So Proud of Our Garrusy Cat!

We were able to trim Garrus’ nails ourselves today with a towel over his face, a stress reducer to calm him, and patience! (He normally gets his nails trimmed at the vet’s office.) The stress reducer also made him more chilled out and affectionate (!) so he forgave us quickly and repeatedly asked for visits from both of us. He even started talking outside my office door when I was trying to do schoolwork, at which point I took a break and he came in for a desk visit. We were able to pick him up and have lap time with him – and he even purred in my lap! Such huge progress for our Gentleman Cat!

I may have RBF but I am secretly purring.

Desk Buddies

Aaron recently bought me larger monitors for my computer – highly useful for grad school – but the cats apparently think my desk is even more irresistible. Now all three regularly stop by for desk visits.

Garrus can be very persuasive when asking for desk visits. Thank goodness he is a Gentleman Cat.
Mau rarely visited my office before but recently that changed. Once he saw Garrus up there, he made himself at home!
Mau decided to ponder cat things while up on my desk.
Charlie did get up on my desk but after chasing the cursor on my screen, I asked him to get down. He gave me this face afterward.
Charlie likes to trot into my office and ask for pets around 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon. He flirts like this on the window seat to get my attention.

Cat Lessons: Gratitude

We are fortunate that all three of our cats get along with each other so well. The bromance between the trio is pretty cute – it apparently involves using one another as pillows. They do play with each other frequently, though that is more difficult to photograph, and evidently share their toys. Such gentlemen cats!

What I have noticed about the trio is that they seem so content with one another’s company and apparently grateful for it. (Perhaps I’m overly anthropomorphizing…) Be as it may, being happy and grateful for one’s friendships is a worthwhile lesson to learn!

Do your cats get along? What kind of relationships do they have? Do they share or do they compete with one another? Share in the comments!

Desk Visits

Garrus has always been reserved but he has been slowly becoming more affectionate. Being on Zylkene has noticeably helped him be more relaxed, faff about less and actually eat at meal times, and regularly ask for pets. He’s not accustomed to being picked up or held much, though, so we will continue to work on that.

Lately, Garrus started jumping onto Aaron’s Mac desk in his office and recently started to do the same on my desk more often as well. At first, he was more interested in sniffing the monitors and investigating everything on the desk. When he turned his attention to either Aaron or me, he seemed like he didn’t know what to do. (Charlie and Mau, by contrast, know exactly how to ask for pets and can be most persuasive about it.) We talk to him and offer him scritches, and if he is in the way (e.g. standing in front of the monitor we are working on), we can ask him to move and he does. He doesn’t knock items off the desk either.

“Excuse me, I would like attention please.”

“Pardon me, madam. Would you please take a break from reading your library book to give me scritches? I would most appreciate it.” After giving me this look, he softly bunted my chin and he received a smooch on his head in return. [please excuse the messy desk]

Often, when Garrus comes over for desk visits, Charlie trots into my office squeaking and flops onto the window seat for his own visit. Then I have to ensure both kitties get enough attention! It’s a demanding job to be sure.

Look at this purr monster!

I believe that Charlie is a happy little boy. I mean, look at that face!

Do your cats demand desk visits? Do they demand visits in other locales in your home? Do they get obnoxious about it or are they polite? Please share in the comments!

December is Upon Us!

Aaah! December is upon us! Is everyone looking forward to the holidays coming up? I’m in grad school now so I’m looking forward to Winter Break. (A break – what’s that? I don’t have weekends anymore!)

Here in Central Texas the cooler weather has brought a rather late autumn with fall foliage or, in other places, the trees changing their leaves in one day and dumping them by evening. I am curious though, readers – have your pets been on escapades in snow this year yet? If so, share in the comments!

As you can see, Mau and Charlie are busy making super-cute cuddle puddles.

Behold, Garrus the Gentleman Cat…I’m pretty sure he’s thinking about politely judging me for taking yet another photo of him.

Gentleman Cat Side-Eye

Sometimes the cats decide to doze on the bed. Garrus tends to curl up near the pillows and looks at us like we just insulted his mother if we ask him to move so we can sleep too. Such a snooty face! But, because he is a Gentleman Cat, he does move.

“It’s only Wednesday? How disappointing. I’m going to nap on your side then.” ~Garrus

“Pardon me, but I believe these jeans belong to me. I find them most comfortable. I’m sure you won’t miss them.” ~Garrus

Occasionally we can convince him that he doesn’t have to move immediately and instead could just enjoy a bed visit. Even if he starts purring, more often than not he’ll still give us a healthy dose of side-eye. I’m pretty sure if he could speak in English, he would be a deadpan snarker.

If your cats could talk, what do you think they would say? Would they have a sense of humor? Share in the comments!

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.