Sophie Comes Home

Sophie, Our New Love
Sophie, Our New Love

We had a bad storm three nights ago and Sophie didn’t come around for the first time in weeks. She must have known it was coming, and hunkered down early to hide from the impending thunder and lightning. The next night, the night following the storm, she showed up skittish and covered in dust. She must have found a dirty, gray place to hide. The thought of her quivering in fear, hiding from the storm, was just too much. We were coming up on three months since I first saw her, skinny and hungry and desperate for food. That first night, when she ate and ate and ate.

I couldn’t leave her outside any longer. I couldn’t bear the thought of her continually frightened any more.

Two days ago I called my mobile vet. She gave me lots of great advice on the safe room. She told me to dismantle the bed so Sophie couldn’t hide beneath it. She wanted to be able to examine her when she came. And she wanted me to be able to pet and soothe her. So my neighbor and I propped the mattress and box springs tight against the wall. Horizontally so Sophie could jump on top if she wanted to climb. I gave her stuffed animals in case she needed a mommy, and a new mouse filled with catnip. The Feliway came from Amazon today and I plugged one into the fixture in the safe room, and one in my master bedroom to soothe Sadie and Sally.

As she has done nearly every night for the past three months, Sophie came tonight, mustering up her courage and yearning for affection. She ate her can of tuna and several treats. My neighbor and I petted her for nearly an hour. She’d leave and hide around the corner, giving herself a bath. And then she’d return for more pets. At long last she let me pick her up and I held her close and petted her. She purred and snuggled in my arms. And then she saw my neighbor coming with the carrier. She struggled, and as I put her in the carrier, she howled in anguish. My heart broke at the sound. I zipped the door closed and covered the case with a towel in hopes of soothing her while I carried her inside, past Sadie and Sally, and up the stairs to the safe room. All the while she howled, as Sadie and Sally looked on with wide eyes.

I set the carrier in the corner of the safe room. The light was low, the litter box in the corner alongside the scratching post was dimly lit. My neighbor had placed a fresh bowl of water and dry food well away from the litter box. I unzipped the case and Sophie let out another howl as she slunk out of the carrier. She sniffed the stuffed horse and ran to the other side of the room, keeping her body low to the ground. I opened the closet and she slipped inside and hid in the corner.

Eventually I began to pet her, and she whimpered softly. She then sprinted out of the closet and jumped atop the mattress and box spring, cowering in fear. My neighbor and I spoke softly, trying to soothe her. I tried to pick her up and slip her back into the dark safety of the closet, but she dug her claws into the fabric and wouldn’t let go. I picked up a large decorative pillow and leaned it against the wall atop the box spring, providing a little tunnel for her to hide behind. I placed another pillow next to it, lengthening her hiding place. We left her cowering behind the pillows, softly closing the door behind us.

I feel so awful for causing her to be so frightened. One minute she was purring in my arms, the next she’s stuffed into a case and deposited in an unfamiliar room. Indoors! After spending so many months outside. I know she’s safe now. I hope she knows it, too. I hope she begins to settle with the lack of constant stimulation–cars and dogs and hunger and storms and strangers and slamming doors and unfamiliar surroundings. Everywhere. Every minute. I hope she feels the tension ease when she awakens to quiet. And fresh food and water. And a warm room with a soft pillow and sheep fur.

Meanwhile, I’m lying in bed writing this post. Sadie and Sally take turns lying next to me, seemingly unconcerned that there’s a strange kitty in the room down the hall. Maybe the Feliway is working. Maybe they’ll love each other.

I feel horrible. I hate scaring her. But she’s safe, now. I hope she learns to be happy and content here.


  • Oh yeah, Sophie has a new home and a Mom, sisters.. lucky cat.. Yes, she will adjust as animals are very in-tuned to their surroundings..Enjoy your new girl πŸ™‚


  • congrats and good job. you were very careful, caring, and thoughtful in your transition. i thought about you over the weekend when i took my mom and sister to get a new cat. they have one at home (after my sugar died in january) and as we talked at the humane society, i realized we had never been so thoughtful in the transitional approach as you had been describing. so i am very confident that you will have success. give it a little time, but be optimistic as well! fyi – their new kitty dora is transitioning well. she and spunky are still not friends but as my mom says, “they’re practicing getting physically closer to each other.” it’ll come. πŸ™‚


    • You have a new kitty in your life! Rescues are the best. Sadie and Sally are rescues. And now Sophie. When I brought Sadie and Sally home I had a kitty whose brother had recently died suddenly. I put the kittens in my spare room and introduced them to Calvin a little at a time. Shortly after they all warmed up to each other, he got sick and died at the vet. I think he had a broken heart from losing his brother. But he liked the little ones eventually, and I’m hopeful for success here, too.

      Dora and Spunky. Very cute. πŸ™‚


  • Oh I’m so happy!! If could I’d hit the “like” button ten more times! I too feel bad for poor Sophie, but it’s the best for her, and I’m sure she’ll love her new home eventually. I see you did buy the Felliway, in my experience it takes about a week or more to really work, but onceit does you’ll definitely see the difference! Congratulations! And try not to feel too bad about keeping Sophie inside, I think once she realizes she’s safe and warm she’ll be thankful. Again, I’m so happy, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for all of you girls! xoxo


    • Thank you! Sophie’s been hiding in the closet since I got home. But she’s stopped with her anguished meows, so that’s an improvement. Sally is out of sorts and hissing at Sadie. (She never does that.) But she’ll calm down when it’s time to go to bed and cuddle. Hoping the Felliway kicks in soon!


  • The first moments like this are the toughest, but Sophie will adjust to her new surroundings. It’s all about time and patience. πŸ™‚


    • Thanks,Gail. If she could tell me so, she’d probably say, “This is going to take some getting used to. But it’s better than hiding from thunderstorms outside. And this never-ending plate of tuna is awesome.”


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