Second Stage Complete

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(My blog posts for the next couple weeks are going to revolve around two things: my trip to the Bay Area, and my attempts to work my already hectic school schedule around the vacation.)

Today I found myself trapped in bed until nearly 10:30 am by our indoor/outdoor boy cat. He’s usually not keen on staying inside until later in the day, but this morning he was waiting on us when we looked outside around 6:30. He came in and beelined to the bedroom, which is his favorite place to be in the apartment, and I went in to join him. He seems to get lonely, and if we aren’t near him, he’ll tend to want to head back outside – but so long as one of us is near him, he’s content to stay indoors for hours at a time. It wasn’t long before I was smooth out, and he quickly joined me. I woke up again around 8:45, pet him a while, dozed back off, and then woke up for good an hour later, where I just stayed in bed while he lounged and slept. Once I finally got up, however, he was pretty much done, and it wasn’t long before he was back outside.

I’ve made it a habit to do my daily missions in Secret World Legends in the morning, and so I spent about an hour knocking them out and trying to manage a situation with the radio station’s stream. Not long after that, my wife called from work for her lunch hour, and so I was on the phone with her while continuing to goof off on the computer doing various things.

Once we hung up, however, it was time to knuckle down and get busy on homework. I have a take-home quiz that I need to turn in tomorrow, and a homework assignment that’s due tomorrow as well, and neither of them were done. I spent a while on the quiz, since some of the questions eluded me for some time before I finally figured out how to get them done – in fact, my wife was home for the evening before I finished things up. I took a break before heading back into the office to knock out the homework assignment, which fortunately didn’t take me long, since I’d already started on it. After that, it’s been an evening of getting my checklist items done and taking it easy.

The day hasn’t been without challenges, however. Sometime around noon, we got an email stating that the water to the entire complex was being turned off immediately so they could fix a broken water line, and oh yeah, they didn’t know when things would be done. Around about 6:00 pm we got a follow-up email stating that they’d found the problem and that they should wrap things up by midnight, barring unforeseen circumstances. So it’s been a long day of minimizing usage of things that require water, and that’s kind of tricky. We went to the store to try and pick up a couple gallons for general use and the shelves were completely empty. It’s been a bit of a challenge remembering that the water’s out, but things should be back to normal by the morning.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day. Algebra class in the morning, where I turn in that quiz, and biology in the evening, where I turn in the homework assignment. Somewhere in there, I need to pack for our trip on Thursday morning. The Lyft is scheduled to pick us up about 4:15 am, so there will likely be sleep somewhere between the apartment and San Jose, since there won’t be much tomorrow night.

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In The Books

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I spent the morning with my nose buried in my biology lectures, trying to pull more thorough notes out of my recordings, and working on my next homework assignment. The afternoon was spent alternately doing housework and lying down to give our boy cat cuddles. If he gets cuddles when he comes in, he’ll stay for hours, and if he comes out of the bedroom and heads to the door, we head back in the bedroom and 90% of the time he’ll follow for more cuddles. The evening was spent goofing off on the computer and doing a ton of work in Duolingo trying to get a badge.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to have to spend some time working on the second take-home quiz that I have in algebra. It’s due Monday, and I want to give it enough time to do well on it.

Whiteout

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Earlier tonight, we experienced a sudden squall. After threatening to rain for some time, it finally started, and within seconds, it was raining and hailing so hard I couldn’t see the tree across the parking lot from the apartment. It was an absolutely devastating storm that only lasted maybe five minutes before dissipating, but it was hard enough to leave a couple of hail dings on the hood of the car. We were lucky, there were other vehicles that looked to have more damage than we had.

The scariest part of this storm is that Stormy Cat was outside at the time, and we couldn’t call him back home. We tried three times, but he was left to fend for himself, and we were left to worry.

My wife actually broke down and cried over it. I tried reassuring her that he was fine, that he always seemed to dodge the worst of any rainstorm that we experienced, and I was fairly confident that he was someplace safe, hiding from the rain and hail. But deep down, I was sick with worry too.

About 45 minutes after the storm had passed, sure enough, we saw him on the balcony, and we let him in. He was fairly wet, his paws were muddy, but he seemed fine. He came in, stayed for about an hour and a half, got mostly dry, then went back outside for a while.

That didn’t last. He was outside maybe fifteen minutes before he was back at the door, wanting in. As I write this, he’s on our bed, probably continuing to groom himself in a dry, safe location.

This is one of the reasons that I wish we could be a little more insistent that he stay indoors. He could be hit by a car, he could get in another fight with the neighborhood cats, he could get hurt by a hailstorm. If we weren’t pretty convinced that litter box training him would be a long and messy endeavor, we’d keep him inside for good. But unfortunately we are liable for damage to the apartment while we’re here, and we’d like to get our security deposit back when it’s time to move. (That won’t be for another couple of years at least.)

Moving is another thing that worries me. If we move, and he goes to another apartment complex with us, I’m worried that he’ll get lost and not find his new home if we let him roam as he does here, and the same litter box concern of keeping him inside will follow us anywhere we go. Perhaps the only way of making sure is to slowly, over time, convert him to being an indoor kitty while we’re here and eating the security deposit. That unnerves me, however. I pride myself on keeping a fairly clean and neat home, and cleaning up kitty accidents would be problematic without a steam cleaner. We’ve experienced the issue of kitty accidents with other cats that we’ve owned, and we’d both prefer not to have a repeat of the circumstances.

For now, I think we’re mostly content with the situation we’re in – one indoor cat, one indoor/outdoor cat. I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

An Indoors Kind of Day

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The newest addition to our home is Stormy Cat, a former semi-feral stray that we befriended over a period of a couple of years. He’s gone from running away from us on sight to meowing in order to be let inside. He still spends most of his day outside and away from the apartment, but in the evening he usually makes at least one appearance inside the place, if not more than that. (He’s still finicky about when he wants to be inside and when he wants to be outside.)

Today he started coming in early, around mid-morning. He’s now on his fifth trip inside today and he’s actually spent more time inside than he has outside, and the vast majority of the time he’s spent outside has been on our balcony, being as close to me as he can (my usual spot on the couch is next to the window that he sits or lies down beside). I don’t know what’s caused the uptick in his inside time, but we’re not complaining. We’ve spent lots of time giving him scritches and snuggles on the bed. He usually will lie down at the foot of the bed on my side, but if someone lies down he almost immediately walks up near their face to demand to be pet – and if we’re both on the bed he almost always walks up between us so we can both pet him.

If you’d have told me three years ago when we first moved in that the scared cat that ran into the storm drain (hence his name) whenever he saw us that he’d be on our bed demanding attention from us, I would have thought you were crazy. It never fails to amaze me just how far he’s come in trusting us. He’s not only quite affectionate but fairly chatty, and it’s adorable to listen to him meow for someone to come pet him. (Not quite as adorable as actually petting him, though!)

I’m so glad we adopted him.

Feeling Very Lucky

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When we first moved into our apartment complex three years ago there was a neighborhood stray cat that would make a beeline for the storm drain any time he saw us.

When we adopted Two Socks, our little tuxedo girl kitty, and had a need for cat food in the house, we started leaving bowls of food and water out for the stray to enjoy, if he so desired. It wasn’t very long before we’d catch him eating on the balcony, but if we made eye contact with him he’d run.

It wasn’t much longer before he would meet our gaze and not run. So then we tried opening the door to just be near him. That would make him run again.

Soon he’d let us open the door and be on the balcony with him while he ate, but he wasn’t up to being touched.

And then one day, he was. We got to pet the skittish stray that we’d come to call Stormy Cat, after his propensity to go hide in the storm drain.

He soon realized that this petting business wasn’t that bad of a deal, and so we’d make a point of carefully heading outside to pet him whenever we’d see him on the porch.

That first winter was pretty cold for Austin and so we put a shelter out for him to use to stay warm. We were very excited when we saw him using it for the first time.

Before long he was using it regularly, and gradually spending more and more time on the balcony in between feeding sessions. That eventually turned into him spending most of his daylight snoozing time on our balcony, either in one of our chairs or on top of the shelter that we built for him.

Fast forward to a few months ago when we noticed him heavily favoring his right front leg. It got worse before it got better and he eventually wouldn’t put any weight on it at all. We were scared that he had broken his leg and we knew that no one else in the neighborhood would take care of him, so thanks to generous donations from friends we took him to the vet. While he was there, we had him microchipped and got his shots.

We had officially adopted him.

Today the fur has grown back on his leg from where they shaved him to clean his wounds. (He’d apparently gotten in a fight somewhere with another cat or perhaps a dog and had a pretty bad bite that had gotten infected.) We can go sit on the balcony and he’ll climb up on our shoulders for an extended snuggle of fifteen minutes or more. When we go walking the complex at night, he’ll follow us partway like a puppy would. He still spends time outside, but now he’ll happily come in and sleep all snuggled up on the bed with us at night, wanting to be let out early in the morning to go do his thing.

And earlier tonight he came in to lay at the foot of the bed, so I went into pet him. He was rubbing up against me, marking me as his. And then I stopped petting him and put my hand on the bed next to me.

And that’s when he put his paw on my hand hoping for more attention. We got a photo of it, and that photo leads this post off.

He’s still mostly an outdoor kitty, and that worries us – we don’t want him to get hurt out there – but he’s slowly, slowly acclimating to being indoors for longer and longer periods of the day. We’re holding out hope that one day we’ll have to figure out how to litter box train an adult cat, and that he’ll be inside safe with us from that point forward.

We’re really lucky that we took a semi-feral outdoor cat and turned him into a lovable, loving pet. He’s still skittish when other people come upstairs and he’s on the balcony, but he was indoors when our friends came over yesterday, and he stayed on the bed, not hiding, for several minutes before the nerves took over and he asked to be let out. I pet him briefly and told him how proud I was that he’d been able to stay as long as he did. (I know he doesn’t understand, but like so many pet owners I still talk to both of them like they know what I’m saying.) And then he scooted outside. We were worried that the experience would scare him away from wanting to come inside again, but we had nothing to worry about. Later that evening, he came upstairs and went to the door and meowed to be let in, something he’d never done before.

I hope he’s going to be a happy, healthy addition to the family for years to come.

Storms and Stormy

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Last night we had a pretty bad storm come through. It woke me up at least once that I can recall, and it drenched half of the balcony, the half that the chairs and Stormy’s box are on.

Fortunately, we were able to bring him inside last night, so he was safe through the worst of it. He still went outside to a very uncomfortable situation, however.

Both chairs are drenched, so he’d just get wet if he went to lie down in one of them. This also means that until they dry it’s going to be problematic for us to sit in them to give him snuggles.

The top of his box is somewhat concave, and so when it rains hard enough to get in the balcony, the box holds water. Thing is, it’s not concave enough to very easily just remove the lid and walk it over to the side of the balcony by the stairs, where we can dump the water over the side and not get any on the downstairs neighbors’ porch.

Again fortunately, Stormy’s blanket soaked up a lot of the water, so I picked up the blanket and grabbed a spare pot of soil that we have on the porch to catch drips while I took the blanket over to the side to wring it out best that I could. That left only a little water in the lid, which I very carefully walked over to the side and dumped without spilling a drop on our balcony and potentially on the downstairs porch.

It’s been a few hours since I’ve done that, and the lid is now bone dry. The blanket still has some water in it, but it’s drying out nicely and should be completely dry by the morning. As for the chairs, they take some time to dry out, so if we’re going to go sit outside for cuddles later on this evening, we’re likely going to have to put a towel down to soak up the moisture before our pants do.

Stormy’s gone off walkabout for the afternoon, but he’ll be back by the evening, and we’ll be ready to go love on him when he comes home.

Stormy’s Progress Report

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For the past few days (here, here, and here) I’ve been telling the story of our neighborhood stray Stormy Cat, and how an injury has led us to officially make him part of the family. Today I’m kind of feeling lazy, so I’m going to do a short blog post basically updating you on Stormy’s condition, as I’ve promised to do. (To get the story from the time we took him to the vet, click on the last “here” above.)

Stormy eventually came out from under the bed when he heard the food bag last night, but is so used to eating outside that he didn’t recognize his food and water bowls inside and begged to be let out. We tried to enforce the staying indoors that we wanted to do and so he eventually gave up trying to be let out and came to get snuggles on the couch with us. As he was moving around, we noticed that he was completely favoring his injured right front leg and not putting any weight on it at all.

He eventually got down off the couch, sniffed at this food bowl, then went into the bedroom and climbed on the bed as my wife prepared to lie down for the evening. He shifted around so she could lie down and then when I came to bed, he stayed there for a good half hour before hopping down and going off someplace else in the apartment.

About 3:10 am we were awoken by his loud plaintive meows and so we finally relented and let him go outside, where he immediately went downstairs, presumably to the spot on the grounds that he uses as a potty. We went back to bed, worried that he’d decided that we were no longer a safe space.

We needn’t have fretted. When my wife got up to go to work, she reported that he was asleep on top of his shelter, on the blanket that my wife made for him. I awoke a few hours later and went to see him, but he was nowhere to be found. Later I went to look for him again while on the phone with my wife during her lunch break and found him at the bottom of the stairs. He saw me and immediately made it up the stairs as quickly as he could on three legs, hopped up on top of his shelter, and got scritches for a little while. I reported to the vet that he was not using that front leg and they advised us to bring him in to get checked over again in the morning.

A little later I went back outside and gave him more scritches, which he was very happy for – he was purring very loudly – and I noticed that he was making feeties with both of his front paws, not just the left. So I called the vet back to give them this information, and the vet then altered his advice to us, telling us to keep an eye on him through tomorrow and let them know sometime tomorrow afternoon how he was doing on the leg.

He’s still eating up the attention that we give him, and he’s more or less staying on our balcony – as I write this, he’s asleep on top of his shelter, photo above – so I think he’s going to be happy with the arrangement of being our cat so long as he gets to stay mostly outside.

I’ll continue to keep you up to date on his condition as he improves.