She has been here four months already!
Gradually she has claimed the space.
It is only very recently that she ventured into the bathroom (which, after a cursory inspection, she found boring) and the spare room, where she discovered comfortable beds that get the afternoon sun. The spare room is now definitely part of her domain.
It still wrings my heart a little, to see her where I used to see her beloved predecessors. But after all, they don't need those places any more, and it's good that she can enjoy them now.
Some weeks past she became daring enough to get on my bed, sometimes on her own during the daytime:
more especially at night – like Freya before her, arriving instantaneously upon my retirement. She also took to joining me for any afternoon naps.
It didn't take too long before she was snuggling right up, pressed against my torso or legs for the whole night.
Then we had the latest setback.
There have been a couple of occasions, since the first frenzied attack, that she has scratched me – but only with one brief touch, never again drawing blood. I eventually understood that, as she didn't learn when young to communicate with humans by miaowing and purring, she uses body language such as a warning paw extended, and if that message isn't got, a small tap with extended claw.
Which is what happened when I rolled over in my sleep one night, and evidently flung out an arm, and it was one of the rare occasions when she was sleeping at the top of the bed. I was woken by a scratch on my hand, and came to with a yell of pain and surprise, at which she jumped off the bed and ran out of the room. When I came fully awake, I realised she hadn't actually hurt me; but things were rather cool and stand-offish between us the rest of the day.
That night, when I settled for a read before turning the light out, she came confidently up the bed to me as usual, for a pat and some stroking and a scratch behind the ears, a pleasant routine we had got into before she found her spot for the night.
Only this time, as I reached out to pat her, she suddenly sat back on her haunches and started shadow-boxing with her front paws, not in a playful way but defensive and threatening. I roared in surprise and outrage (though she hadn't touched me) and again she ran from the room.
'Well, that's it,' I thought. 'I can't have her on the bed tonight. I can't trust her not to over-react to my movements.' So I shut the bedroom door. (My former cats would have scratched at it furiously, demanding admittance as their right, but not this one.)
I woke up next morning without all the aches and pains I'd been experiencing on waking for the past couple of weeks. Well, well, well! So no more cat on bed. I now shut my door every night. The first time, she looked next day as if she thought she was in disgrace. I spoke to her kindly to try and reassure her; she seemed to understand, We are working out between us new times for strokings, scratchings and rubbings up. We both know we do need touch, for proper bonding.
And I talk to her. She does her best to talk to me with her expressive eyes.