The moment I knew my daughter was serious about having a dog and ready to take on the responsibilities, I did worry a bit about the cats. We’ve got a 9 year old female cat and a 6 year old male cat, and both cats are somewhat timid. They sneak away when visitors are in the house and are easily scared by new things.
Although I liked the idea of having a dog, I as well foresaw already problems with all the animals getting along. That’s when I started reading into this matter, to see if I could find nice tips and tricks from others. In the end it is a matter of walking it and go with what is unfolding in front of you.
The reason why I was foreseeing problems, was because of 5-6 years ago when our current male cat joined the household with already 2 cats present. It took almost 6 months before the old and the new male cats were able to live under 1 roof. A year later they would lay cozy next to each other in an armchair, as if those 6 months of human despair had never happened.
So my mind had already generated quite some ‘what if’ scenarios even before sir Oliver arrived. On top of that I was also a bit worried that I might not be able to give all the animals equally enough attention, care and love. And guess what, I smoothly slipped into a pattern that started and I was aware of when I was pregnant with my youngest, now 17 years ago.
Back then under the influence of pregnancy hormones I feared I would not be able to love my second child as much as I loved my first. I’d be miserable, only by the thought of it. How can I divide my love, was my biggest dilemma back then. Looking back, it does make me smile, if I had only known that there is no such thing as limitations on love and feelings of care. No one ever asked me to make a list of the 2 or 3 persons in my life I want to love, so the rest can be excluded.
What was really going on, was stage fright. Am I going to cope with 2 young kids, can I give them all that they need, is this the best choice I made, will I be able to be a good mom for both of them? And now with adding a third animal to the household, I was pulled back to those feelings of the past. Will I be able to give them all enough attention, love and care? Will I be able to be a good caregiver to the dog? I am not experienced with dogs, maybe it is not a good idea after all? So again stage fright and wanting to do it all good/perfect so I will not start a domino effect of consequences. But as we all know, we cannot live perfect and do all things right the first time. Life is a process, as well as becoming a caregiver for my daughter’s dog. I simply have to physically walk it.
Thus when we brought sir Oliver home, I had made the attic into a cat place where they could be safe without the dog being able to get there. The first few days the cats stayed upstairs and only at night when sir Oliver sleeps in my daughter’s room, they would party downstairs. After the first few days they started to come down during the day and observe sir Oliver. Then they would check him out when he was asleep, smelling his scent. Then the next week they would pass by him with a thick tail. Now after a few weeks they can stay in the same room for hours, still observing sir Oliver.
At first sir Oliver seemed to have no interest in the cats. He was exposed to cats for the last 2 months in the boarding kennel. So he was familiar with them and at the same time he didn’t know what to do with them. Therefore he at first ignored them when it came to interaction, and in the meanwhile he was mapping out their scent. He would follow their trails throughout the house and smelling their excrements.
Then one day sir Oliver was ready to meet with the cats for real, but were the cats ready? One evening he was following a cat scent trail on the floor, without actually seeing that he was following the female cat. They ended up walking fast rounds around the 2 armchairs, not seeing each other, but smelling and hearing each other. It was almost like a slapstick movie, we did have a laugh, though I ended the movie due to the cat getting stressed out. My idea is that once sir OLiver has smelled them up close, just as with the crayfish, he will no longer track/hunt them down to smell them in real time.
All in all they are getting far more along than in my scary thoughts, we are not there yet, where they can be comfortable with each other. Looking at where we are now, I will not be surprised when they sleep together in the dog basket within time. And for me, no problems to divide my attention, care and love.