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July 23, 2006: The light at the end of the tunnel

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Checkers has been off the Paxil entirely since last weekend, because she finally figured out the pill-in-the-wet-food trick and that was the end of any hope of pilling her any further. And Rosie is back down to pills every other day.

What this means is that things are finally getting better. In fact, they're getting a lot better. Rosie's back to wanting to play and even doing a tiny bit of skittering, which is a huge relief. There've been one or two screeches from Checkers' hideout in the linen closet, but as near as we can tell, it only happens when one of the cats pokes his or her head in, and Checkers gives them the benefit of her opinion. Even Rosie's been screeched at, but the big difference is that now Rosie just walks away. She isn't lying in wait for Checkers any more, or chasing her down. She's just shrugging her shoulders and walking away. The drama is now only on Checkers' part, and not on Rosie's and wow, what a difference and what a relief.

The best part of all of this is that Checkers is finally coming back out of her shell. She's not a carrying kind of cat, but she will let me cart her around tucked under one arm for short distances, and I've been taking her further and further out of her little self-imposed exile. Yesterday it was like the doors were opened for her for the first time - suddenly she's coming out of the bathroom on her own, trotting around the computer room, rummaging in the maze of boxes under the desk with the server, hopping up and down from the windowsills, and even hanging out on the cat tree, hopping from one level to the next and peering around the corner to see what's going on in the rest of the house, all the while keeping up a running commentary on the whole experience. She's spending a lot more time sprawling on the floor and a lot less time lurking.

I'm feeling like it's too soon to declare this a permanent change, but oh, I am really hoping that it is. It's obvious she's feeling more confident now that Rosie's stopped the harrassment, and Rosie's feeling a lot better now that we're tapering her off the medication, and even if Sebastian still feels the need to hiss at Checkers when he sees her (sigh), the important thing is that Checkers doesn't care. The progress we've seen in the past week has been amazing and I am really, really hoping that it continues.

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