Things were looking a bit hairy when we last checked in with Hubble & Hattie's Kim's two cats, Leonard and James Cat, but things were about to take a turn for the better, as we'll find out in the next chapter of the kitten diaries ...
Things hadn't been going at all to plan. After all, introducing James Cat to our family was meant to give Leonard another cat to play with, but it seemed our choice of little brother just wasn't cutting it!
We were at the end of our tether, as were both cats.
Leonard was spending more time out of the house than in it, and James was still a crazy ball of
pent-up energy. We decided it was time for a 'make or break' decision ... to let James Cat have the run of the house. The plan was that James Cat could wear himself out exploring if not confined to one room, which would make him less inclined to bother Leonard the moment he walked through the cat door. In turn, this would help Leonard become accustomed to his new brother on his own terms, without having his tail pulled!
Obviously, we were a bit apprehensive about giving Leonard and James Cat constant access to each
other, and we discussed ways to soften the blow, especially for Leonard. After doing some (more) research online, I found that getting a Feliway diffuser (which emits a pheromone only detectable to cats) could help Leonard and James Cat relax around each other. I was skeptical, but the majority of reviews were positive, so I bought one from the Cats Protection online shop and set it up in the dining room – the main common room for both boys – and hoped for the best.
A few days later, we were due to visit some friends in Kent, and would be away overnight. Dan and I
discussed what to do about James Cat. We couldn't leave him shut up in one room for two days, and since he and Leonard had never shown any actual aggression to each other, we thought it would be safe to leave him out for the duration of the weekend. James Cat still hadn't mastered the cat door, and Leonard could escape off to wherever it was he had been going if he needed to. Besides, we were due back around lunchtime on the Sunday, and Dan's sister agreed to pop in to feed them (and give some much-needed cuddles – if Leonard would let her!) while we were gone.
As luck would (or wouldn't) have it, our plan to get back at lunchtime was scuppered by terrible traffic on the motorway, and we arrived back hours later than anticipated, only to leave almost immediately for a family meal at Dan's aunt and uncle's house. We did have time to check both Leonard (who was miraculously at home when we arrived) and James Cat, and both seemed fine and happy to see us.
It wasn't until we arrived home later that evening to give the cats their dinner that we noticed something was different ...
James Cat wasn't running around like crazy; Leonard was at home, and, although still grumpy and
grumbly, was a little more forthcoming than he had been for the last few weeks. Then the real magic happened ... James Cat walked over to Leonard, laid on his back and began batting at him with his paw ... and Leonard did the same back.
They were playing!
I very nearly burst into tears. Leonard was still very vocal, but he didn't leave, and they were running
around together and having a great time! I looked from the pair of them wrestling on the dining room floor to the Feliway diffuser, and decided on the spot that it was some kind of magical fix-all. Of course, that isn't the case – but it certainly helped. A mixture of James being able to burn off some of his energy and Leonard being less stressed had meant the two of them had finally been able to enjoy each other's company.
It wasn't often that those magic moments happened; Leonard was still a little unsure of James Cat, and James Cat was (and is) still full of beans. But it started to become more and more common to find the two of them together – as long as James Cat kept a respectful distance and left Leonard alone from time-to-time.
We still had a long way to go before we were to have total harmony in our two-cat family, but with patience, understanding, a bag of cat treats – and a helpful pheromone diffuser – we were getting closer and closer to the happy home we wanted for our boys ...