Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How They Are Coping

Luther’s integration with my cats is not progressing as well as I’d like. He thinks himself a top-cat, a notion which probably stems from his time outdoors when he had to fight to survive. As well, he has been neutered very recently, so that operation has yet to take a full effect. In any case, it is not contributing to tranquility in the house.

There has been tension, and this is leading to a bit of discouraging behaviour on the part of my cats. Tucker in particular is suffering a bit of despondency. He is a very sensitive cat. Ironically, he was the one who at first allowed Luther to come closest to him. Tucker was resting on a cat-tree in the bedroom and magnanimously allowed the guest-cat to lie on the neighbouring cat-tree. My roly poly was quite untroubled by his presence, it seemed. Luther decided to sniff Tucker. The latter realised this and took offence. Luther nipped a big chunk of fur from Tucker’s rear end, whereupon Tucker jumped to the floor with Luther in pursuit. I caught the new boy and tossed him into isolation.

A few days later, Tucker was lying on the bed and Luther jumped up near him. Tucker again was generous enough to share his space. I thought, foolishly, that I could leave them alone for a minute. While I was gone, I heard growling and yowling; Tucker came running out of the bedroom and I found Luther innocently lying near where Tucker had been - a tuft of black and white fur in his mouth.

I find it hard to credit the new boy with malice. I think that there would have been more violent action, or more serious results, if Luther had really wanted to fight. Nonetheless, his behaviour does not lend itself to tranquility.

Renn does not like the visitor, either. He growls at Luther as soon as he sees him, and becomes agitated if he comes within four or five feet.

Tungsten has a long history of despising new cats. She and Luther have clashed thrice now. My tiny terror has not given ground to the intruder but, on the other hand, knows that she would probably not win a sustained battle. She has, I think, gained Luther’s respect. Just last night, they came within sight of each other in the back corridor. Tungsten growled mightily and Luther backed up and kept backing until he reached a wall. Then, when Tungsten was turning away, followed her. That will lead to trouble.

I’m worried less about physical trouble than the emotional. Josie is largely unworried. As a pacifist, she remains aloof, as best she can, from such common strife, usually taking the high ground - the top of a tall cat-tree, in her case. Renn dislikes Luther but other than keeping those golden eyes peeled for the newcomer, does not seem too bothered. Tungsten has come a long way from the days when Josie came to live with us, and the orange one became depressed and sad. She undoubtedly longs for what she thinks of as the good old days (when there were just the two of us…) Tucker is the worst affected.

Tucker is slowly, very slowly, recovering from Luther’s descent upon us. My roly poly, after his unlooked-for tussles with Luther, started hissing and growling at me and his fellow-cats, especially, for some reason, Josie. That has subsided somewhat, though he still does it. He has started playing again, which he had ceased, and yesterday I watched him play by himself, chasing a fuzzy mouse he was knocking about. I was very happy to see that.

He has a long way to come back. He’ll be fine again, though it may take a while. In the meantime, he has taken once more, while I sit on the couch, to lying beside me on its arm, and again makes a special trip across a whole room just to rub up against me. He doesn’t do it as often as he once did. This is his first experience of a new cat. Considering his past, I can’t blame his alarm. But as long as I make sure that he knows he’s safe and loved, he’ll be all right. They all will be.


  1. It takes times sometimes to adjust to a new cat. I've had Meredith Ann for two years and the three boys still don't like her. (there fault not hers) The puppy has been here six months and everyone likes her except my Siamese. Silly how it goes.

  2. Have you used a feliway diffuser? It can help.

  3. Hang in there, Tucker. With luck, Luther will find himself his furrrever home somewhere else shortly.