take a photograph….
If you invite thirteen cats into your life, you have to make certain adjustments:
- to the way you live
- to the way you think
- to what you value
- to your sense of humor
- to your budget
I’m sure I’ll think of other changes I’ve had to make, but many of those were already in the works, the moment I became a multi-cat person.
Before returning to New York, the largest number of pets I ever shared my actual, personal, living-quarters with, was nine. I had varying numbers of fosters under my roof, but they were separated, in the “Kitty Suites”, on the ground level. It was a three-story house with a ridiculous number of rooms. It had 3 living-rooms and an entertainment room as well as four bedrooms.
Thus, the nine pets (8 cats and a bunny) were fairly well distributed, although, being cats, they inevitably, each wanted what some other cat had, bed, room, blanket, toy. You get the picture. Even the bunny was expected to share.
But that was just a training session.
I almost diverged here, with maudlin descriptions of how the combined number became reduced. Suffice it to say, the revised total was significantly less.
Everything happens for a reason. Without the heavy losses of 2016, I think I would have found moving cross-country to be an impossible dream. But 13 cats….no problem! Well, almost no problem. I don’t entirely recommend it.
Merging two groups of cats could really only work by removing all of them from their separate environments, and placing them together in a different one.
The new house was a blank canvas for all of us. There is always a pecking order, in any group of sentient creatures, and we watched with interest, to see how our new situation would play out.
Perhaps two other people would have established basic ground rules with the cats. But my experience with cats and rules is that it’s the cat that makes them, so we supplied litter boxes in large numbers (one for each cat plus one is recommended), placed beds and blankets in strategic places, and let them get on with it.
It’s just as well, probably, that we have only three male cats. For the most part, they seem to ignore one another, except when waiting for food to be dished out, when Tom and Toby stage a boxing match. Colin, meanwhile, looks up at us saying “Hurry UUUP!”
I think it’s obvious, at this point, that I had already, long ago, made big adjustments to how I live, and certainly to what I value. If you really value anything, never give a cat access to it. Which means lock it up tight, in an in-accessible room.
When the bottom fell out at least I had helpers to clean up
Prior to the great move, my sense of humor had been lagging somewhat, and I was delighted to discover, upon arrival back east, that my spirits had lifted.
Which was fortunate, you may be thinking, but surely, one would have to have a sense of humor, to consider living with 13 cats in the first place? Otherwise you would be in for a big shock.
Do I think differently now? Perhaps a bit. One thing that happened, when I came to my new home, was that Lily, my senior cat, stopped sleeping on my bed, as did Lucy, shortly after. Getting organized was a bit confusing, at first, for the cats. Grant only stayed a couple of nights before flying back to Seattle. He was gone some six weeks, preparing my house for sale, and in those weeks I felt a bit like Gulliver, tied to my bed each night by 5 or 6 cats.
..............................................Lily and Lucy abandoned me.
Perhaps that explains why Lily stopped sleeping with me. She never did like crowds. The moment Grant re-appeared, however, my bed was totally abandoned! He is a cat magnet. Cats have always flocked to him. Which is why, I knew, I would have to change my thinking, because I could either take it personally, and be upset, or I could simply accept it for what it was.
............................................Willow and Blackie, my new bed-mates
My acceptance of the cats preferring Grant, was made more easily acceptable by the fact that, with my bed now being “available”, Willow came to sleep with me for the first time and so did Blackie. Willow is not a big cuddler, so she stays a safe distance from my ever mobile feet, while Blackie just tucks herself in under my arm, and rides out the night as I toss and turn. Lily and Lucy did not return. I think they were happy to be relieved of the duty.
Budget? I had one of those once. Never was any good at it.