My hands were a bit full in this moment, so picture this.
When my husband fetched Yeti from the boarding kennel on our way home from our camper, he carried Yeti. Translated: Yeti was not in his carrier.
Apparently, he had a little hissy-fit about my husband retrieving him and not “Me-om.”
Yeti endured being held by my youngest for about half the journey, all the while gazing longingly at me with his big blues. Eventually, he made his way over to me.
Shadow is a fabulous car-traveler. He is better than Zoe, who has to be crated and sounds like a chimpanzee whenever we near our final destination. Shadow either sits or sleeps the entire time.
Yet, introduce a cat crawling over to my lap where his nose is resting?
He did try it–a couple play bites. After all, Yeti is his favorite friend. But, a quiet stern “No bite” led to something not even I expected:
A couple soft licks and head-to-head cuddles the rest of the way home.
Trust me…it was a pretty picture.
After spending a week away from each other, Shadow and Yeti have been quite brotherly this week. Although seeing Shadow go for Yeti’s jugular and watching Yeti get into kick-claw mode, I am learning to remember boys with be boys.
My veterinarian also assures me that this is normal puppy-kitten play. It’s important to let them figure out how to get along.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned from my own experience.
- Allow puppies and kittens to have supervised play. Keeping a close eye on play times is important because it can quickly turn into a game of chase around your china cabinet.
- Teach the command “Leave it” to your puppy. Not only is this an essential command for protecting your best leather sandals, but it’s key for assuring safe play. Oral play–even going for the jugular–is common for puppies. But, that doesn’t mean allowing the puppy to have the upper-paw with kitty.
- Accept that kitty will not learn “Leave it.” My kitty loves to instigate, but teaching a command like “Leave it” only makes him think it’s time to play-attack my leg. If kitty won’t stop pestering the puppy, it’s best to separate them for a while.
- Make sure kitty is wearing a break-away collar. Puppy might think it is fun to drag kitty across the floor, and kitty may not mind. But, a break-away collar will ensure that puppy can’t accidentally choke kitty.
- Keep kitty’s claws. Your puppy may have a war wound or two, but the natural feel of a claw on the snout will teach him to curb his enthusiastic play.
- Let communication happen. A yelp or a meow tells each pet when enough is enough.
- Keep crates nearby. It may be easiest to crate the puppy to keep the chasing to a minimum. But, having an open kitty crate nearby is also a good idea. My kitten sometimes climbs in his as a way to be near the puppy. It can be a good bonding experience.
- Allow a communal drinking bowls. Play like exercise is hard work. Having a communal drinking bowl can be another bonding experience after a good romp.
- Treats and praise for good behavior. Talk it up when your puppy listens to you and treat your kitty when he’s sweet to his furry pal.
All in all this playing is one of the best ways for pets to bond. It might even save a life. One night, Shadow’s effective Retriever tackle prevented Yeti from escaping the yard. So, let those puppies and kitties play, for boys will be boys.
Up until December 8, 2015, my experience with cats could be described in the following ways.
- My aunt’s cat had a personal bubble the size of the living room.
- My sister’s cat–who incidentally met me first and, according to my dog-loving sensibilities, should have bonded with me–was a fickle-minded creature that switched from kneading my stomach to biting my hand in quick order.
- Most cats bring on this slow-rising antihistamine sensation along my back and into my throat. (Although sometimes this reaction to felines is helpful. I use it as a gauge for leaving gatherings.)
- One of my brother’s cats inspired this poem:
And yet, on December 8, 2015, I became the owner of a Ragdoll-Himalayan kitten my oldest son dubbed Yeti.
Understand my intention was to buy a cat over thirteen who would live in our basement and catch the allusive vermin plaguing my husband’s work area. By my estimation, the cat–to be affectionately known as Quasimodo–would succumb along with the demise of the mice and save me from any episodes of anaphylactic shock.
Possibly my first “mistake” was bringing my oldest son with me to the Animal Humane Society. He immediately recognized a prize when he saw Yeti since his girlfriend had recently rescued a three-year-old Ragdoll from a kitty mill. My second “mistake” was all my fault. When asked what we were looking for by one of the volunteers, I said we were looking for a kitty–not cat–and we were promptly steered to the kitten corral.
My son promptly engaged with this three-month-old, bi-color, Ragdoll-mix who greeted him at the door. We procured a visiting room to the chagrin of the mingling cat-lovers fully aware of the treasure we possessed.
Then I became fully aware.
So begins the (Somewhat Cat) part of this blog. There will be more to come about my new appreciation for feline companions and the joy one in particular has brought to my family. Until then, know…
this cat is in the bag.