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Callisto settles in

Last night, a woman from Home At Last (the rescue organization from which we adopted Callisto) came by to do a "house check," and we showed her around: food, water, litter boxes, toys, screens on the windows, etc. Hopalong Rescue never did this after I adopted any of the 3 cats I/we got from them, so I was a bit surprised that they wanted to do it, but I didn't mind.

This lady (who had made me extremely anxious at the mobile adoption site, because she was sometimes smiling and friendly, sometimes angry and almost menacing -- it was weird) also seemed to want to see how Callisto was doing in her new home, and I thought that was actually a pretty neat idea. As far as I know, most rescue places just adopt out the pets and never know what happened to them. This lady (I never caught her name) also asked us to send the organization some pictures of Callisto in her new home (which I promptly did after she had left, since we had some already handy), and some photos of her and Lucy together, which we warned her probably won't happen tomorrow. Or the next day. But sometime soon.

Speaking of which, Lucy and Callisto both slept in the bed with us last night, which I thought was a great step forward. Callisto got banished twice (via squirt bottle) for attacking Shannon's feet (which apparently look much more like prey than mine) in the wee hours, but then she settled in, temporarily forgot her foot fetish, and everyone got along very well.

Some further impressions of Callisto in her first days with us:

- She's into what I'm calling "face smashing." She comes up to me and her face nears my face and and our faces get closer and collision is imminent … and she just doesn't stop. Face collision! And then she just rubs her face along mine, over to the side, and it's kind of cute … in an "I now have a face full of fur even after she's moved on" kind of way.

- She likes to "be a scarf" (my term again), which Munchkin did all the time. Basically, this means that if I'm mostly reclined on the couch, she likes to get as close to my face as possible and ends up wrapped halfway around my neck. Some would find this annoying, but I don't mind it, as long as it doesn't interfere with whatever I'm doing at the time. In fact, I think I find it kind of comforting, since it does remind me of Munchkin.

- She's an incredibly patient and talented "lap surfer" (also my term), meaning that she sits on my lap quite happily, and then when I shift position, she just rides the body waves and doesn't get disturbed, just keeping her balance until I'm resettled. She even does this when I actually turn from my back onto my side, which results in her being draped across my waist like a sash, bracing her front paws against the couch so she won't go sliding off. (Their whole lives, Cobweb and Munchkin pretty much always seemed very affronted when I changed position and would immediately jump down and walk away in disgust.) I totally love that Callisto is a lap surfer. I love having cats on my lap, so much so that I am often afraid to disturb them and so sometimes stay in uncomfortable positions to avoid driving them away. I'm extremely happy that I don't have to do this with Callisto.

- She loves to gaze out of our many windows, and our house really does have a lot of great windows (especially if you're a cat). I often see her sitting on the floor in my office, looking out the door to the deck, because the door has windows going down almost all the way to the floor (the bottom window ends less than a foot above the ground). It makes me happy that we can provide her with an interesting house to live in.

- The first couple days, she was quite a bit more affectionate than I would prefer -- constantly following me around and begging for attention -- but she's become much more independent as days have gone by. I sometimes go an hour or two without even seeing her, even at this early stage in her settling in. I prefer independent cats, so this makes me happy, too.

- When I first adopted Cobweb and Munchkin (17 years ago), I did a lot of research on how to raise cats well. One of the things that was commonly suggested was that when a cat does something you don't like, just quickly tap them on the nose to let them know it's bad. This totally didn't work with Cobweb, Munchkin, or Lucy, but it seems to be working really well with Callisto. She doesn't necessarily learn a long-term lesson ("Never bite the mom's hand"), but she immediately stops doing the bad thing ("Don't bite the mom's hand right now"), and it seems likely to me that repeated experiences of the same message will eventually lead to a long-term lesson. (Also, to be fair, she's a kitten. We have to cut her some slack in the "grab things and bite them" department.)

- The only real issue is that Lucy is still pretty freaked out. Callisto seems to want to be friends (she apparently had many "cat friends" in her foster home), and so approaches Lucy occasionally, but Lucy seems to be interpreting this as aggression, and so runs away with a big, bushy tail (her sign of fear). The fact that they both slept in the bed with us last night, however, seems like a very good sign. They also pretty often come near each other and sniff each other for a long moment before one of them gets spooked and runs away or hisses. I predict that these peaceful sniffing moments will grow longer and longer until the hissing disappears altogether.


Important message from this journal entry: Lucy and Callisto slept peacefully in the same bed all night! Progress!

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