Monday, January 24, 2011

Close the Door.......Were You Born in a Barn?!

I heard that expression a lot when I was a small child.  Like most children, I was always in a hurry and sometimes forgot to “close the door”.  Do you ever wonder where these expressions originate?  “Born in a Barn” usually referred to a lack of manners or proper behavior.

Well, one member of our family really was born in a barn.  Rudy, our boss cat, was born in a barn on a nearby farm.  When he came to live with us, he was our only cat and it didn’t take him long to establish his place in our household.  He was not, however, the most fastidious of cats and never spent much time on his grooming.  He was definitely a little lacking in manners.

Introducing a new pet into a home where there are already animals in residence almost always produces some behavioral changes so it was no surprise when Miss Kitty arrived on the scene that Fred the Dog and Rudy had some issues to overcome.  The first couple of days they ignored Miss Kitty as if they couldn’t even see her.  Maybe they thought she would just disappear.  We all spent extra time loving all of the animals up so they would not feel neglected.

And then the jealousy started.  Anytime Miss Kitty got too close to one of his humans, Fred would squeeze himself in between.  Rudy refused to share his litter box with her so we had to get another box.  Food dishes had to be moved farther apart.  It took a couple of weeks before Miss Kitty began to assert herself and claim her place in the family.   They have finally come to terms with their differences and have accepted each other and peace reigns once more in our home.

However, some new changes have started to manifest themselves.  It just cracked me up when I realized what was happening.  Miss Kitty is a dainty little girl and maybe a bit vain.  She is continually grooming herself.  One day Miss Kitty was sitting in the middle of the living room floor washing her face.  Fred was lying across the room watching her for awhile and then he started washing his feet too!  He was learning from her!  We started paying more attention and sure enough he continued to copy her behavior.  He has even tried washing his face, although he is really not very good at it. Did we dare to hope Rudy might also be influenced by this interest in grooming?

We started watching Rudy more closely and, sure enough, he is definitely spending more time on his appearance!  Today, I looked into Wendy’s room and Miss Kitty and Rudy were curled up on her bed asleep in identical poses… about a foot apart.  Awww sweet!
We are making progress here!

I thought I would add some cute pix of the cats for this blog, however, as you can see from the picture at the top of the blog, Rudy was in no mood to cooperate and Miss Kitty turned her back whenever I came near with the camera.  Oh well, maybe another day.  I may have to resort to hiding under a blanket and creeping up on them.  I tried bribing them with catnip and even that didn't work.