It’s no surprise that I’ve been away for a very long time and as much as I would like to apologize for my absence, it has been much needed.
While running a pet blog has brought me joy for years, the past year for me has been quite a blur and I’ve been finding means of coping with the loss of Beau, which seems to have gotten better, but we’re not completely there yet.
In the past year plenty has changed. We’re still the proud pet parents of both Kalista and Aramis, who have been getting along swimmingly, but something I haven’t had the means to let you know about is that we ended up adopting Aramis’ baby Cleo.
If you’ve been a reader of the blog for the past few years, you will remember that Aramis was a stray cat who my sister had found in her backyard. The first time we visited my sister in Portugal, it was to our surprise that Aramis was actually pregnant, shortly giving birth to her litter upon our arrival.
To our dismay, only one kitten survived, which is shockingly more common than we expected, but what was a bit more surprising about the whole event was that the kitten we found inside of a flower pot, that Aramis didn’t realize was missing was our Cleo.
Thinking back a few years later, it makes me warm inside knowing that Cleo would probably not be alive if it wasn’t for our intervention, firstly by making Aramis aware of Cleo’s existence and then the persistence to reel Aramis back to her cat house anytime that Cleo was crying asking for milk.
Admittedly, Aramis wasn’t a great mother. She often ignored her kittens whenever they begged for food and would rather explore the world than nurse her young, so it was a big responsibility for my sister to actually take care of her and Cleo when we left Portugal. But all the work wasn’t in vain as Cleo is a very happy and healthy cat, though we’re still not completely out of the deep end with Cleo.
While Cleo is a happy and healthy kitty, Cleo does come with a good amount of behavioral differences to our other cats and as many pet parents know, there are some things you simply cannot train out of a cat and are directly corelated to their ever unique personalities.
Cleo, for example, is much like Kalista when she was a kitten. She’s avoidant and doesn’t like a whole lot of contact, which is completely fine, though unlike Kalista, Cleo is pretty aggressive.
Cleo is extremely quick to anger and will often bite, scratch and fight both us and the other cats. We’ve had her for about… I’d say 2 or 3 months now, and we’re still unable to have Cleo live in the same space as Kalista. Originally, Cleo hated both Kalista and Aramis, having a long-term hatred for her mother who was somewhat neglectful and when she was around she was overbearing, seemingly having cause Cleo to not like being held down as Aramis would quite literally tag Cleo to the ground in order to groom her, often leading Cleo to cry and beg for escape.
Early on into the arrival of Cleo she would simply spend time alone hidden away under our fireplace or in another close confine, which is very typical for a new cat; however, as soon as she was more comfortable with our home she started to show signs of wanting to be the dominant cat of the household.
As you may already know, we’ve never truly had a dominant cat in our household, having Beau who would often switch dominance with Kalista, and the same being for Aramis and Kalista. Cleo won’t let it down though.
At the moment, we let Cleo out for a few hours every day and closely monitor her relationship with the other cats. Early on whenever she spots another one of the cats, she would immediately get upset and growl and try to chase one of the other cats into submission. In these cases, we did as most pet parents do and would throw a blanket on top of them or would scare them away. While these measures have made it more bearable to have Cleo and Aramis together, which admittedly is fine and is currently the situation for today, Kalista and Cleo are still not getting along in any means.
It seems like Kalista is trying her best to get Cleo to like her, often rolling on the floor around her or getting playful, but Cleo is not having it.
Cleo still gets immediately rageful and will often go and attack Aramis is she sees Kalista or will begin attacking our legs, often clawing at them or biting on them. Unlike Kalista, who used to do a bit of the same, Cleo shows no remorse. When Kalista is upset and takes it out on her humans, she will lick us or will push her head on us to apologize, but Cleo will continue to do this until you put her into her carrier or separate her completely. I recognize that there’s simply more work that needs to be put in and other methods which we can take to help accommodate Cleo, however, I have to say it feels like it’s “taking too long” knowing full-well that you can’t rush things.
I think I’ve been very spoiled with how easy it was to introduce Beau and Kalista, who admittedly became the best friends a pet parent could ever ask for, but not even Aramis and Kalista have done that. While they get along and will sometimes play with each other, seldom do they play with each other and they have never actually cuddled together or groomed each other. Of course, this is fine by us as long as they can live in the same space, we just don’t want this era of angry Cleo to last for too long.
Cleo is pretty good on her own. If she’s in my office with no other cats, she spends the majority of her day sleeping in her cat bed, often where Kalista last slept, or will run around the house playing with various toys, but as soon as you pick her up or try to pet her, she will either bite you or will cry. This behaviour as well, is fine with me. I recognize that Cleo needs more work than other cats, especially because she didn’t have any other siblings to understand that biting and fighting is painful. Not to mention, Cleo still has her very sweet moments at certain times of the day.
If Cleo is in my office during the early mornings, if I’m up early enough, she will often hop into my lap for cuddles and will let me pet her quite a bit. Admittedly, Cleo even at her most cuddly wants less pets than the other cats, but in her cuddliest moments she wants to be pet in intervals, essentially a few pets and then she runs off and then wants to be pet again. I think this is my first experience with a cat like this, but I can’t remember if Kalista was similar.
Cleo is the most cuddly at night. Essentially, our house is separated and the cats are unable to travel freely upstairs or downstairs, requiring us to take them down for the day or bring them up at night, so every night I take Cleo up alone so I can get some quality time with her before bed.
Quality time with Cleo is actually one of the sweetest things and has changed quite a bit since adopting her. While at first Cleo was completely avoidant the whole time, she has developed her own sort of routine when it comes to bedtime with me.
Cleo will begin by running around up upstairs to get some energy out and then will sit next to me while kneading. I honestly have never seen a cat knead as much as Cleo does. It, no joke, lasts about 15 minutes or so. I guess she really just wants to get her scent in there.
When Cleo is done kneading she’ll often start headbutting me and asking for pets, similarly to the morning coming for a bit then running away to have her space. She’ll do this a few times before she decides to come sleep on my lap or my chest.
Similar to Beau, Cleo will dig me out from under the covers on very cold nights, either to see my face or because she’s actually concerned about me. Funny enough, there was one night where Cleo got too aggressive with me, so I pretended to be “dead” to see if she would “lick my wound” because girl can pack a really rough bite, but instead Cleo just stood on my shoulder, sniffed my face and then cried. Maybe one day we’ll get her to “lick wounds” or more importantly be less aggressive.
At the moment, Cleo’s favourite place to play is her carrier. She absolutely loves her carrier, sleeps in it for a good portion of the day, but also immediately gets playful when we pack her up. She’ll try to claw her way out of it and play with teaser toys, but cute enough if I ask her to go inside of her carrier for bed she will. Whether it’s just because she loves her carrier or she’s starting to understand what I’m saying is undetermined.
Cleo’s favourite toys include laser toys, which she doesn’t fully understand, or kicker toys. I can literally spend hours with her playing with kicker toys. Her kangaroo kicks are too cute and I hope to get back into recording videos so I can show you her adorable play skills!
One of the weirdest things that Cleo does is body check doors. I’ve had cats who scratch doors, but every morning I wake up to Cleo body checking our bedroom door so I can let her in. At the moment, I can’t let Cleo sleep with us, because she will get into aggressive fights with Kalista, but hopefully I can let her sleep with us soon.
Her favourite spot to sleep is either in my arm or between my legs, and while at first she would run to the door every time my husband came upstairs, she’s been consistently sleeping with me every night until my husband has to remove her from the room to let Aramis and Kalista in.
I’m sure we’ll get her adjusted into this household and it apparently took my sister a year for her to get accustomed to her cats, so we might be in for a very long warm up period, but until then I’m going to try to be a bit more consistent with updates on here.
What I loved the most about Pets Overload was studying our cat’s behaviour and seeing how we could better help them and I think that that’s where I’m going to make my focus for the blog from now on. Admittedly, I really loved writing about animal health and information about their behaviour, but I think I’m going to simply focus on documenting our cats for the next little bit so I can slowly move back into the blog.
It truly has been a rollercoaster of a year and I’m just happy to finally be able to update you again without the sadness that would rush upon me every time I wrote the URL.
I hope all of you have been keeping well and can’t wait to hear from you.