One of the many times that Venus managed to get into the house by the simple expedient of rushing in around my legs and I tried to get inside the doorway without her, Tristan met her at the door. This was before the spaying I might add, so we aren't talking about the friendly, calm. cat of peace Venus, but the bad tempered monster where all other cats were concerned, still acting like a feral cat, Venus. Tristan, in his wisdom, decided to give the poor new girl a break and bumped noses with her and generally began to talk peace and friendship. Venus, lulled him into a false sense of security by seeming to listen to the polite things Tristan was saying, while in fact she was just biding her time. When Tristan started to walk away Venus jumped him, literally, she dived onto his back and started biting the poor ginger fellow. I rushed to Tristan's aid and banished Venus to the front porch once more where she immediately assumed an innocent expression and tried to deny the whole attacking Tristan thing. This, needless to say, confirmed Tristan's former opinion of the need to rid Spring Rock of young tortoiseshell cats.
To say Venus was far from pleased to find three cats resident in the house she'd set her sights on moving into would be putting it mildly. The only acceptable outcome as far as Venus was concerned was for me to clear the house of excess cats and make way for her to move in. She was generous enough to offer to do it for me if I was too tender hearted. The Gang of Three had the completely opposite solution to the problem. All it would take for peace to reign supreme once more was for one excess tortoiseshell cat to make tracks and find another person to listen to her sob stories. "After all," I could hear them saying, "we already have a perfectly working tortoiseshell in the family. There's no need to clutter up the house with excess tortoiseshells." Graeme was set firmly on the side of the Gang of Three.
My stance was of course that an extra tortoiseshell was exactly what we needed to round out the numbers and give a poor, homeless waif a good home. All this time Venus was living on the front porch. I'd made up a bed for her, provided food and water and went out multiple times a day to let her know I was working on the Venus Is Now An Inside Cat program.
Once she was spayed Venus underwent a major tolerance to other cats adjustment. Now she wanted to be friends with the Gang of Three. She pressed her nose against the front screen door, made little welcoming mews at the other cats and generally tried to erase any unfortunate memories they might have had concerning the old Venus. Tristan, Ambrosia and Nefertiti were having none of it. They continued to spit, hiss and swear at Venus whenever they passed by the hall and saw the sad little face looking in. Graeme was adamant that the status quo remained and three was the maximum number for inside cats. He even tried denial when pet shop employees asked how many cats I had. I'd say four just as Graeme would firmly say three. This caused some confusion for the poor shop assistant who was just asking to be friendly, so I had to give her the whole long story. I think she enjoyed it because the next time I bought cat food she asked, "How many cats do you have again?" Now clearly she was just asking for the moment's entertainment Graeme and provided discussing our cat situation.
Tristan climbs onto my bed first thing in the morning and stays there all day if I let him. His new mantra is, "There's no such cat as a Venus, there's no such cat as a Venus."
Nefertiti and Ambrosia have joined Tristan on the bed today. I will get them all out to the lounge room soon so they know they are still loved even if I have brought an unwelcome fourth to the cat population of Spring Rock.
With Graeme's Three Cat Policy firmly in place he made the tactical error of planning a two week four wheel driving trip with some friends, leaving me at home with the menagerie. The last thing I said to him as I kissed him goodbye was, "Venus will be a fully integrated inside cat by the time you get home. I love you." Graeme, ever the realist replied that he thought Venus was already part way there so he expected it.
With Graeme on his travels I have put the Venus Is Now An Inside Cat program into full swing, despite loud and repeated opposition from The Gang Of Three. The day begins with my letting Venus inside after a night spent outside in her front porch bed. Venus walks in to the hisses and dirty looks of the Gang Of Three. As the days have progressed these episodes of bad language and bad behaviour are diminishing. Now Ambrosia is the only one to voice her objection to the surplus tortoiseshell, and mostly she voices it under her breath. Venus swaggers in (I'm sad to say she is getting a bit of a tummy to her,causing the aforementioned swagger - this food on tap business after most of her life being hungry and having to catch her own food is just too irresistible) and nods good morning to the resident felines. She then follows me around on my daily chores and generally gets in the way of whatever I'm doing. Tristan, who was the first to stop swearing at Venus, spends most of the day on my bed pretending she isn't in the house. Nefertiti is slowly coming around. She's not happy if she comes into the room and finds Venus on my lap, but as long as she gets to lie down with me at night and there's no Venus to be seen anywhere she can cope. I hold out hope that my Venus Integration Program will work, and work before Graeme gets home.
Ambrosia is the one obstacle in the way of a quiet, happy family. Today we had a breakthrough when she and Venus bumped noses and generally looked like peace might break out, but sadly ended with Venus taking friendship just that bit too far by trying to wash Ambrosia's face, causing Ambrosia to break out the insults and threats once more. Venus adopted a hurt expression and slowly walked away, asking me what more she could do to be accepted by that irascible cat.
Meanwhile Venus has discovered the delights of living indoors. She curls up on the lounge chairs as if she was born to it. She's even found her purr. When I first met her she tried purring but it was a less than successful endeavour. She sounded more like a car with a faulty starter motor than a cat purring. Now, she has a good strong, happy purr as she lies in front of the heater, on my lap or on a warm comfy lounge chair.
Venus, enjoying the delights of being an inside cat. It's sooo much better than being feral.
Graeme is still away for another ten days so I'm hopeful all four cats will be living peaceably before he gets home. My expectations aren't that high really. I'm not looking for firm friendships to be forged, all I'm hoping for is that they can spend the day in the same house without bad words or fights breaking out. I'd also like to be able to keep Venus inside at night. At the moment she sleeps outside because I know if I allowed her inside I wouldn't get a wink of sleep with all the refereeing I'd have to do as The Gang Of Three voiced their disapproval of the excess cat.
Ten days - it should be doable don't you think?