Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cry Havoc!

Cry Havoc! and let slip the cats of war . . .
paraphrase, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

When I decided to add another cat to my household, I thought I had carefully considered all the pros and cons. One that I didn't consider was that two cats is not destruction doubled, it is cubed at the least. Bella is not a morning "person." She likes to ease into the day and is really ready to rock when I get home at 3:30. On the other hand, Fred appears to be, so far anyway, an all day "person." Ready to rock at the drop of a mouse. That means in the morning, we have lots of turmoil, with Fred trying to play with Bella and Bella reacting strongly.

Then there is the fact that Bella is a dainty, graceful, 5 1/2 pound female who never (or rarely) misses what she jumps for, balances on the narrowest ledge, and has done little damage in the house.

On the other hand, Fred is a klutz of a teenager and utterly fearless when it comes to trying leaps, often falling flat on his face, back, whatever with a loud "thump." Put them together and you have havoc.

The only casualty so far is a ceramic lamp that got knocked off the table with damage to the decorative parts of it and a bent harp. That is only because many of the things I have in the living room are wood or cooper, and the cooper is all antique so another dent doesn't even show. I have my great grandmothers mantel clock stuck to the shelf with museum putty and hope it is as good as advertised. I guess I will have to do the lamps that way also until they get over (hopefully) this initial stage of low grade warfare.

But with all that, I have never laughed as much in my life and I am not the least bit sorry that Fred has come to liven up our lives. It will keeps us from getting stodgy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cat Tales

We have been three for a couple of weeks now and it seems to be working well. Bella has quit spitting at Fred quite so much, and they are beginning to really play together. Right now they are chasing each other around the house, one time when they go through the sitting room, Fred is in front and when they come back, Bella is.

Fred is a real lap cat. He thinks no lap should be wasted, and last weekend when my Aunt Mackie stayed with me, he would sit on her lap for a while and then move to mine. Bella just lay in her chair and watched it all with wide eyes. A couple of times when he would leave my lap she would come over and sit for a minute as though she was reminding everyone that she had first rights to this particular lap.

I have had one battle fought over my body, in bed. I just pulled the duvet up over my head and let them sort out who would lie where.

I would take some pictures, but they move too fast.

Fred is afraid of the funniest things. I have a litter pan cover that looks like a planter with a fake plant on the top. He kept trying to jump into it and falling, so I took the plant out of the top and put it on the floor. He stalked it for about 30 minutes before pouncing on it and it is now his favorite thing to hide in. I think he is pretending to be a tiger, although I never saw a black tiger with a white blaze on his nose.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Together at last!

By the time I got home yesterday Fred was beginning to act like he had had enough of being in a room alone. So I took the towel from underneath the door and he and Bella "interacted" through the evening. This morning when I got up, he had one leg stuck all the way out to his shoulder, and was feeling around with his paw. So I picked Bella up and opened the door. He came out slowly and started looking around. I took Bella in the other room and put her down and they spent the next two hours out together. He was exploring and she was following his every step with a very watchful eye. I did hear one slight exchange of hisses while I was getting dressed, but they went back to their prowling mode.

I was beginning to worry about how I was going to get him back in the bedroom before I left when he obliged by walking in to his food dish. So I shut the door on him, to his somewhat vocal objections.

I think this is going to work!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Second Day

Well, we made some progress overnight and when I went in this morning to feed and water Fred, he came up to me and allowed me to scratch his ears and pet him. Unfortunately a little later, I heard a loud bang from the room and when I went in he has pulled the desk chair over and it evidently really scared him because he was back to the hissing and spitting stage.

After I got home from church I went in and although he hissed at me when I got too close, he couldn't resist the feather on a stick I had and he played with me for a good while. But no more ear scratching.

Bella keeps going to the door and trying to put her paw under it--I am unable to determine just what that means!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The first 24 hours!

Well, the first 24 hours with the new kitty has been interesting. He was totally freaked out by the one hour plus he had to spend in the carrier, beginning with 3 1/2 miles of rough gravel road.

Then, although I had a plan about what I was going to do when I got home, I didn't follow it, which caused much more confusion.

I had planned to take him directly to the guest room where there was a litter pan, toys, food, water, the curtains all pulled open so he could see out, etc. and leave him there to recover from the trip. But he was so distressed that I made the mistake of letting him out of the carrier in the sitting room. Bella immediately came up to investigate and he went up to her to touch noses and she hissed and spit at him. Smart boy, he just backed up from her, but they then spent the next several hours glaring at each other across the room in the living room. I was afraid to try to pick him up to put him in the guest room because I got hissed and spit at by both of them if I even went near them.

So, come bedtime, I took Bella (with a litter pan) into my bedroom and closed the door, letting him have the house to himself.

Things were no better this morning, but fortunately about 9:30 he decided to explore the guest room and I was able to close the door. When I checked on him an hour later, he was curled up on the pillows in the sun, napping.

I have gone into the room several times during the day and sat in the chair and read for a while. The first time I went in he ran and hid. The second time he jumped off the bed and watched me. The last two times he stayed put, and just watched me closely. I guess I have to get him used to me before I will try again with Bella who is being a witch. If I stay in the room too long with him, she comes to the door and starts scratching, he goes to the door and they hiss at each other through the crack at the bottom.

I think he is not as socialized as Bella was, of course, she was only about 2 months old and he is six months old. So I guess a strange house, a strange person, and an unwelcoming cat would be enough to put anyone out of sorts.

I think he has been named. June commented on the way back yesterday (she went along for the ride), that he looked like Fred Astaire because he was dressed in his tuxedo and spats. So I guess he is Fred--not the poetic name I was dreaming up but more and more he does seem like a Fred.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Saint's Day - 2008

For all the Saints who from their labors rest . . .

Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock has a tradition going back many years concerning All Saint's Day. On the Sunday before All Saint's, the children of the parish gather after church to make banners commemorating those who have died during the previous year. Then at the All Saint's Service and on the Sunday closest to All Saint's Day, the children carry these banners in procession with the choir (sometimes a rather amusing event), and the banners are hung around the sides of the nave. After the Sunday service, the banners are given to the family of the departed.

This is Daddy's banner from All Saint's Day 2004, They took my description of him as a gardener quite literally, hence the many flowers and veggies, along with the tools of his trade.

This is Mother's banner from this year. It has books and flowers on it. It was carried in the procession by Natalie Pettit, the granddaughter of a friend of mine. Natalie is six and not a very outgoing child, and Joan (my friend) was delighted when Natalie said she would carry a banner this year. She made two practice runs before church. Since the banners go in in alpha order she found out at the last minute that she would be the first one. The banner kept waving in the breeze and she kept tweeking it back into place, it was all I could do not to laugh, she was so intent on keeping it facing forward that she forgot to be scared.

As a part of the service the names of all those remembered including those from years past were read by our Vicar, more than a hundred of them. He did it perfectly, each name got the same amount of time and emphasis and he did not hurry through any of them, the last one was read the same way as the first.

After the service we had a reception in the gallery with food and wine (for the adults) and punch for the children and the drivers.