At the Top of the Stairs, There Was Em

Our black cat Emma sits at the top of the stairs between the kitchen and the basement, watching our new kitten Boo (not in the picture) as he climbs the stairs towards her

Emma was not happy about the arrival of little Boo in the summer of 2013. On his first foray into the house at large he had to climb the stairs first past Ellie, then Sam, and finally Emma at the top. I spent most of Boo’s first month with Emma, letting her know this was still, and always would be, her home. She was a sweetheart and in time not only came to accept the little fellow but let him snuggle up with her. It’s still hard for me at times to edit pictures of her, knowing that in a year and a half we’d be going through another introduction, this time getting Boo to accept young Trixie after Emma died far too young.

Both Sam and Emma followed Boo around as he explored but Sam watched Emma as much as he watched Boo, here looking up at Emma atop the stairs as she growls at the intrusion of the young kitten. Sam loved his life with his two older sisters and never wanted it to change, but when they both died young he accepted his new siblings pretty quickly.

Our cat Sam in the landing between the kitchen and the basement looks up towards the top of the stairs where our cat Emma (not in the picture) was sitting

The Ascent of Boo

The View of Boo

On the day we gave Boo his first taste of freedom in the house, I grabbed my camera to document the event and laughed when I saw what was awaiting him at the top of the basement stairs. He had already met Ellie and got along with her from the start so it isn’t as imposing as it looks.

The Ascent of Boo

As he scrambled up the stairs, he assumed a submissive pose as he did with all the other pets, as Sam and Emma were at the top of the landing watching him. He sized up Ellie but of course he had nothing to worry about. Ellie has been a sweetheart with both of the young kittens we’ve adopted and the three cats we had when we adopted her.

Boo Sizes Up Ellie

Boo Has Nothing to Worry About

That Last Step is a Doozy

Our cat Boo sitting on the steps of the landing between the basement and the main floor

After we adopted Boo in early in July, we kept him in isolation for a while in my wife’s office in the basement. After a couple of weeks we allowed him limited time upstairs with the rest of the pets. He was eager to meet the others and explore the rest of the house but after a while the shy little fellow would get overwhelmed and retreat to the comfort of the basement. At times you could see the conflict writ across his face as he hung out in the landing between the basement and main floor, screwing up the courage to climb that last step and venture forth.

The Black of Night

Our black cat Emma sitting on the stairs

Another picture from New Year’s Day, Emma’s first full day of freedom to roam the house. This was also the time I started carrying a flashlight to bed with me.

When I used to go to bed, I’d leave the lights off to avoid waking my wife and head up the stairs in the dark. We’ve lived here enough years that I can do it easily by feel. Templeton would stay behind in my office to sleep while Scout would wait (oh so patiently) for me to come to bed so she could climb on top of me. When the new cats arrived, however, I found that I was not alone in my climb upstairs in the dark. Sometimes Emma would hang out on the stairs like here and sometimes she’d literally follow me underfoot. It was impossible to see a jet black cat in the pitch black stairwell and I ran into her more than once. So I started carrying a flashlight so I could see my little black shadow before I kicked her.

Now that she’s so comfortable here, she often stays where she’s sleeping like Templeton used to. I’ll rub her head before I head upstairs to see if she wants to join me, and she gives me that “Would you get up if you were in my shoes?” look that my little gray cat used to give me, and then she goes back to sleep. She’s in bed with us when we wake up in the morning, so apparently she just comes to bed in her own time.