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Introducing: Syracuse

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
A new cat has officially joined our brood. His name is Syracuse and he's an orange tabby who has been hanging around for a couple of months now. This past weekend he showed up with an infected eye, so I took him to the vet Monday morning for an exam and the old "snip-snip." Also, his tail had some filthy gunk on it that required them to shave and then clean it. His eye will be fine. He likely received a swat in a fight with another neighborhood tom who's on our back porch right now and just sprayed a bag of crocus bulbs a friend gave us. <sigh>

I hadn't really petted or bonded much with Syracuse since he appeared. I'd talk to him and set food out if I saw him, and pet him a little, but he seemed mostly indifferent. He understood he'd been given a name, and appeared to like and respond to it. He is deferential to our other cats, so I had no problem with him spending time in our yard. (The other new cat also doesn't cause problems, I think just the two un-neutered toms didn't get along.) Still, I needed to get a look at his eye when he turned up Sunday, so I got a wet paper towel, sat next to him, gave him some petting and then caught him in a hug with my left arm and held him against my left thigh while I wiped gently at the eye with the paper towel. He was such a good boy! Nervous and tense at first, but he let me do what I needed to and clean the area. Then I went looking for some old, oral antibiotic drops in the fridge (we always have some on hand from one cat or another, this bottle was almost two years old, but hadn't expired). He wanted to sniff the filled syringe first and tried to skitter away when he didn't like the smell. As soon as I grabbed his scruff, he plopped to the ground and let me squirt the stuff in his mouth. He's a really good boy! Catching him yesterday morning for the trip to the vet went pretty smoothly too. He came right into the house (he likes come in and sniff and spray everything, even as I'm chasing after him yelling, "No! Syracuse, no! Outside, back outside!"). This time he made a few laps around the living room and sprayed Bill's massage chair, the wood-burning stove, and then he hopped up on the sofa and hit my clean laundry with a good squirt. <sigh> At last, I gathered him up in a towel and shoved him in the carrier. He yowled some in the car on the way to the vet, but not much. The doctor said he was very mellow on exam, and she thinks his name suits him. He received all his shots, tested negative for feline leukemia, and got "snipped." YAY!

I let him out of the carrier when we got home because he was clawing aggressively at the metal door. Syracuse wandered back and forth from the front door (which was open to the steel security door and the front yard beyond) to the sliding glass doors (very closed!), weaving and stumbling from the anesthetic like a drunken sailor, for about 20 minutes. Eventually, he settled himself into "meatloaf kitty" in the middle of the floor and began to nap. It looked like a nice idea, so I put down the laptop, stretched out on the sofa, watched the birds in the front yard, and fell asleep too. After half an hour or so I woke up and looked over at where Syracuse had been sleeping. Not there. Not at the front door either. I groggily started peering toward the stairs, chairs, and all in between. DH was sitting across from me in his chair and informed me, "He's on your feet." Yep, he's truly one of us now!

Updated 8th April 2009 at 05:20 AM by Heartwood



  1. tang's Avatar
    What a great story! He sounds like a catch (in more ways than one). He looks like he'll be a beautiful marmalade once that tail gets back to normal! Thanks for sharing this, an_oud_girl.
  2. tang's Avatar
    (And here I sit on the couch, trying to type with a cat who has pushed his way between me and my laptop.) How many cats are in your brood by now?
  3. Sunnyfunny's Avatar
    Oh, an_oud_girl, Syracuse looks so sweet. His poor lil shaved rat-tail! Congrats on your new addition. There are few things more satisfying than earning the trust of a little animal.
  4. Haunani's Avatar
    Ahhh, he looks so sweet and SO happy! Congrats!!!
  5. *dora*'s Avatar
    I loved this story! I would also fill my appartment with cats, if only my husband was not against it!
  6. Somerville Metro Man's Avatar
    I expected Syracuse to be a new scent.
    A new furry friend is better.
  7. Sorcery of Scent's Avatar
    He sounds like an absolute character !
    Cute puddy!!! :)
  8. debbborra's Avatar
    He's gorgeous!
  9. Heartwood's Avatar
    Thank you everyone for the comments! (I forget that they don't show up in the message notifications, and hadn't noticed until just now.)

    Tang~ We are now up to eight cats. One female, Estrellita, never comes inside, and simply will not resign herself to befriending us furless monkeys. Another, Yum Yum, spends most of her time indoors and happily becomes a lap cat for anyone who comes to visit. I've recently tried placing her on the back porch now that the weather has warmed, but she often makes a beeline back to her favorite chair inside. The rest come inside when we are home, but usually prefer to sleep outside when the weather is mild (or on the electric blanket on the outdoor lounge chair in cold weather). My alpha male, Foxy Loxy, has been spending more time curled up with me on the sofa this week, as if needing reassurance that he's still "top cat." Of course, he gets it!
    Updated 10th April 2009 at 08:40 PM by Heartwood
  10. Heartwood's Avatar
    Dora~ When I came to California to live with my now DH, he had two rules: 1) No t.v. in the bedroom and 2) no cats (he's allergic, but no more so than myself or most people, I'd say). I'd previously had two cats in my life, one from age 2 to 18 (he was put down at 16 due to kidney failure) and a stray that I took in while in college. This latter cat stayed with my mom when I moved to CA (she'd become more her cat over the years anyway). Our area has a lot of strays and I couldn't watch them walking thru our back yard without wanting to help them. So I began putting food and water out, then making little cat beds from wicker baskets and old towels (stuff picked up on clearance at TJ Maxx-y places). DH now understands that I have to care for them, I can't not get involved (and if I don't make cat beds, they sleep in my delphinium and tuberose containers!). And he loves our kitties and appreciates their company too. So rule #2 has been modified to: no cats in the rooms upstairs.
  11. Aiona's Avatar
    Hee! I'm a sucker for stray pets too. 'S'why we have 6.
  12. ECaruthers's Avatar
    How do your cats react to your scents?

    I'm new to perfumes & colognes but I'm been accumulating and testing for a couple of months. And then I realized that our dog doesn't pay any attention to the scents I'm wearing or what my wife is wearing. I've heard so much about the great sense of smell that dogs and cats have, I'm surprised. And Lisl is definitely more scent hound than sight hound. When we're out for a walk she smell everything & often doesn't notice someone coming down the middle of the stree - if he's coming from down wind.

    So I wondered If your cats pay attention to some scents and igore others.
  13. Leesee's Avatar
    What a sweet kitty. Thank you for a lovely and humorous tale.
  14. Heartwood's Avatar
    ECaruthers~ My cats appear to ignore fragrance; their behavior doesn't seem to be at all affected by what scent I'm wearing, unless I've been in the pot of fresh catnip that I grow for them as a treat! They also respond to mint (a sort of cousin to catnip), but I don't care for mint in fragrances, so I can't comment to that.

    Leesee~ Thank you for your comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story.

    Syracuse is back outside for most of the time. He prefers it, and still wanders the neighborhood, so I might go for a day or two without seeing him. He also still sprays. When he does turn up, I give him canned food and catnip and lots of petting. I think he's about two years old, so hopefully he'll settle down soon. I get anxious when he disappears.
  15. Heartwood's Avatar
    Update on Syracuse-- Apparently I "fixed" a neighbor's cat. I see him now only once a month or so. He's HUGE, all filled out and muscular (with a good layer of fat this winter too), and his fur is now very thick and soft (much softer than last spring). I don't know who his people are, but they appear to be feeding him well. You can tell he no longer roams; he's clean and not battered from fighting. He no longer sprays, yay! He must be happy enough wherever he lives since I see him rarely at best. Plus my cats watch him with suspicious disdain when he comes around. All in all, a happy ending!


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