Meet the Cat challenge: Fiddlesticks

As of recently, I have two cats! Let’s get to know the other one.

Round sleeping Fiddlesticks on cat bed with tongue sticking out

My name is: (Chocolate) Fiddlesticks

My nicknames are: Fiddles, Fuzzy, Sneezy, little old lady

My breed is: domestic shorthair (black-and-brown tortoiseshell)

My age is: 10 and a half years

I have lived here for: 2 months

My favorite human food: none yet, but let me sniff it all anyway, just to be sure

My favorite things to do: nap, monitor the view out the window, ignore the Secondary Cat, steal the Secondary Cat’s food (until it was hidden somewhere I can’t find it), accept chin skritches, be admired like the queen I am

My favorite room in the house: the living room, it has my viewing window, multiple soft napping locations, and my tall carpeted throne

Do I snore?: no, but I have a chronic condition that means I sneeze A Lot

Fiddlesticks on top of cat climber
Fiddlesticks diligently drinking out of toilet
Fiddlesticks sprawled with feet hanging off edge of cat bed
Fiddlesticks perched on end of couch with Fluff looking up at her from floor

Meet the Cat challenge: Marshmallow Fluff

Not gonna get around to an updated About Me post with personal details any time soon, so instead, please enjoy some cat pictures.

Fluffy with paw planted decisively on edge of laptop

My name is: Marshmallow Fluff

My nicknames are: Fluffy, Mister Fluff, Fluff’n’stuff, Fluffernutter, Troublemaker

My breed is: domestic longhair

My age is: 5 this past February

I have lived here for: 3 years and a few months

My favorite human food: none, give me cat treats please

My favorite things to do: eat, play with balls and stuffed mice, stare intently at bugs, get fur on everything, hide from strangers, cuddle, keep tabs on the Suspicious Intruder Cat

My favorite room in the house: the bedroom, with my food, my warm spot to lie on the floor where the radiator pipe runs under it, and my safe space under the bed where nobody can get me

Do I snore?: yes, and my nose whistles when I do

Continue reading

The other kind of “bringing home a new cat” experience

Marshmallow Fluff, first 48 hours: This place has one (1) safe spot, under the bed, and I will stay put right here forever

Chocolate Fiddlesticks, first 5 minutes: I will systematically stand on every available surface to choose my Pride Rock

Tortie standing on stove

…so, yeah, I got a new cat.

Way back when, I decided “if the fluff can get through a year with no emergency health issues, I’ll see if he can handle a second cat.” The deadline passed recently, so I’ve been watching the “Meet the Cats” page on the local cat cafe. A lot of the cats get snapped up pretty fast, but this one black-and-brown tortie just stayed and stayed and stayed…

I went in, decided I liked her, and called dibs.

Tortie sprawled on coat

Fiddlesticks is twice Fluffy’s age (10 years), half his size (a little old lady!), and 100% his opposite in temperament. She’s been here for a week, and was totally comfortable from minute one.

She came with the “fiddlesticks” part of the name, which I’m retconning to mean “chocolate fiddlesticks” so we can keep having a dessert-based name theme.

Tortie eating with feet in food dish

At first I kept the fluff in the bedroom with the door closed, Fiddles in the kitchen with a makeshift barricade in the doorway, and I traded off which one got access to the rest of the house.

Kept both of them shut in at night just to be safe, which worked out, because it turns out Fiddles really really wants to be where the action is. Jumped over the first barricade…jumped over the taller replacement barricade…couldn’t jump barricade #3, but managed to knock a box askew and get underneath it.

Tortie jumping on chair

She doesn’t even want attention or cuddles when she gets through! She’s happy to get petted, but mostly wants to go back to napping on a soft surface.

Trouble is, it can’t just be any soft surface. It has to be Where The People Are.

Tortie sleeping on bed full of plushies

Brought her home on Monday night. As of Wednesday, I was holding the fluff up to look over the barricade, and he was growling a little at the horrifying intruder. But not freaking out and bolting the way he does with strange humans! Which was promising.

Wednesday night, both of them were curious about what was on the other side of the barricade…

Fluff staring at wall of boxes

So I let Fiddles come through for a visit.

It lasted about 30 seconds. Fluff didn’t bolt, which was sort of unexpected, but he hunched up and backed away and made this very sad keening noise. Totally unfazed Fiddlesticks barely looked at him before wandering past. When she got between him and his escape route, I figured it was time to pick her up and move her out of the room.

(You wouldn’t know it from how calmly she sits, but this little lady becomes a flailing mess if you pick her up. Whatever she was sitting on — laundry, towel, carpet — it’s coming up after her, because she grabs it with all the claws.)

Fiddles loafing on a coat

The fluff is getting extremely spoiled through all of this. Every time he bravely survives an interaction with the Intruder Cat, he gets treats.

Fluff emerging from under bed for treats

Thursday night, I held him up for a viewing, and he didn’t growl at all…so I let Fiddlesticks out again, and the two of them spent a good half-hour in the same room.

Fiddles parked herself on a soft blanket and didn’t move. After about 15 minutes of this, Fluff decided it was an acceptable risk.

Fluff sitting in one corner of frame, Fiddles on blanket in other corner

As of Friday, the barricade is mostly dismantled, so Fiddles can go in and out of the kitchen freely.

Fluff gets shut in the bedroom overnight. Turns out he prefers to stay there during the morning/afternoon, so I leave the door closed — mostly to keep Fiddles from bothering him.

(If she’s allowed in, they won’t fight or anything…but she will help herself to his expensive prescription food. And avail herself of his box.)

Fluff asleep with face plonked down

The kitty fountain is in the living room, and so far they’re managing to share that nicely.

…Fiddles also discovered a fresher source of water in the next room.

Fiddles drinking out of toilet bowl

Doors get opened during the evening/night, the cats can mingle freely, and I keep an eye out to monitor anything that goes wrong. So far, peaceful coexistence is happening!

By which I mean, lots of wary curiosity from the fluff, and lots of total indifference from Fiddles. If she’s walking past him, once in a while she’ll slow down for a sniff, but that’s about it.

Fluff investigating a sleeping Fiddles

…What I really need is a door that the fluff can go through, but Fiddlesticks can’t. A nice boundary around his food and his safe spaces that automatically enforces itself, so he doesn’t have to.

Unfortunately, I think the only way to manage that involves special cat doors that take signals from collars. And installing one of those is…outside the scope of my lease.

Face-to-face Fluff and Fiddles inspecting each other

But so far? This is working out okay.

Executive Assistant went to the vet last week

Easiest and happiest vet visit he’s had!

First was 2 years ago, when Marshmallow Fluff was still staying at arm’s length from me — he stopped eating, but was still determined to hide and not be touched, I couldn’t get him in until he was physically too weak to put up a fight. Second was last year, bladder issues. He was happy to get picked up in general by then, but managed to scramble away the first time I tried to put him in the carrier.

This year he was in perfect health. They just can’t keep refilling his prescription food without an annual checkup.

Sleepy cat with paw on keyboard

Got him in the carrier first try, this year. He always comes out to investigate when I start doing yoga or stretches on the carpet, so I used that to lure him out of his napping spot. He got unusually tense when I scooped him up — he must’ve sensed something was amiss — but relaxed enough for me to dump him in.

I was prepared with the carrier braced between two chairs, turned so the open door faced straight up. (The enemy’s gate is down!)

…next year I’ll be even better prepared, and have a towel laid out underneath it.

Cat in carrier wrapped in blanket

I wrapped the carrier in a blanket for the trip, mostly to keep him calm, partly because it’s Cold outside.

Visits 1 and 2, he had to stay overnight for treatment, which was confusing and scary and got a “warning: will scratch people” note in his chart. Visit 3 was much shorter, I was right next to him 95% of the time, and he was…well, probably still confused and scared, but not threatened enough to fight about it.

Horrified cat looking over edge of carrier

Very unhappy, for sure. Did not authorize this. Wants to hide under his bed, but nobody will tell him which direction it’s in.

He weighs 15 pounds! (Last year it was 14. When he was originally picked up by Animal Control, from a household that was reported for neglect, he weighed 6. They had him on a special high-calorie diet to get his weight up before rating him healthy enough to put up for adoption.)

BCS is still a healthy neutral, so it’s not that he’s overweight. He’s just Big. If anything, I think he’s less well-rounded in the tummy than he was a year ago.

He was supposed to get a rabies shot while he was there, but they were all out of stock, with the delivery behind by several days. They said they were expecting the truck within the next few hours. I said, given how difficult all this is for the fluff, we’ll wait.

Unhappy cat hunched in open carrier

So I sat in the little room reading fic, and the fluff sat in his little carrier doing a disgruntled hunch, and we waited. A vet tech brought a bowl of water; he never got thirsty enough to drink it.

After the full few hours were up, the delivery truck arrived!…and the rabies shot refills were not on it. So we packed up and went home. Much to the cat’s relief.

He kept a safe distance from me for a few hours, but adjusted pretty quick after that.

Stern-looking cat with paw on keyboard

They said I could bring him back later, once the rabies shots were re-stocked, and they’d give the fluff his for free.

Part of me wants to spare him another Horrifying Ordeal so close to the last one. On the other hand, maybe it’ll reinforce the uplifting lesson of “hey look, you can stay calm and non-defensive and it’ll all work out fine, you get to go back home at the end.”

Christmas haul: two Yuletide gifts, one case of COVID

Other people get candy or toys in their stockings, I got the Omicron variant. Lucky me.

…seriously, though, it was the better kind of COVID experience. No hospital, no breathing problems, no need for any of the expensive treatments that are in short supply. I just canceled holiday plans, spent a few days sleeping a lot, had a friend drop off some chicken soup, and used over-the-counter fever/cough/etc meds to keep the symptoms in check.

Over a week of doing that, my immune system wrestled it steadily down from “thoroughly miserable” to “minor sniffles.”

And if you’ve been hearing people on the news panic about how Booster Shots Wear Off In Weeks And Then Omicron Can Kill Us All…listen, I didn’t even have a booster. Probably could’ve had milder symptoms if I did? But even un-boosted, the two regular Pfizer doses I got back in summer had the virus handled.

(The cat helped, I’m sure. He was very fierce at it. Scared it right off.)

Marshmallow Fluff having a Christmas nap

I had almost wrestled my Marked For Later list down to 5 pages when Yuletide dropped, and now it’s overflowing. At least reading has been easy for most of the COVID recovery period, so I’ve had time to start making a dent again.

I got 2 gifts!

A delightful comedy about Gideon, Harrow, and associates having low-stakes adventures, with Earth artifacts and attempted wrestling:

fifteen percent concentrated power of will (9120 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Locked Tomb Series | Gideon the Ninth Series – Tamsyn Muir
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Gideon Nav/Harrowhark Nonagesimus
Characters: Gideon Nav, Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Coronabeth Tridentarius, Judith Deuteros, Camilla Hect
Additional Tags: 5 things (kind of), gideon nav: personal trainer

Teaching someone to do a push-up is a love language, when that person is very annoying.

And a treat about Dorothy learning some finer details of Oz magic:

A Long Winter in Oz (14928 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 5/5
Fandom: Oz – L. Frank Baum
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Dorothy Gale & Glinda the Good, Dorothy Gale/Princess Ozma
Characters: Dorothy Gale, Glinda the Good
Additional Tags: Magic, Friendship, Minor Character Death, Implied/Referenced Suicide, no canon character deaths, Romance is a minor element, Worldbuilding

Dorothy decides that she ought to learn about magic properly and there just so happens to be a long winter approaching.