Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sneaking a New Cat into the Kitten Coop

According to the rules of country living, when a farmer is ready to add new hens to a flock, that farmer is supposed to sneak the new chickens into the coop in the middle of the night while the rest of the girls are asleep—or at least groggy—and the next morning, the old chickens won't even realize there are new members in their gang. Though we haven't yet tried this with our girls, the premise sounds pretty simple. A little sneakeroo and you're done.

Adding a new cat the flock...not so simple.

After our beloved, billion-dollar Monty had to be put to sleep in May, we knew we'd eventually be in the market for another kitty. The trick was knowing how and when to introduce one to our snappy, sixteen-year-old crabcake, Zöe. Her anxiety seemed to skyrocket after Monty's passing, so we wanted to make sure we had her calmed down before trying to sneak in a new flock-mate.

Sitting on Mr. W's lap is a good coping mechanism...

A couple weeks ago, I decided it was time. Mr. W complied with my request to begin the shopping process, likely because he just bought a bunch of parts to build a freaking airplane (YES an actual airplane that he plans to fly). You get a plane, I get a kitten.

We agreed that we wanted to try to find a Monty version 2.0, so our goal was to adopt an all-black, male short-hair that was somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks old. Although there appeared to be lots of contenders online, our first stops at a shelter and a cat rescue facility didn't turn up exactly what we were looking for (but there are tons of cute kitties out there and you should totally go adopt one...)

I was pretty depressed to come home empty-handed after hauling off to the humane society with my cat carrier in hand and a fresh bag of kitten food in my pantry. So last Monday, I talked Mr. W into driving to San Luis Obispo with me to check out some more options.

When we got to the front desk of the Animal Services office, the lady asked us what we were looking for. I told her our criteria and she said, "We have THE cutest black and white kitten in room one. He is absolutely adorable." I blew her off, determined to stick to my shopping list.

And then we went to Cat Room One and this little face pranced back and forth in his cage batting his eyelashes at us and being 10x more lovable than any of the other cats in the running.

He wasn't all black. He wasn't short-haired. But he was a boy and he was only 3 months old. With that face and that charm, he would do just fine.

Mr. W took some convincing, but shortly after meeting him, we were packing up Oliver Montrose Maris and taking him back to his forever home.

His favorite spot is on top of the wine fridges. Boy after my own heart.

The introduction process with Zöe has been a very slow, calculated one with lots of back and forth solitary confinement, some supervised visits, and a fair amount of hissing. I'm hoping one day she'll wake up like a clueless chicken and just think Ollie has been here all along.

In the grand tradition of being a panicked pet parent, I've already worried about Oliver not eating enough, accidentally getting stepped on when he camouflages with the black kitchen rug, swallowing a poisonous spider, and strangling himself with his fishing pole toy (he's not allowed to have it in the middle of the night when we're not there to save him). Needless to say, it is better for the entire world that Mr. W and I did not produce any human children together.

We are happy enough with our little furry flock. Especially this guy whose purr motor runs at high speed every day and turns my heart to a puddle of mush.