Usually we would have left longer after the
passing of Oscar,
our previous cat, before contemplating acquiring new cats, but what with the
strains of Covid Lockdown 3 one of us was feeling the need early and started
monitoring the Cats
Protection website before Christmas. We'd learnt that there were less
cats needing homing currently because of the virus and people being more
homebound and less mobile. But eventually Lily and Minnie appeared, looking cute
and needing homing as a pair. After two long homing phone calls, the second one
involving payment and the ordering of equipment and supplies, delivery was
arranged for this morning. Usually there'd be more visits and we'd need to go
collect the cats, but what with the coronavirus, social distancing and all, the
cats would be left on our doorstep like Amazon parcels, while the driver from
the CPL kept his distance. Which was all fine by us as we don't have a car. We
were told to expect a phone call in the morning telling us when to expect
delivery, but the first we knew the doorbell was ringing around 10.00 and soon
we had two new cats in the house.
Minnie is 5 years old and Lily is 4, they are what CP call a bonded pair,
but are they sisters? We were told that their previous owner had had to give
them up because they could no longer cope with them. Oddly Lily had not been
spayed or microchipped, so CP had had these things done over the Christmas hols.
ordered two new cat carriers from CP as only one of our old ones was complete,
and having them delivered in new carriers meant we didn't have to turf two
probably-scaredy cats out of the CPL's ones to give them back to the driver. As
it transpired Minnie was meowing to be let out as soon as I put the carrier down
and when I opened the grill she was out and exploring all corners and surfaces.
To acclimatise new cats it's advised to keep them in one room for a few days and
then let them roam when they're settled, usually after a few days. We chose the
back room and kitchen extension as it has hard flooring and access to the
kitchen where they'll be fed and to the toilet in the shower room. They would be
using a litter tray, at least initially, you see. We were told that they were
cats who weren't used to a garden whose owner had become unable to cope with
them. Anyway Minnie was, as I say, immediately exploring, using the litter tray,
nibbling a few biscuits, and finding the door to the rest of the house a source
of real fascination. Lily stayed in her carrier, towards the back, peering
through the slots, and later burrowed herself under the towel in there.
We'd ordered some biscuits and a scratching pad and litter tray from CPL, but
they also give us a bumper supply of the toys, towels and mats, and even a cat
bed, which they'd used and so would find reassuring. It's all about scent and
cats not really settling until a place smells of them.
We weren't sure about the cats' names at first, but then I
remembered Minnie Bannister, a character
from The Goon Show, an old and wild radio comedy the joy of which I inherited
from my parents and which I still love. For Lily I suddenly remembered what the
symbol of the city of Florence is. And our niece is called Florence too, which
adds a certain something.
In the afternoon we left then be in the
closed room - Minnie to
maybe settle down a bit without our exciting presence and maybe Lily would
emerge. Later I went and sat on the sofa and
Minnie, who had settled in a box we'd provided came and rubbed around and stood
to be stroked, rather than allowing it in passing, and then lay down next to me
to have a wash. Only much later in the evening did we come back from watching
some telly after eating to find that Lily had come out of her carrier, and gone and hid
behind the sofa. Still: progress!
Minnie continues to explore and Lily
continues to hide. The explorer was given the run of the house, although the
advice is to keep new cats in one room for a few days. She came and did some
rubbing around and falling over and getting tummy rubs while I was doing my
morning V&A course zoom sessions. I even managed a photo or two. She found a
couple of places to settle during the day. In the afternoon I went upstairs for
my siesta, couldn't find her, and when I lay on top of the bed I felt an
odd lump under the duvet, snuggled up against the pillows. And in the evening
she curled up on a comfy chair in the front room with us, soon doing whatever
the cat equivalent of snoring is.
In the evening Lily was at one point found to have quit the space behind the
sofa and to be between the radiator and the table flap, but she later was
found to have returned. As I was putting out biscuits and wrapping up for the
night I thought I might try to lure her out by playing with her with the
feather-on-a-stick toy that the CPL had given us, and it worked! She wasn't
overly keen on the toy, but she did eventually slink out and circle around
behind the table and emerge to sit and stare at me. My first chance to see the
whole cat! She is white and black, I'd say, where Minnie is black and white, and
her black patches remind one of those cows with black patches that look
like maps. She then ate a good deal of biscuits while keeping an eye on me
before limboing into the hollow space under the sofa, where she can stand up,
and calmly washing. I thought I'd achieved enough to leave them in peace, with
hopes for more progress tomorrow.
No new developments during the day, apart from Jane
getting her Covid vaccine jab. Lily remained in hiding and Minnie continued her
very vocal wanderings. She is, to coin a phrase, into everything, and repeated
her miraculous hidden lump under the duvet trick from yesterday.
Then as I was wrapping up thing for bedtime, similar to last night, Lily allowed
herself to be coaxed out, with the help of Minnie encroaching on her space as I
sat on the floor, to make a less looming and threatening aspect, don't you know?
This time she was out for longer, doing more sniffing and exploring, and even
came and sat next to her sister on their carpet and gave her a sniffing and a
licking. They both sat and watched me, then Lily ambled around some more and
guzzled some water. At this point Minnie headed off for some litter-tray action,
which would need dealing with sooner, and so as I gently and experimentally
stood up Lily shot back to her hidey hole. Slow but solid progress methinks.
This was another day of no startling
but with yet another bedtime luring out of Lily and stunning progress made in
her not needing to keep an eye on me the whole time, as she explored and I
patiently sat on the floor, whilst still being attentive to any noises that
might signal my moving closer. She also chanced heading into more distant
corners of the adjoining kitchen and even jumped up onto a chair to sit and
watch me. She also didn't scarper when I discreetly stood up and I was able to
leave with her having a good wash on the sofa, rather than under it. Phew!
In other news, I got a voicemail message in the late afternoon inviting me to
ring back and book a Covid vaccination appointment,
What a day this
turned out to be. I rang the surgery, waited on the phone, from 12th in the
queue, got through, was offered 10.30 this morning, got there 10+ minutes early,
swiftly processed, jab given before 10.30! No change in cats' behaviour at
first, but I did manage a photo of Lily, helped by us pulling the sofa out a
Jane had made an impromptu cat bed out of a cardboard box with a hole cut
in it, and put it out of the way in the non-functioning fireplace. After a
couple of days Minnie had started using it, as she could curl up inside and
still keep an eye on what was going on. And she was in there when I was making
my lunch, but then after lunch I noticed two faces peering out. Lily was out
from behind the sofa, in daylight! They remained snoozing in the box the whole
afternoon. Later she returned to her hideout, when Jane came back from an
afternoon out, but while we were eating nearby she emerged, giving Jane her
first sight of her, ate some biscuits, and got into the box with her sister, where
mutual washing ensued and some powerful purring, which had not so far been heard
What a day! And as I type this I have a reassuring soreness in my arm where I
had the jab.
A day of consolidation, with Lily mostly in
the box bed and Minnie continuing to prowl round and meow. After some afternoon
peace we went out for our 4.00pm constitutional, which after recent dingy days
was surprisingly daylit. It was a longer walk than lately and when we got back
around 5.30 no cats were to be found downstairs! Lily hadn't ventured out of the
kitchen before, and now she'd made it into the passage, up the stairs and was
under my bed!
But unfortunately she was still there when we were going
to bed, the time when we traditionally confine our cats to the kitchen to
guarantee an undisturbed night. Trying to scoop Lily from under the bed resulted
in failure and a very painfully clawed, bleeding and bitten wrist. So we had to
leave her there and Minnie roaming. Minnie likes to wander the house and howl,
and when she did this enough at around 1.30 to make me turn my light on and
search for the earplugs I checked and found that Lily was no longer under the
bed. I eventually found her in the front room, which was reassuringly
exploratory of her, and after she scarpered back to the kitchen and the back of
the sofa Minnie joined us and I was able to shut them in and a full night's
sleep was had by all.
This morning I licked my wounds and we
reviewed our cat confinement and freedom of movement options, to prevent a
repeat of last night's trauma and bloodshed. What a week! But today was a day of
consolidation rather than progress.
This morning, after yesterday's lack of
progress, saw Jane, up first for breakfast, sitting in the kitchen whilst Lily
wandered and explored for ages, and was even heard to make chirping noises. The
photos are the proof! She made an unexpected appearance in the evening too, at
one stage just sitting and purring, then...
saw more random surprise outings from the bed box
just for the exploratory fun of it. And then on
she was out first thing for breakfast
biscuits and then suddenly strolled out of the kitchen along the passage,
explored the hall and front room, and continued to do so as we sat in the front
room eating our breakfasts with our mouths open in amazement. She ventured up
the stairs a bit too, and as we sat on the sofa would approach us, if still
warily, but this is such
an improvement on always scarpering away. Such a sudden increase in bravery was
very cheering and brightened up an otherwise dark and cloudy morning. It
continued through the day and in the evening Lily even joined Minnie on her
armchair for some mutual grooming, purring and relaxation.
Lily is emerging more, and is looking to be cat
who loves to chase reflections, Minnie seems to have a thing for finding and
dragging odd things around, her current favourites being tissues out of the bin,
and elastic bands.
Saturday 23rd to Wednesday 27th
The photo below was taken Friday night and on
Lily sat and watched us go about our business from the chair and sofa in the
but not run-and-hidely, several times. This culminated in her watching us eat
dinner lying on the sofa, even as we walked back and forth, even seeming to
casually snooze, and then both of us managed, separately, to stroke her. Amazing!
And this set the pattern for her increased bravery and exploration in the