Lucas

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lancashire lass
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Lucas

Post by lancashire lass »

I've been giving this much thought for the past few months and yesterday I went to my local animal shelter and have reserved a cat for adoption. Surprisingly there were very few available for adoption and there were only 3 that really matched my circumstances ... one resembled a jigsaw puzzle (a patchwork of black & white, ginger tabby and grey tabby - she really looked quite bizarre but also pretty) There was an all white cat with beautiful blue eyes and finally an all black cat called Lucas - I really didn't want a black cat again as it would remind me of my last cat but out of the 3, this one was the only one that looked at me and meowed. As I went back to the other 2, I watched how the black cat was so unresponsive to other visitors (admittedly there were also children around) so I wandered back, and once again he stood up and looked at me .... so I made enquiries and was allowed to go into his pen and pet him.

They reckon he is a stray, about 2 years old and normally very timid so even the attendant was surprised at how attentive he was as soon as I entered the pen. I was warned that he could be a bit unpredictable (hence, his brief suggested he would be better re-homed in an adult household only and preferably with someone with experience with cats) and didn't like anyone stroking his head but generally friendly and just needed time to come round. Armed with some treats as an introduction, I soon got his attention and he eagerly bumped the back of my hand and despite being told his head was a no no, he seemed fine having his jaw and head stroked but I watched for any signs that he'd had enough - in many ways he was a lot like my Blackie who also used to be unpredictable. He is a short hair but for a short (well probably normal length) bushy tail and there all similarity to my old cat stopped - he used to have an unusually long but short-hair tail. I made my mind up - yep, it's got to be this one.

As the attendant got the paperwork together, I overheard her talking to the others in the office that this cat had been overlooked for several weeks and pleased he was finally being offered a home. All his injections and flea/worm treatment was up to date and he was due for a dental clean and be neutered on the 7th January (and be micro chipped at the same time) so I'm preliminary booked in to collect on the Saturday morning after so that will give me some time to gather some bits & pieces together and cat-proof the house. He might jump the queue now that he has been reserved for adoption and I was offered to bring him home before the operations but there was a risk as an adult male he might spray to mark his territory so it made sense to wait.

So early next year there will be a new member in the LL household )t'
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Re: Lucas

Post by Gwenoakes »

What a lovely post, LL and what a lucky cat cat. I will look forward to any piccies you may have.
Cheshire Chick
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Re: Lucas

Post by Cheshire Chick »

So happy that you have adopted Lucas. I absolutely love black cats. Good luck with it all. I am glad that Lucas has finally found his loving forever home with a lovely lady. Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures with him and of course some photo's. Hope you and Lucas have a lovely Christmas. Best wishes, Louise.
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Mo
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Re: Lucas

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We just can't resist them can we.
I heard that neutering won't necessarily stop an adult cat spray marking (but maybe that's if he has been used to marking that territory already)
Good luck to you both.
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wendy
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Re: Lucas

Post by wendy »

Aww bless you for rescuing him.
Also black animals do take longer to rehome, so he is lucky to have found you...,
and you him )t'
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Re: Lucas

Post by Freeranger »

Excellent, LL - no home should be without one!
We had the most adorable little black kitten from about 6 weeks to 14 years, and both miss him and remember him with great affection. We chose him for very similar reasons: in fact, we think he chose us.
I look forward to hearing all about him and am excited for you. {hug}
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lancashire lass
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Re: Lucas

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aw, thank you for the encouraging words {hug} I have to admit when I got home, my first thoughts were "OMG I've just reserved a cat for adoption" yike* But now I am really looking forward to it and can't wait. I received a message from the animal centre to say that unfortunately they cannot bring the surgery forward any earlier so the preliminary booking to bring him home on the Saturday after then has been confirmed. So I've made my mind up to go visit him again between Christmas & New Year and might take a little blanket along so it has smells of me and my home (and I'll need a blanket anyway for the pet carrier so might as well be one he will get used to), and hopefully visit again on the weekend before his op so I become a familiar sight and not a stranger when I finally bring him home. It will give me time to find out what brand food he eats (apparently he only eats biscuits & of course, treats) and anything else he will need (I already know I have to get a collar for the name tag they provide but also think about litter trays and a bed and some toys of course ...) And I have yet to rescue the pet carrier which was last used for the chickens when they were sick so needs a thorough clean out LOL

And then the house needs a bit of work - when you haven't had an animal in the house for a while (and even long before that, my old dog grew out of chewing things she shouldn't) so I have lapsed in keeping the house animal safe & not just for the cat's own protection, but I need to move things away that can potentially get knocked over and broken! For one, I have been looking at the aquarium with the fancy goldfish and just know it'll be one of the first things to attract him so priority is to make sure the canopy won't accidentally get knocked over. Also the access to the back of the fridge freezer to block off, and then find some suitable hiding places he might want to go looking for when he arrives. So lots to do!
Last edited by lancashire lass on 23 Dec 2019, 12:09, edited 1 time in total.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Lucas

Post by lancashire lass »

This photo is off the RSPCA website (he is noted as reserved on the main board so ignore the "come & meet me" request) The photo isn't flattering and show him off too well:

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Gwenoakes
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Re: Lucas

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He reminds me of a cat we had at home when I was small, he was a stray and we called him
Tim.
Just an itsy bit of advice if I may. Male cats according to all the vets we have had are not to have dry food as it can cause problems with their urinary bits, also just make sure his collar has a good bit of give in it, i.e. elastic bit so hopefully if he gets caught on a branch or something outside he will have a chance to be able to wriggle out of it. Sorry if I am telling you how to suck eggs.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Lucas

Post by lancashire lass »

I was a bit surprised when told he only ate biscuits but the animal shelter has a full veterinary service so presumably they have been made aware of his peculiar dietary quirks. My other cat on the other hand could not keep biscuits down as I suspected he swallowed them whole and then they swelled up in the stomach and all came back up (usually when perched on the back of the settee) ... I stopped feeding him biscuits after trying different brands all with the same result. I also remember he did not like fish or anything fishy flavoured unless of course I was eating it, so it would not surprise me if Lucas just needs his palate re-educating.

Gwenoakes wrote:Sorry if I am telling you how to suck eggs.


sometimes it is worth a reminder so no problem. I just read the "pre-adoption information booklet" that was emailed to me - most of it was aimed at inexperienced cat owners (like watching how a cat looks to know what mood it is in, or what is poisonous and what to do in an emergency, plus a load of other info like pet insurance, vets, flea treatments and so on. Still worth reading as a reminder )t' )
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Mo
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Re: Lucas

Post by Mo »

I remember that some time ago there was a problem with dry food if not properly mixed in manufacture, that there could be to much of something (??can't remember what) in some bits. And that they need plenty of water available.
Pat will walk along the bath to find water in the kitchen sink if he thinks his water isn't good enough.
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sandy
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Re: Lucas

Post by sandy »

Lucas looks lovely, he reminds me of Salem(not the witch trials, Sabrina) he certainly is one lucky boy finding a home with you )like(
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lancashire lass
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Re: Lucas

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I meant to visit the animal shelter on Saturday but for one reason or other, I was late going to a retail park where there was an Argos as I had seen a scratch post on their online site that seemed more affordable than at other shops and a litter tray that I liked (big, deep and comes with a cover so should contain the litter better than the traditional trays) I then drove on and called in at another nearby retail park where there was a pet shop for an igloo bed, a collar, some catnip, a Feliway plug in (releases pheromones which help to calm cats which I had been advised to get) and a couple of toys. I drove down a route I don't normally go to do a small grocery shop, and as I waited at the traffic lights I noticed the sign outside another retail park which had the same pet shop which was handy to know as it was a lot closer to home than the one I had just visited. By the time I got home, I was cold and tired and before I knew it, realised I'd left it too late to visit the animal shelter (it's an 18 mile round trip) So I went on Sunday ...

Unlike my first visit, the animal shelter had hardly any visitors. I had brought along a little fleecy blanket/throw which I had washed and then left it in the living room and handled it often so that it picked up some scents of me and my home to leave in Lucas's pen - I had asked if this was alright and the attendants thought it was an excellent idea as it would also be a familiar blanket to put in his pet carrier when I finally collected him. When we got to his pen, Lucas stood up and proceeded to hiss his displeasure - I was told that he always did this which is why it put a lot of people off and explained why no-one ever enquired about him. It was certainly very different behaviour to that first visit when he was much more friendly. I had rolled the blanket in my handbag and as I took it out and put it on the bench while I tried to find the treats I'd also brought along, it was met with alarm and more hissing so I casually moved it out of sight and opened the treats bag. By now he'd backed up in the corner and scrunched up and would only take the treats that were within reach without getting up.

I spent the next hour talking softly to him and offered more treats but his demeanour remained suspicious. Gradually I rested my hand near him hoping for a head butt but he stubbornly remained scrunched up, so I tentatively stroked under his jaw all the while watching out for any sudden flash of teeth and claws out, and gradually managed to gently stroke his head ... to my delight, I heard a faint purr. Meanwhile I managed to casually flatten the blanket out and put it on the bench within eyesight but not too close. After a while, I rested my hand on the bench near him and he stretched his head out and proceeded to lick 2 of my fingers (probably still had the treat flavour on when I had been handling them but when he got to the 3rd finger decided to bite it - I instinctively moved my hand away but on reflection, realised straight away that it was not intended to injure and I barely felt it and more like a playful bite. I stayed a little longer hoping he would try to interact more but it was not to be so I left. On my way out I enquired about the food he was eating so that I could get some in for when he came home.

Clearly I needed to make another visit to reinforce association so I went this afternoon (the shelter is shut on New Year's day and I'm back to work on Thursday) The shelter was much busier with a lot more visitors and most of the pens were filled with cats - I tried to catch the attendant's eye to unlock the pen but she was busy with one of the visitors so I made my way down to see Lucas. What a lovely sight when he saw me and stood up and meowed. He seemed genuinely pleased to see me but when the attendant unlocked the door and I stepped inside, was met with hissing and he backed himself up in the corner as before. This was definitely going to take a while ...

As before, I got the treat bag out and spent a lot of time talking and telling him what a good boy he was. For some reason, he did not seem to relax so took a lot longer before I dared to attempt to stroke him. As before, I tentatively stroked under his jaw and managed to stroke his head. He thawed a little and then decided he really liked having under his chin stroked and proceeded to lean into the stroke and as before, I heard a purr which was this time considerably louder than on Sunday so I feel like I'd made some progress. Next minute he stood up, eyes bright, ears up and casually walked past me and down the little staircase and stood at the door looking at me and meowing. That's when I noticed through the glass walls that there was a trolley in the corridor and must have been feeding time. Thinking the visiting hours were over, I left but now wished I had asked to stay. I bought a bag of the feed from the RSPCA shop as I had not seen it sold elsewhere - it wasn't that expensive.

I had to go back to Argos to replace the scratch post as the bolt to attach it to the base was missing and then I made my way home via the route taken on the Saturday so that I could visit the other pet shop to pick up some more things. High on my list was a pet carrier - the one I had at home had lost the little plastic pegs which held the lid to the base and when I had used it for transporting the chickens, had used plastic ties which were fine but it looked old (well, it was about 28 years old) and well worn ... obviously I would need a carrier for vet visits as well and ease of taking the lid off and back on so thought it high time to get a new one. I can always take the door off the old one and (after cleaning it) use it as a hiding place in the house (while tidying up such as moving away potential hazards and ornaments & preparing the house for an animal to the house, I have been putting cardboard boxes around in corners as I read up that timid cats are likely to hide when first introduced to a new home and can take a lot longer to get used to it so will very much be on their terms. My other purchase was another scratch post - this one was slightly damaged (you hardly noticed it) but was 60% off the price so a lot cheaper than expected - it was a much taller one than the one from Argos but I also thought it would be handy to have another post in a different room.

This past week I have been busy getting the bottom rooms ready - I don't like animals in the bedrooms so I concentrated on the living room, middle room (or being posh, "dining room") and the kitchen. I managed to find the dog's water bowl which has a heavy base so won't tip over and found the ceramic cat bowl which had been used as a dish for a potted plant LOL. I've blocked off the area behind the tv corner unit (it is heavy and awkward to move) and have yet to tape the base of the flat screen tv down so it didn't get knocked over - the last thing I want is a broken tv! Next on my list of things to do is secure the canopy on top of the fish tank - when the light is on, the goldfish would instantly attract attention and no doubt Lucas will probably try to jump on top which might knock it off. Meanwhile I have been moving a lot of stuff upstairs out of the way - considering I was hoping to have brought Lucas home during this festive period to give him time to settle in before I went back to work, I am now glad that his collection date couldn't be moved forward. Also, with fireworks already being let off before midnight, perhaps not a good time to bring a timid cat to his new home.

Meanwhile, I managed to take a couple of photos during today's visit - as you can see, he is not completely relaxed but at least he wasn't hissing at me LOL (the blue blanket on the left is what I brought in and where I left it on Sunday)

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Mo
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Re: Lucas

Post by Mo »

You say he hissed when the door was unlocked but came up when you walked past the run.
Do you think it's the attendant he doesn't like? Have people in that uniform scared him while catching /examining him.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Lucas

Post by lancashire lass »

Mo wrote:You say he hissed when the door was unlocked but came up when you walked past the run.
Do you think it's the attendant he doesn't like? Have people in that uniform scared him while catching /examining him.


I'm not reading too much into it - from what I've learned, he often greeted anyone who went into his pen with a hiss first which is why he would be overlooked as being unfriendly. I think I was just lucky the first time I saw him and he was friendly and happy to be stroked. When I decided to adopt him, the shelter moved him to one of the pens further down the corridor - it's possible that has unsettled him and he is suspicious of anyone coming into the pen (though he was very happy to jump down to the floor level & wait by the door when he knew it was feeding time so clearly not that upset LOL) Maybe as you say they had to "catch" him or grab him to put him into a carrier to take him to the new pen and he's just a bit suspicious of something that isn't routine.
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