We'll call her Nevada, or Nev, for short. So yes, our cats names are Sierra and Nevada. Which seems extremely appropriate when you're married to someone who lusts after mountains. I also enjoy the irony of naming my black cat "snowy." (hey, it's better than the name the Humane Society staff had given her: "Cotton Candy." Then again they'd named Sierra "Sparky"...)
We've been talking for a while about getting a second cat, but have been hesitant to do so. On the one hand, there's Donovan who already takes up a great deal of our attention, time, and effort. But on the other, we kinda miss having two cats who can play together. And as odd as it might sound, Sierra was actually one of my biggest motivations to get another cat. Not only might this kitten attract D's attention more, meaning he'll leave Sierra alone more, but it'll also give her a companion, since we can't give her as much attention as we used to.
Sierra's always been an extremely sweet and loving kitty. She loves to sleep in bed with us at night, and misses us terribly when we're gone. If we go away even for one night, we're met by furball of purrs and meows and desperate attempts to get as much attention as possible to make up for the hours spent alone. But, back before our ove to Switzerland, for the year and a half that we had Charlie, our other cat (who, long story short, had to go live with Zach's parents before we moved), she was uch less needy. We'd go away for a week and upon our return she'd barely look over as if to say, "Oh, you've been gone? Well, it's nice to have you back, I suppose." It took her a good 6 months or so before she seemed to feel comfortable around Charlie, but after that she seemed to really enjoy having a kitty companion. I'm hoping it'll be that way again with little Nev.
So, after waffling for months, we decided about a week ago to just go for it. I picked up supplies at Target, and we ade a plan to go visit the Humane Society on Saturday to pick out a kitten. We waited till Donovan had woken up from his morning nap, gave him a good snack, then set off to get us a new kitty. They've upgraded buildings sonce our last time there, into a new one that's gorgeous and has great little roos where the cats hang out instead of all being cooped up in tiny cages. Part of me feels guilty seeing cats living so well there when there's also so many people who only drea of such plush conditions, but I'll also be honest and say that it made me really happy to see that these cats have such a nice place to live while waiting for a home to go to.
It ended up taking us nearly 4 hours before we were actually walking out with our cat. We first went and looked at the kittens, and I fell completely in love with this GORGEOUS tortoiseshell kitten (about 8 months old, so on the older side) and Zach really liked this other black and white kitten (2months). But when we sat down with the staff, they suggested against both because apparently the behavior specialists didn't think they'd do so well in a home with such a young kid. We said ok, though the credibility of the behaviorists kinda flew out the window when one of the kittens they specifically suggested for us had a bit of a biting problem that was clearly stated on its bio sheet. Oh well. There were still plenty of kittens to choose from, but when we were looking at Nev the woman helping us mentioned that black cats are pretty hard to adopt out, I guess most people don't like them. I've kinda always wanted to have a black cat, so that right there kinda sealed it for me. We ade our decision, signed the papers, handed over the money, and were finally out the door. Thankfully Donovan was a dream this whole time, wanting to run around rather than be held but not coplaining at all over the fact that he missed his nap AND lunch (we did go through most of my snack stash) thanks to the process taking so long.
We moved Sierra's food and litter box out of the office earlier in the week, and when we got home on Saturday afternoon we put Nev in there with her own litter box, food, and water. The Humane Society gave us a sheet with a 6-step process for intruducing 2 cats, which I've never before managed to complete (never even attempted it whenever we got new cats as a kid, and with Charlie we tried but at step 4 they et by accident, and well, it turned out fine). The sheet warns that it might take weeks to work through the steps, but within 24 hours we were already at step 3, where the cats are able to eat on opposite sides of the door from each other. Sierra has been remarkably calm about the whole thing-- I remember her being much more agitated when we brought Charlie home, sitting outside the closed bathroom door on watch, refusing to come to bed and abandon her post. This time she's shown interest, knows something's behind there, but isn't very concerned. There hasn't been any hissing, growling, nor even the raising of a single hair on her back or tail. I'm sure we'll see some of that when they actually meet face-to-face for the first time, but from their current behavior I'm hopeful that they'll get along quickly. We're also supposed to keep them separate for 10 days in case Neve is carrying any type of disease that she caught from the shelter, but I'm not sure we'll follow that rule... especially since they're moving through the steps so quickly and honestly I hate the thought of keeping that poor kitten locked up in the office for another 8 days-- she's already making more movements towards the door when we come in or out, wanting to explore. With all the cats we've adopted from shelters over the years we've never had a problem with one of them getting sick, either.
So I think tonight we might try step 4, where we isolate Sierra in a room while we let Nev out to walk around and explore (and leave her scent in the house) and see how Sierra reacts to that. Step 5 is to let the see each other with limited access (like through a babygate or a cracked door), and then finally to let the meet freely. Hopefully it all goes well. =)
BTW, Nev and Donovan are already quite a pair. It's so cute to see them together, as they kinda match size-wise. He's been really gentle with her, and she's not at all afraid of him and will even come up and nuzzle against his legs. It's really ridiculously cute.