I’ve been away from my blog for a while. Several things have contributed to that, including illness, injury, writing and editing books (seems to take up a lot of time), and cats. Today I’m not going to talk about the writing or editing or even about my upcoming debut The Girl and the Clockwork Cat coming spring 2014 from Entangled Teen. (Yes, I am shameless, but it does have a cat in it, in the title even, so it’s loosely related.) I’m here to talk about cats. More specifically, about introducing a new cat into our home and the ongoing challenges we’ve faced with this particular cross-section of felines. I’m hoping this actually turns out to be helpful for others facing similar drama, but we’re dealing with cats. Anything could happen.
For this first post, I will introduce the cast of cats and the problems we have to overcome.
Thomas is 15. He’s been with us since day one and is convinced of his own awesomeness to the point that he knows, for certain, every person in the world is just holding their breath in anticipation of the day they will get to meet him and stroke his silken fur. He is very social and very demanding of his adoring fans. He enjoys long naps and watching TV with his people. He is prone to occasional regression to kittenhood in the form of wild sprints around the house and friendly Thunderdome (outdoor cat enclosure) matches with Neko.
Thomas is the dominant male in the household and deals with feline interlopers by preemptively yowling and striking at them whenever they come close to establish the hierarchy quickly.
Interloper Management Tactic = Successful
Shai is Thomas’ blood sister. At a very young age, she got under one of our horses and was stepped on. She has significant neurological issues and, as she gets older, arthritic issues due to injuries sustained in that incident. She has survived many other dramatic injuries throughout her life. I’m not sure if she’s lucky because she survived them or unlucky because they happened in the first place. She enjoys long naps and … well, long naps. Sometimes on heater vents. Not in front. On.
Shai prefers to solitude though she often naps and shares grooming with her brother. When faced with an interloper, she ignores them. If they persist to the point that she feels cornered, she will throw herself on the floor and scream bloody murder. The offending interloper is usually left staring at her with a look of mystified horror.
Interloper Management Tactic = Successful (oddly enough)
Neko is about 20 pounds of giant feline paranoia. About 5 years old, he joined the family as a kitten and has always been highly anxious. He will cuddle on occasion, but rarely if more than one person is in the room. He has a disturbing fascination with having his butt spanked and enjoys such lovely past times as going out in the rain in the Thunderdome at night then coming in drenched to wake me up so I can towel him off and cuddle.
Neko’s tendency to slink about apprehensively makes him a delightful target for a more aggressive young interloper. He prefers to avoid the new cat unless attacked, at which point he will fight like a crazed demon.
Interloper Management Tactic = Highly Ineffective
BC showed up on our property shortly after the 4th of July and made it abundantly clear he wasn’t going anywhere. We ignored him. We shooed him off. He broke us down with his stubborn affection and we took him in. After having him tested, neutered, and vaccinated, we attempted to re-home him only to discover that he had a severe fear of dogs. Having already grown rather attached by the time this effort failed, we decided to make him part of our family. He enjoys aggressive cuddling, full-force head-butts, knocking glasses over (the fuller the better, especially if it happens to be beer and there is a lap nearby to dump it on), and playing with his favorite toy, Neko.
Some sensible people would suggest simply finding BC a new home or giving him up to a shelter. This is wise. We are not wise. We love our cats and BC has wormed his wicked way into our hearts. So, this is the tale of our efforts to integrate him into our home. This tale involves blood and pain and broken things and lots of expenses and life changes. I can’t promise a happy ending, but that’s what I’m hoping for. Stick around and see. :)
Next time: Bloody battles and broken bones. Is there any hope for this quartet of cats?