rosefox: Me looking up into the sky, hopeful. (hopeful)
Rose Fox ([personal profile] rosefox) wrote2005-04-16 09:27 am
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"New kid on the block"

[ profile] oh_chris and [ profile] lazysun came over for dinner last night and just happened to bring a cat with them and leave her behind when they left. We mostly left the cats to sort things out themselves, which they did by way of Sam hiding under the couch a lot and the two of them hissing and occasionally grrring at each other. Java seems to have asserted his dominance, but she was doing a fair amount of the hissing and grrring herself--tough cookie--and he's right now curling up under my quilt, which he only does when he's nervous, so I think they're both a bit scared and wanting to hide. That's fine with me; I'd rather that than aggressive. They also seem to be triggered mostly by the sight of each other rather than by smell--Java didn't even react to our guests bringing in a cat carrier until they put it down on the floor and he saw there was a cat in it--so with Sam mostly under the couch, there hasn't been too much conflict because there's been very little eye contact.

(Speaking of eyes, hers are a gorgeous shade of gold I've never seen in a cat's eyes before. Other than that, she's... wait for it... yet another black cat. She's a tiny little thing, too; I'm tempted to say she's still growing out of adolescence, but she may just be built small, given that her head and tail are pretty proportionate to the rest of her. At least it'll make it easy to tell them apart.)

The only snag came when I was showing Sam where the litterbox was, which means I had to lure and haul her out from under the couch, carry her down the hall (I still have scratches from her wriggling), and put her in it. She decided that the little cave under the sink made a great hiding place. Unfortunately, Java found her there and got very upset, and that small enclosed space was a very bad place for them to fight. [ profile] sinboy broke it up, hauled her out, and put her back in the living room. As far as I know, she spent the night under the couch; I didn't hear any argumentation, though hissing and growling wouldn't have been enough to wake me up, and Java's strolling around like the king of the world while just happening to never go into the living room. [ profile] sinboy and I both left our bedroom doors open, and Java visited us both during the night as he usually does. I'm amused that he knows I'm now the one to nag about breakfast. When I got up, I put out wet food for him in his usual place and dry food for Sam near the end of the couch, open to the light but not far from her hiding place and blocked from view except from overhead (couches on two sides, wall and boxes on the other two sides). I put a couple of [ profile] lazysun's old shirts there as well, since they'll have a familiar smell from having been in the carrier. Sam seems to like small dark places and Java really doesn't--he's never, that I know of, explored under my bed or the couches--so I don't think there's going to be a lot of conflict about territory, at least not until after they're more used to each other. I'll make sure to turn off the living room lights at night so that Sam can explore under the cover of darkness. I know she has some curiosity; it's just drowned out by fear right now. With time and patience, she'll get past it.

I just hope that the litterbox's distance from the living room (down a hallway with few hiding places) and association with the earlier fight doesn't prove problematic. Time will tell, I guess. I don't think she ate much yesterday, so it won't be a concern until later. Our current habit here is to leave food out for about half an hour and then put it away, so that they're not smelling it all the time (another tip from [ profile] elissaann's wonderful book), so I hope she's eating while she has the chance. If not, she'll get another opportunity at dinnertime, and putting out wet food for Java means he'll be too orgiastically distracted and far away to pay any attention to her, which I hope she'll start to figure out and take advantage of. Neither of them tried to eat the other one's food, which is excellent.

I'd call this a pretty promising beginning, generally: they're not out-and-out fighting, the hostility seems to be reduced to avoidance, and Java is still being cuddly with us and not appearing to be too put out. I'm not going to worry about Sam hiding unless it becomes a litterbox issue or she doesn't come out to eat or drink. My guess is that she'll find her own time to gather her courage (or bodily need) and emerge, and she and Java can work out rules for box-sharing and the like.

[identity profile] 2005-04-16 02:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Yay for promising beginnings!

According to a documentary on PBS on cats I saw years ago, cats are pack animals. I don't know where the idea of cat as loner came from. I'm sure that some are, just like some people are, but my impression is that cats like having other cats around to hang out with, even if they're just sitting in the same room ignoring each other.

I'm glad you're enjoying Anitra's book.

[identity profile] 2005-04-16 02:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Takes Magic two weeks to get used to a new place.  In the meantime, she hides.

I make sure she knows where her food and litter are, and to pat her on occasion, and otherwise let her be.

[identity profile] 2005-04-16 03:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Binx spent 6 months hiding under the bed during the day an only coming out at night because he had come from an abusive home and that was the way he coped. When he realized we weren't going to harm him, he began to come out at night before we were asleep and come up on the bed. Gradually he made the shift to daytime cat. Sam will need time to adjust but she will come out when she feels it's safe to do so.

[identity profile] 2005-04-16 03:21 pm (UTC)(link)
I also have a tiny black cat with gold eyes. She's utterly enchanting.

When I brought her home, she hid under the bed for quite a while. Cats like dark enclosed spaces when they're feeling stressed. I was concerned about the cats fighting while I was at work, so for the first week, I kept them in separate rooms while I was away, with their own litter pan, food and water.

[identity profile] 2005-04-16 03:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Be sure and give them ten to fourteen days before they even start reducing hostilities. Trust me by the end of that you'll be thinking that they're NEVER going to get along. But then you start to notice they get closer and closer before they hiss. And then one day you turn around and they're playing.

[identity profile] 2005-04-16 04:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't have much cat-advice -- when we got our second cat, we were at a complete loss and I think we did just about everything wrong, though they still ended up more or less getting along in the end.

But new kitty Sam sounds a lot like our second cat Buddha... tiny, beautiful golden eyes, and black. Here I thought black cats had a predisposition towards BIG, but life is slowly proving me wrong.

[identity profile] 2005-04-18 12:08 am (UTC)(link)
Congrats to the new addition :)