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Finally together again

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By Calen McKinney

It has been nearly five months since she came home with me. And it has taken every bit of those five months for her to finally become part of the McKinney clan.

I adopted a kitten in July that had crawled under a vehicle at the Taylor County Courthouse. That little dirty kitten meowed her way into my heart ... and now, hopefully, finally, into my other two cats' hearts as well.

After deciding to adopt Jennie, she had to go the vet for a checkup. Bad news. She wasn't coming home for about 10 days. She had a contagious eye infection.

So I had 10 days to prepare. I bought kitten food and a new litter box. I talked with Jake and Julie (Jennie's older siblings) about being nice to her.

Then she came home ... and things didn't go as well as I would have liked. Jake didn't seem to mind the other mouth in his food bowl. Julie, however, acted like a spoiled child who suddenly had to share. She hadn't known what it was like to have another cat invade her territory, and I guess she didn't like it one bit. Jake was my first cat, and Julie came home a few months later. He took the change well.

Julie eventually got over her jealousness of Jennie getting lots of attention and decided it was OK for her to stay.

Then, a few weeks ago, it was time for Jennie to be spayed and declawed.

The surgery went fine and she came home the next day. But in that single day, I suppose, Julie forgot how to share. She hissed, slapped and growled at Jennie, who looked pitiful with her stitches and shaved belly. She wouldn't even use the same litter box as Jennie, which was a bit difficult, to put it lightly, to manage.

This is all normal, I know. My parents and I experience the hissing and growling part pretty much every time we take our cats to the vet. The vet office smell doesn't sit well with jealous cats.

Everything was fine for a few days. But after a few complications, Jennie had to go back to the vet to stay overnight, and then once more a few days later. Julie really seemed happy those days to be sharing the house with only one cat again. Then Jennie came home and the cycle started all over again.

But now, Jennie is home and doing well. She's running through the house, jumping on the kitchen sink, eating my blinds and stealing toys and pillow space from her big brother and sister.

And Julie has learned how to share again ... finally. I caught her the other day cuddled up next to Jennie. And Jennie was cuddled next to Jake.

I guess they've finally become the three musketeers ... and not a moment too soon.