I'm ready to come in, now!

Sasha is our newest kitty, but we’ve actually had her for almost a year. We adopted Sasha, a young brown, white and black domestic short hair, last August after her family moved back to the states but couldn’t take her with them. She is our 4th kitty and I thought she would settle in quickly with the other three, who are all rescues. Our third kitty, Nutmeg, came about a year or even two after we got our first two and she was happily prowling about annoying the two boy kitties in no time.

In the run up to Sashas arrival I read a lot about introducing new cats to a home, but found a lot of the methods to be over the top, and had no intention of confining any of my cats to a room by themselves for days, especially as we hadn’t done this for Nutmeg and had noticed no problems. I had planned to confine Sasha to the living room for the first day or so and then introduce the other kitties, but when her family dropped her off I could see they were apprehensive about leaving her, so I thought I should introduce the other kitties while they were so they could meet them and see that Sasha would be ok. This was probably a mistake. She freaked, and spent two days hiding behind the couches. Then she spent two weeks alternating between hiding underneath beds, and under the cupboards in the kitchen. Eventually she graduated to hiding on top of the kitchen cupboards, and she spent months there. Which, turned out to be helpful as she dispatched an entire colony of mice who moved in behind the cupboards during that time. She was far from affectionate and would only let me touch her, hissing and growling at everyone else who went near her. She would not use the litter trays, and also does not care for a drinking bowl, so needed to have taps left on for her to drink from. She would not go near the other cats, and alternated between hissing at or running away from our other female.

I have to admit that although she was eating and drinking and had made some progress, I was a bit worried. So, when we took her along to the vet for a normal checkup and mentioned that she didn’t seem to be acclimatising well. The vet told us her behaviour was completely normal and said to give her six more months.

We took her home and well, she settled into a routine. Spending most of her time on top of the kitchen cupboards,keeping an eye on things. Occasionally she’d appear upstairs and eventually there’d be times when I’d look up and see her lounging in my closet, or she’d hop up on the bed and nuzzle me! She still did not want to be picked up, or really even petted, but I could see she was getting there.

Eventually she’d hop down from the cupboards and tentatively step out into the backyard if the door was open. I tried to encourage her, but also keeping close to her, in case she decided to bolt. I could see she wanted to be outside, but was very much afraid and often she’d only spend a minute or two outside before rushing back in. The top of the cupboards was her space, but she never ventured into the living room, ever. If we brought her in, she’d bolt for the kitchen. She was much happier upstairs though and if she wasn’t on top of the cupboards, you could find her in my room, and eventually in one of the other rooms, sunning herself on a windowsill. She finally and thankfully began to use the litter trays with reliability.

One day, a few months ago, Sasha appeared on the living room coffee table, just like that. We stared in amazement, as there was another cat on the table at the time and she didn’t even like being in the same room with another one of the cats! She wasn’t bothered in the slightest. She began to go outside all the time, and loves nothing more than sunning herself in the tall grass in the yard, occasionally batting it with her paws, or stalking various insects. She comes and goes through the windows and doors quite happily. I no longer had to coax her into the kitchen to have a treat with the others, she dashed in when called. She began to happily share a food bowl with the other cats, even the female. It seemed that overnight Sasha had finally decided to accept us as her new family.

Nowadays she can be found happily stalking hover flies in the garden, napping in the flower bed or lounging next to me on the computer desk, occasionally dipping her paw into a small mug of milk and then licking it clean. She loves milk. She can even be found sleeping snuggled up next to my oldest son, whom she hated more than even the other cats in the first 9 months, he happily returned the venom but I preached patience and so he tried not to be to annoyed with her when she took a swipe at him. The other day she spent the night with him, happily rolling over and going back to sleep each time he needed to pick her up and move her over to accommodate his poor broken leg.

She is a changed kitty and I happily thanked the vet for giving me that 6 month window to work in when we saw him a few weeks ago. A stark difference to the visit many months ago, she made no attempt to bite him, did not once hiss, and was happy to let me pull her out of carrier for the quick shot he needed to give her.

We loved her from the beginning of course, and are so happy she has apparently decided to love us as well. Welcome to our family, Sasha.



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