For Those With Cats

Sorry, but this one has nothing to do with writing or reading; if you’re not into cats, I apologize for wasting your time.

We have an almost 2 year old female cat whom we’d adopted from a rescue agency through a sponsoring pet store. Nyxie’s been amazing — playful let laid back, loving yet independent, calm yet mischievous. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that she was either lonely or bored. Maybe I was projecting — heaven knows, as a writer, I make up emotional responses far more than is probably healthy for me — but because I work from home, I observed her a lot, and I really thought she was bored.

About a week ago, a friend posted on Facebook about the last kitten of a litter that had been rescued (the pregnant mother cat had been abandoned – nice, right?), and would anyone be willing to take this little boy cat? My husband and I talked about it, and we agreed: we’d take him. He needed a home (the family that rescued him already had 4 cats; all they could do was foster the kittens until they were adopted); Nyxie needed a playmate. My sons were excited; they were staying with their grandmother for a week, so this was the perfect time to get the kitten and let him and Nyxie get used to each other.

I traveled nearly an hour yesterday to get the kitten. He’d been staying in a barn room — big enough, but still a closed space — and was desperate for attention. I traveled an hour back with him (with him meowing the entire way — healthy lungs!) to the vet, where he got a clean bill of health (other than ear mites, which we took care of), and because he was (based on his weight) closer to 16 weeks than the 12 I’d been told as a rough estimate, he also got his first round of vaccinations. He’ll get neutered when he’s six months old.

And then I brought him home. I brought him right up to my home office (after pausing, with him in the carrier, for me to scritch Nyxie behind her ears) and showed him the litterbox, etc. I kept him in my office with the door closed for an hour. During this time I also snuck out to hang with Nyxie for a bit. And then, after an hour, the Big Meet happened as the kitten explored the house.

It didn’t go well.

Nyxie didn’t just growl; she hissed, growled, snarled and, I think, spat. This was in my office, with Nyxie on my window sill staring daggers at the kitten who was in my desk tower area (my desk is old enough to remember the days of tower-like computers). I don’t know how long I kept it going – 30 minutes? and then I finally scooped Nyxie up and took her downstairs, closing the boy in my office. He cried; she calmed. When my husband came home from work, he hung out with Nyxie for a bit, then met the kitten, and then we let the boy explore the house again. Nyxie was grossly unhappy. And more than that: she was scared. That became all too clear when she pooped when my husband picked her up; she’d been hiding in his home office.

The kitten spent the night in my home office while Nyxie had the run of the house. This morning I spent time with Nyxie before saying good morning to the kitten and letting him out. He’s extremely vocal, meowing quite often, and Nyxie has retreated to the downstairs bathroom. She refuses to come out. I wound up putting her food and water in there with her and opening the window for her; I also put a litterbox in there for her. The kitten is hanging out up here in my home office with me as I type this. God only knows how it’s going to go today with me working, him meowing, and Nyxie hiding.

I feel like shit.

I’d really thought, as crazy as it was, that Nyxie would at worst ignore the kitten for a while. I didn’t expect her to be terrified. So now I have a scared cat, when before she was content (even though I’d thought she was lonely and bored), and a kitten who’s super curious, playful, and in desperate need of a manicure. The last thing I wanted was to stress Nyxie.

Any advice?

 

About Jackie

Jackie Kessler used to run around in Wonder Woman Underoos and watch Challenge of the Super Friends. Now she watches superhero cartoons with her kids. Jackie’s superpower is stamina: she survived pitching 1,000 beloved comic books after a battle with a flooded basement. (Comic books, contrary to popular belief, are not waterproof.) When not writing about superheroes and the villains who beat the heroes into a bloody mess, she likes to write about demons.

For more about Jackie, visit her website: www.jackiekessler.com.

Comments

  1. Samantha D says:

    Hello,
    Most websites and the animal shelter I adopted my cat from recommend keeping the cats separated for a while… maybe even a week, then introduce them slowly. I’ve had a lot of cats and my experience is that they NEVER get along well at first but eventually will. Even if they don’t become best friends, they’ll probably be able to coexist soon. I wouldn’t give up yet!

  2. Janice Smith says:

    Patience is the best advice I can give. And, I know that’s hard to have.

    If they were the same sex, I’d worry more that they’d ultimately have difficulty accepting one another. Right now, they might just need time, though you could ask your vet for advice since, I assume, they know both cats?

    It could be that Nyxie will warm up to him on her own. If not, once he’s fixed, that could help the situation.

    I have 4 rescue cats. 3 can live together, though one is female and not yet fixed, so she has her own bedroom. One of the males is bullied by the other two males, and must live in a bedroom of his own.

    All cats are different, but since yours are young, they have a really good chance of becoming best friends.

    • Patience? How long does THAT take? ;) Thanks so much for sharing. Yes, the vet knows both, and you’re right, she’s a valuable resource. Fingers crossed about the cats becoming friends!

  3. With my newest cat, I kept her in a separate room for over a week while my old cat got used to having her in the house. I made sure to spend quality time with both. I also read some articles from vets on introducing a new cat into the house for hints.

    It was the first time I did it this way but it seemed to go much more smoothly, particularly more smoothly than the time that I thought my old cat had killed the new one!

    I would give it some time. Good luck!!

    • !!! OMG, your old cat almost killed the new one??? !!! Holy smokes. I’m definitely spending quality time with both. And last night went well, I think; will be posting about that shortly. :) Thanks for sharing!

  4. hum my cat hates others but loves our dog so if nyxie is like that it could take a long long time…. i can only advice you to put a cloth with the kitten scent ( put one when he is sleeping then take it back)in a room with nyxie and the same in your office for the kitten with a cloth that have nyxie scent that way they could “meet” while being separated and perhaps take teh anxiety done ( and if nyxie destroy the cloth it’s better than the kitten)
    you probably were right thinking she was bored but the fact is: she didn’t choose her playmate you dropped him perhaps she fear you would want to remplace her

    • Thanks — I heard about the cloth swapping. He didn’t have a favorite blanket or anything like that. Last night I think there was very big progress; will be posting about that soon. Thanks again for sharing!

  5. I think they have videos that address this situation at the Animal Planet website. Probably under the page for My Cat From Hell.

  6. Jackie I’m going to link Jackson galaxy’s video on how to introduce new cats into a household I really hope this helps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZrwcoiy_gY

    I think she’ll come around, just spend time with her as well the new addition . . . Your hubby and you might have to bring both cats in a room together interacting with one another.
    I only have one cat but we already know what he would do if we ever brought in another cat into his territory, so we know we can’t bring in a new cat.

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