We've had our cat for about ten years now, Jack, a big tomcat who's lost a little weight lately but is still about twenty pounds of fur and fat. We keep him in the house, letting him out once in awhile to patrol his outdoor kingdom and assert his dominance over the backyard to any strays who might happen along. He's become set in his ways, never getting along with any other animal that comes around and taking a long time to warm up to new people in the house. About three months ago we found a stray kitten, just a few weeks old, out at our land in the remains of the old house. For a few days I took it food and water and planned to let it stay there as long as it wanted. My wife, however, made other plans the second time she went out with me to feed it and insisted on bringing it home to stay. So, against my better judgement, we brought it into our house - Jack's domain. The first couple of weeks the kitten, now named Tigger, would get swatted, growled at and pounced on by Jack, who felt betrayed that we would bring another animal into the house. To the kitten's credit, however, he seemed to know his place and was respectful of Jack's authority - letting himself be held down instead of running away. As the days and weeks went on Tigger would initiate fights only to end up in a submissive pose or to run away with a screech if one of Jack's nips caught his ear or tail in a painful way.
Now, three months later, Tigger is a typical ball of energy, running through the house, chasing anything that amuses him and generally getting underfoot most of the time. He and Jack still scuffle sometimes but it's in a more playful way now. I think the fact that the kitty is now close to half Jack's size and has way more energy and sharper teeth is cause for the older cat to avoid rough play times. I think the kitten has been good for Jack, keeping him company in his old age. It was a change to his world but he's dealt with it and has adopted the newbie into his life. They now sleep together, curled up in a corner or on the couch, and even bathe each other the way cats do.
Change is a part of life, and even the most settled of cats - or people - will have to adjust to new situations eventually. As I stare into the face of another new year I hope that I have the willpower to make the changes I know I have to, and the flexibility to adjust to those forced upon me.