Monday, June 1, 2015

Stinkerbell, The Influencer

We have a new kitty. Okay, so she's not entirely new. She's been here since December. She's about two and a half years old, while my boys are closer to five or six. Her actual name is Tinkerbell- though I joke about it being Stinkerbell because of her antics.

She hissed at my boys in the beginning, and was not welcomed by them in any way. Especially by Boo-boo, the main reason I got her in the first place. Let's just say he was neutered a little later than Scootch before I had acquired the two brothers. Let's also say that just because we live in the 'City of Brotherly Love' doesn't mean Boo-boo should take that literally. So we looked for about two years for a neutered girl kitty his buddy and leave his brother alone.

Tinkerbell was originally named Twilight when we found her at a shelter. We believe she was a stray, then adopted for a short period, then taken back to the shelter. She was over two years old when she was spayed, and in fact still bore a shaved belly when we adopted her. I dubbed her Tinkerbell because she loved to play with belled plastic balls and wore a jingle bell collar. She is a totally cute little black kitty with gold eyes.

We kept them separate at first, to get used to each other. Scootch could care less, but Boo-boo wanted to chase her all over, and she wouldn't have it. Fights ensued, and Scootch (as Head Cat) would often referree the fights. I found him chasing off either offender (depending on who started it) and on occasion, letting Tink know he was in charge. My boys are large for cats (not fat, but tall and long), and since she was a little thing, she was trounced more often them not.

She wised up quick and decided to teach my boys some bad manners.

No cats on the table. They knew the rules. She didn't. We lost a lot of butter that first week, because the kids didn't think to put the covered butter dish away since our 'good' boys never touched it. But she taught them that when the parents aren't watching, you can have all the butter you can steal.

You can also try to take Mommy's bacon off her plate when she goes to get a drink. I've lost more weight because of bacon pilferage, and have learned to get my drink first. My boys used to try to take food, but I taught them to leave things be. Tinkerbell, however, is resistant, and knows how to forage when no one is looking. We kept the bell on her collar on purpose, the little sneak.

Then she started 'hunting' my boys. Scootch is actually pretty tolerant of her swats, and will sometimes ignore her, or glare at her, or give a half-hearted chase. Boo-boo will chase her, have a swat fight, then run- and she'll give chase until he turns around. This is the beginning of play, but the hisses and growls aren't always playful.

And do not be the cat to come up while she's sleeping and tentatively sniff her. You'll earn and machine-gun series of swats and a well-deserved hissing.

Don't even try to open a door if she's underfoot. You'll trip into the wall while she makes a break for it, usually winding up in "The Barrier Zone" otherwise known as the enclosed porch. She loves to find the tiniest cranny to wedge herself in so you can't get to her. Hence the nickname 'Stinkerbell'.

But I found her weakness. She likes being with people. All I have to do is wait a few minutes for her to relax, call for her and she comes- albeit slowly, and I'll carry her or she'll walk back inside.

How is she with people? She's schizophrenic. Tink won't go near my son, rough plays with my daughter, is a cuddle bunny with my husband, and plays lightly and cuddles lightly with me. She is more willing to seriously scratch us when we tick her off, but hardly ever scratches us by accident. Tink warns us by putting out her claws slightly, and as long as you don't 'play prey' and try to pull away she usually lets you go. Usually. She does nip at you sometimes, but the same rules apply- a warning, but no serious harm.

Tink lets you know she's unhappy if you pick her up my making short 'er, er' noises- not quite a growl, but not a meow either. Put. Me. Down......Now.

It's been five months since we brought her home, and the fighting has waned a little. I found them sleeping on the same couch the other day, the boys on each end, her in the middle. Not close to each other, but closer than they have ever been. Fights still occur, but play-fighting has also. They all eat in the same room, very close to each other, and almost no angry swats as they cry for their meals- just warning shots.

Cats take a while to get used to each other. But in the end, I think she'll fit right in with the boys...and us!


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