Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spoonerisms: Separate Vacations

Dipity in the Hole Dipity in the Hole

Dipity, the day after Spoon returned. Note he was conked out all of about 3' away, on the edge of the couch, when she got in the donut hole.
Last week, Spoon had a sleepover! My friend Steve had to give his cats away because of family stuff, but with his wife out of town and his toddler staying with grandma during the week, I thought he might like a temporary cat and Spoon and Dipity might like the break. Steve's friend Mark was staying there, too, so Spoon would get extra attention! I dropped him off Monday night and he hid under the couch. He didn't mind when people reached under and petted him. I think he was just really agoraphobic. I actually thought he would adjust faster and if I'd known it would take him almost a day to come out on his own at all, I wouldn't have put him through that. But eventually he adapted and was very, well, Spoon. When I picked him up Friday evening, he still got a little freaked by the ice-maker in the fridge, but he was pretty cool with everything. Meanwhile, Dipity really liked being an only cat. She clearly enjoyed having the run of the apartment, because she spent a lot of time running around the apartment.

Relaxed submissive So when Spoon came home Friday night, they were both a little surprised. Dipity didn't even realize right away what happened because he would walk by her and she wouldn't know to get upset. By Sunday, though, they were about back to where they were before Spoon's vacation. Dipity doesn't come out of the bedroom as often as she did while he was gone, but she also seems unwilling to give up all the freedom and will still wander out to the far reaches.

Really, she's very silly. She doesn't usually look where she's going, so she ends up face-to-face with Spoon. Unfortunately, she usually responds by getting excessively aggressive. There are still too many aggressive episodes, but there are some positive (or at least not negative) interactions. Last night they both slept on the bed, one snuggled on each side of me. This was not without difficulty. Dipity would growl at Spoon whenever he moved. He was clearly trying to be careful. Of course, I had to be extremely careful when I needed to rearrange myself, because then the cats would need to rearrange themselves, and Dipity would get defensive. Still, they didn't fight, at least not until Spoon got up to leave and Dipity felt the need to chase him out of the bedroom for good measure, and then later, un-snuggle me to jump off the bed and chase him out when he tried to return.

This morning Dipity attacked Spoon's tail while he was curled up in my lap, where he'd settled a couple minutes earlier after she turned him back from the electric lap. That got her squirted and closed in the bedroom for awhile so they could calm down. While she was in there, Spoon settled in the electric lap. I let her out and she ended up jumping up next to Spoon and had time to stare out the window and lick her tail before she realized he was 6" away from her, which caused her to growl slightly. She stayed calm and Spoon stayed put, so I gave them a couple of cat treats to reinforce their calm behavior. Spoon even started grooming, which means he is oblivious to what's going on around him but also means he really throws his weight around literally, and Dipity still stayed pretty calm. I suspect the best I can do now is be patient, reward calm interactions, and keep the spray bottle handy to halt excessively aggressive behavior.

Bergman By Cats
Bergman By Cats Bergman By Cats

1 comment:

Fluzz said...

I think they're both doing great. My ferrets are about that stage, Nushu will tolerate Fred (fat, oblivious, sound familiar?) in the same room.

Sleeping on the same bed and sharing the same windowsil (wherever you keep the electric lap) is good progress.

Lots and lots of praise for calm interaction and you'll get there, even if it's only a truce.