Sunday, February 20, 2011

She Eats, She Purrs!

I had told myself today's post would not be about cats but I had to reverse that decision in order to tell you the big new - I finally got to pet Katrina today! 

I had been asked to find out if her nipples were engorged, i.e. if she was still producing milk, in order to decide whether she was ready to be spayed or not.  We'd like to have her fixed sooner than later so that she doesn't go into heat.  Of course, it was hard for me to find that out when she was spending 99% of her time tucked under my bed.  I thought we were making progress earlier today when she was willing to show this much of herself:
So I figured luck might be with me today if I bribed her to come out with water squeezed from a tuna can.  I had discovered she liked that last week, when I was trying to get her to eat anything. Tuna water was the only thing I actually saw her eat while those kittens were around and she gobbled it up like she couldn't get enough of it.  This didn't surprise me, as both my cats used to go c-r-a-z-y over tuna water.  All I had to do was pull the can opener out of the drawer and they would both come running from wherever they were and start meowing and standing up on the kitchen cupboard door like they hadn't seen food for days.  How they knew that the sealed can contained tuna, I never did figure out, but they did because if I was planning to open a can of peas, there would be no reaction whatsoever.  It's not like they could smell the tuna, they literally came running before the can opener got anywhere near the can itself.  Don't let anybody tell you cats aren't smart!!

I put out a small dish of tuna water this afternoon and sat down near the dish. I didn't have long to wait.  Within a few minutes, she came out from under the bedskirt, gave me a wary glance and started to drink.  I tried petting her and she let me so I kept doing it.  When she finished the water, she wanted more attention so I kept on petting her and checked out her belly.  I'm not entirely sure what the engorged nipples of a nursing cat would feel like but hers felt reasonably normal, so presumably she is not producing milk any more. I've since been told that it would be very obvious if she was, so we're good to go.

She seemed to love the petting and even started purring.  I almost cried, I was so glad to see her reaction. She lay down beside me and showed me a bit of her belly, enough to see she has a little patch of white on her lower abdomen, so she is not all black after all.  She wasn't quite ready to let me rub her tummy but the fact that she showed it to me is a good sign that she has some trust for me.  She checked out the empty tuna dish a few more times, just to make sure it was really empty and eventually headed back under the bed.

Tonight, I sat near her food and after she ate, she came over to be petted again.  For the second time, she seemed quite eager for the attention, purred and did the head butt thing, which means "keep going, I haven't had enough yet".  Both times, in petting her, I realized how very thin she is.  I can feel her individual ribs.  Her sleek black coat is deceptive, as her fur is thick so it makes her look fuller than she actually is.  But now that I've seen her up close, I can see how her body curves in.  I don't know if all nursing cats are that thin or whether she ate anything while she was in the shelter, and of course, we have no information about her life before she and her kittens were rescued from that shelter. 

She also eats like she isn't sure where her next meal will be coming from.  If a kibble drops on the ground, she carefully picks it up and eats it, not wasting anything (unlike my darling Max, who used to routinely and carelessly spit out several kibbles during most meals and leave them scattered around the dish.)  Any morsel of wet food gets the same treatment.  She also goes back and forth between the dishes of wet and dry food, as if she is afraid one or the other will be taken away if she isn't careful.  Hopefully she will soon realize that regular, healthy meals are going to be part of her daily routine for as long as I've got anything to do with it.

Here's a couple of pictures of her, you can see what I mean about her being long and lean:
So there you have it, the latest update on Katrina.  She eats, she purrs!  I feel a little bit like a hockey annoucer when I say that ("he shoots, he scores!") but no matter, it is definitely good news.

4 comments: said...

I'm enjoying your posts about Katrina and especially how she is starting to trust you. Will you be keeping her?

debi said...

I am thrilled she found her way to you. debi

kate mckinnon said...

Oh, how lovely. I also almost cried reading about you being able to pet her.

And OMG, what a beauty she is! She looks so much like Wyatt I can hardly believe it.

How lucky she was to have you. All of us cat lovers are eternally in your debt. See, if you had come to the Tucson classes, you wouldn't have been there in place to catch her. You knew you needed to stay home, you just weren't exactly sure why.


Cynthia of Cynful Creations said...

@Kate - it's true, we are where we're meant to be, aren't we? She does look like Wyatt! Does he have a white patch on his lower belly?

@Diane - for now, I'm just keeping her until she is ready to be adopted. She's a real sweetheart but I'm thinking I can help more as a foster parent. It remains to be seen how she will do with other cats around, she will probably do better as a single cat until she is less skittish.