PROLOGUE: A relative could no longer care for her many cats, and I agreed to take four as the only other alternative was to put them down (since they are nine years old, the local rescue operations would not take them). Only three could be caught as some were somewhat feral. The three brothers I received are all very large, neutered orange tabbies. I had five cats already, and to minimize drama (and potentially harmful fights) built a cat habitat out of an old guard shack and pen so the new cats could get used to their surroundings and the resident cats from a safe enclosure. They arrived July 10th. I went out each day to spend time with them, and one became very friendly. The other two would cringe, but then bump their heads at my petting hand. In a week I could have had their trust, but it was not to be. On the 3rd night they broke out of an insufficiently reinforced window screen and have been living under the guard shack ever since. I left the window screen broken, put a box under it to help them get in and out, and continued to feed them in the guard shack. Then I could only count two at a time, and a deer camera set up by the food only showed two cats at once. Then one…
Orange Cat is a rescue. He’s been living out back under a guard shack for the past few months, and has become very affectionate with me. He had two brothers who were always stand-offish, and they seem to have vanished. I just put a deer camera up to see if they’re still showing up for food, but in any case, I wanted to pull this friendly cat closer to avoid his vanishing, too! We have five other cats and it’s high time he joined the clowder (yes that really is the name for a gang of cats). He let me pick him up and carry him into the house, even though he trembled a little at the door. (None of these cats has ever offered to bite or scratch.) Then I set up food, water and a litter box in the computer room and shut the door.
Little Black Cat came in and they hissed and hummed at each other. Then she left in a huff.
I was concerned about my main cat squeeze ,Waldo, as he licked his pants bald through stress over a past animal addition. These pictures are of Waldo from about a month ago.
Waldo came into the computer room and there was hissing and growling. Orange Cat has taken me for his own, and is perched on the back of my chair. Waldo, slitty-eyed skulked about. The picture below makes it look like Waldo is much smaller, but while he is a little smaller than Orange Cat, Waldo is a fine manly cat, with much nicer ears and softer fur, as I have told him.
I recalled that cats hate being tapped on the head, so every time Orange Cat growled or hissed at Waldo, I told him firmly that he was “bad” and tapped him a few times on his forehead. (Not painful taps, just annoying.) First he took to squinting and hunkering while hissing as he knew the head tap was coming, and then he just gave up on the nastiness and sprawled on the back of my chair, staring off into space in disgust. Waldo is now comfortable, but then he started pulling on the bottom of the door to get out, calling an end to new-cat bonding.
EPILOGUE: The deer camera showed that I do still have the two brothers outside. Then I had to hunt for Orange Cat inside to make sure he didn’t get out, and he had not! (They all look the same to me.) There are still three giant orange tabbies in residence. It seems the brothers have found better accommodations than the dirt under the guard shack (but if it’s in the barn I failed to find it). Orange Cat was very happy with carpet, chairs and balls to play with, and totally comfortable with the other cats and dogs. He’s a very confident old fellow. I hope once I get Orange Cat as part of the greater clowder-pack (dogs), the others will work their way in.