Cat friendships: Easy as pie?
Any young girl who has watched classic Disney movies dreams of becoming a princess. Nirvana the cat is living that dream. Her rise to royalty began when another Best Friends feline wished for a friend.
Binky lived as the Maintenance department office cat. Though adored and spoiled by the staff, he seemed bored. A bird feeder outside the window and countless toys didn't seem to fill his void. Though it was thought that he didn't get along with other cats, administrative assistant Pat Prior believed he was lonely. So earlier this year, they arranged for Nirvana to join him.
Cat love at first sight
Binky fell head over paws for the lovely Nirvana. "We got Nirvana, and she's just this very, very cute little female. She's like a little princess," says Pat. "She came in and instantly Binky was smitten."
And he became her champion.
Not long after Nirvana's arrival, Pat brought in Ty, one of her dogs, to the office. The little pug and Shih Tzu mix saw the new office cat and wanted to play. However, the princess would have none of his antics and hissed.
From out of nowhere, Binky appeared, ready to protect his mistress. He gave an "Are you hurting my girlfriend?" glare, and Pat says, "He jumped on Ty's back with all four claws and was riding him."
Unhurt, but understandably shaken, Ty hid under Pat's desk, while Binky guarded, making sure there would be no further attempts on his lady's honor.
Nirvana was only able to spend a few months with her knight in shining armor, though. Soon after meeting Nirvana, Binky crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Binky had known feline friendship at last at the end of his life.
Nirvana, however, missed Binky and yearned for her hero.
New beginnings for a grieving cat
Knowing Nirvana longed for her friend, the search for a new companion for her began immediately. As luck would have it, there has been some remodeling going on at Cat World, and maintenance worker Cleve Anderson discovered Piewacket. Not only is Pie super friendly, but he could be Binky's twin. The lookalike cat was brought over to the office that same day.
To quickly facilitate feline introductions at the Sanctuary, staff initially put new cats in a crate to allow resident cats the opportunity to check out the newbie safely. So Pie was given his own condo.
Little did they know he's a chatty boy, so he started meowing. That's all it took. Nirvana came running from the other end of the building to his enclosure and tried to sniff Piewacket.
"We thought, wow, this is really going well — they seem like they really hit it off," recounts Pat. "So we opened the door, he's sticking his head out a little bit, and she's smelling. Then all of a sudden you could see her realize, 'Wait a minute, this isn't Binky.'"
Nirvana hissed, swatted and ran away. Luckily, she doesn't hold a grudge.
"(Piewacket is) very interested in her," says Pat. "He wants to go over and be friends." Little by little, Nirvana has begun to accept Piewacket into her life, and they now eat side by side.
Here's a tip Piewacket: Want to win over your beloved damsel? Take a page out of Binky's book and just defeat a "dragon." Then the princess' heart will be yours forever.
Facilitating feline friendships
Bringing a new cat home to meet your other kits? Be sure to introduce them properly.
Photos by Molly Wald and Pat Prior