When we rescued our cat Leo, we were worried he would be lonely, and we were right. We gave him the entire upstairs to play in, so that our kitchen, bedroom, and living room would all be a safe no-cat zone (to reduce dander, hair, danger to him, etc.) However, he didn’t like being up there all alone all the time, and every time we went to work or to bed, he would cry for us. He’s a sweetheart who just wants to be around others, so we thought about getting another cat.
Getting Leo a companion was no easy task. We looked at rescue options, but I didn’t hear back from any of them (some were older ads) and we checked pet adoption websites to no avail. We mainly found male Bengal kittens, and they never seemed right for us. My husband and I knew we wanted a girl kitten to give Leo a little sister he would be fond of, but I wanted to keep in mind the breed and personality of the cat, in order to try and ensure Leo would accept, and hopefully love, his new friend.
This is a short timeline of how we adopted Luna and all the crazy things that happened since:
My husband went out with his friends on a Wednesday night, while I went to see a Korean play with my friends from the theatre group I’m involved in. We were offered free tickets, so I decided to go. My friend and I grabbed dinner and chilled in Starbucks for a while to kill time before the play started. While we were talking, I mentioned how I hadn’t had any luck finding a kitten, and I showed my friend one of the sites my husband and I had been checking. I saw a new advertisement for two kittens that could be adopted separately, a boy and a girl, about 8 weeks old. They were Russian Blue kittens, and they looked so adorable. I had read a lot about Russian Blues and heard that they generally have quiet demeanors and are very intelligent. I called my husband and gave him the ad and the number for him to check out. We went to the play and had a great time laughing our heads off, but once it was over, Junkyu video chatted me and showed me that a kitten was in his lap. I was so surprised and didn’t know if we were going to get her or not, so I hurried home. When I did, the owner had gone but the kitten was sleeping in our cat tree. Junkyu told me that, yes, he bought her and now she was ours. I couldn’t believe it, and I wanted to play with her but she was so peaceful in her little nest, so I decided to wait until the next day to interact with her.
Leo met Luna the night she came, while the owner was still at our house, and my husband said that they got along pretty well, but I was still anxious about letting them near each other all the time. I started reading the book my mom brought me when she came for our wedding, Think Like a Cat, and I tried to learn all I could about kittens, introducing two cats, territory, etc. I made a makeshift litter box for the kitten, who I immediately named Luna (as in Lovegood, from Harry Potter) and put her inside it a few times to assure her it was there. She drank a lot of water but didn’t seem interested in food, but I wasn’t too worried, and focused on acquainting Leo and Luna before I went to work. I did what the book said I should do (mostly) and took Leo’s brush and let Luna sniff it. I then brushed Luna with it, and let Leo sniff it, as well. Then, I let Luna out of the little space she had been in and let her out into the big room. Leo kept looking at her run around, and seemed a bit jealous whenever she would run and sit in my lap to sleep. She was so cute and small, and her little mew melted my heart. She played with everything she saw, and was pretty tired by the time I needed to leave, so I put her back in the little space and closed the glass door. She cried like crazy when I left, and she seemed to want to play with Leo more, but I didn’t want anything to happen when I wasn’t there to supervise. At night, I invited my friend over for dinner, the one who had gone to the play with me, and she was excited to meet Luna. She crawled into my friend’s lap and slept there while we watched a movie.
I was off on Friday, so I had a lot more time to watch Leo and Luna interact. Luna, being a kitten, saw Leo’s ever-moving tail and wanted to play with it. She pounced on it over and over, and Leo didn’t like it. He tried to warn her with a few moans to stop, and when she didn’t, he would get up and find a place she couldn’t get to. He looked down at her and watched again as she explored the room. She ran around like crazy, but eventually, Leo was curious enough to come down and smell her. I did what the book told me and gave him treats and played with him, to teach him to enjoy being around her. He started licking her all over, and she loved it. She purred and he licked, and they seemed to get along well, until Luna rediscovered Leo’s tail. She also acted like Leo was her mommy, and tried to drink milk from him, which made him confused and angry. He hissed at her a few times when she did this, but she didn’t seem to be scared of him. She still wasn’t interested in the food we gave her, even though we got it from her previous owner, and we didn’t know what to do. She drank lots of water, but never touched her food. We decided that if by the next morning, she still wouldn’t eat, we would take her to our vet.
Saturday morning, and she still didn’t want to eat. I was so worried about her, and nothing I tried was working. I went online trying to find advice from people who had kittens who didn’t eat due to the stress of moving to a new place, but none of it was working. The vet looked her over and told us she seemed healthy with no visible problems, and suggested we try a new kind of food, in case she didn’t like what we were giving her. He cracked open a smelly can of wet kitten food, and she didn’t even look at it. He put some on his finger and into her mouth. She licked her lips and walked over to smell the can of food, and she started lapping at it. I was relieved, but he put the top back on and told us to buy a few different cans to entice her to eat. I was slightly unnerved that he didn’t let her eat while we were there, as she hadn’t eaten in days and it would have been nice for her to get something in her stomach. We went back home and tried to get her to eat, and Junkyu got her to lick some of the canned food off his finger. However, she would quickly lose interest and start playing. Our friends came over and helped us try to force feed her, and we got a lot down, but she threw it up a few minutes later. At this point, I was so upset that I cried and couldn’t calm down. She seemed energetic, still, but I was worried about her, so I did what someone suggested online and put her in a room to herself with the food. My mom told me not to worry, that animals don’t starve themselves when food is available, but when I looked for more advice online, many people said that cats get liver failure if they don’t eat for a few days, and that it was possible for cats to starve themselves.
Sunday morning, and she still refused to eat. At church, I had to go to the bathroom to shed tears in private. I kept searching for solutions online, and my husband suggested we take her to another vet if that’s what I wanted to do. We went by a huge pet store and bought kitten formula. She was crazy about drinking water, so I thought getting some nutrition in her in a liquid form might help until she was back on solids. She didn’t want the formula either, but we put tiny spoonfuls of it up to her mouth, and she licked it off of her chin a few times before squirming away. I was still in tears, so Junkyu called the man who gave her to us. I had read that kittens shouldn’t be taken from their mom or litter mates until at least ten to twelve weeks after they are born, and she was about two weeks under that cutoff. I thought she might eat better in a familiar environment, and then she could learn from her mom how to be a cat. She was starting to become lethargic and slept in my lap all the time. I read about kittens hiding for the first few days after being adopted, but she was so young that all she wanted to do was sit in my lap. The man agreed to let us bring her back, and her mom started licking her right away. I did a quick search and was disheartened to find out that kittens taken from their mom and then brought back usually have a smell that makes them unrecognizable to their mothers. However, I was at my wit’s end and I felt it best to leave the situation in someone else’s hands.
We messaged the man and he said that when he got home, it looked like she had eaten. I was relieved but not all that convinced, and wanted constant updates from him. Junkyu told me to be patient and wait about a week. He said the man would call us back with an update in good time. I still had a bad feeling she wouldn’t make it.
I often asked Junkyu if he thought Luna was still alive and he would always tell me yes. I hoped she was eating and that no news was good news.
Around 4-5pm, I got a call from my husband, and he said, “Luna is coming back tonight! He is dropping her off in about 20 minutes.” I was taken aback and worried that I wasn’t going to be a good mom to her this time, either, but I was excited that she would be back in our lives, hopefully healthier than before. The man brought her in a carrying case this time, and let us have it, which I was so thankful for. The book I was reading on cats made cat carriers sound like heaven for a scared kitten in a new place, and ensured that it would be her hiding place for a while before she was comfortable in the house. He also gave us a can of kitten food, and said he would call Junkyu to explain how to feed her. To my surprise, when I got her upstairs and peeked down to say hi, she hissed at me. I was terrified. She had changed so much in just a few days, that now she was scared of me even putting my finger near her. I took it, though, as a sign that she was now more like a cat, rather than a tiny baby who knew nothing about survival. I let her in the little space again, putting water and food out, along with her litter box, and I let Leo watch her through the glass door.
We had planned on going camping, but I was worried about leaving Luna alone all day and night. Leo had never been alone at night, either, but we set up cameras upstairs so we could watch them, and since Luna was hiding anyway, I thought it might be okay to let her have some peace and quiet. She wouldn’t come out and eat her food, so I put it inside her carrier. She immediately crept over and started lapping it up. I was overjoyed and it gave me the confidence I needed to pack up our stuff for the campsite. We kept and eye on her through the cameras, but she didn’t come out of her carrier.
The next morning, I watched Luna on the camera, and to my surprise, she was starting to venture out of her carrier to explore the little space she was in. When we got home, we started playing with her, but she was still scared and ran back into her carrier at any sudden movement. I sat down next to her and talked to her for a while, and she seemed ready to explore. She let me pet her on the ear a few times, and purred when I did. She and Leo played for a while, and Junkyu recorded it all. Leo was super quiet around her, and he let her play with his tail without too much complaint. She was eating a lot, but she was still too timid to go all the way to the litter box to do her business, and I ended up cleaning a few accidents she had on the floor.
Luna was eating well, using the litter box on her own, and loved to play in the big room and with Leo. She ran around with what seemed like endless energy, so when I went to work, I put her back in her little space to remind her of the food and of sleep. When I came back home, I let her out to play, and she was energetic again, but seemed to have lost her voice. She wasn’t mewing like the first time we got her, and it took a lot of energy for her to produce a meow. Leo gave her a bath and I rewarded him with some canned tuna, since he kept trying to get to her kitten food, but then it was bedtime.
Today! Luna is less afraid of me, and she’s even started to voluntarily climb into my lap, like when we first got her. She sometimes bite my toes, but she loves it when I pet her head and she purrs like crazy. Leo is a good big brother, but I think she wears him out. He sits on the top of the desk so she can’t bit his tail, but he loves being in the room with her. She is great at playing now, but I’ve heard that Russian Blues aren’t very interested in toys once they are adults. My friend has one, and we chatted about the crazy things our cats do. My good friend from high school also recently adopted a kitten, so it’s fun sharing similar stories of food, naps, and keyboard frolicking. Luna eats a lot over the course of a day, like a normal kitten, and she even tries to eat Leo’s adult cat food, so I’m a proud mom watching her grow. I feel like our family is complete for now. Junkyu, me, and our two kitties. He liked animals before, but now he’s obsessed with both of them and talks about them all the time. I hope Leo and Luna are with us for a long, long time.