Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Abraham de Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley

is the name of my beautiful male orange tabby cat.   

Almost 7 years ago, I moved into a teeny tiny little cabin with my kids.  Shortly after moving in, I discovered a mouse.  I don't do well with mice.  Have you seen the cartoon that shows the woman in the apron jump on top of the table screaming because there is a mouse.....yeah well that's me...literally, I jumped on the table.  


So now I have a dilemma, I can't stand the thought of using the typical mouse trap and since I just scream and jump, how would I release a mouse from a humane trap.  At that point, I decided to get a kitten.  Mice hate cats.  

I've always wanted to adopt an orange tabby and name him "Abraham de Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O' Malley".  

I found my Thomas in the Butler area.  He was only a tiny guy.  This is his story as told to me by the shelter.  Thomas began his life as a feral cat.  His mother, sibling and him would show up at a house that was putting food out for them every day....until one day, it was only Thomas. His mother and sibling were gone and this teeny tiny kitten was left on his own.  The person who had been feeding them could not keep him so she contacted the shelter.  They put him with a  foster home.  The foster mother fostered a lot of cats apparently.  She kept the cages in the garage and once a day would open the door to let sunlight in while she took the cats each out of their cage to clean it and feed and water the cats.  For the couple of minutes a day that he was held, there was also a large dog that would bark while she was doing this.   He had been with the woman a couple of weeks when I found him and adopted him.  

Thomas was scared.  He had only been held a couple of minutes a day while a dog barked at him.  His trust needed to be earned.  

When I first brought him home, I kept him in my room & the little storage sun room off the back of the house.  I slowly earned his trust and then for very small time, introduced my dog, Bagel(the dog love of my life but that's another story).  Bagel loved to bark.  He was a beagle.  Thomas slowly trusted Bagel.  Greg was the next human he trusted because for a while there, I didn't let the kids in my room so that Thomas would have time to adjust.  Slowly, each of the children earned his trust.  

Thomas is amazing.  After everything he has gone through, he has become an integral part of our family.  He trusts us.  Bagel & Thomas became extremely close. So close in fact that my son, Jeremy and his friend Tyler tried to rename Thomas..... Croissant  LOL.    Eventually, our family changed as Roxie joined the family.  Roxie was a puppy so Thomas instinctively knew to avoid her.  Eventually, Bagel passed away.   It wasn't until then that in their grief, Roxie & Thomas soothed each other and became so close that he will climb into her bed and sleep with her.  

Thomas' fear of strangers & dogs has not changed.   Thomas will hide if someone comes over unless he has gotten to know them because they are here often.  There was one time when a co-worker of mine came by with her mother in law's dog.   When Thomas realized there was a strange dog in the house, he ran from room to room trying to get out.  He banged his face into the glass doors upstairs and downstairs, even ran into the bathroom and hit the shower wall where I was able to shut the door behind him and slowly calm him down while my co-worker removed her dog from the house.  It was horrible.  He gave himself a bloody nose and a panic attack.   

Ironically, he was able to get out of the house a couple of times when we lived in the condos.(that's an odd story...creepy neighbor didn't tell me that Bagel started suffering from separation anxiety in his old age and howled while I was at work...but they figured out that my back downstairs slider didn't lock...so they opened the door and let my pets out...happened twice before I figured out what was going on and I put a pole to lock the door in place).  There was a large feral community of cats that lived on the mountain side.  Thomas went right to it, claimed a space and woman(even though he's neutered) and moved right in for a coupe of days till I got him back in with food.  He's tough in that environment.  But in our home, he's precious and loved and coddled.   

When we moved from on our own to the family we have become, there was some adjusting to be done by all.  

Lulu was the Queen of the castle here prior to our arrival.  I had gotten Lulu for Greg a couple years ago.  Greg taught her how to fetch. He doted on her.  She is a fresh little thing.  But this is Thomas' story so I digress.   Needless to say, Lulu didn't want to share her castle with anyone.  She didn't have exposure to any other animals prior to this(see Lulu's story when I write it ;) ) So it took a while to say the least.  As a matter of fact, it's still in the works.  

Turns out that because Thomas doesn't trust easily and Lulu considers him competition for her castle and all that includes, they needed a facilitator cat.  What's a facilitator cat you ask?   Cats can live together in a colony(whether small or large is invalid) but they need to share scent.  If they don't share scent, they would be considered competition.   In nature, a facilitator cat would assist in the sharing of scent.  The cat would rub on each cat creating a unique combo scent that becomes the colony scent.  In nature, Thomas & Lulu would probably never be in the same colony because of their personalities unless there was someone who facilitates the scent making.  I became that cat by petting one and then the other.  Since then, there has been a lot of progress made.  They play now more often.  There have been occasions where they have sat together on the bed(they are still a little tense because each of them of tried to chase the other off the bed either by direct attack or growling.....but they are getting better).  They have each chosen a side of the couch so they share that.  We provided them with scratching posts & towers.  More and more of the house have become neutral territory.  I still have work to do...lol 

Thomas has the softest belly fur it reminds me of a bunny's fur, and he will roll over and expose his belly to be pet.  We have come so far.   His life story mimics Greg & my relationship.   Because of how I had been treated in the past, I came into this scared to death and slowly over time, I am trusting more and more.  Occasionally, I will even roll over and expose my soft belly to Greg for him to love.