It has been a full year since we lost Archie, our much loved cat (you can read a blog post about him here) and we are ready to have a new cat share our home with us. As it turned out, we found two cats that needed rehoming via Bristol and Wales Cat Rescue. They have clearly been well cared for and loved, but their last owner had died and they need a new place to call home and we jumped at the opportunity.
On Sunday morning we tidied up in the boot room and put a new coat rack. Last week we'd bought some coat hooks and I had screwed them to a piece of wood. Mr J drilled some holes in the wood and the wall and once he'd fixed the rack to the wall, we transferred the coats. After a year of using a child's cloakroom rack, it was lovely to get our jackets and coats hanging up high and clear the space on the floor below them.
We moved the child's cloakroom rack to on top of the units in the boot room, stored our scarves and gloves in baskets on it and I vacuumed the floor in readiness for our new arrivals.
Then we drove to Bristol to collect Monty and Tabitha. They are pedigree British Short-haired tabbies and we were supplied with their pedigree paperwork when we collected them. Splendid as that may be, to us they will just be 'the cats', our feline friends.
When we got home, we showed them the litter tray and their food and water bowls in the boot room and they responded by running under the boot room cupboards and staying there for most of the day.
Monty is braver than Tabitha and by early evening on Sunday Monty had decided it was safe to come out and explore his new surroundings.
This included being fussed and given a tickle under the chin. Tabitha is more shy and nervous, she spent a full day hidden away and only came out to eat when we weren't around.
Monty had a good look around the downstairs of the house and then settled on my lap on the sofa. Each time I moved my legs (which were going numb under his weight) he would hop off the sofa, only to return a moment or two later.
As has happened all week, I fell asleep on the sofa quite early in the evening and when Mr J woke me around 10pm to go to bed, Monty was still stretched out on me deeply asleep. So I think we can say that he has started to settle in.
On Monday afternoon Tabitha started to venture out from under the units and from the boot room. She was much less adventurous to start with and has taken her time to explore her new environment.
However, once she started she wanted to explore everywhere. Under cupboards, behind curtains, on top of tables, she's inspected the waste paper baskets and even the inside of my slippers.
When we sat down at the kitchen table to eat our supper, both cats appeared and attempted to make themselves appealing, presumably in the hope that they would receive tidbits from us as we ate. Feeding animals at the table is not something that either Mr J or I approve of and the cats, realising that they weren't going to receive any tasty treats, wandered off to find the wood burner and flopped in front of it.
We shut them into the boot room again overnight. Once they are allowed to go outside, they will be coming and going via the cat flap that is in the boot room door, so getting them used to being in there seems a smart move.
By this morning (Tuesday) they were feeling settled enough to run out and greet me when I opened the boot room door. Their food bowl had been emptied over night and the little tray filled, so they seem to have got into a good routine.
As I type Tabitha is wandering around the house, sniffing and rubbing against everything while Monty seems to have found a quiet spot in which to curl up.
I need to head outside and unlock the bird houses, the chickens and ducks still have at least three weeks of being confined under cover while wild birds are migrating. The ducks have had their space restricted, their feed, water and pond covered and can no longer access beneath any of the trees. We have ordered a large walk-in run for them, which we can cover with tarps, this will keep them under cover completely and I am hoping that this will arrive in the next 24 hours. We will keep this up permanently and remove the tarps once given the all-clear by Defra. Then next time we have to confine the birds we will have all the infrastructure in place.
But before I do the morning chores, I think there's just time for a cuppa!
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