Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dave and Suz in Wonderland

A few nights ago, Dave pointed out that since we got our 2 newest family members, Dory (16 wks.) and Gracie (19 mos.), things here at home have become a LOT weirder!

History for those who don't know... In the last year we lost our oldest 2 cats. These losses were traumatic and horrible, not just for us but also for our youngest cat. Merlin is 16 and after Em, who was his best buddy and official head eater (yes, she tried to eat his head on an almost daily basis), and then Alex died, he seemed lost. There was 9 months between the two deaths and he tried to play with Alex the way he had with Em, but Alex had no interest in trying to eat his head, or ears, or even play with him in any way. So when Alex died, he had no-one but Dave and I to really be with or play with, we never seemed to be what he wanted. Mind you, Merlin LOVES his Daddy and even holds his hand when he sits with Dave (which is truly one of the cutest things ever!). But, especially when his Dad wasn't home, he started to wander around the apartment, crying and calling out trying to find his sisters who just vanished as far as he knew. So Dave and I talked about getting at least one cat who was above a year old and maybe also a kitten since our MN Animal Shelter has a program where if you adopt a kitten, you can also adopt an older cat (over 1 year) with no fee! And so Dory and Gracie came to live in our home.

The first impression shared by Merlin when he saw Dory (who was TINY at only 9 wks.) was "KILL IT!" But with Gracie he was more on the lines of "Hmmm.... well, as long as it doesn't touch me or my Dad, then things might be alright." He certainly stopped wandering and crying and started to attach himself to either Dave, when he was home or if not, to me. Dory and Gracie were met with deep growls and sometimes even a hiss.... which is SO not Merlin! He has never hissed at anyone except the vet (and only in the past 3 years)! We knew that he would feel like his space was being invaded and were very good about making sure he knew he was loved above all and all the other things that you do when you bring in new cats to an older cats home.

In the 7 weeks since we brought the new additions home, things have definitely changed..... in weird and strange ways. Dory, as a kitten of course enjoys the kitten habits of feet chasing and chewing, falling off of things she tries to climb, killing fuzzy balls and catnip mice as well as running and jumping sideways whenever she can't quite figure out how she should react to something new. Gracie, as the older and more intelligent cat, takes most of what Dory dishes out.... including her attempts at head eating (ANOTHER HEAD EATER?!?!) with ease and yes... grace (hence the name change she received when arriving at our home, because Tiger, the name she had at the time of adoption, was the name of a fantastic cat who had belonged to both Dave's grandmother and mom). Gracie loves to wake us up to kneading in the wee hours of the night and or morning, which is sweet..... but when she gets to the face and neck, gets a bit scary since she has all her claws (EEK!!)

The WONDERLAND reference comes from what tends to happen between the hours of oh, let's approximate and say 7pm and midnight. Merlin does his usual, sit on his Dad's lap and gaze at him lovingly while holding his hand and being petted or sit 3 feet away from Dave or I and wait until we realize that he wants food (even though he has food in his bowl already.... but it must be stale or unsatisfactory in some way. He is a finicky man. But, he grew up with Alex and Em, so what else would one expect?!) On the other hand (of someone in a locked psychiatric ward it would seem) are the things that Gracie and Dory do. Dory has developed a habit of jumping on Gracie's back and either trying to eat her head or more often than not, going for what she believes is the jugular and thus the kill(!!!) Gracie has since learned that if she just puts her head down, Dory will fall off.... Dory hasn't figured out why she keeps ending up on the floor. There is also the thrill of the running from between the dining room and the living room and up Dave's chair (either with or without him in it, and let me assure you that being a launch pad is definately interesting) to see who can jump and claw their way to the top of the tree first... the loser being the one who then starts the process over again by smacking the winner until she jumps down and runs back to the dining room. Now, all of this is fairly normal cat play.... until you get to the daily cleaning of the litter. Dory is very "paws on" when it comes to the litter box. She likes to help scoop and OH BOY if there's new litter?!??!?!?! Well, let's just say that you don't have to try and pour the litter on her.... she gets right under that 'litterfall' of Swheat Scoop. And then she plays in the new litter box... EACH ONE... for at least 10-15 minutes. WHY? Maybe she needs to make sure that the litter is well spread out? Each granule touched by her little black paw? Or just to be the dustiest black kitten in the world? Thank the person who invented the kitten wipes..... otherwise Dory would have a bath every day. And BOY WOULDN'T THAT BE A TREAT?!?!?!

Needless to say there is so much more strange behavior that these newcomers have added to our home, including cuddles and cuteness and love that can't be measured. But the changes that have turned our home into WONDERLAND are some of the best. Truly (that's for you Dave!)