state of the animals

as of last wednesday, maia has been with us for 12 weeks. as of this thursday, it will officially be 3 months. in some ways it seems like it couldn't be that long already, and in other ways it seems like it's been longer. you know how that goes.

things are going pretty well, all things considered. my husband and i were talking about how there are a few things that frustrate us ("maia's issues"), but that compared to LOTS of dogs she is incredibly easy, and we count our blessings for that. one day i'll get into more detail, but for now i'll focus on the inter-species relations.

avery, almost since day one, has been doing quite well. he isn't really afraid of her at all; he stands his ground and gives her a WTF look sometimes; scoots out of her reach other times. he approaches her readily, and she is very curious about him. i'd characterize their relationship as "peacefully coexisting, rather tolerant, respectful of boundaries." avery lets maia get away with face-to-face curiosity and sometimes face-to-butt curiosity, and if/when he decides he's had enough, she leaves him alone. 

finley, contrary to expectations, has been more reluctant to make friends with maia. i think this is partially my fault, because early on we had a "chasing" incident (it was likely just overly-excited following, but i didn't want to take my chances and finley was scared) and i yelled "HEY HEY!" and scared all three of us. maia immediately turned around and slunk out of the room, stealing looks backward all the way, and finley ran under the bed, and i apologized to everyone, and after that maia never "chased" finley again. sigh. anyhow, i think they both have some residual nerves from that, and as a result finley "yells" at maia quite often, and maia is REALLY respectful of finley's personal bubble. finley's meow is tiny and hoarse, so his yelling is quite humorous, and maia has actually gotten "stranded" in a room or on a landing because finley is blocking the way, and she won't push her luck. so, although i'd like them to get past this, i know it has to be baby steps and they're doing pretty well. she is extremely gentle around him–when she's lying down, he will approach her to sniff, and she just sits very still and lets him go for it. (she does the same for avery.)

i sometimes think the best indicator of how respectful she's been is the fact that in all this time, she's never been swatted once. yay maia!

i feel very comfortable leaving them alone in a room together if i need to leave briefly–to change the laundry, or take a shower, for instance. maia usually just stays wherever she is, and she has even learned to basically ignore kitties running through the room past her nose. whew! for awhile she would jump up and run when she heard avery's bellowing meow from another room, which stressed us out terribly, but she has totally cut that out as well. she's pretty perceptive and sensitive, so i think (generally speaking) that she understands what we'd like and what we don't like when it comes to the kitties.

maia is no longer crated at night, and that's been true for a couple of weeks now. we confine her to the upstairs with us (baby gate leaning against the top of the stairs so the kitties can get around but she can't), and she mostly goes from her office bed to her crate to the cool hardwood floor at the foot of the bed. she's been very very good, and i'm happy to give her nighttime freedom. the kitties feel free to come and go throughout the night, which makes me extremely happy too.

we still have the "safe room" set up for the boys, and that's where they're fed. we may keep that up forever; who knows… maia is intoxicated by the smell of cat food. it's nice to give them a spot where they know she can't go, too, plus it's a good way to confine tiny cat toys, which maia sometimes tries to eat (once, successfully). i guess we'll see. i moved the satellite litterbox out of that room earlier tonight, so please keep your fingers crossed that we'll have no problems on that front. finley's been using the regular ones about 50% of the time nowadays anyway, but avery is lazy and had been sticking to the upstairs one 90% of the time. *hopes really hard for no litterbox problems*

all in all, i think we've made good progress on the inter-species front, which is undoubtedly good for my own general well-being. good lord, i was SUCH a basket case for awhile there. sheesh.
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4 comments

  1. i keep my cat’s litter box in a dog accessable area now. i haven’t really had any problems but i did create a little barrier out of two child gates and zip ties. it isn’t really much but it blocks some of it and i think that the privacy helps the cat feel more comfortable using it. of course the main reason was to make it clear to the dog that it was not something for her.

  2. oh yes! good point, cait. i should have said, our “regular” litterboxes are in a walk-in closet in the family room. the cats are able to open the door by themselves, and then whenever we see it propped open (once the cats have vacated), we push it closed again. maia, so far, has shown zero interest in that closet (even though finley has been using those boxes for many weeks now, in addition to the upstairs box), so i think/hope we’re going to be all clear on that whole thing. fingers crossed, anyway!

  3. I keep my cats’ litterbox tucked away in a closet, too (but not for dog-related issues). Regarding inter-species fronts, we were kinda freaking out when my roommate brought her two rabbits into my condo. It has worked really well – the rabbits actually bully the cats when they get near one another, and the cats are the ones who run away! Of course, we still only let them mingle under close adult supervision – at all other times the bunnies are in a big cat-proof cage/room and the cats couldn’t care less.

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