I think it was about a year ago when I started to worry if my 3-year-old tabby Jake was lonely. I work 12 hour shifts and wasn’t spending a lot of time at home. Solution: Get another cat. But how do you know if they will get along? How old should the new cat be? Should they be same sex or different sex? I had no idea. I turned to Google to help me answer this question and spent all kinds of time reading everybody and their dogs’ ideas on how to get a second cat. Once I had decided that a younger female would be best (I have no idea how I came to this conclusion…pretty sure it wasn’t in any of the things I read!), I started creeping all the rescue websites looking for Jake’s new sister.
When I got onto MEOW’s website, I saw “Andi’s” little face and fell in love. She had the most beautiful little golden eyes that stood out amongst a black face. I filled out the application form and got a call a few days later. The foster family was great and said that I could come and visit her. I was glad to meet her first because it was important to me that MEOW knew that my house was Jake’s house and I was looking for a companion for him… Whoever she was, she had to be perfect for him.
I went to visit Andi (now Abbie) and she was the tiniest, sweetest little thing, but I couldn’t get anywhere near her. I was very worried about that. I always thought that the cat was supposed to pick you. Jake certainly did. When I got him, I had my eyes set on his sister. But he climbed onto my lap and I was immediately sold. He looked up at me with his adorable face and I was in love. Things did not go this way with Abbie. I tried treats, toys, everything to get her to come over and she would not. Kelly, the foster home mommy, assured me that Abbie was a sweet girl who loved to cuddle. Abbie also had a bit of a limp, so MEOW took her to the vet. I just needed to know what was going on with her legs so that I could be prepared to adopt and look after whatever the condition was.
I left the foster home that night wondering if Abbie was a good idea. What had I gotten myself into? But I felt an obligation to her. We found out a few days later that she needed bilateral knee surgery to fix dislocating knees likely caused by an accident or attack prior to her rescue. Now, my heart was aching for this little thing that wouldn’t come anywhere near me. I went to visit her again at the foster home before her surgery. I wanted to be sure that this was the right kitty for our house. And once again, I left wondering what I had gotten myself into, worried that this wasn’t a good idea; that she wouldn’t fit it. I actually felt a sheer sense of panic that she would spend the rest of her life under my bed, not getting along with Jake and basically just being a big mistake.
After her surgery, I was lucky enough, with my medical background, to be able to bring Abbie home and take care of her while she recovered. Kelly was kind enough to let me borrow a large kennel, as Abbie had to stay in it for 8 weeks post-op. The first night home, I crawled into the kennel (I barely fit!) and she climbed onto my lap, meowed a little meow and purred like a car engine. What a little peach she was. She had been through so much in her short life and yet she was still able to trust that I was not there to cause her any more pain, but instead just to give love. If only humans were able to forgive and love unconditionally the way animals can.
Since Abbie has recovered from her surgery, we have been going through the steps of getting her and Jake used to each other. It started with a LOT of fighting, and a LOT of worrying on my part about whether or not they would ever get along. MEOW told me to separate them again after her recovery, but every time I did that Jake sat at the door and cried to get in. Yet, every time they were together there was growling and fur flying everywhere. This was an especially stressful time for me because it had now been past the 30 day “trial” period and I was certainly not going to return Abbie, yet it seemed that these two fur balls would never get along.
It’s been three months now, and her personality is starting to shine through. She’s a completely different kitty than the scared one I met at the foster home. She cuddles with me on the couch, and follows me around the house. She hides around corners, waiting for Jake to run by so she can jump out at him! They chase each other, snuggle and occasionally still fight… Good thing Abbie has street smarts, she always wins! Each day they get along better and each day I am more and more happy that I took a risk on this little girl and added another love to my life.
Abbie is the sweetest, loudest (it’s unbelievable how loud this tiny thing purrs) and chattiest kitty ever. She wakes me up every morning with a story about how her night went and greets me at the door in the evening with stories about her day. Jake seems quite content and is constantly interested in his new sister. Recently, she stole his favourite spot up on the top of the cat tree, and although he looks entirely unimpressed, he has not once gotten up to kick her out.
She’s the best decision Jake and I ever made.