Fuzzy George came home with me on July 23, 2016. I introduced him to our furnished basement, where he had his choice of cat beds and blankets to sleep on. Toys were scattered throughout the room. My dad was downstairs watching TV. I even ran out and bought Fuzzy George a cat tree to scratch and sit on. This outgoing cat lost all of his spunk and immediately hid. First under the couch. Then he got himself wedged behind the TV set.
A horrible summer thunderstorm rolled in a few hours after I got Fuzzy George established. I had to spend his first evening rotating between Fuzzy George and Sneakers, who is terrified of thunderstorms. When not hiding Fuzzy George would curl up in laps. He demanded all the pets he could get from myself and my dad. He would sit on the stairs blocking anyone from moving, and demanding pets. He was a quiet, demure little cat. My parents were smitten with him. At one point I picked him up and he poured himself into my lap. He soaked up the pets and didn’t bite once. . This was not the cat I knew. I fretted; wondering just how long his snuggly mood would last.
The next morning I went down to the basement to find Fuzzy George. I found him curled up in the built in storage under the couch. He continued to be a snuggly monster all day. He soon took to sitting on the landing of the stairs. He was tired of being in the basement, he wanted out. I fretted some more, partially because that is what I do. I wanted to make sure to do a proper introduction between Fuzzy George and Sneakers. It was less than 24 hours. So far Sneakers was oblivious to Fuzzy George’s presence. Even when Sneakers sneaked down to the basement he was unaware there was another cat. They were less than 2 feet apart and he was oblivious to Fuzzy George.
I soon had something else to fret about. After visiting with Fuzzy George I broke out in the worst rash I have ever experienced. My face and neck were itchy and blotchy. I am allergic to cats, but I have never had an allergic reaction like this before. I spent the rest of the day trying to get rid of the rash and worrying I was going to have to let Fuzzy George go to the shelter. Thankfully for all involved it was a one time occurrence. I assume he got himself into something that I had an allergic reaction to, versus actually being allergic to him.
Before I realized I wasn’t allergic to Fuzzy George, he and Sneakers decided they didn’t want to do a gradual acclimation. They were both tired of the basement door being shut. So, less than 24 hours after Fuzzy George came home with me, he and Sneakers met. It started with Sneakers being sneaky and running into the basement again. This time he and Fuzzy George met. They were confused. Neither of them were expecting another cat. Fuzzy George then ran up from the basement, while Sneakers reveled in being in the basement.
Fuzzy George was clearly overwhelmed when he came out of the basement. There was a whole house to explore. He paced up and down the stairs, up and down the hall for hours. Sneakers followed him. Fuzzy George would pace in and out of a room and Sneakers would follow him. Sneakers followed close enough to see what was happening, but not close enough to be in harm’s way should this new cat be dangerous. It was hysterical and exhausting to watch.
Fuzzy George was returned to the basement overnight. While they had not gotten in any fights, I didn’t want to risk leaving two cats unattended. I was actually quite surprised at their reactions. Fuzzy George and Sneakers had sniffed noses, and then continued on their way. Neither seemed concerned about the other. There was no hissing, no meowing, no fights. The worst that happened was they took turns “guarding” the stairs against each other. I saw “guarding” because it became a game very quickly. The only time Sneakers was concerned was when he caught Fuzzy George sitting on his favorite cat tree in my bedroom.
We never did manage to get a proper, gradual introduction. Fuzzy George was too curious and headstrong for that. Sneakers also wanted access to the basement again. Over the next month or two they slowly felt each other out. There was an uneasy peace. Or maybe I only felt it was uneasy. They accepted each other and mostly ignored each other. Coexisting was much better than fighting. Slowly they have grown to love each other. They are great friends now and love to play together.
Sneakers is still hesitant to play with toys when Fuzzy George is around. Fuzzy George has a much more outgoing, dominating personality. My shy, retreating Sneakers backs off whenever Fuzzy George wants to play, or eat, or look out a window. They do share posts, and the chair when the sun comes spilling in the window. They have been known to sleep on the bed together with me. They may not be cuddle buddies, but they get along well. And they make my heart happy when they sit together, or play with each other.
There is one more piece to Fuzzy George’s story. The story of his behavior issues. It was the hardest part of his story for me. It certainly is the most complicated part to write about. Next time I conclude Fuzzy George’s back story, including how he got his name!