We now have a fourth member of the family: Hank.
And the third member of the family is none too pleased.
We thought it would be best if the Hellion had a friend to gallavant around the house with on otherwise lonely afternoons; I also like to think a second, calmer cat would lead by example and show Grace you don't have to be over the top to get what you want.
We decided that Friday would be the day we made the trip. So we went and visited the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, a visit that was heartwarming and heartbreaking, all at the same time.
We made our way through the cat section, and there were cats of all kinds. Some were more memorable than others: the 15-year old male who seemed unfazed by anything; the kitten who climbed damn near to the top of the screen door that enclosed the kitten pen; the feisty 3-year old female, who gave us shivers when we tried to imagine her cohabitating with Grace.
Hank - who's given name was Sublime - was about 3/4 of the way through our first trip around the cat section. He was laying down, taking in the scene when we approached, but got up and moved to the front of his cage when we got close.
Each time we went back, he would do the same thing.
So we had one of the workers put us in a room with him. He seemed very content to have both of us hold him and give him lots of love.
The decision, for me anyway, was pretty clear. We found a cat who was pretty much like me - willing to sit around and relax and take what the day brought. (Except you'd have to throw in a beer for me.)
After filling out all the paperwork and getting some good instruction on how to introduce Hank and Grace, the three of us headed off.
We went home, though I dropped Linds and Hank off. They were going to the pet store to get everything Hank would need - and to get a few presents for Grace, to show that we weren't forgetting about her either. I had to run to work, since it was almost 3:00 - the witching hour for Friday rush-hour traffic in DC. (As it turned out, it took me nearly two hours to get to work anyway.)
Linds e-mailed halfway through my shift, telling me that things were OK, but not great. Grace was super-mega-ultra pissed off, standing outside of the door where Hank was and growling and hissing. (After living with Grace for three and a half years, I've not once heard her hiss. Though she's crazy and definitely a diva, she's pretty even-keeled.)
According to the e-mails, things would ebb and flow. Grace would forget about it, and go back to wanting love. Then she'd be pissed again, and on it went.
By the time I got home, Grace seemed pretty normal. She greeted me at the door and acted like nothing new was happening.
But when I made it into the bedroom, Hank was safely locked away in our bathroom. Grace stood outside and hissed and growled, and frankly, I found that pretty depressing. I knew it would be difficult, particularly that first day, but I didn't expect that.
Grace has been better today. No hissing or anything like that.
And I have to cut this short, because someone's locked in the bedroom and demanding attention.
I've known Hank for less than 24 hours, and I know one thing already: He's a bigger attention whore than Grace. So off I go.