Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Promising Start...

My luck with integrating foster-cats has not been good in the past year. First, there was Luther, who, though a wonderful little fellow and very friendly to people, attacked my other cats on sight. He went to another foster-home where he was an only-cat, until he was paired with a kitten, Fortune. The two became good friends, though Fortune was, if anything, too rambunctious for Luther. (Luther will have to excuse a certain schadenfreude on my part.) They were adopted together a couple of months ago and are prospering.

Then came Rachael. A little aloof at first, she grew to be warm and friendly, and played cheerfully and snoozed on my lap. But she was highly-strung and the presence of other cats kept her on edge. She is now doing better in a single-cat foster-home.

Now, there is Bear-Bear.

This orange and white boy lived with a large number of other cats previously and did not display much of an interest in them. This sounded promising. I have begun releasing Bear-Bear from his back parlour isolation for an hour at a time, with Tungsten and Josie also free. The boys are put in the bedroom for that time. Tungsten, predictably, hisses and growls at the newcomer. She hates new cats. She hates anything new. I wonder where she got that from… Anyway, the surprise was Josie.

While Tungsten demanded to be let in the bedroom with the boys, away from the guest-cat, Josie remained outside, watching Bear-Bear. Twice now, she has descended from the cat-tree where she had been lying when Bear-Bear was released - not the action of a cat afraid of contact. Last evening, she came down again. The Great White lie under a chair and remained there even as Bear-Bear walked around her. For his part, he wasn’t that interested in her. Then Josie move over to a mat by the door and lie down.

“Come and meet me,” she seemed to say. I donned my oven mitts, ready for a confrontation, and watched Bear-Bear approach. (Please excuse the bad quality of the pictures; I was in a hurry to take them.)

At one point, my Chubs got up and settled in a cat-bed. That’s when Bear-Bear and she actually sniffed noses. Josie, not unexpectedly, then gave one of her cranky snarls and swatted at Bear-Bear. This doesn’t mean hostility: she does it when any of the perma-cats comes too close, as well. In other words, she let Bear-Bear smell her, then reacted as she always does. And Bear-Bear did not show aggression, annoyance or even disappointment. He turned to see what else there was to smell. When he eventually wandered away, Josie’s expression was one of chagrin and hurt pride.

Well, what did you expect, Chubs?

But what this means is that Bear-Bear’s integration may go well. He doesn’t bother Tungsten, for all my orange one’s dislike of his presence. The next step is to introduce him to the boys, one at a time, though this will not occur until he’s more used to the girls. Poor Bear-Bear is going to wonder where all these cats keep popping in from…

As for the guest-cat himself, he is a friendly little wonder, loving to be on my lap for extended periods, purring his throaty purr and scolding me raucously when I come home from not seeing him for hours on end. I hope not to jinx him, but I believe this may be a feline who will NOT need to be an only-cat, and may in fact be a perfect second or third pet. He uses scratching posts without fail, and always has perfect hygiene. A clean and affectionate animal, his only failing is not being accustomed to playing. We conquer that one next.


  1. Bear-Bear seems like a great cat for a calm, multi-cat household. No aggression/hostility, etc. Makes me think of Toby the stray (who is, I so hope, happy and safe), who (after neutering) wasn't at all aggressive, even toward Mr. Peanuts (whom I very rarely see now). This bodes well for a terrific forever home for Mr. Bear-Bear, and I hope that home comes sooner than later.

    Would your gang find it easier to adjust to kittens as fosters? Mind you, kittens probably would need a heck of a lot more time and work!

  2. awwww - sounds like he is doing his best to fit it. hope his new forever family sees this and jumps right up to get him.

    I have seen a reaction here similar to Josie's: the I am all tough so beware reaction followed by hey where are they going :)

  3. Bear Bear seems like a real gentleman. And Josie is a lady.
    - Jessica

  4. It sounds really promising. Bear-Bear looks a bit like me, Texas, don't you think. Maybe that's why it's promising ;-) Just kidding. Well kinda ;-)

    I wanted to stop by and say thank you for leaving a nice message for Milou on my blog. That enabled me to find your blog too. And Milou is doing better!

    Purrs to a nice weekend!

  5. Seems like everyone is adjusting to the new comer. They'll soon get use to other... eventually.

  6. Bear Bear does sound like he will get along with other cats. The ones that ignore aggression are usually the ones that get along all right. I know just how you feel. I have a foster cat here that is scared silly of other cats so she lives in a room by herself. I sure wish I could find her an only cat home. You such a nice person to help those foster kitties.

  7. From our experience the Orange Tabbies seem more accepting of others. Here at the Tomcat I, Timmy, am the great equalizer. I play with Buddy the cranky elder, Buttons the rambunctious teen, Fitz the young lady, Toby of course my equal, and finally Rumpy who is, well, he is a nudge to to say the least.
    Good luck and thanks for being so loving!

  8. RE: the comment on my post about the choir:

    Well, maybe I should have written that the singing wasn't good then. But it was, technically, just not with the certain something that Gospel music needs, no matter one's cultural background.

    I still think, though, that if your roots are in slavery and those struggles permeate your culture, there's a certain "soul" to your singing of those old hymns that someone whose ancestors were the oppressors, just doesn't have.

    Or maybe the choir just lacked "heart" or "soul" overall, regardless of background. But I probably wouldn't have felt a lack in their performance if they had been singing traditional Anglican hymns, for example.