Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cat Diplomacy

This is not a photo of our cats. I wish it was. We live in a carefully patrolled territory claimed by two warring factions. We're working on detente.

Here's what happened. I have a fat gray cat that the shelter assured me was a Lynx Point Siamese. Somewhere beneath his blubber I guess it's possible. I'd say his ancestry has a healthy dose of Tabby, but he is a lovely silvery color with wide set ice blue eyes. His previous owner declawed his front paws. So he's fat, neutered, he's good natured, he's arthritic and he has no front claws.

On the other side of the gate, joining us in this new place more than two years ago, are KB's two best friends. One is an equally tubby Ayrshire colored cat with scimitars on his paws and a distinctly doggish personality. He's willing to make nice if you just don't get between him and his food bowl. His companion is a tiny slip of a black cat with the most charming personality on the planet and issues with strangers of the feline persuasion. Both Dog Boy and the Queen are neutered as well. At least we're not dealing with that nonsense.

Here's how it was described to me: "They get along most of the time. But if the Queen sees another cat go by the window outside, she attacks her brother. He used to just look confused while she beat him up, but now he fights back. And it sounds like they're trying to kill each other. So I don't know what will happen when we try to put them all together."

We tried. We read the books, we kept them separated and let them smell each other and check out the enemy through a gate. We waited. But it all went to hell when our little Royal jumped onto a chair and found my fat gray friend sleeping there. He screamed (in total terror, no doubt), she screamed (in complete shock, more than likely) and then proceeded to kick his ass. It was horrific and I completely freaked out, trying to break it up by beating on them with a pillow. (Yes, I know. Not a good move. But adrenalin kicked in as did self-preservation.) The Queen relented, I scooped up my guy and the doors shut. We both shook for awhile.

Months passed. We put up gates between them and let them reintroduce themselves. On rare occasions, somebody got past the gate and there were no problems in the few minutes it took us to discover the breakout. We began to hope.

We tried letting my guy, known lovingly as the Monsignor, waddle into the room to watch TV and sit in my lap. But the Queen sidled up below him and he screamed like a girl. Really. He did.

Back to the other side of the gate.

So we're trying again. Last night, Her Highness was nowhere to be found and the Monsignor was banging on the gate. The big white Dog/Cat was sleeping on a hassock. Okay, then...another try. The Monsignor waddled past Dog Boy. Dog Boy quirked an eyebrow but said nothing. Neither did the Monsignor. Then Dog Boy hopped down and walked by him. BY him. The Monsignor revved up for one of his intimidating growls (if only he really was as tough as he sounds!) but I leaned over and petted them both. Dog Boy kept strolling and the Monsignor shut up, watching him go by with a very nervous look on his rather wide and somewhat vacant but good natured face. He quickly waddled back to the gate, begging for the security of his isolation. Dog Boy didn't even watch him go.

Diplomacy. It's just exhausting.

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