Trials and tribulations of a multi-cat family…
The elder of the horde of cats in our household had something I’m not quite sure I have right going on with his teeth, so we let the vet extract the four that were causing issues (and “likely very painful”) last week and it’s been an adventure since. Smudge is his name and the old boy walked a little funny the day of his surgery, but I chocked it up as coming down from the anesthesia (“drunk”). Plus, they had him on pain meds for the teeth extraction and he was never a highly active cat — so we just didn’t think much about his lazing around in recovery. Especially when we looked up his pain meds and saw that cc for cc, it was 10x more powerful than morphine. Yeah, I’d sit in a drugged out haze myself for four days worth of meds, too. But then, the meds ran out and wore off and we noticed him favoring one of his hind legs and still walking like he was drunk. He’s going into the vet this morning to see if they can determine what’s up — I’m wondering if his IV tore a muscle or something and causing him pain.
It doesn’t help that our three other rescues have decided he is something to be destroyed since his return. I can’t quite figure that one out. One is being very much the bully and we need to separate them until we can convince Mr. Alpha Cat that he’s not allowed to attack Smudge. The other bully has always been in cahoots with Mr. Alpha and is doing her part to make Smudge feel unwelcome as well. The third would rather be left alone by all of the other cats on a normal day, but I think she’s tense because of the other two cats’ responses. I think they all sense a vulnerability and want to capitalize on it. At one point, the bully chased gimpy and toothless (only four) around to attack and I can’t say that wasn’t the cause of the injury or whatever Smudge has going on, but the drunk-walking when he came home makes me suspect it just added to the problem, and wasn’t the cause.
Meanwhile, the cats are adjusting to Ghost, our newest addition. He has put them all in their places, where needed. The other two Maine Coons and Ghost are all buddies because they cautiously, but eventually, welcomed him into the household. The mutts, on the other hand, have all been pretty much schooled as to who is in charge. Ghost just doesn’t respond in a way they expect and they find it off-putting. Assert dominance? Ghost scoots away and then stealth counter-attacks from behind. Or right into their face. Even though he is a quarter of their size, he isn’t putting up with their shit. Mr. Alpha (name is Rogue) is now more prone to run away from Ghost than to confront him when they mix it up, which leads to cartoon-levels of absurdity when a chase commences. Plus, Rogue thinks in 2D space, while Ghost is very 3D-thinking, so he leaps over Rogue, scoots under obstacles for a riposte from behind, rolls away from attacks and then counter-attacks. Rogue is flummoxed by it. And Ghost is quite fearless when it comes to possible injury, so he jumps onto and off things with complete abandon. The kitten slides off chairs head-first on his backside to land on his front paws, for example — just for the fun of it. He’s one busy SOB. And he growls when playing with toys, like a puppy. It’s quite comical.
I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever had a cat quite like Ghost. He loves people and makes time to let them know it, but then he is off to the next adventure before you know it. And yet, he jumps up in your lap rubs his whole body on your cheek and gives you a hug over the shoulder before settling down for some cuddles. Unless he has another mission in mind. Then, BOOOOM! he’s off to do whatever he needs to do.
Ghost likes cats, too. As long as they don’t attack him, anyway. He plays with the two Maine Coons and, when he noticed Smudge was not feeling good, he put out a paw to stroke him from a non-threatening distance in what seemed like a very compassionate effort. I think I might have my hands full with the ol’ G-man.
Then there is the added factor of 5 different diets. Banshee with the sensitive intestines off by her self. Smudge, who can only have soft food for another nine days, in another (and cats who want his soft food). Ghost on kitten kibble that no one else needs or should have. Rogue on a calorie-restricted diet who will feed on other’s food if he’s not segregated. And the three remaining cats, who can eat together, but separate from the others.
Still… Ugh. The micromanaging a kitten was fine — the added drama of controlling other cats and dealing with a potentially injured one is kind of pushing me to exhaustion. And it didn’t need to be this way, but it is what it is. I wish I knew what was up with Smudge and I’m about ready to rehome Rogue for all of his machoism and mean behavior to the other cats. But then, I realize I signed up for all of this by adopting seven cats, sigh, and just carry on.