For months now, I’ve wrestled with whether to keep him. I like the guy, even though he isn’t effusively affectionate like Tanya. But he has never completely settled into the pack here. The hostility toward the other males, especially Schooner and Pumpkin, did ratchet way down after I started him on kitty Wellbutrin but never entirely left him. The screeching growling wailing charging furies still erupt now and then. It’s not just him and his target that are unhappy when he goes off on someone; all the other cats get more or less upset by it. Is such daily angst fair to them? Is it kind to Tomba himself to live with such daily stress?
And then there’s the pissing. Over the last few weeks I’ve found it three or four times on the stack of catfood cans in one corner of the kitchen countertops. Couldn’t be sure it was him; could have been Schooner, in fact, who is the only cat that gets up there when I’m fixing meals and so might consider that territory he needs to mark when he’s stressed about Tomba.
But this morning I caught Tomba backed up to a corner of the second-floor landing, letting loose a stream. And that was that.
So I’ve called and left a message for Matt, the animal control officer in charge of the shelter, and we’ll arrange a time for Tomba to go back. At least it’s a lovely, comfortable refuge, with a good-sized, well-furnished catroom rather than a cage awaiting him. Last time I visited, a couple of weeks ago, there were only two cats in the main room, so his odds of finding a new (one cat only please!) home quickly should be good.
Damn. I feel as if I’ve failed.
Update, February 16th:
Today Tomba went back to the shelter. He confirmed the decision by having a meltdown at Schooner shortly before we left. He had a lot to say, none of it good, about the car ride in the carrier, yet was oddly hesitant to leave its suddenly comforting confines when it came time to decant him in the catroom. Coaxed out, he scuttled belly-down to a hiding place, growled and hissed at the tortie who came over to investigate him (and who hissed and growled back; no further dramatics ensued), and by the time I left had settled into a sort of lair under a towel-draped chair with a catbed underneath, snug in a corner. Matt told me he has someone in mind for Tomba already, and given how handsome he is, I suspect he’ll be placed quickly.
So there I was, down to seven cats. And then as we were chatting Matt mentioned there were these two six-month-old orange boys, just been neutered, he’d be picking them up from the vet’s in a little while, he knows how much I like orange tiger boys, and................
No! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t possibly.....................
But of course I did. Damn that Matt! He knew I’d be a sucker for a new adoption on the heels of having to give back Tomba. So now I have two orange tiger boys sitting in a cage in my living room, getting over their surgery and getting used to the smells and sights and sounds of their new home, while the other cats, horrified yet resigned, alternate between cautious investigation and hanging out in a disgruntled pack on my bed upstairs.
Names, you ask? Well, given the difference in size, roundness, and stripe thickness, how about Laurel and Hardy? Or Stan and Ollie? Or how about Wire and Cable? Okay, maybe that last one is a bit much. Anyway, provisionally they are Laurel and Hardy, but we’ll see.
Update, February 17th:
Everyone is glad that Tomba’s gone – even Tanya, it appears. She certainly doesn’t seem to be pining at all. The rest of the pride have been relaxed and happy, even with strangers in the living room, and I awoke in the wee hours to find a tangle of Schooner, Squash, Pumpkin and Peanut snoozing at my left side, their favorite night spot till Tomba uglied them away from me.
Stan and Ollie – provisionally, that’s where I am right now on naming them – are out of the cage and exploring the downstairs. They still haven’t vocalized – do they mew at all? I’m beginning to wonder. Definite differences in personality! As soon as the cage door swung open Stan was out and exploring – cautious but forward. Ollie hung back and refused to come out. Schooner slunk up to sniff; the two exchanged hisses from inches apart; then Schooner retreated and Ollie still sat in the doorway, dithering.
I went away to do stuff and came back some minutes later to find Ollie reconnoitering the living room while Stan did forward scouting through the kitchen into the dining area. Ted came downstairs and stalked over to Stan, there was an exchange of hisses, Stan backed away – and that was that. We’ve got workmen whacking away at roof ice outside and the noise scared Ted back upstairs. The newbies resumed exploring, with Schooner creeping about to monitor from varying safe distances. I picked up Ollie at one point and he enjoyed a little snuggle before asking to be put down. They’re both friendly guys.
They’ve been out now for over half an hour and so far – ah, there’s Schooner walking upstairs now, calmly. I haven’t heard a single yowl yet, and the pride in the bedroom seem not very worried about the strangers lurking below. No, they’re not hiding on the second floor; they always congregate after breakfast in the bedroom by the slider to the deck, to soak up the sunshine and snooze.
So far, so good.