First came the dog – Shasta – you’ve all met her before.
She is a very spoiled girl, but also a very loving and lovable girl. Except when she gets vocal because I’m not doing what she wants me to do, rightnowthankyou! She’s getting older now and tends towards chunky, which doesn’t help her arthritic hips at all. She has been the Queen Bee in this house for two or three years now since her sister crossed the rainbow bridge, and quite likes that position.
But then came cats. Because my daughter had four cats, her fiancé had two cats, they were buying a house, and decided 6 cats is too many. So – because this is how it works – the call came out to mom. “Would you take Nong and Queso?” How could I possibly say no to that? There was some trepidation, because the Queen Bee had her position and might not take kindly to new kids in the house. But I have this door that blocks off the back part of the house, so cats could have their space while dog and cats get to know one another better.
Cats came home. They lived for the first week or so in their space, nose sniffing happening through the screened door.
Familiarity and possibly even acceptance, if not yet friendship, happened. I began opening their door overnight and closing the door to my bedroom – well, okay, our bedroom because it is, after all, technically Shasta’s bed. I know, because she says so. This led to door always being opened, not closing the bedroom door, and cats having freedom to roam. Unless I left they house, then they went back into their space. Progress happens though, and now that’s not necessary either.
This is Nong Saio – although not spelled exactly as the Thai people would, it’s spelled how it sounds. Interpreted, it means “little sister”. Kat adopted her in Thailand as a bag kitten – that is, one of a litter of kittens found in a bag, abandoned by all. She definitely has that Siamese personality, is very assertive, and really wants the position of Queen Bee.
This is Queso. He came first, being adopted by Kat when she was in South Korea. She found him hiding in a bush, or on the street, I’m not sure which – a kitten, also abandoned by all. He is named what he is because he is the color of cheddar cheese, never mind the name has no relationship to his home country. I’m not responsible for that. Queso is solitary, not trusting of people. He looks like a cat that would be wonderful for cuddling, but we’re not sure that will ever happen. He is a handsome fellow. In the first photo, he is out on the deck in the catio.
And this is Eufy. She is my robotic vacuum, who makes valiant attempts to keep the floor litter-free, and as little white animal hair as possible decorating the rugs. She really does try, and is quite a labor saver, although during this peak shedding season, the big guns have to be brought out every now and then.
I mentioned animal hair – yeah, it’s a real thing. With a lab, it’s an all year thing, but then we hit peak shedding season and the white hairs decorating every surface in this house just cannot be avoided. Get used to it. It’s free. Kind of.
Shasta and Nong have reached a peace agreement, so long as Nong stays away from anything precious that belongs to Shasta. Precious things are all things edible, and every now and then, a particularly important toy. Which varies from day to day, so sometimes Nong needs to be reminded by a soft growl to keep her distance.
There are things I’ve learned, although “relearned” might be a better term, because, after all, I did have cats before. And dogs.
Dogs need their own space. A chair that belongs to dog, not cat. Said chair can be shared with humans if absolutely necessary, but not cats. A bed space, which can also be shared with humans. But not cats.
But, uh oh – sometimes when dog is off somewhere else and cannot see, that space might get used by a cat.
Cats do not have spaces that are off-limits. They will go where they please. No interference allowed. Although they give the appearance of being infinitely graceful, they do knock things down and over. Sometimes breakage occurs. One must recognize that, and if something is very important, I recommend the use of museum putty to keep it firmly attached to its surface. I would also suggest a good supply of super glue.
Eufy might make my life easier, but the dog and cats view it with a certain reservation and find it quite offensive when she approaches. This means they have to vacate a very comfortable spot sometimes, about which they will grumble and you should be prepared to pay for it at some point.
Life with a dog, two cats, and Eufy is not boring. It is necessary to not get complacent, because one of them will come up with a new wrinkle to displace that complacency. Do not enter into these relationships if you are not willing to grin and bear it. Sometimes. Often. At odd times. Whenever.