Marshmallow Fluff, first 48 hours: This place has one (1) safe spot, under the bed, and I will stay put right here forever
Chocolate Fiddlesticks, first 5 minutes: I will systematically stand on every available surface to choose my Pride Rock
…so, yeah, I got a new cat.
Way back when, I decided “if the fluff can get through a year with no emergency health issues, I’ll see if he can handle a second cat.” The deadline passed recently, so I’ve been watching the “Meet the Cats” page on the local cat cafe. A lot of the cats get snapped up pretty fast, but this one black-and-brown tortie just stayed and stayed and stayed…
I went in, decided I liked her, and called dibs.
Fiddlesticks is twice Fluffy’s age (10 years), half his size (a little old lady!), and 100% his opposite in temperament. She’s been here for a week, and was totally comfortable from minute one.
She came with the “fiddlesticks” part of the name, which I’m retconning to mean “chocolate fiddlesticks” so we can keep having a dessert-based name theme.
At first I kept the fluff in the bedroom with the door closed, Fiddles in the kitchen with a makeshift barricade in the doorway, and I traded off which one got access to the rest of the house.
Kept both of them shut in at night just to be safe, which worked out, because it turns out Fiddles really really wants to be where the action is. Jumped over the first barricade…jumped over the taller replacement barricade…couldn’t jump barricade #3, but managed to knock a box askew and get underneath it.
She doesn’t even want attention or cuddles when she gets through! She’s happy to get petted, but mostly wants to go back to napping on a soft surface.
Trouble is, it can’t just be any soft surface. It has to be Where The People Are.
Brought her home on Monday night. As of Wednesday, I was holding the fluff up to look over the barricade, and he was growling a little at the horrifying intruder. But not freaking out and bolting the way he does with strange humans! Which was promising.
Wednesday night, both of them were curious about what was on the other side of the barricade…
So I let Fiddles come through for a visit.
It lasted about 30 seconds. Fluff didn’t bolt, which was sort of unexpected, but he hunched up and backed away and made this very sad keening noise. Totally unfazed Fiddlesticks barely looked at him before wandering past. When she got between him and his escape route, I figured it was time to pick her up and move her out of the room.
(You wouldn’t know it from how calmly she sits, but this little lady becomes a flailing mess if you pick her up. Whatever she was sitting on — laundry, towel, carpet — it’s coming up after her, because she grabs it with all the claws.)
The fluff is getting extremely spoiled through all of this. Every time he bravely survives an interaction with the Intruder Cat, he gets treats.
Thursday night, I held him up for a viewing, and he didn’t growl at all…so I let Fiddlesticks out again, and the two of them spent a good half-hour in the same room.
Fiddles parked herself on a soft blanket and didn’t move. After about 15 minutes of this, Fluff decided it was an acceptable risk.
As of Friday, the barricade is mostly dismantled, so Fiddles can go in and out of the kitchen freely.
Fluff gets shut in the bedroom overnight. Turns out he prefers to stay there during the morning/afternoon, so I leave the door closed — mostly to keep Fiddles from bothering him.
(If she’s allowed in, they won’t fight or anything…but she will help herself to his expensive prescription food. And avail herself of his box.)
The kitty fountain is in the living room, and so far they’re managing to share that nicely.
…Fiddles also discovered a fresher source of water in the next room.
Doors get opened during the evening/night, the cats can mingle freely, and I keep an eye out to monitor anything that goes wrong. So far, peaceful coexistence is happening!
By which I mean, lots of wary curiosity from the fluff, and lots of total indifference from Fiddles. If she’s walking past him, once in a while she’ll slow down for a sniff, but that’s about it.
…What I really need is a door that the fluff can go through, but Fiddlesticks can’t. A nice boundary around his food and his safe spaces that automatically enforces itself, so he doesn’t have to.
Unfortunately, I think the only way to manage that involves special cat doors that take signals from collars. And installing one of those is…outside the scope of my lease.
But so far? This is working out okay.