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Maggie Bishop, Author
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Tuesday, 8 January 2008
Day Ten

Day Ten and the kitties were very active last night. I discovered the two hawk feathers that lay on top of the TV in the living room entertainment center on the floor. I heard a scramble and crash last night so that must have been one kitty’s attempt at getting into the small space between the TV and the wood surrounding it. At five this morning, Detective Tucker was in the open watching me fix coffee and bring it back to bed. He didn’t run away. Jemma Kitty is still in hiding. We’re hoping she will follow his lead and allow us to catch a glimpse of her.

Between 5 & 6 a.m., Tucker walked all over us while we had coffee in bed. The room was lit only by dim lights from the living room. He purred and explored us and the headboard. He then jumped from the floor to the top of the highboy, about five feet. Hunter, our old cat, had lived so long the spring in his legs had worn out. We had bought those "doggie steps" so he could get on the bed the last year of his life. We sometimes mistakenly call Tucker by Hunter’s name.

Jemma Kitty called to Tucker and eventually came into the room. I was so excited my palms were wet with sweat. She didn’t get on the bed but she’s curious about the action going on around Tucker. So far, they still avoid being in the open in the light.

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 9:38 AM EST
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Monday, 7 January 2008
Day 9

A major attitude adjustment is needed with Jemma and Tucker.


Bob and I are making an adjustment. We don’t have to be able to pick them up often. What we really want are lap kitties and they already like to sit with us once we put them in place. If we continue to bring them to us in the evening for a couple of hours, we think they we learn to come on their own accord. What do you think?

By noon, Tucker was tired of being ignored and left on the chair under the dining table.  He came to me.  I was on the sofa writing a scene in longhand from my upcoming novel, Perfect for Framing, and Tucker walked by.  I said "Hello Tucker" but did not try to pick him up.  He turned and nudged his head under the cover.  I lifted it and let him in. 

Now, if only Jemma Kitty would do the same.

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 3:05 PM EST
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Sunday, 6 January 2008
Day 8

Day Eight and progress is being made. Undercover Kitty (Tucker) can stretch the whole length of my leg (28" from floor to crotch). We switched kitties to get them used to both of us. Tucker hid down by my feet and didn’t warm up to me. You see, we tuck the covers around our legs and leave only one path of escape – by our all-seeing eyes. We expose their heads to light and pet them copiously. Bob’s better with Jemma than I am with Tucker. Jemma settled in with him for half an hour. After that, I put Tucker with Bob. Tucker relaxed, stretched and purred. After two hours, Bob got up and Tucker jumped off the sofa. He looked around then calmly walked to my sofa. After a minute, he stuck his head under my cover which hung over the side. I lifted the cover and he went under! He was so relaxed, he stretched the length of my leg.

Both kitties do not like daylight or being picked up. What to do? We said we’d give them two weeks. We are falling in love with them but have a minimum demand of being able to pick them up and of seeing them in the day light. We don’t want pets that hide all the time.

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 8:03 AM EST
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Thursday, 3 January 2008
Day Five

Again they stayed hidden during the day. Yesterday was Day Five and Bob has begun saying that if they don’t warm up to us soon, they are going back. We won’t spend the next 20 years with cats who don’t like us. No luck with taking pictures.

Mid afternoon we spotted a bump under to covers on our bed. Tucker was introduced to the bed the night before so we figured he was there but where was she? We found her up in the springs of Bob’s reading chair. We put her under the covers with her brother and there they stayed. We decided to join them at 6 pm with reading material. They didn’t move so around 7:30 Bob pulled Tucker up so he could be petted. Tucker played with Bob for about an hour after which Bob opened the covers and coaxed Tucker off the bed. We were worried because neither cat had eaten or pooped all day. Apparently, Detective Tucker feels more at ease under the covers. Bob then pulled up Jemma and she stayed for about ten minutes.

That evening, we saw the cats exploring the dresser, night stands, even the cedar chest at the bottom of the bed. During the night, Tucker explored the bed half a dozen times, even sniffing my neck while I slept on my side. As soon as one of us moved, he left. We could hear them playing in the living room. We’ll have to clip their claws soon but for now, we like them long so we can hear when they get snag in the carpet.

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 9:16 AM EST
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Wednesday, 2 January 2008
Day Four
Topic: New Cats

We tried to ignore the hidden kitties but it is hard not to look for them. The decision to add to our household was hard to make and now we wonder if we should have remained feline-free. We had hoped for some adjustment by Day Four. With typical American lack of patience, we are frustrated with living by their rules.

Hooray! Bob talked with Jemma Kitty in the evening and finally pulled her to his chest. She wasn’t upset but she wasn’t happy. I sat with her on the sofa for two hours while we watched the Monk marathon. I petted her and talked with her but kept her between my knees under the covers. Then I put her with her brother with Bob. They generate a lot of heat but Bob stuck it out until bedtime when he left them under the throw. Jemma Kitty is playing hard to get but we’ll win her over. I hope to take photos of them tomorrow. I listed them with Catster so they are officially on the Web.

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 9:24 AM EST
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Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 7:34 AM EST
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Day Three
Topic: New Cats

Day three, Tucker was under a pillow on the sofa when I made coffee at five in the morning– encouraging sign. He quickly ran to behind the love-seat. We’ve designated that as their safe place and we won’t disturb them. We left the house until three, giving them time to adjust to the house. Maybe the space is so big it is intimidating. We don’t know if they were confined to a room for their first ten months or not.

Bob reached behind the love-seat from above and brushed the kitties with a brush while talking calmly to them and repeating their names. So much for our promise not to disturb them in their safe place. Once his arm grew tired, he picked up the black one, Detective Tucker, and read for a few hours with the cat on his lap under a cover. Tucker left after an hour, stretched, explored part of the living room before returning to his sister behind the love-seat. She remained hidden all day.

Bob found Tucker and put him on his lap while we watched the CSI marathon that evening. Tucker quickly went under the covers. After an hour, he was so relaxed he lay on his back with his front paws sticking up. From my sofa, opposite Bob’s, it looked like two tent poles poking up from between Bob’s knees. Later, Bob said Tucker was twitching; he must have been in REM sleep. Bob carried Tucker to bed with us and he stayed under the covers, eventually crawling to the bottom of the waterbed. Around one in the morning, Tucker made his way beside Bob’s leg and Bob lifted the covers, letting him out. The black kitty’s designation is now "Detective Tucker, Undercover Kitty."

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 7:28 AM EST
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Monday, 31 December 2007
Jemma & Tucker, Day Two

Yesterday morning we found Jemma and Tucker together hiding behind the love-seat. They had eaten some cat food and used the litter box during the night so we knew they were calming down. Maybe we should have chosen the two seven-month old kittens rather than these nine-month-old teens because they were still playful and rambunctious. These two are so cautious that our patience is being tested. We want to hold them and get to know them. Sigh. We have to work with their time frame and not our own.

The first day, Tucker appeared on the bathroom counter, scrambled to escape and sent the cup holding the toothbrushes crashing to the floor which caused him to change direction and scatter the lotions and cosmetics. Phew. Poor guy.

Jemma remains in hiding. Bob observed that these guys think they are being punished since they were ten months old before being separated from their mother.

I miss Hunter so much. Did we pick the wrong kitties? Am I tempted to return these kitties because they aren’t him? I wanted older kitties because they are slower to be adopted. Once again, my heart went ahead of my logic. We used to buy fixer upper houses, work on them for months, then rent to low-income families. After she left, we discovered that one woman with four children ran a puppy farm in the basement, her son raised marijuana in the attic, and the neighbors had reported her to the police. Since the house was 45 minutes from our home, we didn’t check on it often. Another house we remodeled we rented to a college student with the stipulation he could have one house-mate and one dog. When he complained that the heat stopped working, we discovered seven people, including two children, and four dogs lived there. They never changed the intake vent filter so the heat-pump burned out. We had to replace the entire unit. We fixed up the houses once again and sold them.

We want to keep them but waiting them out is hard.

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 6:31 AM EST
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Sunday, 30 December 2007
Jemma & Tucker, New Cats
Topic: New Cats

Dec 30, 2007, Day One

Yesterday was Day One with our two new cats, Jemma Chase and Detective Tucker.

Bob and I live deep in the North Carolina Mountains, near Boone, Banner Elk and Blowing Rock. Our location is in Triplett Valley, the lowest altitude in Watauga County at 2200 feet. Three switch back turns on Elk Creek Road bring us up to 3200 feet at the Blue Ridge Parkway, ascending a thousand feet in three miles. During the spring and fall, we see early season changes down where we live and drive by later blooming or leaf color changing plants on our way to town at the top of the mountain. We have the gift of extended seasonal color.

On the drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway on Saturday, we drove through fog even though it was nine in the morning. When we broke through the fog, we could see clouds settled in the valleys. Once we left the High Country for Hickory in the foothills, we re-entered the fog which lasted until noon on this day in an unseasonably warm winter season.

We had planned to wait until spring before getting another cat. Hunter, our Havana Brown with a Siamese voice, passed away on October 26th. We had been together for over twenty years, almost as long as I’d known Bob. Hunter was 20 and 8 months. He even dictated a book, Meow Means Me!Now! If you’ve ever lived with a cat, you know they can dictate. After two months, we were ready for feline company.

Tucker, the black male, trembled in Bob’s arms for long minutes. Jemma, they grey female, was more curious and didn’t want to be held for long. She explored the glassed-in visitors booth and reminded me of the female character in my mysteries.

Jemma and Tucker were retrieved from the Humane Society of Catawba County on Saturday, Dec 29 just after noon. They were with their long-haired grey mother and a black sister in a cage. The building was wonderful and new. The society had moved in on December 12th so everything was spacious, clean and inviting. Race car driver, Ryan Newman, and his wife, Krissie, were instrumental in donating funds and time to the new facility. Included in the facility are a spay/neuter clinic, isolation rooms for dogs and cats with separate air filtering systems, glassed in visiting rooms for private time with the new pets, a cat play room and a small gift shop.

Both cats were subdued during the hour and a half drive back home. I sat in the front seat as chauffeur; Bob sat in the back and talked with the kitties. Their eyes stayed wide during most of the trip. Once in our home, they disappeared! We played hide and seek for a while. Every time we’d find them, off they’d go to separate and new hiding places. We decided to leave them alone and let them explore without our interference.

Posted by maggiebishop1 at 6:00 AM EST
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