Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Adventures of Emmylou and Natalia: We Are Home

Emmylou and Natalia are the two lovely cats who I adopted in mid-July from BARC Shelter, where I volunteer.  They had been brought in as ferals, so I did a slow and very gradual process of acclimation when I brought them home, using a kitty condo, TTouch, Reiki, Bach Flower remedies, other techniques and, perhaps most importantly, a lot of love and patience and being mindful of what they were ready to do at any given time.  To read more about the process, please check out some of my previous posts about them.

They have been continuing to make progress every day, which is beautiful to see.  Hurricane Sandy presented a big challenge for them, as being in the dark for five days straight was very hard.  We had little battery-powered lights and flashlights, but still it was awfully dark!  I spent a lot of time with them, playing with them to get out the nervous feelings and to keep them warm, as it got cold in here.  I also did quite a lot of Reiki and TTouch with them, and had made Bach Flower remedies for them (they each need a different blend) before the storm hit, so all of these things did help.  I'm sure they also picked up on our energy while we were in the dark, so we did the best we could to keep on an even keel, which was a challenge for us as well. Still, they were clearly delighted when the lights and heat came back on!

And since Friday (it is now Thursday), when the lights came back on, it took a little bit to get back to the comfort level where they were before the storm, but I think they're there now, and perhaps even a bit past it.  They are now fully out in the apartment (they have been for some time).  We keep the cage around, with the doors open, so they can go in there if something like a noise in the hall scares them.  And when we feed them, Emmylou seems to like being fed in the cage, whereas Natalia will eat just outside the cage.  There are two litter boxes, one in the cage and oue in the bathtub.  Both boxes are being used. 

What I want to get to, though, is to try to communicate to you what I feel from them, which is that I feel them more and more to be truly at ease in the apartment, as though they realize for real that this is their home - that it is a safe and comfortable place, a place where they are loved, a place where they can play and rest and eat and enjoy, that this is their place.  One of the many great things about doing the very gradual acclimation using the condo is that they really don't hide except perhaps temporarily if someone new comes in the apartment, and that even is beginning to change.  Most often if someone new comes in, they may go up on the platform bed and peer down.  Sometimes Emmylou will go underneath her cat bed temporarily, til she feels comfortable.  But with us they are completely at ease, and love to follow me around and see what I'm up to, sometimes waiting outside the bathroom for me :)  Emmylou is getting more used to me picking her up, and I think soon Natalia will be ready to try that as well.  They both are more and more affectionate with me each day, coming to the door when I get back home and waiting for me to sit on the floor with them for some TTouch, Reiki, or play.

They love to sit in their cat tree by the window and watch the birds, squirrels, leaves, everything moving.  They love playing with us and with each other, chasing and wresting around.  They are very bonded with each other and will most often lie either side by side or curled up with each other. 

It is such a beautiful thing to see and feel them comfortable and at ease here.  I often tell them how happy we are to have them here, and do feel that it was just meant to be that they came to live in our apartment.  And every day I look forward to a new little adventure with them as we all learn from each other.