Sunday, April 11, 2010

Progress?

Miss Melly is mewing (it sort of sounds like chirping), I think mostly for attention since it doesn't sound as pained as her mewling this morning. I was going to go in and cuddle her a bit, but Scarlett wandered over just as I was opening the door. She caught a glimpse of Melly through the door crack, and promptly started hissing. If Melly hissed back, I couldn't hear.

Here's the part that might be progress: Scarlett, while definitely in an offensive sort of stance - low to the ground, head down, tail down - did not puff up! No tail puffing at all! Nor was there angry tail waving! She did growl quite a bit, which was unnerving. I stood and held the door cracked about 1/4", and Scarlett growled for a few minutes. I couldn't see what Melly was doing, but she didn't seem to be moving around much. After a while, Scarlett backed away veeeery slowly. As soon as I closed the door and took a couple of steps away, up went Scarlett's tail into the familiar crook position, and she started sniffing my slippers and rubbing against my legs.

I'm currently baking some plain chicken, bits of which will be fed to the girls on either side of the bathroom door. I'm not sure this strategy will work on Scarlett given that she won't even look at a treat within five feet of the door, but chicken's her favorite, so we'll see.


And here we have Scarlett casually keeping an ear out for Melly. You can also see Scarlett's catnip mouse, disciplinary squirt bottle, and the peed-upon bathmat.

This is from this morning. It looks like Melly is about to attack my toes, but she is actually stalking the faucet drips. She did that for about ten minutes, and would periodically lunge at the drops as they fell. Of course she'd land in a heap and the drop would fall on her head.

5 comments:

Joanne said...

Hi there,

I'm adding my voice of support and encouragement to you and your two kitties! It took awhile for me to convince my boyfriend that his cat Caesar wanted a friend, and indeed I was very nervous when I brought home my kitten Rosie. I stayed with the kitten for the entire first week in the guest room while my boyfriend's cat continued to have the run of the house. Rosie, like Melly, was very curious about her new digs, and Caesar, like Scarlett, was EXTREMELY displeased. Several days of growling ensued-- I had NEVER heard a cat make such a terrible noise!

We did the switching of bedding (I think this is the key), rubbing the same towel on both cats heads/glands (to get their scents on each other), etc. I planned to do feeding on opposite sides of the door but Caesar was unwilling to eat so far from his normal location. Still, a LOT of growling every time Caesar got near the door.

On the 4th day or so, we cracked the door open so they could finally see each other, but still more growling. I planned on keeping things this way for at least a couple more days, but Rosie made a jailbreak and finally met Caesar face to face. Again, more growling and hissing, except now Rosie completely puffed herself up and backed away.

At this point, I gave up keeping the two separated. Rosie wasn't intimidated and kept trying to be friends with Caesar, who kept trying to ignore her or scare her away. In spite of my worrying, it only took 3 or 4 more days for that to happen, and now they're best pals. The rescue had warned me it could take have taken weeks to be friendly, so I was pleasantly surprised

I've only done this once so obviously I'm no pro. However, I just wanted to send you some encouragement because the beginning is definitely stressful. Every time Caesar passed by that door I thought I had ruined his life. But, like Melly, Rosie had lots of feline friends at her foster home, so she eventually laid on the charm that no cat could resist.

Best of luck!

Natalie said...

Thank you SO much for sharing that story, Joanne! It sounds like Caesar's reaction was about the same as Scarlett's, so I am extremely relieved to hear that things turned out so well. I definitely have moments of frustration, but reading all of the encouraging stories people are sharing is helping a lot. That, and snuggling the adorable Miss Melly :)

Brian said...

We've had several come into our home, just don't rush it. They will give you hints on just how big the next steps can be...just don't rush them, no matter what. Yep, it can be scary, but hey, that's us. Sounds like y'all are doing great, just keep re-reading the instructions and make sure Miss Scarlett gets all the attention she is used to so she knows that it is okay.

Natalie said...

Thanks, Brian. Miss Scarlett has never been shy about informing me when attention is required (usually by plopping into my lap at an inopportune time), and that hasn't changed since Melly's arrival. I am going out of my way to give her some extra attention, but I think she's wondering what's wrong with me :)

Meg said...

This definitely sounds like progress to me! It sounds like Scarlett was saying "I'm the boss around here. Got it?" instead of "You're scary!"