Not much has happened on the knitting front recently. This is mainly due to one factor: Pebble.
Pebble is the most recent addition to the feline division of the household. She joined Pickle and Mietze on 1st September 2011 and ever since we have been busy “managing” her gradual integration. I guess the last few weeks taught us that the introduction of a new kitten into a household with established cats is a slow and gradual process, requiring constant human supervision and, at times, intervention. Whilst there may be examples of instant acceptance of the newcomer by the senior cats, this rarely, if ever, happens.
What’s more, there is no failsafe method and cat owners’ experiences and methods facilitating the integration of the newcomer vary greatly.
|Pebble disrupting the weekly clean|
Just in case anyone is interested, here is what we did:
Pebble spent her first twenty four hours locked away in our bedroom. (We obviously spent the night with her and paid her numerous visits during the day.) She was equipped with food, water, her very own litter tray and an eclectic selection of toys. Knowing that there was another cat somewhere in the house, both Pickle and Mietze occasionally came up to the bedroom door and a had a good sniff. In the evening of the second day, when we were still living in hope that Pickle and Mietze might just accept the newcomer, we decided to let the cats encounter each other briefly.
Mietze hissed, growled, ran away in fear, jumped onto the fridge and spent the best part of the next week sitting on the highest surfaces she could reach. Pickle, though slightly more confident, did much the same. Oblivious to all this, the kitten was just eager to meet both of them. Following the first meeting, we stopped all further face – to – face encounters and only showed the kitten to the adults when it was safely sitting on our arms and only for very short periods.
Whilst I was swapping blankets and toys from room to room to disperse Pebble's smell across the house, Steve built a cat cage (which the cats are now using a a new seating facility). Every evening, we inserted Pebble together with a ping pong ball and let her run wild in her pen for twenty minutes or until she grew tired of being confined. The cage enabled the others to take a closer look without being directly exposed to Pebble; and it gave us piece of mind. If Pickle or Mietze really wanted to take a swipe at Pebble, she was at least not in danger of being injured. Thankfully, the adults only hissed and growled at her but refrained from swiping.
|Pickle (during a rare quiet moment)|
Another week passed and it was time to abandon the cage and open the bedroom again. This time, one of us sat and played with Pebble whilst the other remained with the adult cats, who were by then interested in watching the little one from a safe distance. A few more sessions of this kind and Pickle eventually ventured towards the kitten. She still hissed at Pebble, but she didn’t overtly threaten her. At this point, we decided to introduce a cardboard box and see whether Pebble and Pickle would start playing with it together. As hoped for, the cardboard box was an ice breaker.
Fast forward a further seven days and the kitten is now spending longer stretches with the big cats. Being the more social of our two senior cats, Pickle is naturally more involved with Pebble, but Mietze is slowly coming to terms with the presence of the kitten. Whilst Mietze makes it abundantly clear that she doesn’t wish to engage in play of any sort, she now seems interested in watching the interaction between Pebble and Pickle.
|Pickle and Pebble sharing the coveted kitchen sink|
When we are not at home we continue to keep Pebble in the bedroom as she is still quite boisterous. Over a prolonged period of time and without us there to intervene if need be, it might come to clashes, which we are keen to avoid. However, when human company is at hand, Pebble is now roaming freely throughout the house.
Considering that Pebble’s integration into the household has taken us nearly two months and is technically still ongoing, it’s no surprise that my knitting time has been severely curtailed. When I get a precious moment to sit down with a pair of needles and a skein, Pebble excels at disrupting the process. Being a kitten, this was to be expected.
Having said that, I have managed to continue my work on two projects. Both of these are my own designs: a bulky Raglan cardigan and a shawlette. As regards the shawlette, this project only exists as a rough sketch on paper accompanied with a few notes. I am hoping to begin swatching during the upcoming weekend. The Raglan cardigan has progressed a bit further and I am hoping to be able to wear it by mid – November....Pebble permitting.
|Raglan Cardigan in Wendy Zena|