Anyone who has been following along for any length of time knows that Dakota has what can only be described as severe behavior problems. Since she was just a couple of months old, she's refused to use her litter box on most occasions. She's super high strung, neurotic and very needy ... that said, she's also at the same time very loving and sweet and caring. So while she's awful, she's also a sweetie pie.
When we moved back to California back in 2002, we stayed with Alan's parents for a couple of months while we got ourselves sorted out. At the time, they had two older cats and Dakota expressed a lot of interest in the female, Brick. Of course, Brick wanted nothing to do with her, but Dakota would follow her around, trying to get Brick to pay attention to her.
We took that as a sign that she wanted a friend and assumed that all of her neurosis would be solved by having someone to play with more than we could play with her. The day we moved into our apartment in SF, we got Miles. He was just a tiny little thing and while Dakota didn't seem thrilled to have him around, she tolerated him. We think this is mostly because she was much bigger than him at the time and she could kick his ass if she needed to. For awhile they would eat side by side and sleep next to each other on the bed (but never cuddled up as we had hoped they would).
As Miles turned into a huge beast of a cat, Dakota began to hate him more and more and her behavior deteriorated. For the last several months she sulked around the house, hissing at him and sometimes us and she took to not using her litter box at all. We invested a lot of money in Nature's Miracle and cat pheromones to try and calm her down.
When Miles died this October, we noticed an immediate change in her behavior. She became very happy and for a long time I was resentful of her because it was almost like she was gloating. Of course, I know that's not the case but for someone who is grieving, nothing makes sense. Now, she's a wholly different cat. Whereas she used to sit in the same rooms as us, she now sits on the couch with us and follows us wherever we go. The biggest change of all though is the fact that a couple of weeks ago she started sleeping with us, something Miles used to do. One night I was awoken in the middle of the night to find her standing on me, kneading and purring. That's been a pretty common practice for the past month or so. The other day she even sat on my lap for awhile, only the second time in her 9.5 years.
She is a much happier, calmer cat these days. And best of all? She's using her litter box every day, one of the reasons we've been able to bring our rugs back in the house. As I write this post, she's jumped up into bed with me and is sitting here just purring.
It's a very nice thing to have her so happy and content and loving ... but you know, I still miss Miles something fierce.