Inkie & Cubbie

September 2010

Inkie & Cubbie

Inkie & Cubbie

Introducing our new kitten, Inkie

Our new kitten InkieIt all happened a little sooner than expected but we are very happy and excited to welcome Inkie to the family. I had always joked that if anything happened to Treacle I would adopt a grumpy old cat from the RSPCA in his memory. Obviously at 14 weeks old Inkie is not a grumpy old cat, but she is from the RSPCA.

Over the weekend while Derek and I were coming to terms with the loss of our cat Treacle, last Friday, we talked about adopting another cat. I was serious about wanting an older cat, but Derek wasn’t so sure. He felt a younger cat would adapt better to living with our bunnies. Also, after loosing both Treacle and Custard to age related illnesses an older cat may not have been the best choice for us.

We popped up to our local RSPCA on Monday to have a little look at the cats and see how we felt. It was love at first sight when we saw Inkie. She was curled up fast asleep at the front of her cat pen and I knew instantly Derek was right about adopting a younger cat.

Knowing we’d need a home visit before we could take Inkie home, we registered our interest in adopting Inkie and planned to visit her the following Thursday and Saturday and then see how far along the adoption process was by then. Derek and I were really surprised when we got a ‘phone call on Wednesday asking if we’d be available for a home visit that afternoon. Of course we said, “Yes.”

The home inspection went well and the next day we got a phone call informing us we’d been approved to adopt Inkie and we could collect her tomorrow (which is today, Friday). Once we knew we’d be collecting Inkie the next day, we decided not to go and visit her at the shelter. The staff are always very busy and it seemed silly to get in their way. It was difficult though and I did have a little sulk, so Derek took me out to buy a few more cat things ready for her arrival.

Inkie's new bedroom

Inkie's new bedroom

So, at 1.30 today we arrived ready and very excited to collect our new little kitten. Once home, Derek and I sat with her while she looked around her new bedroom, had a drink, some food and then popped to the toilet! Then as expected she found a nice comfy bed and fell fast asleep.

Feliway saves the day (and cheers Inkie up)

Our little cat Inkie sitting on a windowsillWe’ve been a little worried about Inkie – since coming to live with us she had been a bit down. We expected her to be nervous of her new home and little shy, but Inkie was being very clingy – following us around, not eating much and then only if we encouraged her. She has also not been grooming herself and shown a general lack of interest in anything but sleeping.

After a weekend with her we were getting very concerned, so on Monday Derek called the RSPCA. They told us we could bring Inkie in for a check up on Wednesday – which is their vet day – and they also mentioned something called Feliway. We had heard of Feliway in passing, but didn’t really know what it was. Being seriously concerned for out little cat, we were prepared to try anything, so we popped to our vets and bought a Feliway diffuser.

At about 4 o’clock we plugged it in, not really sure what to expect. The box said to give Feliway at least a week to take effect. Well, by about 7 o’clock that night we began to see a change in Inkie. She was sitting on my knee when Derek bought me a glass of milk and Inkie went bonkers! She climbed up my chest trying to get to the glass and when I put it down on a coffee table she went after it. This is normal behaviour for a kitten, but Inkie had been so down she’d never showed any interest like this before.

We tried not to think too much of this sudden burst of naughtiness, as it might just have been the smell of milk that set her off. Although after I had finished my glass of milk, Inkie still wanted to play with it – trying to stick her head inside and batting it with her paw. After a few minutes she settled back down on my knee and I carried on playing my video game. That was until a naughty little cat started tapping the controller and even chomped my finger!

Our sweet little cat curled up asleepIt was wonderful to see the change in her. The activity kept coming in little waves and she’d wander off do some exploring before returning to my knee and settling down for a bit. This carried on for the rest of the evening until we took her up to her room for the night. Inkie went straight to her food bowl and tucked into her kitten nuggets, with no encouragement at all, eating quite a lot. That night Derek and I went to bed feeling very happy.

The next morning we let Inkie out of her room and her eyes were wide and bright, she gobbled down some food and then wanted to play with her toys, which was amazing to see as she had not been interested in playing before.

Even when she sleeps, Inkie looks happier, before she was sleeping hunched up and not very relaxed looking. Now no matter where Inkie is she will curl up on her side, or even stretch out and look like a happy little contented cat.

Derek and I were not sure about Feliway when we bought it, but it really has been like a miracle for Inkie and we are very glad we tried it. The little madam still isn’t grooming herself, but she is much happier and her whole demeanour has changed and it is wonderful to see. Now Inkie is feeling better and more playful we can all get to know each other properly.

It's all in Inkie's eyes

When Inkie came to live with us she was a very stressed little kitten. She was very lethargic and was not washing or eating, so we bought a Feliway diffuser, which is a bit like cat aromatherapy. It releases cat pheromones into the air that help relax a cat. This worked a treat and the change in Inkie’s behaviour and appetite was almost instant. The other change we noticed was in Inkie’s eyes.

Inkie had a half asleep look about her; she even had it when we saw her at the RSPCA. Besides looking a bit narrow, Inkie’s eyes also had a pinched look to them, like she was squinting all the time. We had assumed it was the way she looked, but as we get to know Inkie better we are realising it is brought on by stress.

You can see the difference in Inkie’s eyes in the picture below.

Inkie's eyes: looking stressed on the left and happy kitten eyes on the right

Inkie's eyes: looking stressed on the left and happy kitten eyes on the right

I am pleased to say that we hardly see this look anymore and everyday Inkie’s confidence, happiness and mischief levels are increasing. She is a very beautiful little cat, who hasn’t had the best start in life, and our little Inkie is a real treasure and we feel very lucky to have her in our lives.

Kitty bunk beds...

…but whose the large one for?

Kitty bunk beds... but who's the larger one for?

Introducing Cubbie

A picture of 'Mirage' taken from the RSPCA website

A picture of 'Mirage' taken from the RSPCA website

When we first decided to go to the RSPCA and find out about adopting a cat, we looked at their website. There were lots of lovely cats of all ages and sizes looking for homes, but one in particular caught our eye. According to the website Mirage was a female, approximately 4 months old, who’d been found in a barn with her sisters. We both thought she looked lovely and couldn’t wait to go and meet her.

Visiting the RSPCA shelter several things happened. Firstly Mirage was no longer a cute little 4 month old, having been at the rehoming centre since July and she was a boy! We were also caught out by Inkie, when we saw her curled up asleep in the same pen, it was love at first sight. It didn’t help that Mirage is a very timid cat, and when we opened the door to the pen he disappeared through a cat flap into the sleeping compartment and we were ambushed by the very cute, cuddly Inkie and she stole our hearts.

Cubbie "mirage' in his new home

Cubbie "mirage' in his new home

We adopted Inkie, and we love her dearly, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Mirage and I felt sure we had room in our hearts and home for another cat. Even though Derek had only wanted to adopt one cat, being the sweet guy he is, he phoned the RSPCA to find out more about Mirage. Unfortunately he was told that Mirage had developed an eye infection and couldn’t be adopted until he was better. Not to be deterred, Derek phoned back the following week to find out how Mirage was getting on. Again he was told Mirage was still unwell, but we decided to pop along and visit him anyway. Despite feeling very sorry for himself, wearing one of those awful plastic cone things round his head and weeping eyes, we knew we wanted to adopt Mirage and we made it official with the RSPCA staff.

It took another 10 days for Mirage to be given the all clear and we brought him home yesterday. Derek had originally suggested we call our new arrival Puddin, because he is so soft and timid. I was taken by his huge paws, which reminded me of a tiger cub and so sweet, timid and not very little Mirage became an official member of our family with his new name, Cubbie.

That's not quite right

As Inkie loved sleeping in an old cat box, we thought it would be fun to prepare one for Cubbie. We had a large version of the cat box Inkie used in the loft. We’d had it a long time and used it when we moved house with our previous two cats. So, we dug it out of the loft and cleaned it up ready for our larger new arrival.

A large and small cat box with our cats using them as beds

Obviously things have not gone according to plan and Inkie does not look impressed!

Inkie's back

Our kitten, InkieNot that she has been away, but our sweet little Inkie has spent the last week sulking. We had our little cat spayed on Tuesday 2nd November. As expected the operation was simple and we collected Inkie at 4pm from the vet the same day. She was all cute and woozy and wearing one of those plastic cone collars to stop her licking her stitches.

At home, she was straight out of her cat box and staggering around the house, banging her plastic collar into everything. Poor Cubbie – who had himself been sulking all day at Inkie’s absence – didn’t know what to make of her and stayed well out of her way. Inkie didn’t care, she was too busy careering around the house and catching her collar on everything.

All was fine for two hours until Inkie decided she did not like her collar and it was coming off. There was a bit of a scuffle as she got it stuck in her mouth and Derek and I got scratched when we tried to help her. Then she managed to catch her claw in the strip of bandage that was tied round her neck to keep it on and undid the knot!

There was no way Derek and I were getting that collar back on, Inkie was all claws and uncooperative. So we nipped back round to our vets – who are thankfully only a quick walk round the corner – and got her fitted with a lovely red pet surgical t-shirt.

Our kitten Inkie, modelling her surgical t-shirt

Back home Inkie seemed much happier, still very wobbly, but she wasn’t attacking the t-shirt and it didn’t hinder her getting around. Derek and I went to bed feeling very happy that the worst – Inkie’s operation – was over and Inkie could get on with recovering. Inkie had other ideas

Kitty play time

Kitty play time

The next morning Inkie made it quite clear she was not happy. I won’t go into all the unpleasent details, other than to say that during the week she had to wear the suit Inkie refused to use a litter tray, sat around sulking, and wouldn’t let us cuddle her. She also put on a performance each time she moved, shaking her legs, like there was something wrong with them and behaving as though she had no sense of balance. We actually began to worry about her until we took the suit off and she immediately returned to normal, then when the suit went back on the sulky behaviour returned.

This continued until Wednesday when we booked her in to have her stitches removed and the suit came off. Her stitches were actually due to be removed on the Friday, but we could not take anymore of our naughty cat and fortunately the vet agreed her stitches were okay to come out early.

I’m pleased to say the transformation in Inkie, once her suit was taken off, was instant. She is still being a bit naughty about using her litter trays, but that is our Inkie and part of that comes from the upset of being rejected by her first family. We are just happy she is back to playing, chasing Cubbbie around the house and enjoying lots of cuddles.

And she's off

Our kitten Inkie, being held in Lindsay's arms as she goes outside for the first time

Curious Inkie face

Outside that is. We already had a cat flap from our previous boys, so once Inkie was all healed up after her little operation, and all the sulking that went with it, there was no reason not to let her out. There’s a lot in our garden for Inkie to discover including our bunny, Fern and that was our first priority – introductions. I’m pleased to say that was actually pretty straight forward and once the initial curiosity had warn off, Fern went back to her chomping and Inkie went off exploring.

With a lot to learn about her feline abilities, Inkie managed to fall off a fence into a neighbours garden. I’m not really sure what she thought she was doing. There are some shrubs along the fence in our neighbours garden and we think she jumped for them, probably thinking they’d hold her weight, but they didn’t and we heard Inkie fall through the plants and then silence. There was nothing we could do, so we left our little cat to it. Rather than be upset or scared Inkie obviously thought it was wonderful, as the next thing we knew she was tearing round the newly discovered garden. We had no choice but to leave our little cat outside to continue her adventures. Having never used the cat flap before, or shown much interest in it, we were very happy when a tired little cat made her own way into the house and curled up for a very long nap.

The fence Inkie managed to fall off!

The fence Inkie managed to fall off!

Inkie’s confidence and interest in the outside world is growing every day. While it’s difficult not to have our little cat around all the time, it’s also great to see her blossoming into an adventurous cat, enjoying her life and freedom to roam.

It's snowing!

We aren’t used to getting a lot of snow in our little part of Britain, and especially not at the end of November! Inkie was just getting to grips with the outside world when we woke up to a light covering of snow in the garden and more still falling. It is always a wonderful experience to see your fuzzy family members discover snow for the first time, and Inkie is no different. It was a very excited little cat who we took outside and introduced to snow.

Of course Inkie is fascinated by the way it moves when it kicks up off her paws and has been happily chasing it about and trying to catch it. We’re not expecting a deep covering, nor for it to last very long, but as a first experience snow is snow and Inkie thinks it’s wonderful. Derek and I aren’t so sure though, the lovely white snow makes our little cat look cream!

Cubbie the brave makes it outside

Cubbie watching the world go by

Cubbie watching the world go by

Bless him. It certainly is a long and winding road getting to know our sweet guy, Cubbie. He’s such a lovely boy and he obviously tries very hard, but goodness does he take a long time, and a lot of encouragement, to do things. When it came to getting him outside I have to admit Derek kind of lost our patience. It was just getting far too frustrating for us, every time we went outside to sit with our bunny, Fern, he’d come to the dinning room window and watch us through the glass!

In a bout of frustration we cornered our sweet guy, grabbed him and dragged him outside. It was not very glamorous, Cubbie is a very big cat and he does not like being picked up at all, still we kept hold of him long enough to get him down the bottom of the garden. Once released Cubbie flew down the garden and back through the cat flap and we felt terrible. That was until the next day and Cubbie snuck out by himself.

For the next week or so Cubbie would venture into the garden without any encouragement, but rather upsettingly he’d shoot back in when we went out to see Fern. Gradually we have seen improvement in our silly cat and Cubbie now stays out with us, choosing to skulk around in the shrubbery rather than sit out in plain sight. Our bunny Fern is not too sure of this new arrival in her garden, as Cubbie moves around quite low to the ground, almost like he’s hunting, it bothers Fern because she doesn’t know that he’s a big scaredy cat who wouldn’t hurt a fly. The way Cubbie’s going I’m sure his confidence will keep improving and who knows he and Fern may end up best of friends.

Our cat, Cubbie peers our from the flower bed, while Inkie lays on the path in front of him

Cubbie peers our from the flower bed behind Inkie

Silly Cubbie

What can I say, our silly boy Cubbie is still skulking round the garden, but at least he’s having a bit more fun. It’s amazing to see him outside, especially as summer approaches. Being bundled out the back door by Derek wasn’t the most graceful of introductions to the garden, but it worked and Cubbie loves it.

As you can see, Cubbie is still prowling around the garden like a big monster is going to jump out at him at any moment, but he’s having fun and that is the most important thing.

Cat vs Rat: Inkie takes on Kiki and loses

I was at my desk working when Inkie thought she could sneak into the office and get her naughty little paws on my gorgeous little rats. Inkie was so intent on her mischief she didn’t even notice I, or a little rat called Kiki, were watching her…

Inkie thinks she is sneaking up on the rats, but little Kiki (at the top of the cage) has noticed the feline visitor

Inkie thinks she is sneaking up on the rats, but little Kiki (at the top of the cage) has noticed the feline visitor

Kiki, the brave, climbs down to rub noses with Inkie and say 'Hello'

Kiki, the brave, climbs down to rub noses with Inkie and say 'Hello'

Oh dear, it's all too much for Inkie and she concedes defeat, leaving little Kiki victorious!

Oh dear, it's all too much for Inkie and she concedes defeat, leaving little Kiki victorious!

The final score: Cat 0 Rat 1

Cubbie saves the day

After the terrible high winds that hit parts of Britain this month, one of our beautiful trees blew down. All was not lost though, our super brave boy Cubbie was on hand to make sure we were all okay…

Cubbie saves the day

Inkie's under the weather

Our little cat, Inkie sitting on my deskOur sweet little Inkie was taken ill with a tummy upset at the weekend. It started Sunday morning, she was in the back garden having woken that morning her bright happy self, but just after breakfast we noticed she was being unwell. At first we thought nothing of it, maybe she had a fur ball, but as the day progressed little Inkie got poorlier.

In a vain attempt to help her we popped out and got some furball paste. With it being Sunday we didn’t feel it was serious enough to call an emergency vet, but wanted to try something to help her. She wasn’t very impressed when we smeared it on her front paws, but she managed to lick it off. By bedtime though it was obvious she didn’t have a furball, and she was very ill through the night. First thing Monday morning I took her to the vet and got her some medicine. She was given an injection to stop her vomiting and one to settle her tummy, and while her temperature was a little high, we hoped that was enough.

While the injections had helped settle Inkie’s tummy, she was still very glum and not herself. By the end of Tuesday, she still hadn’t eaten anything, and while she hadn’t been sick since her injection we were still worried for her so took her back to the vets. Our vets are lovely and squeezed us in at the end of the day, so both Derek and I cold take her together. Poor little Inkie was not impressed and cried the whole journey. It was worth all the upset though, as we were given a course of antibiotics for her.

After a little rest I gave Inkie a tablet, she wasn’t very pleased, more because she was feeling so poorly rather than not being good a talking tablets. We went to bed still very worried about our little cat. She hid herself away in a quiet corner, as she had been doing since being taken ill, but in the early hours our cheeky little cat made an appearance and jumped on the bed to sleep on me.

Even though Derek and I were tired, after several sleepless nights with our poorly little cat, we were very happy to be woken by Inkie. This morning Inkie looked at her food, she didn’t eat anything, but the fact she was interested was an improvement.

She looks so much happier already, and I am confident with lots of TLC our little cat is on the mend. It is also great news to Fern and Cubbie too, they have both been missing Inkie’s silly antics. Cubbie especially is very stressed, hardly eating anything himself and hiding away in the garden.

On the up

I am absolutely delighted to say Inkie has been recovering from her tummy upset in leaps an bounds – sometimes quite literally :-). It started with her personality returning, she has became much more active again, and wants lots of cuddles and fuss. She was even pleased to see Cubbie when he went up to her for some reassurance. Fortunately he is being very gentle with Inkie, sometimes with the size difference between the two he can send her flying when they play, he doesn’t mean to, but he doesn’t realise his own strength and size.

Fern, on the other hand is not being so understanding, and wants her playful friend back now! Our bunny has always been full of personality (as we call it, you may say bossy), but she went up to Inkie and wasn’t very impressed with Inkie’s lack of energy, so she growled at our poorly little cat and pulled a tuft of fur out too! Inkie was okay, but it shows just how much our critters love each other and miss their silly games together. As Inkie picks up though things are getting much better, and Fern is getting the attention she enjoys from Inkie.

Inkie’s appetite is returning too, though as Derek found out her tummy is still very delicate. He accidentally gave her a bit of Whiskers wet cat food, rather than her special bland food, and it didn’t sit well in her tummy. Fortunately there were no long term upsets, and we are making sure to give her the right food until she is 100% better.

Crazy Critters

All is back to normal with our silly bunch of garden dwelling critters. Inkie is finished with her medicine, and while we still have her on bland food, she is 100% better and back to her naughty self. Fern and Cubbie are just as thrilled as we are with Inkie’s recovery and the silly garden antics have resumed as normal. There is lots of bouncing, from all three of them, chasing and general silliness.

Derek and I have been working in the garden, getting ready for summer, and the silly gang have been busy helping too.

Our cats, Inkie and Cubbie on the garden bench with Fern the bunny underneath

The Silly Gang

Gerbil watching

After the arrival of our new gerbils, Inkie has been very impatient to meet them all. Originally we had all six of our new arrivals upstairs in our home office, which offers limited access for Inkie – she gets fur all over our computers if we leave her alone in there. As the gerbils got older we had to split the boys up from their sisters and they are now in our dinning room, this means Inkie can visit with them whenever she wants. We are being very careful that she doesn’t get carried away with the excitement of our tiny additions, but for now Inkie is enjoying lots of gerbils watching.

Cat vs Rat (Round Two): Inkie takes on Blossom and loses

Some rats love our cats and some are just not impressed, and despite Inkie’s best efforts to be friends Blossom is not impressed by our cute little cat.

Poor Inkie just doesn’t understand.

A very sad day

Our beautiful tabby cat, CubbieThere is no easy way to say this but our darling, super shy boy, Cubbie has died. It has been an awful blow for our family as he slipped away so suddenly.

The problem started not even a week ago when Cubbie was poorly in the night. The weather has been unseasonably hot here, and Cubbie has a history with fur balls. We go through this every summer, he’s a fluffy boy and because of his shyness is difficult to groom. So after being ill and not being too keen on his food – we thought, ‘fur ball’. Like we do every year we got him some fur ball paste and battled to smear it on his paws. Cubbie was not impressed, but he never is when we have to get hold of him.

It was a few days later that Derek spotted Cubbie in the garden frothing at the mouth. It was a really hot day, so I was concerned he was dehydrated. He was still drinking and using the loo, but not eating. In a panic we rushed him straight to the vet. We were scared, but in no way prepared for what was going to happen.

The vet took one look at Cubbie and ordered some blood tests. We waited for the results while Cubbie was looked after by the vetinary staff. We didn’t get to see Cubbie again that night, but the vet explained Cubbie had acute kidney failure. His results were completely off the charts, and his prognosis was very poor.

The vet warned us Cubbie could have consumed something he shouldn’t, like anti-freeze or even a lily plant. We were sure there was no way Cubbie got near anti-freeze, as he never leaves the garden. Still as soon as we got home we checked our garden for anything harmful, to help Cubbie and keep Inkie safe. After finding nothing, we could only assume Cubbie had some sort of infection that had caused his body to shut down. The only thing we could do was wait and hope, while he was treated in an attempt to help his body start working again.

Sadly despite our vets best efforts, Cubbie’s kidneys couldn’t recover. Derek and I went to be with him as the vet put him peacefully to sleep. It was horribly painful, but our sweet boy, who could be so shy, did look reassured to see us.

We had always believed that our Cubbie would live a long and secretive life hidden away in our garden, popping out of cover for the odd visit with us, as was his way. Sadly this wasn’t meant to be, but he had the life he wanted with his two best friends, Inkie and Fern. There is a large fluffy whole in all our hearts at the moment, but we shall try to remember him with happiness and take comfort in the fun times and love we shared as a family.

Missing our Cubbie

Inkie & Cubbie relaxing together

Cubbie & Inkie relaxing together

We’re all having a rough time coping with the loss of Cubbie, especially little Inkie. It started with her crying a bit more than usual and getting quite upset when she thought it was feeding time, even if there was food in her bowl. Then we noticed her fur wasn’t looking quite right, and we knew she was really struggling. We plugged in a Feliway diffuser and our little Inkie was feeling, and looking, better after only a few hours. Obviously we know it’s not going to be that easy for our little cat, she loved Cubbie dearly, but we hope with love, time and the extra boost of the Feliway, she will learn to cope without her beautiful big brother.

Our bunny, Fern seems to okay with the sudden loss of Cubbie. She was very close to him as well, seeing as Cubbie never left the garden he was always nearby for our bunny and we would often catch them hanging out together. With Fern heading towards her tenth birthday, and living in the garden by herself, I had always taken comfort in the thought Cubbie would always be there for her. Sadly this wasn’t meant to be, and we will be keeping an extra close eye on both his little friends to make sure they adjust to life without him as smoothly as possible.

It is still hard to accept he is not hidden away somewhere in the garden, and although his gentle soul will live on in our hearts, we are all going to miss him everyday for many years to come.

Cubbie, Inkie and Fern

Cubbie, Inkie and Fern

Taking care of Inkie

Our little cat Inkie curled up asleep on the sofaOur little Inkie is learning to cope without Cubbie in her life. She is looking much calmer since we’ve had her back on the Feliway and of course we are being super attentive to her, not that we didn’t spoil our little cat anyway :-).

Another big change in Inkie’s life is the arrival of Jessie. It all happened quite soon after the loss of Cubbie, but our little kitten is in no way a replacement for our sweet boy. Nor do we expect her to be for Inkie. We will take our time introducing the two cats, and Inkie is going to set the pace. At the moment Inkie is curious but a little scared of our new arrival. I’m not sure she knows what to make of the little black creature. They have seen each other several times, and there has been no aggression shown, which is good, although Inkie’s response is to run away.

Jessie is still happy being kept in our cat room, which makes things simpler. She is slowly exploring the house while we are here to keep an eye on her, and supervise any interaction between the two. Apart from being cautious if we smell of Jessie, Inkie is happy to be in the house and sleep like normal. As tiny and precious as Jessie is, Inkie is still our number one princess, but we are hopeful the two will become good friends and Inkie will enjoy having a new companion to hang around with.

Cubbie's Story