Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, May 15, 2020


So here she is ... all 7 or 8 pounds of her!  The smallest full grown cat we have ever had.  And getting pictures of her has been a challenge.  She can be ellusive.

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-)
She still self-contains herself in the bedroom.  She is familiar with the space now, and food and litter are readily available.  She sometimes sits and looks out the gate at the rest of the condo, but her tail starts to wave and I know she is still unsure.  One time she stepped past the open gate and crept out about 4 steps - stopped - and ran back with belly to the ground.  With time she will be a bit more adventuresome, but for now she is happy to stick in her "safe zone."  But she does continue to look.

But even with the gate open
she isn't sure the time is right!
Today I decided it was time to see if she could tolerate me lifting her.  So I lifted her onto our bed.  It was a fast movement and she did not object.  I picked her up two other times today.  All to the bed.  She did fine.   Later my husband and I were on the bed, he was listening to an audio book and I was talking to her.  She jumped right up on the bed - without an invite.  And she stayed with us a bit.

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!  


Leftycrafter said...

So kind of you to keep her name from her former owners. I am sure that helps a bit. She is a beautiful cat and I am sure will give you many years of love and affection. You both are lucky to have each other.

Michelle said...

Well! She is progressing much faster than my new horse. Yes; why do we do this to ourselves? All for love. It's obviously growing on all sides there.

Leigh said...

Sounds like you all are the perfect new family for Aja. So nice to hear her adjustments are coming along, even with a bit of a rocky start! What better thing to do than share your world with a cat!

Wendy said...

Aww she's lovely and you definitely know how to treat a new nervous cat. I'm sure she'll be snuggling up to you in no time.

Marie Smith said...

It is lovely to read of your bonding with Aja. Lucky cat indeed. Lucky people too.

Cynthia said...

Ginger cats are so pretty and she seems to have a very sweet disposition, though a bit timid. I bet it won’t be very long before she is accustomed to her new life and taking over the best seats in the house!
My cat died March 6th. She was 14 and so dear. Part of me wants another but I just can’t do it yet. You’re brave to risk your heart ... again.

Bohemian said...

It's rare to have a Ginger Female Feline is it not? I've only ever seen Ginger Toms! Our Cat, Miss Priss, came to us as a timid Stray and now she is fine with my pathological picture taking and isn't as timid as she's grown to Trust us and bond to Humans, especially our Granddaughter, who is her Human! I once had a Friend named Aja, with that spelling and pronounced as Asia, so the parallels made me Smile.

Becki said...

It's so good that Aja is settling in and getting comfortable with you both. I chuckled at the image of her jumping onto your lap and both of you being stunned. You're a good story teller, Elaine. I'm looking forward to more Aja tales.

A :-) said...

Her original owners must have been Steely Dan fans :-) Congratulations on this new helping of love in your life :-)

Cat said...

Oooh, new kitty story! I am back at a good time, it looks like! Good luck. Sounds as if you are progressing well!


M.K. said...

Hello, sweet Aja!! She's lovely. It's wonderful to read how she has come along already. She will soon feel comfy and safe in your whole home, and snooze on the top of the sofa :)