Monday, April 19, 2010

Tender Moment

I've been so impressed with Hawk lately- he's adjusted to the move very well. Even though he hides, he is still out and about at night, but now he has a partner in crime. Last night sounded like the tiniest of NASCAR races- they were definitely running around- maybe playing? I don’t know, I didn’t think Hawk knew how to play, but maybe Bandit is teaching that old boy some new tricks.

Playing isn’t the only thing little Bandit has taught Hawk though.  It seems she’s taught him a bit of love and affection, too.  I knew that Hawk and Bandit were pals, but I guess I didn't realize how good of friends they've become in the short time they've been together.  Today, while I was peeking under the bed saying 'hi' to Hawk, Bandit came in and peeked under the bed too. Hawk didn't pay her any mind and then Bandit surprised me and scooted under the bed, crawled over to Hawk and started cleaning his ears and licking the top of his head. (Yes- the same ears that he doesn't like touched.)

Because he’s still a bit of a mystery to me, I assumed that he was just tolerating her nurturing, but Hawk closed his eyes, his necked stretched out, his chin lowered to the floor and Bandit went to work. After a few good broad licks across the top of the head, Bandit turned around and sat down next to him like, “So there!”, and Hawk’s one eye opened like, “Aw man…”.

I was really nervous letting these two loose in the house together because Hawk came from such a bad place and Bandit came from such a Bad Cat, I didn’t know what to expect, but to see this today was just amazing.  And sweet and reassuring and more then I could have hoped for.  I think Bandit is acting like a mediator between us humans and Hawk. I like to think that she is telling him all the cool things about being a cat in our house and all the things he can get away with and showing him how to have fun. I think she helps him come out of his shell a little each night whether it’s sitting in the window together or doing laps around the house or just accepting love and kindness from another being, I think she is teaching him that even though his heart was hurt in the past, it will never be again. Not in this place. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

sleepy Hawkman

sleepy Hawkman, originally uploaded by emu82.

Hawk has adjusted to the move well. To date there have been NO cat fights- Bandit is more smitten with Hawk then she is interested in fighting with him.

They are actually buddy-buddy. Jer said that they have been coming upstairs together after I go to bed. Hawk is still a scaredy-cat and prefers to hide and not be seen, but he's still cruising around at night. In fact, last night he and Bandit were in our bedroom window together.

I can't tell them apart, especially after dark. A lot of the time the conversation will start with "Oh hi Bandit" and then immediately turn into"Oh my gosh, sorry Hawk" as he's running away because I scared him by talking to him. :) Ah, my little twins.

You can see the interview I did with Best Friends about Hawk here. Much love and appreciation to all of those people who are supporting Hawk's journey.

poor Hawk...

poor Hawk..., originally uploaded by emu82.

He had a long day and it shows.

We moved Saturday and he "willingly" got into his kennel to get him home. And by "willingly" I mean not so much. It took an hour to kennel him and Jer ended up with a pretty solid bite mark in the palm of his hand. All in all, we got Hawk kenneled and he moved to his new home quietly.

Here's the one photo I have of him where he DOESN'T hate life:)

An Open Letter to Hawk

An Open Letter to Hawk, originally uploaded by emu82.

Hi Hawk. I see you back there under the bed... It's me, that lady that is constantly peeking at you and talking to you.

We have some things to talk about. First of all, I apologize for taking your fort out from underneath the bed- I didn't think you would miss the empty boxes and luggage, but apparently I was wrong. Secondly, kudos to figuring out where the center of the bed is. You've made it extremely difficult, if not impossible to pet you. You maneuver well under there.

Unfortunately, this will be your last night in this room, under that bed. Tomorrow we're moving... yes you're coming with us (and so is that crazy girl doppelganger of yours).

At this moment, I have little to no idea how to kennel you short of a bass net and a hazmat suit, but we're hoping it doesn't get to that point. However, with your new-found talent of centering yourself under the bed I think it will come to taking the bed apart.

Fortunately for you, I have one trick up my sleeve: Ham flavored baby food.

This stuff makes me gag, but I've watched our office dog, Bella devour cans of it, so maybe I'm just a picky eater. And even though you've shown me little to no proof that you're actually a food motivated feline, you have eaten the treats I've left for you in the window sill. Yeah, that was me. You're welcome.

So, my little Hawk, here's the deal: you're going to play fair and nice and I'm going to play fair and nice. You'll eat the baby food and I'll get to kennel you and take you and your "mini-me" to the new house where you can find all the hiding spots you want. There will still be treats in the window sills, but your job is to get them before Pudge does.

Deal? Excellent.

That Lady Who Peeks and Talks to You

spots of blood lead to PROOF!

spots of blood lead to PROOF!, originally uploaded by emu82.

But here it is! Proof that I did, in fact, touch the cat that I have been talking about for the past 3 months!


Here's the story: I went into my bathroom and there were two perfect spots of blood on my bathroom floor. Now I'm not a fan of seeing blood anyway, but when I see it on my bathroom floor, I get worried, especially when I know it's from Hawk.

So we start rearranging furniture, like ya do , and we get the Hawkstar under the bed. Jer grabs the light to see if we can see where this blood is coming from- not the mouth, not the... opposite end- we just couldn't see where the blood came from. The only thing we could figure is the day after he came home, we had to vacuum and moved the bed and Hawk went into the bathroom. Jer walked into the doorway to get the dirty clothes and Hawk must've felt cornered and used Jer's shoulder as a launching pad and tried to get on top of my medicine cabinet. Didn't end so well for Jer's poor shoulder.

ANYWAY- in the process of jumping off of Jer's shoulder, Hawk cut his chin and bled a bit. The only thing we can come up with is that Hawk was scratching himself today and took that scab off and that's where to blood came from....

Which leads me to the main point of the story- I GOT TO PET HAWK! !!

Yeah, yeah I know- not the first time, but this is the first photo proof, so yay Jer for being quick with the camera! And yay Hawkman for looking like a normal, annoyed, uninterested cat! Good job guy! That's what we're shooting for (kind of).

So the big deal about this is that, while cleaning and packing, I removed Hawk's "fort" (originally Bandit's fort which consisted of 4-6 toilet paper tubes, a pair of shoes, 2 empty boxes, a folder of music, and some sort of shoe box full of socks... ask Jer...)

So with all of that gone, Hawk had two options: #1 and #2 ... and guess what he did- HE STAYED!

He stayed and was oh so patient with his eyes that read "I'm an annoyed cat, why must you torment me??"- our little Hawk stayed, I couldn't be more proud.

I ran my hands around his mouth (photo above) and found nothing, but did not feel the scab that was there the night before.

SO- mystery solved! Hawk's fine, he just needs a claw trim... which will more than likely lead to more blood shed....


The point is, here's my proof- my hands on the Hawkman- THE UNTOUCHABLE CAT- and how brave is he?

Answer: Very. Very, very brave.

Told you we wouldn't let ya down, kiddo.

little tuft of proof

little tuft of proof, originally uploaded by emu82.

Our little Hawkman is still camera shy, especially with the commotion of packing stuff up for the move.

But even with everything going on, we're still making an effort to push him a little every day. This usually involves moving furniture around and getting him out of his hiding spots to his other hiding spot which is under the futon. He sits under there and peeks when people move around and is always within arms reach. Arms reach= therapy (for us and him) because this is where he learns that hands are kind and soft and won't hurt him. We awkwardly lay on the floor and let him see us and then, with his permission, we can pet.

Petting Hawk is kind of like playing catch with a porcupine- you're very aware of where your hands are. Note that he has never bit or hissed, but man those eyes will tell you when you're too close to his ears or where his "no pet zones" are.

With that said, I found his sweet spot. There's a place between his whiskers and ears that if I touch, his chin comes up as if to say "not there, lower." And if I scratch under his chin, his neck comes out, and then his head tilts to the side and then those big eyes shut and his chin lowers to the floor.... and the photo above is the only proof I have that our little Hawk is growing. :)

Handsome Boy

Handsome Boy, originally uploaded by emu82.

I just love that shock of white that goes up the side of his nose. I imagine that when he and Bandit are loose in the house together that will be one way that we tell them apart. I would say size, but little Bandito is still packing on the pounds, so she might catch up to him soon! :)

Hawk's doing well. He's hanging out in his Hawkcave and peeking (sometimes I see a little white chin and nose from under the bedskirt. He's still up all night exploring, making noise, talking to everything and rearranging furniture... just being brave. And we're proud of his braveness.

The Hawk Cave

The Hawk Cave, originally uploaded by emu82.

I don't know how many nicknames this guy has already (Hudson Hawk, Hawkey Socks, Hawkenstein, Hawkalot, Hawksey, Hawkman, Hawkmed, Hawkeye, SparHawk ... you get the picture)

Anyway, he's livin's baby! He found his cave and hangs out there most of the day, but the minute the lights go out he's in it to win it. He's up on the futon looking in the mirror; he's all over my computer desk (paw prints are his mark) and computer; he's in the window, talking to the moon; he's ON THE BED (briefly); he's in the bathroom; he's playing "catch my paw" with Bandit under the door- he's cruising!

It's funny though- when I hear him and wake up, I always say "goodnight Hawk" and he stops, lowers, and slinks back under the bed and sits there for 5 minutes and then he's right back in the game.

And the best part of all of this? He looks relaxed. He's not freaked out with us popping our heads under the bed to say hey. He just blinks and looks at you (the way cats do) like "oh, I was expecting something ... else..."

The bathroom *was* clean when I left at 6am...

Unfortunately there is litter across the room, in the tub (?!), and on the counter (??!?).

I can see Hawk and Bandit have a lot in common...

Hawk's First Day Home

Hawk's First Day Home, originally uploaded by emu82.
Those of you following this story know that Hawk is a very special cat. He's been through some rough times, but today, after leaving Vegas and landing in Houston at noon, then leaving Houston at 6p and landing in Minneapolis at 10p- at 1030pm today, Hawk found his way to his forever home:)

We got him in the house and let him sit for 5 minutes or so, and little Bandit came bouncing into the room and then stopped dead and mustered a measly 'hiss' until I grabbed her and we sat in front of Hawk and let them see each other. Unfortunately, for the time being, Bandit is banned from the room to give Hawk the space he needs to get some rest and get a feel for the house. As I type this, Bandit is on the other side of the closed door scratching and possibly pulling the carpet up in order to start a tunnel into the room... God speed kitten.

We opened the door to the kennel and after a few minutes Hawk put one foot in front of the other (because he's brave!) and slinked out of his kennel and around the back and sat down under the coffee table and watched us for a good 5 minutes until he slinked back behind the kennel, under the futon and under the bed. And he's there at this moment. Video.

Lynn Dolan (who is the adoption coordinator at Best Friends) and I have been emailing back and forth for over a month working out the details to make this day happen. Lynn had told me that the staff at Best Friends had asked if I would keep them updating on how Hawk is doing. Jer and I had talked about starting him a blog or maybe (if he let us) his own Flickr set to document him (and hopefully how he progresses). Jer had said that Hawk's Flickr set, at least in the beginning, would consist of a lot of photos of our furniture with an arrow pointing, labeled "we think he's under here!"


Hawk, originally uploaded by emu82.
(Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society)

Here he is. This is Hawk. Lynn Dolan, the adoption coordinator at Best Friends was kind enough to send me a photo of him.

I've been talking with Lynn for almost a week now about Hawk and where he came from, and after a lot of conversation and some tears (sorry Mike!), I filled out the application and Hawk should be flying to us mid-March.

This was a really difficult decision and at the same time was an absolute no brainer. There is something I see in Hawk every time I look at him that captivates me- his face is kind, but it's hidden behind the trauma of his past. Maybe he'll come around, maybe not, but I see something in Hawk that tells me that I have to give this cat a chance.

Here's my email to Lynn after Jer and I sat down and hashed out the pros and cons:

Hi Lynn.

I did speak with Mike yesterday and he gave me a lot of information on Hawk and ‘where he’s at’. I was a little confused yesterday from the conversation with you and then the conversation with Mike as I initially thought that you felt that Hawk wouldn’t be a good fit or be ready to come live with us, but then Mike was saying that it was ultimately my decision.

That raises the question of what you and Mike’s wishes are? You two know Hawk better than I do obviously and I want to follow what you think is best for him. In talking with Jeremy last night I said that I was in a tough position because I felt like I was either being selfish or being a quitter. I feel like Hawk is doing okay where he is now and it would be selfish for me to want to take him out of that environment, but at the same time, if I walked away or went with another cat, I would feel like a quitter. I want to do what’s best for Hawk because he deserves it.

You had asked me on the phone yesterday what my intentions were with a cat as damaged as him. I’m fully aware that we may adopt him and he may end up being a shadow in our home for the rest of his days. However, like you and Mike said, he may just come to us and hide for weeks and then become curious and come out to see what we’re all about. It’s a crap shoot because you just can never tell. I’m fine with having a cat that isn’t in your face or always present. Before our cat Carl died, we had just gotten Bandit and since she was a kitten she was always in the foreground, always in your face, and always around. Since Carl was older, she was able to stay in the background and relax and sleep. I liken that situation to what I may be like with Hawk- nothing is going to change Bandit because she’s just a young, energetic kitten who thinks she’s a dog and likes to play fetch with my son. But even though she would always be seen, it’s still just having that extra presence in the home that is comforting to me.

Jeremy asked me last night what I would feel if Hawk never came around to us. My thinking is if that happened, then at least we gave him to best chance at being comfortable and learning trust. And if he ever did come around to us, then that would be wonderful. I’m not looking to adopt Hawk because I feel like I can save him or turn him into an outgoing and social lap cat- that’s unrealistic at this point because his heart is so hurt. I am looking to adopt Hawk because even though his home with you is good and comfortable, I want to give him a chance on a home life with a loving family.

After Jeremy and I talked last night I didn’t feel anymore dissuaded from wanting to bring Hawk into our home. If we adopted Hawk and the only thing he ever let us do is put our hearts around him and grew to learn that we’re there to protect him, then that alone is worth the world. There is a draw to Hawk that I have yet to put my finger on- there is something about him that I feel a connection to. I can’t explain it, it’s just something I feel.

I guess where we’re at is, if Mike thinks that Hawk could handle living in a home, and if you think Hawk is ready to take this journey, then we are willing to take him in with open arms.

And as if that wasn't hard enough for me to write without crying, here is Lynn's response:

Hi Eve,

So after reading your email and crying and having others read it as well and watch them tear up, we are honored to adopt the magnificent Hawk to you and your home.

Please fill out the application and email it back and we will take it step by step from there. I will order an adoption exam for hawk and request a home visit and work on finding him a way to his forever home.

I am going to copy you email as it was full of such compassion and love that if every adopter could care like you do this world would be a better place.

Thank you for your interest in adopting and especially thank you from Hawk.


I got that at work and shut my door and cried my eyes out. Then I emailed everyone and told them that we got Hawk:)

This will be a ride and I know that Best Friends and Lynn will be there for me every step of the way. And I thank them dearly for that AND the opportunity to give Hawk the chance that no one ever thought he deserved.

We won't let you down, kiddo. Cross my heart.