When we last visited with our dynamic feline duo, Maylee and Mamma Mia, they had recently been reunited in our second bedroom after a seven week separation. Reunification went a little more quickly than we planned when Mamma Mia escaped our crate, dashed about the room, and landed under the red chair where Maylee had built her lair.
It took another week, but we set up a nanny type camera in the room which has been a God send in terms of monitoring their progress. Now we know for certain that they are both eating, drinking, using the litter box, and so forth. We can also measure small things like how they interact with the toys and where they sleep and what arouses their curiosity.
Maylee is a zoomer. She is all over the room, usually dragging one of her toys with her. Zoom, zoom, zoom. She is now spending her daytime sleeping hours in the room, alternating between a cat bed we put on a bin and curling up on my grandmother’s antique chair (Grandma would be unhappy) which has multiple blankets and sheets piled upon it.
She likes to be in the sunshine from the window.
Maylee comes out for Laura, but not me. She will sit next to Laura, sniff her drink, and bat at her slippers. She trills for her and plays while Laura is sitting in the room. And each time Laura leaves, Maylee goes to the door – perhaps to look for her?
She eats like a horse. She’s probably doubled her weight which is good since she was a scrawny thing who never knew where her next meal was coming from. The vet told us she was 3 or 4, but we think she’s more likely under 2. When she’s able to be handled, we’ll take her to our regular vet and get his opinion.
Mamma Mia was on top of the chifferobe for about a week. We could tell she came down because she changed positions. One day, I startled her when I was cleaning the room and she hopped down, scurrying under the red chair which is now HER lair.
We can see her on the camera eating and drinking and such. A few times, she has batted at the toys. She walks around the room, exploring. And she seems to like to watch whatever Maylee is doing. She has also occasionally tried to sun herself.
When we come into the room, we try to eyeball both cats without necessarily making eye contact. Mamma is usually behind the chair so we can peek at her from the side. If Maylee is nearby, she hisses at us when we do this. Is she defending Mamma?
I like to watch the overnight video to see what they are up to. They are both active, usually around 2 AM and then again around 5 AM. Maylee, in particular, enjoys playing with her mice and stuffed toys in the early morning, we can hear her batting them against the door. Her goal is to get them under the door and into the hall. We toss them back into her. It’s the closest we come to a game.
We need to make some adjustments in the room, remove a few items to create more space for them. We don’t think that they will be ready for general integration anytime soon. We have to be able to handle both of them before that happens, but we anticipate that once Maylee (likely) realizes how nice pettings and a brush can feel – it won’t be long. If one of the house cats is outside their door, Maylee is very curious and not at all defensive.
Sometimes when I feel sad or down, I watch the video feed. Re-trapping Mamma was particularly important to me because I felt like I had let her down by releasing her and not navigating the ridiculousness with our neighbors better. It may seem crazy but I felt like we both had had hysterectomies and my recovery was tied up in hers. Now that she’s safe and able to flourish without predators and with a constant source of food, I feel better about my own final recovery.
Maylee’s progress makes me confident that Mamma Mia will come along soon. I hope Maylee continues her zoom, zoom, zoom approach to life and keeps Coco on her toes. And I hope Mamma has peace and playfulness without worrying about anything except Mr. Sweepy and which food bowl to use at any given point in time.
So now we continue to wait and let them flourish. There’s no real rush except for when we have the ceiling in the room repaired (water damage) but we’ll deal with that when it happens.
The rest of the outside kitties – Lothario, Mr. Precious, other tiger stripe cat – have not returned. We see Lothario outside on the front street sometimes, but he doesn’t come out back. We do put food out, but for the most part our groundhog consumes it.