It's been one week since Cimmie flew to Houston to "spend the summer with grandma." As posted previously, the initial merger of two cats into one household was rocky at best. Even though the two cats have not come whisker to whisker, the resident cat immediately knew there was an interloper in her territory. Much hissing and much angst dominated the first few days.
So how is it going now? After much trial and error, I settled on the following arrangements.
Cimmie is sequestered in the guest bedroom at the front of the house. She has all of the plush appointments a house cat could get used to: Queen-sized bed with luxurious, fluffy down comforter, piles of plump pillows, and plenty of lolling room, both on top and underneath; wide, low windowsill to catch a few sun rays and watch the wrens and sparrows flit into the shrubbery; padded bench upon which she can sit and see over those shrubs to the driveway and street; a scratching mat and fleece-lined cat bed; a walk-in closet that she is free to explore any time she wants. She has fresh food and water every day, and a kitty litter tray that's scooped daily.
Every morning, once I start the coffee maker, I go in to the guest room, lie on the bed, and snuggle with Cimmie for 10 or 15 minutes. I go back in for a longer visit with her at noon, just before I eat my lunch. In the evening, I pay her one more visit, check on her food and water, and climb into the guest bed and give her some quality hands-on petting.
Cimmie has been a real trooper and seems to have resigned herself to these small, but comfortable living quarters. I have to remind myself every day that they're much better and more comfortable than what she'd have if she were in a boarding kennel.
Nyla has free run of the house, all but the guest room. Her routine has settled into mornings in my lap during breakfast, days on top of the kitchen cabinets, evenings in the living room at my feet if I'm watching TV, and nights in bed with me.
She will occasionally get spooked. If I approach her too fast, or come around a corner and catch her off-guard, or am carrying something large like a laundry basket, she'll crouch and hiss and me. I'll give her a wide berth when that happens. But she's gradually relaxing more and spending more time on the living floor in postures of unthreatened repose, such as lying on her back with all legs splayed out. But she won't use the litter tray that always lives in the laundry room. She's taken to always using the one I'd placed in the master bedroom walk-in closet. And she'll only eat and drink from the dishes in the master bathroom, not her usual ones in the breakfast room. Although she did nibble and drink a bit this morning from those bowls...a first since Cimmie arrived.
Nyla definitely knows there's a threat here in the house. I don't know if she realizes it's another cat. But she's apparently gaining more confidence in the division of household space that keeps them separated. I just have to maintain this status quo for another month, get past that week in August when they'll be home alone under the same roof, if not in the same space, and hope we all survive until my son and his family come near the end of August to visit and then reclaim their cat.