Meeting Lakota

Two weeks ago, I met my dear friend Evelyn’s foster dog, Lakota, during our monthly Game Night. (Sorry – I meant to get this post up earlier but grad school got in the way!) I don’t have a ton of experience with German Shepherds but I think that Lakota is a rather handsome fellow. From what Evelyn told me, he was found in a sad, emaciated state but had been quickly gaining weight in her care. He has also been neutered.

“Good evening! I’m Lakota. Will you please pet me?”

During the course of Game Night, Lakota showed everyone that he was an exceptionally GOOD DOG and very much people-focused. He knows how to “sit” on command and apparently “shake”!

Everyone commented on Lakota’s good manners. Even when there was a lot of food around, he didn’t bed or attempt to counter-surf. He was more interested in receiving pets.

He didn’t bark at all but it was obvious he was happiest sitting beside someone. (Whenever he did, he was quite the gentleman.) Throughout the evening I was rather distracted because I wanted to pet this handsome boy all the time, especially since he kept giving me big sad “PLEASE PET ME” eyes!

How can anyone resist those eyes and that sweet face?

Don’t worry – I petted him plenty, gave him chest and belly rubs (he appears to be a bit ticklish), and can confirm that he is indeed smoochable.

Here, Lakota gave my friend Tom a smooch. In general, Lakota is not an overly licky dog.
BOOP!

Lakota is available for adoption through Austin Pets Alive! You can find more information about him here.

Mau’s Forever Home

I have news! Mau is no longer our foster cat. After three months of fostering, we found him a loving home!

Drum roll please!

OUR HOUSE!

After seriously considering the commitment of another cat, Mau’s needs and happiness (he really loves Aaron), how he fit our home, and that he ultimately got along with Garrus and Charlie after an adjustment period, we decided to adopt him! We are officially a three cat household with an established clowder – and three foster fails (or would that be wins?)!

Making Friends

Having three cats – all boys, with very different personalities – is a fun lesson in cat ownership. I’ve noticed that all three regularly play by themselves and with each other. It’s a common occurrence for a scamper session to start before we wake up in the morning and continue during breakfast. Another preferred time to bat toys around and tell everyone about it is right when we’re going to bed. Charlie in particular likes to warble when he plays – I’ve been working on getting video and audio of it so I can share it with you here on Purry Home Companion.

Hooray the boys are getting along! Apparently Charlie and Garrus are starting to see Mau as belonging to their social group.

Garrus and Mau chill on the ottoman.

“Hi Mom. I really want the blue blanket for myself but Charlie won’t move. Maybe we can snuggle instead.” ~Mau

They both fit!

Charlie and Mau shared the cat tree! Charlie got his spot back!

Do your cats get along? Are they friends with each other? Does your cat have a dog friend? Share your stories in the comments!

Garrus remains unconcerned.

Silly Mau

Cats will find the most interesting ways to amuse themselves – and often end up making their humans chuckle too. Occasionally all three cats will have the zoomies, though it is rare for all three to have the zoomies at the same time. During a decent scamper session, there is usually quite a bit of jumping onto and sliding on top of the ottoman. Apparently Mau discovered another use for the crocheted blanket after his slide made it askew: it makes a hiding spot!

“You can’t see me! I’m hiding!” (No, not really. I could see your fluffy tail sticking out from beneath the blanket.)

“Where should I scamper to next?”

Do your cats ever get the zoomies? What happens? Do your other pets join in or is it a solo excursion? Share in the comments below!

Harmony in a Multi-Cat Household Part Two

Some cats prefer to have buddies, as in the case of Charlie and Garrus. Others are happier as solo cats (example: Nala). Still other cats get along better with dogs than cats, as was the case for Boudicca. It depends widely on the cat’s personality, background, age, previous experiences, health, and other factors.

It’s important to remember that cats and dogs have very different social behaviors. Wild cats tend to be solitary, and as a result, they don’t have the complex social relationships and behaviors that other animals, such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, and whales, have. Dogs have easily recognized play behaviors, such as the “play bow”. By contrast, cats do not have these ritualized play behaviors. Misunderstandings can occur as a result. Case in point, one cat may chase or swat at another in play but the other cat may interpret this as a threatening action. Consequently, the play session can quickly escalate to a fight.

Garrus, being a bona fide Gentleman Cat, is willing to share the ottoman. Mau takes it as an opportunity to sprawl and flaunt his belly.

In short, cats can be incredibly socially awkward. This has certainly been the case for Mau and, to a lesser extent, Charlie when he tried ever so earnestly to befriend Boudicca every day, regardless of her definite opinions on the subject.

Ahem. Mau appears unaware of the concept of personal space. Garrus, for his part, is again relegated to being another cat’s pillow. (Charlie has done this a few times so this situation is not new.)

There are several factors to consider when keeping a multi-cat household, whether it is introducing a new pet to residents or helping housemates get along. There are several actions you can take to keep things peaceful. They can include:

  1. Background. A cat’s ability to successfully adapt to a new home with housemates depends on the cat’s age, personality, prior experiences, health, and other factors. Where did this cat come from? How did the cat react to other cats in the shelter? Charlie, for example, had no such compunctions and would walk right up to a new cat and roll onto his back. For this reason, the director paired him with the well-mannered Garrus. Since Charlie was so affable, he and Garrus became instant friends.
  2. Space. Cats highly value their personal space, and some feel safer high up or in down low in cave-like environments in which to hide. Make sure you provide ample areas for your cats to hide in, sleep, play in, and call their own. We have multiple sleeping areas (including cat beds, couches, chairs, the bed, and the window seat), the cat tree, and boxes throughout the house.
  3. Decreased competition for resources. This is closely related to #2 and #4. Lessen friction by serving food in separate dishes and providing enough litter boxes. Having a variety of options where to snooze, sunbathe, watch birds, and play also helps, as does providing vertical territory and hiding or safe spots.
  4. Feeding arrangements. In the morning, our cats jauntily escort us into the kitchen in anticipation of breakfast. We have learned that putting a dish in its own position and putting it down in the same spot each time keeps the peace. Garrus, for example, sits like the gentleman he is by the end table while we prepare his meals; he beelines to his spot before we set the dish down. Each cat has their own dish so they don’t have to compete for food.
  5. Calm environment. Sometimes using a calming pheromone diffuser like Feliway helps cats relax and get along better.
  6. Attention. Spend one-on-one time with each of your pets. Play with them. Offer scritches and belly rubs. Have a snuggle. Your attention and affection is also a resource. Don’t have your pets compete for it.

Garrus and Charlie like to share the blue elephant pillow and snuggle.

Harmony in a Multi-Cat Household Part One

I’ve considered myself lucky that Garrus and Charlie were already ironclad cat buddies when we adopted them. Charlie is so characteristically sunny that he enthusiastically wants to make friends with everyone, a trait he demonstrated repeatedly in the shelter before he came into our lives. Garrus, being a bona fide Gentleman Cat, is self-possessed, gives other cats space (and appreciates the favor returned), and is adept at reading other cats’ body and vocal language.

When we decided to foster again and brought home Mau, we focused on ensuring that our cats remained happy and that harmony prevailed. We were fortunate that Mau previously had housemates, and we acclimated everyone to one another slowly. However, sometimes it appears that Mau doesn’t always speak the same “cat language” as Charlie and Garrus do. Because Mau isn’t territorial himself, he doesn’t seem to realize that other cats have their preferred spots, personal space, or things they claim as their own.

Mau initially claimed the top platform as his spot while Charlie kept his spot. But Mau would occasionally bop Charlie on the head, apparently in play. Charlie wasn’t a fan though; up until then Charlie had been the one doing the bopping (to Garrus).

Mau took Charlie’s spot! He’s unrepentant about it too.

Charlie and Garrus like to share the car seat, though one could argue that Charlie tends to hog the chair and Garrus gets squished.

I found a most handsome box monster. All the cats wanted to check out this new box but Mau got into it first.