Friday, March 4, 2016

A new assistant in the making

As you all know I lost my lovely furry assistant Peer last August and he is still sorely missed.

I took my time before I started looking for another cat both for emotional and practical reasons, but for the past month or so I have actively been searching and I found this black beauty:

Picture taken by previous owner. 


This is Spooky. Spooky is three years old and has always lived with the same person/family. The family split up because of divorce and the owner had less and less time to spend on him so decided he would be better off in another home. That home is mine, obviously.

I think it's because it's been such smooth sailing for Spooky until now that he is well....totally spooked! I picked him up three days ago and the first two days I didn't even get to see his handsome face, he was just that scared. It's totally understandable from his point of view. He was ripped away from his home, put in a travel basket, then moved into another travel basket by a complete stranger, then this creepy stranger took him on a ferry in stormy weather (a bumpy ride) and just expected him to live in her even stranger house. Spooky was not amused and he still isn't.

He has pretty much hidden in a corner in my little shed (which is attached to my living room, so he can just get into that as well) and mostly finds me the scariest person ever and this house the most horrible ever. I feel so so bad for him.

Now here's the weird thing. Last night, after I came back from work I managed to seduce him. And I don't mean that in a shy way either. He totally transformed from scaredy cat to what I assume is his actual nature, a cat that just loves loves loves to cuddle and be with you. Lookit:


I swear I spent the entire night with my mouth open in total amazement that this frightened boy had such sweetness in him. I mean I knew in essence he was a pretty social family cat, but I didn't know he could be this adorable.

I'm not sure what turned the switch in his head last night, but whatever did turned it off again as well, because while this morning he was still (after a little seduction) very sweet and even stroked my face with his (I died when that happened!) right now he is hiding again in the shed and doesn't want anything to do with me.

It's not that there has otherwise been no progress at all, he does dare to get his food from the kitchen with me in the room for instance, an unthinkable thing two days ago, but it is slow going and it makes me so sad, because now I know what cat lies under the surface and I wish I could explain to him that there really is no need to be scared of me. I raised the most spoiled cats in the universe for god's sake!

But cats will be cats and you cannot force them. It would only make things worse. I think the problem is that he loves food and he loves to cuddle and he really misses that right now, but he doesn't trust me or the home he now lives in and he somehow can't combine the two yet in his system. This takes time. I don't know if last night was a fluke, but if it was it was a wonderful one. This seems to be one of those cases of 10 steps forward, 9 steps back. I must be patient.

I'm not used to this at all. So far all my cats have been superrelaxed and easygoing, so this is going to be a challenge. I think it will be worth it though going by what I saw last night.

Anyway, as you may guess my energy and focus are all on Spooky right now (or The Spook as I like to call him) and I will not be blogging for a few days. I'm sure you understand.

As soon as things settle down just a little I'll be back. I'll keep you posted!

Also if you have any suggestions or tips for winning his trust a little I would surely appreciate them.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend, I am about to have a spooky one! ;-)

20 comments:

  1. He might do well if you ignore him, aside from food water and clean litter. That way he can come around on his own terms. Cats like to feel they're in charge. Well, they are

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    1. This is pretty much what I do: ignore him when he retreats and reward him when he comes to me. I also make sure that every time I enter the room after having been absent for several hours there's a delicious snack for him, so he learns to associate me with delicious snacks, haha.

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  2. Awww, Carin. I'm so happy for you and Spooky. It has been a while since I've commented here because I'm struggling with some physical issues, but I just had to congratulate you on your new kitty. He, apparently, has a broken and sad heart and so do you. I think if you continue with the patient and loving attitude that you have, you will be able to help each other in the healing process and adjustment. It definitely might take some time, but he already showed you a loving side, so he will come around when he's ready. I wish you all the best and many happy years with Spooky. Please keep us posted how things are going.......Linda E.

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    1. So sorry to hear you're having physical problems Linda. I hope you feel better soon.
      As for the Spook and I, we are in a remarkably similar position, both strangers to each other, circling around each other, not quite sure yet what to make of each other. It gets a little better every day and he definitely has a very sociable and affectionate side, but he doesn't fully trust me or his surroundings yet. Patience is key.

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  3. Awww, such a pretty boy! Our kitty boy was adopted by us when my Mom-in-law passed away last year. You are doing all the right things, especially the patience. I'm sure he will come around, let's hope it is soon.

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    1. He really is a handsome Spook, isn't he? Letting him be and then rewarding him when he dares to approach me seems to be the best strategy. It gets a little better every day. My inner control freak would love to have a magical potion to make everything perfect right this minute, but I'm afraid I'm not the one in charge. He is. ;-)

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  4. Met die positieve instelling en het geduld en je liefdevolle kattenhart komt dat allemaal in de "sjakosj" zoals wij zeggen , ik ben er zeker van dat zij meer en meer toenadering gaat zoeken terwijl jij gezellig in je artsy mood bent ! Veel Spooky vreugde gewenst !

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    1. Ik ben een en al bezorgde kattenmoeder momenteel! Neem veel tijd om in zijn gezelschap door te brengen en dat werkt ook wel, maar het Spook bepaalt het tempo. Elke dag een stapje vooruit en soms ook een stapje achteruit. Vooral als ik door de kamer heen beweeg ben ik best nog wel eng, maar als ik stil zit komt hij regelmatig bij me en hij ligt hele avonden naast me op de bank. We komen er wel.

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  5. Caatje, I am so thankful that you have rescued a new assistant. My heart broke with yours when Peer had to leave. I am trusting that with time, love and lots of availability, The Spook will become your shadow. Sending loving thoughts and hugs.

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    1. I still miss Peer very much, especially now when I have such a reluctant little assistant at my hand, haha. In essence Spooky is pretty sociable, but his confidance has had quite a blow from all the changes and he is the only one who can restore that and all I can do is give him the space to do it. It gets a little better each day. I am in awe of his courage (even though I feel sad he needs it).

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  6. Oh Carin, he's beautiful! And I'm sure he'll come around ... cats don't like change and the moving was a huge one, along with his mom and dad are gone and you said that he was with them since he was a baby. My cat hid for days when we just moved from one apartment to another but then she come around. I've no doubt you'll have your loving kitty in no time at all. :)

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    1. The first two days I didn't even get to see how gorgeous he is, but after that I have admired his absolutely beautiful shiny black fur. I've always had very easygoing cats until now, so this is a whole new challenge and I'm learning a lot about patience and lack of control, which is probably good for me, but for Spooky's sake I hope he regains his full confidence soon. He's a sweety when he forgets to be nervous.

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  7. Hi Caatje, It's Sandy, here in the States. You are totally on the right track, giving Spooky room and time to acquaint himself himself with you and your home. The fact that he cuddled up with you (as in the picture) is a perfect sign that he knows you will be ok for him and that your home is okay, too. He would never have done that, otherwise. Also, you have rescued him from what probably might have been a hostile environment that was not calm or peaceful. Your home is all that: calm and peaceful. So he is better off, and I think he knows that. Keep going as you are-you have a great intuition about cats and how they think. You have done the right thing, and Spooky is where he needs to be.
    Have a great life together!

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    1. I want to stress he did not come from a hostile environment at all, the person he lived with (and his kids) had the best intentions for him which is why they gave him another home. His owner simply did not have the time for him. The children came along to give him away and there were many tears. I felt very sad for them.
      Spooky is in essence a very sociable cat, but the sudden changes in an otherwise very uneventful life probably were just too much for him. He has to built up his confidence again in both himself and in the person he lives with (me). I do believe he is better off (so does the previous owner), but the Spook isn't quite sure of that yet, haha.

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  8. Hoi Carin, Wat een leuke nieuwe assistent. Hij is prachtig. Vroeger heb ik altijd tamme ratten gehad: die zitten al met alle broers en zusjes in de baarmoeder, worden geboren in een nestje, gaan opeens naar een dierenzaak en worden dan gekocht door een wildvreemde (ik dus). De laatste rat kostte mij plm 3 weken lang om het vertrouwen te winnen. Eerst wilde ze niet uit de kooi maar toen ze mij wel leuk vond, wilde ze niet meer in de kooi. ha ha. Geduld is een schone zaak. Het komt wel goed. Cindy

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    1. Het Spook tolereert mij al heel wel als ik maar ergens stil zit. Hij komt elke middag/avond bij me zitten en laat zich dan ook spinnend aanhalen. Als ik door de ruimte beweeg ben ik nog wat te onberekenbaar voor hem (wat gaat ze doen?) en is hij erg op zijn hoede. Maar hij vlucht nauwelijks nog de schuur in en verstopt zich al veel minder. Het wordt nog wel wat met hem.

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  9. I am so glad you have a new assistant (in training). My Spooky and I wish your Spooky and you much happiness!!

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    1. How cool you have a Spooky too! Mine so far has no interest in being anybody's assistant, but I do think I'm growing on him. Slowly, very slowly. ;-)

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  10. Wat je leuk dat je een nieuw maatje hebt en ook nog zo'n mooierd. Hij zal het over een tijdje vast helemaal naar zijn zin krijgen bij jou.

    Veel plezier samen!

    Groetjes,
    Alice

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    1. Ja, het is een knappe vent zonder meer. Elke dag een stapje vooruit, soms weer en stapje achteruit. We moeten beiden geduld opbrengen en hij bepaalt het tempo. We komen er wel.

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