After Surprise had sprung her surprise on me by showing up with 3 kittens, she and her 3 boys came to live with me in my home. There is a room that is especially designed for cats and I put her there with her boys.
The room is about 10 square meters, so not all that big, but with all the mod cons any sophisticated cat can desire. The kittens and their mum stayed in this room for 3 weeks until I was sure that all the fleas, worms and ear mites had gone and that no one was harbouring any illnesses. I have other cats, so I had to be careful, I didn't want anyone to get ill, neither Surprise and her babies nor my other kitties.
For Surprise it was a rather radical change from being a full time outdoor cat into being a full time indoor one living in just one small room for 3 weeks. So I would let her out into the back garden every day to stretch her legs a bit and she never left the garden and always wanted to get back to her kittens quite soon. And you can see here why.
Totally irresistible, aren't they?
After Surprise and her kittens had been checked by the vet, vaccinated and tested for feline aids and leukemia, I allowed them to play in the conservatory, albeit with the doors closed so that they couldn't get into contact with my other cats. I didn't want any fights! And the main reason why the doors were kept firmly closed, is Maine Coon Dolly who couldn't stand Surprise being inside her (Dolly's) house. Dolly had no problems accepting the kittens but Surprise? No way! Here's August on one side of the door in the conservatory and Dolly on the other side in the living room
It soon became clear that Kadootje wanted to be with her mum and her (half?) brothers so I let her. Here you see Kadootje and little Teuntje inside in the conservatory and mama Surprise outside in the back garden.
After the kittens had gone, with deep regret, I let Surprise live the life of an outdoor cat once again. Dolly didn't give me any choice, so that was that. Surprise always stayed very close to my home and garden. Every night she would sleep on the porch in the basket I had bought for her
and towards the end of summer I would often find her fast asleep on the warm earth underneath the tomatoes in the Victorian greenhouse.
Summer went and autumn came but the weather stayed clement and Surprise enjoyed herself as a pampered outdoor cat. Here she is imitating an humongous strawberry in my strawberry patch in the kitchen garden.
Of course my garden supervisors Vita and Dolly love the outdoors too and are allowed to play in the garden as long as I am there to keep a watchful eye on them.
As Surprise was often in the back garden, Vita and Dolly regularly met her there. Vita had no problems accepting that Surprise was in her (Vita's) garden, but Dolly? Well, at first she chased Surprise away when she saw her, but slowly but surely, she tolerated Surprise more and more, as long as she kept her distance.
Here you see them both in the kitchen garden but this picture depicts something far less peaceful than you might think at first glance. This is psychological cat war at its worst. Dolly has Surprised pinned down, at checkmate if you will, and as soon as Surprise moves, Dolly will pounce on her. To diffuse the situation, I distracted Dolly so that Surprise could make her escape.
But as the months passed, Dolly became more and more used to the fact that Surprise was usually to be found somewhere in the garden. And then it got cold and Surprise started dropping very large hints about wanting to come inside and I decided to give it a try. At first, Surprise stayed, of her own free will, in the conservatory while all my other cats were mostly to be found in the living room where it's warmer during the winter months. The door between the conservatory and the living room was open but Surprise just choose to be in the conservatory.
Then, after a week or two, Surprise slowly and carefully moved into the living room, keeping a respectful distance towards all my other cats, except to her daughter Kadootje, whose company she sought.
And then in about two months' time, slowly but surely, Surprise, wise cat that she is, charmed her way into becoming a well loved member of my cat family. How well loved, you can see here. Don't they just look adorable together, Surprise and Merlin?
I was very surprised to see that within such a short period and without any problems, she was readily accepted by my other cats into their family group, even by Dolly. Usually it's very difficult to introduce an adult cat into an adult cat family, the failure rate is quite high. Kittens are no problem, but adult cats are not that easy, as a rule.
And so, singlepawedly, Surprise accomplished the nearly impossible by becoming a well loved member of my cat family and changing from a full time outdoor cat into a full time indoor one, without any problems whatsoever. She really lives up to her name.
Cat behind a curtain
Nobody can see
I peek out
I jump out
Don't you be frightened
You can be certain
It's only me.