Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lois Update

Lois the kitten is becoming Lois the cat. She’s about two months shy of her first birthday, and she’s finally showing signs that napping is something she enjoys as opposed to something that comes upon her suddenly and arrests her playing.

Also, as she’s grown older, she’s gotten fluffier and fluffier. We had no idea that she would be a long-haired cat. But there you go. Long-haired, silky, and fluffy. With a long, amazingly luxurious tail. What a surprise!

Here’s another item: Lois likes to go sight-seeing with us in the car. Ever since we rescued her from her “wilderness” ordeal last summer, she’s been okay with being in the car. We’ve taken her to the vet’s only once (to meet our vet and do the follow-up for the vaccinations she got at the shelter), and we leave her carrier open in the room with her all the time, so she doesn’t necessarily equate her carrier and the car with being poked with needles.

So, on random weekend afternoons, we’ve been taking her out for drives. We call it her “enrichment activities.” One Saturday afternoon, we drove her clear to Brazito and back! We stopped at the Burger King drive-thru and got a cheeseburger (plain, with nothing but the cheese on it), and shared some of it with her. Guess what—she liked it. (Duh. Cats have a thing for cheeseburgers, right?)

I believe that’s what behavioral specialists call “positive reinforcement.”

I’ve taken her to Columbia a few times to “visit Grandma and Grandpa” when I have something to drop off or pick up at my parents’. I close the bedroom doors so I won’t have to spend time trying to get her out from under a bed. (Though maybe my parents would like her to do a little dust-mopping while she’s visiting; she’s a really great dust mop!) And she loves their screened-in porch, with its excellent wide railing, which is perfect for watching the birds and squirrels that visit their backyard.

One afternoon, we drove with her to the Mari-Osa Access, east of town off Highway 50/63. We parked in the lot, with a nice view of the Osage River, and stayed in the car with the windows down just a little bit. We had a little picnic, with cheese, crackers, and fresh and dried fruits. It was so exciting when a grizzled old dog from the nearby trailer park trotted near our car as he performed what was undoubtedly his routine inspection of the perimeter of the lot.

Yesterday, we drove up Route 179 to the Marion Access to the Missouri River. Lois and I enjoyed the sunshine in the car while Sue walked down the boat ramp and took photos of the river. On this curvy road, Lois got experience in keeping upright as the car veered back and forth, up and down.

Today, we drove to Tebbetts and back. On the way out, we headed east on Mokane Road, just to give her experience with bumpy gravel roads. Hey, no problem! And there was a small herd of black angus munching on corn crop residue just off the little road we took north to 94. I stopped for a few moments to let Lois see them, and they started to approach the car (just an electric fence between them and us). They probably thought we’d throw them a bale of hay or something. And boy, this was exciting for Lois, too!

When we drive with her, we leave her cat carrier open in the back seat. She goes in and out; it’s her safe space. When she gets tired of looking out the windows, she rolls around in her carrier.

So, maybe someday Lois will travel with us in the car somewhere. Like, on a weekend trip. I think that’d be pretty neat. We should probably also get her used to a leash and harness. Meanwhile, these excursions are getting her used to the car, and not terrified of going for rides. And they’re giving her the excitement she craves! Weeee!!! . . . And we have fun, too.

(Photos, except for the "cheezeburger" pic, are by Sue. She sits in the back seat and keeps an eye on Lois, while I focus on driving.)

No comments: