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Life with Dogs and Cats

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Living Together

In the end, it took about six weeks...from kittens hidden away like fairy tale characters in their bathroom safe room, to full-fledged family members roaming amidst the friendly monsters/inhabitants who inhabit the world inside our home.

In my last post, the kittens were spending time inside a pen I set up in our family room. And when the dogs were outside chasing squirrels in the back yard, I would let Elsa Clair and Calvin run around the house; this helped them become familiar with lots of kitty Hidey Places and escape routes.

By this time, our two babies were such escape artists that there were daily close encounters with the dogs and cats as one or the other of the little fur balls flew over the gate when I opened the bathroom door. The dogs were mostly compuzzled; the cats were a little annoyed. But there was no meanness or chasing from the elder critters, and no fear from the kittens. It was time to let everyone mingle.

Armed with a squirt bottle in one hand and some treats in my pocket to control dogs and cats, I allowed the kittens the run of the house--well, almost the run.  Many of the bedroom doors were closed to restrict their access.  Since the kittens knew their way around the rest of the rooms, it made it easy to follow them as they explored and played and kittied here and there.

Dawn and Athena didn't really Like the kittens. Of course, they are Cats, and if it wasn't the Cat's Idea to get the kittens (and it was most certainly Not), then they don't like it. They registered their displeasure with hisses and glares, but eventually got used to the extra felines in the house. I fed them together, gave them all treats at the same time, and made sure to pet and give Scratchies to the elder cats whenever the kittens were around.  This may have helped a bit.

And while Their Highnesses would probably not willingly admit it, I think they're starting to like the little black and white Nuisances. I've seen Athena come bolting through the kitchen with Calvin hot on her tail. And when nobody is looking, late at night, Dawn and Elsa Clair sleep next to each other on a furry cloth at the top of the stairs.

Dawn and Elsa Clair sharing a bed. Jasper looks a tad Worried. But that's Jasper's normal state.

Feeding time is happy time. Usually, everyone is in the same positions. Athena and Dawn on either end, and the kittens in the center.

Athena grooms Dawn, while Elsa Clair takes notes.

Athena grabs a Secret Sniff of Elsa Clair.
The Queen is in residence. A lowly kitten is Not Welcome.

Athena jumped onto her bed only to discover it was occupied by Elsa Clair. Neither was giving up an inch. The Queen was Not Pleased. 

Calvin and Athena play Cat Inside the Box. In this case, the CIB was Dawn.

A variation of CIB is Cat Inside the Drum. The kittens are fascinated. I think Dawn was having fun.

Athena teaches Elsa Clair and Calvin the finer points of Helping put the groceries away.
During Hurricane Sandy, we took refuge in the basement, where Athena served as referee during a competitive game of foosball between the kittens.

Dawn demonstrates the Full Meatloaf position to Calvin.

As for the dogs, the squirt bottle turned out to be mostly unnecessary. I think I only had to use it twice ...mostly a warning shot across someone's bow to make sure they weren't too aggressively nosey with the kittens. Because now that they had access, Jasper, Lilah and Tucker just wanted to Smell them. And by Smell them, I mean stick your nose as far into kitty fur as you can get and Inhale.  Deeply. It's a wonder they didn't sniff the kittens right up their nostrils. The dogs could have broke their Sniffers with the amount of of snorting they attempted.

Two dog noses trying to Sniff Elsa Clair. Jasper's head is about the same size as Elsa's entire body, but she doesn't seem to mind.

Elsa Clair and Jasper nose to nose.

Tucker is trying to figure out what could be so interesting about paper in a Box. Calvin is happy to show him.
Jasper discovers a potential stowaway in Aaron's luggage. He promises Calvin he won't tell.

Once they got their fill of Sniffs, then it was on to Licks. Actually, that was mostly Lilah. The kittens needed to be Cleaned. Really. She spent the good part of several days hanging around, trying to lick Someone. Didn't matter whether it was Elsa Clair or Calvin. She just want one Lick. Or maybe two. Her Dr. Lilah instincts were so strong, she just had to Lick a Kitten. For the most part, they would walk away from Lilah, or offer a tiny Leave Me Alone hiss.  Until one day, she caught Elsa Clair in Sleepy Kitty Mode. That day surely ranks as one of the Top Five for Lilah.

Lilah gets a Good Sniff of a sleepy Elsa Clair.

Elsa is so comfortable with the dogs around that she just dozes off. And Lilah--Happy Happy Lilah--was able to just lay there and Sniff to her heart's content.

Eventually, Calvin joined his sister in the cat bed. And patient, patient Lilah got to Lick Calvin's ears. It was a banner day.

Today, four months after Elsa Clair and Calvin came to live with us, peace reigns in our home. Everyone gets along, for the most part, though sometimes there are differences of opinion as in any typical home. But usually those are quickly solved, with few issues. I think the only thing that has ever gotten hurt was Tucker's feelings after his Ball antics had irritated Athena one time too many and she swatted him just for walking by her.

Everyone tries to respect each other now. With an emphasis on "tries." We're all fallible here--humans, dogs and cats. Nobody's perfect (though I would guess the Dawn and Athena might argue with that.)

Tucker is Worried. Is that where kittens come from? He thought they were dust bunnies. Maybe they're Dust Kittens? We'd better keep the floors swept.

The dogs may all run to look out the window, but the commotion is not enough to make Elsa Clair and Calvin leave their comfortable bed.

Favorite Kitten Game: chase the dogs' leashes as we get ready to Go Outside. Lilah and Calvin are having some fun with Chase the Leash here.

Typical daytime scene: Tucker, Calvin, Athena and Jasper share the couch.

Typical nighttime scene: Jasper, Calvin and Lilah share the couch.

"I got something on my foot." Calvin curled up on Jasper's foot and fell asleep. Jasper spent about 5 minutes worrying about it; he didn't want to wake up the sleeping kitty. Eventually, he slowly and gently slid his paw out from under him, without a murmur from Calvin.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures! Good to see everyone living together peacefully...well, for the most part :)