It’s Time for Playgroup!

I really like Mondays. I know that sounds weird, but it’s because on Mondays, our shelter is closed to the public and that’s when we get to have cat playgroup. No, you aren’t reading wrong, and I’m not talking about dogs. Our cats get a playgroup of their very own.

We close all the doors to the adoption center, put up signs to make sure no dogs come through, put a litter box out, and grab the extra pair of hawk gloves (as a precautionary measure—but they’re hardly ever needed). Then it’s time to bring out the cats.

It’s really important to go slowly. Bring out two cats, let them settle in the room. Then bring out another. Cats are environment-sensitive animals. Some get nervous being taken out of their cage and into a room they’ve never been in before. Some, of course, hate other cats. If we know that ahead of time (either from owner testimony or our observations in their cages) we might not bring them out. But usually we’ll try every cat at least once. Because sometimes they do change their mind, and sometimes a cat that you’d bet money hates other cats actually likes them (or vice versa). Continue reading “It’s Time for Playgroup!”

Moving with Cats: A Survivor’s Tale

I’ve never had to move cats before.

Smirnoff, at age 3, had been living in my old apartment for the past 2 years, which is a significant two thirds of his life. Bacardi wasn’t too far behind. I was a little nervous after watching episodes of My Cat From Hell (Animal Planet), as well as knowing the histories of several cats at our shelter (such as Whiskers), knowing that after a move, cat hierarchies can change in a new territory. Smirnoff and Bacardi are a mismatched pair, after all. They like each other, but they’re not really bonded. So I had my reservations.

Still, I have done enough adoption interviews at the shelter to know that in any new environment, you should keep your cat(s) confined to a smaller space, such as a bedroom or bathroom (with litterbox, water, and food included) so as not to overwhelm them.

My plan was simple: move the cats and their stuff first. Set them up in the bathroom of my new apartment. Keep them in there for a couple days, or as long as they would tolerate it, and hope that no fights break out. But I know how to introduce cats. If the worst came to the worst, I could separate them and slowly re-introduce them. It would be arduous, but possible. I felt I was mostly prepared. What actually happened wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Continue reading “Moving with Cats: A Survivor’s Tale”