So, I may have mentioned that we took on a cat.
We took on this cat, which belongs to H’s daughter, because his daughter went traveling for some indeterminate length of time. The cat, who is named Little Girl, is staying at my house for an also indeterminate length of time because I felt strongly that she wouldn’t get enough care and company living at the farm during the winter months.
She’s also living here because she and the dog need to get used to each other even if she is going to eventually live out at the farm, so the dog doesn’t see her at the farm and attempt to chase her off, as she does any other cat she sees in any of the territories she deems her own (and even those she doesn’t deem her own, as some of my friends can attest).
It’s not (I think) that Vega hates cats so much as she believes they exist to be chased and harrassed–something that most cats just don’t appreciate very much. Vega did at one time bond with another cat (my ex-husband’s), and she was quite protective of said feline. But that was a long time ago, and that cat was a kitten.
The relationship between Vega and Little Girl is going to take a bit more time because Little Girl is a mature cat and has not had much exposure to dogs.
She doesn’t much like Vega, and though Vega has attempted to show her friendly inclinations by attempting to stick her nose directly in the cat’s soft underbelly and roll her around (that’s what I assume she’d do if she could), Little Girl is having none of it.
I should say at this point that I’m not a cat person. I see the value in having a cat around if you have rodent problems, but I don’t. I see the point in having a cat if you like to sit around and stroke something warm and fuzzy on your lap, but I’m not much for that, either.
I do appreciate a cat’s ability to make its needs known because I’m actually quite horrible at feeding or taking care of anything that doesn’t. You might think that conflicts with my ability to take care of garden plants, but it doesn’t. Garden plants aren’t pets, and my feeding and care of them is directly related to my own ability to eat good food.
Maybe it’s more basically that I’m not a “pet” person. I don’t think of Vega as a pet; I think of her as my companion and my friend, and a supplement to my eyes and ears. So, she pulls some weight around the house that I think more than compensates for the food, care, and love she requires.
The cat? Hmm. I made the decision a few days ago to allow the cat access to the basement, so she’d have a place to explore and even hide out if the dog became a pest to her. Her response was to spend several days hanging out in the very darkest corner of the bunker room in the basement under a pile of boxes.
She only came out at night to explore (and hop on the bed to be stroked) and to be fed. This actually added to the tension between her and the dog because the dog doesn’t much care for another animal begging for food at the same time and in the same space as she.
So, she’d try to chase the cat out of the kitchen, and the cat would hiss, and they’d dislike each other even more. And then the cat would eat her dinner and then go hang out in the basement or at her very most social (when she couldn’t sneak into the bedroom while I was reading), on the top two or three basement stairs.
I put an end to the basement access today. I had to fish the cat out from under the boxes in the bunker room and bring her up. She didn’t struggle or try to fight it; she just decided that her new quarters was going to be my bed.
I’ve decided that the cat on the (made) bed is OK if it means I don’t have this little anti-social critter hiding out in my basement. If I’m going to feed and care for and clean up after (yeah, a couple hairballs so far) an animal in my home, I want to at least see the animal on occasion, and not just when I’m in the act of taking care of its basic needs.
So, I’m coming to the realization that it’s not just the dog and the cat who have to get along and get used to a new household dynamic–we all have to give a little. And that includes me.