Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups

Helping dogs on the road to forever, forever finding ourselves as we walk that road with them.

Operation Toleration: Building a Tree House

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It’s been awhile since I’ve provided an update on the project formerly known as “Operation Love Each Other” – which started out as an effort to change the relationship between Balton and his feline brother from hostile to harmonious.

Not my cat or my dog. This was my fantasy land image. Photo credit

Not my cat or my dog. This is merely my fantasy land dramatization of what I wish could be. Photo credit

As with most expectations I seem to initially set with Balton, I have found myself needing to re-assess what is realistic. Which is why the project has been changed from “Operation Love Each Other” to “Operation Toleration.” It sounds snappier and fits more in line with my new goals. Y’all don’t have to like each other, but you do live together, and politely ignoring each other while co-existing is perfectly acceptable for me.

After getting smacked in the face and given a bloody nose over a year ago, Balton has since been equal parts afraid of, fascinated by, and frustrated with Meeko the cat. We continue our efforts to have Balton and Meeko around each other and separated by a barrier and/or with Balton on a restraint of some sort in very short increments. Right now, our most successful interactions seem to be while Balton is outside on our back deck, and Meeko and he have a glass door between them to practice counter-conditioning and desensitization.

Over the past few months, I have also been working to address Meeko’s stress behaviors of marking and eliminating outside his litter box (we did take him to the vet and there was no medical explanation for the litter box activity…which was both good to hear and mega frustrating – at least he enjoyed the trip to the vet and practiced all his social charms on the doctor…and climbed on every piece of furniture in the exam room). So, at home, we’ve provided him some levels to perch on through construction of a couple wall shelves which we carpeted, added a Feliway diffuser, and given him easier access to additional levels in the laundry room.

Still, I’ve been trying to provide an option for Meeko to feel safe without feeling restricted to the laundry room when Balton is around. I think the more confident Meeko can feel, the easier it will eventually become for Balton to get over himself and his weird I-don’t-know-what-to-make-of-you rituals. Also, vertical space in a cat’s world is apparently kind of a big deal, and you can never have too much of it. And so, after many months of resisting the urge to get a cat tree, I delved further into crazy cat lady territory and got a cat tree.

I ordered it (plus some food, some Feliway refills, and a home agility kit) from – with whom have no affiliation. However, they impressed the heck out of me with their low prices and super fast free delivery. Ollie was impressed, too.


Did  you see???? Santa came!!!

The tree house building project was perhaps a little more extensive than I anticipated, but easy enough, if not just a little bit difficult to seamlessly integrate into our existing decor. And I had a helper…though I use the term helper very liberally in this scenario.



More to come on how use of the tree transpires in the near future, and if Meeko will at long last come out of the laundry room. For now, he won’t stop purring about his new lodgings, so I’m going to go ahead and call it a savvy investment.





Author: faithtrustnpups

Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups is a combination blog for animal welfare, humane education/positive training, recognizing the beautiful bond that exists between pets and their people, and other fun stuff. I share information about adoptable pets in the DC metro area, promote animal rescue and resources to support adopters and fosters, and share stories and lessons related to the dogs I care for. Much of my writing is for especially my "foster failure" with some specific fear-based issues. In an effort to help understand often wonderful, sometimes challenging dogs like him better, I learn to understand myself. Together, we share our stories, and walk together, leash in hand, and in building faith and trust within one another and within ourselves.

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