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.
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.
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?
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.