An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Molly's Adventure - Getting Used to Her New Home

Dear Greyce, Thank you for helping me understand my situation (in your article, I've Been Kidnapped - 4/6/10). I realize that I have been re-homed and while this was done without my purrmission, it has several benefits the biggest of which is that I am away from that terrorizing toddler. I am also getting used to my feline companion, Filou, who has been most patient with me; and I'm starting to enjoy my new Herself.

Of course, Greyce, it isn't always smooth progress. Sometimes I get very brave and even affectionate, and the next moment I get a bit scared again. But everyone here is patient with my progress. They know I am both a courageous cat and a fearful one - but becoming less fearful and more calm every day. My pupils are not as dilated as they used to be; and many times they look like those of a normal, calm cat. So I am adapting to my new environment.

I have been coming out of hiding and am getting more adventurous about exploring the living room. I like to sit by the living room window and Herself has put a blanket there for me to sit on.

I am getting used to Filou, too. My hisses and occasional growls at him are very much on the decline. We are both enjoying interactive play time with Herself, and I especially like the laser pointer. I like Herself more and more. And now she will crouch down and extend her hand and I will put my head under it, so I can get an affectionate head scratch.

We developed a greeting routine for when Herself comes home from work. Filou races to greet her at the door. I used to wait to greet her when she reached the kitchen, making my figure-8, weaving-like walk around her. But recently I have been getting more brave and I even made it to the front door before Filou!
He was a bit put out and we had a little tiff.

Don't worry Greyce, it was very minor (no claws, lots of thuds). Herself said to him, "Phooey, bad boy!" and he stopped immediately. Peace was quickly restored and I didn't even feel the need to get nervous or hide. I think he was just having a bad day because he didn't count on me being so bold as to try to take his place in the greeting queue. I guess we both have some more learning to do.

Speaking of learning, I am most proud of the lessons I have been teaching Herself. Mostly she is learning patience, to let me adapt at my own slower pace rather than as quickly as she would like. And because she has become more patient, she is able to recognize and enjoy the small steps I'm making toward becoming totally at home.

She finally understands that our home is our sanctuary. It is not a place for downloading all the stress from her workday because we are not her therapists and our home is not all about her; if she used us in this way, we would pick up on her stress and then become more anxious ourselves. So Herself has learned to leave her problems outside our front day rather than bringing them inside. This is of great benefit to all of us, because we are able to live in the present moment rather than trying to calm her down from worrying about the past or the future.

She is finding that the more she is able to do this, the more she is able to appreciate the small joys of home - like my day-to-day progress or Filou's antics - with gratitude. So we are all becoming more special to and valued by each other. She is finally waking up to the wisdom that lurks beneath our fur coats.

I hope your home is your sanctuary, too. Whisker kisses from Molly

Dear Molly, I am very impressed by your progress. It sounds like you are shaping your new home into a purrfect place.

Yes, Molly, my home is my sanctuary paid for by Themselves but definitely under my direction. I have several favourite viewing spots, two lovely feeding areas, and am indulged both with leash walks and the use of a backyard that has a cat fence to keep feline thugs out. My toys are varied and renewed at intervals. And I get plenty of cuddles from my purrsons.

From time to time I have to insist that my needs get met. For example now that the sun is rising earlier and the birds begin to chirp around 4:30 a.m., I don't hesitate to knead Herself's bladder in an attempt to rouse her out of bed and give me access to the yard. Alas my attempts don't always meet with success - but I do enjoy the challenge. I've found that humans are fascinating creatures and with the right reward system, respond well to training.

Keep up your teaching, Molly. It sounds like you are on the right track.