“All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.”
--Cecil Frances Alexander
When Larry and I got married almost 10 years ago, we formed a blended family. But not in the way the term “blended family” usually refers to.
Larry has a daughter, but she was already married and had two children when I married Larry. I didn’t have any children.
We blended our cats.
Larry had Thunder Cat and Sam. I had Waddles. Waddles and I moved into the house Larry already had in Altavista, and we became the happy family we had dreamed about.
The cats didn’t get along. We should have known it wouldn’t be easy.
We really didn’t know what we were doing. We immediately introduced Waddles to Thunder and Sam—face to face in the same room. A lot hissing and growling ensued, as you can imagine.
We learned. Usually you have to gradually introduce cats to each other. It can take days—weeks—months before they will spend peaceful time together in the same room. Sometimes it never quite happens.
But eventually, it did happen with Waddles and her two new siblings. They could, for the most part, remain at peace with each other.
One of the happiest times I remember is when all five of us—Larry, me and the three cats—were together in the den, sitting around, hanging out, calm.
Sam was the last of our “original” cats. When she died last week, the group of cats that we started out with, which we formed our family with, was gone.
“O heavenly Father, protect and bless all things that have breath: guard them from all evil and let them sleep in peace.”
In 2007, we added Chase Bird to the family. He was a stray that started living under one of the bushes in our front yard, and eventually we took him in and adopted him.
The other cats didn’t like him. He and Thunder Cat had a growling row one time. So we kept Chase in his own room. Larry put up a gate so that he could see what was going on, but we couldn’t let him out with the other cats.
We worked on introducing Chase to them. But as time went on, it seemed less workable because first Thunder Cat, then Waddles, got very sick and fragile.
Chase and Sam had more interaction, usually through the gate. But we were very careful about unsupervised meetings. Usually, if Chase was running around the house, it was because Sam was in a part of the house he couldn’t get to.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”
Now Chase Bird is the only cat we have. He has full run of the house. It has been an adjustment for all of us. We’ve had to get used to a cat that is young enough to jump up on kitchen counters and dresser tops and bathroom sinks. He is getting used to a freedom that he hasn’t known.
He is a blessing and a comfort. We are fortunate to have him.
But so many changes.