Since I haven't been working for the last month, (Well, I haven't been doing PAID work, I've been busy demolishing and rebuilding the interiors of our tiny closets so that we have a little more usable space), I've spent a little time every day trying to desensitize Ray to the cats. It doesn't work. Ray can smell those fuzzy, scurrying things and he wants to play with them.
Moonie, the less nervous of our two cats, is not as afraid of Ray as Hugo is. When I let Ray into the cat room, Moonie knows that if she stays still, Ray ignores her for some reason. So still she stays. Ray will sniff and sniff, getting closer and closer to a crouching Moonie and she will not move. Last week, she was crouching on the bedside table. Ray's head was inches from her and she never moved. I put my hand on his collar and spoke soothingly, Ray stayed still, sniffing, just a few short inches from Moonie, until he just couldn't stand it anymore. He opened his mouth to see what the smell would feel like. I quickly and energetically discouraged him. Moonie never moved.
Hugo the Nervous, on the other hand, growls and hisses the minute Ray enters the room, and if Ray gets too near, becomes a whirling dervish of swiping claws. He moves so fast that I only see a black blur as he tries to hit Ray and then retreats. I've only ever heard him connect once, a glancing blow that didn't do much to deter Ray.
Moonie still comes down at night to watch TV with us. Hugo will nervously come down during dinner, if he smells something that he's interested in eating, but will usually go back upstairs after the meal depending on where Ray is sleeping. If Ray is sleeping upstairs, Hugo will pace a bit, settle down for bit, but the minute he hears the faint jingle of dogtags, he's off like a shot.
But I persist in trying to bring the animals together. I miss my cats.
On a side note, Hugo has learned the commands 'sit' and 'stay.' When he wants to come downstairs and go out the front door, I will lead Ray a couple of feet away, tell him to 'sit' and 'stay,' then hold the door open for Hugo. Depending on how brave he is feeling on any particular day, Hugo will either nervously dash down the stairs and out the door, or casually saunter by Ray, pausing for a brief sit-down to thumb his nose at the dog, before continuing on to the door. Undoubtedly, Hugo knows that when I say the magic words he is safe to do as he pleases.