Our New Family Member

Will it be love at first sight…
…or fight? (And these aren’t our guys in this pic, BTW)

…and, no, we’re not pregnant. (After surviving a rough stomach bug, I’m glad to say that’s NOT why I’ve been throwing up! Heard that question enough, thankyouverymuch. ;-)) We’re picking up our new cat, Winston, from the Herkimer County Humane Society this afternoon! We would have announced it much more publicly, but a) we still had some family to inform about it and, even though it may not be a big deal to everyone, we felt they should be the “first to know” and b) we’re a little nervous about it.

Why would we be nervous? Well, our “already cat” Beardslee (aka Miracle Cat, Wonder Cat, Boo, Buddy, B-B, Boozers, and any other cutesy nickname you could possibly fathom) wasn’t even on our radar when we got him. We weren’t cat people. But, now that we’ve had him since May, we’ve found our lives completely altered — in a good way, mostly. He’s kind of our life. May sound sappy, may sound pathetic, but I’m not sure what we’d do without him. He’s taught us how to love each other better, to be parents. The fact that he overcame his major illnesses (he still has chronic issues, but nothing like what he had) has taught us resilience and perseverance. He’s an incredible cat.

But, so is Winston. We wouldn’t have chosen him otherwise. Our dear friends, B+B (well, mostly B) suggested that we go meet a cat that she’d fallen in love with at the humane society. Strangely enough, Dave and I had been on their Petfinder site “shopping” for a possible playmate (and life to make a little happier) for Boo, and the second she said the name “Winston”, I squealed and our eyes lit up. We had seen the little gray short-hair (due to allergies, he would HAVE to be a short-hair) on the website. I got an instant crush on the little guy — first, he was gray (which reminded me of my early childhood cat) and, secondly, his name seemed to fit perfectly with our Beardslee.

C’mon. You see it, don’t you? Beardslee. Winston. British, right? Bordering on butlers? (Only, as we all know, Dave and I are the ones doing the butlering.) We love how classic they sound. Some day, we’ll have a Roosevelt in there some place, too. (I know, not British, but seems to fit. And, no, we’re not planning on getting anymore animals for a long time — maybe not until we have a farm! *sigh* It’s okay to dream.)

So, the next day after visiting with B+B, we found ourselves meeting him. Of course, he’s a sweet guy. When I held him, I noticed that he was so light compared to Beardslee! Very lovable. He took to me immediately, and seems to just need some attention to make him happy. We’re not sure if he’s ever been a house cat (he was picked up as a stray on Main Street in Herkimer), but there’s a cat that looks almost exactly like him who’s taken up residence in our garage, but who’s incredibly skiddish (as if he’s never been near humans). Winston, however, was just. So. Darn. Friendly! I may just have the cuddly lap cat I’ve-always-wanted-but-never-knew-I-wanted.

Sounds great, right? This is where the nerves and worrying came in. Win’s been around lots of other cats – cats with lots of sneezing and coughing and fleas and other disgusting stuff. Would he bring in a respiratory illness? Beardslee’s HIGHLY susceptible to getting sick again. *sweat drops*

Then, there’s the socialization fear, the biggest fear. Will they get along? They’re both male. They’re both fixed. (So, there are two issues knocked out instantly. Girl + boy would not be good.) They’re around the same age — give or take 6 months. Beardslee’s bigger. I know Winston will gain weight (how could he NOT?! I’m a FABulous cook! ;-)), but the size thing will help the issue of dominance to be decided nearly immediately. Plus, Beardslee’s used to HIS space, HIS people, and only the occasional chat out the window with his neighborhood buddies. Luckily, Winston is great with other cats. Oooohhhh I just don’t know how it’ll go!

They’ll each have their own issues acclimating to life at the McCoy-Dellecese homestead. Luckily, I have this week off for the holidays, so I get to play Mommy/psychiatrist/doctor/nurse/housekeeper/chef to both guys. Spoiled. It’s a good thing since I’m kind of the practical parent, in the sense that I don’t get nervous or anxious about administering medicines, clipping nails, etc. If they get upset or have a fight, I’ll be less likely to get upset – and jump to the conclusion that “it just won’t work.” And, thanks to B+B (and their own vast experience acclimating kitties), we’ve got some great advice and tricks to help the process run smoothly. Love them!

So, how are we going to do it? Well, Winston will have his own room. He’s got an appointment with our vet immediately after we pick him up, so just in case he DOES have a respiratory issue, at least he’ll be relatively confined for medication (and for proper flea removal and cleaning). I’ve cozied our spare bedroom for him, along with some fresh toys, food/water, a brand new potty (he has his own carrier, too, which will have pheromones to calm him — can you believe they make stuff like that?!). A tip that B gave us was to feed both of them on opposite sides of the door so that the positivity of eating will mix with the smell of each other (on each side of the door). I’m also going to rub a cloth on either guy and put it near them while they sleep or just have them smell it to get used to it. Oh, and LOTS of playtime with each boy will be a must. Mind you, this is even if Winston will want to come out of his carrier. 🙂

Their first meeting will be on their terms. If Beardslee wants to meet Winston, okay. If he ignores the “weird sounds and smells coming from the guest room”, then fine. But, we know Beardslee. He was curious about what I was doing to the point of sitting in the empty cat pan, watching me curiously. He’s known something’s been up for weeks – we talk to him about it and, strangely, he seems to understand. At the same time, he’s had a bout of depression lately (have you ever seen a sad cat? Seriously. Slanty, almost-closed eyes. Head drooped. So pathetic and sad.), so I’m hoping that a new friend gets him out of it — eventually.

Oh, and for the record — Winston got a blue collar. We thought it went well with Beardslee’s red one. Priorities, y’know. Besides collars, we’ve got so much love to give, we just had to give this a shot. Aside from the nerves, I’m truly excited and happy to welcome a new buddy into the house. I’ll be posting an update and pictures this week!

Have you had experience with multiple cats? Any kind advice? Do tell!