On November 3 we celebrated 4 months of having the kittens in our lives, 4 months of tending and growing, 4 months of adventure, of finding our way through, of inviting in love. In some ways it feels like we’re still at the beginning. In other ways, it feels like Scout, Escher and Shibumi have been a part of our lives forever. When we brought these three kittens into our lives, I was clear we were going to help them cross the threshold from scared, neglected and abandoned to safe, healthy and open to love. I was also clear that this journey didn’t necessarily end with all three of them finding their forever home with us. Four months in, I can’t imagine life without them. All of them.
Remembering that we’ve only been together 4 months is especially important when it comes to Escher. He’s still in defensive mode the majority of the time, paw at the ready to swipe if you come close. He bolts in terror if the doorbell rings. The poor guy has also had an attack of what may have been asthma and ended up in veterinary emergency overnight. And yet, of all the places he could be, he spends most days curled up in the chair in the studio with me. When he is relaxed, I can sit right beside him. I can pet him and hold his paws. I can tickle under his chin and have him stretch out in delight, purring. I’ve even been able to kiss him right on top of his head. He may be guarded (as you can see in his eyes in this picture) but sometimes he lets his guard down and we can pour love in.
Then there is Shibumi, Shibumi the Dauntless, the Daring, the Intrepid. We have cat toys we don’t bother to bring out anymore because it takes her .003 seconds to grab them and then she simply growls and holds on and the game is clearly over. She’s gotten into the vents – more than once. And she’s gotten into our hearts forever. Her lionhearted spirit translates not only into adventures but also into love and relaxation. When she sleeps, she sleeps soundly. One time I saw her legs poking out from under the night table and they were so still I was frightened something bad had happened. I gave her paw pads a tickle, looking for some reassurance in her reaction. Nothing. I gentle held her feet. Nothing. I peered under the furniture to find her perfectly content and sleeping deeply. She’s the one cat that lets us hold her. What a joy to scoop her up, feeling the relaxation in her body and the way she rumbles with purrs. But she wasn’t the first to purr.
The first to purr was Scout. And, in fact, when I look back to the first pictures, I see it was also Scout who first came in close. He was also the most obviously terrified when we brought him home and for weeks after. The first time we took him to the vet he threw himself into getting away, attempting to scale the walls and peeing on the poor vet when she was able to catch him. I am completely amazed that Scout the Terrified has become Scout the Tenderhearted. It was Scout that helped me understand that we were opening the door for love. We read each other’s body language and intentions and slowly, steadily we met, heart to heart. Now Scout has this funny way of dropping to the floor and letting you know he’d love some love. He purrs loud and strong and regularly gives me his belly, occasionally even licking my hand to return the favour.
Perhaps the best word to describe these four months with these rescued kittens, who are now 9 months old, is intense. I think we have all experienced intense growth, intense fear, intense bravery and intense love. I am so thankful to everyone in the studio community who has given encouragement and support, especially the Sparkles Aunties and Uncle. We couldn’t have done it without you. It has been an enormous help to have so much care help us get over the threshold too.
These kittens are family. These kittens are home.