I went out and got two cats the other day. I looked online at the local shelter and though the goal was one, I chose two. They did not know each other.
One radiated sweet, the other appeared cute and playful. After we got home, one was naughty, one was nice. The cute and playful one became moody and distant.
I saw her walking away a lot. At home, she was an emotional mystery prone to getting upset quickly. As in, don’t touch me, don’t pick me up. DON’T!
Neither cat actually behaved badly. I just had to get to know them.
I AM cute, yes, and thank you for noticing!
The sweet cat is the orange boy cat.
After a couple days of being scared of a new place, he set his loving gaze upon me.
He approves of me. It’s a done deal.
How do you suddenly have two grown cats? Who don’t know each other? You follow the directions. The shelter offers tips and instructions on how to gradually introduce. The cats did great and I was committed. It took my attention. It’s not a “let ’em work it out” thing I remember hearing people say years ago. As the tribe leader, the human in the house needs to keep things respectfully organized and safe so the kitties can feel cared for in their new surroundings.
I learned to meet the cats where they were. I’m still doing that, about a month later. All this is a lot like getting to know anyone, even people. Time, space, place, boundaries, bonding, habits, preferences- these have meaning for all creatures.
Meditation turned out to be the best bonding activity, even equal to play. Spice Girl, named for personality and her hues of cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili, and ginger, likes meditation. She isn’t moody, she just needs stillness. She would rather sit in peace with you than bite and scratch, given the option. Really.
She wanted to connect but didn’t know how.
So, we learned.
The other arrived with peace and love, this was his truest nature.
If their nature is not peace and love, that is o.k. This invites close attention! Observation.
Lesson #1, don’t do what they don’t like. When cat says no; not that; not here; not there; not this; oh hell no!….. listen. Because next they will tell you what they do like.
Yes, I like that toy! Yes! Yes! I like that touch! There, under my chin! By my ears! Yes! I like sweet talk directed at ME! Yes, I love the food you offer! Yes, I love the meditation when I sit with you and you don’t pet me but we are touching! Yes! Thank you! Yes, that purr is for YOU! O.k., I have to go now!
Cats have a great ability to relax if they think everything is basically o.k. It’s a good enough reason to keep a habit of creating a basically o.k. environment.
Big thanks to my loyal dog, Lily. She is an unlikely zen master with cats. Seriously, she diffused all feelings of worry and angst when introduced. It’s not that she particularly likes cats. It’s just a non-issue for her. She adapts to adoption. She was once adopted herself.
We are at one month now, and everyone is getting along well. There is still an occasional hiss, but it’s more of a warning than an aggressive act. More often I hear chripy recognition hello meows with a purr follow-up. Our daily meditation brings a contented silence, which naturally spills into regular non-meditation time. It’s great to share peace with all creatures!