6.14.2012

sophia + jenny portrait

sophia and me
jennygordy

Yesterday I had the task of taking a self-portrait and writing a short bio for a freelance project I worked on that's coming out soon.   To my great surprise, Sophia jumped up into my lap while the camera was on a timer.  She never does that.  If she looks uncomfortable it's because she doesn't like being held.  I was so pleased to see her that I had to give her a little squeeze.  It's a big deal because I'm not sure I have any real pictures of the two of us together.

I thought it might be a good time for a little Sophia update.  She was very sad after Seymour's passing.  She would alternate between sitting at the window all day, staring into space (waiting for him?), or she'd be hiding in the basement or garage, sleeping.  (This wasn't the Sophia I knew.  The Sophia I knew would follow me around all day, prancing from room to room, happy and playful as can be.)  Now she would barely eat, which I've come to find is dangerous for a cat.  This went on for a couple of months....

Until!  Until we brought her home some friends from the shelter I volunteer at.  Two teeny, tiny sibling kittens, who've done their best to chase away the sadness and give us a good old time.  We had to give them a very slow introduction to Sophia as to not upset her.  We wanted them to be lifelong friends, not sworn enemies.  It took a lot of patience for all of us, but I'm glad we didn't rush it.  We kept them separate and approached it from the angle of something I learned in a Child Psychology and Development course in college--gradual desensitization with positive reinforcement.  (Cat treats!)  If it sounds like I'm nuts and over-thinking the whole thing, then you wouldn't be alone in accusing me of that.  But all I know is that it worked, and I wish we'd done it with Seymour and Sophia back in the day so that they got along better.  

Honestly, Joe and I were still mourning Seymour and not quite ready for kittens, but we got them for Sophia's sake because I was so worried for her.  Our house felt sad, lonely, and just weird.  Now Sophia's back to eating and hanging out on my ironing board.  In fact I have 3 cats on the ironing board now.  (I don't actually use it, it's always occupied.  I just iron on my work table.)  The kittens have brought wildness and fun back into the house, and we've fallen in love with them along the way.  It's hard not to when you wake up every day to find two teeny kittens nestled together in your arms.  They drive Sophia a little crazy (let's not forget she's a mature lady of 6 years old), but she seems entertained by them and so much happier.

I'll post an introduction to the kittens soon, as well as maybe a Jenny update too.

38 comments:

Carlene said...

That made me cry at work, a little.

:)

caroline said...

so sweet! it's interesting how we (humans) need these animals more than the animals need us. your new kitties are super cute and sophia is beautiful. glad to hear she's doing better (and you too)!

erica said...

i wish i had done something similar when we brought home hector. turtle has never really adjusted to life with another cat. i do find that they're tolerating each other better now that they're allowed to go outside. i'd like to think they're having adventures together!

i'm so glad sophia is doing much better with the help of her new friends. i don't think you were over-thinking their introduction, and clearly all that hard work has paid off!

Lynn said...

We lost our dog of 16 years on Monday. I say "we", and it is "we", but also "I". I had this lovely dog of ours before the kids, before I'd met the husband, before I was an adult in the true sense of the word. She accompanied me through so many different phases of my life, good times and bad. College, grad school, a myriad of jobs and grad school again. Getting married and having babies. East coast, west coast and back east again. She was a friend for so much of my life, I just can't believe that she'll never be there to welcome me home from a long day again.

I remember reading your posts about Seymour when you first lost him and it seemed I could feel the weight of your sadness through your writing. And now I understand. I've been surprised and overwhelmed with just how difficult it has been.

I'm thankful to hear that Sophia is on the upswing and her new siblings have brought fun back into your home and lives.

Anna McClurg said...

OH, that is so sweet Jenny! Both the picture with you holding Sophia and the story of the new kittens! Jed and I want a kitten so bad, but we are waiting until life is a little more settled. I'm so glad the kitties are getting along. I don't think you are crazy or over-thinking anything. I've heard it's best to introduce new cats slowly. Not that I've had any experience in this! But for some unknown reason I was looking that up one day. haha. Anyway, hope you are having a wonderful summer thus far, Jenny! xoxo

Lois said...

Lovely for Sophia! kittens are very distracting, and so much fun to watch, especially two. And now you have a portrait of the two of you together.

in dreams said...

hooray! i'm excited for both updates.

also, i'm not sure if anyone has ever mentioned this to you, but you have a really great writing style. it's very easy to feel as though we're friends, just having a chat, and i think that's why i love reading your posts so much. (ofcourse, it doesn't hurt that there are lots of kittens involved in said posts...) :)

Nina said...

I wouldn't call it over-thinking at all! It sounds like you're doing a great job with all your cats and I'm so glad Sophia has been cheered up a bit, poor thing. Very sweet photo of you and her, too.

eve said...

jenny,
i am so happy to hear your sophia and the kitties update!
sounds like you really did a great job with introducing them all .
the photo of you and sophia is just wonderful!

Cassandra Marie said...

So glad to hear she's feeling better :)

Shasta said...

your kitty posts make me so happy :)

fleur_delicious said...

sounds to me like you took just the right approach; I've heard that cats can be awfully territorial about their people, their spaces ... best to give them time. It's easier with dogs; they're pack animals and will quickly figure out their canine hierarchy and settle into life together.

I'm glad to hear you picked up some kittens. That's the thing - I think after we lose a pet, we rarely "feel" ready to take another pet on again - it seems I always read that someone adopts a new pet before they are "ready" and then are surprised to find that the new pet was part of the healing process. When we lose a pet, we lose a friend, a family member, a loved one. No new kitten can ever replace Seymour; but I bet that having them around is a nice reminder that there is so much room in our hearts to love, in so many different ways.

Our own Siamese is 13 or 14. She's going to tear my heart apart when she goes. It's good to remember that on the other side of grief these is more love, new love, and that we get to carry the old love with us forever.

jennifer said...

Beautiful photos Jenny! Can't wait to see more photos of the kittens too.

tidytipsy said...

Beautiful photos, Jenny. I am so glad for all three of you that you've been able to leave the sadness behind a bit and that the two kittens are cheering you up :)) Looking foward to photos and your update!

ritisha said...

hi jenny. i recently have become a big fan (discovering you through the lovely odette ny) and have been reading some of your past blog posts. the farewell to seymour a few months ago was so heartfelt and moving - our pets are truly part of our families. i was thinking about how sophia was doing with the new kitties and i'm happy that she has taken to them and that some of her sadness, along with yours, has melted away. the new kitties are so cute and i'm glad they are bringing new life and joy. looking forward to a jenny update too.

Naomi said...

such heartwarming post, jenny!

poisonwood said...

So glad to hear Sophia is doing better! I love your child developmentesqe technique, I also took a few of those courses in college and they definitely work, and not only with humans!

Can't wait for your updates to come. I bet those kittens are super cute.

P R I M O E Z A said...

so great to hear that sophia is feeling better with the kittens around. sounds like you did a very good job of introducing them. such beautiful portraits too.

NICOMADE said...

love both of these photos - you two look great. glad to hear sophia is doing better too.

Woking Girl said...

Jenny, this is just the best of posts and the photos are just perfect. Xx

Jocy said...

Glad to hear Sophia and you are doing better.

Belinda said...

Love these portraits, Jenny. Im so glad Sophia is feeling better. You're right - who could resist them? They are the cutest little fur balls.

I look forward to that Jenny update. And I'd love to hear about your freelance project, too.

nicole said...

What a sweet portrait/post! I am so happy to hear there is kitty joy at the wiksten house. Can't wait to see the little loves...

Erica Midkiff | Dearingford said...

We recently adopted a stray (the previous occupant of our house had been feeding her, and then just LEFT her there), and we followed the same approach to introduce her to our two cats (including one who HATES other cats). It has been the best thing we could have done. You're not crazy! You're smart. It was so tough (especially because we were still moving in), but it's made all the difference. I hope your household continues to be a happy one!

Kate said...

Oh, Sophia! I'm so glad she's feeling happier, and it sounds like they've cheered you guys up too. I always toy with the idea of getting another cat for Wendy, but she's always been alone so I don't want to take the chance of ruining her already grumpy disposition.

Samantha said...

What a great photo of you and Sophia - even more so because she initiated it! I'm happy to hear how much you considered her with the new kittens. I think it's so important to treat our pets with kindness in that way.

Delphine said...

such a lovely story ;__;

Miss said...

Marvellous news! So good of you to adopt (and volunteer) at a shelter!

The way you introduced them all is fantastic - everyone should do that. Not overthinking at all!

RIP Seymour. Glad the threesome are settling in well = and Sophia will always be senior cat, and think of the two as teenagers messing up he rhouse. When she's not hanging out with them on the ironing board and chasing them :-)

Two of my cat crew love the ironing board too!

Inge said...

You look beautiful! The one of you two together is precious, because she seems to think: alright then, if you want to cuddle, I'll let you for a moment.
I can't wait till we decide where on this planet we're going to live (for some time), so I can get some kittens of my own.

darcy dubose said...

This is such a sweet post.

k. wang said...

that's really great about sophia, glad to hear she's doing so much better with a bit of feline company. and you! you look great! miss chatting with you on instagram/twitter, but better to stay busy than idle. :)

Jess said...

awww this is so sweet, and the picture is as well! Good to know when I have to introduce new cats in to my family in the future :) Glad it's all working out smoothly.

jeana sohn said...

awww so sweet. and you look so pretty. :)

Neri said...

Dearest Jenny,

I'm so glad. For you, Joe, Sophia, and those two newest bundle of joy - you saved their lives! Wishing all of you greatest joy and comfort from each other. Saw their pics on instagram - they are the cutest and have the most sweetest names too! Much love to guys - This news made me so happy.

Hila said...

I got a new kitten too soon after my first cat died. I didn't think it would be good idea, as I was still mourning for him, but I had that same strange feeling in my house without a cat. It was the best thing I ever did. It's possible to mourn for a lost cat while falling in love with another.

I hope you enjoy your new bundles of cute fur :)

ncp said...

such a sweet and loving portrait! jenny, i know how hard it is to lose a pet and i commend you for taking things slowly with the kittens. seymour will always be in your heart and it is so nice to know there is room for two more! i have tried the separation technique in bringing in strays to my solo cat and i didn't have quite a success story as yours so i am thrilled at your positive outcome. looking forward to hearing your updates as well.

Pretty Mommy said...

such a pretty picture of such a pretty girl...
glad to hear that Sophia is doing great now with the new kittens ;)
Happy fourth lady!

Susie said...

So pretty :)