Last week, I wrote about some tips that helped me and my husband happily share our home with our very introverted cat, Sally.
In 2010, we were heartbroken when Sally passed away at age 16. The cat who came into our life next could not have been more different. While Sally had been a tiny, skittish kitten who didn’t have enough time with her mom or siblings, Calvin was a big, confident guy who hailed from a cheerful foster home filled with human and feline family.
He was exactly the kind of socially well-adjusted cat we had set out to adopt. But at first, we didn’t know what to make of him.
We were used to an older cat who, like us, loved her peace and quiet. We were now human companions to a young, energetic cat who wanted to be with us EVERY SECOND and who meowed more in his first 48 hours with us than some cats do in a lifetime. What a surprise to learn that an extrovert cat came with his own challenges, especially for two human introverts.
Here are five tips that helped us live happily with an outgoing, (mostly) fearless cat.
• Remember, the cat isn’t trying to annoy you. Sometimes Calvin can seem like that co-worker who just won’t be quiet (especially since my husband I both mostly work at home). We remind ourselves that he’s not following the human rulebook. All he knows is that he’s full of energy he needs to burn off NOW.
• Speaking of that limitless energy, regular play is non-negotiable. If you know that you’ll need some calm time later — say, for an important phone call or to watch your favorite show — plan some pre-emptive activity with your cat ahead of time.
• Come up with new stimuli. We were used to minimizing potentially scary situations for Sally. It took a while to realize that a crisis for Sally (like a home repair project) was the coolest thing EVER to Calvin. Having him around is a great reminder to take on new projects.
• On the other hand, don't forget that even the bravest cat can get scared. I never would have turned on the blow dryer with Sally sitting on the bathroom counter, but I didn’t think twice about it one day when Calvin was hanging out with me while I got ready. As soon as I turned the dryer on, he sprang several feet into the air. He avoided the bathroom for a day or so, but, resilient guy that he is, he soon ventured back in. On the other hand, I still feel guilty about the whole thing.
• Have fun! Admittedly, sometimes our life-of-the-party cat wears us out. But mostly, he’s an absolute blast. He’s thrilled when we “talk” with him, and, truthfully all those times he get us off the couch when we’re vegging out are for are own good.
What are your best tips for living with an extrovert cat?