Photo taken today, July 6, 2014
Charlotte came to be with us 60 days ago. While walking through the local big-box pet store to purchase cat food for Lucy, my 16 y/o Russian Blue, I strolled by the cat house. The store has a giant room with cubes for about 8 cats. They are large enough to have a sitting area that they can perch on top of another smaller cube giving the cat somewhere to go higher, a eating space and a small litter tray. We normally divert to look at and see who is new in the cat zoo.
As I rounded the end of an aisle to visit with the cats – which I do at least bi-monthly – I saw, perched up high on a cube this gorgeous cat who was looking directly at me as if to say: “It’s about time you showed up Mom!” She had me with that face.
Oh and her name at this point was, wait for it….Chiffon. Eek! Chiffffffffon. Ah, “no her name is Charlotte” I say out loud to no one. (I will even put that on her adoption papers to the displeasure of the CAT volunteer…and I get a reprimand for my trouble. Jeez….no wonder she wanted me…the only sensible human out there.)
That day, cats that normally are priced out at $85 were going to be $25 – a Mother’s Day special. The CAT team, ensures each cat is spayed/neutered, all shots are up-to-date, wormed, micro-chipped and de-fleaed. In other words, you get a healthy cat.
I had to talk this one over with my spouse. Our Lucy had been the lone Queen of the house for about 18 months, since the passing of her sister Lola. I had, previously considered but rejected the idea o adopting another for I did not want to traumatize her by the introduction of a stranger. That day it was totally a different story….we were meant to be together. She had only arrived that morning from a mid-valley humane center. By the end of the afternoon visit, both of us smitten, armed with a cat scratch post, a bag of free dry food and her adoption history we brought her home.
Setting her up in the master bedroom was largely the best choice as it provided her with a place to nest and have her toilet needs vs food feeding stations separate. We didn’t consider that Lucy’s nose would be out of joint – the BED was HER choice of where she spent her lounging hours each day AND night.
They say to keep them separated for 2 weeks…oh, lord. That’s like Forever in my head. Ok, “we’re fast tracking this process” I say….determined. We build a frame with plastic yard net and pieces of wood so there is visible access for the two to see each other. Yeah, a win for the humans, I say.
We did NOT however foresee the escape of said Charlotte two days in. She announced her ability to defy caging when I look up from my family room sofa to see her smug face brimming with pride at the accomplishment. Little did she know Lucy became fully awake and the chase was on. We had to pry her 20 claws out of the carpet after lifting the LR sofa up. No one won that night.
It’s been a slow process….we did not know that Charlotte was most likely abused and additionally most likely chased by dogs. She jumps at shadows, noises and even a hint of being trapped in the open.
But it has also been a joyful time. She has, as we have moved her slowly out of the master bedroom, ventured into the other parts of the house for very, very brief periods. Some she has left on her own, other times being chased by Lucy….neither cat wants to fight, but territory is owned not by the faint of heart.
She has finally allowed me to hold her for brief periods of cuddling and nail clipping. Where she once would struggle, now she submits. She LOVES being brushed….well, when we finally got her-her very own brush. She will come and paw me when she wants to be fed. She strolls ahead, stops and looks up to make sure I am following her and then mews in a tiny, kitten-like voice. She sits in the window and watches the world. She has gained weight and the fur that had been shaved, for reasons unknown but well imagined, has started to grown back. She has grown larger.
We are still feeding them in separate rooms. But they share a common litter box. We see this as all good. It takes time to create a family…we know that in time, while they make not be the best of buds…they will need to tolerate each other because at some point house living will transition to living in our 5th wheel for 6 months of the year. Soon girls, very soon….so my advice “get over yourselves and pull up your big girl britches.”
I have taken time away from my blog to work on a novel. I’ll be back here every now and again, thank you for your visit.