This morning as I was sitting on the couch, giving Phurball his morning pet, I noticed the “new cat” creeping about in the kitchen.
Phurball noticed as well, and got up to see what she was up to. At first she put her back up, then changed her mind and crouched down with a plaintive mew. Phurball glowered at her for a moment, added a hiss to make the point, then turned his back on her and went off down the hall.
I sat down on the floor nearby, and as soon as the Big Mean Cat was out of sight she came over for some petting. I think I petted her for ten minutes before she’d had enough and went to explore a little more. At one point I looked up to see Phurball’s wide-eyed face at the corner, staring at me with an expression of, “How… could you?” After the little cat had had enough petting and gone back to exploring, I went to find him sulking on the couch. I sat down and petted and fussed over him for a while, eliciting a grudging purr.
Now she’s retreated to the mantel again, but I think this is progress.