Two years ago I wrote a Thanksgiving column in which I gave thanks for the two new little furry boys in my life, Beau and Oliver.
I never dreamed I’d be doing another Thanksgiving column like that so soon, but here I am.
When Oliver died suddenly and unexpectedly in September, I worried about Beau. Not only had Beau and Oliver been extremely close, but Beau had never been the only cat any place he lived.
I really felt Beau needed feline companionship, so after we’d had a few weeks to adjust to our loss, I contacted the woman who fostered Beau and Oliver, to see if she had someone who might make a good buddy for Beau.
She sent back photos of some candidates and one of them stood out — a six month-old male kitten. He was all black (even his nose and whiskers!,) except for a few frosted highlights on his tummy. She described him as “very playful.”
The kitten sounded like a perfect fit, but when I actually met him, I was a little jolted to discover that at six months he was already only slightly smaller than Beau. I nearly didn’t adopt him because he was so big, but after seeing how well he played with the other cats at the shelter, I decided to give him a try.
I’m not sure why the kitten, now named Alexander, ended up at the shelter, but according to his paperwork, the people who brought him in had thought enough of him to keep him indoors, which was a plus. (Indoors cats lead safer, healthier lives than those allowed to roam outside.)
It was also noted on his paperwork that he’d lived with a golden retriever. (Hmm. Maybe that explains why he attacks his food and water with what can only be described as canine gusto, and why he loves to play fetch so much.)
Alexander is such a big boy, it’s hard to remember he’s still a kitten and as unused to some common, everyday items as he is to our house.
A couple of weeks ago when it snowed, I left my boots by the door after sweeping the walks and when Alex spotted them, he jumped back like he’d encountered a couple of rattlesnakes!
He’s fine now, but it took a while to convince him my boots don’t bite.
The biggest problem, however, is that he’ll chase anything that moves — and Beau loves to run.
During the first couple of weeks Alexander was here, he would zero in on Beau like a heat-seeking missile every time Beau sprinted through the house.
I’m reasonably sure Alex was just being a typical curious, energetic kitten, but Beau was traumatized.
As far as Beau was concerned, Alexander was some great galloping monster out to get him. He reacted by screaming something equivalent to “HOLY #$@!!” and fleeing in the opposite direction, which just made Alexander want to chase him more.
Needless to say, Beau and Alexander’s relationship is a work in progress.
This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for Beau, I’m thankful for my new furry boy, Alexander, and I’m thankful they both LOVE turkey (Yes, I’ve resorted to shameless bribery to get them to sit quietly near each other.)
I’m also thankful for all the people who’ve told me about their experiences adding a new cat to their household. Most have said that it took weeks, if not months, for things to settle down, but eventually their cats became best friends.
I hope someday I’ll be able to pass on that same encouragement to someone else.
In the meantime, I’m REALLY thankful for my Thanksgiving turkey. It’s going to give me a lot more bribery material.
Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears each Wednesday in The Times. Contact her at