Lifestyle

Juggling pets | Living with Gleigh

After I had to re-home the trailer trash, street walkin’ kitty I rescued because, although she was sweet with us, she was extremely aggressive to our older cat, I vowed I would not get in the same situation having to juggle our pets again.

But the rescue cat was very affectionate and my daughter missed having that soft, furry being curl up in her arms. Our older cat is friendly, but not particularly cuddly; she can’t settle down long enough to pet her.

So I did my homework: I Googled how to integrate cats and discovered the male/female combination was best and if the original cat had a good experience with other cats when she was young, she would be more likely to accept another cat.

Our old cat had been “other” cat and she’s had new cats come into our lives in her nine years living with us and been fine. Maybe it’s because they were kittens and she was still a kitten with one adult, male cat we acquired. But she failed to read the instructions when we brought home a 3-year old male cat a couple months ago.

I don’t know if the problem is that she is an indoor/outdoor cat and our new cat isn’t, but they have not gotten along. A friend sent me a pheromone plug in that seemed to work wonders for about a week. They were both in a tolerant stupor, then one day they snapped out of it and everything changed.

One night it went really bad and she must’ve won, because he was left with two abscesses on his head. Two hundred and eighty-eight dollars later and I am once again forced to juggle the animals, like some sort of twisted circus act.

I can’t leave them alone together, so at night, one is in the family room, one is in the computer room. I even set up a whole feeding station for the new cat in the computer room. He’s got a mat with his food and water on the freezer and a litter box on a mat on a shelf so the dog won’t go looking for tootsie rolls when she’s in the computer room.

I put his “launching”/scratching post in the computer room. I was really hoping that rather than “owning” the whole back end of the house, he’d see that he could just own the one room. It hasn’t worked; he’s still stalking our older cat through the rooms and attacking her. I can’t have another vet bill or another two weeks with a cat wearing the cone of shame and I need this cat to work out for my daughter’s sake.

On the plus side, the vet had diagnosed the new cat as “stressed,” because he was chewing his fur off around the base of his tail. After wearing the cone of shame, he got out of the habit of chewing his tail. So something good did come out of it; although now he seems out for revenge. This is an odd turn of events, because he is a very wimpy cat and anything that scares him, he tends to stay away from. Getting whacked in the head by our other cat apparently does not apply.

Watching my oldest cat come in one day on one of her many forays into the house for a bite to eat, I decided I had to give in and put some food and water in the living room on her scratching pad behind the chair (it keeps her from scratching the chair). Normally, we have to act as her bodyguard to the food dish in the family room.

Sigh. She’s pleased, so I juggle. Whatever keeps peace in the family.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She continues to juggle animals. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.

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