Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Adventures of Tybalt Underfoot

Tybalt and Maia

So yes, I've been spending the bulk of my time in the last week and more in my role as one of the humans adjudicating what has become once again a two-cat household, and not an entirely placid one. That's a typical scene, with Maia in the darker fur - not long ago our cute little overgrown kitten, now suddenly our hulking older cat - glaring at the invasion of the younger, cuter Tybalt.

It's strangely hard to take a photo of Tybalt, and not just because of the lighting. It's because he's always in motion, and a photo isn't, so it doesn't look like him. His coloring is identical to that of the long-departed Pandora, but he doesn't otherwise look like her, even bodily or facially. Yet photos of him look more like Pandora than they do him.

When I last wrote on Tuesday, we had just let Tybalt out of the recommended isolation for a brief run and he encountered Maia, and I was hoping for the best. We didn't get it for a while, especially after we let him out for good on Wednesday. Tybalt is so active and so friendly, and Maia was having none of it. Hiss, growl, and snarl were her responses when he came near. But over the last couple days she seems to have become a little less hostile.

I think the best way to describe things is to reproduce some of the e-mails I sent B. when she was at work on Wednesday and Thursday. (There were lots more on Monday and Tuesday, before we started letting Tybalt out, and Maia was just hunkering and glaring at the bathroom door.)


When I opened the bathroom door, T. immediately dashed out. I’m not sure I could have stopped him if I’d tried. But then he immediately dashed in again when he realized I was going to feed him. He ate a quarter, asked for a little petting, ate another quarter, and then the lure of the outside world became too much. I put the rest of the food away, and figured I’ll feed him again at noon. He wanted a little playing, but not much.

Otherwise things are going like they did last night. T. runs around, almost constantly trilling and meowing. Every time he gets near Maia, she hisses, and I heard one giant angry meow. Since he’s not craving attention when he’s out, I’m reluctant to try to lock him up, lest he get too wary too fast. I’d probably have to either chase him down – a very difficult task! – or else lure him in with food (when he wants it, because I don’t think the cat toy will do it now). He and Maia had just better get used to each other. I can’t do much with Maia when she’s glaring, just hold my finger out and hope she sniffs it.

I do hope this straightens out, because right now I feel stressed and helpless about it, and so do the cats.


The Adventures of Tybalt Underfoot

1. Trailing belt of bathrobe makes excellent cat toy.

2. Human sorting through clothes looking for things to wash leads to cat frequently buried under dirty laundry being tossed back.

3. The liquid pouring into the toilet bowl is REALLY INTERESTING. (In the future I shall deprive cat of that pleasure.)



I'm not sure if things are going better or worse.

When I'm out (i.e. not shut up in my room, on the computer, and when I'm there I have to be shut up, because otherwise T. climbs around over everything, even getting in the wastebasket), T. follows me around. Not so much underfoot as before, but if I'm upstairs he's upstairs, if I'm downstairs he's downstairs. If I go upstairs, he runs into the bathroom, because that's where the cat toy is. I've noticed he's more likely than before to play while lying down and waggling his legs in the air, Maia-style, which suggests that maybe he's just beginning to tire out. You say he likes to be chased, but that's pretty much out of my repertoire these days: disadvantage of an old owner and a young cat.

Meanwhile, while he's playing, Maia is sitting out in the hallway, glaring in at him. When he notices this, he looks nervous. She follows him around, I think to see what he's getting up to, which means lots of encounters between them, consisting of hiss, growl, or snarl from M. When I was in the kitchen, I heard various thunderings from the living room as the two larked about. I do hope this is the beginnings of getting along, or that T., who is trilling not quite so much as before, will take it as nominal.

So far I haven't been able to give any affection to Maia. She seems not to want to be approached while in growling mode. I'm hoping that later she'll go sit on the couch as she did yesterday and accept ministrations there.


Sigh. Maia wanted petting on the bed, but she was not purring at all, which is most unusual. I heard a sound behind me, and there was Tybalt, sitting in front of the closet, watching. Maia hopped on to the hamper and growled at him. I watched the standoff for a while and then said, "Well, cats, you can do this all day if you want, but I have to use the bathroom."

Much later on, while Tybalt was away unknown, probably sleeping since it was getting close to noon, an affectionate Maia came in and led me to the bedroom for what was a satisfactory petting session for about five seconds. Then Tybalt came out of your closet and sat down on the floor in the same spot. Resume previous scene. I shooed him out of the room, but Maia chose to follow.


It got better, it did. Maia has come for petting, and I'd close the door to keep Tybalt from wandering in. Meanwhile, his absolute demand for playing, the kind that extends to his clambering over whatever else you're doing instead, whether it be reading or cooking dinner, has calmed down to five or six times a day. We're still very much in new cat mode, but it's evolving, and while any cat experts reading this may be fainting, we may be able to socialize our cats without having kept him locked up for two weeks, which would have been impossible.

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