Monday, November 5, 2007


I promise this won't continue to be a diary of cat husbandry indefinitely. I still have lots of music, books, food, and stupidity to talk about. But lately, in my private life, I have been preoccupied with cats - for understandable reasons.

Tyrone and Sinead continue to hiss at each other. Tyrone is clearly the instigator. At least once a day I have rounded up Sinead in the plastic Pet Taxi, with the steel grille on the door, and introduced Tyrone to her. The meeting has invariably gone like this: 1. A few seconds of curious sniffing. 2. Tyrone hisses. 3. Sinead hisses. 4. I throw Tyrone out of the room and close the door. 5. As soon as she is freed from the Pet Taxi, Sinead runs for cover under one of the bookcases.

Tonight, I had to get my laundry together for a trip to the laundromat. So I put Sinead in the Pet Taxi and gave Tyrone free run of the room while I stripped the bed, sorted the dirty clothes, etc. It seemed promising. Sinead watched everything curiously, including Tyrone's antics (he always strives to be "helpful" when it comes to dressing and undressing the bed). But he didn't respond well to being placed right in front of her, and he avoided close contact with the Pet Taxi.

After getting home from the laundromat, I tried a different tactic. I put Tyrone in the kitty jail and coaxed Sinead into visiting him. For once she seemed fearless and dauntless in her curiosity, walking all the way around the Pet Taxi, as well as over the top of it. When he hissed and spat at her she acted startled, but didn't run away. She gave back as good as she got. But no amount of smooth-talking could get Tyrone to take it easy on her. He made a remarkable range of unfriendly noises, including ones that would probably signal serious danger if he hadn't been cooped up. So I finally dumped him outside the room again.

Sinead is taking it in stride. This is a good sign. All the same, I would prefer that the two cats got along. When I adopted Lionel, things were simpler - Tyrone only had a few ounces on him, so I could simply leave them to it and let them settle their own differences. But Tyrone has 5 years and probably 11 pounds on Sinead...and she has a full set of claws, front and back. He seems more afraid of her than she of him, but I wouldn't count on her coming off best if it came to blows.

Worst comes to worst, I suppose I can live with two cats who live separate lives on opposite sides of my bedroom door. But I dread the thought. After two nights of being tortured by Sinead's prickly claws and insatiable instinct for play, and after the first four nights in years without Tyrone sharing my bed for at least part of the night, I am beginning to regret designating my bedroom as the Kitten Decompression Chamber. I may be stuck with this sleeping arrangement for the next 20 years.

I can only hope the cats will adjust to each other - and Sinead to the apartment - sometime before she reaches the Age of Responsibility for declawing and spaying. Otherwise, I'll be the next member of the household who starts sleeping in the living room.

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