|We never planned to have four cats.|
We became acquainted with Valentine after she became a birthday present for my daughter-in-law. Valentine was just a wee bit of a kitten then, very cute and very sweet. Like all kittens she was a bundle of energy. That might have been okay if she had outgrown it and settled down.
|A no-nonsense cat|
She was quite the tear-em-up cat, which is not a good combination in a small house with two preschoolers who are still learning how to be gentle with pets. My suggestion was to start letting her go outside to work off that energy. Unfortunately, my son's homeowners' association doesn't allow outdoor pets. One day, in a peak moment of frustration after the littlest granddaughter had been scratched, he decided they'd have to get rid of Valentine. My soft-hearted Dan (a reformed cat-hater, by the way) thought about this for awhile, and then finally said to me, "What's one more cat?" So Valentine came to live with us.
|She talks so much that Dan has nicknamed her "Meowy"|
Our concern, of course, was how well our existing cats-in-residence would take it. We installed Valentine in the back of my studio, which was (and still is) in disarray due to construction. Of course, Valentine was scared and hid behind a pile of boxes.
The other cats weren't too pleased with the intruder. They would go stand in the doorway and sniff the room, until Sam decided he was going to do something about it.
|Sam has made a good farm cat.|
Sam marched into the room and within seconds the fireworks began. I have never heard such hissing, growling, screaming, caterwauling, and commotion! Boxes tumbled everywhere and within seconds Sam shot out of the room like a firecracker. That little cat had whooped his tail! Needless to say, the other two wouldn't go anywhere near that room after that.
Things got better once Valentine was allowed outside, and she and Sam finally became friends. He's a easy-going cat, and one day they got into a non-threatening game of chase. She's loved him ever since.
|Sam is now Valentine's favorite.|
Next, she set about trying to win over Riley.
|Riley the Top Cat|
Riley has been here the longest and is the alpha cat. With humans he is an amazingly mellow fellow. With the other cats, he's a tyrant. He's biggest and heaviest, so his opinions rule. About the only other cat he tolerates is Sam, but even that has limits. His acceptance of Valentine basically amounts to simply ignoring her.
|Valentine and Riley now get along somewhat.|
She became increasingly bold around him, but like the other cats, has learned not to trust him entirely. He can be tolerant if he's in the mood, but he can turn on a dime.
|Katy the hold-out|
Valentine and Katy absolutely refuse to get along. Neither appears to like the other and neither will budge on the issue. They take great delight in stalking and ambushing one another, which ought to be an enjoyable kitty game! However, the ambushee never fails to get mad about it, which results in a lot of hissing, claw swatting, and screaming at one another. This is especially annoying when both are in the house and it's the middle of the night.
|An excellent farm cat.|
So that is how we became a four-cat household. She's our littlest cat with the most spunk; the stuff of many kitty tales to come.