Several months ago I wrote about the special bond my daughter Julia had with our cat Pandora.
Our cat had been at the vet sick and Julia missed her. When Pandora came home Julia beamed and sat with her on one of our beanbags, but unfortunately old elderly little lady never bounced back to health and died within a week on Memorial Day. Throughout that time my daughter and wife sat with Pandora a lot... my wife with dread ... Julia blissful and ignorant of what was to come. When Pandora passed Julia looked around the house for her, and eventually called out "Ca! Ca!" (her version of cat). I had no explanation for her that she would understand but I tried, and she got angry. The next day while she was at school I cleaned up everything cat-related in the house, and when she came home she looked for Pandora again. Julia did this at least once every couple of hours for a little over a week before she stopped.
About two weeks passed before I suggested that we get another furry family member. I could see the void in everyone's eyes and the need for some unconditional love from a fluffy, four legged friend. My son lobbied for a dog but to be honest I don't need another kid to take care of so I shot down that idea and set my wife and son into looking for a kitten. Well as things turned out, one cat turned into several. They went to go visit some kittens and I got a phone call asking if they could bring home a second one. I inwardly sighed and said "sure!" ... always the peacekeeper. So two little white fluff balls came home, settled in, and we named them James Bond and Missy Moneypenny. The male one was mellow and laid back from the start and has gotten more so over time. He loves everyone but hangs out mostly with me.
The female was energetic, all over the place, and my son and she hit it off instantly. He liked her kind of antics and the kitty loved to play with him.
Julia was used to our old lady Pandora who had come to us as a 4 year old calm cat and she didn't quite know what to make of these new furry family members. For a while Julia moved away from them when they approached but as the weeks progressed she's allowed them to hang out with her and has occasionally petted them. Maybe over time we'll see some cuddling and bonding
My wife was a bit dejected that neither cat preferred her so she decided that we needed a third cat and in short order we got another one which was named M but is mostly just called Baby because she's from a different litter and much younger than the other two.
*cough* So now we have three kittens running about entertaining themselves and us. Getting into some mischief or climbing on something and being too scared to come down. If any of us gently scolds a cat by saying something like "oh you naughty cat what did you do that for?" Julia will giggle. It's the oddest and cutest thing. I'll paint you a picture: Julia is downstairs watching a movie and playing with a toy. I'm at the top of the stairs and see that James has knocked something down and is now stuck on shelf. I say, "James how many times do I have to tell you not to climb that shelf?" and from downstairs I hear Julia giggle. It's the darnedest thing ha! Without fail, if she hears us scold them she laughs. It's always amazing finding those cracks where something can get in, reach her, and we see her personality shine out past and around the autism shell that suppresses and cages her. All too often I see the silent screams in her eyes of frustration in not being able to express herself, but I live for these moments of spontaneous joy and I'm glad we added these kittens to our family.