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FISCHER: A pet for a pet

FISCHER: A pet for a pet
Cora and Athene did not appreciate being woken up for this photo. Press photo by Travis Fischer 
By Travis Fischer,

My household has gotten a bit busier.

I’ve been volunteering at PAWS for a while now and I knew from the start it would only be a matter of time before I brought one home.

Thus, for the last couple weeks, I’ve been getting to know Cora (previously dubbed Anne Marie).

I would say that Cora is my cat, but really, I got her for my already established cat, Athene.

He’s a 14-year-old tabby that I’ve had since he was a newly weaned farm kitten. For his whole life he and his brother, Sparty, cohabitated with me and, at various points, my roommate and his cats.

But Sparty passed a couple years ago and now that I’ve moved, it’s just been me and Athene, who has spent the better part of the last year in relative solitude.

It’s hard to tell with cats, but I don’t think it’s been particularly good for him to just sit home alone all by himself on the days where I’m out and about. Sure, cats aren’t always the most sociable of creatures, but that’s a lot of isolation.

Or maybe I’m just projecting.

In either case, after weeks of getting to know the selection of critters over at PAWS, I finally decided to take the plunge.

Introducing Athene to Cora was expectedly dramatic. Athene was not overly thrilled about this new creature invading his space, hissing and growling every time she approached on that first night.

By day two, his opposition transitioned from aggression to annoyance. If you’ve ever seen a pouting toddler, that’s what my cat was like. Just walking around dramatically making huffing sounds.

Eventually the pouting over his new roommate shifted again into indifference and by the end of the week they were cuddle buddies on the couch.

Cora, for her part, has been living her best life. Having spent plenty of time with other shelter cats, she was utterly unconcerned about Athene’s posturing and immediately made herself at home, enjoying the space to run and play.

She likes watching out the windows, playing with the cat tree, and sleeping on my head.

As for me, it’s been an experience as well.

I haven’t had to break-in a new pet in a while. Obviously I anticipated the food bowls emptying more frequently and the litter box filling up faster, but Cora has introduced challenges I didn’t think about. Counter discipline, for example.

Athene, big fluffy boy that he is, is not exactly the pinnacle of feline athleticism. As such, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to concern myself with him getting into anything more than two feet off the ground.

Cora, on the other hand, is tiny, spry, and curious, so keeping her off things like my desk or kitchen counter has taken a bit of doing.

It’s been interesting. I’ve raised Athene all his life. I know his habits and quirks and moods, and he knows mine. I’m looking forward to developing that same bond with Cora.

I’m also curious to see which of Athene’s habits Cora will pick up on, or vise versa. There are going to be new dynamics to adjust to for everybody, but it’s working out.

— Travis Fischer is a news writer for the Charles City Press and knows of several other great cats in need of homes at PAWS.

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