Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Introduction

Yesterday morning was pretty cold, so I put Aya in the basement and let Judah in the house. Poor dog - his ears were frozen! This morning it was pretty cold again, so Aya went back to the basement and Judah came in. Now, getting "banished" to the basement is not torture for the cat: his food, water and litterbox are down there, portions of the floor (like my shop) are carpeted, and we put a blanket on my workshop chair so the cat has a cushioned place to sleep. Judging from the amount of cat hair on the blanket, he sleeps there quite a bit.

But today, Aya was very insistently begging to be let out of the basement, so Judah and I went over to the door to "meet" with the cat. Now, before I go any further, I need to explain the layout: the foyer of our house is in the middle between the living room and dining room in the south half of the first floor. The breakfast nook is in the middle of the house between the kitchen and rec room in the north half of the first floor. The foyer and breakfast nook are connected by a short hallway, and in this hallway are two doors; one to the west that goes down to the basement, and one to the east that goes into the foyer's pocket bathroom. So Judah and I go into this short hallway, and I (whilst having a very firm grip on the dog's collar) open the door to the basement. There's Aya, sitting on the top stair. Immediately Aya's eyes get huge - you couldn't see any green at all. Judah doesn't realize at first that there's a cat there. Not until the cat moves does the dog react. He lets out a short "Woof!" and half-lunges for the cat, but he can't go anywhere because I have him by the collar. The cat reacts to the dog's lunge attempt by arching his back and hissing. I tell the dog to lay down, and he complies. Now Aya and Judah are about 12 inches apart (from the tip of Judah's paws to the tip of Aya's nose) and the stalemate begins. I sit down with my back against the hallway wall. Judah adjusts so that he's laying down with his front end in the foyer and his back end in the pocket bathroom, and Aya continues to sit on the top basement step. My legs are between the dog and cat, and they're about three feet apart. By this time Judah doesn't care if there's a cat around or not: he's snuggled up next to Mommy, getting his ears stroked, and that's all that matters. Aya's looking around, wondering if there's any way to get past the dog without being seen. At one point, Aya partially emerges from the basement - two front paws, head and shoulder come out. But then Aya concedes defeat, and slowly waddles back down the steps. I get up and shut the door. Judah gets up and begins to sniff around the bottom of the basement door and promptly gets his nose clawed by Aya, who stuck his paw under the door in a last defiant act.

Now, you may think this is cruel treatment of these animals, but it isn't. I want Judah to learn that cats live in houses and are to be gotten along with, and I want Aya to learn that Judah won't hurt him because I won't let the dog hurt him. I'd like to get to the point where the dog and cat can peacefully co-exist in the house because, after Aya goes back to Mom's, it's very possible that we'll be getting cats of our own. Mary's showing improvement in her maturity, and she really wants a cat, so maybe by Easter she'll have her wish.

Meanwhile, shortly after the cat went back downstairs, Judah began doing the poochie-potty dance, and out the door he went. It's warmer out now, and sunny, so he won't be cold. And Aya's upstairs, basking in the sunlight.

The cat won't come near me, though. I wonder why...

1 Comments:

Blogger Kafaleni said...

I don't think you're being cruel at all. You're trying to prevent bloodshed. Preventing bloodshed by keeping your legs between possibly warring animals is not always the smartest move, though. Ask me. I have the scars to prove it and I didn't even do it on purpose!

A little kitten is much easier to acclimate than a full-grown cat. Let them play. I did that with my parents' dog and one of my kittens. After about a week, we had to keep separating them because my kitten would get up on a table or chair and pounce (think Snoopy as a vulture-type pounce) on the dog from a significant height and then chaos would ensue. They ended up becoming good friends, though!

4:36 PM  

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