Saturday, May 8, 2010

Two Weeks In

It has officially been two weeks since we adopted Lewis; this makes him 10 weeks old! We have already seen changes in him. He's much more confident, which is good and bad. Our vet said that it would take about two weeks for Lew to believe that he's really ours, that he's not going to be moved somewhere else shortly. Evidence of increased confidence? Trying to push the limits!

At first, Lewis backed off when our adult cat, Dinah, hissed at him; he now tries to play with his "sister" about ten times a day. If I weren't concerned about him losing an eye, this would be kind of hilarious! Having learned a little bit (ok, a lot, I'm obsessive with the reading about dogs) about how dogs communicate, I think I can break this process down.

Step 1: The Approach. "Oh look, the black and white one! I will come up and wag my tail to show that I am friendly!"
Step 2: An Invitation. "Hmm. The black and white one does not respond! I know, I will invite her to play!" Now, dog invitations to play are fascinating, because they're extremely formal. Given that dogs play by rolling around on top of each other and sniffing various body parts, the formality of the invitation strikes me as adorable. A submissive doggie will come up to another dog and "bow," or slide his front legs forward until his little chin is near the floor and his little waggly tail and butt are way up in the air. This may be, and in our house often is, followed by a few high-pitched, friendly barks.
Step 3: Repeat the invitation and bark more.
Step 4: Prance in an arch, maintaining the same distance, but never break eye contact to cease tail wagging.
Step 5: Just go up and try it, despite having received no reciprocal invitation to play. "Play with me! Play with me!"

He just can't stand that this third family member will not play, and he just cannot be patient! He's a baby! Now, our cat is 12. Before we adopted her, she was an indoor/outdoor cat and, according to her former owner, saw her fair share of fights. This animal is not something she fears. Nevertheless, she is absolutely unwilling to let him inside some sort of circle that she has drawn around herself in the sand. If I were Dinah, I wouldn't let this thing near me, either! They're about the same size, and he's clumsy, smells funny (to her), licks/nips at everything and runs a lot. Besides licking me, my two pets share almost no common interests!

Now that Lewis is more confident with his new family, he is more confident about approaching Dinah. And he does it more often. Given that his tail doesn't stop wagging until someone yells at him, I would guess that the poor thing has no idea that Dinah wants nothing to do with him! This is stressful if a) he won't stop, despite commands or b) the cat approaches him just to taunt him and then hisses/swipes at him.

This little dance seems to become more intricate daily, so I wanted to record what it looks like now. We'll see what happens! Please cross your fingers with me that Lewis does not end up with a scratch on the eyeball...

Here are some photos that show the progression of an approach by Lewis (unfortunately, I did not manage to capture the amazing "bow"):
"See, I'm submissive, play with me!" "NO." Fortunately, Lewis did not choose to move any closer. If he had, Dinah would have held her ground and given him a good, swift swipe across the face.

No comments:

Post a Comment