||I'm NOT A DOG!
In December 2011 we adopted our first cat.
Merlin (we did try to change his name to a more Gaelic one but it
didn't take) came from the same woman who we adopted Sachairi from and who had returned for a
visit and found that the situation he was in wasn't as she had
hoped. So despite Ců being
very hostile towards cats, we figured, from what we had been told, he'd
be a good shop cat. So we met again, Sach had some time playing
with her, and we came home with the cat as well.
Supposedly he and Sach were great friends, but from the beginning Sach
acted almost offended to see him. He was skittish and unfriendly,
wanting nothing to do with us. As it was winter and the shop was
closed, this was okay for the time but we were worried if we couldn't
win his trust hem might be gone as soon as we had the shop opened
up. We still do not know if he did actually get out a couple of
times and go back in as this outdoor winter shot may or may not be him,
there are a lot of feral black cats on the hill. Obviously, from
other animals that sometimes get in (and we'll get to that), the place
isn't very secure. But the shop was warm, so despite his apparent
feral nature, he was later in there.
We'd go into the shop, he'd go and hide, if we got close to his hiding
spot he'd growl. We put a blanket in his favorite hiding spot, which
got him to be closer to where we could look in. We would do so and talk
softly to him, in hopes that he'd get use to us. We also hung a toy
there and would try to get him to play by moving the string outside the
It worked, for on January 10, 2012 I went in to get
the horses' food, peeked in and instead of growling or hissing, he
meowed at me. I meowed back. I moved the toy we had and he grabbed it.
He put his nose up to the hole a few times and
then....he poked his head out! This allowed me to scritch the top of
his head and.....after two times of this, he crawled out. There was
much me scritching him and him rubbing against my hands and legs, so I
am now his possession. He wanted to
go eat, and actually stopped to see if I was going to follow before
jumping up to eat. I was sitting on the freezer next to where we have
his food up higher patting him when Aaron, who just got home, came in
and Merlin bolted towards his hidy-hole. I went over to Aaron to try to
demonstrate that he was a friend, but...he wasn't convinced and
retreated. However, Aaron's quiet nature quickly won him over.
We could then get him vetted and for awhile he remained the shop cat
and worked his way through our pest problem. We would sit out there
holding him, often in front of the fire. This shop cat thing
seemed to be working.
One of the benefits we hoped for in having a cat to get rid of the mice
would be less chance of other small predators following the rodents and
discovering the buffet of chickens. However, they were still
getting in, as we found out. I discovered his face swollen, he
had gotten bitten, probably something fangy rather than a rodent, and
it was infected. I had a grand adventure getting him to the vet and
back, which involved running over what turned out to be chainsaw blades
and having damage to the underside of the car on the way home. (No,
really, someone apparently lost a bucket full out of their truck, they
were totally invisible on the road at night and this was followed by a real fun
time explaining this to our insurance company.)
With the infection we didn't want him to stay in the shop and we did
have this whole other section of house (we live in the "in-law"
apartment still) where he could be more comfortable. And he was.
So that is where he has lived, with us playing with him when we went to
the gym and me sometimes curling up on a couch to try to write or
sometimes watch a video on the laptop. Gleann
also loves visiting him, absolutely adores him, while Sach seems to be still put out that he is
This also worked out real well, as that part of the house had a real
mouse problem too. And he does like to hunt. He still loves to go
outside in the summer, sometimes sits on the porch in the winter for a
bit, but does not like to go into the shop...although he sometimes does
do a rodent sweep.
Since we have lost Ců, we started bringing him
in to the apartment while Ňrlaith was
leashed. She didn't seem too interested, but we also didn't
want to stress her when she got sick so we didn't make it often.
However, since losing her, we have let him come in here during the
day. He does have some issues with not respecting the shrines,
which are much more cluttered than the small gym one, so we take him to
the other side at night. As we are also likely to adopt
another Greyhound, which will have to be more cat safe than past ones
have been, there is a chance that he'll only be over part time if the
hound isn't totally cat safe. But Gleann is quite happy to have
Merlin in here, while Sach seems a bit annoyed.
When we adopted Gráinne it was with the understanding that she wasn't
proven cat safe, but did have "cat potential." So Merlin
spent his days outside or in the other part of the house when she first
arrived, unless she was in her crate or on leash and muzzled. She
showed no real interest in going at him. Or, really, any real awareness
that he existed. In fact, this is much as he usualy is with dogs,
himself....he sort of seems to ignore them, seems almost unaware, even
as he also seems to like to lie nearby them. (we did learn that
this was all fake when we lost Sachairi and he sort of flipped out over
it...as he later did when we lost Gráinne). It still took
us a long time to completely trust that this wasn't some sort of ruse
or might be broken by a moment of speed from the cat that might set of
her prey drive. But we slowly allowed for unleashed but muzzled,
then unmuzzled as long as someone was here with them....after awhile we
did leave her loose with him around when we ran outside (she was always
crated when we were gone for any length of time due to being a walking
stomach who might decide something dangerous was food like enough).
Contents and design, except
where noted otherwise below, copyright © 1998-2017 Saigh Kym Lambert
and Aaron Miller
Clipart cat from Joelle's
Background modified from a
graphic from the World of Celtic
other Clipart from Clipart