Friday, January 25, 2008

Harvey: An Update

This image shows Harvey eight days ago, sad and wary sitting in my laundry trough.
As an aside, I love that I have an old concrete trough - no stress about a paint splashes or soap rings. But, it is not the place I would have picked for Harvey. He has a cat bed, a lined laundry basket, a cat carrier and more - all at varying heights.
Here today we see Harvey and Archer having a chat, Harv' just pulled his paws in as Archer over enthusiastically tried to lick them.
I didn't for a moment imagine that gaining Harvey's trust would be easy and no miracle has occurred. But we have made progress, noticeable progress. I let Harvey have the run of the house for a few days but soon realised he was actually regressing as there was no need to be seen. He would sit under my desk while I worked, but there was no interaction with any of us - other than Archer's one sided efforts, which were 'allowed'. So I returned Mr Harvey to the laundry with occasional side trips to the dining /kitchen. I also committed to spending at least half an hour three times a day with him. That has blown out to about three hours a day as I take some sewing or a book and chat while I visit. I also instigated the no socialising equals no food rule. It was hard, very hard, and I have cried. But I take food with me and place it about 30cm in front of Harvey and then go and sit on the other side of the room. If he does not eat I take it away with me. As you can see he is not starving - but at one stage I worried he might. Just as I was about to cave in he took the three or four steps of trust he needed to and enjoyed a combination of tuna, dried food and a little natural yoghurt. He likes to eat at night and I have a disgusting tin of sardines (human consumption grade) which Phantom and Charles love, hopefully that will be enough for him to take the risk for a second day in a row.
I am sitting on the floor and chatting to him as I wriggled my toes - he seemed to find them entertaining.
Today Harvey gave for the first time. At the end of a long chat session I was patting him and he actually edged closer and pushed his head into my hand, nuzzling, looking for a head rub. After a minute he realised that he WAS trusting, looked a little surprised, pulled away and walked (not skittered, or ran), just walked away. Bliss.
And in this one Archer was dancing trying to get attention.
Do you see the change? I hope so.


Dot said...

I am smiling and I have tears in my eyes reading this post Julie. You are doing exactly the right thing with Harvey.

And I can see a real change in him from the first photo to the last. His face looks more relaxed. And what a triumph that he nuzzled you. He is making huge steps for a boy who is so timid.

I look forward to hearing more and more about him adjusting to his new life with you and the boys.

Jen Crossley said...

Harvey is so cute,he is in the right place with you,he will come around

kelsey said...

Well Julie, we might just have to re-name you to .... "The Cat Whisperer"! I am a huge Cesar Milan fan (The Dog Whisperer - Foxtel) and I think that you are certainly doing all the right things to make Harvey a welcome member of your menagerie. We have a Burmese (Nikki) that is quite aloof for a Burmese, so I appreciate it when he comes looking for any sort of attention/affection...melts the I can relate. ;-)

Jacky said...

Hi Julie,
I think Harvey has found his place. He looks to be settling in well with all of your care and thoughtfulness. Before you know it he will be leaping around your creative room... helping of course!
Have really enjoyed reading your blog and catching up on all of your wonderful art.

Still Waters Studio said...

Such a dedicated pet owner you are. I like your method. I will try that the next time we introduce a new cat. It has taken our original cat almost 2 years to feel comfortable around our newer cats. It is a relief that they aren't fighting any more.

Janet said...

Harvey looks like he is settling in. Sometimes cats are just a bit aloof....our LuLu can be that way. But eventually she will come to us for attention. Spending time with Harvey is excellent and I'm sure he loves it even if he can't let you know that right now.

Cat said...

Harvey is a very handsome cat - I was going to say beautiful but thought I better respect his gender and use the handsome word.

A head nudge - that sounds like great progress! He has been is his observation and protection stage and won't be long until he has the trust thing all figured out.

Archer is GOOD to cats, we are still trying to get Annie and Jet to RELAX!

Hugs, Cat