And we're still not ready for our long-awaited Caturday guest!
So we leave you with a Gustav story for your amusement.Gustav with his momma, Greta
Gustav and his Mum, Greta came to stay at La Casa de Los Gatos some seven years ago. Gustav's story is quite sad, really. Some idiot adopted his mother Greta but never had her spayed and, when she got pregnant, dumped her on the streets to fend for herself. You see why we don't approve of teenage pregnancy? Some other nasty soul, when Greta went into labour, kicked her into a drain and poured some sugary substance over her. Fortunately, a kind hoomin came along and found ants trying to eat the mother and her babies alive (ugh!) and rescued them all.
The kind soul took them home, cleaned them off, and proceeded to find homes for them all. Gustav was not the best looking of the bunch, so he was placed together with his dear sweet Mum, in a home with a young lady who liked cats.
Unfortunately, the young lady had a boyfriend who didn't like Gustav. He's never been an "easy" cat. He's loud, jealous, clingy, possessive of his mother, possessive of his hoomins — he was really meant to be an "only" cat. Unlike Bandicoot, he doesn't have a friendly open temperament and a sweet nature. The Coot visits all our neighbours fairly regularly and introduces himself to their guests as well, and offers to jump on anyone's lap for a quick belly petting or ear-scratching. Nor is he like Madu, who is basically an indolent catloaf and won't move if a stranger comes into the room. Actually he won't even open an eye to see who it is, sometimes, but, if petted, will purr loudly enough to be heard a couple of rooms away.
Gustav isn't gorgeous like the lovely Gojira, whom everyone falls in love with at first glance. She can be as difficult as she likes, with her plush, silvered gray fur, her lithe and delicate figure, her long, pointy paws, acid-green eyes, little pink sticking-out tongue. She's too beautiful to expect anything but indulgence. Nor is he a big silly fluffito like Zingiber, who runs away screaming from strangers (but they laugh rather than get annoyed because he's so big and fat and fluffy and looks so ridiculous waddling as fast as he can to get away).
No, Gustav is nervous and twitchy and shy and suspicious. He won't come when called. He won't make eye contact. He leaps away when touched. He has a loud, raucous, Siamese-type voice. He also has herpes, which makes both his eyes kind of pinkish and watery. He's a scrawny fellow. He cries a lot. His markings aren't exceptionally beautiful or distinguished.
So, of course, the boyfriend didn't like poor Gustav. And is the wont of some cruel hoominz, he would kick or hit Gustav whenever the poor kitteh was in the room. (Nasty jerk, we sincerely hope he comes back as a cockroach for his next seventeen lives and is beaten and eaten by cats!)
Some months of this, and the saint who placed Gustav heard about it and insisted on taking both Gustav and Greta back into her own home. But, like our dear friend Lizzy, of 922Cats
fame, she had more beasts than house to house them in, numbering in her menagerie this handsome fellow:Corky at home
as well as several tortoises, some of them maimed; a veritable herd of cats of various ages and sizes, mostly rescues from horrible fates; several drop-in ferals (to whom Gustav did not take kindly); birds; and deity only knows what else. Fish? Frogs? Could well have been.
In the event, Saint Francis Assissi II was getting ready to move to a far and distant land and could not take the entire menagerie, so we were asked to please take Corky, Greta, and Gustav. Having burdened ourselves, at that time, with SIX indoor cats, three ferals, three rescue opossums, and a family of skunks (not to mention the raccoons and that goddamned herd of deer that come by and eat our tomatoes, roses, and wisteria to the fucking ground alla time) we debated long and hard. But what could we do? What would you do?
So we got on a plane and filed the paperwork and paid for the vet visits and special carriers and flew for hours and came back with two cat carriers and one very upset dog. And thanks be to the deities of furry beasties, we managed with the help of Madame X and her wonderful partner to schlep the beasties up the stairs and into the house. Greta was wonderful and easy, but Gustav attacked all the other cats (though never us) from day one.
It has been some seven years now. A year after she came, Greta threw a blood clot and almost died on the spot. We took her to the emergency clinic and they did not think she would make it, so we said goodbye to dear, sweet, beautiful Greta.
Then, two years ago, Corky lost control of his bladder and his back legs. We helped him get up and down and cleaned him and tried to give him the best life we could (and he had a horrible pre-adoption story, too), but in the end none of us — not the poor doggie nor ourselves — could take it anymore. So we said goodbye to the best little doggie in the whole wide world. Goodbye, dear Corky. You were such a good dog, dear.Corky getting ready for walkies
Gustav was still on tranquilizers owing to his habit of suddenly attacking any cat within attacking distance. One of the indoor cats (the mother of Madu and Gojira) decided to uphold her lifetime feral status by running out of the house at high speed and refusing to return; another outdoor inhabitant took off one day and has yet to return (dear Simona, please come home, all is forgiven, love, tpc). Bob-the-almost-Bobcat also took off, never to return. And Faridah left for a trip across the rainbow bridge. The possums moved on, the baby skunks grew up and moved away, the raccoons moved over the hill (one family recently returned, to Madu's great chagrin).
The half-blind deer vanished, probably victim to our local cougar. One of the males, with a fine set of antlers, has also disappeared, but one of the boy babies now has a nice, if small, antlerage and fair bids to replace the old fellow. At least we've seen him leaping about on the hillside with a couple of does and some of the cutest fawns. They took some herbage out of the tomatoes, but we responded with chicken wire, so we've had a good tomato crop this year. Although we still mourn the loss of the Sterling rose. (pigs!)
Gustav discovered toys. We took him off his meds, and one night we heard the strangest sounds coming from downstairs. We put all their toys in an old milk crate under the dinner-wagon. Sneaking downstairs, we found Gustav carefully lifting several toys out of the milk-crate before finally settling on a fluffy to play with. The yellow fluffy was the toy of choice for some months, although he would still take his terrycloth bunny and blue racoon out. Finally, he settled on the terrycloth bunny and began taking it upstairs to bed with him every night.
This was good. He had never played with toys before, and it was good to see him enjoying himself. Also, the more tired he is, the less aggressive he is.
The high point of Gustav's life with us came during the catnip incident.
We used to put the catnip on a high shelf in the closet, in a ziplock bag. Periodically, we'd take out a few pinches and sprinkle them on the floor, and everybody would go wild. We figured the catnip was safe high on the shelf because the two fatties were way too fat to climb up there for it, and Gojira (the only other climber) was too intimidated by Gustav to try for it.
Imagine our surprise when we walked through the front door to find the entire floor of the house covered in catnip and five cats lying around on the floor, paws-up, looking blissfully stoned! Apparently, Gustav had climbed up and "liberated" the nip, ripped the bag open, and shared generously with friends.
We now keep the 'nip in a glass bottle in the freezer. Even if he gets the damn door open, he's going to rue the lack of opposable thumbs.
He's totally rehabbed, by the way. He now sleeps close to us — still nervous and twitchy, but happy to get ear rubs and chin scratches, and mostly good to everyone else. Mostly.
To everyone on the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Gustav prepares for landfall: May you all be safe and protected and may your furry friends be safe with you. Gustav apologizes for the coincidental naming. This is one thing you can't blame the poor fellow for.
Labels: animal rescue, animal stories, bandicoot, cats, Caturday, corky, cute, gojira, gustav, Madu, zingiber