Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May I have a turn?

Adjustment is happening more quickly than we anticipated!

On Lily's side, we've got unprecedented attention-seeking behavior -- she's leaving her suite of her own accord, looking for people to be near. Granted, once she's downstairs in the living room, she heads straight for the corner behind the end table next to the couch where she snoozes most of the time she's "out," but she's clearly happier to be in the space we primarily occupy.

I gave Lily some lap time on a recent afternoon while Meow Meow watched quietly from the stair landing. Out of curiosity, I called Meow Meow to me -- she still answers readily to her name -- and was encouraged when she padded over a little uncertainly ...

... and peeked up at this:

Meow Meow hopped up onto the couch as usual, at which point Lily opened her eyes and made her displeasure known. Meow Meow hissed back and then jumped down. Okay, I thought, that's to be expected.

Instead of retreating to the stair landing, though, here's where she stayed:

Yeah, Meow Meow totally knows how to work those eyes. I hated to deny her the cuddles I knew she wanted, but it's all toward more peaceful kitty coexistence. And I'd say we're making progress ...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Somebody's not willing to share

Back when we were testing out the whole simultaneous feeding thing (with a baby gate between the two cats), Meow Meow consistently expressed her disapproval of Lily's presence whenever they happened to see each other. There was hissing, growling, even howling. Lily would hiss back and, occasionally, when Meow Meow got too sassy, whack the gate a good one with her paw. So we thought it best to keep the girls separated.

But we felt bad that Lily wasn't getting a lot of time outside of her suite, so at the beginning of this week (after three months of having Lily in our care), we started bringing her downstairs. We figured with two people around to watch the cats, we could head off any conflict. In general, Meow Meow seemed to be all hisses without threats of a physical nature, so we thought it would be worth trying the two girls out in a larger environment.

On the first morning, Meow Meow sat on the landing of the stairs and fixed Lily with a wary eye. Lily returned the favor from below but hung out for a while and then scooted past Meow Meow to go back to her room. There were mutual hisses, but nothing more.

On the second and third mornings, much of the same ensued. This seemed encouraging. Meow Meow wasn't chasing Lily; Lily seemed more confident in the new space.

On the evening of the third day, we brought Lily down after dinner and let her sit on one of the kitchen chairs while we were cleaning up after our meal. Meow Meow took her usual spot on the stair landing.

A few minutes after I started clearing the table, Meow Meow wandered into the kitchen. Mind you, she's a pretty mellow, trusting cat, so the last thing she expected to find was another kitty perched overhead. She was only a foot from Lily when Lily bared her teeth and startled Meow Meow out of one of her nine lives.

Meow Meow ran. And to our thorough surprise, Lily gave chase. In an instant, she had Meow Meow cornered on the stair landing, howling in terror. Time for a kitty time-out, we thought.

Back in her room, Lily protested at full volume, so after about ten minutes, we opened the door, figuring she'd just stay upstairs as usual -- she'd had to be carried down each day before.

Dieter wasn't even halfway down the upper hall before Lily was on his heels, heading back to the living room as if she owned the place.

This isn't quite what we'd had in mind, but I think, with some adjustment and careful observation on our part, the kitties may eventually tolerate each other. (Who knew all it would take was another cat to motivate Lily to lose her reservations?)

Monday, May 16, 2011

The sweetest kind of welcome

I worried that Lily might not remember her suite when we brought her back home from the SHS after our trip, but I had no reason to fear. Within a few hours of her return, she'd settled into her old digs. (I imagine the catnip pillow warming in the sun didn't hinder the adjustment.)

I also wondered if she'd remember us. We'd had Lily in our care for about two and a half months, but given her initial timid response to our visits when she first moved in, I anticipated the possibility that she'd be cautious of us again after a week in a totally different location, away from our smells.

So once Lily had had the chance to get comfortable on her own, I sat down in my usual spot in her room and waited. She approached right away ...

... and all was well.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Where's Lily?

We had to leave town for a week so I could defend my thesis, so Lily has been safe in the hands of the folks at the SHS. I'll be picking her up tomorrow.

Lily's been delighted with the extra room we've opened to her now that we've added a little fortress stocked with creature comforts. It may not look like much, but it seems to make her feel more secure in that space, even though she doesn't actually spend a lot of time within the kennel. (She goes inside to nibble her kibble and sits on top to groom.) When we'd walk into the room before its addition, Lily would bolt, but now she comes over and waits for us to kneel down so she can get head scritches.

Snacks, snuggly towels, and a homemade catnip pillow ...

... and a sunning deck with a window view.

Whatever you need, Lily. We can't wait to have you back!
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