Monday, March 14, 2011

More Capers from Penny

I am firmly convinced that Penny was intended to be a part of our lives. I truly feel that God sent her to us to prepare us in a way for our future journey. It's just so easy to compare some of her behaviors to that of an adopted child. The process is taking longer than I expected for a pet, but I know with a child that process will take years, so I am actually kind of glad that we are learning. I realize that an adopted pet is a far stretch from an adopted child, but I also feel that everything happens for a reason and that all experiences are learning experiences.

A couple of nights ago we survived our first failure with Penny. We are working hard to try and show her that she doesn't have to stay huddled in one part of the house all day. I know it has a lot to do with the fact that she was kept in a tiny cage for a very long time and she hides to feel safe. I've even tried to help her find a safe place (successfully) by putting a blanket in the corner of one of the closet shelves where she likes to hide. It is now her "bedroom".

We work every day to pull her out of her hiding spot and bring her into whatever room we are in for a while, showing her that we prefer to all hang out together. She no longer hisses and runs from the dogs. In fact she sat right beside Parker today and watched him eat accepting a very slobbery doggie kiss even. At night we are trying to get her to come back into the bedroom with us to sleep. Since we found her hiding spot in there she won't come back in there with us.

Hubby picked her up a couple of nights ago to bring her in with us for a while and she panicked. She leapt full force from his arms. Hubby tried to prevent her from crashing into the wall in her panic, but only managed to change her trajectory - straight into a metal bifold closet door. Fur went flying everywhere and Penny disappeared. She refused to come out and would not even let us pet her. Hubby was devastated. He and this kitty have gotten very close.

We let her be the next day (thankfully a weekend day) and when she left her hiding spot to eat or go to the bathroom, we showered her with love. That night as we crawled into bed, four sock feet hopped onto the bed. She did not stay, choosing to return to her "room", but she loves us again. We were both afraid that we had scarred her for life, but apparently kitties can forgive.

She has a funny quirk I am certain originates from shelter life. Every single time Hubby or I walk into the laundry room where her food, water, and litter box are kept, she come running in there and hops up on the table where we keep her food bowl out of reach of the pups. It doesn't matter if there is food there or not, she has to be up there. She sits looking expectantly from us to her bowl. I didn't understand at first. I changed her water, put less food out, put more food out, petted her, all to no avail. That's when I started thinking about her living in the shelter for so long. The only interraction she had with people was when they came near her cage to change her food, litter and water out. I think it's just a compulsion to get any love she can. We've since tried to ignore her when we go in to do the laundry and instead leave the room, wait a few minutes and then go back to love her. We also work really hard to remember to go over to her hiding spot and give her attention every single time we go into the hallway. I want her to know she can get love now whenever she wants.

So far there is some progress, although not exactly what I was hoping for. She comes running every single morning as I make my ritual sprint to the bathroom for a desperate morning tinkle. She's decided that the bathroom is a great stopping point for Penny love. I hope she can finally figure out that there aren't special occasions that warrant love. Our house have more than enough love and we prefer to let it flow freely at all times!


Kristin said...

It sounds like y'all are doing everything right with Penny. It's going to take time but it will be so worth it.

Jen said...

I believe Penny is so very lucky to have you and vice versa. My hubby and I volunteer at a cat shelter on the weekends and you are right about the cats coming up on the counter for attention and to be feed. Our little Puddin,who we got last year at this time, does the same thing. She is adopted and lived in various homes before we got her all before 9 months of age. Everything takes time and I can't believe how far we have come with her in a year. I remember last year how at one point I didn't think it would work out because it wasn't happening as fast as I would like, but patience is so important in this process. Just now it will all be worth it in the end.