I mentioned in an earlier post that it’s been such a hectic autumn that I’ve dropped the ball on blogging pretty much entirely. Case in point? I wrote this in early October and clean forgot to publish it! So hey, here’s something really amazing that happened two months ago:
We’ve been talking about getting another cat for so long that I can’t even remember when we started talking about it. Maybe a year or so? It was always idle chatter, but Beloved and the boys would visit the kitties available for adoption every time they went out to get cat food for Willie, and sometimes just for something to do. At one point in the late spring, I started poking through the Ottawa Humane Society’s list of cats up for adoption and then following a couple of local cat rescue groups on Facebook.
We had two cats and a dog once upon a time, and it never seemed like a lot more work than one dog and one cat. Willie’s a lovely boy, but he’s not much interested in people, aside from Tristan. He sleeps with Tristan, purrs when Tristan pets him, and pretty much seems to tolerate the rest of us. Except the dog. He really does not like the dog and has chosen to live downstairs in the boys’ bedrooms and the basement to avoid her. And possibly to avoid me, as I’m quite sure Willie can smell the fact that I’m a dog person at heart and holds it against me.
We knew we wanted a female cat, so Willie wouldn’t be too traumatized by the introduction of a stranger into the house. She had to be old enough to be able to deal with Bella’s exuberance, but young enough that Willie didn’t see her as too much of a threat. We figured four to eight months would be a good age. And she had to be people-oriented. The last thing we wanted was two anti-social cats living in the basement!
During the summer, I saw a post about a litter of kittens that had been born at a shelter and were looking for homes. Louisa was a dark tortie, Sophia was a dilute tortie, and Kurt was a buff tabby. Kurt was skittish and not interested in visiting with us at all, but Louisa was calm and Sophia was playful. The boys nicknamed them “Cuddler” and “Motorboat” for Sophia’s outrageously loud purr every time you touched her. As we drove home, though, I worried. The kittens at 12 or so weeks old were so little, and so delicate, and Bella likes to chase things. I think the main reason Willie chooses to stay downstairs is because Bella so badly wants to play with him. I worried all night about what might happen with such tiny kittens. In the end, I told the cat rescue owner that we simply weren’t comfortable taking the risk.
Weeks went by. The kids went back to school. I kept watching the cats and kittens available for adoption, skimming their biographies to see if they were young, but not too young, good with kids and dogs, and not too skittish. About six weeks after we went to visit them the first time, the cat rescue page posted that skittish Kurt had been adopted, but that Louisa and Sophia had been moved to a different foster and were still waiting to be adopted. They were no longer the fragile babies we had seen, but sleek adolescents. We reached out again, and found out that cuddler Louisa had been adopted that very day, but spunky Sophia was still waiting for her forever home. We couldn’t resist a second time, and she came home to live with us this week.
Say hi to Sophia. Erm, I mean, “Lucy”!
That face, though!
We needn’t have worried about integrating the dog with the new kitten. We blocked off the kitchen with baby gates to give Sophia/Lucy a safe place to have her food and litter and bed for the first little while, but she chose to creep around the house checking things out. It didn’t take long for them to come face to face.
Bella was curious but reasonably calm, probably because the cat was reasonably calm as well. At one point, Bella got a little too in Lucy’s face and Lucy let out a giant hiss and spit that scared Bella so badly that she wouldn’t even look at the cat for the rest of the evening, and that was it. If Lucy thinks Bella is too close, she pulls the arched-back angry-cat pose and Bella runs away like she’s been poked with a cattle prod. We laughed until we had tears running down our faces at how quickly little Lucy showed Bella who was in charge.
It didn’t take long for this to happen in my lap.
Bella still isn’t sure what to make of Lucy. She’ll go out of her way to walk the long way around her most of the time, and she hasn’t reacted when Lucy gets kitten-brain and charges across the room at her. We’re trying to go more slowly with Willie, but they’ve seen each other on opposite sides of a baby gate and Willie seemed more perplexed than alarmed.
So that was October. Shortly after I wrote (and promptly forgot to publish) this, Lucy realized that she could hide out downstairs with Willie and not have to deal with an idiotically exuberant dog that lurched at her playfully every time she saw her. The photos above were the last time Lucy lounged in the living room with us. We decided that we were not going to live in a house divided any longer, and after almost four years of keeping the dog out of the basement we removed the baby gate between the floors. Willie still only comes upstairs if Bella is in her crate, and while Bella stays more or less upstairs, when she does venture downstairs the cats hide under furniture and on high shelves. Lucy prefers to avoid the dog, but does come upstairs regularly if the dog is calm. We’re not exactly fully integrated, but I should have given the pets more credit and removed the gate years ago.
Just last night I was awoken by Lucy creeping around my pillow, her motorboat engine fully engaged. She’s not quite the lap cat I had hoped for (yet), but she’s a lovely girl who loves to be petted and have her belly scratched. She’s quirky and curious, and we’re all wondering what adventures await us when the Christmas tree makes its miraculous appearance in the living room next week. Stay tuned for more adventures with Lucy!