Then PJ arrived.
First came the visits and she shrieked with delight when she saw him and he sat next to her and let her stroke him. She had seen lots of photos of him in her Introductions book, so she was very excited to meet him. He just looked stunned. Before Introductions started, I had put a safety gate on her bedroom door as recommended, and to follow the same pattern in the foster home. When Introductions started and I saw how PJ was in the foster home and the layout of the house, I realised that it would be a great idea to have another safety gate fitted onto my bedroom - to keep my room as my room - and therefore provide a bolt hole for the cat.
I am sooo glad that I did!
Smudge is a very tolerant cat - and she is very excitable and changeable little girl.
They say she will learn empathy.
I work on it with her but it is a s-l-o-w process with some days of her being very gentle and loving towards him and other days where she is not at all.
I watch them like a hawk.
I model how to stroke the cat gently and use a soft voice to call his name.
We talk about what he likes and doesn't like.
Come here my lovely sweet boy she says and goes to give him a hug.
Then, moments later she pulls his tail, yanks his fur and picks him up and lugs him around as he finally meows and even hisses, occasionally at her.
She takes no notice.
Mostly he just stays limply in her arms as he is carried around, with an expression which seems to say, if I lay still, it will be over quickly.
Don't worry she says, I will just take you to my Mummy. It's OK, she says, gently.
Then, as he finally squirms and makes a bolt for it, breaking free, she growls and hisses at him and says Raaaah, making her hands like claws in the air towards him.
Occasionally, she has been as quick as him and I have intervened as he is half in the house and half out of the cat flap, as she has grabbed him by the tail.
Other times he will lie down next to her as she strokes him, purring.
Sometimes, she has sung him lullabies, and played her guitar to him and he has lain next to her, pretending to be asleep.
Several times, she has read him her story books and he seems to listen, attentively.
She tries to engage him in her play activities.
Would you like a cup of tea she asks him?
would you like and ice cream?
And gives them to him. Here you are Smudge, she says.
I think he understands.
Once, in the early days of beginning to go to Nursery, PJ was really struggling to get in the car in anticipation of going to Nursery. No, not Nursery, she screams and cries. After half an hour of screams and cries and failed attempts and soothing and getting in the car, PJ sat on the front door step and howled. In desperation, I called for the cat. He came from over the fence and she seemed to calm. I suggested we take him with us in the car and said that she would go in her car seat and he would go in his car seat (cat box) next to her.
She, mercifully, calmed considerably and I got her safely into her car seat and gathered up the cat into his cat box and put him in the car and there was a few moments of calm, with the occasional sobs as the tears subsided, gradually.
We were halfway along the road to nursery, when PJ announces that she doesn't like Smudge in our family.
Meow, replies Smudge, immediately and loudly.
They both went quiet and I supressed my giggles until I finally got back home after successfully getting PJ to Nursery.
Yes, their friendship and bond is growing.
She watches him jump over the fence and waves him off in the mornings saying have a nice day at cat school.
She thinks he is very cheeky when he comes home with a present of a bird or a worm or a mouse.
Especially, if it coincides with one of our birthdays.
He buys her presents for birthdays and Christmas and she thinks he goes with his backpack to the shops and wonders if he always remembers to pay.
Of course we made cake and sang happy birthday to him for his birthday and buy him a new toy or some Smudge treats.
It is early days, for them both.
He really doesn't settle down until evening, when she has gone to bed.
He just knows that then all is calm and all is quiet.
Then he sleeps in heavenly peace.