Friday, August 13, 2010

T&T Held Hostage: Day Eight -- Together At Last

Tanya and Tomba are together now, crouched in the same hiding place, and it's all because of my hardhearted cruelty.

Tanya wasn't budging from her top-floor lair. Despite my best efforts to win her trust, woo her out, and in general get her to leave her under-bed lair, she stayed put. Let me pet her? Yes. Eat (at least some of) the food I brought her? Yes. Come all the way out from under? No. Other than quick dashes to the litterbox within feet of her refuge, or poking her head out far enough to drink water from the bowl between the beds, she wasn't going anywhere.

After a week of letting her mull over her new life, I decided it was time she made a move to come to better terms with it. So I stuffed pillows, bedspreads, and so forth under both beds, leaving her one end of one bed for a hidey-hole. This, as you may imagine, perturbed her. Tanya in fact fled downstairs in mid-stuff. She made it all the way to the basement, where she discovered to her horror that the behind-the-furnace retreat was blocked off. I caught her in mid-scuttle for the stairs back to the upper levels, petted her a bit, then released her. Scuttling resumed.

Since the cruel contraction of her former refuge, Tanya has experimented with various hiding places. I've spotted her several times lurking under the living room recliner, for example. At this point she's settled on joining Tomba in my bedroom closet -- a shallow but several-feet-wide lair with lots of hanging clothes to conceal her tubby body, and a pair of sliding doors I leave a few inches open at either side for easy access.

Tomba's done some exploring, and I've seen him in a corner of the living room under the same table where he found refuge after his extraction from under the plenum. Mostly, though, he hangs out in the bedroom closet. He and Tanya migrate between the two ends and the middle section; if one is in an end, the other is in the middle.

Tomba is more at ease with his new life, he's still not socializing with the residents but he's a lot calmer about things, and he will actually creep out of the closet to have at the food I bring him, even when one of the residents (hi, Schooner!) hangs about watching. He very much enjoys the head skritches, body rubs, and general making much of I give him, responding with robust purrs. Tanya is still torn on whether being petted by me is a good thing or not, but I can usually evoke a purr with concentrated chin-tickling. Both cats have absolutely refused to show any aggression to me, even when they're desperate to get away and I'm preventing it, blocking their way or (gasp!) even holding them briefly. They simply slink harder. Not that I often restrain them; mostly I just visit them in their hiding places and pet them at arm's length.

All in all, though, this is going much, much better than I'd expected.

Meanwhile, Sophie is on the disabled list. Late last night I noticed her limping badly, barely putting weight on her left hind. Careful gentle palpation evoked no protest or flinching, so I felt reassured that, whatever it was, at least nothing was broken. I did call the 24-hour emergency animal hospital in North Andover to run it by them, see if they thought I should bring her in (at 1:00-ish a.m., a good half-hour's drive away, sob) and after a thorough discussion of what was going on, we decided she could wait till this morning when my regular vets' office opened.

Meanwhile, so that Sophie wouldn't have to attempt navigating the stairs to relieve herself, I brought a couple of litterboxes back up to the living room where she was. Darn it! I'd just moved them out a day or two before, after catproofing the basement, and now.... back again. Sophie was glad of it, though; very soon after I laid down the tarp and settled the boxes on it, she clambered in and released a flood.

Called SRH Vet this morning; discussed what I'd observed last night and Sophie's marginally better ambulation this morning; decided to hold off bringing her in and instead confine her to a small space, since that's the treatment, I was told, she'd be prescribed anyway given the review of symptoms. Could be a wrench or sprain; could even be a dislocation; but tincture of time in such cases, aided by limits on motion, is the way to heal her. Also, their X-ray equipment, having just been upgraded, was refusing to function properly, so they wouldn't be able to look inside anyway. We've left it that I can call tomorrow if I want her seen and they'll fit us in. I'll see how she's doing tomorrow morning; if she's not clearly improving, off we go.

So now Sophie is here with me in my second-floor office. She has her own food and water dishes, her own litterbox, her own floor cushion on which she's sleeping as I type this, and one of those wooden accordion child-saver gates across the doorway. The other residents -- especially Sally, who claims the top of the office bookcase as her favored roost -- are annoyed that they can't get in, but have given up trying to burrow under the barrier.

Oh, and if all this weren't enough, my Morgan, Commander, has pulled off a front shoe and I had to swaddle his foot with vetwrap and duct tape to protect the hoof wall till my farrier can take care of it. What next? She asks plaintively.


Update, a couple of hours later:

I should mention a bit of behavior by the fat little girl that is most encouraging: She's dipping and sipping.

Sophie for most of her life has had a habit of sitting at the water dish, dipping a paw daintily into the water, then lifting the paw to her mouth and licking the drips off it. She was doing that last night and is doing it again tonight.

I'm assuming that if she were in strong discomfort she wouldn't engage in that little idiosyncracy.

Watching her move from food dish to water dish to cushion just now, it appears that her limp is a wee bit less pronounced than it was even a few hours earlier. Still quite lame; still doesn't want to swing the leg well forward under her body; but a smidgen better.

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