Roko arrived yesterday. He was excited, stressed, and anxious. Excited to see me and Glimmer again, stressed from the car ride [he doesn’t like being in the car], and anxious about the new environment, meeting my husband, and meeting a cat in person for the first time in his life. He also showed a high level of separation anxiety when his family left; he was completely overwhelmed.
Roko was in a high state of distress for several hours. To give him a sense of security – and, to prevent him from chasing after Glimmer and Violet – I put him on an umbilical lead, guided him to the areas of the house he will have access to as he earns it, and allowed him to sniff as much as he wanted. He was allowed to see Glimmer, but he was only allowed to get close to her if he was calmer. The second his excitement got the better of him, he was immediately removed. Glimmer was a fantastic help with this process; she showed him what she would and would not accept from him. By the end of the evening, Roko had improved dramatically and understood that he could not be with her unless he was calm.
My husband was a new person, and Roko’s fear response was to back away, sniff from a distance, and then bark ferociously at him. This behavior went on for several hours, until my husband offered him some water. We knew Roko was thirsty, but he had been refusing to take any water regardless of how it was offered to him. But, he accepted it from my husband – and that moment created an instant friendship between them. For the rest of the evening, everywhere my husband was, Roko just had to be near him. It was quite beautiful to see, especially after the long, stressful day he’d had.
Roko ate most of his supper, and his first night was peaceful. He woke up only once, when my husband got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Roko whined quietly for a minute, and then went right back to sleep when my husband returned to bed. He slept peacefully for the rest of the night.
It was a very stressful arrival and first day for young Roko. Everything is changing and he’s overwhelmed. But, despite it all, he’s trying really hard to adapt, he’s listening well, and he’s already learning not to pull on the umbilical lead. He’s looking to me for direction, he’s learning how to be with Glimmer, and considering that he’s never met a cat in person before, he’s doing really well with Violet. Because he’s so overwhelmed, I’ll just be working him with the leash indoors today; although he needs it, a walk outside is just too much for him to deal with.
Stay tuned. More updates, photos, and videos will be coming soon.