In January my husband and I separated, and I moved into an apartment. Although it was painful, we decided that I’d take Cosmo with me and — for the time being — he’d keep Saffy and Phoebe, the two girls. For six months, Cosmo and I lived quietly in our new space and developed routines that fit our new life. Then things changed. At the end of June, Phoebe came to live with us. She has always been the free-spirited one of the bunch, and I’d forgotten how colorful life can be when she’s around. I wondered how life would change for Cosmo and myself with Phoebe in the picture. Would their relationship look the same as it did when we lived in our house? Would Phoebe step back into her comfortable alpha role or allow Cosmo to continue taking the wheel here at the new place.
Here are five ways things changed when Phoebe came back on the scene.
Phoebe doesn’t have a fearful bone in her body. Since she was a kitten, she has curiously explored places our other cats wouldn’t dare go. I know all cats have innate curiosity, but Phoebe is a total daredevil. If she were a human, she’d spend all her free time skydiving, bungee jumping, and spelunking. After living exclusively with Cosmo’s calm demeanor for a time, I’d kind of forgotten about her wild side. Then she jumped from the cat tree and onto the very narrow window ledge that’s almost seven feet off the ground. She got to the end of the ledge, couldn’t turn around, and walked backwards the whole way back to the other side. She was slick and graceful the entire time. And then she did it again.
Cosmo and Phoebe lived together for 10 years before we moved. They’d always had a friendly relationship. They never really cuddled or bathed one another, but they did like to romp around together and could share general spaces quite amicably. When Phoebe arrived at the new place, Cosmo hissed at her for a day or two, and then they fell back into their old routine. Cosmo no longer ruled the roost because the alpha girl was back in town.
An additional change: Cosmo is not as clingy as he was when he was an only child. Sure, he still prefers my company to anyone else’s, but he also spends a fair amount of time hanging with The Pheebs … if she allows it, that is.
You’d never know it from this photo, but Phoebe has a lot to say … and she says it all the time. She’s one of those cats who will have a full-on conversation with any human who’ll talk to her. Sometimes it’s plaintive meows while other times happy trills or quick mews. She’s never short on words. This is a major change because life with Cosmo was fairly quiet. The only time he becomes especially vocal is when he hears the magical “treats” word, or as I call it, the “big T.”
Cosmo has always respected my belongings. He’s not one to tip water glasses or make off with hair ties. Phoebe, however, constantly has to have herself all up in my business. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing or where I’m doing it, she’s right there. She steals my jewelry, chews my emery boards, swats my pens under furniture, and sits on top of my work papers. She has little concept of “keeping her paws to herself.” Everything belongs to her.
Cosmo usually spend his nights sleeping right beside me. If there’s an empty pillow next to mine, he’ll park his fuzzy butt right there. When Phoebe joined us, she decided she’d take over the prime pillow spot. And guess what? Cosmo complied and shifted to the end of the bed. Now when I turn over at night, I see a calico-tabby butt in my face instead of the tuxedo tail.
Has your cats’ behavior changed when a new kitty joined your household? Tell us about it in the comments!