Since I began blogging five years ago, I have read stories time and again about the difficulties people have when integrating new animals into an established household where other animals reside. Some people implicitly understand that for some animals change is difficult and it will take time for a new furry family member to adapt to existing furry family members. But some times it is one of the established four-legged members of the household who refuses to adapt to the new member that has been brought into the fold, even when the new family member is quite affable. I once knew a woman who had a two year old beagle whom she felt needed a companion. This woman brought home a retired breeding, very dog friendly female beagle and when her two year old beagle growled ever so slightly at the older dog , the older dog was brought back to the breeder's the very next morning. I kid you not! I can't say this emphatically enough but usually, it takes more than a day for everyone to settle into each other's presence, new routine and new power dynamic ! At times it can take months. An acceptable case scenario should be that the new member and the established family member(s) eventually learn to navigate/ tolerate each other's presence in the household. The best case scenario is that they become friends. There is one constant in either of these possible outcomes and that is the element of time! It takes time for life to unfold. It takes time for everything and everyone to find their place in the world. It takes time to adapt to change for every living being. Relationships of any kind are rarely instantaneous. They demand attention and a little bit of work. And time. Perhaps even an indefinite amount of time! But if you allow that relationship time to develop, a small miracle can often happen. And like all highly improbable or extraordinary events, when you witness it, your heart will fill with gratitude and happiness. That, is exactly what happened with me when I witnessed a breakthrough between Esme and Wilhelmina one evening ; my heart filled with gratitude and happiness.
When we first brought Wilhelmina home five months ago, Esme was furious! She would have nothing to do with Wilhelmina even though Wilhelmina wanted to have everything to do with her! It's important for me to note that Wilhelmina was never permitted to chase the cats under any circumstances! If she did (and this still applies today) she was leashed up and given a time out. We have a leash hanging on a doorknob willing and able to restrain her movements whenever she behaves inappropriately with the cats. As as result, now that she is seven months old, she is consistently calm and gentle with the cats and she and Levon are definitely friends.
Back to Esme. When Esme was first introduced to Wilhelmina, I think I actually saw bolts of incredulous lightening repeatedly leave her eyes. She would give me these sideway stares that would whittle my soul. I could almost hear her screaming, "Are you SERIOUS??!!" and "What have you DONE?!!" For those of you new to my blog, Esme is a tiny, four pound, ten year old cat who sleeps in my arms every single night and has since she first came home to me at sixteen weeks of age. We have what I consider a healthy symbiotic relationship (if such a thing even exists!). I adore her and she makes my heart sing every single day of my life. She is my tiny, little dancer and as with all of my "four pawed kids", I am most happy when I see that she is happy too.
After we brought Wilhelmina home, Esme was miserable! She started camping out in the back spare room and refused to have anything to do with the rest of the household. I watched her carefully. She ate well, slept well, and eventually her exchanges with me were normal again after a few weeks of trying to convince me that I was dead to her. Months went by, over five months went by, to be precise, and then out of the blue, last night.
I have been sleeping in the the spare room with Esme for months now. It's my way of letting her know that I have not abandoned her and that I will follow her lead whenever she is ready to come back to the fold. A few weeks ago I began bringing Wilhelmina into the spare room with me in the evenings. She wasn't allowed on the bed (Esme's domain), and I made certain that Wilhelmina always remained calm, and that she left Esme alone. Wilhelmina did everything I asked of her and would simply find a corner in the room and fall asleep.
Last night, Esme approached Wilhelmina and started to rub against her face! Wilhelmina gave Esme small licks on the head. Esme jumped on the bed and invited Wilhelmina to follow her. Esme stretched out and looked at Wilhelmina as if to say, " You may now admire me ." And Wilhelmina did. Gladly! She gave Esme delicate little kisses on the top of her head and Esme tightly curled up against Wilhelmina , purring loudly. I could actually see Wilhelmina smiling. They fell asleep together! Five and a half long months have passed since Esme first laid her fire and brimstone eyes on and bared her gnashing teeth at, Wilhelmina. Now it appears as though they will be friends and not simply friends but rather, very, very good friends indeed! My heart is filled with gratitude and happiness , twice over!
The End. Or, The Beginning.
Early this morning after a sleepover last night.
Esme, " Is that who I think it is?!"
Esme, " Rub, rub, rubity, rub, rub!"
Esme, " Come on lazy-bones! Get up! I want some of your Wilhelmina love!"
Esme, " Some times, if you are patient, the universe can astonish you with a most astonishing outcome!"
Have a wonderful day!
See you soon.
the critters in the cottage xo