Critters in my Care

So, I may have mentioned that we took on a cat.

Little Girl

We took on this cat, which belongs to H’s daughter, because his daughter went traveling for some indeterminate length of time.  The cat, who is named Little Girl, is staying at my house for an also indeterminate length of time because I felt strongly that she wouldn’t get enough care and company living at the farm during the winter months.

She’s also living here because she and the dog need to get used to each other even if she is going to eventually live out at the farm, so the dog doesn’t see her at the farm and attempt to chase her off, as she does any other cat she sees in any of the territories she deems her own (and even those she doesn’t deem her own, as some of my friends can attest).


It’s not (I think) that Vega hates cats so much as she believes they exist to be chased and harrassed–something that most cats just don’t appreciate very much.  Vega did at one time bond with another cat (my ex-husband’s), and she was quite protective of said feline.  But that was a long time ago, and that cat was a kitten.

The relationship between Vega and Little Girl is going to take a bit more time because Little Girl is a mature cat and has not had much exposure to dogs.

She doesn’t much like Vega, and though Vega has attempted to show her friendly inclinations by attempting to stick her nose directly in the cat’s soft underbelly and roll her around (that’s what I assume she’d do if she could), Little Girl is having none of it.

I should say at this point that I’m not a cat person.  I see the value in having a cat around if you have rodent problems, but I don’t.  I see the point in having a cat if you like to sit around and stroke something warm and fuzzy on your lap, but I’m not much for that, either.

I do appreciate a cat’s ability to make its needs known because I’m actually quite horrible at feeding or taking care of anything that doesn’t.  You might think that conflicts with my ability to take care of garden plants, but it doesn’t.  Garden plants aren’t pets, and my feeding and care of them is directly related to my own ability to eat good food.

Maybe it’s more basically that I’m not a “pet” person.  I don’t think of Vega as a pet; I think of her as my companion and my friend, and a supplement to my eyes and ears.  So, she pulls some weight around the house that I think more than compensates for the food, care, and love she requires.

The cat?  Hmm.  I made the decision a few days ago to allow the cat access to the basement, so she’d have a place to explore and even hide out if the dog became a pest to her.  Her response was to spend several days hanging out in the very darkest corner of the bunker room in the basement under a pile of boxes.

She only came out at night to explore (and hop on the bed to be stroked) and to be fed.  This actually added to the tension between her and the dog because the dog doesn’t much care for another animal begging for food at the same time and in the same space as she.

So, she’d try to chase the cat out of the kitchen, and the cat would hiss, and they’d dislike each other even more.  And then the cat would eat her dinner and then go hang out in the basement or at her very most social (when she couldn’t sneak into the bedroom while I was reading), on the top two or three basement stairs.

I put an end to the basement access today.  I had to fish the cat out from under the boxes in the bunker room and bring her up.  She didn’t struggle or try to fight it; she just decided that her new quarters was going to be my bed.

I’ve decided that the cat on the (made) bed is OK if it means I don’t have this little anti-social critter hiding out in my basement.  If I’m going to feed and care for and clean up after (yeah, a couple hairballs so far) an animal in my home, I want to at least see the animal on occasion, and not just when I’m in the act of taking care of its basic needs.

So, I’m coming to the realization that it’s not just the dog and the cat who have to get along and get used to a new household dynamic–we all have to give a little.  And that includes me.


6 responses to this post.

  1. About 40 years ago my folks had a medium sized dog that chased a cat up a tree and then followed the cat up there. I would never have beleived it but my late brother managed to get a picture taken of the dog and the cat up the tree. He was outside and saw it happen and went running in the house to get the camera.

  2. Posted by Matt on November 20, 2009 at 3:09 am

    Aaaw, and here I thought you’d at least bonded with Gryphon. Of course, he’s unusual in that he’s almost too social, and at the risk of anthropomorphizing him too much, I think cats can be great bs detectors. I swear, he gives me these looks sometimes, like “give me a break pal” or “humans get upset over the silliest things” or even “you’re the greatest dad in the whole world when you open up a can of tuna and always share some with me” and I feel pretty lucky. Of course, I’m not contending with a dog as well, but I’m just saying cats are pretty cool, too. They remind us that we’re not the center of the universe. (They are, actually. 😉

  3. Posted by flyingtomato on November 20, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Oh, of course I was going to hear from cat-lovers on this one. I’m just not that much of a fan. I do like other people’s cats, but I’m not a fan of lap dogs, either, so it might just be I don’t want a furry butt in my face!

  4. Poor little girl. Her family dumped her with strangers and their dog. She can’t mourn and adjust in a remote, private space. She must be visible to people who really don’t want her there. I assure you, she’d much prefer to be in the lap of her owner than running from Vega’s wet nose

    Dogs and cats, to me, are like art. A dog is the Eades of pets. Beautiful and useful. A cat is the Picasso. It touches the heart of some while mystifying or even repulsing others.

    I do hope you’ll take your compassion for Little Girl a step or two farther (pun intended). Give her back the basement stair to finish her mourning for her real owner. She was moving closer to you, from the dark corners to the top stairs. She may, however, never adjust. Most cats are open minded enough to accept a dog in the first year of their lives. After that, it’s unlikely they will ever make peace.

    Little Girl needs patience, time, and your loving hand to adapt to her new place. If she is essentially worthless to you because she has no function, then find her a new home or have someone put her down. She is so miserably lonely right now and this was such an unfair turn around in her world.

    I commend you for taking her in, but she knows you don’t really want her. Poor Kitty.

  5. About 40 years ago my folks had a medium sized dog that chased a cat up a tree and then followed the cat up there. I would never have beleived it but my late brother managed to get a picture taken of the dog and the cat up the tree. He was outside and saw it happen and went running in the house to get the camera.

  6. Posted by flyingtomato on November 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    You’re misjudging the situation pretty much completely. But thanks for the comment. Little Girl is nesting on the bed, which is out of range of the dog’s nose and in a place where she gets affection from her new people, not all of whom are strangers to her.

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