Friday, September 24, 2010


We'd planned to get cats for a long while, and finally decided we were ready to go ahead once the ramps were installed. Since it took several weeks to get approval to buy a dog, we budgeted for cats a few weeks out and submitted an application on Tuesday night, and I figured I would have plenty of time to make preparations like buying supplies, catproofing the house, figuring out how we'd get the dog and cats introduced, etc.

But the process has changed, and there's no longer a waiting period while they check references. And there were a pair of eight-month-old cats, brother and sister, that seemed nearly ideal for us: already dog-tested and approved, already familiar with going outside, affectionate and playful, and already coming as a pair. So we ended up picking them up Wednesday night, without having done any more prep than a trip to Walmart for supplies.

Things haven't gone that well since. The lack of time to prepare means that the game room, which I barely finished getting set up, has been taken over by the cats, forcing us to cover up and reorganize all the stuff I'd just gotten set up, and making it nigh-inaccessible. I'm worried that all that stuff I barely got set up will end up chewed up, knocked over, or trashed before we get past this stage.  I wish we didn't have to use the game room for that, but I don't have any better ideas.  If we'd had time, I might have come up with a better solution.

The rest of the house hasn't really been catproofed yet, and I think Siobhan and I have had some miscommunications about what needs to be done and who's going to do it, so I've been feeling pretty harried trying to do a lot of stuff I didn't expect to have to do and haven't even had time to think about. Hercules is very brave at exploring, has no boundaries, and has already knocked things down from shelves right at the ceiling, so I think we're about to discover we need to rethink a thousand things about how the house is set up to keep stuff from getting trashed, but we've barely managed to start. We haven't had a young, brave, boundary-less cat in a long time, and we've got a lot of cables that demand chewing, things on shelves that would break or make a mess if knocked off, etc.

Socks is positively desperate to meet and play with the cats, and has spent more than half of the time since their arrival either whining or barking. She's so rambunctiously overeager that she scares even very brave Hercules into retreat. They're slowly getting closer to the point where they might meet, but it's an agonizing wait while we listen to Socks whine all day and all night long. I got almost no sleep Wednesday night, and had to move to the guest room last night to get caught partially back up on sleep.

Hercules has been exploring the house little by little, though this tends to come in short spurts in which he gets into everything around him at a rate that leaves me chasing after trying to keep him from hurting himself, breaking stuff, or scaring himself, and maybe also getting a chance to teach him limits (like going up on the countertops). He's not afraid of the Roomba, or indeed anything but Socks. Medusa is far more timid and is leaving it to her brother to do the exploration, though by now she's willing to come out to meet us, but any sign of Socks is far too much for her.

Logically I know that, apart from us not having prepared the house well enough, things are going as well as can be hoped. Given how rambunctious Socks is, most cats wouldn't've come out half as much as Hercules has by this point. In fact, most cats would be hiding longer than this just from the new-house effect, without a dog in the mix at all, let alone a big, loud, scary dog.

I certainly feel better about it today having gotten most of a good night's sleep than yesterday when I was a fried zombie.  But I am feeling really eager for Socks to stop whining, very anxious about the house's level of unpreparedness and my own paralysis at figuring out what needs to be done and how to do it, and frustrated about how, if Socks would just be calm for ten minutes and let Hercules meet her, they'd be friends and this would all be over, but she's too eager to do that and I have no way to explain it to her.

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