Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Announcing the Virtual Cat

I learned about Widget Box last night and immediately noticed Maukie The Virtual Cat and downloaded his widget for this blog. My son Nicholas was happy to see this tuxedo cat on the computer and liked hearing the meows, which caused confusion to our Tuxedo cat Junior.

reminds me of the virtual cat, Max that Nicholas cared for with his Purr Pals game. The job of taking care of Max was overwhelming at times for Nicholas. He could not relax after lunch because he had to check on Max and make sure he was fed and received some attention. Then there was the litter removal and play time. At least four times a day Nicholas was on the Nintendo DS tending to Max.

In September of 2007 one of the feral cats from under our house vanished on a weekend that had been raining here in Southern California. We saw Junior on Friday night and not again until Sunday afternoon did he reappear. He was limping and looked like he had fallen from a roof or tree and maybe broke his leg. It just so happened that Nicholas had made a connection with this one feral cat that looked exactly like his late father Stevie and his mother Sheera, who was busy with another litter of five under the house. Her first three litters did not have a long life span, and Nicholas wanted desperately to touch and bond with one of the feral cats.

There are other neighborhood cats that converge on our lawn that are domesticated and like to be touched. Junior was the first feral cat that started in our yard that Nicholas was able to cuddle with on occasion when we brought him inside. This usually took place when Matthew was already asleep for the night.

We were able to get Junior into the house and kept him in a corner for the night with an impromptu litterbox. Once Matthew went to school we headed off to the Animal Hospital recommended by neighhor. This was the first visit to such a place for both of us and Nicholas was happy to see so many cats in their carriers there. Luckily there were not that many dogs that Monday morning.

A decision had to be made quickly for Junior, he could get his leg amputated, be put to sleep or have surgery. It just so happened that Nicholas started homeschooling with California Virtual Academy and was going to be isolated without friends to play with. He had already bonded with Junior so putting him to sleep was out of the question.

I contacted an agency that helps people from the Animal Hospital and she said that she would take the cat and bring it to her Hospital and care for him at her house. She was willing to amputate the leg. Nicholas was sobbing in the waiting room and the clock was ticking. The cost for the amputation was about $700 with the surgery quoted around $1200.

I had applied for a Union credit card and got the card in the mail that afternoon, which made the decision for the surgery easier to make. The Animal Hospital gave me discounts and later had to do surgery on his tail. We were visiting the Animal Hospital twice a week for over a month to get Junior checked out and more antibiotics. He had the cone on his neck with the white tie and colorful bandages in red and purple on his tail and leg. We picked out a carrier at Petco and Nicholas was happy to talk with all the pet owners about Junior and our feral cat colony. This really helped him deal with homeschooling the first month as he was mingling about the waiting room meeting and admiring new cats.

With Junior in the home Max was not being tended to as often and one day the game bombed and would not start again, which upset Nicholas very much. He is now happier without that added stress. We are also enjoying a new cat show on Animal Planet Saturday mornings called House cat Housecall. This is a reality tv show where three cat issues are explored. Nicholas would like to see this show expanded to one hour. The visits seem to take place in the Los Angeles area, so maybe we will have a problem that needs resolving in the near future. He does enjoy watching the reruns of Pet Star with Mario Lopez on Animal Planet. We really wanted to get into the studio audience for the show but it ended before it was a reality.

Since Nicholas has a love for cats I looked around for some reading material for him and learned of the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. Nicholas loves this series and posts questions on their website. I recently joined a book site called Good Reads and rated many autism related books. I decided to perform a cat book search and found Erin Hunter listed. Nicholas enjoyed going through the book listings last night and rating all these books. I even signed up for some groups so he can chat with others about this series.

Warriorcats is a fun site for kids who like cats to visit. The Warriors Fan Group on Good Reads is worth looking into as well.

Some books to explore on cats and also autism and cats:

My Cat: How to Have a Happy, Healthy Pet

My Goldfish ate my cat!

Cool Cats, Calm Kids

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

Dasha's Journal: A Cat Reflects on Life, Catness and Autism

There is a new game show coming to Game Show Network in November. It is called Meow Mix Think Like A Cat


Casdok said...

Maukie looks great!
And i love the cats and autism books!

JillyFlorio said...

That is a cute kitty and I enjoyed your story about Junior. :)

Amy said...

How fun! A virtual cat, maybe I should get one for my girls it's the closest they will get to getting a pet for awhile.

Daisy said...

Love the book list! I have cat and dog allergies, so we have rabbits. I can vouch for the attachment. Money is no object when they're sick.

Maddy said...

I'm on goodreads too. I'll have to see if I can find you there.

Love the Widget [and link] but I couldn't find a goldfish - don't want Pepperidge to sue me I suppose.

lonestar818 said...

Maukie is cute! We have a cat and he's great buddies with our youngest son (they are almost the same age, lol).

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