Middle East West

Loyal readers with good memories may recall John’s hurried trip to Petaluma in the middle of June to pick up my mother’s cat while Mom was visiting my sister and brother in the country. At the time, we thought Mom’s visit was just that, a visit, and she would eventually go home and we could return her cat to her.

As usual, we were wrong, and Mom is now permanently living with Megan for what remains of her life, and Mom’s cat is now permanently living with us, making us severely outnumbered by what our friend Mike, with an apt and delightful turn of phrase, calls The Feline Five.

Now, not only is this far too many cats (John & I disagree on the ideal number, which makes it a good thing we didn’t have children, because reaching a compromise on how many would be impossible, if our views on cats are anything to go by. I think the right number of cats is around 2, and he thinks it’s more like 12.), but the original four absolutely hate Twice* and it’s like the Middle East chez nous, with peace between the warring parties approximately as likely in Middle East West as in the original Middle East.

I mean, Twice has lived with us for 4 months and it’s still a non-stop hissing fest. The original four just keep harassing her, chasing her around and hissing and generally being the worst possible hostesses. I feel really bad for Twice, because she is very shy and affectionate and has no claws, unlike all our girls, so her only weapons are hissing and running away. She must feel like a hunted gazelle on one of those nature documentaries.

I don’t understand it, either, because all the other cats get along with each other. They’re always playing together, snuggling together, and sleeping together. They are their own little family. If things get weird, they stick together.

The only time we’ve ever had problems integrating a new cat into the family was when we brought Cleo home, since she was an adult and everyone else came in as kittens and figured out their own pecking order. But Cleo and our late, lamented Jo fought for a good month before things settled down. Eventually, though, they worked it out and all was serene.

But four months and counting? Maybe we should invite Jimmy Carter over and see what he can do.

*All of my mother’s pets, which we have had to re-home or keep ourselves, have retarded names, without exception. Besides Twice, there was a cat named Li’l Bit, and her dogs are Schatzi, Digger, and Bear. Yes, Bear is a very common dog name, but in this case, it stands for Baroness Von Hershee. I’m not kidding. Really. I guess I’m lucky I got named Susan.

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5 comments on “Middle East West

  1. Candi

    Aww, I think Twice is a cute name. I like anything that’s strange, though. I don’t like it when people name their pets human names (sorry, I know you have a lot of those)!

    Hell, Brian named our cat after a black model of a Powerbook, for crying out loud. Har.

    Sorry they aren’t getting along. I say let ’em go at it, provided no one is getting hurt! Cats are all noise and no action.

  2. LisaB

    Yeah, 5 cats is a lot considering you don’t live in a 4000sqft mcmansion.

    I too like the name Twice (the other names aren’t so hot). And it is sad that she’s declawed and can only hiss and run away. My friend here had exactly the same situation – took in the most beautiful white adult cat (4 paw declawed!) and her resident 11 year old cats (siblings) were not impressed. Took about 5 months before the new guy got any peace – and they still have their moments apparently. She noticed one of the residents picking on the new guy a lot so early on she started a campaign of shutting him in the bathroom for 20 min anytime he started a fight. Worked like a charm for her – she sees him eyeing the ‘new’ guy but he doesn’t attack him anymore.

    I can only imagine the mayham of 4 cats picking on 1.

  3. LisaB

    Also – we need a picture of Twice, especially if she’s part of the family now… =)

  4. Michelle

    Have to agree Twice is a lovely name.

  5. Suzy

    Those of you who like Twice’s name will probably like it even more when you know where it comes from. She was abandoned twice before Mom took her in. Maybe she should be named Thrice!

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