Aja actually entered our home under the name of Asia. That is what the shelter had for her name. But when we got home we noticed on the previous owner's surrender form - her name was Aja! After about 24 hours we decided to keep her name as Aja.
Aja is our second female cat (out of 11) and our first orange tabby! She is also our first adult adoption.
|She has beautiful markings but you can see here that her|
stomach sinks in. This picture is from day 1.
Our first evening at home with Aja was fairly quiet. She came out from under the bed to visit the litter box - once. No food or water, but the box got a visit. Ok, normal. But around bedtime my husband and I were both in the bedroom together and I think that made her nervous. She couldn't watch us both at the same time. At one point my husband - who is legally blind - stepped on her. The very first night!! He was devastated. She was pissed!! Hissing and swatting at him as he tried to get on the floor to 'apologize.' She didn't know what he was doing and that was upsetting her too. I said to stand and just ignore her. Give her space to recover herself. That night she let me pet her. But it was a troublesome start.
She sleeps during the day ... and under the bed. Periodically each day I would slip my hand down between the bed and the wall and she would rub against it. And then she would come out. On day 2 she began to eat. That was a great relief to us.
We are now at day 5 she is making strides at trusting us and we are making strides at reading her body language. She expresses anxiety with rapidly wagging tail, then a hiss, maybe a short growl and finally a paw swipe (nails retracted) ... all in that order. Once I figured that out, we were golden. Thankfully the things she is anxious about are reducing. In fact, that sequence has almost totally gone away - as she has relax somewhat in her new environment. Poor little girl. She must have hated the last two weeks in the shelter.
There have been a bunch of fun mini steps in her adjustment. Like the night when I was sitting in the bedroom rocker. My husband was asleep, the lights were out and I was reading my Kindle. She had been rubbing my legs when suddenly she jumped up into my lap. I think we were both stunned!! She sat there watching for my reaction and I was doing the same with her. Her eyes were on me and her tail was waving. Anxiety! I gently rubbed her under her chin. She relaxed and the tail settled. Actually we both relaxed! Hahaha. She lasted for about 45 seconds, then jumped down. Next time it will be longer.
Now she comes out from under the bed (where she still sleeps) at the sound of my voice calling her. She looks for affection. She is checking us out for any rules - little does she know - there are no rules!! Ha.
|The gate separates our bedroom and bathroom from the rest of|
the condo so that our cat has a safe zone when company is
around. We kept is closed the first 3 days.
|The last two days we left it open. |
She still chooses to stay in the bedroom.
And just so you know, the gray cat in the picture -
lower left corner, is a wood carving door stop. :-)
|It sure looks interesting|
out there. L-)
|But even with the gate open|
she isn't sure the time is right!
So all in all ... she is doing great!! The rate of her adjustment is progressing!
We got lucky. I think she is a great cat with a recent bad experience. And she got lucky to. We have 50 years of cat ownership under our belt. We can be patient and understand the language of "cat" very well.
As I fall in love with this little creature, I can't help but remember that she is a heartbreak waiting in the wings of my life at some future date. I wonder why I do this to myself when their lives are so short compared to ours - and then she rubs up against my legs purring and I remember. Love from a pet holds no judgement. Yes, you must earn it, but once earned - you are their 'person' until they take their last breath.
Here's hoping you keep breathing for a long time, dear Aja!