Saturday, 7 July 2007

New additions to the household

So today was nominated as "getting pets day" in our household. The beloved is a dog person and has been keen to get one since day one. I am much more of a cat person, and was hesitant, but agreed that we could get a dog,l as long as we got a cat as well. We rolled up to the RSPCA today to check out the animal scene. We looked at dogs first and identified two that we thought looked possible, but on further examination one of them turned out not to get on with cats. That was a deal-breaker for us. The other dog, who we ended up meeting, is a big sook and has some bahaviour issues (scared of people; jumps; plays a bit hard, doesn't travel well; isn't at all self-sufficent - follows people around the house etc...) but the guy was confident that with his keen-ness to please, this dog could be trained to have better manners. And he's lived with cats well, and also small children. In our meeting session with him, he mostly ignored D'Arcy. It seems that his previous family didn't give him the attention he deserves, and also failed to train him at all. He's a lovely looking dog, but I'm not quite convinced he's the one for us. We'll sleep on that one.

Then we went to the cattery. We went through the first cat room, without seeing any that really stood out to us. In the second room were a bunch of cats in multi-cat cages. It turned out that they were all seized in February in a raid on a 'hoarding' house. They rescued 53 cats, most of which were taken somewhere else, and 13 were taken to our local shelter. After meeting a few of these cats, D'Arcy took a liking to the big ginger tom called Kovu, who has a best mate (the cat formerly known as Mickey).The staff suggested that they'd go better as a pair, and they were doing special deals on the hoarding-house cats. They are both reasonably timid, but Kovu is much less so, and the staff at the shelter reckon they'll settle down once they're in a stable place for a while. Neither like to be picked up much, but they both come up for stroking and purr a lot.Kovu is about 3 I think and the cat formerly known as Mickey is just under one. Interestingly, they're both now overweight. The shelter staff got a bit enthusiastic about feeding them up, so we'll have to slim them down, but that shouldn't be too hard. In the car on the way home, Kovu broke out of the cardboard carry box we got him in, and D'Arcy got very worried that we'd be arrested for having an unrestrained cat in the car, which is illegal, we were informed by the shelter staff. Fortunately we got them home OK, without arrest or other mishap. As you can see they are currently coming to terms with our bathroom, and will stay there for the next 24 hours or so. I'm very excited to have cats in my life again, and these boys are lovely. I can't wait to have them wandering around the house.

As far as the dog plan goes, we'll go back and have another look soon, perhaps try the dog-jail too, but the boys need some time to settle in, before they get traumatised too much. The staff reckoned that because they had been with so many other cats, as long as a dog is cat-friendly, they should cope OK in a multi-pet household. My mum also recommends ARF, who foster out dogs for adoption, so when you go to meet a dog, you're meeting them in a household setting, rather than a refuge setting, which has to be a good thing. The only problem with ARF is that they can be a bit too precious about their babies. They have a screening process to match potential owners with dogs, but it is very rigorous, similar to an overseas adoption process - as my mum was heard to say "it's only a fucking dog!" She did end up with one though, eventually, so we might give them a go.


Julie said...

Congratulations! That's very exciting news!!!!!

Snorting with laughter at your mum's comment, though I am VERY glad we went through a similar process to get our dog. I'm not a dog person either (and we also had cats & young kids) so it was very important to me that our dog be easygoing and low-maintenance. And our dog IS easygoing and low-maint. We might have lucked out at the humane society but it would have been just that -- luck -- whereas with the foster route we knew what we were getting.

Enny said...

Our latest addition to the family was from the Pound - it was absoulutely heartbreaking.

He didn't do much other than sit and shake when we looked at him, as soon as they offered to bring him out he bolted as fast as he could.

However, he is THE loveliest thing - I don't doubt that the majority of pound dogs are similar - terrified of their surroundings but bound to settle in lovely once they're in stable surrounds again.

Mummy/Crit said...

Julie, the shelter here do a reasonable evaluation of the dogs, they have an animal behaviour specialist run them through a bunch of tests to see how they react to various situations, including something known as 'the toddler doll' that the dog gets walked past. They also walk them past the cattery to see how they react to cats. But yeah, I think seeing a dog in a domestic situation is going to be more helpful in the end. Although the staff at the shelter seem to know the animals pretty well and spend lots of time with them.

Enny, we were going to get out to the pound, but didn't quite make it. I'm a bit more nervous about pound dogs, as I have no dog experience to speak of, so I know nothing about training, or behaviour. I'm glad it's working out with your boy!

In the meantime, the cats are doing well - Kovu wants to get out of confinement, but the cat formerly known as Mickey isn't ready for the big world of the house yet, so they've moved to the laundry with a nice warm heater and lots of visits.

Lever said...

Holy cat bix, that ginger tom's bigger than D'Arcy :o !!! Are you guys planning on re-mortgaging to feed the new addition or is he going on a diet? :D

So good that you got him from the RSPCA, I hope all the other lads & lasses find good homes too :)

Mummy/Crit said...

Lever, yeah he is huge. And he is on a diet now, and in fact so is his buddy. They're on that Science Diet stuff, which means that they hardly get anything!

ThirdCat said...

Have you read 'Let's get a pup?' I think probably a bit young for D'Arcy now, but a beautiful book nonetheless.

We are thinking of getting a dog, but I've never had one before, and most of them terrify me.

Sorry I haven't visited for so long...somehow it fell off my bloglines! Anyway, balance is restored.