Friday, March 31, 2006

life with the cats

Life continually changes. This I know. The most recent change for me and my dog has been the addition of two cats to our lives - and with only one night under our belts - I'm inclined to thing this one could be the biggie.

Moving to South Dakota was nothing for us. Pack up a truck, buy a map, and hit the road. The new house was a little daunting, with lots of work to do to make it livable, but that we managed rather well. The that was a bit more challenging, at least for Bailey. I adapted rather easily after buying a new parka and some gloves. And Bailey and Buddy (Steve's dog) were fast friends.

But now we're adding the cats to the mix.

Yesterday was bound to be difficult as I woke up thinking about how much I didn't want to get out of bed. This is uncommon for me, as the coffee is usually enough of an incentive. I faced a day with little to do, so napping seemed the best option. I took it. Didn't get into the shower until 3. When Steve arrived after work, he told me it was time to introduce the cats to the house and to Bailey - my heart rate soared. So this is the thing. The thought of the living with the cats was fine, the reality of it was a little scary. I like cats, and these two are particularly nice - both male, soft and declawed. My first thought wasn't for me, but for my dog, who has never lived with a cat, and who would prefer to catch them or chase them up trees.

And my fear was justified when Steve opened the kennel. Bailey sniffed his way to the kennel and grabbed a mouthful of orange fur. Thankfully there was no flesh involved. And the cat he chose to taunt remained surprisingly unconcerned with the situation. I pulled Bailey back by the collar, and started to sweat thinking, how is this going to work.

I pulled out the instruction sheet that I got at the pet store about introducing dogs and cats. And now the trial period begins. Bailey goes into the bedroom, and we let out the cats so they can get used to the place. Bailey barks from behind the door. One cat hides behind the sofa. The other seems quite happy to roam. I sit in the bedroom with Bailey for awhile, trying to calm him. He does okay after awhile. Then we introduce the cats to the upstairs, where they will live until the dog get used to their scent, and realizes that they are a part of the pack.

So in the meantime, I wonder how this is all going to work out. Worst case scenario, the cats live upstairs. I could do this, but don't think it's the optimal solution. Best case scenario, Bailey gets used to the cats, and they have safe places to get themselves out of his way should they piss him off.

What I hate is that, while I can adjust to all of these life changes, and feel quite happy about them, my dog just doesn't get it. And at his age, he shouldn't have to. After all, he is an old man, set in his ways, and I have totally busted up the little peaceful life we shared. Part of me knows that with the health problems he's experiencing, he won't be around much longer, but I want the rest of his life to be peaceful and good. And adjusting to the cats, I wonder if it's just too much to ask.


LionSpeaks said...

<*{{{--< Dear MerBailyPup! I am so sorry yesterday was such a stressfilled day for you! Your dearest friend Melissa is so concerned for you and rightly so. I hope that today is a day of deep doggy acceptance. You are such a noble pup and I am trusting that indifference will be preferable to the taste of cat fur tickling your tongue!!! Take courage dear Bailey! May your days be filled with a cheerier curiosity!
Love Lion~*TheNonKittyKatPaw

Silem said...

Ah, yes, the joy of integrating cats into your life. Well, they will make your life interesting. Rest assure, your dog will enjoy the company. It just takes a bit of time.