What's in a name?

by Gwyn
(Newport, Wales, UK)

Boo and Nibbles

Boo and Nibbles

We have gained - accidentally - two rescue Siamese. A friend who knew I was an ex-Siamese breeder asked for an opinion on how to handle a pair of unresponsive Siamese cats.

When we first came across them, we were shown an apparently empty room with two pet carriers and blankets in it. We went in, and noticed that one of the blankets was trembling.

On lifting the cover he (the little Seal point one) fled and cowered in the corner wailing pitifully, whilst the Blue point just lay under his blanket completely inert and trying to ignore us.

It was explained that the cats had been brought in from a deceased lady's house, where they had been kept in a large cage in the middle of a complete house renovation and appeared to be terrified of people but clung to each other like brothers.

There was a large, friendly but nervous, docile male Blue point and a petite wisp of another male Seal point. We thought he was female at first because he was so tiny and delicate.

The Blue finally acknowledged me and crept out to sniff my hand and everyone exclaimed that was the first movement he had made in a week, not having eaten, drank, or even seemed to have moved.

In a trice they were ours, we found ourselves outside the shelter with two cats in baskets before we knew what had happened!

Never mind, we said, we know how to handle Siamese cats. We'll have them sorted in a few weeks ...

Getting home we sealed the place and let them out of their carriers and allowed them to wander, to familiarise themselves with their new home unhindered.

The little Seal - who came to be known as The Baby - immediately vanished into thin air whilst the Blue refused to come out of the cage.

Over the course of the next few days, we enticed the Blue out with food and fusses and he reluctantly came to investigate us and begin his new life, albeit suspiciously - to this day he still likes to hide under cover to sleep.

By the end of day three, we became convinced that The Baby had found a way of escaping for he was nowhere to be found and we looked everywhere!

We had just braced ourselves to confess to losing one of our new charges when we noticed that some food had been disturbed and we caught sight of him wriggling back into the middle of the mattress in the spare room.

I swear it was a 5mm gap - I still can't figure how he got in and out - but he did.

We decided to give him some space and let him get on with it for as long as he needed but were totally unprepared for the fact that we never saw him again for about six months.

He'd creep out when nobody was around, to eat and use his litter tray - they were both spotlessly clean then and still are now.

After a time we reckoned he just had to be taken to the vet for a check-up and his vaccinations, so we started a game hunt that lasted for half a day with us shutting him down into smaller and smaller spaces until he literally had nowhere to run.

After a massive fight we got him into the carrier and delivered him to the vet. With another fight we got him out again and discovered he was in the pink - healthy, well fed and immaculately groomed, with almost a shine you could shave in on his fur.

The vet reckoned the Blue had been secretly looking after him all that time, they certainly had a very close relationship.

During the next six months, we started to see him around more and he would come to about four or five feet away and stare at us for hours.

The slightest move from us in his direction sent him into a panic and he'd disappear again, and that earned him the name of Boo because that's all it took to lose him.

Over a year later he began to gradually approach us when he could see that we'd be unable to chase him, and so we became used to his visits to the bathroom.

The Blue had integrated well into the family and was now quite relaxed around us and slept at the foot of our bed whilst continuing his liaison role of looking after Boo.

He did have a very annoying habit though. After waking in the morning he'd wail for a while for breakfast and if we weren't quick enough he'd start eating plastic. Any plastic he could find!

Chomp chomp chomp - there would be shredded plastic everywhere, soggy magnetised plastic fragments that were almost impossible to collect.

As time passed, he did this more and more, driving us crazy and making our house the only plastic-free zone in the country. This earned him the name of Nibbles.

So Nibbles and Boo were here to stay and at some point during year three, Boo jumped up onto my desk and let me touch him.

About a month later he did it again, and that became the pattern for the rest of the year, which ended with him purring loudly for a short time, being stroked and then suddenly just disappearing again.

We are now in year six, and I can't move for him - he follows me everywhere and takes every opportunity to sit on my desk, getting in the way and demanding total attention.

However, he still will not allow anyone else near him except my wife who is starting to gain his trust.

If we have visitors he disappears until they leave, we know many people who believe we have only one cat!

And he will not tolerate being picked up by anyone - even me, although it's OK if he jumps onto my lap - he panics and loses it any other way.

Boo is now part of the family too - but strictly on his own terms and the slightest unexpected sound of movement still panics him into a frenzy. I have often wondered what his early life experiences were for him to be so perpetually terrified.

Although he trusts me now, visits to the vet are still fraught with danger of death or mutilation (of me, usually!) Although he appears to love me, he is still gravely suspicious and although I constantly expect him to have a heart attack, he is in absolutely perfect health and condition.

So take heart, anyone that experiences difficulty coming to terms with a rescue cat, don't worry if it takes a long, long, time - it will happen eventually.

In our case, it was a godsend that we had the two of them. Even though Boo wanted nothing to do with us, he saw that Nibbles was unharmed and happy and eventually decided to take a risk and give it a try.

And none of us would have it any other way now.

Reply from Caroline:

Another lovely story of Siamese cats from Gwyn! Thank you so much for sharing Boo and Nibbles's stories with us. There must have been times when I bet you wondered whether it was all really worth it - you must have enormous patience.

But having a rescued Siamese myself (who actually settled in very quickly, although not always cleanly) I know that living with Siamese cats is enormously rewarding, and totally worth all that hard work and heartache.

Like more rescue stories?

Take a look at another of Gwyn's stories, "Generations of Siamese", or otherwise, two rescue stories about some extremely fortunate kittens - "A Miracle Siamese", and "Factory Friend Found!"

Comments for What's in a name?

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 20, 2015
Madame Flash (or Princess Flash)
by: The Morans

She lived in the rocks above our house and would sneak down and drink water from the neighbor's cat bowl outside. My husband started coaxing her down and making sure she had some kibble. She was a mess - scrawny, starving and very spooky.

Most of her personality is the same as Boo here, but after three years she's moved closer and closer. She loves being inside and hates wet paws and being cold. She checks every morning at the back door of the garage to see if she wants to go out or not. If it's the least cold or wet she retreats back into the garage. We put a wedge in the door so she can come and go inside.

She spends every evening in with us and curls up close to my husband but no lifting or touching other than the head, tail and whiskers - she's quite vocal and talks a lot! We named her Flash because that's what she was, but I did a painting of her and when I captured the eyes and saw the sadness there, we decided she should be a princess or at least a lady! Thereby came the names.

LM

Jan 30, 2015
Such beautiful stories, such a lovely newsletter
by: Sharon and Squeeky3

I am sitting here, I am supposed to be working on last minute construction details for a large project we are starting on Monday (I am an interior architect) and I just cannot take my eyes off of the wonderful and heart warming stories your readers have shared with us of their amazing beautiful fur babies.

I must add, the tears are welling up in my eyes so I really cannot examine the blueprint drawings as well as I would like to, so that is my excuse at the moment.

I thank all of you for sharing these experiences of your lives with these magical and incredible love bugs, and I thank your wonderful leader for having this terrific newsletter.

I have had the privilege of sharing my life so far with four Siamese kitties, and one truly wonderful Maine Coon rescue from the streets. Our first one ended tragically after barely two weeks, I try not to recall but will never forget from over 40 years ago. Actually it turned into a learning experience, but it cost a life. I can have only one at a time, allergies.

When I have more time, and my eyes dry, I will share some of my stories with you. I Would love to tell the story of how my 21 lb Maine Coon came into my life, but he was not a Siamese, so it may not qualify.

Thank you again,
Sharon and Squeeky #3

I'm pleased you like the newsletters Sharon, and thank you for your comments. Of course you can post stories of any of your cats, not just the Siamese ones!

You may also like the website Maine Coon Cat Nation which is run by a friend of mine. Caroline


Jan 30, 2015
Please keep your precious kitty inside and safe
by: Sharon

Really not a fan of the great outdoors. I know cats are naturally outdoor creatures, but at one time so were humans. In America, as I am sure in England, not everyone loves our fur babies as we do.

So I am just so protective, and my home is quite large, I really do not feel I am depriving our Siamese of very much except getting bitten by a possibly rabid raccoon, dinner for a hungry coyote, or victim to the wheels of a nearby car, SUV or truck. Poisonous chemicals and humans are also a possibility in the suburban world I am a part of.

So, while I too have some amazing tear shedding stories to share with this incredible group, I just wish we could keep our kitties inside and safe from the world, which is not the most pleasant place to be. The lifespan of the average stray outdoor cat in America, I believe, is just two to four years if they are lucky.

I cherish each and every day I am given the privilege of sharing my life with my fur baby Squeeky 3. Thank you for your beautiful stories.

Feb 11, 2014
Another update
by: Gwyn

February 2014

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on previous posts, it means a lot to me to be amongst people that really care for our beautiful furry friends.

We all still miss Boo terribly, including Nibbles who takes care to be safe now by rarely going out of our garden. He is a very loving cat who hardly ever strays far from our side and likes nothing better than to be cuddled like a baby whilst having his tummy gently stroked as he nods off.

We were so sad to lose Boo but we are grateful to still have our faithful loving 10 year-old Blue still with us to make our lives happy.

Reading through the stories I wrote made my eyes go all leaky once again, I guess I'm just soppy in my old age!

We are still agonising over whether to get a companion for Nibbles, but perhaps it is too late now and he has adopted a teddy bear about his own size as his own friend and gets a daily grooming before he naps with it during the day while still insisting on sharing our bed at night - 'Yeah yeah I know, not healthy, Don't care!' he has always been spotlessly clean and smells of nothing at all so he's welcome.

Gwyn it is, as always, good to hear from you and lovely to be updated on Nibbles. The question of whether to get a companion cat for a single or bereaved one is so difficult to answer, and it's one I'm often asked. I haven't solved it yet because it depends so much on each cat's own temperament. I've often wondered whether to get a companion for my own, rescued, boy but he's a rugged individualist so in his case I think the answer's probably no. I love the fact that Nibbles has adopted a teddy bear!

As to sharing a bed - I wake up at some point most nights to find Bandit under the covers snuggled into the crook of my knees. He makes a good hot water bottle! Best wishes, Caroline.

Sep 25, 2013
Learned very important info
by: tim

I loved the story of Boo and Nibbles except for Boo dying. I had a seal point for eleven years - she got cancer and I had to put her down, one of the worst days of my life. I am a man,but I cried like a baby. It still hurts very much, it was the same as losing a child. Most people don't understand how someone could be so attached to a cat.

Her name was Cookie. I just adopted a one-year-old seal point a week ago and haven't seen her but once since she's been here, and that was when I let her out of her carrier. So the story of Boo and Nibbles was very informative for me - the main thing is patience!

I just hope I don't have to wait six months. I feed her every day, give her fresh water and even treats - which she doesn't eat. I know it will take time, perhaps a lot of time.

She came from a pound with 17 dogs - she was the only cat so she was pretty traumatized. She spent two months there so if it take six months or more so be it. Patience. Thank you so much for your story.

Tim

Aug 31, 2013
Sorry To Hear About Boo
by: Anonymous

Sorry it took me so long to comment, and I am so sorry to hear about Boo.

Around the time I was in 5th grade, my family discovered a tiny kitten underneath our van. The poor thing was so scared it ended up going into the engine. We called our neighbour for help and we managed to get him out. We took him to the local Humane Society as soon as we could, figuring he belonged to someone.

However, no one claimed him and a few days later, my mom adopted him, much to the distaste of our cat Tiger. We named him Charlie. He became a part of the family and he loved annoying Tiger.

One day my mom heard Charlie in the backyard making an unusual amount of noise. She went out and brought him into the house and right away it was obvious something was seriously wrong. My mom took Charlie for an emergency appointment with our veterinarian that blessedly works about five minutes down the street from us.

One of the first things the veterinarian did was take x-rays because like us she thought something was very wrong. Our house also backs onto one of the busiest streets in the city so I feared the worst, which was that Charlie was hit by a car and suffered massive internal trauma.

To my utter disbelief, the injuries were not as severe as I thought but they were still very serious. The x-rays revealed that Charlie had fractured both his spine and pelvis. I began wondering if it was inhuman not to euthanize him. Charlie spent a couple weeks at the clinic slowly stabilizing. We took him home with special care instructions and a cage provided to us.

A couple weeks after we brought him home it was as if nothing had ever happened he was his old self again. We were extremely lucky given that he could’ve been permanently paralyzed. It was only after he recovered that I realised the incredible feat Charlie had done. He managed to crawl under a fence only a couple inches off the ground and somehow get himself close enough to the house to be heard all with a fractured spine and pelvis.

It is incredible.

Unfortunately, a few weeks after his recovery Charlie was killed after being hit by a car for a second time. It was devastating to the family and we ended up going catless for a few years after until my mom discovered a Siamese cat breeder with kittens for adoption. She adopted two kittens for my 16th birthday and to this day Homer and Kelsey are cherished members of the family.

They even have their own drinking mugs in my mom’s bathroom.

Apr 14, 2013
Happy ending
by: Susan

[A comment on the original story]

Very sad to hear of such inhumaneness but SO NICE to have a really good outcome.

Apr 14, 2013
Update
by: Gwyn

Thank you so much for your kind comments, They give me hope for the future of our kind. The reason I'm writing is that I must report that our 'Baby' Boo is no more. We are immeasurably sad and Nibbles was utterly distraught, but we are coming to terms with it now.

It was a few months ago that Boo suddenly collapsed and was unable to walk properly sending us into a panic to the Vet who was unable to explain what was wrong but kept him for a few day for treatment. When he was returned to us he was in a poor state and we stayed with him until some hours later he died peacefully with us and Nibbles around him.

We never knew what happened to him but we learned that several other cats around us had also perished so we suspect poisoning, but could never prove it. He went to a good pet cemetery and it broke my heart to feel his still wonderful glossy coat as I stroked him one last time as we left.

The incident gave us one last surprise. We had wondered why we had lost one cat but not the other as they were inseparable. Then it came to our notice that not one speck of meat had been eaten since Boo. We tried all sorts of treats but eventually realised that Nibbles is a vegetarian!

Who would have guessed! Boo had wolfed all the meat without us knowing, but it probably explains why Nibbles still lives.

Now, Nibbles clings to us with a passion, if we are not cuddling him he is following us around like a little dog. I know we are substitutes for his brother, but still, we have become very close. We cannot decide whether to risk getting another Siamese to keep him company or preserve the status quo, He seems happier now, so we will wait a see for a bit.

We are still upset that Boo had such a sad early end to his life but at least he was happy for a while.

I have leaky eyes now so I'll go - but thank you again for your interest.

Reply from Caroline: Oh, Gwyn, I'm so very sorry to hear about Boo. Your story has been one that's touched many hearts in the year or so since you first posted it, and I know that it's helped more than a few people find the patience to settle in their own cats.

It's so hard when we lose any of our fur babies, but it must be especially so when you've worked so hard for so long to bring that cat round. You're always in my thoughts whenever someone mentions having difficulty with a new rescue, and I hope Nibbles and Boo's story will continue to inspire others for many years to come.

Apr 13, 2013
Patience
by: Larry

What a fabulous story! Just goes to show how a bit of patience can pay off. Congratulations on your two lovely cats.

Jan 19, 2013
Nibbles & Boo
by: May Ellis

Reading about Boo and Nibbles had me in tears - I'm just so pleased both these cats found a loving caring home after such a dreadful start to life.

Thank you for sharing this story with me, thank God there are people who truly do care.

May x

Feb 23, 2012
Another skittish cat
by: Chris

36 hours ago we went to our local pound and adopted a Lynx Siamese who immediately disappeared when we arrived home. She is a gorgeous cat with beautiful blue eyes. We have named her Skyler.

It took my husband 2 hours last night to pry her out of the basement from behind the water heater. He was scratched up during the battle and she got away. The next time the 2 of us grabbed her with a bath towel. She was totally calm with this approach. She is now residing in a large dog crate with food, water and litter in the middle of our family room. Here she will be able to see us and our other pets and get used to the new environment.

Our other pets are so excited to see her. Our German Shepard slept by the crate all night to protect her new pack member. We hope she will become a part of our daily life. I applaud all of you in the above stories who have shown great patience and wisdom.

Feb 09, 2012
Ours too
by: Choko Mario

I also have a Seal Point new to my house that hides and is frightened constantly and so this story was very, very informative for me. I am Siamese experienced and have two other friendly Siameses but this new one is on the fine-boned delicate side, and was given by a person that had to move.

I am my new cat Stanley's fourth home in only five years ... he has been with me one year and is finally at that point of coming to me only when I cannot "do" anything and sometimes will visit when I am in the bathtub or reading...

What a great picture and story!

Feb 09, 2012
Nibbles & Boo
by: Rosalyn

It devastates me to read that people can be so cruel to such beautiful and loving animals, but also gives me hope that there are people who have the patience and love to help them try to come back from such atrocities. I had tears in my eyes reading that and I wish I could give Nibbles and Boo a hug and take their fear away. I'm so glad they have a loving home now.

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