Sunday, May 18, 2008

Living with Two Cats and a Service Dog

Several friends have asked me how the cats are adjusting. For about the first week Sissy and Buddy either climb high or hid low. They were quick to learn that kennel time is cat time. Chimi has good house manners. He was quick to learn his boundaries. The cat climbing corner in the living room, the cat toy box in the bed room the cat feeding tray in the kitchen and the litter closet are "Leave it" areas. Chimi respects the cats space and they respect his. He does not move when in a down position at my feet and the cat are curious enough to sniff his tail or feet. Chimi keeps all four on the floor most of the time. This gives the cats high advantage. Buddy's blanket is still on the bed and Sissy's rocking chair is still at the foot of the bed. The kennel is to the left side of the head of the bed. We all sleep peacefully in the same room. All three of them and me were happier when I finally quit moving the bedroom furniture. Rearranging furniture gave them some common ground. I am the middle woman. Each animal has one on one time and space with me. Wherever I am, a cat or cats is on one side with the dog on the other There is very little face to face interaction. This eliminates the need for catty hissy fit behaviors. For the most part the cats are just glad I am home again and they have accepted that the dog is here to stay. They are still eating and purring and seeking my attention and affection. Sissy still thinks I am Queen Mother and she is Princess and 1st pet. She eats first and is petted first and groomed first. Grooming is how she first got the courage up to get close to Chimi. They both loved to be groomed. She playfully tries to get Chimi's attention but he pays her no mind. Buddy is still my first Buddy. He still sleeps with me and watches over me in all his usual spots except the bathroom. (I think in time he will come in there too. He is already watching Chimi from the door way.) This week the cats have even begin play behaviors again. Although, Buddy and I have not played fetch. Oddly enough, Chimi will retrieve anything when he is working but he resist playing fetch at playtime. He prefers to victory parade with his toy as if it were a trophy. He loves to "get" but hates to "give" Alerting barking is our only problem. (The sudden sound scares the cats.) The barking has decreased with time, bonding and leadership.

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