The New Cat Shuffle

Pat and I agreed that we needed to bring a new cat into the house fairly quickly so that Batman did not get too territorial about having the house all to himself. We agreed that we would probably bring a new cat home around mid-week.  I had gone out with Boo on my own, and after she had gone, I needed to do something to calm myself. I ended up deciding to do the first round of visits to the large cat colony to see which cats caught my eye. It did not open until three, and my errands only took me through two o’clock, so I stopped by a tiny shelter way across town that I used to volunteer at before my schedule changed and we moved. The quality of care had gone way up in the past two years, and the cats were all well-cared for. I visited with the cats for a while and spoke about putting Boo down with some of the staff, and just shed some stress. None of the cats were really speaking to me, and I was on my way out when the volunteer said, “Oh, I forgot about Lucky, he’s up in the basket on the wall. They should have named him Love Bug.”

I walked over and peered in to an amorphous stripe-and-white blob. I stoked the fur once, and the mass rolled over onto its back, revealing a pink nose and white paws, which pulled my hand in so that he could rub his face on me and have me rub his belly. He was soft like a rabbit. I needed to pull him out of the basket to take a look at him, and as is the way with cats, he had wedged himself into a very small space. It was like pulling handkerchiefs from a magician’s sleeve, he just kept coming and coming, and eventually I had an armful of limp, contented cat. I sat down and he ragdolled onto my lap. I had to set him on his feet before I could entice him to stand up and walk around so I could get a look at him. He’s way bigger than Batman, very clean, amenable to fingers in his ears and mouth, no complaints when handling his paws or palpitating his innards, no sensitive spots on his skin, not overweight, interested in toys, good manners, very gentlemanly. A very nice cat all around. He clicked, and I decided to go ahead and fill out an application. They said since it was close to close of business, they’d check references on Monday and I’d be able to bring him home on Tuesday if everything checked out. Tuesday sounded good, I’d be able to talk it over with Pat in the meantime. They called that same evening, saying I could pick him up on Monday. Well. Serendipity.

On that end, at least. It remained to be seen if he and Batman would get along. I am familiar with the integration process, so I had a room all set aside for the newcomer, and when I brought him home Monday afternoon, Batman greeted us at the door, relaxed and curious. Neither one was hostile, merely curious, and I decided to set the crate down to let them get a sniff. Nose to nose sniffs were exchanged, and I let the new cat out. They said he hid at the shelter for the first two weeks, so I expected him to go to ground. He walked around the whole house before I cloistered him, me, and Batman in the cat room. He hid in my arms as I laid on the floor for about 15 minutes. Then he saw a spider, stalked and ate it, and seemed much more at ease. Good on him! We all hung out for around a half hour, then I left him alone in the room for a few hours, visiting every now and then. After a while, I opened the door and let him explore the house. He slunk around the bottom floor, laid down on every stair, scoped out the kitchen, and then settled down contentedly on the bed in our temporary bedroom/livingroom. Batman alternated tailing the new cat around with his nose up his butt and giving me looks that said: “Are you serious?!”

When Patrick came home, he heartily approved of the new addition. I said I had been ruminating on names, and that the cat was very definitely a country gentleman, a nice fellow, and needed a suitable name that reflected this. I put forth “Tweed” and  Patrick said it was a good cat name. That it “suited” him. Hehe.

So far there’s only been a few bouts of half-hearted fisticuffs, with Tweed mostly ignoring Batman and Batman ranging from wary to pouncing and cleaning the tip of Tweed’s tail. They’re cut from the same cloth, these two. They’re both currently sacked out, bellies up on the bed. They’re not comfortable enough to groom one another for real yet, but I think they will be buddies.

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