So, we are preparing to combine households. Lots of work going on at both ends, for two middle-aged folks who are used to living on their own. Lots of emotional stuff, too. Boy #2 was down for a visit a couple of weeks ago, and we cleaned out his hobbit hole to make a mancave. That was a ton of work. I thought I’d have to replace the carpet, but I rented a steam cleaner instead, and it came up just fine. Bought sheets on clearance and stapled them to the joists to make a ceiling – not perfect, but it covers the pipes and ducts and looks okay. So, the room is clean, has lots of storage, and will make a very nice mancave indeed.
Also cleaned out the closet and dresser in my tiny spare room, which is now a Gentleman’s Dressing Room. That’s what I’m calling it, anyway. I have waaaaaay too many clothes to share a closet. Plus, our differing work schedules will probably make us both glad that there’s a separate dressing space.
Lots of sorting, organizing, sifting and packing, is going on at his end too.
So, it’s all good, right? All going according to plan, two people in love, joyously planning to spend their lives together, and all that, right?
Well, yeah. Totally true.
No, the problem herein lies with the smaller folk involved. Not children, either. Bite your tongue. All our respective children are grown and gone.
It’s the cats.
My readers know that I have two elderly kitties, Miss Martha Muffin, aka Muffy, and of course, the Amazing Grace. When I say elderly, I’m not kidding – they’re 17. They have always been indoor cats, were spayed as kittens, and generally enjoy good health. Like most siblings, they don’t have much use for each other, but manage to coexist in a somewhat grumpy state of truce. Each has her favourite hangout around the place, and although they occasionally take a swat and a spit at each other, it’s all pretty fine and mellow and laid-back.
My sweet darlin’ man has a cat too, a gorgeous big male tabby named Yoda. He’s about twelve by Den’s best reckoning, although no one knows for sure. He was de-clawed when Den got him, second-hand from a co-worker whose son developed allergies. He has his back claws, though, and good teeth. He’s also neutered, and is a strictly indoor cat.
So, you’d figure, after a little hissing and spitting and jockeying for supremacy, that eventually we could all just settle in, right? I mean the cats, not Den and me. We rarely spit. My girls are older, and quite small, but there’s two of them, and they have all their claws. Yoda’s a big guy, but he’s really mellow. No reason whatsoever that we can’t all just get along, right? My prediction is that tiny Miss Grace will rule the roost as usual, Yoda will hide under the couch for a few weeks, and Muffy will view the whole thing with her own brand of exasperated disdain.
No, here’s the issue. Like many neutered male cats, Yo has a tendency towards urinary tract crystals, so he has to eat a pH balanced food to keep them at bay. Also, he does not free-feed. He gets fed a set amount of dry food at set times. Otherwise, he has a habit of gorging and barfing.
My girls have a big ol’ feeder. They too eat dry food, whenever they feel like it. They’re grazers. Back in the dark financial times, they used to eat whatever was on sale cheap. As some of you may recall, though, we had a health scare with ol’ Grace about a year ago, and it was determined that she cannot digest corn well. No problem. We get her a rice or potato based dry food, which Muffy eats too. Muffy doesn’t care. Is there food? Is there water? Is there a place to poop? Can I lie on the footstool in the sun? That’s pretty much all she needs.
Do you see the problem here?
So, we’re now on a search for a pH balanced, corn-free food. Not as easy a task as it sounds, because quite simply, they can’t get into each others’ food, or someone is going to get very sick. Feeding them separately sounds good, but is probably not 100% foolproof.
We went out to Paulmac’s yesterday to look into it. Actually, it seems like there may be several good alternatives. I lean away from anything salmon-based. I’ve dealt with Grace’s Spectacular Salmon Poops. It’s not pleasant. So, we went away with some little sample bags, and were advised to e-mail Dr. David Summers, who dispenses veterinary advice on the Pet Valu site, and apparently is very knowledgeable about cat nutrition in particular.
I sent him out a letter yesterday. Hopefully we’ll hear back from him shortly.
For all the complications of combining two second-time-around, middle-aged, highly sensitive, slightly introverted people into one household, this particular conundrum may prove to be the most complicated of all.
So, wish all five of us luck, would you?