Oh, Charlotte

I was just thinking this morning about how much Charlotte has changed from when she first came home with me. She stayed at mom's house for that first weekend, and it was one of those winter weekends when literally everyone was home all the time, lumbering around the house, so Charlotte hid in the laundry room the whole weekend. I had to visit and feed her in there, and guard her food from Roy. I just tried to get her used to my smell and my voice.

I brought her to my house, and she met Floyd, who acted like an intimidating jerk for a while. So Charlotte just kind of ignored him and scoped out good hiding spots around my house - the little "shelf" on the back of the futon was her favorite. She would stay in these spots for most of the day. She would act pleased when I "found" her, and she would come out for pets for a few minutes, and then I would do something too scary, like walking out of the room, and she would hide again.

Nowadays, Charlotte goes where she wants and does what she wants in my apartment. She's not allowed in Floyd's cat bed (yes, she has tried to share it with him), but she has claimed the entire futon as her own. If I ask her to share it, I can sit down and read, and she will allow this, as long as she can be touching me at all times. She also cuddles with me in bed and follows me into the bathroom.

Charlotte still has issues when she's on the floor and I walk toward her, and sometimes she runs, but she never hides for long. The vacuum cleaner is her only real fear within my apartment (car rides and OUTSIDE are a whole other ball of wax).

Floyd likes to come with me to the basement while I do laundry, and I've tried to get Charlotte interested in this too, just to expand her horizons a bit, but it was so distressing for her - stepping out onto the landing would make her yowl with fear, and she would scramble back into the apartment. So I stopped trying to entice her out. But yesterday I left my apartment door open while I went down to put clothes in the dryer, and when I came back up the stairs, Charlotte was at the top, staring down at me kind of defiantly. She didn't go down the stairs, but when we were back in my apartment, she swaggered around like she had conquered Mount Everest. Just strutting with her stocky, big body and her pantaloons, so proud of herself.

I thought we had turned a corner in terms of Charlotte being afraid of new things. But then, this morning, I had the audacity to put the cat food in a new bowl, which is shallower and wider and blue. And Charlotte was afraid of it, walking around it in big arcs, low to the ground, waiting to see if it attacked her. I had to ruffle the food with my fingers and let her sniff me before she would eat from the bowl.

Oh, Charlotte.




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