Life with the pets

9:30 AM

cats and dog napping in the sun peacfully

Last Sunday was my own day 28 rabies shot, today is DH's and Ishita's. Mittens the cat has been with us for one months today. And, one of the thing my friends keep asking when they hear I now have a cat is: "But what about the dog?"

Cats and dogs have always been portrayed as natural enemies, always at each other's throat with injuries on both side. They might not be on friendly terms in the wild, but it is possible to have a peaceful cohabitation at home, in most cases the cat and the dog royally ignore each other and live their own little lives peacefully. In some cases cats and dogs become best buddies. So, where do we stand in our household? The cat hissed and spat at the dog a couple of times in the beginning, that is what usually happens when you introduce felines to canines, that lead to me getting bitten and all the rabies madness that followed. But, within days Mittens pretty much resigned herself to the fact that her new home came with a giant tail wagging, panting and drooling roomie and made peace with that. Jasmine was at first exited to see a cat in her home and wanted to play, a few mild punches delivered by the cat cured her of that excitement and she learned that the tiny meowing machine was something not to mess with.

We progressed to weird diplomatic exchange rituals quickly. The cat took a liking in the dog's water bowl, which clearly has a better taste than her own, and the dog took a disturbing liking in the content of Mittens' litter tray...nothing beats eating cat poops it seems. The cat roams at will around the flat these days, and often enough she likes to be in the same room as Jasmine, many times close to her without touching. The comical factor being that while the cat will come close to the dog on purpose and be ignored, Jasmine tend to feel a bit edgy having to walk past a 1kg light weight and hurry away, never mind that said dog is 50kg and could crush the kitty, she is actually scared enough of Mittens to give her some space.

When I googled for tips to get these two acquainted, it wasn't much help. Basically, all offered me first world solutions of erecting screen doors, baby gates and serving food to both two legs on each side of said screen. Add to this the purchase of a cat tree, and switching doggie bed and kitty bed blanket to make them used to each other's sent...all good if you live in a pet nation where pets have access to as many accessories as human beings. That tactic can not be implemented in a country where pets as a concept is recent, and cats kept as pet is still seen as an insanity of sort. The good new is that you can get your furry friends to get along and get used to each other without all the props. I did it the old fashioned way and it worked well.

First, my dog doesn't have a bed, she sleeps on the tiled floor to keep herself cool in the Summer, and on the sofa or our guest mattresses in the cooler months, so switching blankets wasn't an option. The first few weeks the cat was confined to the bathroom with food, water and a cushion when I could not supervise her. The dog was allowed to roam at will because it has been her home and territory the longest. When I had time to supervise, I would take the cat out and let her roam around, first in one room, and quickly to the whole flat. In the. Lining, I would take the cat out of the bathroom and place her on the kitchen counter with a fresh bowl of food, letting her observe the dog roam around from her elevated platform. the dog is in the kitchen when I am and I made a point of feeding Jazz when the cat was eating. as you can see followed some of the tips I read, just without the props suggested. I also sat on the floor close to Jasmine with Mittens in my lap letting them get used to the idea of being near to each other.

I however never felt the need to rub towels with each other's sent in their face. They are animals, they have a sharp sense of smell, and Labradors can sniff tiny amounts of drug and explosive burried in a suitcase, so surely they can smell a cat in the house without the need to have a towel rubbed against their nose. Cats are highly skilled predator animals who can hunt tiny preys relying on their sharp eyesight and sense of smell, so I figured out she probably noticed a 50kg giant dog that has a doggy smell distinctive enough to my puny human nose, beside when Mittens entered our home the doggy smell was all over, that is probably the first thing she picked up.

Do not expect your cat and dog to get along at first sight, you are bringing two species which in the wild will try avoiding each other and have significant body language differences, but it is not impossible. Just remember that the newcomer doesn't get the free hold of the house and need to be confined at first and gradually allowed more space. The animal that was in your home all along should not be made to feel they are giving away their territory right away, the idea is that they should both get that your house is a shared territory. That said cats are more territorial than dogs, and do not take orders, so with them the idea is to make them feel like they came up with the idea of sharing themselves. Mittens all high of her 14-16 weeks already think she owns the place and we all live on her turf. DH and I being grown up understand the cat's need to have her breathing space, the dog instinctively understood that, Ishita is still struggling with the idea and had a few scratch marks to show for her lack of judgement but is getting better at it, not to mention the cat is tolerating a bit more manhandling from my daughter now that she is settled.

Taking a pet, any pet into your home is a huge responsibility as you probably realised. You have to be committed to making things work with them. I would not have picked up the cat if I wasn't sure I could handle the situation, and even then, I had my moments of stress in that past month.

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  1. apple5:11 PM

    How do you manage a dog, cat and a child all at the same time. It is like having three children. Do you have eight arms like Goddess Durga??
    BTW, you mentioned that you are insulin resistent. I googled, sounds very much like pre-diabetic stage to me. My late mother was diabetic and I am horrified by the disease. My mother used to take those insulin injections which had a lasting impression on me. There is nothing much a diabetic can eat. No sugar, no salt. Quiet terrible, I must say. Having said that, how come most of your posts are about food. How do you manage to eat this stuff and manage your sugar levels. I hope you are not offended.

  2. Nope not offended at all, I actually eat small servings of things, and never really eat a lot of carbs in one meal, I put more protein and fat on my plate because my body can handle these better. I also take Metformin to regulate blood sugar. And I walk a LOT, I have a pedometer on my phone that helps me keep track of how much I walk a day, and on a bad day it is still about 3 kilometers of deliberate walking I clock, I am still on my feet inside the home a lot thanks to the pets and daughter. For me to get 10k steps a day with my short stride it means walking a total of 6.5 kilometers, on most days I do them just going for walks, so I get that sugar in my blood put to good use during my day.

  3. Oh, by the way history is being made in Delhi these days. It is 47C for the past three days. Temperature has broken a 70 years record in Delhi. The mercury is hovering around 45C for almost a week now. Add to this frequent power cuts and water shortages. We are paying the price of living in the capital city. What say, can Mumbai compete with Delhi??. Delhi is a 'cool' city.

  4. Those were clearly American sites you found on Google lol. It's insane how much our pets here have in comparison to other countries. They're treated like people, served like kings/queens and some have more toys than the children do. I live here and even I think it's crazy lol. I'm glad you were able to work things out though. It's going to be super cute when they start snuggling together.

  5. Yes they seemed to be American sites, because I don't think that even in Switzerland where we love pets we have that much or even feel like buying that much for pets. The thing that baffled me the most was the rub the scent of each animal on the other's nose. Clearly some people forget animals have a sharper sense of smell than humans and can smell each other fine from a distance.

  6. Yes I read that! How are you guys coping? In Mumbai we have no power cuts, if they happen which is about once a year they are or scheduled maintenance ones and we are warned days in advance about them, or they are the accidental ones and are usually fixed in half an hour. I think that is one of the few cities in India to not have electricity problems. We have about 32 degrees these days with about 80% humidity! it is the humidity that makes the temperature uncomfortable, there still have been no rains in my area while others are reporting some premonsoon showers, but with the monsoon having reached Kerala last Friday I think it is another day or two before it hits us, yesterday there were strong winds coming from the opposite direction it usually come, it is a sign the monsoon is on its way. I hope it progress inland fast so that you guys also get some relief.

  7. This is hard warming story of one's man effort to provide dignity to the women. He was the inventor of cheap sanitary napkin for women.

  8. Yes I read it a few weeks ago, this man is a hero.

  9. Hi, dropping by after a period of absence :D And I find you have added another family member! My first reaction was seriously! ??? With one toddler and a dog most people would have their hands full :D But it seems like you are doing just fine :)

    My maternal grandmother's home is in a village, they are farmers... so obviously they have dogs and cats and buffaloes and cows... You are right! The cats do roam like they own the place! Funny, I never thought of it that way before...

  10. B Pradeep Nair1:30 PM

    This reminded me of the days (many years ago) when we had a dog joining our cat family. I could relate to many of the things you mentioned. What I remember the most is the way one of the cats looked at the dog and the how the dog returned the glance. I got a feeling that they were exchanging some meaningful thoughts through those wonderful eye contacts. Just won't be able to forget that.

    But I too feel it's quite a responsibility to have pets. In some ways they are more understanding than human beings, but sometimes they can also be more demanding than human beings.

  11. Yeah at times I feel I can hear what thoughts crosses my cat's mind looking at her stare at the dog. My dog has only one thought in mind: food, my cat has a certain sense of refinement and I know she must be appalled at my dog's less polished manner :-)
    Pets sure are a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly, but they teach us humans so many valuable lessons.

  12. Hey! How are you doing? Yeah I think I had a moment of insanity, even if it is fine and I can handle it, and the cat is a bundle of cuteness. There is a saying about cats and dogs: "Dogs have owners, cats have a staff" whether you want it or not the cat will be the one training you instead of the other way round :-)


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