My husband and I adopted Simon, our black-and-white furry baby in 2006. He's been a challenge (anxiety issues, pee/poop issues) but he's an integral part of our family and I'd never be without him. He's part Siamese for sure: very intelligent, VERY attached to my husband and myself, and occasionally moody. Generally a snuggle-monster, and loves to be held. We were sure we'd be a one-cat family so long as Simon is around - he just has that kind of personality. But then came Penny...
My husband and I were having a beer on the veranda late one Saturday night last August when we heard a cat crying in our neighbour's yard. There she was: a skinny orange tabby, maybe 5 pounds and 6 months old. She was friendly and sweet, really talkative, no collar or tattoo. My husband was sure she must belong to a family nearby, that she was just out for some playtime before her family called her in. (We live in a neighbourhood where there are lots of neighbourhood kitties who hang-out outdoors, all fixed and tagged, so they're allowed to socialize... it's not unusual to walk to the organic market and over a 1/2-mile walk meet 4 or 5 cats out for walks on their own.) So we left her outside. My husband went in, but I stayed out and I watched her follow an old woman shuffling down the street to the next block, the woman shoo-ing her away every other step. I went in, sad. 5 minutes later we heard kitty-crying in our back lane; she was on our shed. In the meantime my husband was checking Kijiji and our local lost cat alert FB page. I convinced him to let us take her into the basement and feed her for the night, that we'd find her family or take her to the local no-kill shelter in the morning. It was going to be cold and rainy that night, and I pouted as best I could, and he agreed.
She was HUNGRY. And thirsty. And skinny. And cold. And the sweetest, prettiest thing I'd seen on 4 legs. And of course she won my heart immediately. We kept level heads, my husband and I, sure that there was a family missing her. If not, we knew we'd have to bring her to a shelter or find her a new home because NO WAY would Simon ever allow her in the house. We posted her picture and details on every lost cat internet billboard we could think of and called all the no-kill shelters in the city to report her found and find a place for her (with no luck) and a few vet offices in the neighbourhood. We finally called the Wpg Humane Society to file a found-cat report. Our humane society is almost always at it's capacity and euthanizes almost 3000 (accounts to just over half) of the cats it acquires each year (for various reasons). We didn't even discuss it - we both knew we wouldn't be taking her there. As adoptable as she is, we wouldn't have her take the place of another cat just to bump him/her to death-row. We told the WHS that we'd foster her for as long as possible until her family was found, then re-home her if we had to. They informed us that we had 30 days to make "reasonable efforts" to find her family, then we were within our rights to adopt her or re-home her. Having called her "Kitty" for 2 days, we decided to name her just for sanity's sake. We thought Lucky Penny was a very appropriate name, given her copper colour and her situation.
And so it began...
The following Monday we brought Penny to our vet to have her checked-out, de-wormed and vaccinated. A week later (after 4 nights of howling like a banshee) we had her spayed and tattooed. A week had passed and it started looking more and more like she had been dumped on our block, cuz nobody was looking for her. We gave her a week to recover from surgery, then we started introducing her to Simon. (My husband has introduced new cats to family cats several times, whereas Simon is my first cat.) We agreed on a 4-month trial period to try to integrate the two, and if that failed we'd re-home her ourselves. I'll spare you most of the details of that challenging first 6-week period, but I'll tell you I've never been so stressed-out in my life. As time went on, things looked more promising day by day, but almost every supervised together-time ended with Simon suddenly chasing Penny into a corner and full-on attacking her.
My husband and I had planned a 2-week trip to Mexico in September; my mother lived in our house to take care of Simon and we put Penny up in a five-star kitty hotel http://www.catscradlekennel.ca/
. We had to re-start introductions when we returned. I'll be the first to tell you that I was the problem: I'd get so anxious and upset during Simon & Penny's 1-2 hour supervised together-time, they'd sense it and Simon would start to get antsy and I'd put Penny back in her safe room immediately, completely interrupting whatever progress we were making. I was constantly upset, whether they were together or not. After a week of work after we got home, I had 6 straight days off. On day one I had decided I'd had enough and that this was going to work. I gave them some tunafish for breakfast (they ate it off the same plate) and said "that's it, it's Thunderdome" and turned my head. I was in the kitchen baking a cake and chatting with them; they sat peacefully in the kitchen and watched and listened to me for 2 hours while I cooked and cleaned. That whole week I stayed home with them, and they were out together from breakfast till bedtime with only occasional spats. A week later she was out overnight and all day while we were home, and a week after that we started leaving her out in the house while we were gone to work.
It's been just over 6 months now. I dare say Simon and Penny are becoming friends. They still have occasional spats, but generally they coexist quite peacefully. They touch noses every morning and a few times throughout the day. (A greeting? I don't know.) They eat next to eachother every meal. They'll both find room to roost on me when I'm lying in bed or on the couch. He'll come over to her out of the blue to groom her (which usually preceeds him nipping her). I have a feeling that in about 6 months I'll start finding them curled-up next to eachother. She's the absolute sweetest cat I've ever met, LOVES cuddles and snuggles, still a bit skittish but I think that comes with her age and she's already calming down with time. She follows me everywhere. She waits for me at the top of the stairs when it's bedtime. And she TALKS. Oh mah gah she's a chatterbox!
Okay, so this turned out to be a MUCH longer story than I had originally intended. Anyway, meet our lucky Penny (aka: Penny-loafer, Penn-zo, Ginger-muffin, Ginger-beep, Sammich).PENNY001
by Life in the Granola BeltSIMONPENNY001
by Life in the Granola Belt