Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,
Thistle
thistle_chaser

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Ellie New Cat: Update

socksofjello noted that I hadn't posted about Ellie New Cat in a while. For new readers, I adopted Ellie after my previous cat died. Ellie was feral for the first year of her life and in a foster care home with lots of other cats for her second year. I've had her for about four months now.

I replied to socksofjello that I hadn't been posting because Ellie had been making no progress at all, that she was basically still the same as the last time I posted. But the more I thought about it, the more I suspected she's still making slow, slow (think glacial) progress, but I'm just not seeing it because I'm with her all the time (and it's so slooooow).

A few times a day, she comes to me for love. "Love" being careful, slow, one-handed pattings. Brushes are scary and will cause her to run. Nine times out of ten, a second hand will cause a panic attack and a scramble away. She's come to love treats though, and has learned to take them out of my hand (woot!).

If I approach her, sometimes it will be okay, but most often she'll run off a few feet or just tense up and watch me wide-eyed, ready to flee.

Unfortunately she rarely sleeps on my bed. However, I can now walk near her without making her run off in a panic.

A couple times a day, when she seems calm, I still try to work with her, to introduce a second hand to things. Sometimes I hold her (with all of her feet still on the floor) for a couple seconds. After this I give her lots of pats (if she wants them) or treats. I still wonder if I should be doing this though; I need (not want, need) her to get used to being held and picked up. If there were a fire or some emergency, I could never grab her and take her outside at this point. However, working with her this way seems to make her backslide, so... Just not sure.

I think she must be more comfortable though, because more of her personality(?) is coming out. She's a bold little thief! Not for food, she's never tried to get into my dinner when I'm eating, but she'll attempt to carry anything and everything else away. Anything from my keys (metal! Heavy!) to a back scratcher (longer than her!). Anything on my desk is fair game, all sorts of toys and pens and papers. She steals things right in front of me, with me watching. It's darned cute to watch her try to carry these things off.

My user name, Thistle-Chaser, comes from a series of books by rathacat. Set on another planet, the dominant species is a cougar-like cat. Some of them talk, they herd animals, and live in clans. Thistle-Chaser was the daughter of a clan cat named Ratha and an "unnamed" (wild) cat. When a clan (intelligent, talking) cat breeds with a wild one, the offspring are usually wild (unintelligent). Ratha was impatient with her litter, scared they wouldn't have "light in their eyes" (be intelligent). She gave up on Thistle-Chaser too soon, attacking her and driving her off. Thistle-Chaser had just been starting to understand, to realize that language existed and was important; Ratha pushed too hard and gave up on them too soon. I feel kind of like that with Ellie. Being impatient, lashing out, would be bad bad bad. It feels like so long though, I just want to hug her and hold her on my shoulder like a baby, but I can't. Worst part is, I don't know if we'll ever get to that point. Four months feels like a long time, but maybe it's not.

Must be patient, must be slow, must be quiet. Silly Ellie, I'm not going to hurt you. Please learn that soon.
Tags: ellie new cat
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