Sunday, May 16, 2021

I Haven't Felt Like This Since Suez

Thirty years ago, there was a British comedy tv series about the relationship between a long-widowed solicitor and a divorced schoolteacher. In the initial episode, there is a scene in which the former is about to ask out the latter, the first time he’s invited a woman on a date in thirty years or so. Full of anxiety, he mutters, “I haven’t felt like this since Suez…”, referring to the Suez Crisis when, probably, he was a very young and very frightened soldier. The way the actor delivered the line was both funny and revealing, and I use it to myself from time to time when confronted by a nerve-wracking situation.

Though not quite in the same category, I was nonetheless rather anxious as Portia took another walk about the apartment this evening. The perma-cats were in different spots and in various shades of rest. Our guest roamed into the bathroom, where she investigated the tub, into the sitting room, where she hissed at Neville, and into the bedroom. There she leaped up on the bed, to be confronted with a suddenly-wakened Renn. Portia hissed and dropped down to the floor again, leaving my big boy to wonder what had happened.

What did happen was nothing harmful or dangerous. Portia returned to the library soon after and had a nap.

Even so, I worried about her interaction with the beasts, and still worry about it. To be honest, I doubt that there will be a violent confrontation. There will likely be hisses, growls, maybe a few whaps, and retreats. But I worry nonetheless. When Portia explores, I am ready with a big, heavy towel (to separate battling felines) and wearing ‘Ove Glove’ oven mitts, very thick garments made from the same material as Superman’s cape. If they allow me to hold a baking sheet heated to 400°, they should withstand a cat’s claws. Maybe.

I think the newcomer will integrate well enough as I give her more opportunities. Her attitude toward me is ambivalent: purring will quickly switch to hissing and swatting, with rapiers extended. But I would rather she adjust to her own species before mine, as that would mean freedom from the library, companionship, new experiences and maybe playing and friendship. I can always wait.

But each time she comes out to explore, I am nervous. It may not be 1956 Suez, but I’m prepared for warfare, just in case.


  1. Those were non skirmishes, so I think soon Portia may be tolerated and she might stop hissing at them. Its like she is saying, whoa, who are you and didn't you know this is MY place now (too)!?!

  2. I would be wary if a new intruder too. It just may take time.

  3. Oh! Yes! Goodness! That was 'May to December'.
    Brilliant! And the solicitor was played by TV
    actor..Anton Rogers..! Never missed it...! :).

    I can imagine you john, at home with a towel
    over your shoulder, and very large oven gloves,
    lurking in the shadows..Waiting for an eruption!
    HeHe! Bless! :O).

    1. I tend to like British TV better than American, which is how I stumbled upon episodes of “May to December” on YouTube. A really charming show.

      Getting back to Portia, it sounds like, all things considered, things are looking quite hopeful for some sort of international peace treaty.

    2. Another TV series very similar and
      also with Anton Rogers in was 'Fresh
      Fields'..running for four series between
      7th March 1984 and 23rd October 1986...!

      The episodes ran for about 25mins..Here's
      the 1984 Christmas episode, and runs for
      37mins! :O).

    3. I remember that. There was a sequel series, the cleverly named “French Fields”, which I think was made at the same time as “May to December”, so Rodgers was in two series at the same time.

    4. That's right John..'French Fiends' was
      a follow up, William..(Anton Rogers)..
      accepts a new job in France..and moves
      there with his wife...played by Julia
      McKenzie...Dare l say it..I fell in love
      with her from day one..and she started
      out as a dancer..And, is still with us
      aged 80..!

  4. There's no doubt about it with a new cat we have to practice lots of patients when they come into our lives. There's so much new and different and strange for Portia

  5. The old expression "Slow and steady wins the race" seems to apply here.
    Some cats take longer to blend in. As there has not yet been any fur flying, maybe there is hope.
    Purrs, Julie

  6. I think there is great hope for Portia and the other Beasts. I like what you do to prepare for trouble. Every now and again, Miss Katie gets het up over a passers-by out of doors and commences to scream, becoming three times her size as she postures in front of the window, screaming and hissing. I like your separation ideas. Sometimes I need to close the blonds or door in case that is were she is and it's hard to approach and move her. Your way sounds good.

  7. It sounds like Portia is adapting to her new home slowly but surely, and it looks like she and the perma- cats are now in the process of letting each other know the boundaries and the cat hierarchy in the Cosy Apartment. You are wise to be prepared just in case war breaks out, but at this point, I don't think things will escalate much beyond hissing.

  8. When folks tell me that their new cat just jumped into the middle of their current cats, and they all lived happily ever after, I shake my head and wonder why that has never happened for us!
    The stress of integrating Sweetie with Da Boyz made us stop and just leave them each to their own apartments, although they eye each other now and then.
    We human use logic and visual clues, but cats have access to many more dimensions of time and space than we, and we just cannot anticipate how they will react to each other.
    Portia, being in a poorly socialized situation before, may just have to learn, and as you wrote, there is no time schedule.

    1. I'm always envious of the people whose new cats have no difficulty in becoming part of the household. I've heard and read about it, but alas, do not have first-hand experience of it, and probably never will.

  9. for what it's worth, and this might be the wrong thing to post as a comment; but tuna and mackerull were kept apart for 3 months and only had a brief; IE 39 second encounter; in that time span, on a random basis. three years later... and the hissing still continues by tuna towards mackerull though he HAS ceased growling; so there IS hope :) ☺☺♥♥♥ !!

    1. Mackerull has been in Trout Towne three years already? Wow. Every cat is different in his or her reactions. My Cammie never got over not being an only cat and hissed at every cat who came close to her. And if it takes three years for Tuna to tolerate Mackerull, that's the way it is. We live by their rules...

  10. It is always good to be cautious during those early introduction times!

  11. Caution is good, but usually cats find their level of comfort with each other fairly quickly. Most of the time....hehehe

  12. At least there is no all out war so hisses are okay. Even Flynn occasionally hissed at Eric!

  13. In our small hiss-story all got along, then did not and now seem to be moving towards civility again. Cat relations cause us much more stress than it does the cats I am sure

  14. All of my "new" cats came in as kittens and except for a bit of smacking (mostly by Sami to put the new one in its place) there was never any bloodshed. Silver never liked any of them and had a way of letting them know to leave her alone.

    I suspect hissing is Portia's way of letting the permanent residents that she won't take any guff despite their having arrived before her. They may never become friends but there is something to be said for tolerance.