Thursday, April 14, 2011

Home, The First Days!

So now we were home with our new bundle of fur. I thought it might be best if I went in the house first, without Leo, so that I could say hello to Star and give her some attention before she realized she was not an only kitty any more. I figured if she got her fist whiff of him on me, then she might think 'hey, that's an interesting new smell..' But Star was true to herself..
Whenever we go away over night Star holds it against us. She refuses to come down to meet us. She refuses to let us pet her. She holds a grudge and makes sure you know it. The day we brought home Leo was no exception. So we finally brought him in, still in his kennel, and set him on the floor in the living room. I saw him look frightened in this new space and no hidey hole to run into in the kennel. So I wrapped my coat around half the cage, making basically a three sided tent if you will.
I wish I'd thought to do that during the trip... Maybe he would have eaten or drank or used the litter box. I still can't believe he went 8 hours without doing that. Greg continued to unload the van and make sure we didn't forget anything and I heard Leo crunch a few pieces of his food. Thank goodness he was eating! (again, why didn't I think to cover the stupid kennel!) I called to Star, without much hope that she'd come downstairs. I sat on the couch with my leg up, (old hip injury acting up throughout the trip, fun), and started writing an email to Chrystal to let her know we made it home. I was startled to hear a hiss! I looked down and saw a gray streak heading back to the stairs.
Star and Leo had met. And it was not an auspicious start.
It was late, getting close to midnight. So we decided to put Leo in the cat room. Actually it's our laundry room, but we have used it for a cat room for so long that the name stuck. It's just off the kitchen, but it has no heat vent so years ago we took the sliding door off and replaced it with one we made. It's a frame in the same size as the door but we used plastic trellis board in the frame so air, warm and cool, will pass through. And so the kitties can see out and we can see in.
Kennel and all went into the kitty room with a blanket over half so he could hide if he decided to stay in the kennel. But that was not his intention! As soon as Greg opened the kennel door, he came out, tail up and nose going as he took everything in. Greg tried to pet him a little but he decided that under the utility sink looked like a nice spot.
I finished up my longish email to Chrystal and we headed up to bed, after checking on Leo once again. But all we saw of him was one hairy eyeball staring out from behind a covered bucket under the sink.
Star decided that since we were in 'her' room, she might allow us to pet her. But we had to work at it. She tends to sit at the very end of your reach, making you lean to pet her at the best of times. That night, she sat just a little further than that even and gave us reproachful looks. We kept telling her that we still loved her even though there was a new baby in the house. Not sure she was buying it that night..
If you read the comments from yesterday/last night, you might have noticed that my niece talked about seeing Leo when she got home from work in the middle of the night. She begged to be allowed to go in and see him and I finally relented. I had wanted him to have a peaceful night, but I do tend to be a push over when it comes to my nieces and nephew..
She had told me that he was meowing and I was surprised because he did not make one single peep the whole ride home. Though he did meow once or twice when he was brought in the house. Anyway, I said she could go see if she could see him, thinking he was hiding out of sight, I thought there was a fair chance she might not actually see him at all. I was so wrong... She answered his meow and when she went in, he kept it up and she moved a few things and he came right out! He rubbed around and around her ankles and let her pet him!
After a while she came back upstairs and said that Leo was hers because he loves her! The brat! lol
In the morning, I came down and heard him calling. For me! Ha, so there brat niece! lol I had her go in and bring him out to me. He let me cuddle him for a little bit, but he was more interested in exploring his new home. My niece followed him around to make sure he didn't get himself into trouble, and probably to make sure he liked her.. But he was fine. Until he went to the bottom of the stairs..
Star came down and was sitting on the third step when Leo wandered over. We all thought, uh oh.. cat fight coming.. But all she did was sit there and growl and hiss at him. Leo's response? If he could talk he would have been saying "Whatever... Dish it out lady, I'm not leaving." He completely ignored her! She gave up and went back upstairs. Leo, who was exploring every inch of downstairs, showed no inclination to follow her and explore up there.
We were getting ready to leave for church and thought we'd put him back in the cat room to be safe while we were gone. But he totally disappeared! We couldn't find him anywhere so one of the girls, (the niece's twin was here by then) volunteered to stay at our house to keep an eye on him and to prevent any cat fights. No worries. But we had no idea where he was hiding! He's not a small cat as I've mentioned, so I don't know where he could have been. (I'll tell you more about that later as I'm getting long winded again here..)
For the next few days we kept Leo locked up at night and in the morning (my mornings start around noon!) he would start calling me as soon as he heard me on the stairs and I would go let him out. He would rub on my ankles and let me pet him. But he would only stay out of hiding as long as he could see me! He was MY kitty! He'd call to me when I was out of his sight, and I'd call back and we'd find each other and have a good snuggle! He stayed mostly in the kitchen and dining room those first days, coming to the living room only if I went ahead of him letting him follow close to my feet. Then Star would show up and he'd retreat after a few minutes of ignoring her.
On about the third night, we went to put Leo in his room, with his nightly snack, (Star gets hers in the living room) and he said, "I don't think so" and scurried out before the door could be shut! He actually tried to nose in on Star's treat bowl! Of course, she was having none of that. Another attempt to put him in his room failed, so I said ok buddy, we'll try it. We brought his treat to the living room and he stayed out all night. There were no altercations at all, so he's not been locked in since.
I have so much more I wanted to tell about his first days! But I know this is getting really long.. So tomorrow, or later tonight, I will post something I sent to Chrystal when Leo'd been here for a week. I called it, "10 things I now know about Leo!"
Thank you all for the kind words and welcome! I think I'm going to enjoy sharing Leo's, and Star's, stories!
Here's the handsome boy giving the bedroom eyes.

 And here he is being a silly sleeper!

 Ah, the cushy life! Pillows and blankets are his friends!


ABBY said...

I am so happy to see Leo so happy!
Welcome to the Blogosphere!!

>^..^< >^..^< >^..^< >^..^< >^..^<
Abby Ping Jinx Boo Gracie

Anonymous said...

Awww...he is just so pretty! I would love to snuggle with him too if I wasn't so allergic. But that's never stopped me from having my own kitty cats. :D I know I have seen a pic or two of Star through the years, looking forward to more on here...and oh...interactions between her and Leo! lol.

You have me inspired here...going to start my own blog..for my kittys, guinea piggy, and my new baby to arrive this summer, a puppy. And I know I'll have stories for that Mexi and Genie will take to a new dog in the house.

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Oh Leo is just such a handsome boy! It sounds like he is a bit braver than Trixie - she hid under the bed the first day home and it took a couple days to coax her out for extended periods, though she was a lot like Leo in not really being too afraid of the other cats (though to be fair she had a lot more to deal with, and so there was a bit more tension). I think that because they were at Chrystal's in the cat house with other cats it really did help them to deal with other cats well.

And of course, we have to say that we can't wait to see Star - we adore Leo of course but would love to see what his new big sister looks like!!

Kat's Kats said...

Oh he's stunning!!! It makes me wish the Horde wasn't at its limit of five!! We also can't wait to see a picture of his sister Star!

JC said...

I am so glad you took Leo. He's finally at his forever home !!!

HubbleSpacePaws said...

He looks so very happy! Wishing you your family all the best... and celebrating this wonderful adoption success!

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

It's lovely to see little Leo settling in.

love-from-alaska said...

so my leo story...
after that !st night where i thought he loved me more and even following him around trying to protect him he decided that Andrea was his fav and will have nothing to do with me anymore!