Monday, April 13, 2015

But . . . This Isn't Part of the Plan!!!

This post is a continuation of Bear's "adoption" story. You can find the two earlier parts of the story {HERE} and {HERE}.

Let's be honest. No matter how well thought out, researched, and well-intended your plan is, where 1) men, 2) children, and/or 3) cats are involved, chaos WILL ensue. Each one of those three added to the mix increases the disorder exponentially. I should have known better.

Surprise #1: "Lily" is a male. Even though we'd been calling him that for weeks and he'd started responding to it. Hadn't planned for "spraying" issues and had no experience with male cats (probably why I though he was a she in the first place - no experience. Oops.). For more on this, see {HERE}.


Surprise #2: Litter box training a cat is not all that hard, in fact, you might be all uptight about it because you rent your residence and paid a deposit, but for the cat, the litter box is second nature. If you are paranoid and, once returning to the area you have the cat isolated in, go around sniffing everywhere to try to detect accidents, your cat will take on that anxiety and won't understand why you are acting like a dog (especially if you try to smell Mr. Cat's butt - what did I really think this would accomplish? There'd be a clue?). All the sources I used said that after the cat eats or drinks, you should place him in the litter box and encourage him to go. However, up until an hour before, my 4 pound kitten had been homeless, so a full bowl of food and a person spending unlimited time with you is like heaven for such a cat.  He'd eat some kibble, meanwhile watching that I didn't leave, and then come back to cuddle - over and over for hours. But my sources said to put him into the litter box after EACH approach to the food bowl. Unfortunately, I apparently put him in there so many times, he stopped trying to get out and just curled up in the litter box, I'm assuming because he thought that's where I wanted him (if that doesn't make you feel like a horrible kitty momma, nothing will). Thank goodness for everyone involved, I never had to potty train a child. Also, I kept trying to figure out where the boy parts were. Not that I didn't trust the vet that he was male, but just so I knew. It took a few weeks for me to finally see what I was looking for even though he's a big lover of flopping on his back. I feel the need to defend Bear's male parts (perhaps I've just met too many guys who need reassurance, and a cat doesn't care) - but it's not that his boy parts are small, I just had no clue (I have no idea about his relative size, if I went around looking at and comparing male cat parts, well, that's weird). But back to the litter box. There were no accidents and there was no spraying: while I was surprised, I was also incredibly thankful (even though we later lost our deposit anyway because Bear shredded the carpet).


Surprise #3: Cats are not the same. Call it "Tails of Two Kitties." It's not that I really thought they were, more that my understanding of cats (needs, preferences, activity, etc.), were based on one cat that was night and day different from the new kid. This will be the topic of a separate post - because it takes a bit of an adjustment to get used to a cat that is pretty much the opposite of what you are used to. And the major differences between the cats also contributed to their inability to get along.


Surprise #4: Good luck keeping the new cat isolated, especially if you can't spend all of your time in the area the cat is isolated in. My research told me that new cats should be isolated for 2 weeks from the rest of the household (mainly the resident cat). The hope is that they will smell each other through the closed door and get used to the idea of each other. But by the third day when I had to leave him in the room by himself, it became obvious this isolation thing wasn't going to work. I'm a sucker - I admit it - but after THREE HOURS of listening to Bear tearing up the carpet on the other side of the door (see above about losing our deposit because of Bear tearing up carpet) and HOWLING (hello, neighbors!) at the top of his lungs because he wanted to be where I was, I called my (now ex) husband at work crying that I couldn't take it anymore. No doubt it was easy for HIM to say to be tough and stick it out - that Bear would stop eventually. I lasted another hour and a half: isolation over. New phase: complete chaos.


All of these surprises are nothing compared to those that came later as the cats faced off and learned how to share (or not). What once was . . . THIS ISN'T PART OF THE PLAN! Was NOW said while trying desperately to hold on to my sanity and hold back the tears; also, said aloud to no one in particular as everyone else has joined into the complete chaos and wasn't listening to me anyway. Countless incidents led to two main long-term conclusions:

a) The cats will never get along. The best you can hope for is peace and a good night's sleep . . . the worst is constant confrontations and frustration. You can see the differences that caused the most conflict best illustrated in my post found {HERE}.
b) The new cat loves jumping, loves destroying things (carpet, posters, blinds, books, paper . . . everything), and loves being loved. He can be loud and annoying, but also sweet and adorable. A good rule of thumb to remember is that he does nothing half-assed - he loves, he destroys, he dares, etc with his whole heart. So in that way, as well as others, the name "Bear" is perfect for him.

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