How do you feed a cat like Mimi?

She’s the most darling girl. She came to Best Friends from a shelter that was ordered to be shut down. The poor thing was very skinny and has feline leukemia. But that’s alright. Best Friends has a special building just for cats with the feline leukemia virus. So she’ll have plenty of playmates and fun in a beautiful, open building.

But there’s another problem. Mimi has megaesophagus. That means that she can’t hold her food down. She’ll need to be fed a special way, with an elevated food dish to keep her throat straight. She may also need her food blended – her caregivers are just going to have to experiment! Keeping a cat with megaesophagus well-fed and happy may be a challenge.

But now, at least, Mimi is going to get the loving care that she really deserves. And by the time her caregivers figure out just how to help her, they’ll be ready, with any luck, to send instructions to her new family some day!
Progress Journal

Creature of habit

Mimi leaves an impression on everyone she meets
Friday, April 11, 2014
From caregiver Barbara's journal:

Everyone who meets her, sees that there’s something about Mimi.  “She’s just so cute!”  They say.  And, really, so many tabby and white cats are cute, but Mimi has an engaging focus, which she frequently employs for the point of play.  But sometimes she just wants to talk.

When she first arrived at Calmar, Mimi had some adjusting to do, and some health crises to overcome. But underneath all the drama, I think she was figuring out how to make the best life possible for herself. She saw all the caregivers and all the food.  The other cats were okay, nothing to get upset about.  She got used to her routine of being towered each night, so the others could get their kibble bowls.  Not something she would choose for herself, but she seems to have put a positive spin on that requirement, enjoying her beds and burrowing under the blankets, practicing her cuteness skills, most likely.

She has a predictable, though adorable, habit: Each morning, immediately after being released from her tower, she will make a Beeline for the scratching post right outside the Memory Room.  Midway, she will stretch each leg—really stretch, pointing first one then the other of  her little feet, way backwards—sometimes stopping, sometimes fitting the stretches into her forward movement towards the scratcher. Then, she’ll hook her nails in the carpet or sissel of the pole and stretch out her front end, get in a few good scratches, and check out what’s happening in the kitchen.   (Maybe I shouldn’t mention this, but we recently acquired two brand new chairs for the Memory Room, which now have some recognizable markings.)

Not pointing any fingers.

Maybe Mimi realizes she is treated differently, which she might choose to think of as “special.” And to gratify our adoration of her, she has developed a little repertoire of tactics and games, the object of which is to engage you in conversation.  Here’s a short and incomplete list (she is probably dreaming up some more, as I write this): the Direct Gaze, the Peek-a-Boo Box, the Tail Flick, and the Plop.

But my favorite is the Tail Flick.  Speak directly to her, with all the required silliness of a crazy cat person, using your high voice and nodding dramatically, and she will join right in on the conversation, gazing meaningfully at you and talking with her tail, making little flicks as you pause for her to reply.  She is not a vocal cat.  I don’t know if this is because of her throat issues.  She does have a traditional voice, which is faint, like a silent meow with some edge to it.  Sometimes she will open her mouth and make a sound back at you when you talk to her.  She does not want you to think she is getting repetitive with the tail thing.  

Mimi concocts many unexpected moments for us.  I think we each privately say to ourselves, “This cat is a comic genius!”