It's a funny thing about cats - they're so demanding and yet a few food pellets in their bowl and they're so pleased purring all the way into my lap as a gracious thank you for my efforts. The next day those same food pellets only return a disgusted look as if to say, "That's it?" Cats ... !
Mark is our latest rescue coming from the Ozark-Dale County Humane Society. He was to be fostered as he was not adoptable due to an issue with fecal matter being deposited on area rugs. I offered to see what was going with him and tried to acclimate him to dogs and children (that is to say, grandchildren). He spent the first two weeks hiding behind the couch coming out only to use the litter box to urinate and to defecate on the area rugs. Daily, I'd scoop up the rug, deposit his deposit in the litter box in hopes he'd "get the message." I provided food and water behind the couch for him inching the bowls farther away each day.
Speaking to my mother about our newest arrival, she - being an expert catwoman - suggested our vet check Mark for Giardia - a parasite. Mark was given Flagyl and in a matter of a day or two he was using the litter box for all his deposits! Still living behind the couch, I called the shelter manager to let her know the "poopy problem" had been solved. She was thrilled. The next step was to encourage Mark to interact with the family. It didn't take long either ... in fact ... he now rules the three dogs and other cat. He is, in fact, the alpha male, and he likes it that way.
The next problem we encountered is Mark going from window to window and door to door. It wouldn't be long before he found his way out and I knew it. I call Ruth at the Shelter ... I explained I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep him in ... he was desperate to get outside and play. Ruth said to let him out. No problem ... I opened the door to the backyard and he dashed. I rather expected him to never return. We have a six-foot privacy fence around much of our yard - that which is seen by the street and a six-foot chain link around the rest of the yard. I watched Mark for a bit but found myself bored when he collapsed in a sunny spot. After just a few moments, he started rolling and rolling, arching his back, then chasing his tail. A butterfly piqued his curiosity and off he went on a hunt. Leaping high off the ground, smacking his front feet together in hope of capturing the elusive bug. Then he hovered in a ball, feet tucked firmly under his body. He started to squirm and wiggle then rolled enough to lose his grip on the butterfly. He watched it for a long time - flitting from one bush to another. He was so much fun to watch. Once he caught me looking, he sprawled out on the grass and took a nap. What a stinker.
I knew I had to just let him be and within a few minutes he poked his head in the cat door. He wriggled in and headed to the pantry to eat. Within minutes of finishing his food, he vomited whole pieces of food ... an unexpected treat for Columbus, our Jack-Russell mix. I began to give him smaller amounts of food realizing he'd be a shelter cat for a long time and was more used to getting it while the getting was good! I figured I could retrain him to eat more slowly. I was wrong. I purchased a special bowl with obstacles protruding up from the bottom of the bowl forcing him to work a bit harder for each bite. It worked like a charm! He still manages to eat too much too fast, but he's getting better.
Now, Mark easily scales our six-foot privacy fence and torments the neighborhood - though once in a while he comes dashing through the cat door with his tail all puffed up and eyes as big as saucers! A quick 'hello' relaxes him ... then he's off to his favorite spot for a nap.
For as standoffish he was when he arrived, he's a snuggle-bug now! Each evening when we sees me on the couch he jumps up making himself very comfortable - don't worry about me! - and purrs so loudly I can barely hear myself think! His paws knead and knead and knead and I still haven't even touched him! It's only a matter of time before he demands to be pet by pushing his nose into my nose or kissing me or nibbling on my ear lobe ... finally I give in to his demands and he curls into my lap. Peaceful ... for now ...