Sunday, January 24, 2016

Willow and Giles Update; Skittles too!

Kitty successes everywhere!

As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I released Willow and Giles, but was worried they'd just disappear, especially Willow, who was really annoyed at her incarceration. But then I saw Willow later yesterday afternoon and again this morning, when I went outside to feed the cats. And bonus! Giles was with her this morning. No disappearing for a week like Buffy did! That's a huge success, right there.

And since we're updating on kitties, I should also mention that Skittles just hit another huge milestone in her road toward socialization. In addition to the bathroom, my front porch has become another spot where Skittles allows me to pet her. For months, we've followed a very specific set of rituals. The one in the bathroom and the one in the mornings, when I wake with Skittles on my bed, I've already detailed in previous posts. This latest ritual involves me arriving home from work and walking from the kitchen into the living room.

Skittles always meets me in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room. She circles in front of me, darts a couple steps away, circles back, meows at me, then darts a few more steps away. She continues this ritual of back-and-forth as I slowly follow her toward the front door. Once she's assured I'm definitely following, she darts through the pet door onto the enclosed front porch. When I open the door and follow her, she meows at me from under the chair. I then have to move the chair out of the way, to reveal her beneath it so that I can pick her up. Some days, she will allow me to pick her up immediately. And some days, she makes me work for it, moving from under the chair to under the table, then once I've moved the table, darting behind a cat tree. Once I've moved the cat tree, though, she usually lets me pick her up.

We sometimes repeat this ritual in the mornings. Some days, I'll wake and discover that Skittles isn't on the bed with me, which usually means she's on the front porch. Typically, on these days, when I open the front door, I'll find Skittles relaxing on a cat tree, but only for a split second. The moment the door starts to open, she's down and under the chair, and thus our ritual begins again.

And so these rituals have continued, day after day, month after month, providing me several opportunities each day to further bond with Skittles. Which brings me to our latest milestone: when I went onto the front porch this morning, instead of jumping down to hide under the chair, Skittles stayed in her spot on the cat tree. She just let me go up to her and pet her a bunch, then walk away. No hiding under a chair this time around.

It's funny because I keep thinking that I've probably gotten as far as I'll get with her, in terms of trust. We'll go months without any change in behaviors and then suddenly, she'll make another huge leap forward. Today was that day. And I'm just overjoyed.

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