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May 10, 2000 Wednesday Introduction of the Tag Team

Ms. Hiss was still in the closet this morning. I sat down near the door and read her a chapter of Standoff by Sandra Brown. She was still glaring at me when I looked inside, and so I opened up the outside door and scooped up Scatter Cat, she had followed me upstairs and was crying to come into the room. I brought her inside first because she is a definite mothering kitty, plus I figured she would be the most laid-back if Hiss tried to show her up. Scatter stuck her nose to the ground, and sniffed her way right almost on top of Ms. Hiss. Other than sniffing noses, there were no major upsets. I picked up Scat, and replaced her, one by one, with all the team. Kahuna was the most curious, but there was not one scratch, growl, hiss, and swat from any of them. I guess Ms. Hiss is saving all her hisses and swats for me! I pushed all the team out of the door and just sat and watched this puzzle of a cat.

Call it divine intervention, or just a dumb idea, but I decided to let the entire team in at one time to see what would happen. Going to the door, I gave my kitty call and they came piling one over the other on the stairs to reach me. I could just hear those little brains clunking."Mom must have treats..things to eat.." I opened the door to the bedroom and they all came sliding in. Shutting the door, I stood back and waited..

The kittens are rarely allowed in this room. We have piled all sorts of boxes inside, and it is just basically a storage room with a bed. So before they went in to greet Nikita, they had to explore the entire room. To jump up on boxes, knock each other off the top of things. They were having an adventure! I watched them for a while and glanced in now and then at Ms. Hiss. Her gaze was fixed right on me, as her door was just cracked open a little bit. Now for the test- I opened up the closet door, gave my call and they all stopped what they were doing and came over. Turning on the light inside, I stepped back as they went to investigate.

Ms. Hiss never once took her eyes off of me! No matter who was in the closet with her; she focused on the human beast. I did not see her eyes grow soft, her head relax- so I moved out of her sight where I could see her (if I tried really hard) but she could not see me. I waited for the inevitable catfight, but it never occurred.

A sea of kittens- surrounded Hiss, until the sea discovered some food that had been left behind! Then there was an occasional grunt as each one tried to jostle the others away to get the rest of the dry food in one single dish. Then of course, they had to use the litter box so I knew that playtime was over. I called them all out and deposited them all quite unceremoniously, outside in the hall.

Ms. Hiss had moved a bit, so I looked at the floor and saw the first drops of liquid stool. Bummer, now not only was she not eating, but she was dehydrated as well. I got her into the carrier, and cleaned the closet, put down new bedding and released her back inside the closet. I left her there; while I went down to get fresh litter. When I returned, she was not in the closet but back across the room scrunched down by the couch. A sad trail of dirty droplets led the way to her. As I walked across the room to put the litter on the shelf- she flew by me at mach speed and slid into the closet once again. I cleaned the litter box, thankful that she at least allowed me to reach in for the box to pull it out and then to put it back, without thinking I was a threat to her National Security. Today, she gets to hear Garth, Willie, and Winona softly playing near her closet. I just really pray that by tomorrow she will be eating and drinking and no visit to TED will be needed. If that happens it could mean, I lose whatever ground I have gained at this point.

By the end of today, I found to my dismay she is not eating anything. I spoke with the vet and found the food he recommended, nuked it for her, and then shut her in tight, hoping the smell would tempt her to eat. Why it is she is not eating? I see fear in her eyes and I pray for the day they grow soft and trusting. I hope this period of not eating has not done her irreparable harm. She is going to the vet tomorrow afternoon, as the loose stool worries me as well. When I close my eyes I see her big yellow eyes glowing at me. I wonder if she even sleeps? And if she does, what does she dream of? Or does this unfortunate soul only suffer from nightmares of people who have hurt her?

May 11, 2000 The Vet Visit

Boy, I hope no one ever underestimates the power of caring people in separate points of the world sending good vibes and prayers for those in need! Everything that happened a few hours ago was nothing short of a miracle. I took Miss Hiss in on the wings of many prayers from the good folk at Acmepet CW. Here is how the visit went: I took the carrier apart once in the exam room. It seemed like the best way to get her out of it. Then she leaped down to the floor, hissing and swatting, so this wonderful, gentle, soft-spoken vet tech, knelt down on the cold floor, avoided eye contact with Miss Hiss and very gradually, the hissing stopped, though there was quite a growl emanating from this bundle of fur! Quietly, I made my way over to where she was crouched, and very slowly took a towel and wrapped her up inside. Then I lifted her to the exam table. Her vitals were taken and all was normal. The tech (I found out later) went to speak to the vet and asked that he come into the room quietly and lower his voice, so as not to further disturb Ms. Hiss. By the way, they loved her name! LOL The exam went so well. I was stroking her head all the time they were examining her back end, tummy and the like. Then the tech held her while the vet looked in her mouth, checked her all over for injuries and pronounced her good! Blood was taken and then he showed me how to force-feed her. There is a special brand of cat food ADS and I have to feed her 20 cc of this three times a day. The vet believes she is suffering from shock of the trip, and culture shock. He told me she is beautiful, asked where I got her and didn't believe me when I told him! LOL He does not like the Internet. He says it gives out to much information and that is harmful and not good. LOL But speaking of good, she wasn't defensive in the least, he clipped her nails, gave me a wormer to give her in about a week. She has now been fed, she is back up in her closet. I had to take all that *nature* stuff back to the yard. But she has allowed me to hold her, she has trusted me just a smidgeon and it feels glorious! From a suggestion by lisaviolet, I tried to turn Ms. Hiss's closet into a natural habitat. I gathered pine needles, rocks, grass, limbs from trees all kinds of things and tried to put the wild theme in the closet. Hiss freaked! She darted for cover underneath one of the pine branches, and was so miserable, I took apart all that I had constructed! Oh well, it was worth a try!

May 12, 2000 Friday

I was unable to find her this morning when I looked in the closet. Once again, the heavy sofa was scooted back, and there she was wedged down on the floor. I don't know how long she has been down there, but a greeting growl told me she was not a happy camper. I got her into the carrier, she goes willingly now, and I popped off the top and there she was with her yellow eyes glowing at me. I told her, I was not the enemy, and I just sat down near her and talked in low soft tones. She did not move, nor did she take her gaze off me. I was trying not to look at her, as they perceive this as a threat, and finally I had the towel in my lap, ready to wrap her up. The first attempt failed miserably. The minute the towel was gently laid over her, there was a spitting and hissing monster BUT no claws, and no biting. I took the towel off and she bolted for her refuge. At this point, I was trying to figure out how to proceed. I hated the idea that I would go into her "safe place" and assault her with a killer towel, but didn't see any alternative. So I scooted over and slid into *her* space. We talked for about 15 minutes, I told her all about how wonderful she is, how much we loved her, and all the gang wanted her to come down and play. Then, I gently (once again) and slowly wrapped her up in the killer cloth, picked her up- she struggled, so I let go. We did this three more times before I could pick her up and there was little resistance. Placing her on the floor, I stroked her head, and was able to get some food and water into her! She really wanted to eat, and she took the food slowly and then I withdrew to let her be. Last night, I tried a suggestion given to me about letting the Tag team in the room when I go sit with her. I am not going to do this again, I think her brain goes on overload to have those guys hopping all over the place. I do appreciate the suggestions I am getting and I do think seriously about trying one or two. But this cat is right now is still a tad stressed so slow and easy it goes. Also, I did not use the gloves this morning- just the safety glasses.

I went up this evening to feed her and using the towel, was able to capture her as she was in the closet. I had her in front of me, not really restrained, I had just one hand on her lightly over the towel. I was feeding her, when I felt a vibration under my hand. I listened closely and she was purring!!! I did find out that cats purr when they are in distress as well as when they are in pain, or if they are content. But nothing diminishes the fact that she did not fight the towel and me, she ate willingly though I still had to use the syringe, and she did not leave any battle-scars on me. Not one strikeout with her claws, not an indication of a bite, just a scared little girl.

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