It couldn’t have gone better without it being a Disney movie.
We picked up Dunkel about 6 PM last night. After talking to the amazing woman who, along with her whole family, provided Dunkel’s foster care (and still provide care for a number of homeless animals), we ditched the idea of isolating Dunkel for the night. He was used to having the run of their house and locking him in a bathroom would have been confusing and more like punishment than anything else. We decided to introduce Dunkel to Porter slowly and see what happened. We always had isolation as a backup in case Porter really freaked out.
We kept Dunkel in the carrier we brought him home in so Porter could see and smell him. There were a few hisses and low growls from Porter, but his body language was showing some curiosity, too. Dunkel really wanted out, but when Porter got really close to the carrier he settled into his bed. We did this for about half an hour and then got a big bath towel that we could have used to throw over them if we needed to separate them. We let Dunkel out and took him to the laundry room where we put the carrier with his bed in it. It’s also where the upstairs litter pan, food and water are and we figured he could track his own scent to the bed and find it. We closed all the upstairs doors and the basement door at the bottom of the stairs so their range was somewhat limited. Then we watched.
The next hour or so was Dunkel ripping around the house and sniffing everything. He was born in the attic of a Doctor’s office that was being worked on and apparently the whole litter had some respiratory issues due to the insulation. That’s what we figure makes him snuffle so loud when he sniffs. And he was sniffing everything. He kind of did this constant circuit around all the areas we had left open. Porter would follow him. He’d hiss if Dunkel got too close, but no swiping or attempts to make physical contact. After an hour of this, Dunkel started jumping up on the back of the couch and snuggling with us. It was at this point Carla and I looked at each other and said out loud that we had a new cat. Before we went to bed we went ahead and opened up the basement door so either of them could get to the finished part. No cats are allowed in the unfinished part of the basement since there are cleaning chemicals and just things that we don’t want cats in.
Then we went to bed.
Dunkel came in to visit us, but then disappeared for the rest of the night. Porter slept in his spot at Carla’s feet. About 4:30 this morning Dunkel meowed and Porter was off like a shot. Dunkel came in, then left, then Porter came back and left. This went on until 5 AM.
We decided to get up. It’s Saturday. Naps are not only allowed, they’re encouraged.
Since the night had passed without any major incidents, we decided that it was time for them to work things out for themselves. There’s been a little hissing on both sides. There’s been a little shadowboxing. There was one adorable moment when Dunkel and Porter pawed at each other through the bars of a dining room chair. There have been nose-to-nose sniffs with no drama. Things have sort of settled out where they’re keeping their distance and not getting in each other’s way. The upstairs litter pan has been used by Dunkel and Porter’s made no move to block him from using it or anything like that. For the most part we’ve settled into a détente where both sides are curious about the other.
Dunkel has handled himself well, but he came to us directly from a home where there were a lot of other animals. While being only six months old and a full year younger than Porter, he’s probably clocked more time with other animals than Porter has. I’m extremely proud of Porter. From his perspective, his lifelong companion and playmate just up and disappears. Then there were a couple of days of getting all the attention. Porter liked the attention. Bock, rest his soul, was an attention hog. In that way Bock was really the alpha cat (though Porter could make Bock do anything through the strategic use of grooming). Porter and Bock wrestled all the time and Bock was so much bigger than Porter. Porter could take Bock down, though, so I have no question in my mind that Porter knows good and well that he can take Dunkel down anytime he wants. He doesn’t want, of course, because he’s a sweet cat at heart. But Carla and I are making sure we give him a lot of attention. Porter’s a talker and I make sure I answer him. His favorite thing in all the world is getting rubbed on the belly with a foot (preferably bare) and I’ve made sure he’s getting one every time he asks.
We’ve already declared the experiment a success. This is technically a trial adoption with a 7-day length, but we’ll likely make it final on Monday when we take the carrier back over for the foster family.
I’ve thought a lot about Bock today. There’s no question I wish he were still alive. He’s not, though, and given that’s the reality of things, I think where we are right now is pretty awesome. We’re a two cat family again.
With no further ado, here’s your multimedia extravaganza!
Here are some stills:
And here is some video of what happened when Dunkel found the catnip pouches last night. Sorry for the dark video.