They grow up so fast?

Now one day over five weeks old, and this little shit chases one of the adult cats away from her food. For some reason he prefers the adult food and the adults like the kitten food. Meanwhile his sisters still don’t eat solids and only have their mother’s milk. He has both, of course.

I don’t have decent photos this time, but here he is, briefly eating his own food.

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Then he swapped with his mother.

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The rest were this morning. This last one was taken this afternoon, when he joined Misty, the older cat briefly before she left him to it.

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It feels so strange though… especially first thing in the morning when I am barely awake – now having to avoid stepping on three cats as I get their food and dishes ready, one of them tiny. Also not sure why he’s the only kitten to do this. Funny little bugger acting like a miniature cat; not a kitten.


Edit: It’s a day later and little buddy made his first poo. Poor little fellow had something of a panic attack, meowing loudly and pushing it out. So I quickly poured some littler into the new tray I bought for the kittens and put him in there. He seems much happier now. The only sucky thing is, I have to keep this litter tray inside. The other one is on my balcony, with the door closed so the cats must get to it through the window. I also can’t keep that door open because the kittens might go there and fall off, as there’s a gap under the balcony railing.

He’s the first of the three kittens to reach this point, though one of his sisters nibbled at the solid food this morning so she will probably catch up in a day or two.

An update on the kittens

My favourite has changed a couple of times now… At first I wanted to keep the pure white one, then the one with the stripe on its head, the biggest of the three, and then the middle one. But I also wanted to keep a male since both adult cats are female, and Sooty, who died last year, was male.

So to throw me a curve-ball, it turned out the runt of the litter, the little one, is the only male. But he’s also the most playful.

Then two days ago, he kind of overtook his sisters. He found the cat food in the kitchen, and now, when I feed the adult cats, he runs there too, meowing for his food along with the grown-ups, while his sisters play happily in the lounge. So maybe he is the one. He’s acting like he belongs here already.

I tried to feed him in the lounge while the adults eat in the kitchen… Tried to get his sisters interested in the food too, but they wouldn’t have it.

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Here they are earlier today… The one that comes to my hand here is the little male.

Update: And again this morning, both adult cats and the male kitten were waiting for me to finish in the bathroom, and all three are now eating in the kitchen, so he definitely knows when it is feeding time. It was no fluke. One of his sisters entered the kitchen too, but showed no interest in the food. Not yet anyway.

These kittens are adorable

The other day an old friend asked why I allowed my cat to have kittens, implying that this is irresponsible.

Well, apart from my wanting Zoe to have a chance to have kittens at least once, and for Josh to see a cat caring for her kittens, I do have another reason… I have twice before had the pleasure of having a pet cat that was born and raised in my home: Toby, the family cat that was born when I was five years old, and Kittles, a kitten I kept years ago when I still lived in Cape Town.

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Every cat is different, and when you buy or adopt a cat, sometimes they don’t come from a loving home. Sometimes they were traumatized and it affects their nature, for life. My older cat, Misty (actually Josh’s cat) is one we found in a pet shop. She was locked in a cage, and even though she was still a kitten, to this day she is terrified of nearly everybody. She is afraid to go outside and panics if there are people around. She’s OK with women and children, but is especially afraid of men and took years to lose her fear of me. Even though she trusts me now, she is still afraid of any fast hand movements. She was also sickly as a kitten, and suffered a life threatening infection of her uterus, so she could never have kittens of her own.

Zoe on the other hand is a friendly, affectionate cat. Before she had kittens, she would wait every night for me to go to bed, and jump on the bed and purr in my face for a few minutes, sometimes climbing under the comforter. Actually she still does this sometimes, but only for a few minutes, before returning to the kittens. She loves people and will even run to other children playing with a ball outside. She also doesn’t change much when on heat, doesn’t roll around and rub against everything as some female cats will. She will steal food if she can though, and once made off with a whole pork chop. She will also shit in the bath if I forget to clean her litter, and she knows she isn’t supposed to do so (She runs to the litter if I catch her). And she insists on drinking water from the bathroom tap (I need to replace the washer) but seems to think she is not allowed that either. We found her via an ad online and she was the last of a litter on a small cottage attached to a farm. But we were lucky with her.

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Getting back to the two cats I’ve had that were born in my home, they were different to all the other cats I’ve ever had. Every cat is special of course, but one that knows you from being born in your home can be extra special. They can even have favourite places or things they remember from being kittens. For example Toby was born in a slipper. Even at ten years old, he still remembered that slipper, and loved other slippers too. They were attached to me in a way that seldom happens with pets. They bonded with me as well as with their mother cats, and this is my reason for allowing Zoe to have kittens. I get to raise them with tender loving care (Excuse the cliché but that’s the only way I can phrase it), and they grow up without trauma or fear. Plus they get to be extra well fed as kittens – we don’t skimp on the cat food around here.

I will keep one of them. But which one?

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Every day, after I’m done working, I spend some time playing with these kittens. Some active, and some passive play. I have a favourite seat on my couch where I sit to play Diablo 3 on my Xbox. They come to play with me there, scratching my bare feet while playing with my toes, climbing up my legs or up the couch, and generally just doing what kittens do. They’ve moved from their bed on the floor and now their preferred sleeping and feeding spot is my seat on the couch.

Yesterday one of them came to sleep on my chest while the other two slept with their mother. I put it back with mommy and after much complaining, it returned to sleep next to my shoulder. So maybe that’s the one to keep. Actually as I write this, that one came to the desk and played at my feet. It’s the most independent of the three, and they are only just a few days over four weeks old. You can’t see too clearly, but that’s the one on the right in the last photo above, which has slight grey marking on the head. I don’t have a name yet, but Josh wants to be the one to name it. Also I can’t tell if they are male or female… He wants to call a male Jon Snow and also throws around the Star Wars term, Padawan. I guess a white cat leans more towards Jedi than Sith?

The biggest of the three kittens has a prominent stripe, then there’s the middle one, and then the pure white, smaller kitten. But all three are adorable and I’m so attached to all of them, it’s going to be difficult to part with them.

I already have a potential home for one of them, and will keep one, which means there is only one that must be given or sold to a stranger. What’s really important to me is that it gets a loving home. No use raising them with such love and tenderness, and teaching them to trust people, only to have them traumatized after… So I’m a little worried about that one. It seems to me that charging a small fee rather than giving the kitten away will increase the likelihood of it going to someone who cares and will be a good pet owner.

 

Here are the kittens at nearly 4 weeks old

I can’t get good photos of them most of the time, because they’re so white… I took these a few minutes ago, while two of them stayed with mommy and the other went exploring.

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You can just make out the grey marking on this one’s head, in the last photo. Of the three kittens, the biggest of the three has a prominent greyish stripe on the head, this middle one has those slight markings, and the smallest of the three is white with no grey. Otherwise they are very similar, super cute and fat and playful. Fatty, the striped one, ate some solid food for the first time yesterday. Tomorrow they will be 4 weeks old.

Remembering Kittles

Now that I’ve written about the three new kittens in my home, I’d like to share one of my saddest memories.

In the old days, when I lived with my girlfriend, in Cape Town, we had two cats, Misty and Winky. Both were female and neither were spayed. Both had kittens, but it is the second litter I’m thinking of.

I lived those days in a drug-fuelled haze. I was high all the time. Day and night, and struggling to get to work in the morning and then not screw up; then coming home to chaos at home, of course always buying meth on the way.

Misty had a beautiful litter of kittens; I think seven or nine in all. She was a fluffy cat and these were the cutest, most fluffy kittens I have ever seen. But we also had a Labrador puppy named Sasha, and I did not know that this boisterous dog was mauling the kittens. I’d come home each day to find a dead kitten in some random place in the house. I could not understand why or how this happened, especially because my girlfriend was there, as far as I knew. (Actually she wasn’t always. She was cheating on me, with a dealer, who was sometimes in my home while I was at work.) The rest of the time, she’d just lay around, out of it, while I went to work.

Every day I’d make the best nest I could for the mother cat and her kittens, out of the way and as safe as I could. And every day I’d come home to a dead kitten, it’s mouth held open in a permanent grimace of death, its body looking like a discarded rag doll except it was bloody and sometimes still warm.

When I realized, too late, that it could only be the dog mauling them, I made their nest in the bottom kitchen cupboard, having cleared it out and fitted it with blankets. But there were only two kittens left, a pure white fluffy kitten, and a chocolatey one. I loved them both, but thought the chocolatey one was especially cute.

That final morning, I locked the dog out, and I begged. I pleaded. I demanded, I cried… that she simply did not let the dog in. “Please don’t let those kittens die,” I pleaded. “Please!” I wanted to save those last two kittens. But she couldn’t do that. She wouldn’t do that. So I came home from work that evening to the front door ajar and the chocolatey kitten laying dead in the lounge, while my ex was asleep in the bedroom.

Kittles survived. She named him. I’d never name a cat Kittles. Fucking hell. But he lived and he was a beautiful cat. And he loved that dog. He played with the dog all day long. He thought he was a dog. Every evening we’d take Sasha for a walk, and Kittles would come along, sometimes running with us, sometimes walking along all the walls on our path, but he came along because that’s what he did. He only lived about a year though, because we lived in a busy road and he was run over.

I loved that cat. But fuck it, I wish I hadn’t been so stupid. I wish I’d realized what was happening to the kittens while I was at work and I wish I could have saved the rest of them.

I have a photo of him somewhere but I’m not adding it. I can’t even look at it.

Meth fucks up everything, by the way. Everything. It may look like I’m blaming my ex, but I’m not. I’d never allow such a situation were I not in a permanent meth stupor those days.

And just like that I have three more cats

I knew it was coming for sure yesterday. Little Zoe looked like she was ready to explode. Shame, she’s only just over a year old herself so she isn’t fully grown yet. At least it wasn’t a large litter and she seems to be doing fine. She didn’t leave them until this morning when I fed her, and then she went straight back to nurse them.

The three kittens were born at 5:12PM yesterday. I know this because I was assisting somebody at work and I have a, “Ah, shit. My cat is having her kittens right now” message smack in the middle of it.

Their eyes aren’t open yet and they look more like white rats at the moment, but I’ll upload better photos after they grow a little bit. It is now 7:30Am and I just took these photos – this post is scheduled for 12:00 today. Not sure how long it takes for them to look more like kittens.

I live in a small flat and already gave two cats, but I might just keep one of them. You can’t see it in the photos but the first born looks pure white and the other two have some black or grey spots… I have a sad story I’ve been wanting to write but putting off about a pure white kitten that was the only survivor of a litter from my bad old days of meth addiction. I never quite have the courage to write it because it still hurts to remember; though what happened to those kittens was not my fault. And that cat was run over about a year later. I’d like to keep the pure white one to remember Kittles from those years ago. (Megan named him. Not me. I’d never name a cat Kittles.)

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I do love cats.

These darn cats

They’re driving me nuts during lockdown. You’d swear I am here exclusively to feed them. I mean, why else would I be here?

This one, Zoe… seems suspiciously fat. She isn’t spayed and I don’t recall seeing her acting like she was on heat but… maybe there are kittens on the way. I hope not.

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And Misty, having found that sitting on the other chair and staring at me while I work doesn’t seem to get anywhere, is now stalking me from behind the computer.

 

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Actually now she’s mostly just lurking there. Not sure what she’s up to. The other day, while in a work call, I put my right foot down into some of her vomit and blurted it out to everybody on the call. Nothing like soft squishy cat vomit under a bare foot.

Update. Two things:

  1. Yes, I did not know how to spell “spayed” but it occurred to me after posting that it looked wrong.
  2. Removed the first photo of Misty because the high resolution photo made it possible to read the name of a product I work on in the Jira task on my monitor on the right.

My weird cats forget each other after a couple of hours apart

Time for a change of subject… My cats are weird. Do you have crackpot pets?

Unfortunately I don’t have any decent photos of them… this from June 2017 is the closest to showing both cats together… kind of.

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Sooty is the black cat, the older cat, and he will be six years old this year. Misty is Josh’s cat. She will be three in June.

Woops… right now while typing this Misty decided to jump on the table… (Yeah, I have a Man of Steel figurine on my table next to the monitor. Excuse me.)

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And then went back to sitting behind me on my bed:

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Kinda strange too, because this little cat has always been terrified of me. The day after I bought her, she ran away from me as soon as she saw me walk in the door after coming home from work. I need only make eye contact with her for her to start crying. But lately she likes me.

After searching online now, I understand that cats are supposed to remember each other, even after a long time, but that’s definitely not the case here.

First of all, Misty was sickly since she was a kitten. (Bought for R600 at Our Pets in Norwood. I do not recommend… rather be sensible and get kittens from the SPCA.) We didn’t know what was wrong with her at first, but she went on heat while still tiny, and would then bleed and ooze stuff everywhere, though not until much later, so she suffered with this sickness for more than a year. (Before that, a different vet didn’t find the problem.) It turned out she had some kind of virginal infection, and so she was not only spade, but her whole uterus was removed – basically a radical hysterectomy.

When she had the procedure, she was kept for observation for three days. But on her return, the older cat, Sooty, had forgotten her. He treated her like a stray and was quite aggressive, even though she’d been here for a while.

Then this morning, something similar happened… which I’ll get to in a bit.

My mother used to overprotect Sooty, and hardly ever let him out, especially at night. (The previous cat was run over after she went into the road at night.) Unlike mom, while I am home, I let him out as much as possible during the day, but not usually late at night. Misty does not go out – not more than a few paces from the door. She is too afraid.

Last night, Josh had locked the front door, but at around midnight I checked it. I opened the door to see if the safety gate was also locked, and in that moment, Sooty slipped through. I went out after him, and he was his usual friendly self, rubbing himself against my lower leg and rolling before he disappeared into the darkness. Knowing that there was no way I could catch a black cat in the middle of the night, I locked the gate, but left the door ajar. Misty went out, but sat immediately on the other side of the door, waiting for him. That’s what she always does. Then I went to sleep.

And then things got weird. At around 2AM I heard Misty howling. I checked and she was being aggressive to another cat, one that I could not see because it ran away. Then at 4:30AM… fucking chaos. Misty was acting aggressively to another cat that had entered the flat, having run through my room, knocking stuff off my table, and then she cornered it on the balcony outside.

Assuming the cat was a stranger, I managed to separate them somehow. I thought it was a smaller black cat, the way he was crunching himself up. Then the black cat ran into the lounge, before she chased him back through the passage and again into my room, out the window to the balcony, and into the lounge where he hid behind the sofa where I store Josh’s bicycle.

It was only then that I saw this was actually Sooty. He seemed not to recognize Misty, myself or Josh, and scratched the hell out of me and then Josh later. He also pooped on the floor where he was hiding. He literally shat himself, and was terrified.

In all the chaos, I didn’t manage to have time to make school lunch for Josh today, and I was more than a little concerned about leaving the cats to their own devices locked in the flat while I took Josh to school.

I’ve never seen this before, after having cats all my life.

Here’s Sooty now, in his place on a chair under the table on the balcony, looking perfectly normal. Nonchalant kitteh, like, “No, I did not act like a nutcase and fuck up your whole morning.”

Also I can touch him now without risking the loss of my hand.

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Do you have any nutcase pets? Please tell me in the comments.


Excuse any terrible misspellings today. Windows keeps freezing and then random characters go AWOL as I type.