Friday, May 15, 2009

Introducing Dante

Every Christmas, my sister’s and her husband’s cats repeatedly act out the various scenario with Augustine.

Juris and Asher: Wow, we’re so glad you’re here! We’ll be happy to show you the best places to hunt for crickets or spiders, and the window ledges are really wide, which is great for watching everything going on outdoors. Speaking of that, sometimes there’s this cat that comes in the afternoon to see us, and we’re friends, and we watch for her and talk through the window at her, and you might get to meet her. And you can have some of our food and water -- can we have some of yours? -- and we’ll show you how to meow through the doors when everyone is upstairs and…

Augustine: I’m going to hiss at you through this door and hide under the bed, okay? Please don’t try to come after me, or I will be forced to swat my paw at you.

Juris and Asher: Ooh, you have a litter box – can we see?! And then we’ll show you the best closets for exploring and there’s a really awesome jungle gym we play on and there are some really comfortable chairs and couches and then this bed is great for sleeping on and we’d also like to smell you and let you join in our chasing games and chewing on ribbons and bows and…

Augustine: Get thee behind me, Satan!

Lest you think I jest, I offer into evidence the following photo of the first Christmas Augustine met Juris.

Finally, this past year, she started warming up to them, insofar as she could lay on the floor in the same room as them without having a panic attack every single moment.

Is now the proper time to tell you we adopted a new kitten? Yes, we’re gluttons for punishment, but we had been considering a second pet and we saw a sappy news story about how people were being forced to give up their pets during this trying economic time because they couldn’t afford to feed them. So we decided we could certainly feed an additional cat, and Augustine has gotten a little [ahem, quite] portly seemingly overnight, so forced exercise might be a convenient bonus.

We scoured Petsmart and the representatives plying their animals from various shelters, all while trying to decide which feline would freak out Augustine the least. We were leaning towards a male because they seem more agreeable, and age was a strong factor. We hypothesized a small kitten would be perceived by Augustine as less threatening than a peer would have been; her maternal instinct might kick in, or more likely, she could smack him around to let him know the pecking order. I’m sure the cute factor played no part in our decision-making; it was all purely logical because I am a philosopher’s wife and that’s the way I roll.

Enter Dante from a local humane society. Dante is about nine weeks old and weighs two pounds. He’s a sweet, affectionate little guy (Eric’s favorite part). He’s quiet (my favorite part). And he’s polydactyl (our veterinarian’s favorite part). The jury is still out about his response to yarn, although early indications are not promising. There will be continued interventions on this front.

We brought him home and kept him quarantined for just over a week until he got a clean bill of health from our veterinarian. During that time, there arose minimal hissing and growling from Augustine, but they sniffed at each other through the closed door, and later through a screen of sorts that allowed them to see each other.

I hardly dare suggest that they’re friends since it’s been a mere three days of exposure, but the drama has been nonexistent. Augustine has been caught grooming Dante (I know!), and they’ll sleep near each other (more Dante’s doing than Augustine’s). I think it’s safe to say we dodged a bullet. I had prepared myself for months of fighting and animosity, and given Augustine’s prior behavior with Juris and Asher, that was a safe assumption, so you can understand why we’re still in shock that it’s been so anticlimactic.


Nicolescu Ana-Maria said...

Nice cat.

madalyn said...

Sounds like they're friends to me! :)

Snot Head said...

Oh, Dante is so cute! I love your "stand off" picture, too. We have one cat now, but I'm thinking she's lonely. ;o) We got her from Pet Smart two years ago, and still, to this day, she acts like she is never going to get enough to eat or enough attention. Poor thing...

Dr. aWoW said...

I think you were just so thrilled listening to my cats "getting on" all night when you came to visit!!!

He's a real cutie! And it was so charitable of you to take him home. I can't wait to meet him!