Author Topic: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!  (Read 2835 times)

Offline Middle Child

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Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« on: February 19, 2013, 07:00:54 AM »
Today is Mazy's Gotcha Day!  Eight years!  (known in this forum as Struvite Kitty or SK)

I wanted a kitten for Tolly.  Tolly (:angel: 11/11)  was raised by Bibbs (:angel: 3/05) and Ootay (:angel: 5/09), but they were already over 8 years old when he came, so by the time Tolly was going on 6, they were old ladies and didn't want to run and tumble with him as much, and he said I was "too big".

So the kitten search began.  I actually filled out my application at the shelter in the fall, was approved and started visiting the shelter about once a month.  There were many lovely cats and I usually left in tears, wanting to take them all home, but I really needed a younger playmate for Tolly.

One day at the end of January when I walked in the shelter manager met me at the door so happy, because she said a couple of litters of kittens had been brought in.  She brought me into the room, and sure enough, there were all these little kittens, of all colors (including a couple of red ones!) running around. Babies. Like I wanted.

As I stood there watching them I heard a "prrt?".  I turned to see a half grown brown tabby cat sitting in a cage staring at me.  Our eyes met and I said "Oh!  You're Mazy!" and she said "PRRT!"

The shelter manager came in just then and saw me communing with "Trinity" (her shelter name).  I said I want HER!  She opened the cage and put her hands in to show me how "Trinity" would wave claws and teeth, and said sadly, even though she's so pretty no one wants her because she's not socialized.  I said don't worry I can train that out of her.

So for the next three weekends I went back to the shelter to play with Mazy cat.  I brought the towel that had been rubbed on Bibbs, Ootay and Tolly.  Mazy did not allow me to touch her, so I could only make quick swipes with the towel to get her smell on it (to exchange smells between all the cats). I could tell Mazy was very smart, every time the shelter manager walked by the closed door Mazy would stop and look at the door, or if she heard the manager's voice she would stop and listen.  The manager really loved Mazy and had bonded with her a little, obviously.

Finally the big day came.  I built a hide-away cubby-hole downstairs where the litter boxes are, so if Mazy was scared she would have a place to hide out, by the litter boxes. Mazy heard my voice when I walked into the shelter, I know, because when I walked into the room she was in, she was sitting in her cage and her eyes were already fastened on mine,  she KNEW I was there to take her home that day.

I talked to her all the way home, telling her all about the other cats and how I hoped she would be a playmate for Tolly.  She only said one thing, and that was when we were standing at my door, she said "mew".  (She almost never meows, prrt is her word, but when she sings it is still a "mew" not a meow).

Once inside I set down the carrier and put out the new litter box I'd gotten for her, and put fresh litter in it, then added it to the corner where the other boxes are.  Then I opened the carrier door right in front of the litter boxes.  Mazy stepped into and out of each litter box,(and The Litter Box Police was born) then headed for the stairs.

She walked the entire perimeter of the apartment while I and the other cats watched.  Eventually she came out of the bedroom, FLOPPED down in the middle of the living room floor and sighed deeply.  I knew that sigh said "I'm home".

She was playing with Tolly by the very next day. (though it took her at least 18 months to learn to live with me) From the very beginning Mazy has taken all her Jobs seriously.

Now she just gets sweeter all the time, and I love her so much!

Happy Gotcha Day my dear Mazy cat Lovey Cat.

First day here


She loves me

......

So relaxed!
......

Today:




Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 07:04:40 AM »
Mazy was a real challenge.  Though she took to the other cats, especially Tolly, right away, she did not know how to live with a human.  She was all the time flying at me biting and scratching me. Oops., just looked at the clock, will have to continue this story later.

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 09:35:20 AM »
 Mazy and Tolly were so funny in those early days.   They were playing on Mazy's second day here.  But they were very secretive about it.  I had to be very careful to NOT look at them when they started tearing around and tumbling together, if either cat noticed me watching, they would stop.

Bibbs :angel: was very sick then, dying of cancer, so she and Mazy didn't pay any attention to one another.  Ootay :angel:, also really didn't have much to do with Mazy at first, though she did seem to enjoy watching them play.

It took me a long time to love Mazy.  She did, without any doubt, Choose me.  But she didn't know how to behave around a human.  She's a very smart cat, and she learned, but she has some ingrained need to strike out and bite and claw.  She controls it now, but it is still there.  So she had to learn how to not tear me up, and I had to learn how to teach her.

One of the first lessons I learned was how much Mazy hates the words 'kitty kitty'. We would be on the floor playing and I would try to invite her to join us by saying Mazy, come here, kitty kitty kitty. And she would 'come here' but not in the way I expected.  She would fly at me teeth and claws slashing.   It finally occurred to me that it was the WORDS kitty kitty that were upsetting her, so I stopped saying that.

Mazy did not like hands coming at her, and that also would guarantee me an injury.

But there were random attacks that had to be curtailed, too. Her first trick was ambush on the stairs.  She would hover and attack me as I went up or down the stairs.  I cured her of that, and she started attacking me from the stairs, as I sat in my chair.  She would creep up the stairs, then launch herself from the landing at my face. I taught her that wasn't allowed and (by then it was summer) her next method was to take chunks out of the back of my legs while I was standing at the kitchen counter preparing their meals. Oh she was a challenge!


Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 09:36:26 AM »
Mazy is a really smart cat and she did begin to learn self control after some time. I remember one of the first times I realized she was starting to control her tendency. I was on the bed communing with Tolly and Ootay when Mazy jumped up.  Even though I had learned that Mazy hated hands coming at her, I reached out for her without thinking.  Previously that would have gotten me seriously injured. (she sent me to the ER twice in her first six months here) This time,  at first Mazy reacted as usual with teeth and claws ready to strike, but then she STOPPED herself.  I was SO PROUD of her at that moment (and many moments since).  I snatched my offending hand behind my back and praised her and praised her. She preened and, taking a risk, I lowered my face to hers, and she gave me a head bump!


Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 09:37:32 AM »
Once Mazy started learning self control it was time to start some specific training.  Her claws were a lethal weapon, not just to me, but to Ootay who was getting more fragile by that time. Mazy had honed in on Ootay's weakness and began to harass her in a similar way to what Bibbs had done all her life.  Bibbs was gone by then, but I was very disappointed to see Mazy step into that role and I was determined to stop it in it's tracks.

So, in addition to making Mazy leave Ootay alone, I needed to be able to trim her claws, for the safety of all.  Also, I needed her to be able to accept a certain amount of physical handling, and I needed her to learn to wear a harness so she could come outside with me and the other cats.

Spraying Mazy with water when she harassed Ootay wasn't working. It had worked to teach her not to attack me, but it became obvious there was something else going on here. One day it clicked.  I had been with Ootay on the bed, giving her some medication. Ootay was new to taking meds at that time (the start of her treatment for megacolon) and would get very upset, so a lot of fuss was made over her.  Mazy was watching from the floor.  After I was done medicating, treating, and massaging Ootay I started to walk out of the room.  I turned just in time to see Mazy launch herself at Ootay and attack her. A lightbulb went on in my head, Mazy was JEALOUS of the special attention Ootay was getting.

So I devised a plan that would encompass several goals.  Mazy would stop being jealous because she would get special attention too, and while she was getting it, she would learn to accept being held by me, and most important, her Paw Work training was begun.

From then on, every time Ootay had to take a pill, after Ootay's session was done, I immediately turned to Mazy.  I got her special treat ready (mayonaise was her favorite, just very tiny drops).  At first I simply put a dot of mayo on my finger and let her lick it off.  After a couple of days I became more purposeful, while she was licking her chops from the mayo, I gently put my hands on her and gathered her into my lap, quickly giving her another tiny dot of mayo for reward and distraction. I only held her there for a second or two, then released her and gave her one last taste of mayo. In a few more days, I was able to hold her there in my lap for a little longer before the release.

This special attention directly after working with Ootay DID cause Mazy to stop attacking Ootay so much though it didn't end completely for another year or so, unfortunately.

Next came the Paw Work. Now that I was able to take Mazy into my lap and hold her there, I started trying to touch her paws.  At first she went berserk. I had already taken her in to the vet long before this, and they had put her under anesthesia, clipped her claws and put nail caps on. That was pretty much the last time I ever went to that clinic because the receptionist, when I picked her up suggested I have her de-clawed. She got an earful and I never went back there. I was determined Mazy would have her nails trimmed at home, but it took three years for her to accept that.

So it was a long slow process that Paw Work.  In the mean time I took her to the groomer every six weeks, there was one person there who Mazy would allow to trim her claws.   I would hold Mazy up on a wooden counter draped over my arm, using my other hand to slip little dots of mayo on her mouth to distract her as Kathy trimmed her claws.  Mazy would growl and growl and growl, but she allowed Kathy (and ONLY Kathy) to do it. And the Paw Work continued at home. 

 In time (three years) she began to allow me to snip one claw at a time.  Eventually I could get a whole paw in one session.  Another year passed and I was able to get both front paws all at once. Fast forward three more years, and by Mazy's sixth year here I was able to do the hind feet too, and now can do all four paws in one session!


Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2013, 09:38:04 AM »
Once Mazy was more accustomed to being handled by me I started the harness training. Her own person harness had been lying around the house all this time, and I would drape it over her once a day, right before I took Tolly and Ootay outside.

Finally the big day came.  I was pretty scared because you know, even though Mazy had learned self control, and was getting used to trusting me to handle her, still this was something big I was asking of her.

I first put Tolly's harness on him, while Mazy watched closely. I told Mazy what I was doing and why, and told her she was next.  I then took Mazy's harness and had her in it before she realized what had happened, she had gotten to trust me that much, or I was that fast, not sure which.  However once she realized she was in harness she went berserk.  She flew around the house like the proverbial banshees were after her. I didn't try to chase her down, this is a small apartment, I simply watched and made sure she wasn't hurt in any way.  She came to ground in the bathtub.  I went in and saw she had gotten the harness half off, but her leg was stuck in it.  Her eyes were wild and she was breathing in real distress.   

I stayed very calm and matter of fact. I talked calmly to her and stuck a finger with mayonnaise on it near her mouth.  That was familiar and comforting and while she licked it off and licked her chops I released the harness.

I then proceeded to take the other two outside,. Mazy sat in the window and watched. Later that day I went through the whole thing again.  Told the cats it was time go go out.  Put Tolly's harness on.  Mazy came over and waited her turn.   I put her harness on.  She accepted it and was the first cat downstairs waiting at the door.  I opened the door and she trotted proudly out into the yard in her Harness and String as if she'd been born to it.  She learned that fast what it was for.  I will never forget how stunned I was at that.


Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 09:57:27 AM »
It took Mazy cat a long time to get cozy.  For months her chosen Spot was a kitchen chair, with no blankie or other padding on it.  I tried putting a bed there but she refused to get on it and started sleeping on the floor under the chair, so I removed the bed and she went back to the chair.  She never curled up, if she slept at all in those days (I know it seemed like she never slept lol), she always looked tense.

It took several years before she would get on me.  At first, she would just get on my chest, when I was lying flat on the couch, reading.  She would get on my chest, but only stay for a minute.  Gradually she would stay longer, and I would lie there barely breathing, not wanting to scare her away.  Finally, one time when she got on me, after a few minutes she relaxed and settled her body, right under my chin.  I learned to read by holding my book straight armed above my head. As the years passed Mazy has become more and more a lap cat and will get on me at any time, and tolerates me moving a bit, petting her, even COMBING her, the combing has only been happening for not even a year, though I have been trying all this time to get her to accept grooming from me.  The only time I am allowed to comb her is when she is on my chest, and she gradually has allowed longer and longer sessions of that, too.

For many years I never saw her knead.  Ever. Then, about four years ago I noticed when she would settle on my chest she had begun working her paws a little bit.  Just kind of curling them in and out before she went to sleep.  This progressed over the next couple of years to full scale kneading which she does now on my shoulder, or even on my stomach, every single night.






Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 09:58:56 AM »
Well I have run out of time at present.  I've always meant to write out Mazy's story like this and am enjoying it immensely, but duty calls.  If you want to read the rest, check back here, hope to finish it later.

Offline Lola

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 02:07:57 PM »
I only got as far as you first post.  Gotta clean litter boxes before work.  Oh, LOVE the picture of her eating... dish on floor.. butt on stool.  LOL!

Happy GOTCHA Day, Mazy!  xxo
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Offline CarnivorousCritter

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 05:03:18 PM »
Wow  heartbeatgif

You never cease to amaze me, MC.   Thanks for sharing.  HeadButt HeadButt

A verrrrrrrry happy GOCHA Day - and HAVE YA Day --, to you both.   HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt HeadButt

 DrLisaPiersonWorthy DrLisaPiersonWorthy DrLisaPiersonWorthy DrLisaPiersonWorthy

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 08:55:03 PM »
Mazy's cuddling behavior accelerated when Jennie joined us in October 2007.   It was sometime after that when she began to get on me as described above. She had been coming to bed with us (Me, Tolly and Ootay) for a while and had staked out a Spot next to my pillow, as long as I was careful not to touch her. And she had learned to enjoy soft beds.  But after Jennie came was when Mazy really started spending more time on me.

After Ootay :angel: left us on May 6, 2009,  Mazy started tentatively curling up in my arms, too. She developed a little habit (which she still has).  When she joins me in the bed, I must lift the covers for her to explore under them.  She goes under, banks off my stomach for her turn around, and comes back out, then repeats the exercise before curling up on my arm. Always, she makes that physical contact with me under the cover, before coming back out.  And always excatly twice.

Here is an example of where she sleeps, though I am not in the bed in this picture, it is an old picture,  that was the configuration, Tolly and Ootay in my arms and Mazy at my neck.  Now it is Jennie in my arms, but Mazy is still on that side of my pillow.


Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 09:20:52 PM »
After Ootay left was when Mazy began to step into the roll of Tolly's Cat Pile companion. Actually even before Ootay left, because Ootay began to wean herself from Tolly a few months before she left us. Mazy couldn't seem to bring herself to join Tolly, so instead she started sleeping in the bed-bed, which, up until Ootay left had been exclusively Ootay's and Tolly's bed.  Mazy would position herself in the bed-bed and hope that Tolly would join her.  And it worked, Tolly DID join her, and the two became inseparable.

Here is the first time I found them together in the bed-bed, about 10 minutes prior to this Mazy had been in there alone, and Tolly had been up on the bedroom perch.



They soon were also sleeping together in Ootay's Circle Bed (I moved it from the bathroom after Ootay left


And many other beds around the house


......

.........

and even outside


....


Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 09:21:27 PM »
When Tolly left us for the Bridge in November 2011, Mazy cat took it hard.  She missed him a lot.  She tried at first to pile with Queen Eva, I was really impressed  that she made the first moves, something she never did with Tolly.  Unfortunately Queen Eva sees Mazy mainly as a play-mate and with only one exception, when Mazy has tried to join her, Queen Eva turns it into a Game, and Mazy goes off in a huff.  Mazy did manage to join Queen Eva once,  three days after Tolly left us, but that was the only time she's been successful, so far. 

Date of series December 12, 2011
7:59 p.m.


8:03 p.m.


8:04 p.m.


8:06 p.m.


And finally at 8:09 pm!




Offline Middle Child

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 09:43:19 PM »
Mazy was even seen sleeping with Jennie once, but only once
January 26, 2009


I found these while working on this story, Mazy piled with Tolly and Ootay. These were all in early 2009, when Ootay was getting ready to leave us in a few months.

...

This is my favorite
...

Offline Lola

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Re: Happy Gotcha Day Mazy cat!
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2013, 03:13:39 AM »
Wow...what a story.  You sure are an awesome cat mom!  Great pictures too.  Your cats are all beautiful.  

I would be nervous as heck, if one of ours jumped out at me and attacked.  It is one thing when Roxy or Jenkins take a swing at me... but attack.  Wowziers.  

The three, in your bed, all looking at the camera (I assume) ...adorable.  Oh, and the picture of 3 in the cat bed... your favorite... IS a goooood one too.  

« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 03:16:05 AM by Lola »
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