(Note: This post was written by Laurel Regan and originally published in a separate blog called “Herbie Tales”, which was later merged with Alphabet Salad.)
Yes, I know, this blog is supposed to be about Herbie… but Spider is one of his housemates, after all, so on occasion it will be relevant and helpful for me to write about her, too.
The way I’m feeling today, though… rather emotional and teary… this post may end up being more about me than about either Spider or Herbie!
Spider will be 18 years old this June, and she’s lived with me since she was only a year old… so as you can imagine, she and I have an extremely strong bond. Spider is a very affectionate, loving, and calm cat, and not at all standoffish when it comes to us or other people. She’s an indoor cat – has always been one – so she’s led a fairly easy, protected life. She’s lived with other cats for part of her life – the people who adopted her and kept her for her first year had another cat; also, for the first two years of our married life Peter’s cat Zeke lived with us. Spider even lived with a small dog for a month, many years ago, while I was staying with my parents temporarily after a move. In that month the two of them actually became comfortable enough with each other to sleep on the same chair together (though Spider still had no qualms about giving the dog a thwap on the nose if she felt he was getting out of line!).
These days Spider spends most of the day sleeping on her bed in front of the fire downstairs while Peter is upstairs, and in the evening when we’re both home she’s normally next to (or in the lap of) one or the other of us. Most nights she sleeps in our bed with us, up at the top between our pillows, and often curls up in the crook of my arm with her head resting on me.
I love my Spidercat so very, very much. She daily brings joy to my life, and has taught me so much about expressing affection. She is a part of who I am.
So I miss her as she’s locked away in her quiet room, and I’m surprisingly emotional about the whole situation. I held it together all morning while I was alone with Herbie and Peter was sleeping in, but I kept thinking about how she couldn’t come in to our room to sleep with us last night, and how she is having to spend her time up there in that room alone, away from her fire and away from us. When Peter got up I went in to visit with Spider and started to cry, and every time I think or talk or write about it now I get teary. I don’t know why.
I know that Spider is perfectly ok up there – she’s safe, she has food and water, she has her litterbox, and she has a couple of comfortable places to sleep. Peter and I have both spent time with her. She had the run of the house all night (we kept the bedroom door closed), so she even got some time by the fire.
I know that this situation is temporary, and that we will be able to introduce the two of them soon.
I know that while Spider and Herbie may never be best buddies, we will do whatever we can to get to the point where the two of them can live peaceably together.
I know that this is mostly about me and my own thoughts and emotions and less about what Spider’s actually going through, but I’m not sure how to get past this and start feeling normal.
Maybe it’s all just a bit overwhelming – the new family member, the change in routine, the unfamiliar things we’re learning, and so on. Maybe I’m worrying too much about the introductions, about how the two pets will get along. Maybe I just miss knowing that Spider is right there ready for a cuddle. Maybe I’m sad that some of the time she and I have left together in this life isn’t available to me right now.
Maybe it’s a combination of everything, and I’ll start feeling better as things evolve.
Who knows? Time will tell, I suppose. I just hope I’ll feel ok again, soon, so I can really enjoy Herbie and our new life together.