Sunday, July 26, 2009

Meet Alice

This is Alice, the newest addition to my household. She's an 8 year old tortoiseshell cat, but she's so incredibly tiny! I've always had bigger cats - usually 10 lbs and up. My other kitty (who is in Arizona with my parents - enjoying the sunshine) weighed in at about 14 lbs in her prime. Alice is maybe, maybe 5 or 6 lbs. She's absolutely tiny.

Two years ago, my sister and I found her at the Oregon Humane society. My sister had been looking at Petfinder, saw Alice's picture and fell in love with her. She promptly called me for a kitty run to OHS. Luckily, Alice was still there and was cute as a button. She's been through a lot; she got so sick with Feline Upper Respiratory Disease while she was at OHS that she scored 1's and 2's on her health assessment. She was put into fostercare, and they fully expected her not to make it. However, she pulled through and eventually was well enough to come back to OHS. We met her foster mom, a very nice woman who told us all about Alice and how great she was. Alice's owner surrendered Alice, along with about $200 of Alice's toys and goodies, because his wife didn't like her.

My sister had Alice for about two years when she decided to go teach English in Korea for a year. She had no one to take Alice, so I begged and pleaded with my landlord to let me have Alice. My landlord is not happy, but she allowed me to take Alice. I figure I'm only going to be renting from her until May, and then I'll be moving into Beaverton/Portland, so it doesn't really matter if she doesn't like Alice. :D My sister actually decided she didn't want to go to Korea, but she still wanted me to take Alice. She loves her, but my sister isn't home that much, and she thought she wasn't able to give Alice as much attention as she deserves. So Alice came to live with me!

She's a wonderful lap kitty, but there are a few things we're eventually going to work on. When my sister first brought her home from OHS, Alice was wonderful in a carrier; she was even purring. We both remarked how strange it was to find a cat that actually liked the carrier. Of course, this was too good to be true. I think Alice was just so happy to leave OHS and to get a real home that she didn't mind being in a carrier. However, she is absolutely scared of carriers now. It was an incredible struggle for my sister to catch Alice to get her into the carrier(for the vet and for the trip to my house), and once in the carrier, Alice was terrified and shaking. She was so scared that on the way to my house she peed herself. It made for an interesting homecoming, that's for sure.

Alice adjusted very quickly to living at my house. The first night, she'd come out from under my bed, get petted for a bit, then go right back to her hiding spot. By the next day she hid a little, but she'd come out as soon as I called her, or she would just partially hide (under my desk chair, behind some of my fabric). By the third day (the second full day) she's completely normal and her extremely social self. She's chilling out on my bed as we speak.

I'm working on transitioning her over to a better quality food. My sister was just feeding her Alley Cat, whose first ingedients are Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, chicken by-product meal. ::shudders:: I've done a lot of research on cat nutrition and cat food, and the ingredients in this food are a big no no. Corn is just a filler with no nutritional value, and shouldn't be in the food to begin with, let alone the first incredient, or the first and the second in this case. Good foods don't have by-products; meals are okay as long as there is also primary meats or ingredients, such as chicken.

I have a bunch of sample bags of a variety of different foods courtesy of PetUtopia, whose owner is absolutely amazing and helpful. I mixed in a little of California Natural Chicken and Brown Rice, whose first ingredients are
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Rice, Chicken Fat. Alice ate some of it, but ate just as much of the Alley Cat. I really like California Natural for the ingredients and a reasonable price ($3/lb), so I tried her on the California Natural Herring and Sweet Potato. She did a flying leap onto my bed the second I ripped open the sample, then followed me to a secondary bowl where I poured a bit in. She immediately started eating it. Now it's a day later, and while she eats out of both bowls (one with Alley Cat and the CN Chicken) and the other with the CN Herring, she seems to prefer the Herring one. She's a slow, social eater, so if she's still liking the CN Herring by the end of this week I'll buy a bag of it for her. I may add a wet food as well: we'll see on that end.

I need to buy some more litter too - right now I'm using a non-clumping litter that my sister had a little bit left of. I'd like to switch her to Feline Pine - a pine pellet litter (no dust and less tracking) but although she seems completely settled in, I don't want to disrupt her routine/comfort so I'll wait a few weeks to do that, which means I need some other litter in the meantime.

Well, I think that's all for the moment, although I'm sure I'll be posting a lot of gratuitous kitty photos in the future!


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