Sunday, July 20, 2014

The First Weeks

Pepper was quick to want out of the bathroom, her curiosity fueled her desire to explore everything. Since she was calm, and showed no signs of fear, I obliged. She began a seven day period of exploring every nook and cranny she could find. She even learned how to open the doors to the kitchen cabinets, the lower ones she could reach.

I let her have free reign, no boundaries other than three places, two of which were just dangerous if she got stuck, the third was the closet. She didn't need more than a warning to avoid them, I did not even raise my voice, just a soft "no" and she never tried again. Once in a while she would look at me as if asking for permission.

It was this cautious act that helped me to better understand what she was doing, she was literally mapping out where she was allowed to go. I had spent nearly a week preparing my apartment, making it safe for a kitty to have the run of the place. Of course there were some concerns still but Pepper never once chewed on cords, missed the litter box, or scratched anything. Probably the most well behaved feline I have ever seen, from a shelter.

She has one treat that she enjoys after waking from a nap, a sip from a running faucet. I will be getting her a drip water bowel, or making one for her, but for the time being it's a little ritual we have. She will sit in front of the bathroom waiting until I notice, then jump onto the sink. I turn on the water to a small drizzle and she takes as much as she wants. This is probably a trust building task for her, she is testing how much I am willing to do for her comfort. It is a very small thing for me to provide so I do it with no complaint.

She has had a couple problems, both of which were my own fault. I gave her too many cheese centered treats one day, she vomited and acted like she expected to be punished. Nope, it was not her fault nor under her control. I just cleaned it up and showed her loving, pets until she realized she was not in any trouble at all. She also had a fecal accident, several hours later, like a stoppage that just came loose. I did not punish her for that either, too much cheese does that to humans too.

Soon she realized that she could also wake me up when she needed something. As bothersome as that can be when I get woken after only a few hours of sleep, it helps me to learn what she needs and when so I can prepare it before I sleep. She often sleeps on the bed next to me as well, at my feet. It is refreshing to wake up and see her so relaxed now.

One problem I cannot control is the construction across the street, the noise bothers her and she often goes under the bed because the sound is muffled there. She is slowly adjusting to it, but I am not going to push it and let her do so at her own pace. I hope they finish soon.

She is working on her courage right now, often going into the apartment complex's hallway to explore a bit. She is still not sure of the elevator out, but once she conquers that I can begin to teach her how to use the leash. She is so curious and loves attention, it will be good for her to get out once in a while.

Now she is playing with her favorite toy, a shiny plastic ruffle ball, and sleeping on my bed whenever she gets tired. Still working on figuring out which foods she prefers, she fears canned foods because of her past, but we have a long time to work that out. Pepper has brought something to my life I had nearly forgotten about, a companion who doesn't mind my faults, a friend who always enjoys my presence.

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