What fun! As a “cat expert” (having owned cats my entire life qualifies me), my friend Lynda asked me to accompany her to a shelter where she was thinking of adopting a four-month-old tabby kitten.
We were led into the “family” room where the kittens were playing. It did not take long to see how intelligent they were, who the boss was, who had nerves of steel, who was shy and who the most playful. Then, there was the kitten Lynda fell in love with. She picked up the fur baby and the little one wrapped its body around her neck, swished its tail happily in her face, then settled down onto her lap and did not move for the next hour.
Could this be how cats claim owners? Staking a claim on a lap while telepathically telling their siblings, “Paws off!” Even when Lynda tried standing up, the kitten locked itself deeper into her lap.
No other kitten came to investigate Lynda, so I had the joy of playing with the active bunch, evaluating their health and temperaments. They each passed with flying colors — or was that flying toys and cats? Well, both!
Everyone who already has a pet is concerned how it will adjust to a new pet. Will there be fighting? Barking? Hissing? Attacks?
Well, on the drive to her new home, Aby sat peacefully on my lap as she gazed out the window. Her body language was as cool and relaxed as Happy Days’ “Fonzie” and was astutely aware of her surroundings. She did, however, want to jump onto the back seat and visit Lynda’s 11-year-old rescued poodle, Silky.
There was no doubt about it — Silky was put out. No one had consulted her if she needed a baby sister. She let her feelings be known by facing the door and pouting, not moving her gaze one iota.
Once home, the cat jumped out of Lynda’s arms and began calmly investigating as if it knew it was home. And as for Silky? She was ignoring the cat, sulking and trying to hide behind Lynda’s leg.
Not having a cat-baby name book, Lynda asked her Facebook friends for suggestion. “Miss Mew” was a close winner until Lynda, being an observant mother, came up with Aby. The kitten’s soft fur has the characteristic cinnamon color of an Abyssinian. She also has the classic tabby “M” on her forehead and the little white spot on her chin — so Aby the Taby-ssinian is the purr-fect name.
Granted, most new adoptions won’t be this smooth. But that night, Aby and a reluctant Silky slept together in bed with Lynda proving a happy ending for all!
• On the drive home, I took off Silky’s jacket and rubbed the kitten with it to purr-meate her with the dog’s smell. This may attribute to why the animals accepted each other so unbelievably fast! Pets recognize each other by smell, so by the time we pulled into the driveway the kitten smelled like “family.”
• Do not rub a cat’s belly roughly like you would with a dog’s. This gesture puts a feline on the defense, they learn to mistrust you and develop into “ruff” players who scratch and bite hands.
Don’t use a scented kitty litter. When Lynda tried that she could barely breath. She started sneezing, her eyes watered and she sneezed. Initially, she was worried that she was allergic to her new kitten. In addition, within minutes, the litter gave me asthma — so Lynda rushed to the pet store and purr-chased a compressed-newspaper litter that can also go onto her garden after use. Imagine that poor kitten with its nose only two inches from the scented litter. It must be hap-py with Lynda’s new choice. I know I am!
• Newly adopted pets are emotionally trying to fit into your home. If they become frightened, do not laugh at them. They know you are mocking them and being mammals, it hurts their feelings.
• Neuter and spay your pets. Don’t let them “have just one litter.” Instead, visit a shelter and adopt one of their “just one litter babies.”
Share your fun, amazing or crazing pet tips and tales at [email protected] or Follow Pet Tips ‘n’ Tales on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PetTipsandTales. Adopt loving pets online at www.PetFinder.com. For spay or neutering, call the Humane Society at 541-942-2789.