Before…

After…

Step 1:  Rescue kitten from certain disaster.

Step 2:  Ensure resident cats aren’t going to eat kitten.

Step 3:  Learn how to SLEEP when kitten thinks sleeping is supposed to be done during daylight hours.

Step 4:  Learn to love kitten despite her really poor sleeping habits.

Step 5:  TEACH KITTEN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FURNITURE AND SCRATCHING POSTS (I simply cannot emphasize this enough)!!

Step 6:  Play with kitten daily (and, when possible, get older kitties to play along).

Step 7:  Stay out of kitty arguments (really, the middle of a kitty argument is no place you want to be).

Step 8:  Take well-deserved breaks when the going becomes more than you can bare.

Step 9:  Cuddle kitten every chance you get (said cuddles will be returned ten-fold).

Step 10:  Be patient, be kind, be loving and KEEP FAITH that the day will come when kitty can get spayed or neutered and peace will return.

Cleo got spayed about a week and a half ago and the transformation has been amazing!  She’s decided (mostly) that sleeping at night is okay, she’s tormenting the older kitties a teensy bit less, and she’s possibly even more cuddly than ever before, which may or may not be the residual effect of having to spend the night in a pet hospital.

I’m continually amazed by how diverse cat personalities are… Trixie has always been a loner, content to see the family for a few minutes every evening then mostly hiding out in her room (a.k.a. the “guest room”) the rest of the time.  Tucker likes to be close to people and even enjoys the occasional cuddle, but it has to be on his terms or else he’s out-a-there!  Cleo is a complete and total people person – she has to be close to somebody at all times and will cry if she can’t find anybody; interestingly, we think Cleo was a wild kitty, so her affection is a very welcome surprise.

I don’t think I ever would have intentionally chosen to have three cats, but now that I do (and now that we’ve crossed that spaying hurdle with Cleo), I can’t help but see the beauty of it.  There’s nearly always a kitty nearby to keep me company and I truly believe they bring their own joyful energy to the picture – each of them, in their way, makes our house a home.