There is no doubt that animals are territorial in nature. It has been quite interesting to observe this in action as I introduced a new cat to the household following my father’s death.
Impy is a six year old neutered tabby cat, very handsome and good natured. Despite the fact that he is in what amounts to middle age, Impy is quite the playful fellow. He believes that the activity of talking on the phone is simply an opportunity for him to have a concentrated play time, as the telephone chair is right near the cat tree which is furnished with elegantly feathered and enticing string toys. One hand holds the phone, the other operates the toy.
This is the toy, being occupied by Mallory the other evening.
“This is my toy, you know. I don’t particlarly wish to play with it, but it is Mine.”
Helping me talk on the phone used to be one of Mallory’s favorite activities, but she is having serious issues with the advent of the New Cat. At the time my father died, I had a funny and playful kitten. A month later, after I returned from Connecticut, I had a jaundiced Old Lady Cat.
In part this is because of my neglect of her claws, which grew to prodigious lengths and caused her all sorts of problems. She could not walk without sticking to the carpet, and I think her feet hurt too. Additionally, she had at least one accident where she was jumping down from somewhere and caught a claw which strained her ankle. Not only was there the trauma of the New Cat, she was in physical pain plus I was absent, which always results in her pining. She decided she really ddin’t care to eat, and dropped from 6 lb 12 oz to barely 6 lbs. That’s a fairly substantial percentage of her weight.
Well, we have dealt with the claw problem, and her body no longer hurts. She has also started eating again, although she is still very bony.
She also didn’t want to play. See the claw problem above, plus the complication that all the toys are all contaminated with Impy cooties.
This problem has not resolved itself, even though Impy really really really wants to play with her. He sneaks up on her and taps her playfully on the butt. She rebuts this with a ferocious attitude of defense. He answers her glare by rolling over on his back and waving his paws in the air, then dashing off in high hopes that she will pursue him. He stops at the end of the hall and looks back at her, baffled by her basilisk attitude. He washes contemplatively, then philosophically goes off to gaze out the window, only to return later with further requests to “Please play.”
Jim and I were discussing the situation last night, and he observed very perspicaciously that while Mallory may be having a Problem adjusting to having another cat around, at least she is not having to deal with a bully. Impy is probably one of the nicest, sweetest, and patient cats I have ever witnessed trying to make friends with another cat.
I have spent a certain amount of time with my own blandishments, waving the string enticingly in front of her, crumpling paper balls (used to be her favorite toy) and tossing them in front of her. I roll the bouncy ball for her entertainment.
This has had limited success as Impy has discovered that the bouncy ball is a Great Toy and has exhibited quite the soccer ability, dribbling the ball expertly and passing it to himself, rolling about, losing it and finding it again. Once he lost it and it went over by Mallory.
“It’s mine. I don’t really want to play with it, but it is MINE.” So is the mouse, and apparently Ruby’s moose is also hers.
I have a cat in the manger, apparently.
She has, however, allowed Impy to lick her face in passing, and she also has started watching the toys, even touched the contaminated string toy with one paw the other night. I believe that in a few more days my happy little kitty will discover just how much fun having a companion is.
Impy can hardly wait.