Cats are like a box of chocolates: sometimes filled with delicious surprises, sometimes an inexplicable mix of not-quite-pleasant flavors, but always worth the risk.
Right now, my house is a somewhat confusing mix of flavors, because I took a big risk.
Last month, I took Simba home!
Bringing an anxious cat who isn’t fond of his feline brethren into a home with two very spoiled little duchesses has been…well, to keep the chocolate metaphor running, a rocky road.
Simba, for his part, is doing fantastic. He has a whole room to himself with all sorts of luxuries.
Windows that open so you can smell the outside!
An un-shared litterbox!
Netflix binge sessions! (He’s partial to Nailed It!)
Once the initial anxiety over the big change passed, Simba became a purring, paw-kneading machine. Sometimes he treats the household to opera; his trademark number is “Somebody Get In Here and Pet Me Right Now, Please.”
He’s getting more interested in playing, and more curious about his new world. His anxiety and stress-related aggression are barely notable anymore — he’s a happy fella.
His new sisters, Peggy and Dottie, have been less enthusiastic.
For two years, they have been the happy little tabby centers of the universe, and they don’t especially enjoy sharing that universe with a big, loud boy. Nervous Dottie mostly avoids Simba’s room. Sometimes she’ll poke at the pet gate until he comes around to say hello, at which point she dashes off in terror.
But Peggy bows to no one.
From day one, she marched right up to that gate and gave poor Simba daily pieces of her mind in the form of hisses and growls. In response, Simba flops over and displays his belly. Thus far, this has done nothing to quell Peggy’s umbrage.
But we knew it would take time.
Simba wanders the house for short, supervised visits. He’s afraid of the ceiling fans and tends to get overwhelmed after too long, so we’re taking it slow. For the most part, he enjoys having his own space (Macaroon free!) to relax.
What I didn’t anticipate was how difficult it would be to juggle all the fragile feline egos. Peggy stares jealously through the gate when I spend time in Simba’s room, and I feel guilty when Simba cries while I spend time with Peggy and Dottie. I don’t like seeing any of the cats unhappy, so it’s been a delicate dance.
Of course, everyone at Tabby’s Place has been a huge help with advice and support! Though I can’t say that Simba misses his Tabby’s Place family, I know that he’s lucky to have found his way to such a wonderful place.
These days, my little lion king can usually be found lounging on his favorite blanket. When you come to the gate, he’ll greet you with a loud MEOW! and come running to say hello. We’re still working to get him better integrated with the girls and the rest of the house, but it’s a slow process, and I think he enjoys having a space all his own after years of shelter life.
I hope someday to have a happy little box of sweet treats who coexist peacefully. But even now, it’s such a treat to see Simba so happy and relaxed, and I know he’ll only get better!