Soirée, as some of you know, is anything but excited about a new pet in the house.  So before bringing Vanilla home we went straight to the world expert on pet relationships, my Aunt Debby.  Call her a Stray Magnet or blame her loving heart, Debby always seems to have at least a couple of cats and dogs in her home (and currently two gerbils at the office).

In case anyone else is wondering how to introduce a new cat to a home, here’s her advice. 

Debby suggested keeping the cats in separate parts of the house for the first few days at least, but making them switch places every 12 hours.  That way they get used to each other’s scent and presence without feeling threatened, and they don’t get territorial–neither feels like they own some part of the house.

The folks at the humane society said that sounded like a great idea, with the only caveat that we should wait 3-4 days before doing the switching thing because a cat fresh from a shelter could be carrying diseases that we don’t want Soirée to catch.  (They’re especially worried about an upper respiratory virus.)  If Vanilla is symptom-free in a few days it should be safe for them to share litter boxes or food dishes.  They also said that depending on the cats it could take anywhere from a few days to a month or more before we feel comfortable leaving them alone in the house together.

Amazingly, the first couple of days I don’t think Soirée really knew that Vanilla was in the house!  We blocked off the basement and kept Nilly downstairs (just trying out name variations for the fun of it).  But yesterday she snuck out while one of the kids was opening the door, darted into the living room face-to-face with a shocked Soirée, before I grabbed her and got her back downstairs, leaving Soirée with a huge bushy tail.  Soirée isn’t sure what to make of it now.  I guess it’s best she know now that there’s someone else in our lives…