Blackbolt and Sentry are typical blue lynx ragdoll kittens and in fact, look alike. They share the same lynx (tabby) stripes – vertical tufts of grey on the face, and patches of grey fur everywhere. They started living together about two weeks ago.
Before that, Blackbolt enjoyed his lofty position as the master of our universe and ruled his roost with a firm paw and a fierce bite. Spoiled to silliness with all his toys and our affection, Blackbolt for the most part, seemed content with us. At six months, he’s very fluffy and chubby, with his coat starting to darken already.
However, we often wondered if BB ever felt lonely, being alone in the condo most of the day. Most cat welfare-related sites and forums recommend getting a second pet for company, but it was a decision Jat and I did not want to rush into. As I explained to Leena whenever she suggested that we get Sentry as a companion to BB, a second raggie was out of budget and if we were to get one, we would look for a female instead. Although Jat and I also toyed with the idea of getting a much cheaper, non-standard male munchkin kitten as a second pet, it was hazy at best and I didn’t feel ready just yet to try out a new breed, much less figure out how BB would respond to him.
Whatever reservations we had were put to rest about two Sundays ago when we took home Sentry (then known as Pfeiffer), a 4-month old ragdoll kitten (Blackbolt’s “nephew” apparently), and just a little younger and smaller version of him.
Thanks to the generosity of Leena and William, Blackbolt’s former parents, we have been given the rare and unexpected privilege of welcoming a second raggie into our lives. Leena and William told us that they felt that we could provide Sentry with a good home with more love and affection than he could have with them in a busy, multi-pet household, or with a prospective owner solely interested in getting him for breeding purposes.
Sentry was a month older compared to BB (he was 2 months and 3 weeks old) when we took him home. By then, Sentry already had his routines and habits, such as climbing up the bed every afternoon to sleep on or read over Williams’s shoulder. Melai, who also takes care of the other cats and kittens, was similarly attached to BB and Sentry, also had to say her goodbyes.
We chose the name Sentry in honor of another powerful comic book hero, Sentry, a fairly new character in Marvel superhero lore, but retconned – that is, dated to be a much older character with a complex history, and given awesome powers. He is in some ways, Marvel’s answer to DC’s superman, only with a dark alter ego named Void.
While we had a short list of cute kitty names, Sentry seemed consistent with Blackbolt, named after another formidable Marvel comic book character. Comic book fans have likewise debated on a hypothetical battle between Sentry and Blackbolt, so we thought it would be fun to see how two raggies will play it out.
For cats, the introduction of a new cat into the home is a delicate process. The older cat usually becomes jealous of the new one and feels that his place in the home is threatened. As a result, the older one may be more aggressive and even hostile, making the new one’s integration extremely difficult. Thus, we had to keep the two apart for a few days, letting them slowly get used to each other’s presence.
Sentry’s first few days living in a new home, I imagine, was a difficult adjustment process. He ate very little, and was very needy for affection, rubbing his legs against ours and exposing his belly for aome scratching at every opportunity. Aware of another cat in the vicinity, Sentry was clearly excited to play with BB; however, BB appeared to be less than thrilled. For days, BB watched us while we snuck in and out of Sentry’s room. He also began showing interest in his previously neglected toys, now hand-me-downs for Sentry. BB was suspicious of the visitor in the next room, and would plant himself outside the door, watching it for hours. He sniffed our clothes whenever we exited Sentry’s room, perhaps looking for traces of the new occupant.
However, it wasn’t long when BB seemed to show more interest in having a playmate. When Sentry snuck out of his room after the third day of being isolated in his room, he finally got to meet Blackbolt, who was stationed outside and waiting. After Blackbolt’s initial inspection of Sentry and vice versa, the two started playing. Soon after, we decided that the two could hang out only under supervision to make sure we could prevent any negative reactions to each other. That same day we decided, Sentry snuck out of his room while Jat was away, and Jat found him and Blackbolt together a few hours later playing together in the sala, seemingly at ease with each other.
Sentry, for now, is a bit on the thin side – compared to my porky Blackbolt that is, with soulful, puppy eyes, long limbs and the beginnings of a beautiful white ruff and fluffy tail. He has gained weight considerably already, however, and I hope he will catch up with BB soon.
Blackbolt, on the other hand, does not hesitate to use his size and penchant for stalking to pounce on and wrestle with Sentry. Sentry, despite his smaller size, is no pushover and compared to his chubbier aggressor, Sentry is faster and more agile thanks to his longer legs. As the more vocal Ragdoll, Sentry now and then emits a deep warning growl or a shrill meow when Blackbolt’s roughhousing is too much. Blackbolt, who gets startled quite easily, backs off and shuffles to a spot where he gets to observe Sentry, who soon forgets their tussle and starts playing with Blackbolt’s toys. However, when the two become too rowdy, Jat transforms into the Alpha Cat and advances quickly and noisily toward the pair on all fours. When Jat the Alpha Cat is around, the startled kittens scramble away in panic, with Blackbolt leading the escape.
Rolling around together, the two knock things off the table, if they’re not climbing them. Sometimes, in an assertion of dominance, one would be perched on a table, regarding the other below him with mild contempt. Sometimes there’s a commotion behind the curtains or under the sofa. Most of the time, the two are asleep in their respective favorite spots – until the next tussle.
The kittens do enjoy a truce come mealtime, and join forces especially when it comes to dinner. Coming home from work, the two are waiting by the door (Blackbolt beats him to it out of habit), excited about their chicken dinner. Sentry usually manages to escape, with Blackbolt waddling behind him. You can imagine the chase in getting them back safely inside the condo. Once inside, they then wait for me to prepare their meal. Blackbolt, who rarely meows and prefers to chirp, does not hesitate to meow for dinner while I’m in the kitchen heating up their chicken.
While eating, Blackbolt then takes advantage of the temporary peace and his size by leaving his food station to eat off of Sentry’s plate. Sentry, who is a picky eater and eats more slowly, doesn’t seem to mind. However, since we want him to gain more weight, I usually shoo Blackbolt away and unceremoniously dump him on his big fat heinie back at his food station. That doesn’t stop him from trying again, of course, and he would often pretend to be interested in something else, such as drinking water before oh so casually going back to Sentry’s spot. Sometimes I even have to lock Blackbolt up in one of the rooms just so Sentry could finish his food in peace.
For the most part, Blackbolt seems to have warmed up to his new friend. Most of the time he just lets Sentry play with his toys, biding his time until the urge to bully him arises. Other than his comical attempts to bully Sentry, Blackbolt has become more serene and mature. He can be given his vitamins through a syringe without a struggle, and he now lets us clean his ears.
On the other hand, it seems Blackbolt coached Sentry to resist human intervention, and he now makes it difficult for us to give him vitamins and clean his ears, two things he was perfectly fine with during his first few days in isolation.
However, I just recently discovered that when left alone without the other present, Blackbolt and Sentry revert to their old affectionate selves and relish their respective alone times. However, the alone time with me doesn’t last long and soon after, they want to go back to playing with each other again.
The two now spend every waking moment together, sharing food, water, toys and litter boxes, despite efforts to keep the litter boxes separate. They may not show it yet, but we suspect that the two are forming a close bond that will deepen over time.
Right now, they are both in my room, sleeping – Sentry curled up beside me on the mattress and Blackbolt on the table, resting his head on his favorite pillow. Who knows how long this truce, forged by sleep, will last?
Tomorrow night, once again, when I come home from work and open the door, I will contend with two speeding furballs racing down the hallway. The unlikely pair will be unruly while the Alpha Cat is away.
One will be sprinting as fast as his drumstick legs can take him while the other will be quicker and more graceful.
What a lovable pair they make. 🙂
(Update: Blackbolt and Sentry have new photos –> here!)