Diary of Kalisi is a series of stories by Frances Kim about the trials and tribulations of being a first-time cat owner in New York City. It is part of a series of stories submitted by our very own reader! If you’d like to contribute, contact us, and we can get your pet story out to the world!
The cat behavioral therapist warned me that Kalisi would require a lot of time and patience to let her adjust to my apartment and my space. She wasn’t lying.
The moment I left the adoption center with Kalisi in the carrier I bought, she would not stop crying.
I was so thankful my Uber driver did not mind Kalisi’s wailing. She herself had owned many cats growing up. Even though Kalisi kept crying throughout the car ride home, there were moments where she would stop, like a baby who cried so hard they had no more energy to continue crying. I remember feeling sad. What could I possibly do to help ease Kalisi’s anxiety? Would she be this anxious forever? Or just a couple of weeks?
Once I got to my apartment, I decided that my room would be a good first place to introduce Kalisi to the apartment. I kept the litter box (ugh) and food in the room, too, so she wouldn’t be overwhelmed with the entire apartment.
The moment I opened the carrier, she bolted to the darkest and most sheltered corner that she could find under my bed. I did a frantic Google search to figure out how to let frightened cats assimilate into their new home.
“Make sure the cat is not able to hide. Otherwise, it will not interact with you or your home.”
I immediately knew I had to block off my bed. While she did not scratch or bite me, I gently put Kalisi into the carrier until I had blocked off the space under my bed with storage boxes, cardboard, and duct tape. Little did I know, her tiny 8-pound frame could wiggle into anything her tiny head could squeeze through.
It almost became a game for Kalisi, which I think she may have secretly enjoyed playing with me. I saw her find the tiniest flaw in my bed guard and would tear right through it, either just forcing her entire body through until she was back under the bed or simply maneuvering her body through a tiny crack. I once even caught her diving into the thinnest space where the bed and the corner of the wall met.
I eventually gave up and went about my day. If she wanted to hide, she could hide, but I put food and water out in the open. It wasn’t until nighttime, when I was trying to sleep, that she finally came out from her bed, only to meow and cry until 5 am. I would have to wake up 3 hours later to make it for work at 9 am.
Luckily that was the worst of Kalisi’s behavior. I was actually amazed at how quickly she assimilated into my apartment after that night. Perhaps with the right amount of patience and a little understanding of her behavior, Kalisi realized that I was not going to be a threat to her and started accepting me as well as her new home.