It is time.
Annie’s medical issues are well under control. She lets me give her meds as needed, and she’s pooping daily without problem – such a huge accomplishment for her. So there is no longer any need for her to be contained in the upstairs cat room. It’s time for her to join the rest of the household and go where she pleases.
She is soooo little that it’s hard for me to open the doors and let her go, but if she managed being outside for the first six or seven months of her life, terribly sick for part of it, with a colony that mostly rejected her, she can probably manage living in a warm house with our crew. She’s met most, but not all, of the gang.
Butterscotch, one of our dogs, has hung out with her a few times. Butterscotch is far more interested in trying to find and eat her poop than anything else about her, which is exactly what was needed. Annie got to sniff Butterscotch a bit. She hissed at Butterscotch, who doesn’t care a whit that Annie is hissing, and Annie got over it, and went on with playing.
Paris, our other dog, will not be as kind. He won’t hurt her, but he will certainly work hard on scaring the daylights out of her with his huge voice. She will have to learn for herself that if she ignores Paris he will ignore her. That lesson has been harder to learn for some of our cats than others.
Annie will have to negotiate with some of our other cats as well. Lily has been her best friend for the last couple months, and hangs out with Annie day and night.
Most of the rest of the cats have met Annie and their responses have ranged from mildly unhappy to downright ticked. No one has tried to hurt her – they just hiss or growl, and Annie is smart enough to back off and give everyone lots of space. There’s only one cat she hasn’t met – Stripe. Stripe doesn’t like any of the animals in our house, and she hangs out in a cat bed high up on a closet shelf. She likes to watch my husband eat breakfast and she comes to sit in my lap occasionally when I’m watching tv. Otherwise, she prefers a monastic life by herself. How long it will take Annie to see or meet Stripe is anyone’s best guess.
And so the door to the upstairs cat room is open now. There’s a gate across it that prevents doggie entry, and it has a cat door, but Annie is so small she can slide easily between the bars. For the moment she is not inclined to leave the room. She’s hanging out in her favorite cat trees, looking out the windows, and doing what she normally does.
This room has been her sanctuary and safe space for a couple months, and she’s not terribly interested in leaving it, or so it seems. I think curiosity will get the better of her at some point. And some of the other cats may wander up to their old hangout and find that the door is open again, and come visiting.
As much as part of me wants to keep her in that room forever and protect her, it is too small a space ultimately, even for a tiny kitty. Part of rescue work is knowing when to let go. Time for the next chapter of your life, little Annie. Come on out and play!