Friday, 24 January 2014

Kitten Diaries – Leonard, meet James Cat

It's time for the next installment of H&H's Kim's kitten diaries! Now James Cat has sucessfully moved in, how is he going to settle in to his new home, and how is Leonard, the resident top cat, going to take to this new addition?

James Cat’s first night in his new home passed without much drama … although neither of us got much sleep! I had decided to sleep in the spare room to keep an eye on him (my first mistake, since he would have been fine on his own), while my partner Dan remained in our room. It was quite common for Leonard McCoy, our two-year-old black and white cat, to come and sleep on our bed in the middle of the night, and we wanted things to seem as normal as possible without the kitten feeling anxious in his new surroundings.

But, cats are known for their curiosity, and at around six that morning, Leonard came to investigate why I wasn't sleeping in the right room. I could hear him making his ‘question’ miaow just outside of the door … why was I in there? Why was the door closed? And what was that strange smell?

Already awake, I got up to spend some time with Leonard, hoping that the kitten scent on my hands and pyjamas would help him get used to the new addition without him setting eyes on him. James Cat was not impressed at being left alone, and sat on the other side of the door, mewing and running up and down – Leonard was now very interested in the strange shadows under the door, and the odd noises they seemed to make. He was quite happy, purring away, and I was sure to praise him for being inquisitive and calm. I took it as a good sign that he was clearly enjoying himself, and in such close proximity to James Cat.

It was about now that I made my second mistake.

With Leonard reassured, I had planned to go back to bed for a few hours. I waited until James Cat’s
shadow had moved away from the door, and Leonard had lost a bit of interest, then turned the handle.
Three days is a good amount of time to have your new kitten in the house before he or she meets any existing pets. I think we made it about twelve hours.

To my horror, both Leonard and James Cat ran at the crack in the door at the same time, both more
eager than I had anticipated to see each other. My heart stopped for a second as they bumped in to each other. They sniffed. They looked each other up and down. Then Leonard hissed and ran to the other side of the corridor, clearly unimpressed at this strange smelling fuzzball that had the nerve to sit in his hallway!

I quickly scooped James Cat up and stowed him safely in the spare room, hoping this unexpected meeting hadn’t done too much damage. James, who had taken barely any notice of Leonard after their initial sniff, began mewing immediately, and Leonard started making his own noises from the safety of the washing basket.

If you’ve never heard a cat growl, it’s a very odd sound … more disgruntled than angry, and he was very disgruntled indeed. He had lost all interest in the door – and the whole of the second floor of the house for that matter – because he very swiftly made a break for the stairs when I went towards him to comfort him, and we heard the cat flap shortly afterwards – no doubt he was off out to tell his cat gang about the terribly scary thing that was now residing upstairs.

We kept them separate for the rest of the day. Dan was at work, so I split my time between playing with the kitten in the spare room and sitting downstairs with Leonard, who popped in and out as normal throughout the day. For the most part, he was acting as he usually did, sitting on the windowsill, coming over for a stroke, and sleeping in snoozy spots in the living room, although he wouldn’t go upstairs, and still hadn’t forgiven me for being an accomplice to the little monster in the spare room, so our cuddles were shorter than usual. Leonard had more than his fair share of treats that day by way of an apology!

Still, both cats seemed happy and relaxed, despite our hiccup that morning, so we resolved to carry on at a slow but steady pace, introducing James Cat bit by bit.

That first day was a long day for everyone, and although things could have been worse. As I lay in my
own bed that night, painfully aware that Leonard had not come up as usual, I was starting to think that the transition from one cat to two wasn’t going to be as simple as I had first anticipated …

Next time: In this corner ... Leonard McCoy!

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