Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Spooky update

Today it's been exactly two weeks that I picked up Spooky, my new and very very black cat and possible assistant in the making. I introduced him here where I told you he was a pretty spooked Spook. The first few days I did not even really get to see him, which is a pity, because he's such a handsome fellow.

Now he's been here for two weeks and things are definitely improving. It's obvious he needs his time and that he's as careful around me as I am around him, but in comparison with two weeks ago we have moved mountains. When he feels the need to retreat I simply ignore him and when he comes out or seeks me out he always gets a treat and positive attention. He is easily seduced by food and snacks. In fact I managed to get him to dare to go upstairs simply by going up and down with him and some kitty snacks a few times. After a few days he followed me up on his own. Seduction seems to be right way to broaden his horizon.

Spooky is also beginning to show real cat behaviour:

Making sure I behave myself. (I have my eyes on you human!)

Sitting in boxes.

Sleeping next to me on the couch every night.

Stealing my seat the minute I get up.

I can tell he's still not fully at home with me and this house he has moved into. This cat simply needs more time for that. I kind of like that his friendship is not easily given. It makes me feel all the more privileged when he does show affection or seeks me out. But for himself it would be so much easier if he were a bit more easygoing and relaxed. Still, he sits with me every day, meows for food and attention and seems pretty comfortable walking around the house, even if he is still skittish.

On the other hand the fact that he is feeling more at home also brings out some traits I'm not so happy with. It seems the previous owners never played with him really, at least not with toys. I've tried several different things and he simply looks bored and has no idea what to do with them. Even wand toys (which were a hit with my previous cats who were actually quite lazy and unplayful in nature) have no appeal to him so far.

Unfortunately he does from time to time consider my hand a lovely moving toy, which can be pretty painful (although so far I must admit I have no scratches on me, he's not vicious). It makes me wonder if the previous owners were the kind that found it cool to use their hands as a plaything (yes, people like that exist, the fools). He's not mean or anything, just playful in the wrong way. Often he will try to grab or bite my hand and immediately follow it up with a head butt, purring all the way as if to say 'aren't we having fun?'. No no no, we aren't! Luckily he seems to understand the word 'NO!' very well so if I pay attention I can stop him before he goes too far. I think with patience and time he will learn new ways to play from me. If you have any ideas for toys or ways to play for a stubborn no play cat, I'm all ears.

Also after a few more weeks he will be allowed outside, which I think will be good for him. He was an outdoorsy cat, so he must really miss exploring the garden and neighbourhood. Apart from being new to my household he is not yet neutered, vaccinated or chipped and I want all those things done before I let him out. I think that is simply the responsible thing to do. Having an outdoor cat comes with enough risks (even in a quiet cat friendly place like this) without taking extra precautions. I think however he is pretty bored inside for now and since he does not fully trust me yet and does not understand play with toys yet it's hard to alleviate this boredom. I feel bad for him for that, after all he's still quite young (three years old).

Daring to wash himself while lying on his back, a sign of trust, but always keeping his eyes on me, haha.


All in all I think we still have a long way to go and in no way is he anything like my previous assistants. He's not my assistant yet. He's not even really my cat yet. He really is my Spook!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day.

12 comments:

  1. Oh Spooky lijkt me wel een echte uitdaging maar hij ziet er prachtig uit , ook leuke foto's dat je gemaakt hebt van hem , ja zo'n nieuw gezinslid vraagt heel wat tijd en geduld maar nadien krijg je dat dubbel en dik terug , succes ermee !

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    1. Ik vergeet weleens dat Peer in het begin ook een hele uitdaging was. Niet qua angst of zo, maar hij had geen enkele rem waar het om eten ging. Sprong echt midden op eten wat ik aan het bereiden was. Ook duurde het bij hem een jaar voor hij doorhad dat mijn schoot toch wel een fijne plek was (en toen was-ie er ook niet meer af te slaan). Geduld en tijd en een beetje opvoeding, alles trekt wel bij. ;-)

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  2. He's so handsome! Very few of my rescued cats have had any interest in toys, and I think they never learned, as abandoned kittens, to play other than with other cats. I wonder if he ever had a cat companion? The fact that he inhibits his bite means another cat taught him that, usually.

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    1. I think in the past year and a half this cat was mainly fed and given a litter box and further ignored, except when the kids came over. I'm not saying he was ill treated, the owner just didn't have time for him and simply gave him basic care. There was an older cat in the house, but I'm not sure how they interacted. For practical reasons I never visited the house he lived in. In the end his behaviour right now is not fully who he is, since he is still apprehensive about his new surroundings. With more trust will come more affection and softness, I'm already noticing this. Also if I get the feeling he needs a companion I may adopt a second cat later, but first I want him to be accustomed to me better and just see how it goes on his own.

      He makes me laugh a little too. He will try to bite during an affectionate moment or a little play, but before he can I will say "NO!", then he will try to bite me again but very very softly and slowly as if to say "but what if I'm really really careful about it?", I will say "NO!" again, and then he will rub his head against my hand and all is well. He's like a naughty child trying to test the boundaries. ;-)

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  3. Are you brushing him? Our adopted kitty loves it when he gets a nice brush. He's not as playful, but then he is much older than Spook. Still, patience and time will help, I'm sure.

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    1. No not yet. I felt everything was still so strange to him the first days that I didn't want to do anything that 'intimate' yet. But now he's a lot less scared it might be a good time to start.

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  4. You and Spooky are getting off to a great start. He will be your best buddy within a few more weeks. If you allow him to sleep with you, he will be hooked. He is in a good home and with someone who will love him.
    Barb
    USA

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    1. He actually is allowed to sleep with me, but has shown no interest. He sometimes follows me to my bedroom when I go upstairs and watches me as I go to bed and likes to cuddle a little, but doesn't stay long after that and goes downstairs again. He seems ignorant of the joy of sleeping on a bed, haha. He does sleep next to me every night on the couch though and sometimes on my lap. I agree it would be good if he slept on my bed, but I can't force him. Downstairs seems to be his safe zone right now.

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  5. One of our cats bites to show affection, called cribbling. I am glad that he is showing you more of his personality. Hopefully he'll be a true assistant before too long. Maybe some catnip would please him. Most of my cats love it and just lay around getting high, so I introduce it rarely, LOL. Good luck with Spooky. Our black cat is named Salem, and he is the most skittish and deferential of the 6. He got a lot quieter when our other male died.

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    1. It really usually is mixed with affection and/or play and it's already happening a lot less. Sometimes he's all 'wait a minute, what did she prefer? a bite or a stroke?' and he kind of stops in the middle and sometimes he still gets it wrong, haha.
      So far I have tried several different things including catnip, but he is simply not impressed. I may try peppermint or something like that, because one of my previous cats went absolutely high on that. I think it will do the Spook a lot of good when he gets to play outside and is neutered. But he's not a menace or anything, just a bit bored. I have found out that he does love to run after treats, so that's what we do together now for a bit of play. I make him jump up and off stuff and run around the room for treats and he seems to like that a lot. Maybe he would like to join the kitty circus? ;-)

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  6. Hi, I'm a bit late to this conversation and I hope things are improving with your friendship. I moved in with two adult cats (and a man!) about 7 years ago and the cats hadn't been played with for ages. I got them interested by dragging bits of string around the house, I think they look like mice tails?! Now, even at age 15 they both love chasing bits of string about. Good luck, I'm sure he'll soon learn to love you and your bed xx

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    1. Thanks for the ideas Nina. Now that you mentioned it I do remember how one of my previous cats loved simple pieces of string as well. I also notice Spooky is fascinated by light and shadows moving across the floor or wals, so maybe one of those laserpointer things would be something for him. Will look into it.

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