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Shaking Things Up

Wednesday
11/13/2013

Iíve started to leave the villa and stairway doors open while working in my office, giving Autumn the freedom to venture upstairs into staff cat country. Sheís starting to assert her rights much as Nola did, whether by wandering from window to window or claiming a cat bed in a sunspot on my desk.

We havenít seen the fireworks we saw with Nola, and Iíd thought it was because Reggie and Yogi were giving Autumn more room to move, but yesterday Reggie started putting himself in her path more often, and that generated some hissing and growling on Autumnís part.

Based on the experiences of Margo, Poppy (who probably had the easiest time), Nola, and now Autumn, Iím starting to think the 50K feline staff doesnít exactly roll out the welcome mat for adult females.

The bunkhouse/playground dynamic was shaken up yesterday as well, when we took in a single male kitten named Peanut. Heís a week or two older than the BB Boys and his sibs have already gone home. Weíd been hoping to find a fourth and expecting to pair the newcomer with Seamus, since Dean and Neville are so much bigger.

It turns out Peanut is bigger (longer and taller at least) than all the BB Boys. I expected him to get defensive when his foster opened the carrier in the bunkhouse, but what we saw was probably the mellowest introduction of a new kitten into a territorial space occupied by weaned peers Iíve even seen.

There was no shrinking or hiding, no hissing, growling, or flattened ears. Peanut wandered around the cozy bunkhouse and the BB Boys greeted him one at a time with a nose-to-nose sniff. The kind of behavior youíd expect to see on a Saturday morning TV show for kids. Go figure.

I left them in the bunkhouse most of the day because I wanted Peanut to get confident before letting them onto the playground. When I popped in later he was usually on his own, either crouched in the shower or behind the toilet. Oh well. At least we had that initial Kumbaya moment. I let them out after dinner.

When I came upstairs to go to bed, the BB Boys were playing and Peanut was watching from under the bed. After five minutes I gave up and decided to let all four kittens stay out overnight, which meant confining the staff cats to the other half of the floor. No biggie.

It was a pretty good night until 4am, when I woke up to the sound of barfing. Couldnít tell who or where right away, but it sounded nearby. Flicking on the light confirmed that the BB Boys had been cuddled on the blanket next to my hip, and Seamus was our barfer. No sign of Peanut. I cleaned it up and went back to bed.

When I got up at 6-ish, I found Peanut snacking in the bunkhouse, so I took the opportunity to close the door. Popped the boys in with him and then delivered a hot breakfast. Wasnít surprised that everyone dropped weight this morning, or that Peanut has a little stress-related eye goop (his foster dad had warned me about that.)

So weíre still in the sorting-it-out stage, but Iíd expect the barfing and under-the-bed hiding to go away in the next day or two. Luckily all these guys have a margin for error now. They should be back on stride by Saturday, when Iím taking them down to DC (with Autumn) for another adoption event.

filed by: TS

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