It's been quite a few weeks at our house. June 16, we had to put down our 11-year-old cat, Caylie, who'd been suffering from cancer for an extended period of time. Knowing it was only a matter of time, our grieving period was fairly short and we were ready to add a new member to the family pretty quickly. That's not exactly how it turned out.

First, let's meet the players. This is Casey, our Sheltie, who will be two in September. He loves people, other dogs, and cats (big or small).

Julie James

The cat on the left is Charlie. He'll be three in October. We adopted him from a rural family near Alburnett when he was three months old. He may have the world's longest, most beautiful, cat tail. He and Casey have long been pals.

The gray cat below is, uh, one of our new additions. A stray we adopted from Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control, he's believed to be about three-and-a-half. He's a big boy and is very much in control of the current situation with Casey. Let's just say the cat does the chasing, though the canine enjoys every moment of it. Chance has been with us two weeks, as of tonight.

Julie James

This is Cole. Cole is now 14-weeks-old and was adopted from Last Hope Animal Rescue a week ago tonight. Hey, they needed homes and we were doing things on the fast track. Cole is Houdini. His second day, he climbed over 5-feet of pet gates. There was no keeping this boy in a room for an adjustment period, so he got to work his way into the family a little sooner than planned. It's gone beautifully. Cole loves, no he LOVES playing with Casey. He also enjoys tussling with Chance. Chance holds him down with a single paw and then gives the little guy kisses when he quits trying to gnaw on him.

Julie James

This is the cat tree, purchased two weeks ago tonight. Julie has long wanted to buy one and I have long resisted, until two weeks ago tonight. She was right. They adore it, as you can see. We've yet to see all three cats on it at the same time, but I know that will happen soon. Is it any wonder Casey loves the cats so much? He clearly thinks he is one, as he sleeps in the cat bed at every opportunity.

So there you have it. There were three, the plan was to return to three, but we ended up with four. It was a great move. We love them all dearly.

Julie James