Posted by KRS at 7:38 PM
So...I changed the name of the blog back to the original name because I wanted to keep readers recognizing the posts. Ebbie, London and Zoie getting along is part of the whole process of rescue.
To sum up for new readers, we rescued a kitten from our backyard. We live in a semi-rural area and she was crying, curled up in a small twisted redbud bush. We took her in but, since we have two cats who are eleven, we had to keep them separate. Finally Zoie Joy's digestive condition had cleared, round worms were gone and the L-lysine was helping her eyes and Ebbie's. So it was time for some safe interaction. After the first experience with Zoie in her carrier in the kitchen, London taking a look and often hissing, Ebbie not coming out of her room, we did something different. We put a wide screen between rooms and an old peg board from long-ago Home Interiors demonstrations in the foyer to block the circle leading to the foyer and living room.
We began to have hope when London started approaching the screen. Zoie would do the same and, at times, they'd even touch noses! Zoie seemed more eager for the contact than London. Eventually London would hiss again and scamper off with Zoie wondering where she went. Ebbie still wouldn't come join the the fun giving more for her mamma (me) to worry about.
I realized Ebbie was totally fearful of what she couldn't see and understand. After about a week of the above, we decided to make a new change. We took the screen from the kitchen and put it between the living room and the first floor bedroom where Ebbie spent all of her time now. Our reasoning was that we had to bring Zoie to her in a non-threatening way. So I would go into the bedroom with Ebbie and my husband would stay in the other part of the house with Zoioe and London. Zoie could see me through the screen and didn't like that. But she was extremely interested in Ebbie. After all, they looked like each other.
We did this every day for a few hours. But Ebbie didn't want to come down from her steps at the window and would often turn her back to the screen. I understood that nothing was going to make her face reality except letting her see Zoie up close and personal. Keep in mind, we were still worried about Ebbie's hip and back which she'd injured a few months ago. But she wasn't happy the way she was now.
After more consideration, we took the screen and pegboard away altogether. For a while each morning and afternoon, we let everyone interact. Almost immediately London and Zoie found a fascinating connection. Zoie danced around London and London reacted. London would lay on one step watching warily while Zoie ran to the top and played along the rungs of the bannister. She'd run down. They'd engage each other in running play. If Zoie got too close, London would hiss or swat. But Zoie seemed to accept that as part of the play and her respect for London grew. They began to learn boundaries.
Then Zoie decided she wanted to connect with Ebbie.
What can an older scared cat do when a kitten won't be ignored? She can protect herself as best as she can by running, but she has to stand her ground somehow and decide how to handle it in her cat way. Ebbie would not come down off of the top step of her carpeted steps. If she was wandering and Zoie caught her unawares, Zoie would chase her and she would run back up the steps. That was where she would stand her ground. She would not let Zoie chase her from that top step.
The problem soon became that even though Ebbie would growl, she wouldn't swat Zoie. Zoie wanted to play with Ebbie's tail and Ebbie would growl more. This soon developed into the fact that Zoie would not let Ebbie settle anywhere but on those steps. If Ebbie climbed on the bed when Zoie was elsewhere with London, when Zoie returned she would chase Ebbie from the bed or anywhere else she had settled.
Soon Zoie was out and about all day. And although Ebbie slept on her steps, washed on her steps and ate on her steps, she actually seemed much happier. She was more alert and playful, and at night when we put Zoie in my office for bedtime, Ebbie would play with toys we'd brought out from her and London's kitten days. She was moving around more. I watched when Zoie chased her to see if she was hurting, but the exercise seemed good for her. The main problem I was concerned about was Zoie jumping on Ebbie. We couldn't keep her from doing it. I consulted the vet and our pet sitter who handles so many pets, and they felt Ebbie and Zoie had to settle it themselves. But a few weeks later, it wasn't resolving. We needed a new strategy.
We also had to feed Zoie in my office and pick up Ebbie and London's dry food whenever she was around because she'd gobble it all up! We had to change a lot of dynamics.
Can Ebbie find freedom while Zoie's around? Will Zoie stop jumping on her?
More about that next week and whether or not our three cats will really ever be "sisters."
© 2012 Karen Rose Smith
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