PSYCHING OUT" KORATS
(if, indeed, this is possible!)
Hi, everyone! If you have already read "Gregarious and Affectionate Korats: A Success Story," then you know a bit about our two beautiful females, Thaiger Lily and Misty Arun. We acquired Lily first. Then...a bit later on, (inspired by her delightful personality) we set out to find a companion for her. Hence the arrival of little Misty Arun in our (relatively) tranquil home.
The reason I am writing today is as follows:
Wendy Miller, another Korat owner here in the U.S., recently wrote us (read here). She and her husband wondered what to do when bringing a new kitten home IF there is already *another* Korat in the house, comfortably ensconced as "Lord of the Mansion." The Millers have a wonderful male named Jai Dee. At present, (August 10th,) he is living in a state of blissful ignorance. Why? Well...the Millers are about to spring a little surprise. A new Korat kitten is about to enter the picture soon! Jai Dee, by the way, is definitely living the good life. By way of illustration, you might find it interesting to know that the Millers have an outdoor deck with a lovely little carpet AND an umbrella. Guess who the owner is. I'll give you a hint. It is not the Millers!
At any rate, below is the text of our response to Wendy's note. I sincerely hope this information is helpful. Maybe it was just luck, but there was a happy ending to our story.
OK. Fasten your seat belts, all three of you. Here we go. I'll just tell you about *our* experience, since it is all I have to go on, but it seems fairly typical of Korats from what I have heard and read:
I brought little Misty Arun home on a Friday afternoon about a year ago. (While I was out on my "kitten mission," my husband stayed home with Thaiger Lily. He had already told me that if I wanted a companion for Lily, then the "introduction" of this companion would be totally my responsibility. This seemed fair, since he works very, very hard.)
Arriving home, I placed the carrier on the floor in the front hall and opened its door. Out stepped a surprisingly perky Misty. Lily circled Misty slowly and veerrry carefully, sniffing, examining, staring, and in general acting as if she believed Misty to be the representation of a new life form! There were no signs of aggression...just meticulous, methodical scrutiny. Finally, she stepped back a few paces, sat down, and continued to stare at Misty.
I took this opportunity to pick up Misty and take her down to the litter box, which we keep in the basement, about five feet from the foot of the basement stairs. Misty went right into the litter box and, well...made herself right at home. I was thrilled. But not for long. Lily had quietly stationed herself at the *top* of the basement stairs. She then proceeded to hold a confused little Misty "hostage" down in the basement all night. What a night, Wendy!
I brought down food, water, and a nice, soft blanket-bed for Misty. She ate her food with gusto. Meanwhile, I stationed myself on the basement stairs, between the two felines, like a referee. Both of them were well fed and watered, with a litter box right nearby. Their physical needs were obviously well cared for. But Misty had just come from her mother! And Lily, on the other hand, was clearly convinced that this little creature was a potential contender for affections that had been - up until this fateful afternoon - hers alone! (If you really think about that one, it becomes obvious it is totally logical.) What to do? I was up all night, sitting on the basement stairs, so I had ample time to "psych out" the situation. My job was a difficult one, but I was determined to succeed, for the good of all.
I realized that Lily had always considered me to be *her* person. Therefore, if it appeared to her that I was abandoning her, she would be devastated. On the other hand, there was a kitten down in the basement, all alone, and badly in need of nurturing and emotional support. Finally, I had to face the fact that there were TWO of them and only ONE of me.
That first night, whenever Lily abandoned her post to sleep, I went right down to the tiny "hostage" and held her, while stroking her, talking to her, and cuddling her until she fell asleep. Then, while Misty slept, I crept back up to Lily and basically did the same thing. All that night and into the next day, I played "musical cats" back and forth from one to the other.
The next day, while Misty slept in her little bed in the basement, I began "Stage Two" of my crazed, sleep-deprived plan. I decided to make Lily think that we were having a BIG party, just the two of us, with lots of colorful new and sparkly toys, plenty of catnip, all her favorite foods, her very favorite snacks, (normally reserved for State Occasions only,) and her favorite game, "mouse" - in short the whole nine yards!
Lily completely forgot about her "hostage" and abandoned herself the the spirit of the party. Shortly thereafter, sometime during the afternoon of the second day, Misty decided to take advantage of this golden opportunity and simply left the basement. Lily saw her. The "party" stopped for a minute. At this point, I swear I could almost hear Lily's thought process. At first, she was undecided as to what to do. On the one hand, she was having so much FUN, but on the other hand, there was a price to be paid. Her "hostage" had escaped! Being no fool, she decided to compromise by (1) ignoring the escape so as to maintain her dignity while (2) closely monitoring the brazen little interloper. Quickly, I diverted Lily with another sparkly new toy and the "party" began again. Meanwhile, Misty busily investigated the rooms on the main floor of the house. And so it went. Every once in a while, one of them would fall asleep, and then I would go into my "nurturing mode" with the other one.
It took two days, but finally, on day three, Misty decided to make a try for the big one! She shot straight for the stairs leading up to the SECOND floor, and was halfway up the staircase before her "captor" caught sight of her. The reason for Lily's distracted state at that particular point in time may have been due to the fact that her exhausted human companion was slowly and deliberately dragging a toy mouse - tied to a long string - along the dining room carpet in the OPPOSITE direction, AWAY from the staircase in question. (It would seem, therefore, that even Korats don't have eyes behind their backs!) Meanwhile, Misty lost no time in gaining access to the second floor, where the "turf battle" resumed. Lily eventually yielded ground that day, floor by floor and room by room.
Now Wendy, since both you AND your husband are going to be actively participating in the arrival of the new kitten and the ÒemotionalÓ preservation of Jai Dee, just think...you already have a head start! You have told me that Jai Dee seems to favor YOU. So, why don't YOU be the one to stage the big "party" for him? Be inventive. Buy cheap toys, but make sure they are colorful and sparkly. Get him a pair of Ray Bans for his use out on your deck, and make sure the frames are color coordinated to match his eyes. Buy an inexpensive potted palm tree and tell him it's his very own private jungle. Stand in attendance over him and fan him with one of those huge, Cleopatra-type feather fans while he sits under his umbrella. Turn on the stereo and pop in a CD of Bach's Magnifi-CAT! Keep that feline CRAZED with happiness! In the meantime, let your HUSBAND sneak off and nurture the new kitten.
The end of our little story here is that, toward the late afternoon of the third day, I FINALLY decided that it would be "safe" to leave Lily and Misty alone for awhile. I went upstairs and set the alarm for an hour, after which I staggered up and went off looking for them. They were out on our screened-in porch, curled up together like a furry little ball on a (cushioned!) chair, sleeping. As I walked toward them - (actually, I was WEAVING toward them) - they woke up and I was treated to a look from BOTH of them that said, "So? Is anything wrong? Why are you out here? We are TRYING to sleep!" Then, Lily started cleaning Misty's face and ears. They are now inseparable, and they are very close to us also. All I can tell you, Wendy, is that I would do it all over again. Korats are more than worth it. They are truly a joy!