A little over a year ago we said goodbye to our beloved cat Mia (read here) and it hurt deeply, if you are an animal lover you certainly understand. While we were very sad, there was one of us who was hurting more, our other cat Ophelia. She went through a mourning period that lasted months, she would mournfully meow in the way that she always did when she was looking for Mia, the two were exceptionally close. She became withdrawn and isolated herself. Once Ophelia seemed to settle into the fact that Mia was no longer with us she settled into a deep and lasting depression. She does very little and shows very little interest in most everything.
Eric and I have been trouble-shooting for ages trying to get Ophelia back in action. Yes, she is an older cat, but she is in excellent health so there is no reason for her general malaise...beyond depression. We took her to the vet and he ruled out possible health concerns that could be at the root of her behavior shift. We have tried to keep her more engaged and we have tried new ways of stimulating her, but nothing has really worked. We were pretty sure we were not going to get another cat as there is obviously no replacing a relationship like those two had with each other.
Then, we stumbled upon a few articles that made us think that perhaps a second cat might actually help her. First, let me start by saying that I do not recommend this as a move for every person with a depressed cat, some cats prefer a more solitary style---but not Ophelia. She is not a loner, which made her mood all the more heart wrenching for us. So we decided to take a leap of faith and after some discussion we decided to get another cat.
We were looking for a kitten. Generally we don't adopt kittens or puppies as those tend to find homes more easily than older cats, but as we are already dealing with an older cat our research led us to believe a younger cat would be more easily accepted by Ophelia. We found her at the Humane Society a tiny kitten-- part Siamese (familiar, but not too much like Mia) with startling blue eyes. She was sweet and playful without being intense about it, she wasn't terrified by the girls which was a plus. So we went for it and brought her home yesterday afternoon.
Meet Lucy Scratch-N-Sniff Sparkles Wimmer, mostly just Lucy.
We are going slowly, the cats have only met while Lucy is in a very large dog kennel, otherwise she is free roaming in the guest room while she learns about her litter box (perfect so far) and gets used to the sounds and smells of our loud and busy house. The initial meeting between cats went well, Lucy was totally calm and Ophelia was nervous, but interested---more interested than she has been in anything for over a year. We want them to get used to the smell of another cat. We want their introductions to be peaceful. Cats don't bond in minutes the way dogs sometimes seem to, they take their time and we want to foster a relationship between these two girls and let them become friendly, if not friends. Hopefully Ophelia will remember that she isn't alone and some young blood will help her to feel more like herself. That last sentence made it sound like Ophelia is a cat vampire, she's not.
No matter what we have given another living creature a home in which she will be cared for until the end of her life. Welcome to the family Lucy.
Oh and if you are wondering, Cordelia and Elise are sooooo far beyond excited that I am pretty sure their brains melted a little bit. They are kind and gentle and Lucy is already crazy about them!