It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way….”
These are the famous opening lines of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, a story which compares and contrasts London and Paris during the French revolution. As the passage shows, it was an time of radical opposites—hope and despair. Joy and upheaval. Heaven and…that other place.
Much like the Klassen household at present. 🙂
Here, we are experiencing A Tale of Two Kitties. Mojo, the king of the castle, whom we all love and who has us wrapped around his little white paw. And Socks, the boisterous revolutionary.
A few months ago, just before the polar vortex hit here in Minnesota, my husband rescued a young stray who’d been living in a relative’s unheated garage. Hubby is a big softy, and felt sorry for the adolescent kitty, plus he has always had a weakness for orange tabbies. So, he put the cat in his car and brought him home.
We had introduced a second cat into our household before, so we tried to do all the right things. We took him to the vet first to make sure he was healthy, had him neutered, treated him for a mild infection—the works. Our son named him Socks and offered to keep him in his room at first to give the cats separate spaces and eating areas. We decided to keep them apart after the surgery until Socks recovered and the testosterone left his system, and then to introduce them slowly. My husband built this ingenious (or so we thought) door with a “grill” portion at the bottom so the cats could see each other and become accustomed to one other in safety. But after a few days, Socks figured out how to leap over the inset door, or push it out to escape.
Unfortunately, at first opportunity, Socks chased Mojo, jumped on him, and the two rolled across the floor like one ball, Mojo howling and hissing in a fur-flying wrestling match. It sounded like Mojo was being torn limb from limb! I pulled them apart and was so relieved to find that Mojo was physically fine, though shaken and wearing a little less fur.
Back into his room Socks went. Of course we don’t want to keep him locked up all the time, so we started rotating the cats, putting Mojo in our room for a few hours everyday so Socks could be with the family, and then rotating again.
We bought pheromone collars and pheromone diffusers, and a dog crate (we don’t have a dog) so we could keep the cats in the same room together without harm. Socks cannot stand being in the crate, but Mojo actually likes it. In fact, sometimes he goes inside of his own volition.
The two have gotten more relaxed around each other, with Mojo hissing a little less, so we tried again—but again Socks escaped our grasp and ran after Mojo and tackled him. Poor Mojo hid under the bed the rest of the day. 🙁
I bought a cat harness, so I could restrain Socks when he tried to go after Mojo, but Houdini figured out how to pull himself out of that as well. Socks isn’t mean—he doesn’t growl or hiss at Mojo, but he’s like a big overgrown kitten (vet estimated 12-15 months) who wants to play, but also big and aggressive. (Life as an all-male, scrappy stray will do that.)
But with people? Socks is the sweetest, most affectionate cat. He purrs almost constantly, sits on my lap or curls at my feet when I write, and naps beside hubby whenever he can. Both husband and son really like him, and so do I, but… I don’t like seeing Mojo so fearful. He’s interested in Socks and I think he would like a friend, but not one who pounces on him and roughs him up.
So the battle continues. I confess hope is waning and we’re beginning to despair of them ever getting along. I am not sure if our Tale of Two Kitties will have a happy ending or not. But either way, I am proud of my husband for rescuing this sweet orphan. Now if only peace would reign! If not, I suppose we will have to make the bittersweet decision to find a new (pet free) home for Socks.
How about you–been through a similar struggle? Need a snuggly cat in your life? 🙂