Cox And Box

We are in a condition of diplomatic stalemate. I am still having to Cox-And-Box Torvald and the Home Team of Nickel and Mr. Ferguson, rotating closed doors in the house twice a day so that everyone has some time with Mom (that’s me). Torvald is conspicuously alpha-cat, in a gregarious, non-combative way; he just won’t get out of Fergie’s face, and Fergie, who had to contend with some really tough cats when he was a vagabond, hasn’t got the equanimity to deal with it. He hunkers and moans. Nickel Catmium, surprisingly, shrieks and then hides under furniture. And all the time Torvald is just sitting on his hunkers, or reclining on the carpet, trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. He’s a big, klutzy, head-butting, amiable goof.

I never expected this hostility from the gallant Fergie, who has hitherto been a compendium of feline virtues, grooming his girlfriend, burying smartly in the litter box, adoring his human Mommy. In fact, since Torvald’s advent, he adores her even more. He sits on me. He purrs loudly. He mews winsomely. He is a neurotic, Woody-Allen-like bundle of insecurity.

When he is not annexing me he pointedly stakes his claim to his girlfriend.

Me? I just live here.


11 thoughts on “Cox And Box

  1. This reminds me of the routine I had when integrating kittens into the household…for the first two months, the old cats and the new cats spent the night in separate rooms, and I would spend half the night in one room, and half the night in the other, so all the cats had equal daddy time. This was, to say the least, exhausting. The only thing that got me through it was thinking of how much worse this would have been with a human baby, and how much longer the night terrors would have gone on.

    • Most times for me it’s been seamless, just a few nights (when Apricat first lived with me and my late-and-ex, he had to stay in the basement no matter what because otherwise, he ran back and forth across our heads all night long. I can’t remember how long it was before that stopped) But Patty Twinkle came in as a kitten a few months later and he bopped her on the head with a soft paw once, then began to groom her. And Fergie and Apricat were fine, except that Apricat didn’t want to rassle.

  2. I still say just put them all together and leave them to it. After this amount of time they are familiar with each other’s smells and presence and the heirarchy is something they need to sort out between themselves.

    Perhaps do this and then go out for an hour? Yeah I know…

    • Hierarchy is something I understand, but the fear and threat in Fergie’s behavior really jolts and upsets me. It’s not like anything I’ve seen before, at least not like anything that went on and on and got worse instead of better. Torvald is obviously a natural alpha and not at all concerned with thrashing anyone to prove it, but he just won’t walk away. I keep thinking one of them will change a behavior in a way that encourages me to try it again, at some point.

      • Fergie will get over it. But he certainly won’t if he isn’t given a chance to get through it. Fear of the unknown.

        You should have seen Luna yesterday. I heard these alien shrieks coming from upstairs and when I ran up there I found Luna face-to-face with Pérez. Well, with the closed glass door to the terrace between them. She was terrified but also couldn’t make herself look away. An unknown entity.

    • Both around six, and I know that’s part of the problem — plus this is already their territory. The last time I put cats of this age together, it was a new space for all of them.

      I’ve heard that people who get married or the equivalent should start out in a new space too. Lots of luck. With the state of the housing market around here, no one who bought a house before the year 2000 could even afford to buy it back from himself. (Yes, I know that’s better than having a house so depreciated that you can’t pay off your loan by selling it, but it still leaves a person pretty much trapped for life.)

      I guess I’m stuck alone in a house with a bunch of cranky cats for the duration. I always knew I’d end up that way….

      • Don’t you have the cute engineer? And in any case life being a journey – as I said over at Paul’s blog – friends too (or any human) are important. They accompany us in our life’s journey. Animals are good but humans too are. But I don’t want to give you the wrong idea that I am that sociable. At times I really am not, no matter who’s around me.

        • I’ll believe that I “have” the Cute Engineer the day that he actually shows up at my door with a U-Haul — or some similar turn of events that would actually present an obstacle to his walking away from me on a moment’s notice and at no cost whatsoever. As you know, I am pretty much morally certain that the only reason men invest anything in women is that they want someone to perpetuate their DNA. Lacking that ambition, they always have one foot out the door.

          Friends do matter, but these days mine are all on line… and I am here with the cats. There are worse fates, I guess. The house payments are current, so far, and there is kibble in the dish. (Mem,, buy more kibble.)

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