Temporary guests upset cats

Mittens and Belle learned this truth during the three months my son Nathanial’s cats lived with us: Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife (Proverbs 17:1). Temporary guests upset cats, who by nature don’t appreciate change.

When Knight and Luna arrived at our house in April, my daughters christened them cobra cats because they hissed in such alarming ways that everyone feared for her own safety. A few weeks later, Knight and Luna lounged in the living room like they owned the place.

Someone else’s toys are always better

Bandit adored their cat tree and fancy electric water bowl that circulated the water and made tiny fountains to drink from. Mittens enjoyed the tree also, but her view of herself as queen cat didn’t set well with Luna. The two sparred, but we thought everyone had settled into a comfortable routine and happiness reigned.

Luna and Knight came to us at the mention of their names. They loved our cats’ laser dot toy. Surely, they had worked things out.

Initial concerns fulfilled later

My worries over the five cats seemed silly. In the beginning, I feared problems, especially litter box problems. All seemed well except for a few growls and spats. Belle decided to spend most of her time in my bedroom to avoid the guests. Laid back Bandit resumed life as usual. Mittens, however, resisted relinquishing what she saw as hers.

By mid-July, however, the skirmishes escalated, sending Mittens into hiding. With wounded pride, she took to resting on the screened-in-porch in the humid heat rather than set paw into the AC where Luna and Knight waited to ambush her.

Starting in June, somebody failed to use the litter box. The culprit did both duties on the laundry room counter. Getting perturbed by this development, I enlisted the help of another son, Tyler, to set up his hunting camera in the laundry room. It took a while. The pictures of the cats peeking over the counter to search for missed cat food made us laugh and say, “Aw,” but our mission to determine who wasn’t using the litter box faltered. Then the answer came one Sunday morning: Mittens. We placed a litter box in the laundry room figuring the harassment extended to the litter box.

Bandit and Belle spent most of their days sleeping. Mittens alone challenged the newcomers.

New proverb for Mittens

We tried to encourage Mittens that Luna and Knight were temporary guests, but how do you know if a cat understands? We’ll see how things go now that Luna and Knight have returned to their new house with Nathanial. Our house isn’t quite back to normal because the litter box can’t be removed from the laundry room without incident. I hope to eliminate this bothersome development soon. I suppose the purchase of a cat tree might also be necessary now that Luna and Knight took theirs with. Belle and Bandit continue to snooze on. They don’t care about status. They just want the cuddles and plenty of food. But how long will it take for Mittens to return to her former ways?

Rather than learning the lesson of getting along with others, Mittens chose avoidance. I, for one, won’t miss the terror induced by a cat fight in the middle of the night.

Because of this incident, I’ve thought of a new proverb: better a corner of the bed with peace and quiet than a house full of fancy cat trees with strife—Mittens Welsh.

Have you ever taken in other people’s pets for a while? What challenges occurred in your situation?

Bandit loved Luna and Knight’s drinking bowl.
Luna insisted on being in charge.
Knight got along with Bandit but not Mittens.

10 thoughts on “Temporary guests upset cats

  1. Our daughter, Nancy, had a cat many years ago. It was very quiet and caused no problems. After he died she never got another cat. We have had several dogs, but just one at a time. I think we will keep it that way.

  2. Well, I have 3 rescued feral cats…they are my barn cats, but they are also my beloved pets.

    Cissy came to my (horse) boarding barn (unbeknownst to us pregnant) and had her babies, but I was the only one that tamed her, encouraged her to stay, and could catch her to be spayed. She is now my oldest, sickest cat, but I provide her meds, etc. and she is happy and the least afraid of humans (other than my husband and me) of the 3.

    Whiskey and Smokey were born when we lived at Lake Summerset. They are both 3 years old, and I trapped, neutered/spayed their mom, them, and their brother and sister. Unfortunately, Whiskey and Smokey are the only ones I ended up with when we moved but they are happy campers. Annoying campers sometimes as I try to do horse chores and they are underneath my/our feet and I swear someday they will trip me and I will break a bone!!!

    But when my horse was seriously sick ( for over a year) Whiskey became his best friend. When Scotty (horse) had to lay down a lot, Whiskey would lay down next to him and keep him company. To this day, Whiskey can curl around my horse’s legs, Scotty will reach down and nuzzle him like 2 horses do with each other, and I am shocked that Whiskey isn’t kicked to kingdom come!!!! It’s a really unique bond, and it is just a sign of God’s work and his animal kingdom that He created. It warms my soul.

    Ha Michelle…you touched my heart with animals 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing, Deb! I love the bond between horse and kitty. . . so sweet. Sometimes one might wonder if our feline friends are trying to trip us when they are so assertive in getting in their rubs! Your pets are blessed to have you watching over them so well. 🙂

  3. The poor kitties! I hope things have settled down. Love the photos! Megan’s cat, Morris, stays with us sometimes. Harrison hardly sleeps then and seems to be on patrol, keeping an eye on Morris.

    1. It hasn’t been very long yet so Mittens is still insisting on a litter box in the laundry room. I hope she will let us move that out soon as it isn’t my favorite spot for it. Poor Harrison! LOL Kitties definitely don’t like changes and new faces. I hope Harrison and Morris become friends. Thanks for sharing, Shari.

  4. Loved the story. Brought back some many memories of interesting times of visiting pets. the last one was a French Bulldog my daughter has. Our cat Frankie is still jumpy and it has been a couple of months. I don’t think Frankie had ever seen a dog and he was NOT impressed. Mittens reminds me of our now deceased cat Murphy. If anything was not his liking, including his litter box, he would leave me a little deposit as a reminder of his dislike. Can’t say I miss that about him. Thanks for sharing your story and the beautiful pictures.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog, Ellen. Yes, I don’t appreciate those deposits either. I hope Frankie will feel less edgy soon! They certainly get stressed with company, huh? Thanks for leaving a comment.

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