Happy Tails #6 – “Cranky _ _ _”
My alarm went off and I looked out the window to see a dark cloudy sky. I was really not feeling it today and wanted to call off. I felt sick. All the midterms I had this week and my lack of sleep really contributed to my migraines and runny nose. I snoozed. Twice.
I managed to pull myself together and did not use any excuses for missing my day at C.A.R.E because I have commitment and responsibilities. I know my fellow volunteers would appreciate my presence and so would the cats. I skipped breakfast and managed to get there on time. I knew I was not in the best mood, but I would try hard not to displace it to my job or at anyone.
Once I walked in (back door in the laundry room), I looked at the cage where Cubs was originally kept. I did not see him. I walked into the front room and found him in a new cage in the corner. It was the worst cage of all. It was in my main front room and in the bottom right hand corner. It was dark and stuffy in that spot. I looked at him and he put his nose between the cage bars to ask for some affection and petting. He had a carrier in the middle of the cage and it gave him no room to walk at all. He seemed trapped and upset. He only let me pet him for a few short seconds before he turned away his head. I knew he was definitely not feeling his best today either. I looked at his cage notes and volunteers left notes that were “sweet but moody,” “only wanted out, pushed forcefully at door,” or “cranky.”
I spoke to my supervisor and she was already aware of the problem because another volunteer had already notified her. She told me we can go help him first. We wanted to clean the cage first, but it was a big mistake. Cubs already cranky would not comply and kept trying to push his way out the cage door once we opened it. Now remember, he’s a big boy and he has a lot of strength. Since the cage was so cramped we could not even hold him inside the cage to do the cleaning. My supervisor suggested we lure him into the carrier to clean the cage and then to move things around. We used A LOT of treats and finally got him into the carrier. Since Cubs was safe and secure, my supervisor told me to proceed doing what I need to do. I cleaned his cage, wiped it down, changed his litter, gave him new water, and put some more dry food in the bowl for him. He watched me as I cleaned. I saw the saddest eyes. I felt that he was saying “why did you lock me in here…I really want out.” After cleaning, my supervisor brought in a new carrier. It was still big, but just a tad smaller than the one he was already in. We arranged things around and he would finally have some room. We let him back into the cage and he immediately walked around once to sniff out the new place. He stuck his head inside the carrier and adjusted himself. He stuck his head out and looked pretty content. I said “hey baby, come here” and he did. He walked over to me and rubbed his head all over my hand. Awe.
This was a new experience for me. Helping a cat become more comfortable in their cage and switching things around. I walked into C.A.R.E. not feeling the greatest but left feeling satisfied and content. I helped Cubs and it felt great. I did not realize how animals can greatly affect my mood. Working with all the cats in the front room just made my day today. It was a nice stress reliever to all the midterms I had earlier in the week. (By the way, this was my first day working in the front room, a nice change and worked with cats I have never had to before.) From now on, when I see an upset, hissy, swatty, or moody cat, I am not just going to thing “cranky a _ _ ” (you can guess the word) in my head. I need to remember they are the way they are for a reason. It may not be as simple as just moving things around in their cage (like for Cubs). It could be a deeper problem and will take more empathy and patience to ensure we can help them feel better. It definitely takes time…
On a side note, here are some pictures to show you how C.A.R.E. is organized.
This is the laundry room:
This is the back room:
They call this configuration the kitty condos…
This is the main/front room: (Poor Cubs is in the bottom right corner)
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