Patience (as in Trying Mine!)   Leave a comment

P8160016 by Lady Birchwood
P8160016, a photo by Lady Birchwood on Flickr.

The last post I made was about the virtue of patience and how it applied to a long and wonderful life with my now-deceased cats, Katie and Bubba. Without putting in a more-than-ample share of patience upfront, we never would have had the pleasure of their company for the many years that we did (almost 17 years with Katie and over 19 with Bubba.) I wrote that to remind myself that perseverance has its rewards, and I need that reminder now.

We brought home a new member of the family only six days after Bubba died in July. The house was so very lonely without the Big Dude, and during the year that we had three cats — Bubba, Mia, and Ralphie — I decided that I really enjoyed having three cats. I didn’t want to be down to two when Bubba died. I just figured, “Let’s do it!”, and Jack became a part of the family. I didn’t spend weeks or months searching for that “perfect” cat. This little guy called to me, and we brought him home.

Three-year-old Mia is a territorial, albeit fearful, female and took an instant dislike to the newcomer. No big surprises there. Ralphie, on the other hand, was very curious and interested in the new guy and they made friends very quickly, playing together and grooming each other. They’ve been good for each other. They’re brothers now, with Ralphie being an estimated couple of months older than Jack.

Jack is not a cuddly little guy. I don’t know how much time he spent out on the street as a kitten, but the fact that he was picked up by Animal Control in May as an intact tom suggests that he could have spent a substantial amount of his first year learning the ropes of a cat with only a marginal home, if any. He lost a couple of inches of his tail, giving it a stiff, shortened appearance, and this could have occurred in a fight with another animal. He’s scrappy and tough, and he has some defenses to let down before he can make a completely successful adjustment here.

When Mia growls and hisses at him, his reaction is to run at her, and they’ve fought. Repeated incidents of this during that first month made her a nervous wreck, understandably, and drove them further apart in terms of establishing any kind of harmonious relationship. Mia is now on Prozac to try to calm her aggression and anxiety, and it has been recommended that Jack be on it, too, to lower his reaction to chase and confront her. Mia has been tolerating her medication. Jack threw up his first dose ten days ago, and I haven’t tried it since, although I am going to try again at a reduced dose. Let me tell you, though! Trying to cut a small tablet into eighths is next to impossible!

We’ve been keeping Jack and Mia apart, one behind a closed door at all times. Mia spends about half her time in the master suite (large bedroom and bath with walk-in closet.) Some people live in efficiency apartments the size of our master bedroom and bath, and she has what she needs in there. She does, however, lack her freedom 24/7. Jack spends about half his time in the basement with the door closed when Mia is out and about in the house. Again, all he lacks with the arrangement is his absolute freedom 24/7.

The two of them accidentally encountered each other in the kitchen last Sunday when Jack got the incompletely latched basement door open, and the same scenario repeated itself. Mia hissed and Jack charged at her. They fought. Dale pounded them with a pillow to get them to disengage. Mia ran and Dale grabbed Jack (getting some scratches in the process) and tossed him back in the basement.

This is our life right now.

I hate it. I grieve for the peace and love that filled my home several months ago. If someone were to hand me the ultimate clock that would turn back the hands of time, I’d give that baby a good hard crank. How far back would I turn it? Well, what a loaded, philosophical question that is! If I turned it back too far — say, to when Katie was still alive — I’d erase Mia and Ralphie, and would I want that?

Anyway, that’s completely a moot and fantastical concept. Life goes on. There are no magical clocks, and right now, the challenges of getting my homelife back into peaceful, working order seem overwhelming. I grieve for what was, and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel for what currently is.

Jack is part of our family. He called to me for a reason. He’s not merchandise that can be returned if he doesn’t coordinate with the home decor. Mia is also our girl. Goes without saying. This is her home, and we love her very much. Somehow, we’ve got to get these relationships functioning again so that we all can live in this house with the doors open, cats and people being able to come and go freely without fights breaking out.

It tries my patience. We’re not even three months into it, and the voice of those who know say that this could take many more months before it finally smooths out. At least once a day, I’m ready to throw in the towel and find someone a new home. Perhaps that someone should be me!

And then I think what I might be missing if I don’t give it the time, patience, effort and love that I gave Katie and Bubba 19 years ago. I owe everyone at least that much. I owe it to myself because I was the lucky one in the end. I was the one who reaped the blessings of their love and companionship.

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Posted September 21, 2013 by StPaulieGrrl in cats

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