Above: Rufus (Top), Ezio (Bottom)
They were terrified. Well, really Ezio was terrified. When he met Rufus for the first time he puffed up, arched his back and hissed. I was not ready for that kind of reaction! At the tender age of four months, I expected Ezio to fall in love with our five-year-old Rufus. I also anticipated that Rufus would be far more aggressive.
On their first night there was a lot of stress. Husband was off at work, while I stayed at home and quietly read. I began Issac Asimov’s Foundation and while I was able to get swept away into the word, I always had a weary eye on the horizon. Rufus was no exactly happy about the new baby in the house.
There was minimal hissing most of the night, with a few growls about whose window was whose. Every ten minutes one of them would move and the stare down would begin. But, remarkably no violence. Rufus growled at me quite a few times and was generally hiding.
I imagine he felt like an emo teenager. Grousing in the dark, writing bad poetry and listening to Dashboard Confessional. (Not that there is anything wrong with Dashboard Confessional, in fact, when the mood strikes me I can enjoy their music.)
The first night went well. Little Ezio was locked in his own room and Rufus was given the rest of the house. I had a moment to kiss Rufus on the head and rub his nose like I always do. I even laid down next to him on the bed and spoke gently as I rubbed my face in his belly. He grumbled at me after a moment as though saying, “Stop it! You’re embarrassing me!”
I do not pick him up in front of Ezio. I always make sure that Rufus keeps his dignity around the little one without Mommy being all mushy and talking to him like a kitten.
The next day came and we play with Ezio in his room while we took turns getting ready for work. We had a morning meeting and were home in about two hours. Ezio was kept in his room while we spent time with our big man. We think that was much needed rest. After awhile Rufus decided he wanted to sleep under our bed so I left food and water in there for him and closed the door. Little Ezio is not allowed in Rufus’ room. But we are allowing Rufus in Ezio’s room. We want Ezio to know that, for the time being, there are places that are just for Rufus.
Ezio had a good two hours to explore his new home and play with his new mom and dad. He is a very happy kitten, purring almost non-stop. He is very curious and finds his entire world very fascinating. The toilet is one of those things that he loves to watch. He learned about the bathroom faucet as well. Finding the water collecting around the drain far more interesting than the water running, he learned first hand when he stuck his head under the running water and was immediately drenched.
He had a later lesson that when Mommy wants to play with Rufus she will! I tossed a sting between them and waited to see who would go for it first. Rufus won! That didn’t sit too well with our little one, who hissed at his older brother. Rufus hissed in return but I ignored the exchange and continued to toss the string at Rufus. We played for a while longer, and when Rufus leapt onto the string, Ezio ran into the bathroom. I continued to ignore the kitten and keep Rufus occupied with his string until he ultimately got bored and moved on to his hiding spot under the bed.
It was a valuable lesson for our new baby. Mommy will not always pay attention to him, and it showed Rufus that he is still loved and appreciated in my home.
On day three (today) the relationship changed again. The hissing as stopped almost entirely, unless Ezio gets too close to Rufus’ treats. We started the day with good, old fashioned, romping. The two boys took turns chasing each other back and forth, batting at each other and sniffing. A few nose touches and butt sniffs later they appeared to be getting along just fine.
Now, as the evening wears down our baby is sitting in a window and Rufus is sleeping on the kitchen floor. Rufus is less angry with us now that we have shown him that he is still very loved and very important to us. He’s happy with the territory being his over night and when we are not home. He’ll even eat treats right out of my hand. He lets me kiss his forehead and rub his nose. He even stopped running from us as we go about our buisness in the home.
Ezio has earned his title of “The Eagle.” This evening while playing with a toy of ribbons he did three complete back flips. We played too hard though and he started panting. I gave him some time on the cool bathroom tiles and he cooled right off. He is happily sleeping in his window now nice and calm.
I may have hit the lottery when it comes to cats. I’m not sure if I can do it a third time. I have discovered two very laid back boys who seem to adjust quite quickly.
Ezio will see the vet tomorrow for his first check-up. He seems very healthy and I’m confident he will do well. I will, however, need to get him a harness and leash before we go. He’s just too wriggly.
I feel my boys will be snuggling soon and can’t wait to post the pictures.