A day in the life of a cat cuddler

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CAT CUDDLER

I arrive on a Beautiful Summer’s day to the sight of the kitties in Pens 1 & 2 watching for me through their windows. I say “Hello Kittens” to the feral/semi-feral cats & kittens in our TNR pens. They seem to recognize my voice & come out to see as I walk past them.

I try & alternate which pen I start with. Today I start with The Divine Miss Em, as I like to call her. Em LOVES me to play “Red Dot” laser pen with her. One day I had forgotten to bring it with me & she actually turned her back on me & sulked!! Anyway, today I had the pens with me & she went to her usual spot & waited for the fun to begin. She loves to chase the red dot all over her pen, so gets a fair turn of speed up. Today I have a treat for her. I open her run door & we play red dot up & down the corridor where she can really get going without worrying she’s going to run into the wall or something! After this she likes to be fussed & sometimes agrees to be picked up. She purrs softly, then, when she’s had enough, starts to wriggle, which is my sign to put her down.

Next up are Colin & Jake. These two gentle giants are both lovely cuddle cats. Colin’s quite vocal till you stroke & pick him up. He likes to snuggle right in & even lays his head on my chest with his paws up to my neck. Sometimes it’s somewhat difficult to get him to get down so Jake can have some time. Jake took a while to trust completely, but now greets me with a chirrup. He stands close to me on the shelf & headbutts my head with his, then starts to purr & turn round so I can stroke his sides & back. Then, if Colin hasn’t reclaimed my lap he gets on my lap, sits down & relaxes while he’s snuggled. They’ve both learned how to play & have fun trying to catch the fishing toys.

I can hear Cocoa’s mournful cry while I’m in with the boys as she seems to know she & Suki are next. I always fuss Cocoa first as she’s been with us a while & she pushes her head up to my hand. Her achy joints must be a bit sore as it’s turned cooler as she doesn’t want her haunches touched. She used to turn & bite, but just turns & meows at me now. She seems to realise that none of us hurts her on purpose. Suki is a gorgeous long haired Tortie who loves a fuss. I use the grooming mitt on her & she lays down so I can do her sides. Her eyes fairly light up when I get the fishing toys out. She loves a good chase of them, the more furious the better! Cocoa is now laying on the crinkly sounding bag I put on the floor.

In the run next to the girls is chaos in a furry form! Sarah & her kittens have so much energy they’ve trashed their pen & there’s bits of box, ping pong balls & beds all over the place!! Sarah isn’t much more than a kitten herself & joins in the games. She’s an expert with a ping pong ball, catching it with both paws. She then retires to the top of the cat tree, happy I’m there to take the kids off her paws so she can have a bath in peace & quiet! If she could take a book & a glass of wine with her I think she would!

Another not quite so chaotic run is next. At one time there were 6 kittens in this run, but there are just Wiz & Dorothy in there now waiting for their Forever Home. Wiz has a tiny little cry & he loves a snuggle & a fuss. Dorothy climbs the tree to get closer to see what I’m doing with her brother, & says “Can I have some of that Auntie Sue?” Of course says I, & pick her up too. They also love the Red Dot & go mad, chasing it round as though they’ll maybe catch it one day. They look a tad confused when TWO dots suddenly appear & don’t quite know which one to chase. Wiz gets in an open paper bag, & before he knows what’s hit him Dorothy lands on it full tilt, having seen it wiggle. I don’t THINK she realises the wiggle is coming courtesy of Wiz, but from the look on her face I’m not too sure!

In the run next to them I can see the Handsome Jack looking from the kittens to me as if to say “What do they think they’re doing, interrupting my snooze”. As I go in with him & his equally Gorgeous sister Rosie he unwinds himself, stretches & comes to head bomp me. Rosie meanwhile watches from her comfy perch & slow blinks a greeting. Neither are huge Run-around-ers, but still love a fuss n cuddle. Rosie isn’t inclined to move so I end up standing on my little stool to fuss her. She turns so I can stroke her head & neck. She had problems with sores under her neck from non cotton bedding & didn’t like to be touched there, so it’s a big step that she’s shown. She purrs & rolls on her side, curling her paws in & out. Jack’s happy, as he loves a decent cardboard box & I’ve brought a Jack size one. He gets into it & promptly falls asleep!

Now, it’s a certain little Madam’s turn next. Her name is Coral, & she looks so sweet & demure. Even though she purrs & winds round my legs in welcome, Coral isn’t what I would call a Cuddle Cat. But she IS happy to curl up on my bag next to me. Before now I’ve had to actually tip her off it, & that’s the scenario today. I swear she digs her claws into the bag to hang on in the hope I’ll leave her on it & leave it in her run. But not today Coral! She slides off & gets in “Her Box” a box lid that she’s claimed as her very own. It’s seen better days, but I have the feeling she’d be most put out if I gave her a brand new shiny one!

In the run next to Coral I find a very frightened looking little Tortie & White girl called Willow. She’s only been in the run a couple of days & is still getting used to all the sights, sounds, & most important for a cat, the smells. I sit on my stool so I’m lower than her & just speak to her very quietly, using her name & mine. She peeks over the edge of the window bed she’s on to see who this strange person is. I look away so she doesn’t feel threatened. When she lays back down I go in her inner run to give her bedding a shake & tidy. I don’t look at her at all, still speaking to her quietly. This way she can figure things out on her own terms. I leave her in peace & go in to see Puska & Katya.

These two lovelies are very affectionate these days, even if a tad jealous of each other sometimes. Puska’s on the cat tree head bomping my ribs, while Katya’s on my stool, pulling on my arm or leg saying “What about Me”. She is a real hunter& loves it when I throw things for her to catch midair. I’ve brought a couple of crinkly balls & she loves these & the noise they make. Puska meanwhile has gotten on my lap & is shoving her head into my hand. As I fuss her she slows her breathing down & before long is fast asleep & dreaming. Katya gets on the tree within reach of my free hand & enjoys a fuss too.

Last, but not least, the final run is occupied by Raynor & the 3 little Raynedrops, her kittens. They’re all very social, & very vocal too! I’m being used as an impromptu cat tree before I even get a chance to put my toy bag down. Once it’s down 2 of the kittens are straight in it. They’ve even fallen asleep in it before now. I have to check it every day to make sure I’m not inadvertently, HONEST, doing some kitty smuggling! They all love the ping pong balls & the red dot. Raynor joins in, then like Sarah, retreats to the top of the tree for a well earned bath, kitty style. I can almost see the gratitude on her face! Once the kitts have slowed down from ultrasonic speed I go out into the corridor, sit on my stool midway, & proceed to get the bubble solution out & blow bubbles up & down the corridor. Soon there are several pairs of eyes looking upwards trying to puzzle these strange things out, especially as they disappear when they pop. The kitts all look a bit confused.

I say goodbye, & leave some very tired but happy pusscats at Coventry Cat Group till the next time, when we’ll all have fun again.

Auntie Sue, “Head” Cuddler

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