Creeping Back to Normal | Main | That Long Thanksgiving Night

November 30, 2005

Negotiating Space


After moving on Sunday, I took two vacation days to help us get a bit more settled. There was (and still is) a lot of cleaning and unpacking to be done and, on top of that, there were a large number of cats that needed to be introduced, which inevitably would require a referee.

One thing that we did not think much about prior to moving was the negotiation of space. The Park Slope side of the family, with one brief roommate exception, has always lived in 550 square feet and under. This generally has amounted to a maximum of two rooms (or, if you are a realtor, five rooms including the bathroom and two closets). Even with doors, one always knew what was going on in the other room. In the new place, when you are on one side of the apartment it is hard to hear or sense what is happening on the other. This is okay for a human, but for the feline...well, that will take some getting used to.

After being freaked out by the size of the bathroom for a day, which was their staging area prior to being introduced to the rest of the house, Olive and Irving were released into the wilds of 1200 square feet. It took half a day for them to venture from one room to the other. The next day, we introduced them to their sisters, which further confined them to inside the duvet cover (Irving) and between the wall and the bed (Olive).

There has been a lot of mewling, low growls and hissing, but the four furries seem to be coexisting. There is a pecking order: Olga, out of sheer size and personality, spends most of her time scaring the other three. Irving and Frieda are engaged in constant hiss-hide contests and Olive...poor Olive...being the smallest, she spends most of the time wedged into her safe space by the wall.

In all, they are coming along, as are their owners. Everyone is a little tired and disoriented. Ultimately, however, given the spats and sounds of the cattery, we are all thankful for the extra space´┐Żeven if Irving gets lost each time he enters the hallway.

Posted by callalillie at November 30, 2005 4:48 PM | Feline Musings , Red Hook


Don't worry, they'll get used to the space. When we moved in our new house last March, one of my (four) cats went into a little depression.
After two weeks, he lost 2 lbs (that's not such a big deal, since he weights 18 lbs) and I made some research to find that fish oil is a good natural anti-depressant for cats. So, I bought a bottle of salmon oil caps at my pharmacy and I gave him one a day (I pierced the cap and put the oil in a plate, of course!) and it worked!! After only 2-3 days, he was back to his normal self and he was literally begging me for the oil.
Of course, introducing cats to each other is something very different, but all I can tell is to not force them. They will adapt slowly and since you have only one male, you probably won't have any "territory marking" problems, so don't worry!

Posted by: SuperCath at November 30, 2005 9:58 AM

At least in the picture...they look pretty content except for their ears which say to me...they are all still kind of going...that other cat hasn't left YET?? I have friends with 4 cats who just introduced a new stray last year. Their oldest cat, Allison was ill and a stray took up living on their front porch. When Allison passed away, they decided to bring Gracie inside (after lots of trips to the vet). Gracie has lived mostly in their kitchen and is JUST starting to venture out into the rest of the house. My cats Mickey and Tootsie have lived together for a year and they are still fighting here and there. It's a process I guess...

Posted by: Sue at November 30, 2005 10:08 AM

That was a rare moment. A few minutes after I snapped that photo, Olga (left) rose and hissed at the other two like a gila monster.

Posted by: corie at November 30, 2005 10:10 AM

i'm told that you keep them in different rooms behind closed doors the first day, then supervise interaction the next and then just let them do their thing the 3rd day.

Posted by: tien at November 30, 2005 11:14 AM

Maybe if you rub Olga and Freida with one towel, and Irving and Olive with another towel, then let them smell the other's towels, they'll get used to each other. As to Irving getting lost...can he read arrows?

Posted by: Divaah46 at November 30, 2005 1:27 PM

In my grand and vast feline (yea, right) experience, smell is everything for cats. New cat or people smells are upsetting to them. I've got 4 cats and when one has to go to the vet and comes home, the other three get all hissy and pissy with the returnee. I found that if I take something that all the cats have slept on and give the vet-going cat a quick rub down with it before we come back home, the others don't get nearly so snippy.

It makes my day a little better when I come here and find new cat stories and pictures.

Posted by: not-that-Andrea at November 30, 2005 2:45 PM

Those ears ARE a dead giveaway of an ensuing clash! Olga looks a bit like Pinky in the coloring.

Posted by: Liz at November 30, 2005 3:14 PM

yes, but look at those floors! they are beautiful and so worth a few days of cat attitude.

Posted by: phc at November 30, 2005 3:21 PM

I love the chair Olga is sitting in.

Posted by: breana at November 30, 2005 4:09 PM

What a sunny pad!

Posted by: Virginia at November 30, 2005 4:56 PM

How is your box-spring still so intact?
our three cats have (despite our protests) destroyed it!

(beautiful apartment - post more pics of space and cats please)

Posted by: Tiya at November 30, 2005 5:10 PM

Hey look at you!!! All up on and shit. Fancy!!!

Posted by: dave at December 1, 2005 9:56 AM

La famiglia unita!

Posted by: Mariana at December 1, 2005 9:57 PM

Content & images are (c) 2003-2008 Corie Trancho-Robie | All rights reserved.