After losing Kady, my husband and I knew we wanted to get another cat. We thought it would take some time to find an adult cat with just the right personality to go along with Sophie. Our local shelter is less than two miles from home, so a couple weeks ago we stopped by. There are so many cats waiting to be adopted that this shelter has four trailers in the parking lot which are outfitted exclusively for cats, and there are about 8 or 10 cats in each of them. Not only do you know these cats get along with other cats, but you get a much better idea of their real personalities, and you get to interact with them. As fate would have it, in the last trailer we met a cat that immediately captured our attention. She was a dilute tortie just under two years old that the shelter people had named Cookie. Here she is at the shelter. Note extremely cute nose.
I went back three times visiting Cookie. This seemed like a bit of a rush, but since we had no holiday plans (or decorations) and lots of time off, the timing seemed good to bring a new cat home. And what better gift for this cat, who was brought to the shelter last fall as a stray, adopted once, and returned a couple months ago when the owners couldn’t keep her. So early this week, she became the newest member of our family.
Kingfisher’s office is converted into temporary new cat sanctuary. She was quiet and well-behaved on the way home, and explored every corner of the room when I let her out. She is very affectionate and sweet, but not quite as clingy as Sophie — just what we were hoping for. We wanted to introduce the cats slowly, after the new cat felt comfortable.
Of course, there’s nothing a cat hates more than a closed door. When I’m in the room with the new cat, I get the Sophie symphony on the other side of the door. If the new cat was alone, there is likely to be much scratching and whining at the threshold. After a day, the two cats were allowed to sniff each other under the door, but they seemed pretty uninterested in each other. Mostly this is what they wanted:
New cat: To get out.
Sophie: To get in.
This got on my nerves pretty fast, so the other day I closed off most of the other rooms, and let the new cat out. She just trotted right past Sophie without a second look and set out to explore. Sophie seemed astonished. Her rubbernecking as the other cat went by was hilarious. With her tail puffed out, she followed behind the new cat for a bit, then finally sat on the couch and just watched. There was only a little bit of hissing back and forth, but it went well. Several more episodes on Christmas day went pretty well, too. Today there was a major dust up, so we are back to more incremental schedule. She does make herself at home — here she is in my office, under a portrait of Kady.
You’ll note we’ve not quite settled on a name. We’ve been looking for something girly yet relevant that lends itself to a
two-syllable nickname preferably ending in an “ie” sound, which cats are supposed to respond to best (since she’d been “Cookie” for awhile, it would be less confusing for her, too). We don’t want it to sound too much like “Sophie.”
Here’s our progress so far. Cookie is sort of lame, and we went through variations on small, sweet desserts (Snickerdoodle, Biscotti, Macaroon). We also considered a raft of seasonal names, with Juniper (Juno for short, as suggested by Mike) a frontrunner for a bit, knocking out Holly, Abie (a play on Abies, the genus of fir trees), Solstice, and Radish. I trolled through lots of Greek and Roman goddesses, since my late brother was really into mythology and named his cats Isis and Maia; he was my inspiration for adopting Kady. We thought about situational names like Echo (since she looks like a muted version of Sophie) and looked for terms regarding second chances. Other suggested names have included Phantom, Smudge, Justine, and Heather. There was also Grace, or my grandmother’s name, Beatrice. Some names we’ve really liked, but just didn’t feel right on her.
We think we’re closing in on a name, and will announce it when we are sure; things can change as we get to know her (yes, you will have to tolerate at least one or two more cat posts before I get back on track here). Meanwhile, feel free to confuse us further if you have any suggestions.