06/17/2010 at 05:59 PM EDT
Moving in with a boyfriend is a huge step. But for Dancing with the Stars
judge Carrie Ann Inaba, not only did the move involve two people – but five cats. With three rescue cats of her own, and two coming with her boyfriend Jesse Sloan, Inaba knew there would likely be some major kitty drama in her home. So she decided to stop the problem before it started, calling on veterinarian Dr. Katrina Warren and Purina Cat Chow's Housecat Housecall
"I'm lucky, I don't have crazy problems," Inaba
tells PEOPLEPets.com of her fuzzy felines. "But I was concerned about our two alpha males getting along."
Before they moved in together, Inaba brought her kitties to Sloan's house so that his cats could feel they were in a position of power. "Then when they moved into my house, they felt they knew my cats already, so it wasn't so traumatic," Inaba explains.
Warren had the couple purchase a cat tree for Sloan's 8-year-old male cat Zeus, to prevent any power struggles. Putting the cats on a schedule – for feeding, playing and letting them out in the cat-proofed backyard – helped settle them down too. "Now they all sleep through the night," Inaba says.
She was also sure to get each cat its own litter box and feeder, to create personal space, but now all the cats seem to be shifting into each other's spots. "It's good, though," Inaba shares. "I feel like they're really getting along."
The mellow vibe was especially important to Inaba, not only for her relationship, but for her cats' well-being. Her youngest cat, Taz – whom Inaba literally rescued from under the tires of a semi-truck in L.A. – had to have his tail amputated several years ago after an accident. "They happened to find out one of his kidneys was damaged," she explains. "He's had two surgeries since then, and now has a stint, so we have to give him water through a tube three times a day."
Because of Taz's fragile condition, Inaba and Sloan can't take joint vacations or leave the house together for extended periods of time. "It sounds terrible, but I have to say he's doing amazingly well. You'd never guess anything is going on with him. And he's worth it."
Inaba's other cats also came into her life in unusual ways. Her 19-year-old male Shadow
literally walked into her door – and never left. "I'm glad he didn't," she says. "He's amazing, and has been with me longer than any boyfriend or friend."
Squeaker, a female, was found in a shelter. "I'd recently lost a cat, so I went to a shelter and saw this perfect gray furry kitten," she recalls. "Behind him, though was this disheveled mess with an extra toe. So I said, 'I'm going to get her!' "
Even with five cats now, including Sloan's 4-year-old feline Mia, "I'd consider getting another," she says, "if there was one that needed me. But I feel pretty lucky with the ones I've got." See Inaba and Sloan on Purina Cat Chow's Housecat Housecall this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET on Animal Planet. Catch the show Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m.Read about more Dancing with the Stars dogs and cats on PEOPLEPets.com:Maksim Chmerkovskiy Has Fallen in Love – with His New Puppy!Melissa Rycroft's Dog Riley May Be Her Honorary Bridesmaid!