Integrating a new cat into the family is never easy. Especially if that cat is Henry. Follow the diary of how Sophie’s three cats became *friends*–in that Enemy-Club sense of the word.
Integrating new cat into house, day one:
My mother-in-law is moving in with my brother-in-law and his wife, so someone must take Henry. We draw the short straw. Henry is now ours.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love cats. I have two. So what’s the big deal about three?
Well, this is Henry.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Sophie, he’s adorable! What is your problem, Sophie? This cat is beautiful. Sophie, are you some sort of inhumane monster? Are you a—(deep breath)—cat hater?
I swear, by some fluke or magic or maybe evil, Henry photographs like a supermodel.
But let me tell you, this boy is HUGE. This boy is LOUD. I’m talking snorting, snot-slinging, wheezing loud. The boy smells, and not like daisies. The boy is greasy and obese and covered with benign tumors. He has seven toes on each paw.
Sorry, Henry, but I gotta tell it like it is.
And yet, we load him into the cat carrier for the three-hour ride from Connecticut to Philly.
My kitties have no idea what’s about to hit them.
Integrating new cat into house day one continued:
We shut Henry into the spare bedroom with some food and a litter box. He cries and cries and cries. At 2 a.m., I relent and move him and all his paraphernalia into our bedroom. At four a.m., I kick my husband with the universally understood stop snoring jab to the kneecaps. But hubbie doesn’t stop. It’s a chain saw in here. I kick him again, closer to the groin. He rolls over. The snoring continues.
It takes me about twenty minutes to realize that Henry is the one snoring like a grown man.
Did I mention my mother-in-law has lost most of her hearing ages ago? Perhaps now I know why.
My kitties sit outside the shut door, occasionally mewing. I think they’re saying, you okay in there? You want us to call 911? Have you lost your mind? I sit inside, unable to sleep. My bedroom reeks of obese cat and kitty litter and Tuna Delight Kitty Yum.
There is a strand of kitty snot slung over Henry’s head like a jaunty scarf. I will later learn these are called “shoelaces” by delighted vets, eager to take my money which I will be eager to give for a cure for whatever ails Henry.
But that night, I know deep in my heart, that whatever ails Henry will be with us for quite some time.
Integrating new cat into house day two:
How to Integrate a New Cat into Home 101 wisdom proclaims: YOU MUST NOT LET THE CATS INTERACT UNTIL THE NEW CAT IS FIRMLY ESTABLISHED.These hilarious books are like books on child-rearing. Ridiculous and impossible fantasies that are impossible to live up to.
But I will try.
Only Henry will not stop his incessant crying. His crying is sending my cats into tizzies of restless attacks on the door.
According to How to Integrate a New Cat into Home this will continue for weeks.
Integrating new cat into house day three:
So I let Henry out of his spare room prison.
Hey, if could have heard his crying (especially at 4 a.m.), you would have, too.
Full disclosure: I never “sleep-trained” my kids either. I guess I’m just that kind of mom.
Integrating new cat into house day four:
Did I mention that Henry also poops like a grown man? Either that, or some man is climbing through my windows, sneaking into the kitty box, and doing his business. Somehow, this seems like a preferable alternative to the possibility that it’s Henry.
Integrating new cat into house day five:
Integrating new cat into house day six:
Cats are assholes.
Integrating new cat into house day seven:
Cats are nocturnal assholes, the worst kind of assholes in the world.
Integrating new cat into house day eight:
Integrating new cat into house day nine:
My mother-in-law calls to ask how Henry’s doing. She calls him, Habibi, which is Arabic for baby or sweetie or devilspawn or some such thing.
We call him Hannibal. Also, Darth (Vador). Also, snothead. Also, Mr. Claws.
I tell her that he’s bullying my kitties. My little girl won’t come inside. My big old orange fozz with the lame back legs won’t eat.
She says, “I’m so glad! Isn’t he a love?”
Did I mention my mother-in-law is deaf?
Integrating new cat into house day ten:
The good news is that the battle lines are now clearly drawn. All sides know what they are fighting for: democracy, freedom, and the end of tyranny! Just kidding. They all want the third floor. Why? Don’t look at me; I’m no cat. Food and water on all three floors. Boxes up and down and all around. The troops sleep most of the day–hey, that’s not sissy, that’s hardcore doomsday prepping. Then around 11 pm when they’re all inside, the little one sneaks upstairs and sits on our bed, ears on full alert. The old orange foz takes his post on the third floor landing and shouts, “I’d rather fight for something than live for nothing!” And the fun begins. In other news, I don’t care. Just don’t. I can sleep through anything now. A pox o’ all their houses, I’m going to bed!
Integrating new cat into house, day eleven:
So, yeah. Hissing. Swatting. Screaming. Fluffing up. Staring down. Ignoring. Hunting. Provoking. Sleeping (a lot of sleeping). Crying. Begging. Weeping (that’s me). Escaping. Chasing. Scratching. Trapping.
And then, this happened.
I couldn’t believe it. What was this, time out? Is this whole thing just a game?!?! An act?!?
New cat: Hey, let up a minute, bud, okay? I’m hungry.
Old cat: Yeah, sure man. Go for it. Let me know when you’re done.
New cat: Yeah, thanks man. I like your food, dude.
Old cat: Thanks. It’s okay. I mean, it’s not dead rat or anything. But hey, help yourself.
Integrating new kitty into house, day twelve:
There’s a new kitty in town. The tongue is OUT. That’s ’cause he’s mouth-breathing gangster dragon. You’ll have to imagine the noise. Nope, turn it up. More. More. Add a little kitty snot and eye goop. Okay, now you’ve got it. My mother came over last night and said, “He’s your nicest kitty!” Yeah, that’s ’cause you’re not under one of his seven (!) front toes, lady. Under his 25-pound jurisdiction. Little kitty came in last night with a tick on her belly. Ugh! I snatched it off her and she was mad. “That was a gift,” she said. “A gift for the big man.” That was when I realized that I’d never find a tick on that guy. That was when I realized that the insurgency had begun.
Integrating new kitty into house, day thirteen:
We had peace last night. Every kitty in its place and a place for every kitty. I think some folks got the impression from my last post that we do not love Henry endlessly, despite his, ah, eccentricities. But this is not so! My teen has seven toes on each foot, has snowlike dandruff, and is a relentless bully, and we still love him. Kidding! He is a very lovely boy with a proper number of toes and excellent head hygiene. But kitties are not children. We hardly hold them to the same standards. They amuse us, love us, let us pet them and then they purr. Also, we don’t have to pay for their college and they won’t drive our cars!
Integrating new kitty into house, day fifteen:
Hello. This is Henry. Diana’s updates are no longer necessary. Everything here is just fine. Thank you for your attention and understanding.
Integrating new kitty into house, day #20:
So last week, I fled to the Jersey shore, leaving behind the teen and the menagerie to duke it out on their own. Like most near death experiences, all survived the ordeal and became closer as a result. Just kidding. All kitties still hate each other with a tiny bit more hate thrown in from teen who had to deal with new-cat-Henry’s incessant crying. (That boy wants out.) As some of you noticed, Henry took over my Enemy Club diary, but then fell asleep and forgot to post. Cleo spent the week outside, sleeping on the front porch and under parked cars. Catkin slept in various empty beds, on the counter, and on several couches. Upon my return, they are all still sleeping. It’s war between the laziest soldiers on earth. I think I need a nap.
Integrating new kitty into house day #63:
The last of summer vacation is over, which means we’re back in town for the long haul and it’s time to start letting Henry the great heaving, wheezing, snot slinging beast outside. I thought I better get him a collar first. I suggested the tag should say, “He’s your’s now sucker.” Other ideas were: “Finders Keepers,” “Good Luck,” and “Tag, You’re It!” What do you think?
Integrating new kitty into house day #67:
Vet said Henry needs $453 worth of dental work for rotting teeth. In other news, Henry got his chip and collar and went outside for the first time yesterday.
He came back.
We did meet his doppelganger at the vet, though. A Slobber soul brothers!
TO BE CONTINUED….