Meet Martha & Jethro - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Meet Martha & Jethro

Hello! I am new to the forum, and of course the first thing to do is introduce my fabulous felines!

First up: Martha!

I adopted her in Aug '06 from a rescue I volunteered with. I knew her for about 6 months prior and watched as one potential adopter after another would look at her, and then continue their search. The few that showed interest, quickly decided she wasn't worth it, when she would hiss/growl or bite/scratch. No one seemed to realize that her reaction was due to the stress of being in a cage and having strangers constantly try to touch her!

Due to the stress, it took a few months for her to warm up to me, and by the time I got her to willingly approach me for petting, and purr...I knew I was going to adopt her. At first, I was denied due to having roommates. "What if they leave a door open?" "She isn't the most social cat, what if they don't want her there?". Understandable questions, but it didn't change the fact I was deeply upset that I was denied by a rescue I volunteered with. So, I fought their decision for about a month, and they finally decided to give it a try.

Now, they tell everyone how Martha ''died and went to heaven'' when I adopted her. Funny how things change! She likes the roommates, and they like her. She's kept in the master bedroom if I'm not home, so there is no risk of doors being left open and her getting loose.

Last but not least: Jethro!

We never planned on getting a 2nd cat. We tried once with another ''hard to adopt'' cat at the rescue, but they just refused to get along and they were just completely unhappy in the same household. A friend of mine adopted that cat, so there is still a happy ending for her. Anyways, Martha has never been very social with other cats. Either she's purposely mean, or she tries but is just too rough...the result is the same: She's not good at making kitty friends.
So, when a handsome cat decided to call our patio his "home", of course her first reaction was to try to attack him through the sliding glass door.

Over time, she would run to the back door and search for him on a daily basis, and they would sit and fall asleep watching each other, on opposite sides of the door. It seemed that things were going pretty well! No more attempts to attack him. He showed up around Aug '08 and over the next few months, he slept on the patio and disappeared during the day to do whatever it was he did. I searched many times for a possible owner, but at the same time I thought that he is semi-feral and may not be owned. I couldn't approach him, and at first, he would dart off into the wooded area if he heard a sound or saw a movement. He was a very jumpy cat.

At first, my husband told me "We are NOT keeping him" when I told him that I gave the cat a name. So, I said that I would bring him in, socialize him and adopt him out through the rescue. After a while, my husband started saying "Well, it would be nice for Martha to have a friend" and "He's a very handsome cat. I wouldn't mind if he stuck around." So, I told him that he was speaking dangerous words. Of course I was going to keep him if I could get him indoors.

January '09, I was able to pet him, and he even came inside and slept next to my legs if I sat by the back door (Martha would be closed in the bedroom, due to the back door being open. Didn't want her to get out). So, after time, I was able to sneak the door closed, and transport him into our bathroom via a carrier. He was very unhappy with that trickery, but in the next day or two, he forgave me for it. I got him health checked (worms, overall health, & combo test) and once he was deemed healthy, he got to come out of the bathroom and get the master bedroom with Martha. He spent quite some time being a "bed monster". Only coming out while we were asleep and for food time. After a while, he would come out and cuddle & play, but only when my husband was at work. He was convinced my husband was the devil.

Now, he'll lay on the bed with us and he's more of a cat, less of a bed monster. He still turns completely feral if he gets stressed out, but given a life of leisure, he's quite a nice cat. Still very jumpy, though. He still lays on the opposite side of me than my husband is sitting, but at least he's not completely terrified of him anymore.

It will NOT be fun when we drive from WA to TX soon, because he will be so stressed out and just the idea of trying to catch him in a carrier? Not easy at all. I'm lucky I got him into the vet for a health check and again for microchipping. The clinic likes to remind me that he hasn't had his Rabies shot, but they don't pester me about it because they know how Jethro is. They always want to sedate him!

Both are ''guessimated'' to be 5 years old now. I love my cats, even if they do have their little ''quirks'' that made them less desirable to someone else.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 08:32 PM
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

Martha is beautiful, and Jethro is a handsome dude. How do they get along now that Jethro is a house cat?

Have you thought about Feliway drops, or something like that when you transport your kiddos to your new house?

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

I used a Feliway plug-in when I brought Jethro indoors, but I do not think it had any effect on him. I did buy a spray for his carrier that should give a similar effect. Hopefully it works!

Jethro adapted to being a housecat quite easily. He enjoys that he's able to relax instead of be on his toes all the time. He slept A LOT the first few days. Like he was recovering the sleep he wasn't able to get before. At the time, we had several raccoons come around, so I'm sure he slept with one eye open until he came indoors.

Martha is a bit of a bully, but Jethro's learning to stand up for himself if he needs to. Peaceful for the most part, with the occasional scuffle, but I think after we move, and they get more space, they'll be happier and work better together.

He can even sit in the windowsill, with the window open (screen still on, of course) and not try to get through the screen or otherwise show a desire to get out.

He's super affectionate towards me, and I really do think he's happy being a spoiled housecat now. Perhaps in the future when we actually have a place with a yard, I may build a little enclosure so he could enjoy the grass & fresh air safely, but until then, he'll have to settle for sitting in the window sill.

I wish I knew his background, though. It would be nice to know if his jumpiness and semi-feralness is from being mistreated/neglected or if he had spent a long amount of time out on his own.

Let's just say...he hasn't met the rats. I have a feeling he may have been a hunter. LOL
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 11:09 PM
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

Welcome, I loved reading about Martha and Jethro. We currently have 8 cats, but have had as many as 12, not including whatever litters I was raising/socializing for our local adoption center. Most of our cats are former ferals who came to us in need or near death. I fully understand how you and your husband acquired your beautiful kitties.
I saw BooBoo get hit by a car in WA state and run off. I searched for him/owner and was completely unsuccessful. A week later, he showed up on my front patio and I brought him inside: instant housecat. Squirrely-Jo was found abandoned at a stopsign with two siblings when they were very young kittens. Malibu had a litter of kittens under my hay pile and I trapped them all. Kittens went through the adoption program, Mallie was basically a TNR, who took 5mo from time of TNR until she would let me *touch* her. She almost died in 2006 and with the effort I put into saving her, she is now my devoted cat. Almost every night when we snuggle I remember her as the wild, hissing, growling feral and wonder and am in awe with how she turned around and became mine. Shadow also showed up on our property very pregnant and I brought her in. Her kittens went through the program and she did *not* do well at the adoption weekend and when I brought her home and told the husband how the volunteers said she was...he said we needed to keep her. Shasta was found in our garage by my husband when she was a small kitten. We think she was "on a field trip" with her family and was either left behind or frightened into our garage by traffic and left behind when the family ran/scattered. Pretty was a complete feral. I trapped her 1st litter and tamed/socialized them for the adoption agency. Pretty was trapped the next day and TNR'd. I thought Mallie was a tough-nut...Pretty took 14mo before she let me touch her fur. It took many years, but she slowly was socialized outside and then became indoor/outdoor and finally completely indoor. She is now my *husband's* buddy, because he would give her a treat of milk every morning. LuckyDuck was found by my husband at his work; half-dead with an abcess the size of a tennis ball on his throat. $400 and 8" of stitches later, he became 'ours'. Finally, Floofy joined us last year on Valentine's Day when I encountered him at a neighbor's house, who said he wasn't theirs and they wanted to 'get rid of him', so I took him.
Anyhow, we made a cross-country move with our 7 cats, from WA state to Georgia. We moved in late February, so hot weather was not a concern. Our cats rode in their individual carriers south to central California, where we picked up a motor home. Then the cats were allowed free-range in the RV for the rest of the trip. Reilly (1998-2007) was the only one comfortable with vehicular travel, he rode on the dash most of the trip. The rest of the cats were content to burrow under blankets at the back of the RV and only came out at night to eat, drink and use the litterbox. Our trip took a total of 8 days.
I wish you good luck with your trip.
Heidi =^..^=

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

Do cats do pretty good in a carrier during long road trips? It will take about 3 days (with nightly stops, of course) and I have a collapsible kennel, but I fear that Jethro will dart out of it when it's time to move into the carrier to go into the hotel/motel at nights, so I was wondering if it was fine to keep him in his carrier?

Anyways, I forgot to mention that Martha's background is that she took a road trip from TX (or Louisiana) to WA when she was rescued. She was one of the many rescues during/after Hurricane Katrina.

I think Jethro knows I was just speaking of him, as he just came up, rubbed against the laptop and meowed a few times. He is an amazingly affectionate cat, but ONLY to me. He only really tolerates my husband's presence, but affectionate towards him...not given. LOL

I just started a switch to a new kind of cat litter (from Fresh Step to Swheat Scoop) so I'm hoping they don't notice (or don't care) about the switch and work with me on this. I've switched brands on them before, but they've all been pretty much the same texture. I think Swheat Scoop is similar enough in texture that hopefully it won't offend them.

I know they don't mind at all when I switch up their food brands. Except for one....Jethro dislikes Wellness canned food. Won't even sniff it. LOL
Martha will eat anything, though.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 11:42 PM
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

Ours did well, though they didn't have a choice.
Each had a roomy kennel with a large bath towel inside. (I kept a rubbermaid tote to put the soiled towel into for sanitization and washing after we arrived) This gave them cushion, something to burrow/hide under, would absorb urine, they could cover their poops. They were never removed from their kennel for towel changes unless they were in a secured area; locked door, small room with NOTHING they could hide under, behind or into. If that was not available, their kennel door was not opened. I would push food and pour water through the door-grate into the little food containers that come with all kennels.
This was the ONLY way I could be assured of not losing any of my pets while in transit.
Be aware of hotel beds. You do NOT want a cat to get up into the boxspring or under headboards. You may want to keep them closed in the bathrooms. Give them their kennels, covered with towels to create a small, safe "cave" and they can access food/water/litter and maybe a scratching post to stretch, but they may not feel comfortable enough to relax and stretch or play. They will probably only want to hide, so the small bathroom wouldn't be denying them anything and it would ensure they couldn't get out the room door.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 11:57 PM
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

Cute cats!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-04-2009, 02:17 AM
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

Welcome!!! They are both beautiful, and I loved your story!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-04-2009, 01:35 PM
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

What a great story. You really persevered with your kitties and look what good results you've had. They're both adorable!

Holly and Murphy
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 02:05 AM
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Re: Meet Martha & Jethro

What a sweet story. Warmed my heart! You are such a kind soul.

A tip which has worked for me lately for nervous and insecure cats is using
Compusure. My vet recogmended it to me when one of my blind foster cats was regressing
after her surgery. Fearful, aggitated, anti social. Another friend of mine used it on
her cat which was bullying the rest of her cats and made an immediate change in him.

I would start giving it to him a couple weeks before you leave. This was way more effective
than the feliway plugs I was using. You might have to scruff him to give it to him but it is worth it!

FYI-- from the vet $37.00 but can be found on line for $18.00
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