Snicker's First Day
The first day is always the hardest when bringing a new animal home and for Snicker it certainly was a difficult transition. Having spent the majority of his time in a cage, Snicker was not prepared to be released into a wide open room of his very own. Once introduced into my sewing room, Snicker refused to leave the pet carrier. I allowed him to stay inside his carrier for a few hours as I realized this was the only place he felt comfortable being. I prepared a small "cat cave" for him, moving his blanket, his toys and a few treats inside. I was hoping that perhaps he may claim this as his new sanctuary. After some time, I returned to his room to find him cozily tucked inside the cat cave. It was also apparent that he had used the litter box, had eaten and possibly drank a little. Given that he was not terribly comfortable in the presence of strangers, we allowed him some alone time over night.
In the morning he was curious but not playful. Our attempts to attract his attention with toys were unsuccessful, he was still very nervous. I managed to gain some of his trust by stroking beneath his chin and petting his back. He even began to purr! I also learned that Snicker adores tummy rubs. It seems that Snicker appreciates human affection but is still unsure of his environment. Whenever we enter the room he looks onto us as though we are strangers, but a soft pet and soothing word brings him back around. He has been leaving the cat cave when we are not present but goes into hiding as soon as someone enters the room. I became concerned that he would not have the confidence to remain outside of his cat cave, so we tried a simple experiment. We decided to bring our resident cat Gimli into the room. I was curious to see how Snicker would react, he has spent the majority of his time with other cats so I felt things would go well. We brought Gimli into the room inside a carrier, we felt this would give Snicker a degree of control in the situation. It was successful! Gimli's presence encouraged Snicker to come out of the cat cave and investigate. At this point we felt it was an acceptable time to release Gimli from the cat carrier under supervision.
To my disappointment Gimli acted like a grumpy old cat and growled at Snicker a few times, while Snicker rolled around cooing at him, inviting Gimli to play. Thankfully there wasn't a fight and Gimli just decided to keep his distance, watching from higher vantage points as Snicker rolled around under the chair. I wanted to build Snicker's confidence as well as improve the relationship between the two cats, so I introduced the laser pen. This is one of Gimli's favorite toys. The two cats kept their distance from one another (Snicker wasn't afraid of Gimli, but Gimli was a little afraid of Snicker - laughable when you consider how small Snicker is compared to Gimli!). Snicker probably never really played with a laser pen before and he loved it! He and Gimli had something in common. In the end Gimli still growled a little and kept his distance, while Snicker pawed at him delicately. Gimli is just a big chicken. We took Gimli out of the room, petted Snicker for awhile and then let him go to bed.
Unfortunately I did have to check on him in the late hours of the night, as he was panicking after hearing loud noises from outside. It's going to take time to build his confidence and gain his trust, but I have seen excellent progress so far!