Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Oh Crap! The Lady has a squirt bottle!
From the OTW
Blogger mommies and Daddies, I need some help.
The little guy above, "Trapper" (we're not sure if we're keeping the name or not yet) is the New Guy around here. Maybe. We're trying him out to see if he, Jack and Persephone will get along. And it's not going so great. Not horrible either, really. But apparently I've been super lucky so far with introducing kitties, because it was never this difficult before.
Most of the cats I've introduced Jack to were roommate's cats, and therefore had their own humans. Whisper was the first who was 'mine' and he wanted nothing to do with Jack, or me for that matter at first, so other than a little hissing, no trouble with him. Jack and he just ignored each other. Persephone was a teeny bit hissy with Jack, but only after Whisper had hissed at her a few times. After that, she and Jack just circled each other warily, but curiously for a few days before each decided that the other was ok, and about a week after she came she was even letting Jack groom her ears (for about 3 nanoseconds before bunny-kicking his head, mind you, but no fighting). Squeak, Jack didn't hiss at at all. I think he had thought she was new toy. He'd never had a kitten before.
Trapper.. not so much with the easy introduction. It went fine at first. Jack just looked at him in the carrier, and when he snuck in with the Big One after Trapper was let out in his isolation room they meeped at each other curiously, sniffed butts and then ignored each other. In fact, the whole introduction went so well at that point, I decided to let Trapper out for a supervised wander. Persephone was hissy, but she hisses at the door across the hall too, because there's a cat living there, so I didn't expect her to be happy. Frankly, she'll get over it. Her memory is kinda short, anyway. She'll already let him near if treats or catnip is involved, so long as the treats keep coming. She doesn't even hiss at him EVERY time he comes near anymore.
Trapper and Jack ignored each other right up until Trapper decided to follow Jack around behind the sofa, and cornered him. I didn't get there fast enough and there was a god-awful caterwauling and Jack ran and hid in a closet. I discovered later a nasty, but not serious scratch inside Jack's ear, so I'm not surprised Jack wasn't too keen on Trapper after that.
The thing is, Jack has never been one to hold a grudge, or to take a dislike to any cat. He's friendly to every cat I've brought in the house, or a roommate has. Strays, friends' kitties I'm sitting, kitties he meets in the halls, or out in the yard. Every cat he's ever met. Even the hissy, unfriendly ones. Even the ones who have scratched him.
Except Trapper. He's still hissing at him if he comes near. He hisses at Persephone frequently, as well. He's grumpy with me, twitchy and stressed and acting 'old'. He was fine last week, racing around like his butt was on fire and wrestling Persephone, this week he's acting like a 20 yr old arthritic cat who can't even jump up on a low couch. There are no injuries on him but his ear that I can see or feel, (and he could be milking it for sympathy-he does that sometimes, he knows he'll get more loving then, the little con artist).
He wants nothing to do with Trapper, and has shown NO curiosity about him at all after that first sniff in Trapper's room. Won't go near him, even to sniff. Those of you who have followed Jack's blog for a while will recognize how badly out of character that is for Jack. This despite me giving Jack LOTS of extra attention, and making a point of always putting Trapper down if I'm holding him and Jack comes up looking like he wants my lap or shoulder (Jack's always been a bit possessive of me). It doesn't appear to be a submissive thing. Jack will hiss, but he doesn't run away or behave submissively when Trapper comes too close.
I have to admit to extreme reservations about keeping Trapper, considering how badly Jack is taking his presence. Thing is, we'd really like to keep him. The Big One is already most of the way in love with him, and I really like him too. He's a total flirt, a lap/shoulder/oh-I-don't-care-just-hold-me-cat, and he's really really REALLY sweet though possibly even more talkative that Persephone. He's a bit bitey, but I can train him out of that, as well as out of being grabby with my 'strings' when I'm working.
Trapper's 2-4 years, and was neutered only when he was brought in last month to the shelter. No spraying, no 'tom' behaviour other than yowling at the window in the middle of the night to go out, though some cat has peed in the bathroom that doesn't have the litterboxes twice now-though I'm pretty sure the second time at least was NOT Trapper, as I'm pretty sure I know approximately when it happened and Trapper was with me the whole time. I've seen him use the boxes in his room and in their normal location several times, too.
He's not hissy or swatty with either Persephone or Jack at ALL. I don't believe I've heard him hiss even once. He's just big, and muscular, and he doesn't back down when either of them hiss at him, and sometimes initiates staring contests, or follows them around. He hasn't gotten into any fights with them, except the one, even when provoked. And I now suspect Jack may have started that one, probably from being startled. I don't think he knew Trapper was behind him. He also will sometimes be the one to look away when there's a stare off.
Now we've only had Trapper since Friday, and the shelter has given us until this Friday to decide if we're keeping him. We'd have to adopt him at that point, but if we changed our minds and decided we had to bring him back after then, they'd be ok with that. But I'm afraid to bring him back to the shelter. They keep kitties for quite a while compared to city shelters, but he'd already been there a month, and and they were surprised he hadn't been adopted. They do have some trouble adopting out larger cats, though his being black isn't a problem up here, and kittens are surprisingly even harder for them to find homes for.
Truthfully, in my selfish human way, part of me would like to think he really likes US and wants to stay here, but the truth is, he's friendly with everyone apparently, according to the shelter people. And I do think he might be happier as an indoor/outdoor kitty, which I suspect is what he was before (he was caught in a trap near my place, and has the calloused paws of a outdoor cat, but has clearly been very well socialized), and which he can't be here, since we live on the 3rd floor. We can't even leave him unsupervised on the balcony, as he's already found his way onto the railing and was reaching for the drainpipe when I caught him and pried him off the railing. But he definitely shouldn't be an outdoor only cat, because he's WAY too affectionate and wanting of attention to be happy being an ignored barn cat, which is one of the most likely things to happen around here with big ex-toms, if they find homes.
On the other hand, he'll probably get over not being allowed outside, sooner or later. And it's not a no-kill shelter and I know sending him back may result in him being put down eventually if he doesn't find another home. This is definitely a Good Cat, and I can't bear the thought that he may not find a home.
I guess what I really want is any advice anyone can give me as to how I might get Jack to accept him. I don't mind if he and Jack never become buddies, Jack and Whisper weren't either. But Jack has been my baby since the day he was born, and he's already been fading a bit this year, getting skinnier, shedding more, playing less. If he's going continue to be stressed out by Trapper's presence I'm worried it might make him ill.
And if we can't make this work, I'd at least like someone to tell me I'm not betraying Trapper by bringing him back to the shelter. Just the thought of doing so is breaking my heart. But the thought of losing Jack (or even just 'losing' the Jack I know) from stress is breaking it even more. Sadly, my husband is no help. He only agreed to bring Trapper home to make me happy, and he's the one who's fallen in love with him.