Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The New Girl

Back when it was still cold, we went to see about a little cat. It had not been long since we had said good-bye to our Phae, so it seemed a little soon. And yet, our sweet Teddy was left with no one to play with (our other cat is a snob), and we had gotten used to being a three cat family, and so. We simply did what seemed to make sense. We found out about this little kitty who was needing new people, and Z and I went to have a look at her. She was cute, and we like cute, and so we brought her home. Naturally.

It turned out that she was a bit shy and more than a bit anxious. But it was also clear that she loved human attention, so we stayed the course. Even though she expressed her anxiety a few times by peeing on the sofa. This, I'll admit, was the hardest thing for me to take. It was a point of pride that I had never had cats that didn't know where the litter box was and how to use it. I think this type of situation is exactly what the phrase "pride goes before a fall" refers to.

I did wonder if we'd ruined her life. It became clear that when it said on her profile that she was good with children and could live with other cats, it might not have been exactly true. I pondered if we should find a home for her where she would be an only cat, and there wouldn't be children stomping about. But I didn't want to upend her life again, nor did I want to try to convince Z and E that it was the right and kind thing to do, so I kept trying to help her be a tiny bit less nervous. Even a little.

I started by ordering her supplements. Valerian laced treats and a flower essence blend eased her anxiety and overactive startle reflex. Moving the food and water bowls to a different location made her feel more comfortable eating and drinking. She only peed on the sofa if she her anxiety was triggered and there was a blanked heaped up there, so I made strict rules about leaving blankets heaped up on the sofa. I made note of what disturbed her. I spoke with a cat behaviorist. I was told that, actually, we were doing quite well considering that we were integrating a full grown cat into a busy household with both kids and cats present.

And I fell in love with her. She is really a wonderful little cat. She has a sweet little meow that she uses to try to boss us around. She loves to play with Teddy, and she will come and say hello to the kids if they are being quieter than usual. She comes to sit in whatever room I am sitting in. She begs for treats and pets. She bats away anyone who competes for my attention when it is her turn. She wants to be here. This is her home, and we are now her people.

We have named her Ophelia. This was one of the middle names of our Phae, and it seemed fitting that our new girl, who has the same little forehead spot as Phae, would share part of her name. She answers most to Phee, but also to "Who wants treat-treats?" She is a good little cat, and I'm so very glad she's ours.

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