Saturday, February 11, 2012

the plan

A new milestone was reached in my relationship with Oliver. I've been noticing that occasionally, he'll flop on his side, like he might want his tummy rubbed. But when I have tried he responded with gentle nips with his teeths - a tummy trap! So, I have worked hard to resist the temptation of his sweet tummy furs.

Then earlier tonight, when I arrived home, he was lying in wait for me on the back porch. I sat on the step and he instantly hopped up in my lap. After a few minutes of pets, he flopped on his side and asked to have his tummy rubbed, this time with no teeth involved!

This moment was so delightful. It appears his trust of me has gone to a new level. Of course my heart melted once again. I continue to be amazed at how the cats are always finding new ways to bring joy to my heart.

If you look close, you can see the cut just below his left eye. His eyes look funky because of the camera flash, thankfully, they both continue to look well. I keep looking over the wound and eye, looking for signs of infection. I'm not a vet, but from what I can tell, so far everything seems ok. 

I just looked up how to treat cuts and lacerations in the Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, but because this is so close to his eye, I'll have to take him next door to the vet if I decide it needs treating.

Thanks everyone for the encouragements and great suggestions on bettering my chances of a happy integration. My plan for Saturday will be to lock up all the inside kitties in an upstairs bedroom and then to let Oliver explore the entire downstairs. I currently have Feliway difusers going all over the house and I'll hose down important things with the Feliway spray. I'll also be supervising him closely to make sure he doesn't decide to mark with urine, as he has a tendency to do.

Depending on how that exploration goes, on Sunday, I might try repeating the same while letting Theo or Nahum out to interact with Oliver. There are many things that I have been considering before formal introductions occur. 
  • Exchanging scents is often one of the early steps in kitty integration. This can be easily done by using a sock or towel and rubbing the face and other gland areas of each cat and then allowing the other cats to smell those scents on the cloth. I haven't done this as formally, but considering every time I come in from holding Oliver, all the indoor cats take a thorough aromatic inventory of my clothes seems to accomplish the same thing. Oliver gets to smell the indoor cats every time I visit with him.
  • The layout of the first floor of the house is all open space, so I don't really have rooms that I can work with to keep the space smaller. Ideally, I could do this in a bathroom or just the bathroom and kitchen. Of course the bathroom has a door, but it also houses both of the indoor cats' litter boxes, and I would rather Oliver not start by smelling those.
  • I'm most worried about the possibility of a serious cat fight occurring. Oliver has shown himself willing to fight off intruder kitties from his yard. I have never seen any of the inside kitties truly fight, only play-fight. Oliver has very sharp claws, the inside cats do not. I really don't want anyone getting hurt. So, I want to allow Oliver to have the ability to run out the back door in case he gets freaked out but I don't want Theo or Nahum to be able to follow him. And I want Theo or Nahum to be able to run upstairs to escape Oliver if they so desire but without Oliver being able to follow. I'm thinking Laura and I will be standing at the ready with water pistols and loud sound makers in hand. If anything starts to get ugly, I sure hope these devices work to separate them.
I'll see how these two steps go before going further with the plan. A little while back, someone suggested the book Cat vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett, I still need to get me a copy of this book. If it's anything like her other book, Think Like a Cat, then I know it will be very helpful. Maybe I'll browse the local used bookstore this weekend too and see what I can find. I'll keep you posted at how all this goes, so stay tuned!


  1. Good progress with Oliver. You may also want to have a long broom / mop and thick towels within easy reach during the "introduction period" as you won't want to use your hands to separate them in case the water pistols and loud sound makers fail. Trust me, I just got mauled (bites and scratches) by a boarding mother cat (feral) and had to go to the ER last night. 10 Feb 2012 is certainly an eventful day (losing my tortoise to an accident and the mauling).

  2. Good Luck! Good idea to start with one introduction at a time...your most easy going incumbent cat is your best bet!

  3. You may also want to check these products out that are used by Jackson Galaxy, Cat Behavioralist....he uses these on the show depending on each "cat issue"...

  4. Good luck, and don't be disheartened if it doesn't go to plan the first few times.
    Jane x

  5. Oh how wonderful that Oliver let you give him tummy rubs! Wishing you and all the furries a good weekend and hopefully a happy 'meeting'.

  6. well, what we say.. you have a great approach... feel sure it will go along as it should. Will be watching your space. Love Helen, Darcy and Bingley xxxx

  7. I have one thought: would it be possible to get Oliver fixed (if he has not yet been neutered)? I wasn't sure if that had happened yet, so pardon me if I speak out of turn. I know that male cats will often "mark" anyway, even if they've been altered.
    Good luck, and be patient. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say!

  8. What a love he're lucky to have each other. I hope your attempts go very well.

  9. I'm glad to hear that you have made some good progress.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  10. You might try a feline calming collar on the "lucky" kitty (or kitties) who gets to meet Oliver. I have had no experience with them myself but thought I'd mention them.

  11. Oh you have just warmed my entire day. You , your are inspiring.


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