Say hello to Emiko!
Also known already as Emi-Cat, Squeeky-Cat, Sweetie-Cat and any number of other ridiculous names as they strike me.
Chaos handled Clio's passing even less well than I did, and for a time I had him on Prozac because he was so miserable. After some time passed, and when I was done skiing for the winter, it seemed like a decent time to introduce somebody new to keep him company, or at the very least to keep his life a little more exciting and varied.
After a semi-exhaustive search for just the right not-too-active older female to keep him company, I found her with the good people at Stray Cat Alliance, where she had been known as Squeek. Her former keeper had been forced to give her up due to the loss of his home and never returned to reclaim her. Eventually she was put up for adoption.
I was not looking for another black cat, though in retrospect having two the same color makes it a lot easier to pick furniture and bedding that doesn't show their fur too much. In truth, I was looking for a cat very much not like Clio. Certainly I was not looking for another tuxedo girl, and even a black girl with very minor white markings felt a bit weird. But her personality grew on me right away when I met her. The paperwork and various other checks took a bit of time but on April 10th she arrived and settled into my bathroom for a slow adjustment process.
At this time she's about ten and in good health. She had one minor tooth problem that required an extraction (par for the course at her age) and a bit of arthritis in the knees (ditto) that I'm treating with the same supplement I give myself. She's more or less made the living room her own. I rebuilt my Ikea wardrobe/coat closet into a makeshift cat tree that she enjoys. It's now fully carpeted on top and I've added some other shelves to the walls around it for her to climb on. She seems to enjoy being up high and looking down. Chaos sometimes "pulls rank" by climbing up into my sleep area, getting up on the railing and looking down at her.
I had not initially planned to change her name. But over time it changed nonetheless. I still refer to her sometimes as Squeeky-Cat, but somehow the name never really fit. She squeaks from time to time, but is mostly a pretty quiet girl. After the tragedy in feline-friendly Japan, and considering my brother's affection for the place, going with something Japanese just seemed right. The name Emiko is -- like so many things Japanese -- associated with many translations in English. Smiling Child, Beautiful Child, Blessed Child, and Beautiful Blessing are many that I have found.
Emi was also my dad's nickname.
She's got odd quirks like any cat. She has a way of stretching out that involves putting one back leg up and out, almost ballerina-style. It's different from the normal stretches my other cats have done. My vet diagnosed that one: apparently she has a slightly loose kneecap, just like her skier dad. That straight-out extension helps them slide right back into place. She's weird about her food. I've learned that the canned food has to be placed away from other things because if there's any left when she's done eating, she will try to "bury" it with whatever else is around, just like a lion might do to hide uneaten prey in the wild. I was going nuts trying to figure out why she was constantly brushing the dry food out of its dish, when I noticed that if I fed her near a folded towel or piece of fleece, she'd claw at that and try to drag it over her food bowl too! Now I just keep the canned food away from anything that might be dragged into it.
Like any good girlfriend, she's figured out how to stretch out in a way that leaves absolutely no room for me on the sofa. With Chaos now sometimes willing to share some space with her, I am frequently forced to read elsewhere. So far she hasn't ventured upstairs much and hasn't slept on my bed. Chaos did work that out with Clio and I'm sure he and Emiko will work it out too, but I'm equally sure that when it happens the loser will be me. Clio used to like to tunnel in under the covers and Emiko seems to be a bit of a tunneler too. I wonder if she'll do the same thing?
In many ways, Chaos is still getting used to the idea of not being the only cat. He's always been difficult at times, a product of an early life that I suspect was never especially happy. He has good days, bad days, and days where he feels compelled to "mark" his territory when she annoys him. But it's improving slowly over time and sometimes he can be downright friendly to her, especially if I'm around.
Unfortunately, Emiko's not the same kind of catnip fiend that Clio was, and I'm somewhat at a loss for what to do with my rather extensive plantation.