It's been nearly two years since Bonnie died. At the time, I expected to do what I've typically done on losing a cat: wait a couple of months till it felt okay, then look for a new friend to provide a home to. Cats need homes, I love their companionship, and starving a cat of a home isn't going to help the cat who's passed away at all. The only thing is taking the time to grieve.
Well, that was the plan. Bonnie died early in May. I figured by July or August, the time would be right. As it turned out, my company announced layoffs in June. I spent the rest of the year trying to land something, then hopping jobs looking for something solid and not two hours away. Having found something that, at least for the moment, fits the bill, I decided it wasn't irresponsible to open my home to a third cat again.
Last week I finally inquired into one who'd caught my eye: a half-year-old male tuxedo cat named Harlequin. He was reputedly very good with other cats, and gentle with humans, but shy because he wasn't socialized properly during the little window cats get used to us. I brought him home yesterday. He didn't made a sound all the way home. He sat like a little guy reconciled to the gallows.
As usual on such occasions, I put him aside in the spare room, to give Ally and Seth about 48 hours to get used to the idea he's here. They seem curious about him, outside the door, and I'm not seeing indications of aggression or fear in them. I remember when Ally came home and Max would do a drive-by hissing as he passed the door. Nothing like that this time.
As soon as I got him home, I opened the cat carrier and waited for him to come out. After a minute or so he did, shot out, look around, and dove under the bed. I left him alone to get accustomed to the place. He slept in here alone, of course, last night. I can tell he used the litter box and when I brought wet food in last night and checked shortly afterward, he'd eaten it. I think he's sampled the dry food as well. But I haven't seen him. I can't even show you a good photo of him. He's currently not just under the bed, but jammed between the corner of the wall and the furthest leg of the bed.
What must he be feeling right now? I really wish we had some kind of mind-to-mind contraption already so I could ease his mind and let him know he's really welcome and in no danger at all. It's sad he's going to have to take weeks, maybe months, to work that out for himself. I sure hope he does. It's going to be a hard thing if I have to spend years feeling like a monster whose very presence terrorizes a small thing.