Friday, August 21, 2009

Spoonerisms: Meet Cuties

Little Miss Blue Eyes I'm still trying to get the little dipity kitty to give Spoon the time of day. Fluzz suggested putting a harness on to restrain Spoon so the new kitty can see him without seeing 16+ pounds of him coming straight at her. I dug out the harness I had gotten about two years ago when he was getting seriously fat and I decided to try giving him "walks" for exercise. That didn't last long. He freaked out as soon as we were outside. This from a cat who had supposedly lived outdoors in his previous life. Um, anyway, that harness is now way too small. Last night I went to the pet store and found one that would fit not in the cat section, where they only go up to 16" chest sizes (Spoon is more like 19"), but in the dog section. Spoon qualifies as a medium-sized dog. The new one is easier to get on, though, and must be more comfortable since it doesn't actually have a neck collar component.

Workin' Cat Blues
The orange jumpsuit is next...
So I tried it out for the first time today. Spoon's not too happy, but he doesn't freak out, either. And I give him treats when I put it on so he'll think "harness == treats!" Dipity no longer really seems interested in trying to leave my bedroom, so I picked her up and took her out to the couch, where I gave her treats. She didn't seem too freaked out. Spoon made the occasional tug at the leash, but I had him firm. I decided to move his fat butt over to the opposite side of the couch (which I had to do by carrying him, because he responds to tugs on the leash by sitting down), but she thought that was a little too close for comfort, hissed a little, and went back to the bedroom, but she took her time instead of just freaking out and running.

I tried again later. This time I let her stay in the bedroom, but I got some ice cream ready. I secured the leash to where Spoon could see into the bedroom but couldn't get too close. That way Dipity could see him but he wouldn't look too big and threatening and couldn't charge. She was nervous and keeping an eye on Spoon, who didn't have much choice but to roll over and look pitiful on his leash. Then I gave her the ice cream dish, hoping she will now think "ice cream" when she sees Spoon. I'm sure most people actually do think "ice cream" when they see Spoon, although they probably think he's just eaten too much of it. Anyway, she didn't really hiss at Spoon, but she was circumspect. We sat around a little while and finally she decided she wanted to go under the bed, so I closed the door.

This is going to be slow-going. I just feel a little bad for Spoon because he can't sleep with me at night and he seems to be getting a little tense.


Fluzz said...

Does she have a box she can retreat to? Maybe if you give her a nice box you can move that out of the bedroom after a while to an easily-defended corner and Spoon can join you in bed again.

Poor Spoon, the indignity of being a "medium dog" :D

Karen said...

Well, here's the thing. She may be half as wide as Spoon, meaning she can wedge into any number of existing places he can't, and she can probably jump higher, but she doesn't know that she'd be safe there because she doesn't know he can't get to those places. Besides which, if he just camped out in front, she'd feel trapped. And she's also just not familiar enough with the apartment yet. I need to have them swap spaces again today so she can explore without any Spoon interaction, other than his pitiful noises at the door.

With cats, you have to try to make all their interactions positive, so you build happy, or at least not defensive or aggressive, associations. So you keep them from fighting, even if it's just defensive "play" fighting to one, you try to keep them calm, make them feel safe, and give them treats. I'm lucky that Spoon is really a submissive if somewhat spastic cat, because it means I only have to make the hard sell to one animal.

I could sleep on the fold-out couch, but it's just not as comfortable as my bed and it's a pain to deal with. I suppose I should stop grumping, though, because I don't want Spoon to be unhappy.