Friday, August 6, 2010

What was I thinking?

Why did I decide to adopt two more cats? Not even cute little kittens, oh, no; these are pudgy adults, 10 and 13 years old, in fact; surrendered to the local shelter when their elderly owner had to go to a nursing home, and needing to go together to whoever would be willing to adopt them. When I first met them on a visit to the shelter, they'd arrived just a couple of days before and were hunkered down, quietly terrified. On a subsequent visit, a couple of weeks later, they were amiable but not effusively friendly. All in all, despite their having lovely spotted shiny coats, they weren't going to be easy to place.

So after several nights of lying awake thinking about what a wrenching upheaval to their happy life they've been through, and how uncertain their future was, I offered to take them. Hey, I've only got seven now; two more would still keep me in single digits! Double digits is my tripwire, my STOP sign at the tipping point into crazy cat hoarder territory. What, you laugh? Hey, it works for me!

I don't like trying to integrate an adult cat into a household of adult cats; kittens are much easier. With adults there's a lot more sturm und drang, I've found. And yet....

On my second visit the two were in the front cat room with several other adults. Inquiry revealed they'd been nonconfrontational when introduced and in fact avoided any threat of hostility rather than threatening back, so I figured they weren't likely to get in fights with my resident felines, who in their turn, based on history, were unlikely to do more than swear and curse at them. So maybe, with patience, it could work?

The adoption coordinator for the shelter and the animal control officer both know me (I've adopted two kittens previously from the shelter) and when I asked about taking Tanya (altered female) and Tomba (altered male) they were quick to say yes. So this afternoon I took two empty carriers to the shelter and came back with two full ones.

Back home, I decanted them in the finished basement, where three of the litterboxes are. Tomba zipped right into a corner under a set of shelves with stuff in front of them, where he could hide, and stayed there. Tanya upon release has hidden, explored, hidden, explored; got as far as up the stairs and out on the first floor to the edge of the kitchen and living room before retreating.

Schooner, my youngest, soon came down to investigate. He was puffed up and wary but not actively hostile. I reassured him and he got a bit more confident. Tanya and he actually sniffed noses as she explored and he investigated; Tanya didn't focus on him and he was tentatively curious. If everyone will be as good about this as Schooner (but they won't be) this will be a piece of cake.

After hanging out for a while, talking softly and chirping, I went upstairs. Have let three of the resident cats sniff my stranger-scented fingers. They were wary but curious; no one hissed. And that is how their arrival went. Let us hope they will settle in without too much drama.


Update, two hours later:

So far, so....... well, they're both still hiding in the basement, in separate spots. One or another of the residents goes down now and then to check them out, then comes back up, sedately. I don't hear any screams while they're down there. I did hear some hisses from Tomba a while ago, when I was sitting on the basement floor (carpeted, thank goodness) chirping and talking to T&T, and Peanut went close to Tomba's hiding place to check him out. Peanut retreated after a bit of cautious looking, and that was that.

I go down there every now and then to spend a little quiet talking time with them, come close enough to look at them, let them see me, then in a bit go away again. It seems best to let them come out when they feel comfortable with it. I'll probably put food and water down there for them until I see them regularly upstairs.

I liked their spotted coats but didn't realize till I looked over the health papers that came with them that they're both Ocicats! A breed I've admired for a long time, never thought I'd own as they are quite pricey! One website I looked at said $500 to $900 for a kitten. Although these two, with their white markings, are pet quality only, wouldn't qualify for showing. But who cares? I think they're lovely.


Update, two hours later:

No problems, other than that the newbies have now taken up residence in the blind corner behind the furnace and refuse to come out. I've left canned and dry food and a bowl of water in the floor space between the furnace and the water heater, and closed the basement door so that the other cats can't get down there to steal their food. That was about an hour ago that I left the canned food (tuna), and so far they haven't touched it. I did check with a flashlight and spotted a bit of Tomba staring back at me from his crouch beside the furnace. Hopefully by morning they will have at least eaten something. Seems to me, since they don't come out when they hear me coming down the stairs (or go back and hide, I don't know) that I should not bother them again tonight. I'm leaving the lights on down there so they can see where they're going if they do come out.


Update, four-plus hours later:

Some small amount of dry food, and maybe a bit of tuna, had been eaten on last check. Around 11:00 I went down and sat in the basement reading for about an hour. After a while, Tanya emerged from a different hiding place and slunk back to the furnace. Tomba didn't appear. They will have the basement to themselves for the rest of the night. Tomorrow I'll open the door and leave it open for several hours, and see what happens.

I do hope they'll get over their fear soon and move upstairs; it's not much of a life, hiding behind a furnace.

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