The Great Cat Merge

Since Pandora’s arrival, we have kept her in a “cat sanctuary,” or a room set up just for her with no cats allowed. The idea is to let her get used to her surroundings first, and then slowly introduce the scent of Sabine (and vice versa) until they are used to the scent and then finally used to each other. With an extensive (and slow) rewarding system, they are supposed to be able to live in harmony.

Well, I kind of fucked that up.

Sabine has been acting really wimpy/skittish lately as people have been stomping around, moving their things, and random people have been stomping in/out, ringing the doorbell (sabine hates that) and getting/moving furniture. So in addition to her world as she knew it physically changing, she is also having new and strange people (sly included) in her space. As a result, she’s been hiding a lot. The past month or so, she was sleeping w/me in my bed, but now its hard to find her.

I thought that, given her skittish-ness, she wouldn’t dare venture upstairs to Pandora’s room…wrong, wrong, wrong. One morning, I encountered my little fatty downstairs, fed her, and played w/her a bit. She was being kind of coy, so I figured she would just stay there. AFterwards, I went up to Pandora’s sanctuary to play with her. Feeling sorry for her, I took her out of the room, and put her in my room next door so she could hang out w/her Daddy for a bit.

Well…I left the door to her sanctuary open…not really thinking…and went to the bathroom to get ready for work…

Next thing I know, I hear some scratching in the sanctuary. Sabine has a covered litterbox, and she enjoys standing up in it (yes, standing), and scratching on the sides repeatedly (looks like she is hitting a punching bag). I looked in the room and it was as I feared: Sabine was in Pandora’s litterbox taking a dump.

Meanwhile, the door was opened from my room, and out came Pandora. They spotted each other from across ther room. Sabine, to my surprise, was completely and utterly nonplussed and calm. She walked slowly, not even hunching, not even w/huge eyes, towards Pandora…curious. Pandora waited for maybe 2 minutes then let out a howl and a hiss like in the movie Pet Cemetery. Her face scrunched into a collapsed ovaloid and her ears flattened back on her head. Then she bolted.

Sabine stopped walking and sat next to my legs, looking up at me with a very confused expression as if to say, “what did I do?”

We cleaned out the litterbox and retrieved Pandora, trying to calm her down, but she wouldnt even let us touch her. Anytime we tried to pet or comfort her, she would back up and start hissing. Even when we gave her some cat treats (the book says to reward them everytime they interact), she at the treats, but was hissing the entire time.

Ugh. Great. All I need is cat drama! I knew that they would be weirded out, but I really did not expect Pandora–a typically calm, friendly cat–to be freaked out the way she was. If anything, I expected Sabine to be territorial and growly, or maybe even wimpy and skitterish, but instead it has been the reverse.

Part of the problem is that Pandora has led a pretty sheltered urban life–she hasnt interacted much with any other animal besides her Daddy and a few other humans. Sabine, on the other hand, has encountered several cats (has been attacked by the evil, green-eyed tomcat), as well as several dogs. Each time she has just stared at them, doing nothing until they antagonize her. Then she turns into a fierce, growling beast.

Back to the drawing board, I guess. Damn. This is going to take a while.

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  • kevin
    July 3, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Possibles –

    Make a video of Sabine complete with vocalizations (this assumes cats watch TV).

    Some type of calming supplement, dietary or medicinal.

    Scented pictures of Sabine in Pandora’s room (probably useless if the video bit’s a bust).

    Shave Sabine to shrink her monstrous frame.


    Keeping good thoughts…

  • Anonymous
    July 18, 2008 at 9:24 am

    how is it going now? Is pandora still in her room or are they integrated? very curious, because I could use some tips.


  • Anonymous
    July 18, 2008 at 9:24 am

    How is it going now? Is Pandora still in the room or are they fully integrated?


  • The Gould Family
    July 18, 2008 at 9:24 am

    OK, I don’t know why I didn’t get the notice that the blog was updated, but I’m just now reading this.

    Aye dios mio! Love the Pet Cemetary reference. Are things going any better?

  • V
    July 18, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Pandora is worse than ever. Sabine, however is totally fine–she even sleeps in our bed now, which she didnt used to do before, and follows me around like a child. When she hears pandora doing her pet cemetery, she runs and hides behind my legs.

    We let them take turns getting used to the place, altho, i think they both have adjusted to location. pandora is still hissing away…