We adopted a cat from the Dane County Humane Society. It didn’t take us long to find one. We started looking on Sunday by visiting a pet store that served as a satellite location for the Friends of Ferals. We saw two cats there, then went to the Humane Society and saw two cats there. The second cat, the one we saw as they were getting ready to close up for the day turned out to be the cat we liked. We went back on Tuesday to sign the papers and take him home.
We don’t have a name for him yet. He’s white with mottled black and gray markings so all the suggestions we’ve heard so far have played off his appearance: “Oreo” or some character like Charlie Chaplin that’s known for wearing a hat, because of the black patch on his head that looks like it could be a hat worn at a rakish angle. (I think jaunty patch on his head looks a bit like the way Hitler combed his hair. I’m not actually leaning toward naming him after Der Fuhrer, but I couldn’t resist mentioning the resemblance to B, who has damned me to the lowest ring of hell for doing so.)
When you introduce a cat to a house that already has a cat living in it for many, many years, you have to do it little bit by little bit if you don’t want to be front row center at a cat fight. We really wanted to avoid that, so we had to find a place where we could keep the new guy out of sight of Boo, who until now had been the sole house cat. The pamphlet they gave us at the humane society said we really should put the new cat in a separate room and close the door between the cats so they can’t see one another. We have an extra bedroom Barb’s been using as her sewing room that she donated to the cause.
The new guy was just thrilled with his new digs. It’s way bigger than the cage he was cooped up in at the pound. He was prowling into every corner and creeping behind every book case and cabinet, just having a great time exploring. After that was out of the way, he started chasing his toys around.
We’ve let him out a couple times to explore the house. The pamphlet from the humane society suggests that we swap the new cat out and put the old cat in the new cat’s room so old cat can get used to the new cat’s scent. Seems like a good idea, but it doesn’t take into account how determined old cat might be about getting the hell out. Boo bolted through the door as I was slipping out one day, crashed head-first into old cat, jumped about three feet into the air and went to ground under the sofa.
At least there wasn’t a fight.
The latest step in getting them used to one another involved putting a baby gate up in the doorway so they can see each other. Boo isn’t especially thrilled about being able to see the new guy and won’t get any closer than about four feet. At the suggestion of the humane society once again, we put their food bowls close to one another so they would share meals together, in theory. In practice, it doesn’t work like that so much.
The new guy’s not bothered at all by Boo. From the moment we brought him in, he sat right by the door, trying to make a connection with her by mewing and pawing under the door. He was like that with the cats at the pound, too, which we thought would make the transition easier. Boo was having none of it. She met him with hackles raised and tail poofed, spitting and growling in response to his gentle mewing. Tensions have eased quite a bit since then, but Boo is still in no way ready to meet the new guy with anything less than the baby gate between them.
The new guy (we’re leaning toward Scout as a possible name) is about the cuddliest cat we’ve ever come across. He doesn’t hesitate to jump up into a lap, and once we get him purring, he likes to crawl up into the crook under our chins and nuzzle, so he’s got that going for him. On the down side, he’s intensely curious and has to get into every little crack and crevice. And we can’t leave anything edible on the kitchen counter top because it’s a sure bet he’s going to get his face into it. Last night after dinner Barb found him in the sink scouring the charred bits of chicken off a roasting pan. Oh, and he drinks out of the toilet, too.
So right now the odds are about even that he’ll get to stay. If we can get Boo to put up with him, we can probably train ourselves to clean up right after dinner and put the lid down after we pee. Probably should’ve learned habits like that long ago, anyway.