Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Feline Catch Up

by Karen Rose Smith

With the arrival of veterinary checkup notices for our year-old "kittens," I began reflecting back over the past year.  Last summer, our rescued feline family of  three inside cats and two outside feral visitors had settled into a routine where each member had a role that they were comfortable with.  Zoie Joy (pictured above) was my bedtime companion, usually nestled on a pillow next to me.  Halo and Paddy, our mother-daughter duo, settled in my office each night.  Bonnie and Clyde, our outside brother/sister pair, spent their days outside and came into the basement each evening.

 Then came Zander and Freya!  They were found under a friend's porch and needed a forever home. 


The whole household feline dynamic suddenly changed and each cat once again struggled to determine his/her role in the family.  Halo, a beautiful sleeper who had reluctantly agreed to share the bed with Zoie, now had a third competitor for bed space.  Zander loves cuddling up next to me and nuzzling his head against mine.

Freya, on the other hand, struggled to find her place in the mix.  For some reason, perhaps because of their similarity in color, Zoie often shows her disapproval of her little "sister."  Freya desperately wants to be hugged and loved.  Often that happens in the middle of the kitchen...I simply pick her up and hug and cuddle her.  Slowly she has begun sitting next to me on a dining room chair and having a heart to heart conversation together at least once a day.

I thought Paddy would enjoy someone new to play with.  But she was slow to accept intruders in her domain.  Now there are times of playful banter mixed with some snarls and chasing through the house.  She has her favorite spot in a cat bed in an upstairs bedroom.  The kittens know to stay clear of that space. 

Bonnie and Clyde still enjoy their days roaming the yard, but as they get older seem to be staying closer to the house.  They occasionally hunt in the field and bring us a "present" which they leave in the basement.  Bonnie, in particular, does not like wet weather.  She is a barometer.  We know when she settles in the basement earlier than usual that we are going to have unsettled weather that night.



A year after the arrival of Zander and Freya, things have slowly settled once again into a routine. The kittens are now almost full grown and enjoy extended naps each afternoon and evening.  They also enjoy playtime each night before bed with ping pong balls and play mice.

A large feline family can have its challenges but the joy these cats bring and the smiles that they generate are well worth the extra time they require.  A warm little nose nuzzling against my hand or a paw resting on my arm offer comfort and peace after a long stressful day.


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