Musette very much in evidence downstairs this morning. I decided to give them both treats while they were on the same level (usually Musette is on the stairs and Josie on the floor. Josie O is so well trained to not come near the cat that I had to really call to get her to come over. I think they were about a foot apart. Musette still a little prone to speeding up when Josie is unoccupied and they’re on the same level, but not much. Step by step (treat by treat), we make progress.
Apparently this is the time of year when the teenage mice leave home to explore. Sadly, Musette la Plume is waiting for them with the equivalent of a van and a bag of candy. The results are not as cute as this photo.
Yesterday I fed treats jointly to Musette la Plume (cat) and Josie O (Chihuahua puppy), as part of my ongoing work to have the cat get used to the dog. Josie was on the floor, and Musette was on the second step up. After I felt they’d had enough treats, I started petting them, but Josie was in a rambunctious mood and put her front paws on the bottom step, trying to reach the cat. Musette hissed at her – once, twice, and then she bopped the puppy on top of her little head. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for Musette to grow a pair of big-girl titties, to mix a whole bunch of metaphors. Josie yelped once, and not very loudly (she can be a real drama queen). I checked, and saw nary a mark. I do think Musette understands that Josie is a baby, so she must have kept her claws in. Man, she’s fast. I’ve always been in awe of cats’ physical abilities. They’re such perfect predators; right up there with sharks.
Unfortunately, the kitty machismo probably won’t last. It takes a long time for Musette to learn stuff, or possibly she doesn’t want to. She continues to run across the living room to the stairs if Josie is there, unless I’m there to distract/restrain all 2.5 pounds of puppy menace. I’ve moved one of the cat posts next to my desk, so Zetty can look out the window and get the occasional butt scratch instead of occupying my lap. She’s still a very happy cat. She’s especially happy that she gets two wet meals a day, which she didn’t before. Life is a mix of shadows and light, small dogs and canned food.
Josie is doing very well on walks, although for the first time today, she decided the outdoors was overrated and she wanted to go back home. Might have been too chilly, or maybe she smelled something scary, dunno. Yesterday was in the 60s, and we got two walks in. Twice people in cars stopped to talk to me about her and pet her from their windows. She didn’t even have a cute little sweater on, just her harness. We live in a town that mostly owns big dogs, suitable for back country hiking and swimming in the creek, so Josie is a novelty. Me, I wanted a dog suitable for neighborhood strolls and sitting on my table at outdoor coffee shops.
The one word my Chihuahua puppy knows for sure is “kitty.” Musette la Plume exerts a powerful glamour over Josie O, and that started long before I began giving them treats jointly, to make Musette tolerate Josie’s presence.
Things Josie O knows about the cat.
1) She’s the only other furbaby in the house.
2) She’s large and powerful, able to leap onto tall objects, such as the couch.
3) She doesn’t go to the bathroom, at least not where Josie can see.
4) She gets to go outdoors at will.
5) She speaks a foreign language, and has mysterious conversations with the woman.
6) She hates puppies.
I can only imagine their unspoken thoughts toward each other, as Josie stands at the bottom of the stairs and Musette looks down at her.
Josie O: “Hi! Hi! I don’t know what you are, but I want to play with you! Look at me wagging my tail! You can trust me – look at me looking away from you. Now I’m looking back, but I’m wagging my tail even harder! Hi!”
Musette la Plume: “Look at that thrashing tail. And what’s with those eyes? They’re all pupil. She wants to kill me for sure. Oh, she seems small, but the second I let my guard down, she’ll puff up and show her real size, which is probably huge, like a beagle. Well, dream on, dog.”
Both: “Wait…Mom’s coming over…with treats!“
Finally seeing some progress with Musette la Plume (cat) and Josie O (Chihuahua puppy). The basic problem was that Josie would run toward Musette ’cause she wanted to meet her. Musette, a real dogophobe, would freak out and run, and this set the pattern for their encounters.
One suggestion that made this book worth buying was that you feed the animals treats when they’re in the same room, to give them a positive association with the other one’s presence. I don’t think that’s how it works. I think that the treats 1) distract Josie so she doesn’t pay attention to the cat, and 2) eventually teach her that if she sits in one place while the cat is around, she’ll get treats. Essentially, I’m training her to “stay” in the cat’s presence. For Musette’s part, the treats 1) give her a reason to be near the dog, and 2) probably make her think, “If that animal can be distracted by treats, it doesn’t want to get me all that much.” However it’s working, Musette is coming downstairs and wandering around more, even when she sees Josie is there. It took a month, and I know I made some mistakes along the way, but finally things are heading in the right direction. It helps to have a smart dog. Having a super-wimpy cat is no help at all, bless her.
There have been compensations. Musette’s insecurity about the situation has made her revert to earlier, more affectionate behavior. We have never let her sleep with us (I have allergies, Angel Joe has trouble sleeping). It used to be that when we opened the bedroom door in the morning, she would rush in, jump on the bed, and throw herself down for morning petting. Then it switched to the floor, and then petting time got shorter and shorter until she basically said, “All right. Fill my dish, open the pet door, and let’s get this show on the road.” Well, now she’s back on the bed. Haha.
Angel Joe is taking a little time off work today to finish up the plumbing in the house. I say he’s “taking off,” but I can hear him chiming in on a phone meeting as he plumbs. The house came with polybutyl pipe, which is prone to developing pinhole leaks (we had some). That kind of pipe was recalled later on, with the attendant class action suit. Anyway, Joe has been steadily replacing it with copper over the years. The two upstairs bathrooms were the last to do. He’s very excited about the prospect of turning the water pressure up to full.
Josie went to the vet this morning for her second-to-last round of vaccinations. Dr. Bauman was impressed by both Josie’s health and temperament. Apparently she has two regular Chi clients who are pains in the ass.
Josie has incredible amounts of energy. I’m so looking forward to being able to take her on walks, but that will have to wait until her last vaccinations, at the end of Feb. She and Musette are getting closer to actual contact all the time. Last night Musette let me carry her on her back through the living room, and then put her on her back in my lap and pet her. I was on one end of the couch, and Joe and Josie were on the other.
This morning I was able to squat with Josie in my lap while petting Musette, who was milling around. I was praise talking like crazy, which I’m sure they both thought was directed at them. When Musette rubbed along my thigh, Josie stuck her nose in that big plumy tail as it wafted by. Then she shook her head like, “That tickles!” I’m sure there will be ups and downs, but they’re very calm in each other’s presence right now. Will trim Musette’s claws again. I’m thinking a nose sniff will come very soon.
Snipped from a webcam shot. Poor little goober. The things she puts up with.