Our little man Ernest has been a source of concern for the cat care team for a rather erm... delicate reason.
Some of you might know this from talking to our cat carers already, but one of the jobs of the cat care team is to clean the litter tray and refer to the faecal scoring chart to give each 'number 2' a score out of 7! No word of a lie - we have a database that contains 4 years of cat bowel movement scores 😂
Intermittently, with no obvious cause, Ernest has had a ongoing problem with very soft bowel movements, and after undertaking our usual remedies to treat digestive upset: (bland food diet, probiotics and vet checks), we can't seem to find anything physiologically amiss with our young man to explain it.
Behaviourally, Ernest doesn't show any of the usual behavioural indicators of stress - he is calm, affectionate, playful and sleepy in all the right measures. However, if a cat is having bowel problems for a length of time, it's a good indicator that something isn't right. So we're taking Ernie out of the cafe to observe him under quieter and more controlled conditions so we can better see what he needs us to do for him.
In addition to taking away all the potential stressors of cat cafe life - other cats, lots of guests - keeping Ernest in a foster home away from the cafe will allow us to restrict his diet more easily and make extra sure it isn't a food allergy causing him trouble. It's a little tricker in a cafe with so many temptations and with other cats eating different food types. In order to keep feeding times separate in the cafe, Ernest has to be isolated in our quarantine room, which in itself can be stressful, so it makes it even harder to correctly determine whether his tummy upsets are down to stress or diet.
Ernest is in foster care for 2 weeks, until December 17, after which time the cat care team will evaluate whether he should be offered for adoption or if he is psychologically fine in the cafe and simply has a physical medical condition that we need to manage for him.
Ernest is staying in South-east London and is settling in remarkably well to his foster home. He has been on his first car ride, and was very good. He has been outside in the garden and was very excited, although he cries whenever he thinks he is alone: he's not used to being on his own after having so many friends at the cafe. Change is often a challenge for cats, yet he's adjusting very well.
We'll keep you updated if Ernest becomes available for adoption, if you want to be informed, sign up to our eNewsletter to be the first to hear the news!