THIS IS THE STORY ABOUT THE ADDITION
OF A NEW KORAT TO OUR HOUSEHOLD
Prior to the addition of the kitten, our house was run by Jai Dee, (which means "Good Heart"). Jai Dee is a 12 year old male Korat who is wonderfully sweet, (you can see him on his brother's web page http://www.voicenet.com/~floyd/thai_ming.html). My husband and I had discussed finding a companion for Jai Dee so that we would feel less guilty about taking vacations and leaving him home alone. We weren't sure if Jai Dee was ready for a new companion since his previous Korat companion had passed away 5 years ago and Jai Dee had been alone since that time. However, we decided that Jai Dee was ready for a "friend" when he started snuggling with and cleaning a teddy bear we brought home from our last vacation.
Ithacats MANI TAU" (Gray Gem)
bred by Linda Pearce, owned by Wendy Miller
To find a "friend" for Jai, we had to find a breeder. We found Linda Pearce Kabelac of the Ithacats Cattery in New York. We traded many emails with Linda until one day she surprised us with the news that one of her boy kittens was not going to the original home for which he had been reserved. He was ours if we wanted him. We were so excited!
We drove to Ithaca, NY on a Friday to get the kitten, (approximately a 4.5 hour drive each way). It was quite a treat to go to Linda's house because I had never been around more than 1 Korat at a time. Linda had 6 Korats in her house and I was in heaven! We played with all of the Korats and chatted for quite some time before we decided to leave. We told Linda that we had picked the name Mani Tau, ("Gray Gem"), and we all thought that it was a good choice. When it was time to leave, we couldn't bear the thought of putting Mani Tau in the carrier in the back of the car, so I cradled him in my arms instead.
The ride home was exciting and upsetting. Poor Mani kept whimpering because he didn't know what was going on. He was particularly confused and curious about a major rain storm that we encountered on the drive home. While I felt badly for Mani since he was leaving his family, I felt consoled by the fact that he was going to a good home. I also could not resist admiring what a wonderful creature he was!
When we arrived at our house, we brought Mani into the house in the carrier and opened it in the living room for Jai Dee's inspection. There were no immediate negative or positive reactions. Just a lot of curiosity from both cats. After a short while of sniffing, Jai Dee did issue a few warning hisses, but for the most part, left Mani alone.
Mani followed us upstairs into our bedroom and promptly hid under the bed. When he tired of that, he ran into one of our closets and hid in there. It was very sad for me to listen to him crying. All along, I had worried how it would affect Jai Dee to bring a stranger in the house. I had never thought of the impact on the kitten.
We put food and water in the closet for Mani, (we had already showed him where the litter box was), and decided to let him sleep there for the night. At around midnight we heard him crying, so I took him out of the closet and tried to play with him. Jai Dee was not too happy to have this stranger in his bedroom and started hissing. So, we moved Mani to another bedroom and closed that bedroom door. I felt very sad that night for the kitten knowing that he was all alone in a strange house without his family. I couldn t wait until the next morning to start playing with him and getting Jai Dee used to him.
Saturday morning, I nearly jumped out of bed to check on Mani. When I entered "his" room, I saw that he had found a soft spot in the back of the closet to sleep/hide, (the cat tree, condo, and bed must not have appealed to him because they would have left him too vulnerable.) He crawled out of his hiding spot in the closet to play with me. It was great to see what a friendly kitten he was despite how scared he must have been.
Saturday progressed very nicely. My niece helped smooth the fur by lending extra hands to pat and play with Mani while I entertained Jai Dee. In fact, my niece even stayed over in "ManiÕs bedroom" to give him company. I was glad that she stayed because Mani was still whimpering a lot and I think he was very confused about why the big Korat didn't want to play with him.
On Sunday morning, Mani made a break to our bedroom from the other bedroom when my niece got up. Before Jai Dee knew what had happened, Mani had snuggled under the covers with me! In fact, Jai Dee didn't figure it out for a while because Jai Dee snuggled on top of the covers with me shortly after that, (my husband seems to be able to keep his side of the bed "cat-free").
After that wonderful start to Sunday, Jai and Mani continued acquainting themselves with each other. Mani kept trying to win Jai over, but Jai Dee wasn't ready yet. However, Jai Dee's tolerance was improving, and his hisses were a little less frequent. That afternoon, I found Mani resting in the sun on the second shelf of the cat tree in the den. I was shocked because that is usually Jai Dee's spot. Jai let Mani have it rather than chase him out. That evening, the two of them actually SHARED the shelf with minimal hissing, (Mani was really quite brave because he didn't run when Jai Dee hissed at him). Later that night, Jai Dee was relaxing in a bed he has on a shelf under a light (we have the light on a timer to provide warmth and light for Jai Dee - no, he's not spoiled!).
Mani Tau and Jai Dee finally together...
Mani was very upset because he couldn't find Jai Dee, so I showed him where he was. Well, Mani hopped up onto the shelf and after waiting a while, he jumped into the bed with Jai Dee. I helped to smooth his entrance by petting Jai Dee and speaking soothingly to Jai the whole time. My husband and I were amazed because Jai did not hiss at Mani and he allowed Mani to curl up with him!
Sunday night was the beginning of what looks to be a good relationship. Since that time, (1 and a half weeks as of this writing), both Jai Dee and Mani Tau sleep on our bed at night. Mani only hides in the closet when he hears frightening noises like the vacuum cleaner. There have been many "photo" opportunities of Mani and Jai curled up together to sleep and/or clean each other. There have also been several instances, like a trip to the veterinarian, where Jai Dee has tried to protect Mani Tau as if he were ManiÕs father. Of course, there has been some healthy fighting mixed in, but for the most part, it looks like we have peace and happiness amongst the Korats in our house.
Thanks to our wondefully good hearted Jai Dee's acceptance of Mani Tau, my husband and I have been able to begin planning our next vacation. We feel happy and comfortable knowing that Jai Dee has his new friend, Mani Tau, now!