Cat Buddies

Mr. Bond has started thanking us for getting him a kitten. He will drape himself over a chair or sprawl on his favorite rug, watching RJ. He will look over at me, and give me the slow blinks of cat happiness.

"Is Jamesey glad we got him a kitten?" I will ask, and Mr. Bond will look at RJ, and back at me. Yes, I like him.

This makes me very happy. I wanted to get Mr. Bond a buddy. Some cats are social, and would like another cat to do things with. On the other hand, there's Puffy, who has never, even when he had many cats to choose from, been interested in much cat interaction.

Beta cats, like Mr. Bond and RJ, are the most likely cats to want a buddy. They are the most social of the types; the most interested in greeting visitors, the most relaxed about accommodating other living creatures. From rowdy puppies to crying babies, a Beta cat is going to be more curious than cautious, more forgiving than frantic.

Mr. Bond always found RJ fascinating, from the moment he appeared. But at first, he had complaints.

He tried to pull my head off!

He wants to play, Mr. Bond. Go ahead and play with him.

He's broken the Litter Robot!

We're working it manually because he's too little to trip the switch. It will be back soon.

He doesn't know anything!

That's right, Mr. Bond, he's a doofus. It's up to you to teach him things.

So Mr. Bond took on the responsibility. When a lamp went down or the plastic bottles for recycling wound up scattered on the floor, Mr. Bond was lurking on the sidelines. I tried to tell him. He didn't listen. But more and more, he is listening. When Mr. Bond gets on the bed for a cuddle, RJ appears. When the kitty grass starts sprouting, it has two supervisors. When RJ slapshots a mouse across the floor, Mr. Bond will smack it back.

One breakthrough was when RJ was playing with his Master Chaos battery wand toy (now, sadly, unavailable) while Mr. Bond watched from his chair perch. Mr. Bond started wailing. "What's that about?" Dear Husband wanted to know. I started narrating Mr. Bond's thoughts. "He's doing it all wrong! He missed that feint! I'm about to get down there and show him how it's done!" Sure enough, Mr. Bond was compelled to get down on the floor and soon the two of them were handling Master Chaos with zone attacks.

If Mr. Bond were younger, and less dignified, he would be more paws on with RJ's upbringing. But Mr. Bond is very dignified; he makes Queen Elizabeth look like a party girl on Spring Break. So his style is to lead by example; less interventionist and more role modeling. But it is working for him; we often let RJ know that Mr. Bond's response in a particular situation is the one we want. One of these days, RJ will expand his attention span enough to pick up the cues more often.

In the meantime, he's happy to wrestle with Mr. Bond and have someone who is interested in him. That's the problem between him and Puffy; RJ is frustrated by Puffy ignoring him, and when he gets his wild eyes, he is determined to get Puffy into a play session, and we have to distract him. But he has been seen sharing treats and leaving Puffy alone during quiet times, which is all Puffy asks.

This is how we build cat harmony; with encouragement and discipline. As needed.

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