Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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The Most Beautiful Thing

tortoiseshell cat on bed
Kelly on the bed.

Not so remarkable is it? A cat on the bed?

Kelly on the bed, though, is truly remarkable. In the past few days she’s gone through something of a change and I’m so proud of her. From her background you know that she is sweet and affectionate but timid, and though she accepted each foster cat who came in after her and grew to love especially Peaches, the Fantastic Four, and even Mimi, were a little too much for her. I did my best to introduce them very, very slowly and make sure we all had time together and time apart, but once they were no longer kittens and were permitted all over the house full-time, Kelly felt very intimidated by these boisterous and very physical cats. Since then she’s found one safe spot after another and huddled herself there for most of the time. While Cookie was still around she stayed with Cookie, and therefore with me, but when Cookie became ill last year Kelly just fell apart, and even before we lost Cookie she was frantic and frightened. I thought more than once I’d lose her too.

tortoiseshell cat bathing black cat
Kelly gives Mewsette a little bath.

Since then I’ve done all I could think of to ease her back with special spaces and special time indoors and out and special food and flower essences and a few reiki treatments. I’ve even featured lots of photos and sketches of her trying to bring her happy, loving energy. Slowly, she’s come back, from hiding all day in the back of a bottom shelf in a kitchen cabinet to hanging in the kitchen, to my desk, finally revisiting my studio which she had always loved. She’d been up there most of last week and I noticed that each day she was reacting less fearfully to any of the black cats and even settled down with a few while I was working up there. I had always put her in the bathroom overnight so she could get a break, have a snack and use the litterbox without interruption, but over the weekend she was actually cuddling with Mimi on top of a box in my studio. I left them there. They were still cuddled together in the morning. The next night Kelly came into my room and braved all the black cats to come to me and sleep next to me for the first time since Peaches was here. Last night she slipped in under the covers, purring, as she always used to, though she was on the pillow next to me in the morning, no stress, or growling or fear.

Kelly sleeping with Mewsette and Giuseppe
Kelly sleeping with Mewsette and Giuseppe.

Then today she decided to spend the day in my room, in a corner carefully hidden, but later when I went upstairs there she was, sleeping in the middle of the bed as if she’d been there all along. It was always one of her favorite spots but she would never have dared sleep there alone.

Kelly was the youngest cat for years, and in the past five years has lost all her friends and I’ve felt her loneliness, at 18 and no friends of her own kind. I’ve considered finding a compatible senior cat for her but with Kelly’s timid nature and the Four I’d hate to adopt or even foster and have it not work. But Kelly took it into her capable little tortie paws and decided she could be a big girl all on her own, for the first time in her life. I’m sure everyone’s comments on her photos and sketches helped her along!

Kelly is amazingly healthy and physically fit for an 18-year-old cat. Most of my cats live to their late teens and are generally well, but Kelly seems hardly changed from when her age was single digits. I’m sure she has many years left and I’d hate to see her live them hiding in a kitchen cabinet. So here’s to many more.

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10 thoughts on “The Most Beautiful Thing

  • Susan Mullen

    Bernadette, congratulations to all of you on Kelly’s steps forward! I seem to get a slight hint of a message from Mimi and the Fantastic Four — something happened and they realized that they needed to open up a little and include Kelly. I’m sure that Mimi and the Four are excellent kitties — once they understood, they opened their hearts.

  • Laurie and the "Girls"

    Way to go Kelly! To me it sounds like Kelly has come out of her grief from the loss of her beloved friend. Tortie’s sure are special!

    • Ingrid, I know it wasn’t easy for her, and I only hope I can help her maintain.

  • I’m so Glad, for Kelly’s sake and for Yours, that she’s re-establishing herself in her favourite haunts. It’s upsetting when the cats don’t get on, isn’t it.. n it seems that one is coming off worst for any new arrangements?!! Well Done, Kelly.. n Well Done, You.. n Well Done, Little Mimi n her Big Brood for being gentle enough with her when she needs it. Hope this trend continues for you all. Phew!! xxx

    • Annie, it was so hard to watch Kelly struggle like that, but if she can keep it up I think she’ll be fine.

  • Bernie110

    Kelly was so very full of her talking when I was there, no one would have believed she had been shy. This is great progress for her and the Blacks. Your article says it all.

    • Bernie, Kelly used to vaporize when another human approached, even walking past outdoors. But she made it through that and I think she can make it through this.

  • Yay Kelly – I’m so proud of her! I know how hard this time has been as she has adjusted to being without Cookie, but it appears that she is going to be okay. Zelda is a lot like Kelly, and she took to hiding constantly after the kittens were born. Even months after they were gone, she still hid downstairs. It’s just within the last few weeks that she really has returned to her normal self. Changes in their environment really do affect cats – especially the sweet, shy, timid ones.

    • Vicki, it’s always a surprise how long it sometimes takes them, but once they are okay, then it’s all fine, as if it never happened. Hope Zelda keeps it up!


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