It's been almost three weeks since we've taken Snicker Doodle on as our foster kitty. We now affectionately refer to him as "Doodles". Doodles, who once feared even the slightest noise, has gained enough confidence to wander the house unsupervised. He has developed a good friendship with our cat Gimli and the two spend the greater portion of the day chasing one another around. You would think they were brothers if it wasn't for the difference in appearance and size. However, it wasn't all good in the beginning, initially Gimli did not take to the idea of another cat in our home. There have been a few cat fights but having grown up around cats, I have to say they haven't been that bad; a few yowls and tackling but nothing damaging.
When Gimli first met Doodles he was not a happy camper. Of course he was a little curious but mostly he kept to higher ground in order to observe the new cat. This worked well considering at that time Doodles remained entirely on the ground level, not even jumping up to explore. There was an obvious division between Gimli's space and Doodles'. As shown in the photograph to the right, Gimli would sit in my sewing room chair and eyeball Doodles from a safe distance. Their first encounters were often kept brief because I was well aware of the tension between the two cats. Doodles was more than happy to see another cat and walked right up to Gimli without hesitation. On our first day we used Gimli to coax Doodles out from hiding and to help him gain confidence in his new environment. Gimli gave him a couple of warnings with a few growls and light batting, but Doodles would come right back purring and rubbing up against him. Each encounter became less intense and Gimli grew to trust Doodles. Now, Gimli can eat side by side, out of the same dish as Doodles.
There are few fights for dominance every now and again. Gimli doesn't appreciate his "office" being used by Doodles. I've seen him chase Doodles out a few times. These last couple of nights I've been woken up by cat fights although I'm not sure if they're of an aggressive or playful nature; at 4 am I don't stay to find out, I just separate them. From what I have seen it appears to be all in good fun. Yesterday evening the two cats were playfully chasing one another around the house (at high speeds). They also enjoy play fighting over who gets the cat tree... even though it has two levels, which neither has figured out yet. Before I left for my vacation, I discovered the two boys sleeping together, which really touched my heart. I was happy to see that Gimli had made a friend (something I had hoped for ever since moving out from my parents house, because Gimli was raised around other cats).
Gimli is certainly not the only one to benefit from this friendship. I know if it hadn't been for Gimli, Doodles would have never left the sewing room and it would have taken twice as long for him to get accustom to us and our home. Doodles has made amazing progress! He still gets a little jumpy if you move too quickly or if there's a loud noise, but he's far more trusting than he was in the beginning. He will often seek us out for attention because he loves to be pet. He's the most affectionate cat I've met. He loves to play with toys, which initially he was too scared to do with us, but now he engages us for play. He's brave enough to go into the basement and use the downstairs cat tree which makes me very happy to see. Perhaps the most successful news is that he has begun to jump up on our bed or couch to cuddle us, and yes this means he is becoming a lap cat!