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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Calm environment. Sometimes using a calming pheromone diffuser like Feliway helps cats relax and get along better.
- 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.
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.
I am pleased to report that Queen B is doing very well! She responded swimmingly to her vitamin B-12 injections (not that she particularly enjoyed getting the shots). Afterward, she’d be perky, her appetite would go up, and she would digest her food better. Since she would swing between constipation and diarrhea (never pleasant) due to her small bowel disease, it took us some time to strike a perfect balance in terms of the right Miralax dosage. She started grooming herself more, hanging out in my office with me (I’ve enjoyed having my office supurrviser “helping” me work), seeking us out for attention, greeting me at the door, and being very assertive (read: meower mouth and underfoot) about regularly scheduled feeding time. She is decidedly not a fan of Daylight Savings Time. When she says it’s food o’clock, there’s no dissuading her!
This is how my office supurrviser takes a well-deserved break. Her schedule is packed: begging for food, getting fed, napping, being ridiculously cute, birdwatching, sprawling, being brushed, purring, being underfoot, talking to her humans, giving tail hugs, being a reading buddy, and snuggling.
Because she’s been rather hungry and we want her to gain some weight, we’ve been adding feedings. Twice a day she gets medication mixed into her food (breakfast and dinner) and just simple wet food at lunchtime and late afternoon. Sometimes if she did not eat all the food from an earlier meal, we will offer her a small portion before bedtime. Of course, this means that Boudicca now thinks that she will get food when either of us is in the kitchen. (Cue begging.) At present she only likes Friskies© Paté (any of the seafood varieties) and Blue Buffalo kitten kibble (ahem, Queen B is most persnickety). Essentially Boudicca is eating like a feline Hobbit!
Of course, Garrus and Charlie are intensely interested in the food that materializes around Boudicca at regular intervals. Charlie’s motive isn’t solely about food; since he’s a busybody, he just wants to be involved with whatever is going on. Garrus, on the other hand, alternates between pleading and determinedly attempting to sneak past me and, in the most genteel way possible, pilfer Boudicca’s leftovers. (I’m serious. He slinks on his belly and acts like he’s invisible. He thinks he’s such a smooth criminal, even when I catch him mid-pussyfoot.) I’ve even caught the boys loitering around my office, apparently guarding Boudicca and waiting for their human (me) to bring forth sustenance.
“You do not have food for me? How…disappointing.”
I gave Dr. R an update on Boudicca’s progress, to which she was quite pleased. She encouraged me to feed her what she wants as much as she wants, with the hopes she will put on some weight and be a happy old kitty. Dr. R explained that this guarding behavior I noted with the boys is somewhat normal in cats. Since Garrus and Charlie have not been aggressive toward Queen B (every day Charlie tries to make friends with and/or play with her), Dr. R told me that this healthy cats do this around a sick or injured cat. Hooray for a peaceful multi-cat household! She approved the idea of giving the boys a tablespoon or so of wet food, especially if it helped distract the boys and made them happy while Boudicca ate her meals. Garrus could use the extra calories while Charlie does not (he’s at a healthy weight), so I could give him half a tablespoon. I’m also happy that all three cats like their new dental treats (also vet approved, yay!).
“Hi Mom! You found me in my new spot!”
All in all it’s a pretty nice day when I get sequential visits and affection from each of the cats. I have ensured that each has been properly smooched. Don’t worry. They are only slightly over-loved in this house.
The second Monday in January is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. You may be asking yourself, “What on earth does that have to do with cats?”
It depends. The task of cleaning of your desk can be accomplished fairly quickly if you have a determined cat located in close proximity with said desk.
This is one of the photos I managed to snap when Garrus first discovered my desk. Because he is a true Gentleman Cat, he asked permission first before jumping from the window seat onto my desk and exploring. He also did not knock anything over. He received scritches as a reward for being so polite.