Once upon a time, I moved in with my boyfriend, who is now lucky enough to call himself my husband. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and to protect his privacy, I will call him Ryan Gosling, from this point forward.*
On moving day, I brought with me many useful household contributions, including an impressive amount of knitting gear, several cardigan/skirt combinations, and my two cats. Ryan Gosling had a cat, as well. Author’s note: I do not care about protecting the privacy of these cats; it’s just that their names are irrelevant. And for the record, I wouldn’t care about their privacy even if they asked because they’re all jerks.
In the days prior to my moving in with
Matt Ryan Gosling, I researched things like “cat integration” and “blending pet families” and “how to reduce cat stress” on the internet. I felt like a real hero to the pet community. How many people would take the time to so carefully consider the feelings of their cats, in this situation? Well, I’ve learned a lot since that fateful day when I unpacked my cardigans and embraced my future. Here are some tips to help you suck at cat integration as much as I did.
- Exude confidence in your ability to understand cats, and announce to your boyfriend that he must not meddle in your carefully-researched Cat Integration Plan. Say, “Seriously, you’ll mess it up. Let me handle it” as often as possible.
- Live in his house basically all the time for months before you officially move in, to ensure that all cats will be extremely territorial and genuinely confused as to why the other party is in the house.
- Go ahead and think things are going well with the gradual integration process, and skip ahead to face-to-face time.
- After the cats are finished screaming and spraying rage pee as they bolt through every room of the house, separate them again. Use a very heavy object like a cinderblock to prop the divider door open just a crack, to allow the cats to “hang out,” because everyone knows cats can’t possibly fit through a 1-inch gap.
- Be sure to carry out this cinderblock plan at night. This way, once enemy lines have been crossed via the 1-inch gap (I mean, how…?), all three cats will wake you by racing across your unsuspecting sleeping body and gash open your legs while spraying more pee (they will have generated a super fresh batch in the span of a few hours). Pro-tip: Cleaning up is more effective and more fun if your boyfriend has taken Ambien.
- Embrace a new tactic. Carefully block the open doorway between the cats with several stacked baby gates to facilitate sniffing and encourage visual acclimation, because obviously cats can’t climb baby gates in ten seconds like freaking spider monkeys.
- As your boyfriend laughs at your attempt at the baby gate tactic, revisit Step 1. Then prop the several useless baby gates in a corner and eventually throw them away after months of tripping over them. Buy several new baby gates for a house guest who brings her dachshund along. Get annoyed when Amazon suggests that you Subscribe & Save to baby gates.
- Spend an entire Saturday constructing a transparent plexiglass door, complete with holes for sniffing, and use industrial-strength Velcro to attach it to the door frame because surely this will work better than the baby gate approach.
- Throw away plexiglass door when the cats learn how to open it.
- Eventually decide it can’t get much worse than it has been, and choose to “see how they do on their own.” Purchase Nature’s Miracle to clean your leather couch when they spray rage pee all over it. Agree with Amazon’s suggestion to Subscribe & Save to Nature’s Miracle.
- BONUS STEP: Wait a couple of years and repeat Step 1.
*If the real Ryan Gosling is reading this…. Ryan, please give me a call. I’d really like you to teach me how to tap dance. And by that I mean “tap dance.”