As I Like It!



JULY 25, 2016


Clista and I are living in a war zone. We feel like the UN peacekeepers in Bosnia. We are charged with maintaining the peace and preventing the warring factions from annihilating each other, but we have limited resources and total lack of respect. The Serbs, the Croats, and the Turks were sworn enemies and hated each other, but they were reasonable people compared to three hyper sensitive cats.

When Alice and Susan were here before we brought Shiva home, they lived in a mutually agreed upon détente. Alice is old and grumpy and Susan is young and playful. They had nothing in common, outside of a mutual source of food and services. Alice slept most of the day in Clista’s chair in the den, and Susan stayed outside hunting chipmunks and other wildlife. At night Alice slept beside Clista, as far away from me as she could get, and Susan slept on a kitty bed atop my chest of drawers.

Each had their own litter box and feeding area, and for the most part, they co-existed in an armed truce. If Susan got too close, Alice would hiss and slap at her, but there was never outright violence. When we left town, we had a pet sitter come in to keep the litter boxes clean and the bowls full. Alice would retreat to the linen closet, and Susan to a bed in the guest room. Peaceful coexistence was the order of the day.

All of that came to a screeching halt when the Goddess of Destruction came on the scene. Clista prepared for this by watching every episode she could find of My Cat from Hell. She learned that in order to introduce a strange cat into the mix, one should prepare a single room in the house for the newcomer. She moved a litter box and feeding area into our second guest room, turned on NPR, and covered the beds and other surfaces with blankets and towels. About as much planning went into bringing Shiva home from the offices, as went into the Normandy Invasion.

Three weeks ago the big day came, and on a Sunday afternoon, we put Shiva in the kitty carrier and introduced her to her new home. She immediately knew something wasn’t strictly kosher. I suspect she could smell the other cats, and she didn’t much like it. She retreated under the guest bed, and bided her time. The plan called for three days of total isolation, then sealing off the back of the house to let her roam a bit. We left the guest bed room door open, and within an hour, she poked her nose into the hallway. She was on Defcon 1, full wartime alert. She knew the enemy was close by, but she couldn’t get a bead on them.

In keeping with the plan, we confined Shiva to her room at night and anytime Alice and Susan had access to the back of the house. We kept this going for Shiva’s first week with us, and while there was a lot sniffing and looking going on, there was never a confrontation. Finally, we let them meet each other. Shiva is a sweet kitty, when it comes to her relationship with Clista and me. Where other cats are concerned however, she is very territorial. It took less than a day for her to assert her ownership of the entire house.

Now we have an armed truce. Shiva allows Alice to sleep in Clista’s chair, but does not like for her to move. Susan made an early attempt to be friends, then retreated to the yard. Shiva rules the house, and when the other cats encroach, she takes immediate action. She screams and threatens. This usually does the job, and the sleeping arrangements have been reassigned. Alice stays in her chair, Susan still uses her bed on my chest of drawers, and Shiva sleeps between Clista and me, usually, all the way under the covers.

This is as good as it’s going to get. At least they are not ripping each other to pieces, and we didn’t have to put Shiva up for adoption. I’ll keep you posted as things develop.


Cat illustration is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to


Categories: As I Like It!

3 replies »

  1. Hello Tom:

    Sorry to hear about the cats’ issues.

    Our friends Frances and Ed Bowen have the cat from hell, and no other cat. We have been friends with Frances and Ed for over 50 years, and on good terms with their previous cat. But this one will not let anyone near without hissing and slapping. She has been de-clawed, so there have been no claw marks, but I am concerned that one day Cleo may bite. That may be the end of a 50+ year friendship, because my reaction will be to pick up the cat and throw it up against the nearest wall.




  2. I have always been a little suspicious of anyone who owns–tolerates–a cat but 3? Have you considered psychiatric help? For you, not the cat….

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