It was two weeks ago that my wife announced to me that she was ready to love again. By which I mean, she was ready to adopt a new cat. Sadly, back at the beginning of the year, her pet of 10 years, Peach, passed on, we believe due to a heart attack. It was, obviously, a heartbreaking thing, and it took her a bit of time to deal with the emotions of that loss. After all, it was the first real pet of that nature she ever had. Peach had been important to her and the kids, and even I will admit that though we had a bit of a tense relationships, she and I had enough of an understanding that we could work through the nuisances of things like me having to give her a bath.

I’m no cat person. I always was raised with dogs, and so I never was all that keen on having one around. It’s very hit or miss with a cat on how they will handle things. Here’s an example of what may come to pass with a cat.

If you’ve tried really hard to keep a good place for that cat to use as a rest room, but that place happens to be in your laundry room, the cat may, if it’s in a bad mood, decide your pile of socks to wash is just as good as the litter box. I think you can understand the issue that may present. Socks smell bad enough as it is from warm weather. Cat urine just makes it that much worse.

So having a cat could be a wonderful experience about bonding with a loving animal, or might make you think that you’ve walked into an ammonia testing facility… and there is NO way to tell what you’ll end up with.

So my wife had decided that, much as she would always love Peach and miss her, she was ready to bring home a new cat who would become part of the family, but would not be a replacement for Peach, would just be a new family member.

And I had promised her that I would be OK with it when the time came, so I was obligated to accept this myself, which I’d like to think I have. Of course, there were a few concerns / caveats to the whole idea. Obviously, with having two Siberian Huskies, the cat needed to be OK with dogs (and yes, my wife had obviously thought all of that through well in advance) and I was adamant that whatever the case, I really didn’t want to deal with a kitten, mostly because I wanted the type of animal around that would have a known personality as an adult. Kittens look cute, but that uncertainty factor with personality is a severe concern to me.

My wife, ever the right-minded person that she is, really wanted to adopt an adult cat, knowing that there are too many in shelters and who really deserve a good, loving home, so she’d already set her mind on the idea of adopting based on that idea.

And so at the end of that weekend, I was awaken from a nap to find myself staring into the eyes of this… cat…. OK, here we go. Yeah, she had pretty eyes. Wait, is she really that small as an adult? I mean, she’s not tiny, but she’s kind of small…. oh, just a small 2 year old? How is she supposed to be with dogs? Seems friendly, so it’s probably OK? Alright, we’ll give it a try… oh we have to work her into the household… she’ll be sleeping and eating and… eh, OK, she’ll be living in our room until she adapts to the environment. Fine. Not destructive, but likes to climb? OK, I guess we’ll have to figure this out…

Yes, she is pretty…

Can I help you?
Can I help you?

So we that night and the next, she slept in our room. And then, Sunday night, we’re going to bed, and the cat has… disappeared. She apparently slipped out of the bedroom in a heartbeat while my wife’s back was turned, trying to shoo out the dogs who really wanted to meet the new friend and play with her…. especially her head. OK, not really, they just wanted to get to know her, but apparently freaked her the heck out, and she disappeared… somewhere in the house. And we have no idea where.

The next 24 hours is my wife frantically worrying more and more that she has not yet reappeared, and so we begin searching room-by-room to figure out where the heck she went. As it turns out, she shot into my son’s room and hid under his bed behind a few boxes. I discovered her on the third or 4th time looking, after realizing I had mistook her for one of his stuffed animals.

Sssssh.... don't tell anyone where I am...
Sssssh…. don’t tell anyone where I am…

She had decided to hide out in the room the dogs were sleeping in, and was essentially trapped because of trying to evade them. So we had our hands full figuring out, how are we going to get them comfortable if she panicked and ran to hide like that.

The next week consisted of trying to gently introduce her to Dexter and Ruby. Surprisingly, Dexter was generally very gentle with his inspections… it was Ruby, who was irritating to Pepper. Ruby, who has a bad tendency to request attention by using her nose obtrusively and her paws almost as much to get you to come over to her.

But my wife kept at it and amazingly, one day, the cat was able to stand staying on the bed with my wife and both dogs for an extended period of time. And apparently, Pepper decided “OK, I’ll deal with this”.

And of course, the whole time I’m trying to adapt to the idea of dealing with a cat again. Yeah, I’m just not a cat person, but this little furball…. well, she finally got me to admit that I kind of like her… well, OK, I actually love her…. she’s very friendly, and surprisingly likes to cuddle up to me as much as everyone else. And she’s pretty good about not using her claws wrong with me. In fact, she tends to spend more time trying to lick and groom me than anything else, but it’s kind of cute, so yeah, I’m OK with her.

Hi, Daddy, I'm going to just stay here next to you...
Hi, Daddy, I’m going to just stay here next to you…

But here’s the kicker. She’s bonded with Dexter. Crazy, hyperactive, over-sized, bear-of-a-dog that he is, they have gotten very close. Close enough that yesterday when I walked in, they were laying on the bed together. At one point he hopped off and she followed. And when he got back on the bed, she jumped back up and after he was lying down, she decided to curl up with him… after brushing against the underside of his neck and jaw area… she decided that she liked him.

This was.... unexpected
This was…. unexpected

And it keeps happening that way.

To the point that I am now expecting to walk in some day soon and see her riding on his back like the Lone Kitty Ranger meowing “Hi Ho, Dexter… away!”.

It might happen with Ruby, too, if she can keep from stuffing her nose into Pepper’s face so abruptly, but for now, it’s relaxing to know that they all get along…. unless they’re planning something… honey? Should I be concerned?

Welcome to the family, Pepper.