The kittens are settling in well with us – I can’t believe they have already been with us for a month. Like any new family, adjustments have had to be made by all of us. Initially we could hardly touch the little ones, as they were so poorly socialised in their first home but they have come on in leaps and bounds (quite literally sometimes – those cats can jump!) We started by playing with them using toys such as fishing rods and scrunchie balls, toys that meant we didn’t need to get too close to them. Slowly, they came closer and closer until we could start to stroke them (when they felt like it of course). The first time we heard them purr and felt them rub against us to accept and ask for our affection was a huge triumph for everyone. A month in and Brave Kitten particularly loves her morning cuddle on the bed, not touching her breakfast until she has been to say hello and have a fuss. Mad Kitten is more wary but amazed us the other night by climbing on my knee and going to sleep. She stayed for a while and then, as if she suddenly realised where she was, she jumped off, glaring back at me as if to say “How did I end up there? It must be your fault …”
The Calamity Cat, as we expected, has found it all quite trying. As the kittens have grown in confidence, they have spread out and occupied the whole house, including the fireside and Calamity’s favourite bed. Firmly on Team Calamity, I was upset to see her stressed and retreating from her usual spaces and routines. We did our best to defend her blanket and radiator bed but ultimately she had to learn to stand up for herself. After a couple of weeks of spitting and growling but giving ground at the same time, she decided enough was enough. The spitting turned to the odd swipe if they came too close and the growling got louder and more determined. One day, when they were elsewhere, she reclaimed her bed and they have agreed a truce where the fire is concerned – most of the time anyway! As she learned to deal with the little ones, my stress levels have returned to normal too and I have started to build a closer rapport with the newcomers.
Having come from a large multi-cat household, they are bemused by Calamity’s reaction and are desperate to be friends with her. Brave Kitten regularly tries to greet her by sniffing noses and we were delighted the other day when Calamity actually initiated the contact. She growled at her a few minutes later but it is definitely progress. She has a harder time with Mad Kitten who, as her name suggests, doesn’t have any boundaries – or common sense. She hurtles around the house, pouncing on anything that moves (and some things that don’t) and she sees Calamity as fair game. She has tried to play with her several times, all with the same understandable reaction – spits and growls. However, as you can see, once the Mad Kitten takes a break from being mad, Calamity is much more relaxed around her.
However, things are improving every day as we are all starting to get to know each other and learn how to share our home. We spend our evenings together, Calamity on the sofa with us and the kittens on the cat bed or on the rug. We have developed routines to make sure that Calamity has some peace to eat and sleep and that the kittens have time to play and work off their boundless energy. They still love their scrunchie balls and we only have to pick one up for Mad Kitten to shoot to the bottom of the stairs so that we can throw it for her. We spend hours each day with them running up and downstairs after the balls, occasionally picking them up and running off with them to play somewhere more private – a hangover we think from their previous life where toys and food were probably taken from them by bigger cats.
Even as we get used to being a 3-cat household, we can still feel the presence of the Princess in our family. Brave Kitten particularly reminds me of her, in the way she hunts her toys and enjoys her biscuits. Mad Kitten drags herself along the sofa in just the way she did. And when they chase each other around the house, they remind me of years gone by when, although much older, the Princess used to chase the Calamity Cat up and down the stairs as if they were kittens. I am sure she is still with us and enjoying the antics of the little ones, whispering mischief into their willing ears. Most importantly, the Calamity Cat doesn’t seem to miss her sister as much, no longer crying for us in the night and so, while she may not be totally happy with her new “sisters”, we do feel that our blended family is a success.