Happy birthday, Marshmallow Fluff

A post with mixed news. But leaning towards the good side, I think.

Previously, on Blogging About My Cat:

The local Humane Society retrieved this little guy from some kind of neglect situation — he was malnourished, dehydrated, terribly thin, and petrified — on February 8, 2019. They decided he was about 2 years old, so they marked that day down as his birthday.

Once he was out of serious medical danger, he was transferred to a local shelter. After a couple months there without being adopted,  they transferred him to the local cat cafe. He was only there for about 3 days (huddled on a shelf, and so inactive that in retrospect I’m not sure he was eating much from the cats’ communal bowls) when I came in.

We were warned to only approach him 1-at-a-time. I did. He seemed to respond happily to gentle skritches. I took him home!

That was in April.

I managed to get this photo in May, which is how long it took Marshmallow Fluff to come out from under the bed.

Fluff in May 2019

(At first he was too scared to come out if I was in the room, even if I was asleep on top of the bed. So I spent a while sleeping on an air mattress, on the other side of a closed door, which let him feel safer to start exploring the space.)

Compare that with January 2020:

Fluff in January 2020

He’s bulked up! Fluffed out! And roaming the entire apartment! If any other humans show up, he goes back into hiding — but if it’s just me, and I stay in the same place for long enough, he’ll appear.

Ever since getting his energy up that first week, he absolutely refuses to be touched. By now he will sometimes sit and relax within arm’s length of me — and if I offer a hand, he’ll give it a sniff — which is cool. I just can’t leave the hand out too long, or he’ll get suspicious, and either give me a swat or make his retreat.

…so imagine how delightful it was when he developed some digestive issues, and it got serious enough that I resolved to take him to the vet.

Tried to catch him last night. Managed to herd him into the bedroom, which has limited hiding spaces and a latching door, but never actually laid a hand on him. (There was growling. Not even hissing, but full-body, if-you-heard-it-you’d-think-it-was-a-dog growling. Poor little guy.)

Called in an uncle to help, and this morning we made a joint effort to catch him. It was coordinated! We had tools! We had protective gear! (Gloves. I offered them upfront…after first blood was drawn, they were accepted.)

No dice. The fluff ducked and hid and fled and clawed at every move.

…So his energy level is good. And his health took a tick upward overnight (when I went to bed he hadn’t used the box in a good 24 hours, but he’d managed it by the morning). Doesn’t seem to be in any acute danger.

Which is a huge relief, after me spending the night with all kinds of worst-case-scenarios throwing a party in my head.

Buuuuut it would suck to put him through this much stress for nothing — especially since, to him, it would seem like I out-of-the-blue turned his idyllic home life into a horror movie. It should culminate in something significant before I expect him to understand that everything is back to normal.

So I’m borrowing one of those catch-and-release traps they use for Actual Strays. Gonna put it out overnight later this week, and hopefully be able to take him to the vet next day, where I can ask about the long list of non-acute issues I’ve been wanting to get checked out.

In the meantime, Fluff is confined to the bedroom. With most of his stuff, and very little of mine, and the old nightly check-ins to keep everything fresh.

In an effort to make this marginally less scary for him, I am…back on the air mattress.

Progress!

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