Friday, 31 January 2014

Kitten Diaries – In this corner, Leonard McCoy!

Uh-oh ... looks like there's trouble brewing for H&H's Kim and her cats, Leonard and James Cat! Read on for this week's installment of the kitten diaries ...

Leonard's and James Cat's life together had got off to a shaky start (mostly our fault), but we were hopeful that it wouldn't take long for them to be the best of friends.

Isn't it funny when things don't turn out how you imagined they would?

For the first week or so after we let James out of his room to wander the house, Leonard sulked,
grumbling whenever the kitten happened to be in his vicinity. Still, he wasn't showing any aggression, and more than once his curiosity got the better of his bad mood, and he'd sit and watch James Cat explore. He still seemed to blame us for this intruder, and wasn't best pleased at being picked up or stroked, something which we struggled with more than he did, I think.

For James Cat's part, there was too much newness for him to be particularly bothered with Leonard,
which was for the best considering Leonard grumbled and growled at the mere sight of him. It wasn't until a couple of weeks in that things began to get a little more tense ...

Eventually, James Cat became more at home, and was more interested in Leonard and his comings and goings (especially his tail, something he's still fascinated with to this day), and worse still, Leonard's toys! As you can imagine, Leonard was very upset, especially if James Cat turned up somewhere that Leonard wasn't expecting him, like his tunnel, or on one of our laps.

Things might have been better if Leonard had administered a cautionary tap to show James Cat who
was boss (especially since, judging from the size of James' paws, it won't be long until he is bigger than Leonard). Unfortunately, cat's don't like confrontation, and will do everything in their power to avoid it. This led to about three weeks of each cat approaching the other, Leonard growling and hissing constantly, and ending with the pair of them fleeing in opposite directions. In fact, the only time they would be calm around each other was at breakfast and dinner times ... not that Leonard couldn't growl through a mouthful of kitty kibble! Regardless, all the advice we'd seen had said to feed the cats together, so they associated each other with something positive – food! The only trouble we had was that James Cat preferred Leonard's adult cat food to his kitten food, and viceversa!

Since James Cat was too young to venture outside (he'd had both of his kitten inoculations, but wasn't yet neutered), Leonard couldn't enter the house without bumping in to him, and our evenings and weekends were becoming more and more stressful, as James Cat now wouldn't leave Leonard alone. It seemed at least James Cat wanted to be friends, but Leonard just wasn't ready to play, and the constant harassment was taking its toll. Leonard was spending less time in the house, and when he did come home, he was hostile and mopey, and not at all himself. We felt terrible for both of them.

The advice we'd seen had said to give your existing cat extra attention to reassure him or her. The
problem was, Leonard was so cross with the pair of us that he wasn't interested in being stroked or cuddled, and when he did seem to want affection, James Cat would inevitably appear and send Leonard running for the cat door!

For the first few weeks, we had taken to shutting James Cat, with his litter tray, food and fresh water, in the living room while we were at work. At least for a few hours, we reasoned, Leonard had the rest of the house to himself unhindered. James soon outgrew the room, however, and we would come home at night to an unstoppable furry ball of energy, which was even harder for Leonard to cope with!

We had to do something, since the current arrangements weren't doing either of our boys any good. We scoured the internet yet again to see if anyone had advice on ways to help cats to get along, but this was essentially the same – and we were already following much of it!

We were nearly at the end of our tether ... would our boys ever get along? Could we regain some
harmony in our home with two cats, or would the addition of James Cat prove too much for Leonard to cope with? Things weren't looking good.

We were two months in, and, although we didn't know it, thankfully, there was light at the end of the cat tunnel ...

Next time: Peace at last?

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