Tuesday, October 14, 2008
How Not to Introduce a Dog and a Cat
What do you get when you put five people, a cat and a dog together in a small, two-room apartment? This Columbus Day weekend, we found out!
We spent a lovely vacation visiting our daughter Kate and her husband Aaron, who moved down to Virginia a little more than a year ago. Andy was on break from college, so he came along. And Kelly joined us to visit her new cousin, Cinnamon--Kate and Aaron's new kitten.
The drive takes us about 9 hours. Kelly is a wonderful traveler, very comfortable sleeping in her crate on the middle seat. We stopped about 4 times to walk her, and fill ourselves up with Diet Cokes.
Kelly made herself at home in the apartment. Kate decided to keep Cinnamon in the bedroom and connecting bathroom, while Kelly joined us in the main living area. When we arrived, we all took turns going into the bedroom to meet the kitty. She's a beautiful little tortoise/tabby. Funny, her coloring is about the same as Kelly's--sable reds and browns. She's very friendly and playful.
Kate said she had a dream that Kelly and Cinnamon became friends. So we thought we'd try to introduce them. I suppose we could have just opened the door and let the two of them figure things out. But, always the overprotective mom, I erred on the side of caution and held Kelly's collar, while Kate held Cinnamon. Kelly quivered with excitement, locking eyes with the cat and straining to investigate. Cinnamon seemed curious but calm. We let her approach, but Kelly couldn't contain her excitement. She lunged, Cinnamon reared--her back arched and fur standing on end. "I've never heard her make those noises before!" Kate said, as Cinnamon hissed are growled. To her credit, she didn't try to swipe at Kelly's nose with her sharp claws. I was surprised (and happy!).
We tried twice more to introduce them, but each time Kelly was too quick and excited.
One time, however, the two did manage to introduce themselves. The bathroom door got left open, and Cinnamon slipped out. Suddenly, we heard wild scrambling of paws, hissing, and bowls being knocked over in the kitchen. Kelly had poor Cinnamon cornered. Dog food and water was all over the floor. Neither animal was aggressive. I'm not sure which one was more frightened.
After that, Cinnamon stayed in the bedroom. She tried to be a part of things by sticking her paw, all the way up to her armpit, under the crack in the door. Kelly stared at the door, waiting for The Paw, most of the night.
Tail's End: Make new friends.