Sunday, January 23, 2005

My MO, when I bring cats into a new home for the first time, is to set
everything up in one room for the first few days and let them get used to
that. Once they've made that room (usually the basement) into their safe
haven, THEN I introduce them to the rest of the house.

Captain and Stanley looked ready to come upstairs, so I decided that today
would be the day. This afternoon, I opened the basement door and left it
open, then woke the little guys out of their respective naps to show them
that they could come upstairs now.

They're so outgoing. They came out of the basement and were interested in
everything. Rather than being fearful, they were more in a state of,
"Oooh, what should I sniff first?"

Stanley sat back and watched Captain exploring under the kitchen table, as
well as a couple of other nooks and crannies. He did the same thing when
the cats first arrived on Friday night, and Captain made the rounds of
some parts of the basement. He appears to be quite willing to let Captain
demonstrate whether various things are cat-safe. :o) But he's sitting out
in the open while this goes on, so it's not like Stanley seems to be
afraid of anything. He's just letting his brother do all the work.

At first, they would check out a few things, go look in the cellarway for
a moment, come back out and check more things... it was like that was
their security blanket.

Then they switched over to using ME as their security blanket. They'd
check out some things, stop by the sofa where I sat for a skritch, explore
some more... :o)

This was when I noticed that they were responding to their names. If one
of them was out of my line of sight for too long, I'd call his name, and
that particular cat was the one who would come to me for attention.
There's no such thing as too much praise when THAT happens, so they got
mega-doting as their reward. They love that. It's been a long time since
I've seen cats who REVEL in attention like this pair does.

I'm actually pretty impressed with them both: BOTH of them have come to me
for skritches when I've called their names. They've only been here for a
day and a half, and they not only recognize their new names, but they
respond to them.

I think it's the mega-dote sessions I had with them on Friday night and
several times yesterday. Whichever cat had parked himself on my lap at the
time got his name repated to him, in a loving voice, many many MANY times,
while I gave said cat the fussing-over of a lifetime. They LOVED it. And I
noticed that yesterday, Stanley started to look up at my with That Soft
Gaze. His facial expression was changing from "Oh, it's the nice lady who
pets me!" to "Meowmy". Which I encouraged by looking back with the kitty
Slow Blink and praise and more petting. And more repetition of his name,
of course.

This morning, it was Captain's turn to start looking up at my face with
That Soft Gaze. I responded the same way I did when Stanley was doing it -
slow blinks and half-lidded-eyes and petting and praise and repeating his
name.

Anyway, I think that's why they're answering to their names after living
here less than 48 hours. :o)

They didn't get into much mischief. Stanley tried to sharpen his claws on
the love seat. The first time, I went over, took his paws off the arm of
the love seat, said a stern, "Stanley, NO. No, no." He looked like his
little fuzzy feelings were hurt, so I carried him over to the
carpet-covered Kitty Tower. I mimicked kitty scratching with his paws on
the side of the tower, to try and indicate that scratching THAT was OK.
Then I put him atop the tower so he could look out the window. Problem
solved -- no-longer-hurt-looking kitty was no longer scratching
furniture.

Well after that, he tried to claw the love seat again. This time, DH was
closer and did the honors of, "Stanley, NO." Stanley stopped what he was
doing, went over to the Kitty Tower, and jumped up on it. LOL. Fast
learner, isn't he? :o)

Most of the rest of the time, if Stanley wasn't exploring or sitting in
the window, he's been napping. First he purred himself to sleep on DH's
lap. I think that's a first for DH, who didn't grow up with pets. Then,
when DH had to get up, he carefully placed Stanley on the love seat
cushions. From then on, Stanley napped NEXT to DH. Or, right now when DH
is outside shovelling some snow, Stanley is still snoozing on the love
seat.

Captain, meanwhile, started out by alternating his exploration with coming
to Meowmy for attention. The only time I had to correct him was to tell
him not to go into the opening under the sofa that's created when the
recliner is up. (Both ends of the sofa, as well as the love seat, have
built-in recliners.) He went in. I took him out and said, "No." He went
back in. I took him back out and said, "No.". He hasn't gone back in.

Well, there was the time when he discovered a radio while exploring and
decided that the antenna was a good playtoy. Wrong, of course. So I got a
cat toy and distracted him with that instead. Issue resolved. He liked
chasing his own toy better than playing with the antenna.

Speaking of chasing his own toy, I thought it was time to help burn off a
little of his excess energy. So I took out Harmony(RB)'s personal
favorite, the Feline Flyer. That's one of the fishing-pole sort of toys,
with two feathers on the end of the string. Well into her senior-citizen
days, Harmony happily chased after it. So I figured a 9-month-old boykitty
would love it, too, and BOY, does he ever!

So I spent a good while trailing the Feline Flyer all over the living
room, with Captain speeding after it as fast as his little feet could
carry him. I only stopped when he looked like he was getting a bit TOO
tired and breathing hard. (He is still sneezing, and Stanley is still
coughing, but not as much since I started running the vaporizer in the
basement.) Then I put the toy away when Captain wasn't looking, so he'd
have some time to rest.

I watched him rest, and he was stretched out so long that I wondered if he
hadn't overheated himself a bit. So I thought it would be a good time to
try those Kitty Bath Wipes we got at PetSmart. I wiped the little guy down
with one of those, and though he meeped a couple of protests, he let me do
it.

After the moisture dried from his fur, he seemed like he was resting more
normally. And he came over and napped next to me on the sofa. :o)

Right now, Stanley's still snoozing on the love seat, and Captain is
lounging on the living room floor. Yep, they look like they're feeling
right at home. I couldn't be happier about that.

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