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Thursday, May 05, 2016

The Selene Saga Continues

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.


8 comments:

  1. Awwwwwwww .... yes it does seem as though Selene was hurt at some point in her life - yet her affection for you is just as heart warming as her "attacks" are dispiriting .... You are working this through beautifully .... Hugs to you 💕💕💕

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    1. Yes, I cried immediately after that latest scratch, so disappointed after we had seemed to be in such a space of mutual affection. But when I thought about it, I realised it's a trust issue rather than a lack of affection, plus her lack of vocal communication. And it's mutual. Because she doesn't quite trust me (as a member of the human race) and sometimes lashes out, I also don't quite trust her not to do that. I don't always pick up her cues – particularly when I'm asleep!

      Sleeping cuddled up together was a way to express and feel mutual affection. I miss that and I'm sure she does too – but I had not realised how much she was pushing me into uncomfortable positions. I am enjoying waking up pain-free!

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  2. I am so sad to hear you are having this problem! I lost my beloved Boo (my last black cat) May 6th he was 8 years old and too young to die of cancer. I have always had mostly black cats there's something about them I adore but I love all cats.

    I think you both scared each other and could start again. Have you ever watched the TV show Cat From Hell? Give it a watch if you can and maybe if you write in he can give you some advice. In the meantime you could try this.

    Get one of those toys on a string with a stick and play with her. It helps you 2 to do something positive together that releases that urge to go after your hands. Take some time to do it before bed if you try again. "They" say that cats can pick up our emotions...so if you act scared she will mirror that and attack or run. I do understand how hard it is when you are woke up with claws in you! She could just be full of play, mistook your advance as play and then you both got scared. Even if you don't allow her back into bed it'd be good if you played this way with her to give you both something positive that makes her expand that nervous energy. When you go to pet her, don't be hesitant or nervous she will pick up on that and get worse. Good luck with that.

    She is a beautiful cat, I like her white whiskers! I am looking for a kitten to replace Boo and feel for you because I too, will have places in the house that will remind me of Boo always.

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    1. Thanks for all the concern and helpful suggestions, Bekkie. Another month has passed since I wrote the above, and things are much better between us now. I will do a new post soon with the details. (She is back on the bed at night, and it's going fine.)

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    2. So happy to hear it!!! I hope you are waking up with less pain too. "My Cat From Hell" is still a good show to watch sometimes. I am still searching for my new kitty. Enjoy!

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    3. You know, I think the Universe takes a hand in these things, and your perfect kitty will turn up when the time is right for you both. Unfortunately I don't think we get that show in Australia.

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    4. And oh yes, we have learned how to sleep together in a way that is more comfortable for both.

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