I am pleased to introduce the new kitty of the household. Please say hello to Beatrice:
She came to live with me nearly three months ago. I adopted her from the Cat Adoption Team, a local no-kill cat shelter that evaluates their kitties for personality, to make it more likely that they will stay adopted. I picked the personality that sounded most like Princess, part of the reason being that that kind of kitty can handle being alone a lot. Next, the kitty had to look NOT like Princess - and despite how completely different Beatrice looks, it was still really strange the first week or so to have "my kitty" mean a stripy kitty and not a fluffy black and white one. Part of my brain was seriously baffled.
Beatrice spent most of the first week hiding in the studio bathroom. She was *thrilled* for chin scratches and excited for petting - and would hide behind the toilet if my sleeve made the softest whisper. Eventually she skulked out into the studio, but it was too scary out there, especially if I was there, and she would run back to the bathroom for petting. Darting behind the toilet was her "reset" button every single time she got startled. After two weeks I opened the door to the rest of the apartment: her first exploratory foray lasted nearly 30 seconds before she bolted back to the studio, not venturing forth for another day or more.
After a month of nearly daily practice, she relaxed when I picked her up - she had purred before, but stiffened. At some point she discovered Under The Bed, which is now her main hangout. By about a month ago, she'd gotten brave enough to sleep on the bed with me, and will join me almost immediately. Last week she tried out my pillow.
Sometimes I can walk past her without her bolting away; under the right conditions she will even come to me for petting. It is very endearing to see her lift her chin for a scratch...when she's too far away to reach! And it's downright funny when she loses her balance because she was expecting my hand to be supporting her, despite the fact that I can't reach her. She's *very* relaxed when I'm horizontal in bed, and requests petting verbally. She is exponentially more talkative than Princess. "I saw you move! Are you getting up? I want breakfast. Pet me!"
The living room is still not popular as a hangout; occasionally late at night she will lurk just around the corner, but it's mainly so she knows right away when I'm going to bed. Mornings, there is sometimes good bird television:
She's not yet performing full Household Kitty Duties, but she's come a long way since the sweet, terrified kitty she was in November. She is super soft and ought to be sooo snuggly; I will have to be patient.
Oh my, she just walked into the living room! I said hello, and she's still sitting there. At the beginning, she used to run off if I so much as looked at her, never mind saying anything. :) Now she is ambling off behind the futon. It's so good to have a kitty again.