Pearl came into my life with three sisters. All black with tiny spots of white under their armpits and lower bellies. Four friendly females. They had been found in a yard by a lady in Worcester, Massachusetts. Another lady took them from her so she wouldn’t put them on Craigslist, then gave them to Broken Tail Rescue, the group I was fostering for at the time. There is nothing like kitten energy and I needed some.

Pearl & Friends

I named them all after jewels: Pearl, Topaz, Ruby, and Sapphire. They were precious jewels of cat friendliness and they crawled all over me. In the beginning they were nothing but eyes. Pearl was the smallest. She and the second smallest, Topaz, liked to ride on my shoulders. The kittens were in the bathroom until their dewormer was sure to work, then they were in the kitchen being treated for an upper respiratory infection. Finally they got the run of the apartment. Pearl would greet me after work by jumping on my shoulders when I bent down to say hi, or else trying to climb me.

P - kittens

When I took the last two girls to the vet to be cleared of their URI diagnosis, she told me that Pearl had a small indentation in her chest: pectus excavatum. There was a little less room for Pearl’s heart and lungs. I could put my finger in the depression, just the tip. Pearl should probably be in a non-smoking home, and have any upper respiratory issues attended to immediately.

Sapphire and Ruby, the biggest, left my apartment first and were adopted quickly. Pearl and Topaz were next. I got so far as letting Pearl go with Topaz to what we called ISO: the isolation room prior to entering the PetSmart adoption center. This is also in PetSmart but the animals are required by law to be quarantined there for a couple days before entering a place where the public can interact with them.

I knew I had three cats. That was a lot of cats. I probably wanted to continue to foster, too. But Pearl had that motor purr, greeted me, and even tried to wash my hair and neck when I lay down. She made me smile and I felt like I was in love whenever I held her. Of course I could provide her a non-smoking home, but people reminded me that many individuals were out there who could provide her good care. Even my boyfriend said, as he always did, “No more cats!” For days before bringing Pearl to ISO and a night and a day after, my insides battled.

Then I finally disregarded my boyfriend and went with my heart. I wrote my foster coordinator: “I must adopt Pearl.” Done and done! She was able to integrate with my other cats because she was still a kitten, although she occasionally comes to fisticuffs with my Noodle-cat if she gets too close.

P - getting bigger 0

(Topaz was quickly adopted by a family after she got into the Adoption Center although I am a mush and could hardly wait for her to get out of there. As much as it saves cats, I hate seeing them cooped up in cages.)

Pearl is a purrsonality unlike any I’ve met before. She is active and energetic. She burns off all her calories. She sits with one hip up, one down, too engaged in staring at whatever she is staring at to employ proper cat posture. She jumps on my back off of whatever launching pad she can find, or climbs to my shoulders. This isn’t always comfortable and it’s often shocking to feel a cat-bat landing on my back as I wash a frying pan. I recently contacted The Acrocats and let them know I wanted to train Pearl to jump between two stools, and asked where to buy some (turns out almost any big box store has the kind with the round top.)

She murrrrps and meeps and expresses herself–often, before and during her jumping, she’ll make a sound. It’s like a mini weightlifter’s grunt, only this is Pearl throwing the weight of her whole body up on top of the bureau, or towards unsuspecting me.

Pearl doesn’t mind riding in the car and has taken four- to five-hour journeys with me.

She loves being pet but she’s so active that she will circle around while getting pets and then parade off to find the next most interesting thing. My fireplace mantel with its bevy of photographs and shells is no challenge, and many a moon snail shell has been batted to the ground. She is fascinated by water drops coming down the shower curtain and shower wall after I turn the water off. She can fit just about anywhere. She’ll attack a toy from inside the cat tree’s enclosed cave. If I “fly” an interactive toy over her head while she’s on the cat tree/cat tower, she will easily reach for it, mouth open, claws extended, back and forth with half of her body on a lower level and the top of her body emerging through the next level.

P - with food

Lately, when I wake up in the morning, she realizes I’m conscious, and this makes her come over, get a few pets, and plop either next to my side or on my chest with her butt facing my face. Butt-face is a sign of trust: if she didn’t trust me she’d need to have her eyes on me so she could ward off an attack if needed.

Every cat has their own rituals with their humans and I look forward to playing with and petting Pearl and hope to find a mentor to help me train her, too. I’m so happy I adopted her.

P - shower

Tummy Rub Tuesday – Noodle

Noodle is a foster fail from a few years ago. She and her litter were brought in to PALS Animal Life Savers at the Salem, Massachusetts PetSmart where I volunteered at the time. They were in a dirty little crate. Teenage girls at the store loved playing with the fluffy females, but Noodle and her brother got less attention. Noodle was a shorthair and her shorthaired tabby brother had had such a bad eye infection his eyes were covered with white. He hid in the back of the crate, unnoticed. We told the girls they would have to adopt, and after our President had a conniption, we did take all four kittens and my friend and I began fostering them.

Noodle always liked to roll over and show her belly. Here she is this year:


Kitty-Kitter Update

Kitty-Kitter got rabies and distemper vaccines yesterday. She just needs a distemper booster in a month. She is getting smoother–scabs are coming off bit by bit and her fur is nice. She gained one ounce! She is healthy.

Kitty-Kitter still needs another home. She lunges at Wave. Whether he’s on the giving end or the receiving end, Wave is always the problem. So Kitty-Kitter, sweet as she is (to me), stays in the bedroom.

Here is an updated picture and video:

This evening


About five days ago, with catnip:

Cindy is Going to Her New Foster Home Tomorrow

Cindy, my sweet little all-gray hoarding house foster cat, is moving back to Cambridge, Massachusetts tomorrow. I am so excited for her and her future. I love her, but she can’t thrive here where there is a brooding large Wave-cat to chase her back into her carrier-cave all the time. This is one of the few times where I’ve been most excited to see a foster move on.

Cindy and her brother came to me on May 6, 2018. Cindy and her brother Roscoe (formerly Zinfandel and Rose–pronounced like the wine) were in a tiny carrier, huddled together in the carrier in their cage in the isolation room at the Cambridge PetSmart. I started blogging on them on my first blog, Digital (Word) Diaries, to keep a record of when they arrived and how they made progress. Roscoe became friendly first and we did separate them. Here I am six months and ten days after Cindy and Roscoe came to me. It’s a milestone.

Cindy is friendlier, but not all the way there yet. I’m hoping her new place is where she can blossom. Her brother was found by his new adopters to have cataracts at a young age and I am hoping she gets friendly enough to be examined for this as well.

Her foster-to-be from my former rescue group, Broken Tail Rescue, has one cat and a husband. Fewer cats and more people! Way to go for socialization! Also, if Cindy needs more vetting she won’t be up here in Maine any more, far away from the services BTR uses.

I’ll post an update on the trip and drop-off tomorrow.

Kitty-Kitter Needs Affection

Kitty-Kitter wouldn’t let me look at my Criminal Law “law keys” as I study again for the bar exam. It’s far from now and I’m just flipping through, no panic yet. But I was trying to do it as I sat on the bed and stroked her (drooling happily) face. I was flipping little pieces of cardboard with my left hand and staring down to the left while I petted with my right. She insisted on walking in front of me. Then she walked so I couldn’t see the keys. Then she stepped on them.

Girl, you know what’s up! You want petting with two hands and my focus on you!

I do apologize for the cat food crumbs you may see.

Here she is with her tongue a little out:

Kitty-Kitter 5 law keys

Here she is on top of the law keys:

Kitty-Kitter 6 law keys

By the way, I was not reading A Civil Action–book, upper right. I’ve had that book for years. I had been carrying the book around last night. Kitty-Kitter and Wave were expressing that they wanted me to open up the bedroom door, so I did, but held onto the book to drop it and startle the cats away from each other if they looked like they were going to get into a confrontation. I walked around following cats when I really wanted to lie down. Nonetheless, it all ended well and Kitty-Kitter went back to her bedroom more satisfied to be in there.

How I got Wave, and his Meeping and Meowing

Wave and Iris

Wave’s on the left; Iris on the right. He looks so innocent.

I love my cat Wave like I love some family members. Deep down. That means that on the surface, things can be pretty irritating sometimes.

Wave, like all my cats, is a foster fail. Back in 2015, my good friend from PALS Animal Life Savers was not only the volunteer coordinator, but very subtly had christened me to foster cats. She had me over to hang out with her shy foster kittens and cuddle them. She gave me the books of my favorite behaviorist to this day, Pam Johnson-Bennett. She told me various things. At that time we were very into separating shy kittens so that the kitten sees the human as where it gets its emotional needs from, and bonds. At this point I think we took this too far.

She gave me a calico older kitten named Penny, and I cuddled her and she got friendly right away. She went to the PetSmart adoption center and was adopted out quickly. Then my friend passed Seven, whom I named Dakota Paws, to me. He wasn’t quite ready by the time he went to the adoption center. He got adopted but the last we heard he was afraid of the dog, even though we were told the dog was old and did not do much of anything. The adopter kept him in the basement which was ALLEGEDLY furnished…we called for updates but never heard anything after one surprise call during which we learned this information. We sent his one-year anniversary card. I will regret that adoption forever.

Next was Wave. I often think that Wave and Seven would have been a great pair to raise. Wave had the coloration of Seven aka Dakota Paws, a black and white tuxedo. He was longer and skinnier. He was VERY shy.

When I first got Wave, I lived with my boyfriend, and Wave never got to know him. He would hide every time he heard Clay climbing the stairs to the bedroom. The petting sessions at first weren’t petting sessions because I generally don’t socialize in crates and I couldn’t get over to him or get him over to me. He wasn’t food-motivated, and he stayed skinny. The worst luck was when I attempted to socialize with Gerber chicken baby food and it must have been out of date. He vomited all night and I had to take him to the vet in the morning. I was just a temp who didn’t get paid if she didn’t work, and had to commute an hour and a half besides that. I remember sitting the in chair at the vet’s office with no sleep, staring and stressing. I picked him up hydrated at the end of the day, though, and he wasn’t the only one who felt much better.

Wave was only sort of into playing, too. There was nothing he especially loved. Eventually, he did start coming within reach when I was sitting on the bed so I could pet him.

Then I got Tidbit, who was feral! But that’s another story.

The only thing Wave really liked to do was run around at 4am, either by himself, or chasing our adopted cats. He would incorporate a good hearty scratching at the litter box in the bedroom, so intense that litter would be on the floor in the morning, into his wee hours routine. And when he would run, he would meep. “Mmmmmmeeeeeep!” over and over. Stress city for me. Clay sleeps through anything.

I was hired permanently at the temp job, I moved closer, and there was some pushing to get Wave into the adoption center. Maybe I should have known better, but I didn’t like this. I moved with Wave, and by then it had been six months. I was not the amazing socializing machine I had thought I was! I adopted him because I thought at six months, you have to either fish or cut bait, as the expression goes. (There’s another one, “shit or get off the pot,” which I definitely thought to myself but have to put at least in parenthesis for crudeness.) Also, I didn’t want what happened to Dakota Paws to happen to him. I didn’t yet have the experience of having so many cats already that the foster cat stays a foster cat no matter how long that cat takes.

When I began to foster, Wave would meep at the door of the foster’s room most of the night. He was aggravated, egged on, by these cats’ existence. Usually it ended up being a female in the room, and each female wanted to be in her own space, and it was not good. One time he leaped a four-foot high cat door and all of a sudden I heard squalling. He has a small notch in his ear from Roxie the tortoiseshell.

He would also just generally walk around and meep. At night. And in the wee hours. And now he does it for Kitty-Kitter. Meeping, scratching at the door…then I open up the door and he’s deathly afraid of her! What a silly cat.

I’ve gotten to be an expert at quickly dividing a can of food at 4am mostly to shut Wave up. But I don’t like it. Giving cats food to shut them up is like plunking a kid in front of the TV for the same reason: most of us have done it, but you do it too much and it’s not healthy for them. I don’t have a solution right now, but I’m too concerned for his welfare to surrender him to…any rescue or shelter at all. See, I love him. Just deep down in my sleep-deprived soul.



Cindy Continues Progress…and a Funny Video

Playtime! I’ve been away for a weekend but Cindy seems emboldened even more just as long as Wave isn’t too close. My neighbor, Kitty-Kitter’s former caretaker, was my cat sitter and she did a wonderful job. I can always tell by the cats’ attitudes when I return.

Here is a video featuring Pearl, my small black one-year-old female, Noodle, the bigger black-and-white girl who is only seen once, and Cindy, in gorgeous gray. You can see Cindy isn’t as involved as Pearl, but is stretching and is interested. Play is so important for cats to stretch their mental and physical muscles. I gotta say I don’t always feel like doing it but often they enjoy interrupting any home yoga sessions. I give in and it turns into playing with the cats.

Away from Home

I’m down in Massachusetts for two–count ’em, two!–whole days with my boyfriend and of course, his cats.

Back at home in Maine, Cindy the shy cat is in the general population of 5 in the kitchen-living room combo, and Kitty-Kitter the former stray is in the bedroom-bathroom combo. My sitter is the wonderful lady who was the caretaker for Kitty-Kitter for over a year while she was outdoors. Still, I’m afraid for Cindy at 4am when big Wave gets antsy and wants to chase her and might get his claws into her. But I put her in the playpen with all her stuff and she complained–made it quite clear that she wanted out. I worry and I will worry but unlike previously when I actually lived in the same state as my dear significant other, I insist on sleeping over every now and then here, and traveling.

I can’t get over this shot of him with feline friends Loki and Chaplin:


Kitty-Kitter’s Changes

Kitty-Kitter 4

Above: Kitty-Kitter tongue blep.

When Kitty-Kitter first came out of her bedroom–which used to be my bedroom, by the way–she was nonchalant toward the other cats. it was almost as if they didn’t exist. She didn’t NOT like them, but she didn’t want to hang out with them either. She didn’t even want to sniff them. Well, now, five cats too many later, with a number of explorations by those cats in “her” bedroom, she launches herself at them.

I’m able to stop it and to intervene with pillows, or at least everyone involved gets the idea right away and parts ways once I react in a shocked manner by moving quickly. So there hasn’t been any real damage.

Kitty-Kitter 2

I talked to the director of community outreach at the Humane Society here, and she picked up through my description that Kitty-Kitter is shy at first, then loves her human once she gets to know him or her, and Kitty-Kitter needs to be the queen of the household and/or does not like other cats. I have not called to surrender her because they’re not allowed to connect foster people/surrenderers with adopters. I’d prefer to have an update.

Here, she’s sitting on my lap. Yes, shoes on table and gloves on chair…but cat on lap!

Kitty-Kitter 3

It’s kind of funny. Wave is so afraid of her. He’s big and long and when he actually catches a glimpse of her now he slinks slowly away with his belly low to the ground and his back ruffled. He’s Cindy’s nemesis, and Kitty-Kitter is his nemesis.

Kitty-Kitter 1


Why do Cindy and Wave, her nemesis, have the ability to eat next to each other, but then it’s cat attack central all night long?

Wave and Cindy

Left: Cindy. Right: Wave. To explain a couple things in this picture…yes, there is a tissue on their cat mat. Apologies. Thankfully they are eating food instead of playing with the tissue and eating that instead, which I have seen start to happen in the past. I swear I’m cleaning it up right now! This is mat #2, which is in the living room. I have some files and computer equipment near it. The toothbrush head showing to the left is another failed Shy Cindy experiment….toothbrush taped to a back scratcher to pet her. This was from way back when she wouldn’t allow herself to be touched. Now it just sort of drifts around the living room floor and I can pet her on my own. Progress, in a way! I should probably dismantle it.

Broken Tail Rescue has asked another foster person today if she can take Cindy. I will be heading to Massachusetts on Friday and could take her. I haven’t heard, but will wait and see.