Sorry, but this one has nothing to do with writing or reading; if you’re not into cats, I apologize for wasting your time.
We have an almost 2 year old female cat whom we’d adopted from a rescue agency through a sponsoring pet store. Nyxie’s been amazing — playful let laid back, loving yet independent, calm yet mischievous. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that she was either lonely or bored. Maybe I was projecting — heaven knows, as a writer, I make up emotional responses far more than is probably healthy for me — but because I work from home, I observed her a lot, and I really thought she was bored.
About a week ago, a friend posted on Facebook about the last kitten of a litter that had been rescued (the pregnant mother cat had been abandoned – nice, right?), and would anyone be willing to take this little boy cat? My husband and I talked about it, and we agreed: we’d take him. He needed a home (the family that rescued him already had 4 cats; all they could do was foster the kittens until they were adopted); Nyxie needed a playmate. My sons were excited; they were staying with their grandmother for a week, so this was the perfect time to get the kitten and let him and Nyxie get used to each other.
I traveled nearly an hour yesterday to get the kitten. He’d been staying in a barn room — big enough, but still a closed space — and was desperate for attention. I traveled an hour back with him (with him meowing the entire way — healthy lungs!) to the vet, where he got a clean bill of health (other than ear mites, which we took care of), and because he was (based on his weight) closer to 16 weeks than the 12 I’d been told as a rough estimate, he also got his first round of vaccinations. He’ll get neutered when he’s six months old.
And then I brought him home. I brought him right up to my home office (after pausing, with him in the carrier, for me to scritch Nyxie behind her ears) and showed him the litterbox, etc. I kept him in my office with the door closed for an hour. During this time I also snuck out to hang with Nyxie for a bit. And then, after an hour, the Big Meet happened as the kitten explored the house.
It didn’t go well.
Nyxie didn’t just growl; she hissed, growled, snarled and, I think, spat. This was in my office, with Nyxie on my window sill staring daggers at the kitten who was in my desk tower area (my desk is old enough to remember the days of tower-like computers). I don’t know how long I kept it going – 30 minutes? and then I finally scooped Nyxie up and took her downstairs, closing the boy in my office. He cried; she calmed. When my husband came home from work, he hung out with Nyxie for a bit, then met the kitten, and then we let the boy explore the house again. Nyxie was grossly unhappy. And more than that: she was scared. That became all too clear when she pooped when my husband picked her up; she’d been hiding in his home office.
The kitten spent the night in my home office while Nyxie had the run of the house. This morning I spent time with Nyxie before saying good morning to the kitten and letting him out. He’s extremely vocal, meowing quite often, and Nyxie has retreated to the downstairs bathroom. She refuses to come out. I wound up putting her food and water in there with her and opening the window for her; I also put a litterbox in there for her. The kitten is hanging out up here in my home office with me as I type this. God only knows how it’s going to go today with me working, him meowing, and Nyxie hiding.
I feel like shit.
I’d really thought, as crazy as it was, that Nyxie would at worst ignore the kitten for a while. I didn’t expect her to be terrified. So now I have a scared cat, when before she was content (even though I’d thought she was lonely and bored), and a kitten who’s super curious, playful, and in desperate need of a manicure. The last thing I wanted was to stress Nyxie.