mom was constantly telling me I shouldnt have cats. I can't afford them etc. So...I wanted to name the kitten after my mom. But it was a boy. My mom's middle name is Jean. That sounds like Jean to me. (this loses something in the translation...Jean could be like GEEEEEN for a girl or John for a haitian/french boy) and my dad's name is Paul. Well, dad is Italian so I don't know why his momma didn't name him Paolo in the first kitty got the continental name of Jean-Paolo or JP or...well, we have many variations around here.
AND HE IS STILL CRYING TODAY! He never shuts up! I love him. He's cute. He's sweet and loyal. In a future post I will tell you about baby JP coming home to see his new big brother Spike. I have a great picture of the 2 of them! But I'll have to scan it...that was in the before times when I didn't know nothin' about no digital cameras. I didn't even have a computer then!! Whaaaat

Let it be.

This AM CC was trying to get down from the spiral staircase and INKY was sitting at the bottom, his stare keeping her up there! I gave them both cat milk and treats to continue trying to recondition them (especially INKY) that seeing eachother equals yummy treats and good times. This seemed to be working well until I realized I couldnt leave them there alone. INKY will never give up! He will sit there all day to be sure she doesn't come down. So....after some moaning and meowing and stuff...I tried to lure INKY into the guest bedroom. Nothing was working and I didnt want to try to pick up an aroused cat again. Then a truck arrived outside the front door, which spooked him a little and he ran into the other room only to return shortly after upon realization that the truck was not going to enter his house. Then it hit me!! Not the idea. I knocked on the front door. This always works. Cats scrambled left and right to get away from the possible intruder. I was able then to pick up INKY and move him 3 more feet into the guest bedroom. While in there he was on edge. Looking around for the intruder. He didn't want to play so I poured him some food. He wouldn't eat. He ran to scratch the door. That's when I heard the crunching sounds. Spike had been apparently hiding in that room too. He'll never say no to food. Well, eventually INKY calmed down a little. He bumped heads with me and followed me into the bathroom. I let Spike out and INKY even ate some food and watched Waynes World with me. He was distracted by my husband mowing the lawn and coming in and out of the house. So...after a while I went out and saw CC hiding under the computer desk again. I reminded her about yesterdays adventure when we both got trapped by the computer desk (INKY has such power over all of us!) and I picked her up and moved her onto one of her boxes in the studio. She seemed happy. I let INKY out and he sniffed around but didn't find her and didn't get irritable. Thought everything was fine until JP came over here to the computer with me (we planned to blog about HIM today) and suddenly there was the madd hissing dash of dark cats out of the studio and into the TV room. I shook the shaky noise can to stop the insanity and all that did was frighten away JP. I ended up fetching the squirt bottle to squirt INKY (warning, this must be done anonymously! IF your cat realizes YOU are squirting it...s/he will just be mad at YOU. S/he will not connect the squirt with his bad/undesireable behavior)because he was stalking CC...moaning, growling, hissing etc. Now, CC is hiding under the zero gravity chair and INKY is about 2 1/2 feet away on top the previously described classy tupperware furniture. They are both lying down calmly now, so, I'm gonna let it be!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Solitary Confinement

picture of CC on my bed during the initial reintroduction days when she had to get locked alone in the bedroom often. Ain't she pretty?? I love her!!!

This morning I was watching Barking Mad in my bedroom and I wasn't sure if all the angry cat sounds were coming from the TV (where behaviorists were trying to condition a cat to be comfortable (ie. do not attack and otherwise freakout) around dogs. I paused the show (love DVR's!!! I highly recommend this device!) and ventured out into the house at large (not that it's a large house) to find INKY sitting, flat-eared, on a piece of furniture, for lack of better term, and CC cornered under the computer desk AGAIN!

Soon enough there was crying from CC and howling from INKY. CC started to attempt to walk by INKY (pretty confident move! but not smart). INKY was getting really riled up, so I picked up CC to transport her again (maybe that's not smart either. I wish an expert would read this blog and HELP ME!!!) but INKY was not moving and I couldn't walk past him with CC in my arms. I tried distracting him by tossing crunchy balls and shaking containers filled with coins (we have these strategically placed around the house) and I tried pushing the office chair into the "furniture" ('s another tupperward tub filled with some kind of collectibles) to frighten him away, but when INKY gets in this aggitated state therer seems to be nothing to bring him back. CC and I were trapped in the corner. It was pathetic. I reached for a fly swatter and tried gently nudging INKY's behind off the...ok...classy tupperware tub. We're not rich here! And I guess we're not so classy either. We'd get rid of the tubs in the TV room if the kitties didn't love sitting on them so much!

I digress.

So...I put CC back on the floor under the desk and managed to sneak by INKY myself without incident. I realize I probably made things worse by coming at INKY with CC...and the chair and the noise. Man...I feel like I'm trying so hard here and might not be making the right choices. I need professional help. No...I mean a feline behaviorist. My time with Mieshelle Nagelschneider has long expired...even though she hasn't completely abandoned me. She's the best. I don't know how to hyperlink her name so click this:

At any rate...who is actually still reading this? God bless you.

I coaxed CC out with some cat milk (gave it to INKY too once he appeared to calm down. Gotta stack those positive interaction experiences. THIS I know!). Bottom line: I put CC in solitary confinement in the guest bedroom suite. She has food, water, litter, cable TV...everything a cat could want. Oh yeah, futon and compfy places to sleep - since that's all she ever seems to do now (STRESSED KITTY). I just went back in there to play with her but she must have been hiding under something...or maybe she finally busted out and hitched a ride back to southbeach to reclaim her sobe party-girl lifestyle! She hates the 'burbs.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

broken whiskers

Anyone know why suddenly my cat's whiskers are breaking, splitting and falling out? He's only got about 3 short whiskers left on one side of his face? I can't seem to find much info online except he may be sick and/0r losing weight too fast. I hope someone can answer this question fast. Maybe I'lll drag him to the cat vet in kendall tomorrow. I don't want to say which cat it is. I feel I should protect his identity at this time.
Can anyone help this poor dude on Premios Juventud sing in tune? Aiiiiy!

Cat Wrangling

Last night CC was up on her perch atop the spiral staircase (built for kitties only) and INKY was below STARING at her for hours. She began to descend and INKY was getting chatty. Since CC would have to walk (or run) past INKY to get food, water or bathroom) I made an executive decision to transport her via my arms past the dreaded INKY and to her food bowl. Dunno if that was smart or not. I ended up with a couple scratches. But I think CC is too scared to go near him sometimes. Saw a video yesterday that talked about, among other things, signs of a stressed cat and I think CC is stressed: compulsive drinking, sleeping A LOT!!! and hiding and she may even be losing fur. Spike(husband) and I even talked about rehoming CC (easier to do than the obvious rehoming INKY).

This AM CC was still up on the perch and INKY still stalking her below. I managed to entice INKY with a toy into the guest bedroom and play with him and hang out for a long time so CC could come down and eat etc. INKY enjoyed his "Mommy-INKY time" today.

So...I have heard no screaming, hissing or fighting since .... ooooh, 11 AM...what day was that? Yesterday? Yeah! New record...but, I was away from home most of today. Doing some work for the Miami Shores Flute Ensemble. When I stopped by the house to feed them at 4:30, INKY and CC were sitting suspiciously close together. I checked INKY's claws and he didn't have any CC fur stuck in them!

I hope you enjoy this closeup picture of CC hiding in INKY's tent. Inky likes to go crazy camping! She's really pretty. Don't you think? I got my Cat Wrangling book yesterday. I'll let y'all know if it is any good. Pettiquette by Amy Shojai is awesome!

Had fun swimming with Tab and her kids today. Came home starving waiting for Spike to come home. Guess it's just me and my quality television programming this evening.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I did not hear any scuffles last night or this AM! So, we call today A GOOD DAY (thus far). Inky's bell is freaking him out a bit (still not sure where the sound is coming from) but I think it is helping overall. INKY and JP play-wrestled a little bit today. That was cute.

SCOOTER (see above picture):
When I was living alone in my closet sized apartment many cats? Spike, JP, Jazz, Zebe. I guess that's 4 Duh! "We" found a little kitten hiding under the copy machine at the Cor Jesu Chapel of Barry University (where I play flute most sundays). John had just gotten a new kitten (no way!!??), Dr. Lee's kitten was eating his very expensive shoes and Mark, I think, took the last was my turn. I took this preciously sweet little bundle back to my closet apt. Mark named her Scooter on account of she scooted under the copy machine and it was tricky to get her out.
Well, as you can 4 cats were not having another kitten in the house (JP was still just over a year old himself) so, I pawned her off on Spike (the then boyfriend - not the cat...yes, it is a total coincidence that I ended up marrying a dude who happens to have the same name as my cat. I swear I had the cat before I ever met the guy! You sicko romantics would say it was fate...whatever!). Spike was just supposed to keep her for a couple of weeks while I found her a new home: he had CC at home already and we all know what a ummmm...standoffish cat she is!
Scooter was perfectly sweet and friendly until we closed her alone in Spike's bathroom. You wouldnt believe the noises we heard. That tiny little kitten was litterally climbing the walls and breaking everything in site! Then she hid under the futon for 2 weeks! We had to feed her under there...or near there anyway. She wouldnt come out while we were around though!
Soon enough, her personality changed again. She became super friendly and wanted to play CRUNCHY BALL all the time! She would even fetch them and bring them back. She is a beautiful cat and, of course, Spike fell in love with her (and me!) and decided to keep us both.
Today she roams freely about the house with the 4 other kitties. She is very skiddish and shy. When no other humans are around she will sit on my lap and purr like crazy. Noone would believe this as most people have never even seen her - even if they spend a week at our house (THIS ACTIVITY IS NOT ENCOURAGED, by the way).
As you can see in the picture, Spike(husband) likes to build cat structures (That is a real tree limb from a hurricane that Scooter is sitting near. It has a bed on top). Right now, INKY is sitting on the bed/perch atop the high spiral staircase - since CC has actually come down and is sleeping on a chair near the food. Scooter is sleeping on her rock 'n roll leopard print pad on top a giant tupperware tub probably filled with KISS action figures or something. Spike(cat!!)'s probably sleeping on the couch and JP most likely is sleeping bellyup on the waterbed. What a life we live here at Casa Marro. I wouldnt trade it for anything!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


So...I gave INKY a new collar with a bell on it. Now CC can hear him sneaking up on her. I know it is irritating for him to have that ringing in his ears all the time (he already started chasing his tail!!) but it's a little safer for CC and the others now. Eventually, the bell will be removed. It's dinnertime. Wish us luck.

Today's update

so...last night INKY had an "interaction" with CC. What I think happened (I didn't witness the whole thing) was that CC was on her way up the spiral cat staircase in the livingroom (my husband has built several kitty structures. This one goes way up to the little windows high up near the ceiling....a quite high ceiling...and has a place for CC to sleep at the top) and INKY took a swat/chased her part way up. He was apparently really riled up about it. Several minutes later I went to pick him up and he jumped in the air and SCREAMED!
Which brings us to today...
He was evidently still aggitated by this. This AM he was sitting on the couch still staring up at CC who had probably been up on that perch all night. CC came down to eat or something and INKY had a go at her and ended up chasing her screaming into another room while I sprayed him repeatedly with water. Granted, my running after him, possibly yelling (can't really remember to be honest) may not have helped my cause.
So...I decided CC needed to be quarantined (oh no! That's what got us into this mess in the first place!) in the guest bedroom. And Spike insisted on going with her. She's still there now - about 3 hours later. I just removed Spike so she can feel totally safe and relaxed until INKY can calm down out here.
And it is thundering and lightenining to add to the fun!
I'm trying to ignore INKY so he doesn't get attention for his bad behavior. I had a question though....and I'm having trouble remembering it...oh well. There's a couple obvious questions:
1) should I have quarantined her again?
2) should I be totally ignoring INKY? He was scratching at CC's door even.
3) should I not have let Spike in there with CC?
4) should I let CC out for dinner and serve her and INKY yummy stinky canned food together (10-15 feet apart of course)?
Long story short...
My husband and I have 5 cats and 1 house (no dogs, children or other animals). As of January 2008, 4 cats stay inside (Spike, JP, Scooter and INKY) and CC goes in and out as she pleases.
Everything was fine and dandy until the youngest kitty, INKY started to come into maturity (around 18 months of age) and became very territorial. He would spray around the house and attack the other kitties (especially the oldest, Spike, who often can be seen with scratches around his ears). Combine that with JP's urinary problems - stones in his bladder - and we had ourselves an all out pissing war! The vet prescribed amitriptyline and even had to "up" the dosage of that, probably because INKY is a hugantic cat. Well, the meds made INKY gain weight, act lethargic, and made him hate us because we were the pill givers. Let me tell you!!! I have pilled many a cat and I know all the tricks: treats (yeah, right...INKY now will not go near any treat that we tried to hide pills in), devices to shove pills down throats (not having it), holding heads in the right angle, always being quick and confident etc. yeah....INKY is just not into pills. My husband claims he has the neck of Arnold Schwartzenegger - he can avoid any attempt to get pill in mouth and will spit it back up no matter how far down you think you shoved that pill. Don't you love the foamy half digested pills all around the house? EEEEWWW! Oh... and did I mention INKY was still spraying/peeing and attacking the other cats?
But before I forget to mention...INKY is GORGEOUS all black and shiny like a panther. He is super smart. He will do tricks (high five etc) and is very snuggly and affectionate. I adore this cat. several return trips to the vet and being told to put the cat outside (to beat the crap out of neighborhood cats I suppose)...the vet begrudgingly prescribed hormones to make my "bully" (his words, not mine) cat more feminine. So...instead of destroying my cats health with hormones I decided, against the advice of my vet, to find a cat behaviorist to help. I just knew this problem could be solved some other way!
I will skip the details righ now...but, I FINALLY managed to find the most wonderful woman in the cat world: Mieshelle Nagelschneider She is in Oregon and I am in Miami, but lets just say she is brilliant and dedicated and almost like magic she solved that problem. I will write more about THAT and her in other posts I'm sure. But I tell you right here and right now...if you have a cat behavior problem anywhere in the US or her immediately!!
Skip to January 2008. CC had an abscess on her back and had to go to the hospital overnight. I could put a lot of blame on a lot of things (and people..including myself)...but....basically what happened is...after being quarantined in the bathroom then the guest bedroom (had to kick my houseguest out even), INKY would not accept CC back into the pride. Perhaps she smelled too much like the dreaded vet...and INKY had a totally flip out on CC. Not just growling and hissing. We're talking crazy moaning, screaming, spitting, reminded me of the time a year ago when taking him back to the vet - probably to get his hormone prescription (which I never filled, thank you very much) and he was making such crazy noises it sounded to me like a 3 year old human being bludgeoned to death. Or at least...I immagine that's what THAT would sound like. Havent tried it or witnessed it myself. I digress.
So....we are almost up to date here. I'll try to spare you more details again...but...I've read several cat behavior books and seen videos and done a lot of research online about this. I know I have to do a slow reintroduction as though CC is a new cat. All the obvious tricks werent working as quickly and well as I had read they did I do? I hired Mieshelle again. SHE ROCKS! She basically said the same thing: slow reintroduction. I dont feel like putting all the details down here since I already have written WAY too much...but I fear posters will start posting advice with obvious garbage like, you have to share the scents of the cat. DUH! yeah.
I tried to make every meeting between the 2 of them positive (yummy stinky wet food) and did some allogrooming. Go look that up. Most vets dont even know what that means. After several months I had to resort to adding medication to the routine. INKY is just so high strung and nervous etc. My vet really didnt want to medicate him again and knew nothing about compounding meds so I dont have to risk losing a finger (HELLO! I'm a musician...I kinda need all the digits intact!). I thought I was doing him a favour educating him about the compounding. I dont think he saw it that way. To this day we dont seem to be on the same page with INKY. But at least he did give in and get me my amitriptyline gel for INKY's ears. Of course, once again the meds didn't do anything except make him gain weight. Now we are on Buspar (no, just INKY, I'm on other meds. I have different problems). It seems to be taking the edge off...but I am not totally satisfied and I think I need to stop begging this vet to give me different drugs.
Where are we today? Well, INKY is on 7.5 mg of Buspar 2 times a day transdermally (in the ear). All 5 cats have free roam of the house (I have ommitted a big story of how we got THERE). INKY spends a good amount of his day stalking CC who has become more frightened than ever. She hides up high and in places where INKY can't reach her. She can spend 12 hours straight in one place with no food, water or litterbox. At least once a day INKY has an interaction with her which I usually don't see, I only hear a scream. Noone has gotten hurt yet. CC tends to come out to eat when I am around because she knows I will try my best to keep INKY at bay.
I am fascinated by feline behavior. Please stay tuned to hear more about the antics in our home. I would love to hear what you have to say...especially if you happen to be in the biz. I wish I could find a reputable cat behaviorist in the area to come to my house (on the cheap would be best as I AM a musician)...anyhow...more to come.