Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jamie's Thoughts: Kitties and What's Been Cooking

Get ready for a lot of kitty photos here, folks.  You've been warned.  You see, as much as this blog is dedicated to sharing my Paleo experiences, it must be about another vital part of my life--my kitties.  About a month and a half ago, we welcomed a new addition to our home--Max the Manx.  Here's the scoop:

Max looking out the window.
Max sitting by the window.

Sleeping Max.  

Max lounging under the papasan.  

 Max and I have a long history, spanning seven years.  This is starting out like a love story, isn't it?  Well guess what--that's exactly what it is!  But I digress.  

We met when I lived in Sacramento and he started hanging out around my apartment building.  I noticed this cat sleeping on the lounge chair in the common area at night.  He'd started camping out on the porch area of the building.  After a couple days, I offered him some food, unsure if he had a home elsewhere.  Soon, he started running to meet me after I came home from law school late at night, waiting expectantly to be fed.  And voila--a committed relationship was born.  I fed and cared for Max just about every day for three years during law school.  

I wasn't Max's only buddy though.  You see, Max had quite a following in the Sacramento midtown area.  Many neighbors used to stop to offer him treats or food.  As one of my friends quipped:  "That's the most well-fed stray cat I've ever seen."   Max was a happy and healthy cat living outside my little apartment on I Street in Sacramento.  

Though Max had a community looking after him, I always took primary responsibility over him--feeding him everyday, taking him inside when it was very cold.   I even left a cat bed outside my door for those nights when it was particularly chilly.    

But when law school ended and I became a lawyer, I was offered a job in San Francisco.  Before moving, I spent a lot of time trying to decide how to handle the Max situation.  Max was clearly semi-feral.  He was happy in his environment and he had many neighbors who loved him.  A friend in the building offered to take over feeding him daily.  At the time, leaving Max in Sacramento seemed like the right thing to do.  

After I moved, I continued to visit Sacramento about once a month, dropping off extra cat food and to spend time with Max.  He always remembered me and would come trotting out to say hello.  After feeding him a can of wet food during those visits, he'd crawl onto my lap and purr.   Saying goodbye was always hard and I worried about his safety.    

For about three years, a number of neighbors took over feeding Max.  But finally, the last neighbor I knew bought a new house and was planning on moving from the building.  It was obvious that Max is aging and it was time to bring him into a home.  So, after discussing it with the neighbors, at the end of August, I brought Max to live with us in the Bay Area.  

It has not been easy; principally because I've had to work on socializing him with my two other cuties:  Broch and Fagan.  See pictures below--Really, this is just an excuse to post more cute cat pictures.  

Fagan-bear.  Doesn't he look like he's posing?

Broch:  He looks innocent.  Don't be fooled.  

Sunning kitties.
As an additional complication, when I took Max to the vet, he was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, which is a common condition in older cats.   One treatment for hyperthyroid requires twice daily medicine to keep the condition in check.  After about a month and a half, his condition is in check and he is much more calm and comfortable.    

Where are we now?  Integrating a cat into your home with other cats (since cats are oh-so territorial) is no easy task.  We're still getting settled in.  My cats, Broch and Fagan, have always been indoor cats.  But Max is different.  He's spent at least seven years outside and is semi-feral.  At this point, in order to maintain a good quality of life for him, it looks like it might be necessary to let him go outside some of the time.  This kitty is a free spirit. 

Broch and Fagan are slowly coming to accept Max (read:  there are still some serious territorial disputes going on mainly over who gets attention from David and I).  Though, thankfully these disputes are starting to diminish in number and seriousness.  In having access to regular, high-quality food and maintaining his hyperthyroid condition, Max is thriving.  He's gained a healthy bit of weight and his coat is much more glossy and full compared to the skinny, coarse coated cat, I scooped into a carrier a month and a half ago.    

We still have so much more work to do--so wish us luck!  But we are so happy to share our home with this special kitty, Max.  It's a story seven years in the making.  <3

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