Last Saturday night we took home Neneh and Nelly, to a house which had had a huge cat-shaped hole in it since the death of our 17-year-old Saskia in November.
On Sunday morning I came down to find that the photo of Saskia which had been stuck to the top of the freezer with magnets had slid down to the bottom, a pan scrub that had been by the sink was in the dining room, a toy mouse that had been in the dining room was in the utility room, and the utility room itself had been ransacked, with pots overturned, shelves cleared of contents and a cleaning brush in the litter tray.
The two little kitties cowering in the dining room right where we left them clearly had nothing to do with it.
I couldn’t stop chuckling as I tidied up.
They have come on leaps and bounds (literally) during the week. We have built up trust gradually, along with access to different parts of the house.
Understanding that their former owner ended up on the wrong side of the law (my mother asks ‘How are the gangster’s molls?’), in order to protect them from their criminal past we changed their identities. Nelly has become Lily; Neneh is now Poppy.
Given that they have always been together they have strikingly different personalities. Poppy is less demonstrably affectionate and hung back longer than her sister, and also looked pretty stressed in the first few days (a Feliway diffuser and lots of playing with string seems to have helped) but is much more likely to sit on our laps in the evening. Lily has only done that once, with me, when I was sitting on the stairs and actually on my way to do something else. It was very cute though.
Both of them love toys and we have bought loads more – Saskia was never very interested, although she did find it amusing to sit and watch me run up and down with string like an idiot. I keep finding toys in unexpected places.
Of course the box is often more interesting than the present…
We also bought a ‘cat tree’ whereupon they immediately started working on being the next ‘cover girls’ for the packaging. Given that Lily had all 3 hanging mice torn off in the first 24 hours they may not get the job.
Both of them do the ‘look what I’ve got’ howl when playing with toy mice. Poppy shuts up fairly quickly but Lily goes on. And on. AND ON. Even when you take the mouse away. And in the middle of the night. It was just as well she did do it this morning, as what she had somehow got was not a toy mouse but a tube of glue. She was pleased that I actually seemed to want it.
They started methodically crunching their way through a potted dragon tree. I looked it up, found it was toxic to cats, and promptly got it taken away by a friend. They’ve been absolutely fine of course. I potted up some proper grass for them, which they have ignored.
They are climbers – Saskia never was. Poppy is better at it than Lily. They get everywhere. They do heart-stopping balancing acts on the landing stair-rail above a 15 foot drop. I wish they wouldn’t! Poppy tried to climb up my clothes to the top of the wardrobe.
Poppy is also much quieter generally, whereas Lily will hurtle through the house at speed for no reason and then shout about it. (Now that is something Saskia did do!). They sing for their supper in pretty duets. Lily is the alto, sometimes tenor, whereas Poppy is a high soprano. Lily is greedier!
They were delighted the first night they were let out of their ‘base room’ and promptly decided to join us in the bedroom. Poppy turns out to be a duvet tunneller whereas Lily likes to sit on my chest and stare into my face at about 5.15 am. This morning, Lily rolled over and invited me to tickle her tortoiseshell tummy for the first time.
Apart from another night-time incident when they got the kitchen bin over and retrieved all the cat food pouches from it, which they used to decorate the dining room, there have been no more destructive episodes, but we am worried about the number of ways in which they might try to hurt themselves! Goodness knows what it will be like when they get outside – but that is some way off as we have some intensive cat flap training to do first. Poppy is the one who most likes looking out of the window, and swishes her tail at the sight of the birds.
We still feel very sad about Saskia and she could never be ‘replaced’. But that cat-shaped hole in the house has gone, filled twice over by two little live wires who give us joy every day. Thank you for bringing them into our lives.