Ta da! Here she is:

Her official name is Cleome, which is apparently a flower. We were going to call her something different, but somehow Cleo just stuck. In our house, Cleo is short for Cleopatra.

She and Schubert are siblings from different litters — and her resemblance to Tilly is striking. So striking that at times we’ve all been a bit sad. HOWEVER. She is a delight, much more outgoing than Tilly, hugely soft natured, with a purr like an idling train. And obviously artistic: within 24 hours, she’d turned one side of herself red by rubbing against pastels, and dyed her tail yellow by brushing against lily pollen. (The lilies are in now in the bin. Fortunately they were on the way out anyway…)

In three days, Schubert has progressed from hissing at her with disdain, to sniffing her even while in the litter tray (yuck!), watching her from on high (kitchen counter – not allowed but somehow he’s got away with it this week, windowsills), tolerating her rubbing up against him, then tolerating a ‘tail tackle’ from her…

Then, this morning, he suddenly did a kittenish four-paw-spring, scat-catting around the kitchen, sweeping down a picture frame and telephone in his wake, ears back. Cleo chased him, hardly believing her luck.

He’s a changed kitty. He hasn’t leapt like that in months. He hasn’t sat on my desk in months. He hasn’t finished my tea and then knocked the cup off the side — in months. And now he’s downstairs rolling around, chewing a cat toy, Cleo looking on. And now — I just had to look — they are wrestling. Sniff.

Quiet celebration. As R says, a cloud has lifted.

*

Not that I was so confident that first morning, when I was up at 6am, struggling to feed them in different locations. And a Cleo wee on the kitchen floor. And a poo protest from Schubert, right smack in the middle of the bathroom. Lordy.

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