Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simon and River

The cats formerly known as Hercules and Medusa have gotten their new names. Since they're brother and sister, and the older (apparently) brother is the brave one who takes care of his younger, more timid, and somewhat eccentric sister (she likes to crawl under the blankets on the bed and sleep as a lump in the bed completely enclosed), they've been renamed Simon and River. Which means Socks can also be called Jayne, I suppose.

So far, Simon and River are continuing to consider the back half of the house theirs. They are bunked down in the game room, but we put up a gate that keeps Socks out in the hall, so the master bedroom is also within their safe zone, and they spend as much time there. I had to reorganize my Legos to keep Simon from knocking the bins down, in fact. River sleeps in (not on) the bed, and both of them sleep under it.

Meanwhile, Socks spends much of her time in the other half of the house occasionally whining for a chance to meet and play with them. I have no doubt whatsoever she has no ill intent beyond play, and while she might be a little rougher (due to her size) than they'd like, she would not hurt them. (She plays with frogs when we go for our walks, and when she manages to get one in her mouth before I can stop her, she doesn't even hurt them. They hop out, terrified, and she stares them down until I can get her away, but they're never hurt.) Plus once they do play, a few swats on the nose, plus some familiarity, will calm her down enough to make them comfortable with her. (They'll always need a way to escape, of course, but that's why we built them one.)

However, she's so eager, and loud about it, and big, that they're scared to approach. So they're in a sort of deadlock that is eroding very, very slowly. Being denied access to them isn't making her calm down about wanting to see them, so she's almost as overexcited as the first day; and they're getting braver and braver, but still almost as shy of her as the first day. We've taken a few big strides in this regard by getting out her crate, having her spend some time in it, and thus allowing Simon's natural curiosity to bring him to where he can see her where she can't menace him. He's come out to stare at her a few times and even gotten pretty close. (Plus Siobhan brought him close a couple of times, and has the scratches to prove it.)

When we look back on this time from a year from now it'll all seem like a minor interlude that went precisely how it should, and this is indeed how it always goes, but right now it's nerve-wracking. Socks's whining, having to lug my sore knee over a gateway blocking the hall all the time, the loss of sleep from all the interruptions of animals, having minimal access to the game room, the time I have to spend on managing all this, and a general lack of exposure to the kitties that makes them feel like they're not fully members of the family yet, are all things I'd like to see over soon. (Plus there's the big expenses that go with getting animals that keep tugging on our strained budget.)

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