a reply to: graceunderpressure
Oh my goodness Grace, he is my main man and the little angel found me almost 13 years ago now. I was still working with feral colonies then I was
coming out of a meeting, walking through the hot bus station parking lot. There he was, about the size of a fat hamster making his little way across.
I walked over and picked him up and as soon as I looked into his sweet face I knew he was blind and I knew I was taking him with me. Some street kids
hanging about said they had been feeding him potato chips and little coffee creamers. The first two vets I took him to see wanted to euthanize him
immediately, but it was clear to me that he was so determined to live. He was my biggest strength when I had my fight with cancer. Oh, I Love him.
Anyhoo, I could go on all day about the little guy but... Crazy Ivan. First of all, Wow the Russian River area is amazing and Wild. It's clear from
his affectionate ways that he is not feral and must have spent at least the first few months with someone who did pay him some attention. You are
correct in that this likely added to both his insecurities and his use of what I think of as strictly animalistic forms of communication.
The other thing is that feral colonies are extremely ritualistic and being a young neutered male it must have been so hard for him. Cats are wired for
social structure and it would have been stressful and scary for the little guy out there.
The great thing is that he is still a young boy and can be taught the ways of his new family.
The first thing is the biting/attacking suddenly, during or immediately after affection is a very common thing. Generally it's a way for young cats
to bond with their siblings and most of the time the Queen or dominant female will have schooled him, this is how they are supposed to learn how far
they can take it. He has yet to realize that while he is protected by fur you are essentially fur less and while his intent is not to hurt, I'm sure
it does. You mentioned that this comes out of nowhere, but to him the signal is clear. It could be a dilation of pupils or he might get very still all
of a sudden. What works for me is the moment he attacks, calmly drop your arms to your sides or behind your back and look up and off to the distance.
What you are telling him is that you will not play this game and will ignore him if he chooses to do this. When he calms down you can touch him again
but do so casually, as if it never happened.
So, on to Poor Joe. I wanted to ask if Ivan is ever calm around Joe. If he is I'm curious about when this might be and what is Joe doing when it
happens. Does Ivan have a climbing tree or a few high perches that Joe cannot possibly reach ? Often times this helps so much when cats feel like they
can escape, even if the need to escape is all in his head so to speak.
I hope I'm not getting too wordy but a couple of last thoughts. When he was out there in the wild woods his games and toys would have been incredibly
varied. Mice, moths, lizards, plants, in other words, an entire forest of things to check out. If he is an indoor cat, and honestly he probably should
be in his case, it might be great if you can, create not only a few perches but an indoor cat walk. This could be a couple of shelves with a bit of
carpet on them so he can sneak about off the floor and essentially explore his space in a new way. It's also fun to hide treats in different spots
that only he can get to so he will use his energy to basically go "hunting".
Lastly, his claw. It's very possible that he injured it while exploring or getting away from one of many predators in the area. It's quite amazing
that he made it without more serious injury. One solution could be to clip that claw a bit shorter than the rest, carefully as not to cut the quick.
The other solution could be to get a set of "Soft Claws". These are little soft plastic covers that could be used on this nail only leaving the rest
to do what they do.
I hope this helps and please don't hesitate to send a u2u anytime.
Oh, I almost forgot. If Ivan has Bright green eyes, black nose and mauve paw pads he is either a Russian Blue or is a direct relation.