Zelda and Nell – Adopting Rescue Cats

If you are a follower of this blog, you will know that last year we lost a dear family pet – Lili our Burmese cat. She was nearly 18 so it was a life well lived, but heartbreaking for us all the same. Eighteen months before, we had lost her life partner Dennis (he was Lili’s cousin), who had also lived to a grand old age.

My blog post Losing a Pet helped me express my sadness over losing Lili and a few months later, although I knew I could never replace her, we decided it was time to adopt 2 new fur babies. I very much wanted to get cats from a rescue centre rather than a breeder. There are so many cats in shelters patiently waiting for forever homes. Please consider this option before buying. #adoptdontshop

I started my search with Blue Cross but didn’t get any positive replies from any of my enquiries. Possibly because we already have a cat (Buffy), and a lot of the cats they were rehoming suggested they could not live with other moggies. Cats are not pack animals and often prefer to be the sole cat in the home (unless they are brought up together like Dennis and Lili).

Cat Protection were a bit more accommodating, and sent me this picture of a prospective pair we might like to pursue adopting.

We went to meet them at a local foster carers house, and were told that mum was about a year old and baby approximately eight weeks. The foster carer told me that they would have to be homed together as they were very ‘attached’ We brought them home and named them Zelda and Nell.

Zelda at approx 12 months
Nelly at approximately 8

For the first few days we kept Zelda and Nell in the lounge away from Buffy, and they gradually made themselves at home. They spent a lot of time behind the sofa to begin with, but eventually started to explore a bit more and play with the hundreds of toys we had for them. I say that, but actually they were usually much more interested in the boxes.

After a week or so, Zelda began to get a bit fed up with the same surroundings and demanded vocally to explore the rest of the house. This was challenging as we didn’t want Buffy to feel frightened in her own home, and we wanted Zelda and Nell to feel comfortable. We started by shutting Buffy in a bedroom for an hour or two and let Zelda and Nell explore the house, and then putting Zelda and Nell in the same bedroom, and letting Buffy come in and have a sniff around the lounge. The idea is that they scent each other before meeting, and togther with ‘Feliway Friends’ pheromone plug-ins in every room, we hoped this would facilitate cordial relationships.

This was a gradual process, so next step was to build a gate at the lounge door so cats could see each other. It worked quite well until we realised we had underestimated Buffys’ jumping abilities, and one afternoon she vaulted clean over the gate, landing with a crash in the middle of the lounge, much to the surprise of Zelda and Nelly (and me!)

What are you doing in our lounge?

By Christmas Zelda and Nell were out of their containment area in the lounge, and allowed to roam where they wished in the house. There was a lot of hard stares from Buffy when she encountered one or the other, and a fair bit of growling, but the only time it really hairy was when Nelly, ever inquisitive, got too near Buffy and Buffy gave her a swipe with her paw. Zelda, the protective mum, tried to bite Buffy. Panic for a few moments ….and then harmony was restored with a few Dreamies. Mostly now they tolerate each other.

Buffy and Zelda: If I can’t see you, I can pretend you aren’t there

Christmas was fun! Because there were a lot of people in the house, all the cats got a bit overexcited, and on Christmas Day evening Nelly managed to wee on a guests bed just as she was about to retire ! It’s not easy trying to find new bedding and linen and wash a quilt when you have had a long day drinking! Unfortunately this was the start of a habit for Nelly and she often wees ‘inappropriately’ We have spent money on waterproof throws for all the beds, but the vet assured us once she is spayed and can go outside, this should stop.

Zelda was now able to go outside. The first few times I put a cat tracker on her collar as I was terrified I would lose her. She found her way back perfectly adequately of course, and can now come and go out the cat flap as she pleases. Nelly can’t go outside until at least 2 weeks after her spay, so much to her annoyance, is still currently housebound.

You aren’t having a wee are you Nelly?

Interestingly around January, Zelda began to reject Nell which was hard to watch. Nelly would follow her around as she always had, but instead of grooming her and lying down with her, Zelda began to hiss at Nelly whenever she came near, and would disappear off outside, presumably to get away from her. Very sad for Nelly, but apparently it’s very common for cats who still have their babies with them at 5 months. Zelda is saying ‘I have done my bit as your mum, now get on with your own life and leave me alone!’

Roll on to March and we were weighing Nelly every week to see if she was big enough to spay – cats need to be 4-6 months old and weigh at least 2 kilos. Nelly finally made it to goal weight a couple of weeks before her six month birthday! I find the fact that she is still quite small amazing, as I have never seen a cat eat so much. Whilst Zelda and Buffy usually have a nibble at cat food and wander off, Nelly will routinely eat the whole bowl and then ask for more.

Nelly at 5 months

Nelly was finally spayed yesterday. She came home in a baby grow (to stop her licking her wound) which lasted about 2 hours before she managed to wriggle out of it, so we had to replace it with a cone. Understandably she doesn’t like the cone at all, but it’s imperative to keep it on until the wound has healed, as we don’t want to risk infection and further surgery.

Don’t you dare put this on Instagram
Get this thing off me!

I adore these cats! Yes, they have cost us quite a bit of money in vets bills and all the stuff they need, but I wouldn’t be without them for the world. They are truly a gift, and if you are thinking of adopting a cat from a rescue centre, I urge you to go ahead. I know you won’t regret it. 🐈‍⬛🖤

10 replies »

    • Ah thanks so much – yes we adore them… I don’t know why we bother with toys, boxes are so much more fun!

    • Yes we still have the Felliway Friends plug-ins going … Did they stop your cats weeing then?

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