The morning after

Vazra‘s first night at home was basically uneventful.  He was not allowed to eat or drink until this morning, so he spent most of the night in the bathroom with a litter box, scratching post, a pallet of blankets and sheets, and some toys.  Thankfully, he spent most of that time sleeping off his post-surgery malaise.

Being in an unfamiliar environment with all manner of sensory overload, he often spent his awake time calling out.  I could immediately elicit much happy purring and talking when I would visit him.  Of course, true to form, he awoke me with forlorn crying around 2:30 in the morning, and then again around 5:00.  I spent some time resting on the bathroom floor with him to make sure he knew I was there and had not abandoned him.  It was then I learned he’s much like Kazon in that he likes to give head butts, including in the face.  He’s a very affectionate cat.

This morning was my first attempt to give him his antibiotics.  That is going to be problematic.  He’s just not interested and gets rather pugnacious.  I look forward to the wounds of war in that regard.  Fortunately, it’s only for ten days.  Hopefully, I’ll survive.

I tried feeding him wet food as recommended since it would irritate his mouth less, but he wanted very little of it and instead enjoyed some dry food once out of the bathroom.  I’d already noticed long ago that he swallows it whole, so maybe that’s not a bad thing.  At least he ate and drank.  I’ll be giving all of them a treat of wet food later and will try again with a different flavor to see if that’s more to his liking (not to mention I’ll cover it with treats that may be more acceptable).

As I suspected, he’s very interested in going back outside.  He sits in the windows or at the doors and cries out — wails, actually — in what is a textbook example of plaintiveness.  This can not be helped, of course, and I have tremendous hope it will diminish over time as he realizes this is his new home and becomes accustomed to it.  Still, one can not help but be touched by the sounds of aloneness that echo throughout the house as he roams from room to room trying to find a way back out to the world which he knows all too well.  I wonder how long he lived there.  Equally, I wonder how long it will take for him to find comfort in his new home.

Kazon generally does not react harshly to Vazra.  It seems more curiosity than anything else, although, as the baby of the house, I must be very careful not to alienate him while trying to make the new fella comfortable.  I think Kazon really just wants to know what the new kid’s all about, whether he’ll be a fun addition to the home, and if he poses a threat.  So far, all the indications from that perspective are good on all counts.

Kako has made it abundantly clear she will not tolerate the interloper.  Little does she know he’s a permanent fixture.  In time, her mood and reaction will both change.  Until then, however, they will require monitoring, more her than him.  She has already lashed out at Vazra, but she has also lashed out at everyone else.  That includes Grendel, her man.  That’s a sure sign she’s very unhappy.  Much of this, no doubt, is in response to her being the only female and the smallest cat in the house.  Luckily, Vazra is not much bigger than she is and is smaller than the other three.  Then there’s the fact that she’s so full of piss and vinegar anyway…

Grendel, on the other hand, has done a bit of investigating, but otherwise he’s relatively the same ol’ cat: taking it all in stride.  He’ll assert his dominance eventually, but, for now anyway, I’ll try to keep that in check so as not to make this more difficult on Vazra than it already is.

Loki has thoroughly surprised me.  While he’s hissed a few times when Vazra got too close, he’s really been unexpectedly blasé about the whole thing.  In fact, his disinterest took me by surprise and made me concerned, something that ended up being quite warranted (more on that in a subsequent post).  For now, let me just say that Loki requires as much monitoring as Vazra does.

Overall, it has not been terribly bad, but it also has not been entirely smooth.  I never expected it would be.  This will take plenty of time and will undoubtedly include violence (some of which will probably be targeted at me, but them’s the breaks).

All of this has taught me a great deal about Vazra.

First, he is not violent in nature.  He’s curious about the rest of The Kids, but he’s neither pushy nor intolerant.  Generally, they are not threats to him thus far.  He walks by them without hissing or swinging, and he has only hissed when one of them has hissed at him first.  This is promising, although it’s not indicative.  The overwhelming change in his status, his surgery and general veterinarian violations, and all the new stimuli he’s subjected to may well be diverting his attention.  Nevertheless, under those circumstances most cats would be increasingly self-protective and violent, so his lack of aggression in this regard is at least promising.

Second, he knows how to work doors.  While in the bathroom, one of the first things he did was open the cupboard doors under the sink in order to investigate.  That’s terribly entertaining and not problematic since the rest of The Kids also have this trait (thanks in no small part to Kazon, I might add).

Third, he is terribly affectionate as I have already stated.  He loves attention.  He purrs with a very satisfying rumble.  He makes bread (kneads his front paws) at the drop of a hat, let alone the moment he’s petted.

Fourth, something I’ve already stated as well as experienced, is his talkativeness.  He loves to talk, and he talks with you.  While he talks from time to time without anyone else involved in the conversation, he thus far has always responded to me vocally when I’ve spoken to him.  He also initiates conversations.  Again, this is something all of The Kids share, so he should fit right in.

Fifth, he is neutered.  Although that’s not really something I learned after bringing him home, I did want to mention it.  That also helps to significantly reduce the cost of registration in Dallas (a waste of money and a violation of civil rights, by the way, not to mention forcing rabies vaccinations being animal cruelty, but I’ll save that tirade for another time).

Sixth, he is litter box trained.  It took only a minute or two after setting him up in the bathroom for him to climb into the box and take care of his business.  Like Kazon, though, he tends to be disinterested in covering up some of his mess.  Unlike Kazon, however, Vazra doesn’t flee from the box after doing a number 2.  At least that he covers.  Kazon just runs from the box as though what he just did is as offensive as it is embarrassing.

Seventh, his desire to return to the outside world often brings him to the door if I am exiting or entering.  I’ll have to watch that closely to ensure he doesn’t sneak out while I’m busy.  Again, I hope this urge will pass with time as he learns his new home inside is much better than the one outside that he left behind.

At present, Vazra has finally gone quiet after finding a comfortable spot on the bed to take a nap.

I will keep you posted on our progress.

[by the time I’d finished editing this post, he’d moved out of the bedroom and is now lying at my feet]

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