Karla's Kolumn: Learning more about cats
February 11, 2021
We adopted two cats recently from New Hope Humane Society. Earlier this year we had to say goodbye to our beloved Buddy after about five years and we needed to find another feline companion for Chuck.
Well New Hope had two young cats available for adoption that were both perfect fits for us so my husband said “let’s get both.” This ranked up there in surprise remarks with the time he said yes to getting a third dog (when we adopted Shadow as a pup).
But, hey, I like animals so who was I to argue.
Well taking cats to the country and trying to get them to understand that that is their home so they do not wander off takes work and patience. This is something that can be accomplished but is far easier to do in warmer weather.
We have an enclosed “loafing” shed where they have been housed as we spend time with them, slowly introduce them to the rest of the family and to each other.
When we adopted Buddy and Chuck they were roommates at New Hope but Tigger and Fluffy had to meet each other as well as move to a whole new place.
Tigger and Fluffy became fast friends and early indications are Chuck and Fluffy (our only girl cat) will become friends. Chuck and Tigger will have to work things out it appears — as only boys will do.
There are things I have learned about cats that I hadn’t realized and/or had forgotten.
First and foremost, cats don’t like to cuddle, or be held, unless it is on their terms.
My best friend Carole has an adorable Calico cat named Phoebe and she is the most patient cat when I give her what I call “doggy loving.” She will give Carole that look of desperation but has never clawed me or bitten me.
I tried “doggy loving” with Tigger and Fluffy and well, they also were patient — no scratches, but they squirmed enough to get let down right away.
So now we bond over food — whether it is their canned food in the morning for breakfast or kitty treats at night after dinner.
We are also bonding over the red dot. You see I have heard about the dot and cats but never seen it before, only with our dogs. Chuck and Buddy were never interested in the dot, but they were a little older than Tigger and Fluffy are now. Tigger and Fluffy are the stereotypical cats with the red dot and are as addicted as my dogs. Saturday and Sunday they wanted to play in the middle of the day so I had to shine it in the shadows of the shed so it would show up and they could play.
They are a joy to watch as they try to climb walls to catch the dot (just as my dog Ivy does in the house). Tigger paws at the ground when the dot disappears and Fluffy will chase an imaginary dot after we are done playing – or maybe she is just in a frenzied search for the dot.
It takes patience introducing them not only to ourselves but to the dogs. Shadow is more cautious than Ivy. Ivy, the one who just can’t seem to stop herself in wanting to say hi to skunks, is a happy-go-lucky dog that enjoys life, likes everyone and figures everyone will like her.
She has no qualms about getting nose to nose with Fluffy – I think Fluffy has been around dogs before because she doesn’t even flinch.
Tigger on the other hand has hissed at Shadow, with Shadow now keeping a safe distance. But since Shadow and Chuck are good buds I figure it is only a matter of time before Shadow wins Tigger over as well.
Ivy, however, went right up to Tigger, even with a hiss, tail wagging furiously so happy to say hi to a new friend. Tigger gave another hiss and a swat but I think Ivy took that as a challenge to wag her tail harder and go back to say hi again until we told Ivy to try again at a later time.
Then came this wonderful cold snap and we knew that the shed would become too cold for them so we moved them into our heated shop. We were hoping not to have to uproot them until they were completely comfortable to be let out to wander on their own. But I soon realized Monday night that they like routine – treats were at the same time and breakfast Tuesday morning was at the same time so life is getting back to normal, albeit in a warmer, but strange place.
It will take some time but we will eventually be one big happy family — two humans, two dogs and three cats.