Sunday, May 19
The little gray cat has been here for over a week and is still, for the most part, in her little room. The enthusiasm she had upon arriving here has diminished noticeably. I wonder if this is because she’s becoming accustomed to her new home and her new human, or if this is because she’s becoming disappointed in her new home and her new human. As best as can be determined from the circumstances, she was a surrendered housecat. And she was in a cage for only about two months. So she could very well still have some memory of her previous home, and so maybe she knows that what she’s got here isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. I hope she doesn’t have to stay in there last until her enthusiasm drops to zero. She’s got so much, and it’s such a pleasure to be a part of it. Her approach toward playtime reminds me of Tommy and his “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” play style. I hope her enthusiasm lasts, and that it’s an clear image of her real personality. She’ll be a real joy to have around.
Before bedtime last night I played “chase the treats” with Mellie and Twinkie in the bedroom again. I think that invisible barrier is crumbling. Maybe her early solo recon began to convince her that what was behind door number one wasn’t nearly so fearsome. Not nearly so fearsome as that awful vacuum monster, for example. On a couple tosses she forgot herself and chased the treat to within inches of the bathroom door. Maybe that’s one good point to be said of a recovering dry food addict.
During playtime last night I tried out “Teenie” some more and variations thereof. I didn’t get quite the reaction of the first time, but she does seem to be paying more attention to that name than some of the others I’ve tried. Is it true that cats prefer “ee” sounds? Most of the diminutives and familiars in the English language end on an “ee” sound. How about in other languages? What’s Russian for “little gray cat” for example?
I didn’t sleep very well last night. I think I woke up after hour after two o’clock. And not all due to the cats. Finally, almost an hour early, I give up. But my resurrection is delayed so as not to allow Rocket to think I’m getting up for him. Cat Psychology 101. What’s the battle plan for today? There isn’t one. Colin Powell said, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” Time isn’t exactly an enemy, but it’s not on my side. And the cats have been dictating the moves, anyway. I’ll have to think about this later.
Mellie seems to want more attention than usual this morning. Late morning, while carrying her, I casually stroll into the bedroom. She doesn’t let me hold her very long under normal circumstances, so the fact she lets me continue to hold her for another 30 seconds or so while we’re in there, then jumps down on the bed without any unusual looks or body postures, is encouraging. The I offer some treats and she goes right up to the bathroom door to get them. It would really be nice if I could remove that strip from the bottom of the door today and see if they’ll play footsies. Someone gives me some advice that if I can get Mellie to accept the new cat first, Rocket is more likely to come around. It sounds plausible to me. I’ll have to play it by ear.
The little gray cat gets her mid-day meal. She’s eating well and pooping well. I’m going to scale back the mid-day meal and hopefully have her on two-a-days by the end of the week. I weighed her yesterday, and she weighed in at seven pounds, six ounces. I think that’s about the same as she weighed at the vet’s office on Monday, but to me, she feels sleeker. I suppose a few ounces can make a difference on a skinny little kitty.
After lunch Mellie and Twinkie are both taking treats right up to the edge of the door. So I conceive a bold and daring plan. I remove about four inches of the poster paper covering the gap at the bottom of the door. Now there’s three-quarters of an inch of clear space. I don’t know what or how much of the little gray cat she can see, but surely enough to know it’s a cat right there, inches away from her. She notices the gap, approaches it, tenses and hisses lightly. Then she hisses again, stronger. It’s at this point I should have distracted her with another treat. But I’m too slow adjusting my strategy to the demands of the moment and she hisses again, with great emphasis, putting so much into it that a small unswallowed piece of treat flies out of her mouth and lands just this side of the gap. Quickly I toss a few treats in the other direction, and she goes after them. I follow her back to the office to give her some hugs, pets and scratches to let her know she’s my girl. Despite the hisses, she doesn’t seem to be too worked up about it.
Meanwhile, Twinkie spies the open space and approaches the gap. He’s crouched down, nose inches from the door. I hear a hiss, and I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure it’s the little gray cat hissing at him!! Twinkie runs back to the shelter of the dresser, but wait, here’s Mellie, growling at hissing at him, too!! Poor Twinkie doesn’t know what to make of the situation. He’s getting hissed at from two different directions. Mellie slinks under the bed, casting angry eyes over her shoulder at Twink, and a slightly ruffled Twinkster-cat exits as gracefully as a picked-on cat can exit.
I don’t really understand what just transpired here. Has Mellie been distracted from her reaction to the new cat by her long-cultivated disdain of Twinkie? Has the little gray cat actually sided with Mellie against him? Is he going to end up the poor little whipping boy of two girl cats? Is this a good development or not? I don’t know. It’s time to give it rest so the strip goes back on the door, sealing the gap. With the gap covered, Mellie is still willing to come right up to the door for treats, though she does keep a wary eye on it. Twink would rather just sit back about six feet from the door and look at it. This is enough for now. I’ll call it progress. The bedroom door stays open so the two cats can circulated in and out as they please. I realize now that I forgot to use Feliway. Damn!! So much for hasty plans.
The thing I’m missing here is what is the little gray cat’s reaction to all of this. I can’t be on both sides of the door at the same time. After Mellie and Twinkie have left the room I check on her and find nothing amiss.
Rocket has missed all the fun because he’s in the basement. I think it’s good therapy for him. He hasn’t sprayed once down there. Maybe the peace and isolation help him to destress. He’s got a cushioned, covered carrier to snuggle in. And he made for himself a secluded little hermitage in a storage area where he sits and meditates. He complained quite a bit yesterday, but is taking it well today. I’m doing laundry, so I’m down there from time to time. And he got some individual playtime and treats before bedtime last night, and he’ll have them again tonight, so it’s not exactly Alcatraz.
For suppertime I try feeding Mellie and the gray cat on opposite sides of the door, but Mellie’s having none of it. So I put her back in her room. Little gray hasn’t eaten anything, either, so she goes back in her little room. All this switching of feeding places isn’t having any positive effect, I don’t think.
Little gray has torn up the paper on her side of the door in her room. This is the second time she’s done this. I wonder if I’ve aquired a paper shredder. Maybe I can put her to work on my discarded account statements and save the electricity.
I wonder what Rocket would do upstairs, so Mellie and Twinkie get put in the office and I let Rocket up to see if he’ll spray. He ignores his spots. He probably isn’t up there long enough, he isn’t stressed, and he knows I’m watching. I suppose he’ll have to go to the vet. I take him out for a walk. He walks very nicely with me, now. Then he goes back downstairs.
Right now I don’t have any more plans for the day. If I get another bright idea this evening that can’t wait, it will go in tomorrow’s journal.