Monday, May 20, 2013

Sir Desmond the Bold

(AKA, Sir Desmond the Handsome, the Crazy, the Silly, the Stinky, etc, etc)

Definitely no time for baking cookies this week since the new baby kitten came home. It is a good thing I work from home because this sibling situation has required a lot of time and TLC. Penny, our sweet little observer, has definitely developed that alpha personality.  But, despite her efforts to be in charge, the little prince has taken her attempts at dominance as invitations to play, and he is game for anything.

My fellow Losties will be happy to know that we did, in fact, settle on Desmond for our new kitten's name. Such a big name for a little guy, but his personality is large enough, that's for sure.  Sir Desmond the Bold is fearless, silly, and a true adventurer. He laughs in the face of danger, and eats enemies (and everything else) for lunch. 

Here is the diary of the First Adventures of Penny and Desmond.

Day 1

I brought the kitten home and got him settled in a safe room, letting him explore and get used to his
surroundings. He just wanted to climb everywhere. He climbed to the top of my head and then cried because there was nowhere else to climb. This one is going to be a handful. Penny showed a lot of curiosity about the squeaky mewing coming from the room.  I optimistically let Penny approach while Des was in my lap.

She walked in slowly, sniffed all around the room, and then spotted the kitten. He got very excited and wanted to get down and play with her, but I held him still. Penny slowly approached, smelled him, and then and ran away in disgust. Soon after that, I heard her hiss for the first time. We kept them apart for the rest of the day and I refreshed my education about how to properly acclimate cats.

Day 2

The kitten was sequestered to the safe room. Throughout the day Penny pawed at the door and meowed at him, and he meowed (howled actually) back. Following the advice of some articles, I opened the door a crack to let her smell and look at him. Des quickly came up to the crack in the door to see his big sister, and she hissed and swatted at him. Unwaveringly optimistic, Des still wanted to get through the crack in the door to play with her. She watched him for a while longer and I pet her and talked nicely to her while she sat quietly.

Day 3

I treated Penny to some tuna flakes while she sat nicely near the crack in the door. She watched the kitten, and alternated between cringing away with a low growl, and stuffing her face in the crack to see the kitten better. When Penny was not growling, I offered her rewards and praise for sitting calmly. We did this routine several times through the day. 

Day 4
I continued the "crack sessions." Penny wanted to go into the safe room. Really. Bad. Since Des does
not seem to be afraid of her at all, I held him while she went inside to look around, and later I fed her treats while I held him in my lap. She seemed okay while he was in my arms, but got upset as soon as he started wriggling, and hissed and ran away.

Day 5

Penny spent most the day outside the safe room door.  When I went inside she really wanted to come with me. So, I let her in again and held Desmond while she walked around checking things out. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and instead of the lovely, silly dancing, she hissed and growled.  I sat on the floor with the baby, and Penny came close enough to eat some kibble out of my hands. She kept her eye on Des the whole time, and would occasionally growl quietly but did not hiss or swat at him.  Later, she rolled over onto her back and let me rub her tummy while I was holding Des with my other hand. Baby steps.

Day 6

Desmond got very tired of being cooped up in one room, and since Penny seemed more relaxed about him, I brought Des out into Penny's space, keeping him in my arms the whole time. I fed Penny treats right next to him and she seemed okay with that as long as he was still.

Des is still absolutely fascinated with Penny and wants to hang out, but as soon as he starts making a move toward her, Penny gets upset and backs away. She was happy to sit quietly and watch him play right outside the safe room, but once he lost interest in the toy and wanted to run to her, she took off.

Day 7
We brought home a pop-up kennel so the little prince can be in the same room without terrorizing Penny, and she likes this arrangement because she can keep an eye on him.  

She also likes to take her turn in the kennel as long as the door is open and I keep Des off of her.  I am trying to let them interact with each other, with supervision, to play and eat and explore together in short sessions.  Luckily, Desmond seems to really like being in the kennel for short periods, so I don't have to lock him in a room by himself.

There have been a few chase wars. Penny doesn't want to lose sight of Desmond and so she will chase him when he runs away to play, and then Desmond will turn the tables on her and chase Penny, which she does not like one bit.   

Week one is in the books!

This lasted for approximately 1 second

We have been in a holding pattern for much of week number 2 with supervised visits. Both of them are fine as long as they are prevented from chasing each other. Penny does not hiss, growl, or swat anymore, unless he is jumping on her.
I am glad that I see some good progress here. It is not as smooth as I had hoped for, but we are being patient. I am not sure if Penny will be able to get completely comfortable with him while he is still in full-blown kitten mode. He is very "bitey."

We learned that Desmond was only 5-1/2 weeks old when we got him, and not almost 8 as we were originally told. He probably needed a few more weeks of tumbling around with his siblings before coming to his furrever home.  But, we love him and Penny to pieces and are committed to making it work. We are sure that with some time and patience, Penny will learn to love him too.

Sir Desmond the Sleepy