For most of the last 16 years I have spent my life with dogs. Specifically two rescued coonhounds who grew old with our family. Both passed away within the last year.
The plan was (and is) to adopt another dog when we felt ready. Not in our plans–or at least mine–was a cat. And yet, I now live with Logan.
Logan is an odd rescue of a cat. He was found on the street by friends in the wake of being on the losing end of a cat fight. Paw print sections of his fur had been removed. The fact that he was a de-clawed cat living on the streets of old Baltimore might have had something to do with it. Friends took him in. They searched to see if he had a home and after some months searched to find him one. My wife got a notice about him and soon we had a cat living in the house.
In many ways, Logan is a fine house mate–not as good as a dog to be sure–but still somewhat OK. I am getting use to this new reality. Logan likes to sit in our back room and watch the squirrels just beyond the glass:
Sometimes, he watches neighborhood cats and the occasional Baltimore fox or raccoon. I wish he would resist the impulse to ‘mark’ the backroom with his ‘scent’, but I fear that is just what cats do.
Do to his adoption narrative we have been reluctant to just let him have the run of the yard, especially as he just hates his collar (and the jingle of his name tag). I’ve been thinking about having him chipped just in case he gets out, but I go back and forth on that. Still, he is somewhat pathetic as he sits by the door and watches the world go by.
And that is why for Christmas he got a harness, a leash and a hat:
I guess I’m just trying to turn him into a dog. He seemed to enjoy his time beyond the door today and I have fantasies that he will walk around the block one day. Of course, this is just Christmas drinking talking.
Truth is that I know that we are just two more poor bastards locked into a dysfunctional relationship. I guess that means that Logan is now part of the family.
Merry Christmas and cheers
You’ll soon find it’ll be very tough to imagine life without Logan dengre. Cats have this odd capacity of worming their way into our hearts. Kind of like trichinosis, but a bit less fatal.
My parents have a rescued Himalayan that walks on leash, they travel and live in RV’s all year, so he gets to explore the new sights safely. Not exactly like walking with a dog though, cats tend to do their own sort of pace. Logan’s a good looking cat – glad he’s growing on you.
Fwiw, Sam, my rescued stray, loves walking around the neighborhood on his leash sans Santa hat. :) He also sits on his kitty condo with front paws on the window sill watching whatever it is kitties watch. Living in downtown Burlington he’ll never be outside without his leash ~ I figure it’s better for his health and mine. Put food in Sam’s bowl and I think he figures the trade-off works.
Awwwww! Logan is a doll-baby. You’ll learn to love him for his cat-like characteristics, dengre. In fact, you’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without him. Thank you for taking him in!
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
OT, Dennis: I would like to see you expand on your “Obama goes electric” comment I saw the other day on GOS. I think it would be worth talking about.
So a cat is a disease that one will grow more fond of the longer one has it. Thanks for the tip. It is good to know that it is not fatal.
Still, after the loss of our coonhounds it is could to have another mammal moving about the house–and cats show up in places a dog would never think of going to. That can be interesting in good and bad ways.
I’ve a lot to learn about my new affliction.
Considering there have been humans who will adopt cats even after being highly allergic to them (I’m at you wifey hon) that’s not all that inaccurate. Cats are easier though. You just set out food and water and the occasional tuna and entertain them and they pretty much do the rest for themselves.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
In the works. I think Sunday night it will be up.
It really is amazing to me that most of the outrage over Obama is about ‘how’ he does things as oppose to the results. It is very much like the outrage when Dylan went electric and Obama’s response is very similar to the way that Dylan responded to the professional folksters of his day.
It should be a fun bit of overnight chit-chat.
DG, from one former dog person to a current dog person, the little bastard will grow on you.
Since Logan is declawed, I would recommend keeping him inside. If he gets in fights, he won’t be able to adequately defend himself. Plus, once you let them out, they will start hounding you to go out all the time. Better to keep them in and leave them in.
Dennis, you’ve done a wonderful thing by giving Logan a home. I thank you. All animal lovers thank you. Logan thanks you.
Get him fixed if he’s not already.
Even for an older male cat it may stop the spraying.
@Yutsano: Yep. Severely allergic. Only somewhat allergic to my boys. And, they are worth every sniffle and puffy eye.
@jeffreyw: Cute overload!!
Stitch the info into the collar, and ditch the tag?
That has been our sense of it, but the vet seems to think that he would be fine. I do not know. The crazy leash thing seemed like a way to let him out from time to time with some control.
And as Jeffreyww @pointed out Logan could get a job at the TSA if we work out the kinks on this leash thing.
He is fixed and yet he lets his freak flag fly as it were…
Good idea. We hadn’t thought of that. It may be worth a try.
@VoiceOfUnreason: We use these collar tags for our dogs, I noticed they do make smaller ones for thinner collars. No jingle, no losses due to shenanigans.
Anti-depressants like prozac might work. (for the cat, I mean.)
And yeah, once he’s acclimated to being indoors he may not even want to venture out. A bunch of our cats were outdoor cats, and they make no attempt to sneak out. I think the outside world scares them now.
Good luck with the leash, and may God bless you for being an awesome pet owner. I don’t have any advice at all, speaking as a long-time cat owner. Don’t piss them off? Love them? That probably won’t matter. Good luck with your cat! I can’t put a collar on my cat.
Our Ms. Kitty is a little terror. She still has her claws and she has these too.
@Buck: She may be a terror, but she’s a cute terror!
@Dilbatt: I’d recommend a chip, but also make sure the local animal shelter can accurately read the chip, afterwards. Not all of them can. It’s a data-sharing kind of issue if the shelter’s database doesn’t let your local database search it.
My rescue animals have different points of view regarding the yard. One regards it as a patrol zone for squirrels, and the other regards it as the necessary evil between the door and the car.
A newly becat’ed person, I share your sense of confusion and amusement. Avanti was adopted by my wife and our soon to be 5 year old twins. He is growing on me, although I miss my nights of uninterrupted sleep.
Several people have commented that Avanti looks like a Maine Coon Cat. Can anyone point me towards Info that could confirm this. He does seem large for his age. I would post a photo but I can’t from my iPhone.
Thank you. She sitting next to me, curled up right now. Gotta love her. :-)
FWIW: Here’s the Wiki entry for Maine Coon Cats
Usually: very big, rather furry; multi-colored coat; good personalities. Oh, and long-lived (15-20 yrs).
That’s a handsome cat but, yeah, I’d ditch the Santa cap.
Congratulations on your new feline family member! Logan is very cute.
Since you mentioned that he’s already fixed, here’s a good article with additional tips about how to solve the marking behavior.
I volunteer for a low-cost spay/neuter program and anytime a client mentions any kind of cat behavior problem, I send them here. Lots of other good cat know-how too, including a step-by-step guide to walking your cat!
Merry Christmas Dennis and to all BJers.
Cats who stay indoors will live much longer and healthier lives. The trick is how to keep them happier, if they’ve lived outdoors in the past.
One way is to get them another cat.
Another way is to give them plenty of vantage points for all the windows (so they can watch the ever-popular “Birdie and Squirrel Show”).
We moved three cats who were used to being in or out, their choice, into a house that is closer to major roads, so we made the decision to keep them indoors. They adjusted pretty quickly, and all lived for many more years. It turns out our neighborhood also has a coyote problem, and many neighbor cats have just disappeared without a trace.
The defining physical features of the Maine Coon, as explained to me many years ago, are tufted ears,heavily furred ‘snowshoe’ paws, a slab-sided rectangular build, and a luxuriant maned coat & ‘squirrel’ tail. But the real marker of a Maine Coon is their piratical personalities — they love to be around people, they tend to be much more gregarious than your average feline, but they are NOT shy little creatures of the shadows. The average cat will try to steal the bacon off your plate a few times, and eventually give up the effort (at least until you leave the plate unattended) because it’s just not worth the screaming & carrying on. The average Maine Coon will leap up on the table and go for your bacon every single time, because, pity how you get all bent out of shape but that’s your problem, innit? Which makes them a very good cat for a household with kids, especially five-year-old twins…
Traditionally MCs are also BIG cats, but shelters here in the Northeast always have a surplus of “Maine Coon mix” cats who are normal-cat-sized. Breeders have selected for the biggest possible cats, but it’s the personality that made the cats popular in the first place, and I don’t think the “size” part of the genotype shows up in the phenotype of cats born to undernourished mothers living off what they can catch or scavenge. If Avanti has tufts at the tips of his ears and the sort of charm that makes visitors say “Why, he’s almost like a dog, isn’t he? — Hey, who took my canape?” I would certainly call him “a Maine Coon type”.
The other trait that distinguishes MCs is their silly little sqeaky voices. If the average male Maine Coon were dubbed, he’d sound like Tom Selleck. Oh, and you don’t mention Avanti’s age, but MCs tend to mature late — their squirrel-tail fringes don’t develop until they’re past their first birthday, and they may keep growing until they’re almost three (most cats don’t grow taller / longer after six or eight months, although they’ll ‘fill out’ in bulk as they mature).
ignore the people who say otherwise. as a lifelong dog person, who has owned a cat who i trained to retrieve, i can say the following conclusively.
cats are vermin.
(i know this sentiment will not be popular on this interweb board forum, but whatever)
also, re: chipping
you may or may not already know this, but when i learned about this stuff 15 years ago, pets who were chipped still needed a tattoo to alert shelter operators (or, as is sometimes the case, biological-supply-house stray-harvesters) that there IS a chip. and a tat circumvents the facepalm-worthy format or data-sharing issues.
at this point, a tattoo of your email address would probably work. my oldest one i’ve had for most of those 15 years.
Angry Black Lady
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): Me too! I just saw it (I rarely venture over there because it’s a clusterfuck. I just had to investigate the “anti-Obama 60 y.o. White Huffpo blogger posing as a black person” shenanigans.)
Cute cat, too. I’m a dog person. Cats make me sneezy, and not in a good way.
@Angry Black Lady: Just remember: the rats, they will not fuck themselves.
I have two cats I walk. I got them each a harness within a few days of their coming home. Both thoroughly enjoy going out on a leash, though the degree to which you could call it a walk varies from day to day and depends entirely on them.
Early on, the male was a great adventurer. I’d take him out at midnight (or later) when everyone nearby had gone to sleep. For the first few years he and I roamed all over the place and he performed minor miracles (like catching mice while on a leash — without my even knowing it was happening — fortunately, most were catch and release, none the worse for wear). On more than one occasion he leaped straight up and caught low-flying birds in his mouth — it was pretty obvious that if he were let out on his own there would be no small animals left in our vicinity in pretty short order. As he’s gotten older, he’s more content to stay closer to home and we spend more time out during daylight hours (I think he feels less secure during the day.)
The female has never been a wanderer, nor has she been nearly the accomplished hunter, but she does enjoy going out, sniffing the breeze and occasionally stalking birds, which I don’t let her catch. Recently, she seems to want to go out more than he does, but doesn’t seem to make as good use of the time outside as he does.
I have no doubt that both of their lives have been enriched and improved by access to the outdoors, even if it has been restricted by a harness and leash.
I’d recommend that anyone who has a good walking area try it with any otherwise indoor cat. They really weren’t meant to be penned up inside all the time, but neither can they be allowed to follow their instincts and decimate local bird and rodent populations, though some people may not object to the rodent slaughter. I’m satisfied that it isn’t safe for rodents to enter my home; as long as they remain outside, I say live and let live.
I have a small female cat who showed up one day starving and very sick. When she became a permanent fixture, it became obvious that her personality was very different from the other two cats I have.
What Anne says is true, and it was so obvious that after doing some research, I concluded she (not Anne) was at least part Maine Coon. Her personality and behavior fit what is commonly cited for Maine Coons.
Her voice is different, mostly chirps, bleats, and trills, rather than the usual meows. She loves people and if I’m outside she follows me around like a dog and likes to join in whatever I’m doing, without being the slightest help.
Not long after she regained her health, the neighbor was having her house painted, and on consecutive days this little hellion jumped in the window of the painter’s truck and ate his lunch. He rolled up his windows after that.
Maine Coons use their paws differently than other cats and may manipulate objects in surprising ways.
Although mine is at the very lower end of size for a Maine Coon, her difficult early life and malnutrition could explain her somewhat stunted growth. Her coat makes her look about three times as heavy as she is (my sister estimated 22 pounds from a photo; she was only off by about 14 pounds).
She hates to eat alone and will either wait for me to come to her eating area or come and get me, so she doesn’t have to dine alone (we have separate bowls). She shares so many traits with what I read about Maine Coons and is so unlike my other non-Coons, that I became convinced that she’s at least part MC.
Some people view Maine Coons as status cats because of their size, but mine is a wonderful pal, even if she is a bit of a squirt.
Just google “Maine Coon + behavior” and you’ll find lots of links.
Aww. Yes- I have found that relationships with cats are often dysfunctional at best. It’s good he has a home, though. :) As for the marking- is he neutered? And declawing is abhorrent. It’s just a hideous thing to do.
I am currently locked in a losing psychodrama with a kitten. I have a six year old cat, and I don’t know why but I thought perhaps she’d like a playmate. I told myself that she did not get along with the kitten that my last roommate got because that kitten was just so aggressive. I told myself that if I just did everything correctly in introducing the two of them, then everything would be okay!
But my cat is an emotional cripple. She also has poor vision. This makes her skittish at best, and terrified of everything at worst. Now I am having to leave kitten locked in my bedroom because he’s attacking and chasing Grippa, which any other cat but my neurotic beauty would see as play. He also won’t let her eat when he’s out. It just sort of breaks my heart, but I have to give him back to the people from whom I got him.
Yeah. I don’t know why I felt the need to tell that to a bunch of people on a blog, but it’s late and I’m at work and it makes me sad. Enjoy your pets, I guess. Even if their dispositions make it so that you have to give away kittens.
I had coonhounds when I was young too. A black & tan and a redbone. Jeb and Tuppence. I miss them still.
Spraying isn’t an inherent cat behavior, necessarily- it’s usually a sign of some form of insecurity. If he’s always doing it in the back room, it could be a few things: the various creatures outside the back door make him nervous and he marks his territory in defense; a lingering doggy smell back there; or some old learned reflex behavior that is triggered by the room.
Two things you can do: first, try a Feliway diffuser in that back room. It’s a synthetic compound that triggers a ‘comfort’ response in cats, and has been used to successfully wean cats of spraying. From what I’ve seen, it makes the cat feel super cozy in whatever room it’s in, which makes them not want to spray there for the same reason that humans avoid shitting the bed.
Second, Nature’s Miracle for when the little dear sprays anyway. The stuff is indeed a frikkin’ miracle.
Go to your vet for the former, and Petsmart for the latter.
Definitely get him chipped. It’s easy, cheap and painless. If he gets out and gets in trouble, whoever finds him will be able to find you. You can’t count on a cat’s collar tags, as collars come off easily and collars really aren’t natural for cats anyway. Don’t make him wear one.
The Sad Story of Logan the Conservative
This once free and proud cat, having once escaped from the overlords who took away his right to bear arms, reduced to a prison sentence of watching the world pass him by. Free and proud, surviving by his wits and strength of character, he was taken in an extraordinary rendition at a moment of weakness, and sentenced to prison.
How long he will languish there is indefinite. His captors suspect his mind is breaking, spreading his own waste about, but he uses this behavior to keep himself sane. He would influence the world in any manner he might.
Recently, the authorities have decided to no longer deny him exercise. He will be allowed, nay forced, under heavy guard and shackled securely, to walk an hour per day. Just this tease and it’s back into purgatory. Now his jailers fear he will enlist help, or through some clever act escape, and they threaten to microchip him like so much cattle, so that his whereabouts are forever known and his privacy forevermore invaded.
How long will the good citizen stand by while our best are taken from us and subjected to such horrible conditions? Alas, poor Logan, suffer the tyranny. Good Logan, we knew you not.
I regret not getting my 2 roamers chipped, as each of them went outside one day (very common) only to not come home. It kills me not knowing what happened to them. (FWIW, I’ve got two fatties left who don’t like being on grass, so I’m not catless)
@DPirate: You are applauded for your wit. How long before this goes viral and the Fox News searches for Logan to get an exclusive interview.
I have a cat who had a hard time adjusting to indoor life. I lived in a small apartment, and he would mark the guest bed. I did not realize this until we moved, and the guest room still smelled like the cat.
Eventually, he adjusted to indoor life. He gets annoyed about being put into the harness.
That harness and hat pic is awesome. Our rescue, Mango, goes on walks with our two dogs but when my better half tried a harness he laid down on the sidewalk and rolled around yowling like someone poured hot lava on him. Drama queen. One of these days I should post pics….. he started out as a house cat, but one day he decided he needed to start roaming again and created so much havoc by diving for the door whenever it opened that we built him a cat door. Now he delights bursting through it like Kramer on Seinfeld.
He lost so many collars and tags that we suspect someone has made bucks selling him on eBay – though we tease my son by telling him that his cat probably gives them away as momentos to his girlfriends.
Dave in ME
Before you know it Dennis that little bugger will burrow deep within you and you’ll wonder how you ever got along without him. Props on getting the leash and harness. I tried that with a large cat I once had and he just plopped over once outside and started howling. Might have to try it again with the current crew.
Dave in ME
Spot on description Anne, however did you know there is no actual species or breed that is a “Maine Coon”? I know this from a vet friend who doubles over in laughter when he finds out what people pay to get a “Maine Coon” cat. He said a Maine Coon is simply a large cat with several similar characteristics, which you listed. Norwegian forest cats are often confused for Maine Coons.
Good on you, Dennis! I have several rescues (Several? the Lady chuckles darkly) and they each have very different personalities. You and Logan will find your stride. Bless you for taking him in.
ETA: The whole reason I wanted to make the comment was to say that cats are voyeurs; he may be having a great time looking out the window–my Giles does, and does not want to go out–he runs away from an open door. He knows what’s out there.
My severe allergies almost put an end to my rescue fostering (and I’m allergic to dogs too). But then the Dr. put me on Singulair and life became almost normal. I don’t hawk medicines normally, but this is a miracle drug for the allergic, if you’re one of the ones it works for. The hassle is it’s an Rx; but available from online pharmacies for a price. To me it’s worth it, because I have almost no symptoms at all now. After 50 years of still sneezing and sniffling even with the OTC antihistamines!
And dengre, cats are fine kept indoors. We project what we think they feel, but he’s better off safe inside or on his leash. He’ll get used to the leash, and I had neighbors that walked their cat on his harness and leash all the time. The plus about cats is they’re OK to leave alone if you have a long day trip or short overnight trip; you need to get a sitter for dogs. Very liberating.
People who declaw their cats should have their own finger nails ripped out.
@Hal: And it’s not only just taking the nails out. When a cat is declawed, the entire first joint of the toe is removed. It would be like removing a human’s nails at the first knuckle. It changes the way they walk, putting more stress on their joints to accommodate the fact that they’re missing part of their feet, and makes them more likely to bite, since one of their defenses is gone.
Soft Paws are a much better option, and they look fabulous on.
Thanks for the links! Perhaps some of it will help.
Nicely done. Logan thanks you for your support.
Dennis, this is a transition that can work. And with Logan declawed, he really cannot afford to be outdoors on his own.
We just moved our mostly-outdoor cat, Jack, to inside-only. He’d been on the losing end of more and more fights, and they were happening about every 2-3 weeks. That’s a lot of trips to the vet, but a lot of stress for him–there were at least 3 new, younger, larger cats in our neighborhood who were after his territory. The last fight nearly removed one of the pads from his front paws, so he was going to be inside for a couple weeks while it healed anyway. After we switched to a dustless cat litter, Jack quit even asking to go outside.
What has been wonderful is watching him relax into what we call his retirement. He used to jump and run if you bumped his tail or touched his belly while he slept. Now he stretches and purrs, or gives you a dirty look for waking him up. Little things out of place used to spook him greatly, and he just couldn’t adjust if my boots or bag were in an unusual spot. Now Jack doesn’t seem to care or notice when something is different: he knows he is safe in the house. It’s really a joy to watch him lose his wariness and feel secure, but it has taken almost two months to get to this point.
He has gained some weight, but is still active (we’ve chased him out of the Christmas tree several times), and we’ve experimented with toys to engage him–it turns out that fuzzy-ball-with-feathers is *awesome*. (So are feathers-on-a-stick, and long-piece-of-string-with-frayed-end.) Last week, Jack made a run for it out the front door while I was getting the mail. But he let me catch him and didn’t even struggle or complain (he talks more now, too) when I carried him inside.
Jack spent most of his first decade outside, so we really didn’t think the transition would be possible–I was sure he’d be too bored indoors, and we’d all be miserable. Instead, it’s really cozy and we’re all much happier. Good luck with Logan!
I had a coonhound show up at my place during the week my cat of 12 years was dying of kidney failure. He’d get in front of my pickup and bark at me as I drove out of the yard. Couldn’t find anyone to claim him. When he attacked the first bowl of food I gave him I said, “You’re a real Starvin’ Marvin”, and it stuck. He was definitely a Marvin. He soon had me trained never to leave him alone. Seems like coonhounds just hate that, and it’s a trait that makes them incredibly adept at endearing themselves to people. I soon felt like Steve Stone when he was the color announcer for the Cubs opposite Harry Caray. The first thing people would say to him was, “Where’s Harry?” With me it was, “Where’s Marvin?” His unbridled joy when we’d leave for the day on whatever fantastic excursion was in store really made me wonder if being surly and depressed in the morning actually made any sense. He never learned to grasp the laws of physics concerning middle sized mammals and large pieces of moving metal and he was run over after I’d had him a year. Gosh I miss him.
Oh, and my cat was pretty awesome too.
Go ahead and chip him, but the absolute best is a name tag with your number on it. I’m not going to depress you with stories I have to back this up, but I will say that the shelter says the same thing.