the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hand me your Stella and fly

Meet Stella Barbarella. I'm making a valiant effort to integrate her into my House of Spoiled Boy Cats.


Yes, because that's just what I needed...a third long-haired black cat. As if I weren't already confused enough.

Needless to say, my boys are not in the least bit pleased with this new turn of events. Eeyore is kind of resigned to it, and doesn't do more than give her a perfunctory hiss when he is forced to pass her somewhere in the house. Friday and Thirteen are much more dramatic about the whole thing, but Friday will at least forgive me when I bring him into my office/studio (the cats aren't really allowed in here, but I bring him in on occasion as he's a little less rambunctious/destructive than is Thirteen, and less likely than Eeyore to poop in the corner if he doesn't like the music I'm playing). Thirteen, however, has a stick up his puffy little ass about the whole thing. I'm guessing it's because he sees another cat who looks like him, and he's all "Oh, no you DI'IN'T!"

Stella hisses equally at all the other cats, which probably isn't helping things at all. Her favorite activity, though, is to climb on top of me while I watch TV on the chaise, and then to commence loudly purring and softly drooling on me. I get the impression she didn't get a whole lot of cuddling at her last home and she needs to make up for lost time.

Stay tuned as the feline drama unfolds before me...


Thirteen decided to forgive me last night, so I feel a large part of the battle is won!

Also, the story of how Stella found her way here: She originally belonged to the guy who lived across the street. She was always an indoor cat until this summer, when he decided to just cut his cats loose (there was also a pretty little Siamese who was then reclaimed by his ex-girlfriend). I was leaving food out for another stray, and Stella started coming over to eat. It didn't take long to gain her trust, and soon she'd come running over every time she saw me leave the house or pull into the driveway, telling me lots of cat stories and demanding affection. It broke my heart to see her getting left outside in the rain, probably not getting fed by anyone but me, and definitely not getting loved on by anyone but me, so I tried for ages to coax her into the house. It took a cold rainstorm to convince her. So we shall see how this plays out.

Stella is named after Stella Barbarella Zotis, queen of leathuh and the most kick-ass designer on season 5 of Project Runway.

12 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger Kranki said...

Dude! I feel your pain! It has been 2 months for me and Yoshi and Dexter and she still hates him and he is now big enough to really freak her out when attacking her. For fun, right? I'm using Feliway cat pheromones. Not sure if they are helping. Tuna bribes work too.

Seriously, sending you calm kitty vibes.

2:56 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Can somebody remind me what started the whole "Oh, no you DI'IN'T!" pop culture craze? I know it's been around awhile, but am not sure what launched it.

Also: STELLA!!!!!!

And: You now need a sign on your home "Desire".

But don't let it block the path for the kitty litter delivery service.

3:09 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I predict that Stella will eventually establish a cat matriarchy.

3:13 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger eclectic said...

STELLA!!! Yay! Thank you for such prompt obedience to my request (demand, whatever...) for photos of your girl. Forgive me, but as a parent of a kindergartener, a middle-schooler, and a high-schooler, I'm unaccustomed to it. ;)

3:42 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger CoffeeFreak said...

She's very cute!

What might help (and yes, I know this is hard, but it's what the experts recommend) is to lavish, lavish, lavish your three resident cats with affection, and all but ignore Stella ... until they accept her. This sounds painful, but it accomplishes two things.

First, the jealousy that often accompanies the arrival of a new cat can often be dissipated by lavishing your "regulars" with attention. Second, it forces your new arrival, Stella, to seek out the attention she craves from ... who else? Her new three friends!

This withholding of attention needs to be observed by not only you, but by anyone in your household, including guests. If they gush, "OH, LOOK AT THE NEW KITTY!", trust me, your three resident guys will notice. Much better for them to come over and say, "Oh, it's so GREAT to see THIRTEEN again!"

It is best for you, and your guests, to pretend the newcomer is invisible. No petting. Yes, this is hard! But the rewards are great if you end up with cats who are good friends.

Try to keep the routine in the house as close to normal as it was before Stella's arrival. Your three other cats need that routine now more than ever. Things feel "off-kilter" for them. Feed them at the same times, and in the same location. Feed them first, not the newcomer.

Give Stella a litter box of her own, and her own food bowl, to make sure the others don't feel she is eating their food. Keep her in a separate room, like a bathroom, for sleeping and time-outs, and in the beginning, you might want to feed Stella in her room, as well. Keep her food bowl, water bowl, litter box, and bedding in her room.

If it seems like one of your resident three has had enough and is on sensory overload, put Stella in "her room" for a time-out, to give your guys a breather. This new cat is a lot for them to get used to. Just make certain that "Stella's room" isn't one of your other three's normal haunts. That's why I suggested a bathroom. Your bedroom should be kept off-limits for now, if possible, and if your other cats are used to purring/petting/sleeping sessions with you there. Sharing a bedroom with a new cat can make your resident cats feel particularly jealous.

For now, let your other cats sleep with you if they have been used to that in the past, but not Stella. Not yet. Wait until you get that "all's clear" signal from your three before allowing her access. The same goes for your lap.

The hissing, spitting, and even paw swatting is TOTALLY NORMAL in a new cat introduction. Never scold your cat for hissing at another cat. It's just what they do. If you scold, you'll end up with even more jealousy and resentment from your three, and the introduction will take even longer.

The only time you should interfere is -- not with growling, nor spitting, nor hissing, nor swatting, as all of these are completely normal and a cat introduction cannot proceed without them -- only interfere in a full-blown, cats-in-a-furious-ball, fur-flying, full-out cat fight. Then, don't stick your hand in. Bang a kitchen pot with a spoon, shout, clap, or squirt water on them to break up the fight. Ideally you don't want any of these cat fights, as they will significantly lengthen the introduction.

Patience is key. A cat introduction could take a few months, since they are older. But if you can stand to lavish your older ones with attention and pay as little attention to your new arrival as possible, I promise you that the entire matter will resolve itself much more quickly and painlessly.

It sounds like Thirteen needs an extra heavy dose of lavish affection, on top of the heavy doses you can give to your other two resident cats.

I speak from my own experience, having survived many cat introductions and lived to tell about it! The most cats I've had is four. I currently have two. They are with me from kittenhood until death. I have tons of books on cats. I guess you could say I'm a bit of a ... *gulp* cat lady.

Good luck! :)

4:19 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger here today, gone tomorrow said...

Oh my, oh my....been there, done that, still have the scar tissue (and urine soaked wooden floor tiles) to prove it.

Dial up the patience, and try to keep them separated for awhile.

Dang, she's awful purty!! Will we hear the story of how she came to you?

7:12 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger Susie said...

Don't know nothin' 'bout no cats, but she looks mighty fancy, and I love her name.

Buy her some leathuh toys :)

9:21 PM, October 26, 2008  
Blogger Squirl said...

After having been there yesterday and seen what's going on, I feel I agree with badkitty. Thirteen is going to take an awful lot of reassurance. He was a lot angrier than I expected. Of course, he always has been an in-the-moment kitty. And in this moment he's as pissed as he can be.

She is such a sweetie, though.

9:01 AM, October 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I feel lucky now. We had 9 for a while and everyone got along.

10:25 AM, October 27, 2008  
Blogger here today, gone tomorrow said...

bucky - There is a special place in heaven - filled with hot strippers and butt plugs - for angels like you who help a kitty like this. "Just cut loose"...damn...

10:59 AM, October 27, 2008  
Blogger Squirl said...

Your Stella is much prettier.

11:23 AM, October 27, 2008  
Blogger Tay said...

Way to go naming your cat after the epic Stella from Project Runway. I heartily approve!

1:22 PM, October 28, 2008  

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