Saturday, August 13, 2011

State of the House

I think that the posts have been rather Maera-centric lately (which is to be expected, since she's the "new dog" and all) and also rather focused on Charlotte, who is certainly the dominant personality amongst the cats.  But the other animals are still here, and still doing quite well too!  I thought that I'd update on how EVERYONE is doing.

Argos:  Argos is so incredibly patient with Maera.  In fact, she is emerging as the dominant one.  He'll bark at her to drive her away if she tries to take his toys or his treats away from him, but if she persists and isn't driven off by the initial bark, he lets her do it.  This doesn't stop him from giving me a rather eloquent look like, "See what I have to put up with?"

Sometimes I intervene, sometimes I don't...  when it comes down to it, they are going to have to work something out amongst themselves.  Really, I only interfere at meal time proper.  No one is going hungry in this house, especially due to someone else *cough, Maera* stealing their food.

They're still trying to work out how to play with one another in the yard, and I can see that neither one of them has had much experience with dog v. dog play.  (And where would they have learned it, I suppose, both being former track dogs.)  They both make attempts to do it; I see play-bows in the yard, and some frisking around, but their sympatico is off.  Argos will want to play with Maera when she is trying to go to the bathroom, and vice-versa.  It's kind of painful - like watching two little nerd kids try to behave like two umm...  non-nerd kids.  (And please, no one think that I meant that to sound mean... I myself was one of those nerds!)

Charlotte:  Charlotte has NOT had another episode of coughing yet so far, and seems to be reasonably content.  Though she was upset at me for temporarily moving the litter box.  She sat in front of where it was formerly, and cried until I brought it back.  Only then would she deign to use it, even though she knew well where it had been moved to.

She has accepted that we have a new dog in the house with a certain amount of stoic grace, though she DOES give me a look when Maera is frisking around and has to be rushed down the stairs for an emergency potty break.  It's like she's telling me that I did this to my own self and SHE is not going to feel one bit sorry for me.

This picture is her "inquiring" look.  She is "inquiring" when I am going to feed her, when I am going to give her milk, and "inquiring" about the location of the litter box!

Annie:  Annie is obsessed with getting attention from me.  She has even deliberately challenged Charlotte to get near me, something that only happens occasionally.  Charlotte promptly slapped her back down, but the attempt was made!

She follows me around crying if I don't pay attention to her, and will lie on my pillow at night, purring up a storm.  Eventually, she goes away, but she usually comes back at dawn to wake me up and lie on my pillow again.

This would be a much more enjoyable experience for me if she would just RELAX but Annie does not rest.  She is always fidgeting, twisting, crying, pushing for more.

She's better than she was when we got her back in 2008:  THAT Annie we was so unrestful that we couldn't touch her for more than a couple of minutes at a time before she had to run away and "process" everything.  So, I'm pleased to see that she's developed this far, but do sometimes wish that she wouldn't have to compromise my sleep schedule in order to work on her personal growth.

Bit:  Bit is handling having a new dog around much better than she did the first time with Argos.  Maybe she's a little more confident in herself since she's older, maybe it's just because she's "been there, done that."  She is still our most cautious cat, with the dogs and with everything else, though.  She still does not trust Maera and gives her a wide berth.  But she will be in the same room as her if she needs to be.

She and I have been bonding over gooshy food.  I've been opening a can of gooshy food for the foster cats every night since Mitchell's bladder troubles earlier this week.  They each get a third of the can on top of their regular food.  Charlotte and Annie both turn their noses up at gooshy food, but a certain gray and fluffy princess loves it.  So, she by default gets the final 1/3 can.

It's gotten to the point that she is waiting for me when I come out of the fosters' room, and starts demanding food as soon as she sees me.  She follows me into the bedroom with her bushy little tail held high, and then jumps on top of the dresser, where I dish it out into a bowl.  (This is a location that is safe from the dogs, who would also love to supplement their diets with a little bit of kitty gooshy food.)

Maera:  Maera has really come a long way just in the past week.  Although she still has her excitable moments (and will, probably, for the rest of her life) she has calmed down significantly.  She is better at listening to us.  Also, I took Houndstooth's advice on how to teach her to respect the cats.  I had been planning on teaching her to leave them alone the same way that we had Argos, which was to tug on her leash when she paid them attention and tell her "No kitty."  Houndstooth recommended, that due to her very curious nature, that we put her track muzzle on for safety, but then to take one of the calmest cats onto our laps and just let her sniff her fill.  I did this last week, with Charlotte, and it was a beautiful thing.  I would not say that she has completely lost interest in the cats, but in the ways that count, I think she has.  We'll still continue to work on that with her; I think that the best way to make sure that no one is ever hurt is to take these introductions slowwwwwwly.  Then we can be prepared when random things happen, like foster cat Patches leaping the baby gate to investigate the room that Maera is in.  You may be wondering why I haven't included a picture of Maera (though she is in the first one, with Argos.)  That is because I was saving this delightful one for you.

For the uninitiated, this is a dog crate.  Inside the dog crate is a ripped up dog bed.  Maera has some anxieties about being crated, as we're starting to find out...  more on that in a different post.

The foster cats Mitchell and Patches are doing great.  No photos of them this time - every time I think of getting a picture of one or both of them, it's night time, and my camera doesn't do the night time lighting in this house very well.  Mitchell seems to be completely over whatever was causing his bladder troubles earlier in the week (big sigh of relief) and is currently crying for his nightly gooshy food.  Which... I am going to go take care of now.

Have a good night, all!


  1. I am laughing, because I think at some point, everybody has to deal with at least one shredded dog bed, whether it comes from anxiety, boredom, or just a random wild hair. I don't know if it's possible for you to try baby gating her in a small, quiet room, but it might be a good alternative if she's really upset in the crate. Some dogs just never take to it. Of course, three of our four dogs fight to get into the crate here when it's open, though! :P I'm glad the advice about cat meeting helped a little. It sounds like Maera is really coming along nicely!

    I'm glad to hear that for the most part, everybody else is doing well, too. Especially Charlotte! Perhaps she just wanted to be sure that you didn't forget to worry about her some! ;)

  2. Glad to see everybody is doing fine. Fun to see all those personlities.

  3. I'm so happy to see this big picture. I'm so impressed that you seem to be so present! I'd get confused, I betcha. This post was such a pleasure to read -- and so encouraging to see that you're navigating the tough challenges with so much poise. Kudos to everybody, humans, cats, dogs, everybody. Y'all are an inspiration to me.

  4. The first photo cracked me up; do you ever get to sit on the sofa? It's good to hear all about the gang, they seem to be doing well. I know all about purrsonalities at my house, and I say BRAVO to you! Especially with an excitable newbie.

  5. Congrats on your new addition to the family! She is lovely. Glad to hear everyone is doing fine, well except the dog bed. :) She sure did a number on it.

  6. It sounds like everything is going really great with all the anipals!

  7. Wow! Your house sounds as exciting as ours - though we only has 2 cats and 2 dogs.
    Gooshy foods, hmmmm sounds interesting

  8. I am so jealous. I adore greyhounds. My feline roommates, however, feel otherwise. Hugs and kisses for Charlotte although something tells me I'd end up as shredded as the dog bed if I tried :-)

  9. Love the pieces of what was once a dog bed in the crate. Those poor dog beds can be shredded up in 10 seconds flat!

  10. Sounds like everything is coming along smoothly. Maera is integrating well and Charlotte is improving:) Beryl would do exactly the same thing to foam rubber! Good luck with the crating.