Friday, May 27, 2011

Somebody's not willing to share

Back when we were testing out the whole simultaneous feeding thing (with a baby gate between the two cats), Meow Meow consistently expressed her disapproval of Lily's presence whenever they happened to see each other. There was hissing, growling, even howling. Lily would hiss back and, occasionally, when Meow Meow got too sassy, whack the gate a good one with her paw. So we thought it best to keep the girls separated.

But we felt bad that Lily wasn't getting a lot of time outside of her suite, so at the beginning of this week (after three months of having Lily in our care), we started bringing her downstairs. We figured with two people around to watch the cats, we could head off any conflict. In general, Meow Meow seemed to be all hisses without threats of a physical nature, so we thought it would be worth trying the two girls out in a larger environment.

On the first morning, Meow Meow sat on the landing of the stairs and fixed Lily with a wary eye. Lily returned the favor from below but hung out for a while and then scooted past Meow Meow to go back to her room. There were mutual hisses, but nothing more.

On the second and third mornings, much of the same ensued. This seemed encouraging. Meow Meow wasn't chasing Lily; Lily seemed more confident in the new space.

On the evening of the third day, we brought Lily down after dinner and let her sit on one of the kitchen chairs while we were cleaning up after our meal. Meow Meow took her usual spot on the stair landing.

A few minutes after I started clearing the table, Meow Meow wandered into the kitchen. Mind you, she's a pretty mellow, trusting cat, so the last thing she expected to find was another kitty perched overhead. She was only a foot from Lily when Lily bared her teeth and startled Meow Meow out of one of her nine lives.

Meow Meow ran. And to our thorough surprise, Lily gave chase. In an instant, she had Meow Meow cornered on the stair landing, howling in terror. Time for a kitty time-out, we thought.

Back in her room, Lily protested at full volume, so after about ten minutes, we opened the door, figuring she'd just stay upstairs as usual -- she'd had to be carried down each day before.

Dieter wasn't even halfway down the upper hall before Lily was on his heels, heading back to the living room as if she owned the place.

This isn't quite what we'd had in mind, but I think, with some adjustment and careful observation on our part, the kitties may eventually tolerate each other. (Who knew all it would take was another cat to motivate Lily to lose her reservations?)

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