Hubs and I moved into a townhouse the May before we were married in August. One of the lovely things about living here is that we always have room for guests. We love to host friends for a night or a weekend and we feel really lucky to be able to do so. The summer that we moved in, a high school friend of mine was on the way through town with her husband and cat, moving from college back to our hometown. When we got Zeda, she was described as needing to be an only cat, but she was super-interested in these friends’ kitty, and kept trying to sneak into the closed guest room to get a peek at him.
I am still in contact with Zeda’s foster mom (FM), so I emailed her and asked what she thought about Zeda potentially wanting to have a sibling cat. FM responded that she thought a very chilled out male cat would be a great match for a brother for Zeda, she had just the cat, and was I interested in adopting him? This cat was quite a character, and he had been living in a feral cat colony. The usual way to manage feral cat colonies is to humanely trap the cats, have them altered, and then re-release them. After trapping Duncan and neutering him, the veterinarian noticed that 1) he walks with a limp, due to a poorly healed break and might therefore be unable to defend himself from the other ferals and 2) his personality seemed to be more like that of a stray (lost from a home) rather than a feral (born in the wild). They decided not to re-release him and he went into rescue. FM said that the minute he got into the bedroom where he was staying at his first foster house, he got right up on the bed and stretched out on it (“Thank goodness I’m back on a bed!”). I trusted her pretty explicitly after the great communication and adoption of Zeda, but with our wedding being six weeks off, I didn’t want to adopt another cat just then. Being an understanding lady, she agreed to keep Duncan until we could come get him.
Come September, a sweet friend and I went to pick him up. He meowed the whole way back until he fell asleep upside down. We arrived home and started the process of integrating him with Zeda. Getting them to smell each other was the key. I slept in the guest room so Zeda wouldn’t feel lonely and Hubs slept in our room with Duncan. First, we switched the rooms they were in, so they could smell each other. Then we rubbed a sock smelling like Duncan on Zeda and vice versa. We also let them sniff each other through a slightly open door and ended the interactions before Zeda started hissing (she always was the hissy one). Soon enough, we felt comfortable with the kitties being together while we were home and they were getting along swimmingly, but then Duncan peed on the floor while meowing.
Coming from a home where cat pee due to health and behavioral issues was a constant, I freaked out and emailed FM. She said that I needed to get Duncan to the vet right away because urinary problems, especially in neutered male cats, can be a really big deal. Having never had a male cat before, I was so thankful that she gave me this advice, which the vet confirmed. Apparently, male cats rarely drink enough water and therefore are especially prone to urinary problems like blockages, which can be really serious (even leading to death). After a quick round of antibiotics, Duncan was back to being himself and using the box. We got a kitty fountain that keeps the water moving, feed wet food a couple of times a week, and luckily he hasn’t had any more problems.
Zeda and Duncan were eventually comfortable together full time, and in the years that we’ve had Duncan, they have become more and more bonded. They bathe each other and play together. Duncan is a bit of a character, as he still walks with his limp, which we sometimes refer to as the bad-boy strut and which does absolutely nothing to slow him down, and has one folded ear, also probably from a fight with another cat. His meow is funny and small, sort of like a little woof. When I took him to the vet for the first time, they remarked that he was the most chilled out cat they’ve ever seen. He’s very adventurous and likes to run out the front door to try to eat grass. He’s a cuddler, but always on his own terms, and is another not-a-cat-person converter, just like his sister. One of my favorite things about him is that he loves to have his photo taken, so I’ll leave you with this one, in which it’s obvious he knows both how stunningly handsome and utterly loved he is.