There is peace in the kingdom. It’s taken us all summer to get there, but we are, at long last, getting through entire days and nights without any hissing or growling.

As you may recall, Prodigal Cat Pang strolled nonchalantly out of the woods one day in June after a mysterious eight-and-half-month absence. His unexpected return brought me unbridled joy but created a serious problem for Rosebud, the office cat who had recently moved into the house after the death of her sister.

Rosebud and Lapis had been together since birth and had ruled over WingHouse Communications for more than ten years. Losing her constant companion was bad enough for Rosebud, but to make matters worse, she was now all alone in the office over the garage whenever I wasn’t working. I would have loved moving her into the house, but that was Pang’s domain and Rosebud had made it clear on more than one occasion that she wanted nothing to do with Pang.

Rosebud got her big break when Pang disappeared. After weeks of waiting patiently for him to jump back in through the upstairs window that was his regular point of entry, I finally closed it up one dismal winter morning and carted Rosebud, along with her 2 cat trees, multiple beds, litter box and collection of catnip toys, up to a second floor bedroom. But there was still one problem. Unlike world traveler Pang, Rosebud had never been exposed to dogs, so it became necessary for my friend Jim to install a storm door in the upstairs hall to keep her from wandering downstairs into Jack and Rosie’s territory.

Within days, Rosebud settled into the life she apparently always dreamed of, spending her days watching the birds from the top bunk of her tallest cat tree and snuggling in with me at night just the way Pang used to do.

Then the unimaginable happened. Pang came back to reclaim his kingdom. Needless to say, I had to move him back into the house – but what to do about Rosebud? Once again, Jim came to the rescue, installing yet another door to close off the biggest bedroom from the rest of the second floor and turn it into Rosebud’s sacred space. This time, however, instead of a storm door, Jim came up with some heavy duty screening so the cats could start getting to know each other but neither one could claw through.

At first, it was far from perfect. Pang repeatedly tried to make friends through the screen door. Rosebud hissed constantly and there was a fair amount of crawling up and jumping against both sides of the screen creating a sound not unlike scratching a blackboard. The separation also meant I had to spend time with each cat individually, sleeping half the night with Rosebud snuggled into my armpit and the other half across the hall with Pang in the same position.

Recently, however, things quieted down and I got up the courage to open the door to see if the two cats could be together for brief periods. That went better than I expected, so last week I started leaving the door open around the clock. So far there has been no carnage, and although there is still no love between them, I have come upstairs to find Pang and Rosebud sleeping in opposite corners of the same room from time to time. My next goal is to get them to share the bed with me at night so I can get some sleep.

I am wondering, though, how I’m going to explain two screen doors in my upstairs hall when I go to sell the house.

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