It’s been a little over a year since we lost Baby… While I loved Baby very much, she had grown to be a very independent cat. She spent many hours lying on the back of the sofa in the summertime purring away with the utmost content. In the winter she frequented the floor vents, as sort of her own personal heated utopia. It had been years since she prowled the house looking for trouble. In fact, the most trouble she had come to instigate was tormenting Isabella by teasing her from the aforementioned perch atop the back of the couch. Isabella has since claimed it as her own, almost from the day Baby was gone. I mention her tormenting only Isabella because Sasha and Baby spent many more years together as cat/dog sister/brother and frankly, they were both about as mild mannered and docile as either species could be. While not exactly smitten, I’d say they were respectful of each other. There were times after Sasha became sick when Baby would seemingly come to check-up on her during our many long sleepless nights.
I miss them both, terribly…
Ashas never knew Baby… which brings us to present day. As of one week ago, the house is once again filled with the sound of purrs, meows and now the quiet tinkle of a tiny bell attached to the collar around a little black kitten. And by little, I mean tiny… Meet Pompeii…all 2 lbs. of her!
We adopted her last Saturday August 13, 2011. Kitty fever had been growing for a couple of months now. Doug had made up his mind that he really wanted another cat. I was hardly one to resist as I’ve almost always had a cat. My entire life has been filled with many pets, often gerbils, fish, rabbits and many other species as well but always a cat in the mix. Cats are wonderfully adaptive and can live in just about any setting be it country living or city apartment living and being an animal lover I usually got my fix with a feline or two.
So here we are once again with 2 dachshunds and a cat. You might be wondering how it’s working out so far?
Upon making the decision to go for it, we hit up the adoption event at our local Petco looking at the kittens available for adoption. Doug spent a good 30 minutes playing with a litter of two month old black kittens which had been dubbed ” The Winnie the Pooh kittens” There were three left, 2 boys called Tiger and Eeyore as well as a little female named Piglet. A fondness began to grow with little Piglet and soon we knew she was the one. We had the pups with us and I felt like the rapport was to be expected. Both Isabella and Ashas had a strong curiosity for the kitten who returned the curiosity with a few meows but when the pups got a little anxious and Piglet would hiss and the pups would break out in barking. Frankly, it’s exactly what I would have expected. Some vocalization of boundaries but nothing too ferocious which led me to believe that within a matter of weeks or at most a month or so the lines would be drawn and feline/canine co-existence would be well at hand. We took the pups home, grabbed our travel crate and went back to pick up little Piglet who would soon be dubbed Pompeii. (Doug’s pick and a very nice one which turns out to suit her perfectly)
After the adoption, and shopping for new kitty essentials (food, scratching post, collar, kitty litter, catnip, etc.) we went home, put Pompeii in Doug’s room to let the adaption period begin.
Upon bringing Pompeii into the house Isabella began her typical excitement, aka stress whining. She basically sat at Doug’s door and whined for the rest of the day. It’s the sort of whine she does when she loses her ball under the couch or when she knows you’re getting her dinner ready and she has no patience to await being served. Ashas on the other hand was just super excited and giddy with the smells he was tracking under the door and his excitement manifested in a rambunctious scratching at the door and barking as if to say, “hey, I know you’re in there…let me in or you come out and show yourself!” Against all advice, we even decided to see how they might handle a close up encounter a couple of times just to see if that would be better than the increasing and ceaseless angst spewing from both Isabella and Ashas in unison. One good snap at the kitten from Isabella and we knew that wasn’t the best idea so back to opposite sides of the door. As you might imagine, somewhere about 5 hours in, I was almost questioning what we had gotten ourselves into. None the less, day one ended with Doug and Pompeii locked up in his room and me locked up in my room with Isabella and Ashas, trying to get them to forget about the furry little intruder and get some sleep. It was a long night of: dogs jump down, Mom scolds them back onto the bed, sleep two hours…rinse and repeat.
Did I mention we intentionally embarked on this adventure on a weekend? So glad I didn't have to get up and work the next day!!!
Day two: If you’re a doxie parent you are well aware that typical dachshund sleeping habits don't involve getting up early if they don't have to…today, they were bouncing off the walls at daybreak! They had apparently NOT forgotten the furball locked up two doors away. So day two started out a little better. Isabella wasn't nearly as stressed on the whole, but as soon as she would hear Pompeii's bell jingling she would run barking to the door and start the incessant whining again.
We took a multi-phased approach to day two. First, a little 1:1 time in turns behind closed doors where one of us would hold one of the pups and let the kitten come up and investigate while the other pup remained on the outside the room. That went fairly well until Ashas wiggled loose and cornered Pompeii… for a brief minute I saw a vision of fur strewn around the house by Ashas followed closely by the hallucination of sitting in the Vet ER with Ashas eyesight in question.
I mentioned a multi-phased approach…like many dachshund owners, we have gates around the house… We have a gate at the top of the stairs, bottom of the stairs and several doorways around the house to contain the pups in desired areas. We decided to let Pompeii acclimate to the upstairs while we kept the pups downstairs with us. That actually worked out great. She ventured down a couple of times but had a very quick escape path back over the fence and up the stairs when needed. She did use it a couple of times too but for the most part this was a successful day and I was feeling a little better about how things would play out. Perhaps a few weeks of this and things would be settling down.
Day three… the turning point. What happened on day three has me completely smitten with our pups and our kitten!Isabella’s curiosity turned into tolerance and Ashas… well he found a pal. This picture below is from that day, the day I knew all was well in the world of cats and dogs.
Here we are a week later and sleeping habits have returned to normal, the gates have resumed their normal positions and are used once again as dachshund trapper keepers instead of enemy lines drawn between feline and canine.
Ashas and Pompeii have bonded. Completely bonded…they romp around and wrestle just like he and Isabella do…it’s a hoot to Pompeii wrapped around his head while he rolls over to trap her or to see her pounce his tail when it wags and he leaps around on the defense only to start licking her ears, just like he licks Isabella’s ears. Pompeii doesn’t use her claws with them either. She bats playfully as Ashas tries to decide a proper return of attack. Pompeii tries to play with Isabella and they have a mutual interest in each other but it’s not yet to the level of trust and play Ashas and Pompeii…perhaps the bliss of youth!
At this point I’m convinced that Ashas is convinced that Pompeii is just another dachshund no different from he and Isabella except that she has her own bathroom, isn’t allowed outside and makes a funny noise…the purrrrfect dachshund!