04 Jan

Panda Cat, my new foster and YOUR new kitty?

I found Panda one night a few weeks ago. I was late, rushing to get into the city on time to see a show, and stopped short at the sight of a small black cat with distinctive white markings on it’s face and little white feet. Panda was TERRIFIED, darting behind anything she could find to hide from the traffic of the busy street.

Now, my neighborhood is home to any number of street cats—many of whom are fed by feral feeders like me—and normally my Catress alarm doesn’t go offwhen I see a cat on the sidewalk –after a quick check to make sure he/she isn’t injured, sick or pregnant I usually continue on my way.

This particular corner, however, is not ground zero for street cats—in fact in the 10 years I’ve lived in this ‘nabe I’ve not seen a single one. Add to that the fact that Panda was friendly—coming right up to me and meowing a plea for rescue…I had no choice! All doubt was erased as a garbage truck lumbered past and a panicked Panda squeezed herself into the 3 inch gap behind a metal security gate. Cursing, I ran back to my apt to retrieve a large carrier, a can of salmon, a can of tuna and a large towel. I was hoping I wouldn’t need a trap—she seemed friendly enough and mine was still out on loan.

Success! Panda came running righ back out from behind the metal gate when she smelled the salmon. Into the carrier she went, and I rushed her back upstairs, into my office/foster room. I was still planning to make my show that night, so my preparations for Panda’s lair were harried at best. I threw down a litter pan with litter, gave her food and water and made sure there were a few soft places for a Panda to curl up and sleep…waiting for her rescuer to return, to shower love and affection upon me….

…..or something like that. When I returned Panda was curled up, alright, but as far away from me as possible. She was on top of a stack on old CD’s I’d been meaning to toss out, and when I approached she HISSED. I have to say I was taken aback! She had seemed so friendly…but then I got a hold of myself. This poor kitty has no idea what’s going on. Her fur was so glossy I could only imagine she had either been tossed out or was lost. I let her have her space, and quickly made an appointment for the next morning at my vet. “She should def be scanned for a microchip” I told them.” I’m sure she belongs to someone”.

Unfortunately, it would take a few more weeks of Panda-Care and another vet before we were able to confirm that she wasn’t in fact microchipped. The morning after her rescue Panda was one unhappy kitty at the vet. The vet techs couldn’t get anywhere near her, and I was terrified they’d get hurt if they tried. I had to leave the room while the wrangled her back into her carrier with a pole. Poor Panda. We went home—she to rest, me to order these amazing animal-handling gloves. I also downloaded this guide to clicker-training cats! Pretty cool…

Panda learned quickly. Sure, I had a few moments of terror when she chose to curl up on my chest FAR too close to my FACE…and I found myself wondering if I should be wearing one of these Bee-Keeping masks while the socialization was underway…

Thankfully, in a matter of weeks I no longer needed the gloves, except when I brought Panda back to the vet, just in case. The vet and I decided to tranquilize her so she wouldn’t be traumatized by the vaccines, and while she was under we decided to spay her as well, which was FABULOUS. Later that evening I brought home a slightly sore but newly spayed and vaccinated Panda back to her lair (insert photo), and all was well in Catress’s world…

Meanwhile, Momo and Sweetie seemed unaware that a new foster had taken up residence in the office. I guess they assumed I went in there for 30 minutes a day to work? Not sure, but at least they didn’t seem bothered when I emerged from my Panda petting sessions (or, as my cat sitter calls them, “Panda pet-pets”…

Soon I will list her for adoption. I do want her to be able to leave the confines of my office because she is a social kitty and longs to be explore and stretch her little Panda paws. That said, so many kitties are in crates right now—and those are the lucky rescued ones!—so I’d say Panda has a pretty good deal until I find her a forever home. Keep you posted!

UPDATE 1/4/15:

Panda has become QUITE the smush-cat. She loves being cuddled, DEMANDS that she be picked up and likes nothing more than a long snuggle after a meal (and she loves her meals!)

She is FeLV and FIV negative, spayed, and has all her shots.

We’ve returned to the vet for our rabies booster and Panda was a perfect sweetheart. She’s a fast learner!

Panda is a very talkative ladycat, but we are pretty sure she will pipe down once she is allowed to roam free in her new home. Right now she is still relegated to the back office and this very social lady would far prefer to be mixing it up at your place and curling up in your lap 🙂