Junior Cat has been a member of our family for ten months now. Oh, how far he has come.
I wish that we knew his story before our story. He moved into our home all confident and curious on the outside and oh-so fearful and skittish on the inside.
He took over my Youngest Son's room like he was King of that domain, even though Senior Cat had claimed that kingdom long ago. So he soon took a back seat to the King title and gladly accepted his role as Prince, heir to the throne.
He was scared of everything back then. New people, people who didn't act in a way that he understood (that would be my Middle Son and His Girlfriend), sudden movements, unexpected noises, being outside, people walking by him ...
He adopted Senior Cat as his partner-in-cathood immediately. They were two curious cats and they got to know each other quickly. Soon, they were a blur of black cat hair, as they had cat-chases throughout the house and left tufts of black cat hair in their wake (after a bout of cat wrestling). Senior Cat showed him the ropes around here and I do believe that Junior was paying attention all along.
A few months ago, we noticed Junior Cat facing his fears.
He would wander into the middle of my Daycare Day and stay in the arena as long as the kids didn't look at him, make loud noises, approach him or notice him. He was setting the stage.
He would place himself in a safe-zone (the hallway, with a few exits with hiding spaces within) and watch my Middle Son and His Girlfriend. His eyes would be wild. He was poised and ready to run. But he kept challenging himself to stay still and watch these strange humans that did not respect his fear.
Bit by bit, he became just a little bit less jumpy. One by one, he started to allow the people-we-let-into-our-home approach him. Little by little he seemed to relax with the idea that we attract cat-likers into our world. Those who enter here, will not harm him.
My aunt and uncle dropped by this past weekend and Junior Cat jumped up and allowed my dad's brother to adore him (another one of Dad's brothers earned the same privilege six months ago - cats have a keen sense of innately knowing who to trust).
Our Scaredy Cat has let his guard down and is starting to trust the world.
His purr is getting a little bit louder (my Youngest Son is so proud of Junior, "Hey buddy, you are sure learning how to purr!"). His purr was so very soft and tentative when he first moved in. It sounded less like a purr and more like an accidental vibration of rugged air when he exhaled. These days, he has added a purr on the inhale and a little bit of volume to the whole experience.
He knows his place within our home. It is everywhere (except perhaps within the realm that is my Middle Son's room ... where the ear plugs go forth and multiply after he stalks and steals them). He graces us with his presence and even on days when he is feeling like he wants to be a part of the action from a distance he finds a safe zone and watches us.
Junior has his own unique style and personality. I see ways that Senior has influenced him and I see ways that he has influenced his elder cat. There is a quiet little yin and yang between our two black kitties. There is an ebb and flow, a give and take, friendship and respect that has evolved over the course of these past ten months. It never hurts to surround yourself with youth and vitality.
We will never know how Senior Cat's health would have progressed without his younger counterpart at his side, but I like to believe that Junior has brought out the kitten in our ailing Senior Kitty...
Senior is still King of This Castle, but Junior seems content to reign from his own throne.