Two of the kittens from the litter were more interested in people than the others. The first was the largest of the litter, a male we named Ivan the Terrible because he was so curious and such a champion explorer and risk taker. The other was Mr. Stripey because his real name hadn't revealed itself yet. Both of these would meet us at the door and each one hopped up on whatever chair or the sofa in order to get attention. Ivan had a purr to rival a 4 hp Briggs & Stratton.
It was finally getting to the point where the kittens were too large to confine and they were filling the house. The mother (we named her Isabel) was also getting sick of them. When she'd had enough of their racket and shenanigans, she'd flop down in plain sight and they'd flock to her to nurse. They were being weaned, but I learned this was her sneaky way of getting them to calm down because the instant they were all tucked in a row, she'd stand up and move away. They'd stay put, sound asleep! It took me a few weeks, but eventually I got the rescue group to organize the visit to the spay and neuter clinic, and I dropped off Isabel, Ivy and Neville.
By now Mr. Stripey, who was smaller than Ivan, had demonstrated a fair amount of moxie and we named him Geno, after the coach of the UConn women's basketball team. Coach Auriemma is a tough taskmaster, but he's not above getting emotional when it comes to his players. Our little Geno is a tough guy, but he's affectionate and wants to have human contact.
So Geno and Ivan went off to see Dr. Wilson for their first check-up and shots. When they drew blood, I could hear Geno's shriek all the way out in the waiting room! Ivan looked at me as if to say, "He's such a putz." They had round worms, which was understandable, and we treated those. Other than that, they were a pair of healthy little guys. "See you in a month for the second round," said the highly amused vet.
They've weathered the second set of shots, and have settled in, making this place over to their liking. This is what cats do. Their mother had done so, and now they were fine-tuning to suit themselves and their own rhythms.
We two elders are, by turns, amazed and amused by their antics. They are growing, with Ivan clearly becoming a hunky little man-cat. Geno is still the slender, wiry, little fireball. We thought Ivan might be the alpha, but now we're not so sure.
He loves to be scared and he's single-minded in his mission to get into mischief. The bathtub is particularly interesting to him. He hops in and investigates the smells and pats at the water that is draining. Make a sudden noise and he's likely to explode straight up in the air.
At night he likes to nestle next to me, but sometimes he likes to get under the covers until an old-lady-hot-flash ensues and he wants out. He has become more cuddly as he grows and learns how easy it is to manipulate us. (Personally, I think cats are born with an instinct for knowing which humans are the push-overs and which ones need rehabilitation!) He loves to play with toys, but his favorites have always been the little sparkly balls that are kind of hairy. When he was a little bitty guy, they were the easiest to pick up in his mouth and cart around. Now he leaves them tucked between two socks that I've left by the side of the bed. Or I find one under my pillow when I go to make the bed.
Raising kittens like a stay-at-home mom has been an interesting experience. I get to see their reactions to everyday activities, and I also get to play with them - when they are awake.
Last week Big Kitty finally moved the litter boxes to the basement, which was a milestone, I guess. They had been in the den, which is where they were when we first took in the whole family. (We managed to keep them confined for about two weeks before Ivy climbed to the top of a pair of baby gates that had been stacked nearly to the top of the doorway.) Now they go downstairs to the Big Boy Bathroom, which means every time I go down with a load of laundry, they watch to see if I'm going to mess with their bathroom. If I run down to the pantry to get a fresh jar of mustard or a can of chicken stock, they are either at the top of the steps observing, or half way down, checking to see where I might have gone.
The picture at the top is the day they discovered my art studio. It was getting to be nap time and they were trying to fit themselves between piles of junk on the futon so I was forced to clean up the mess and make them a spot. White paws is Ivan. Stretched out on his back is Geno. So far, they are polite in the studio and haven't gotten into trouble on my drawing table, but the day is coming. I dread it, but if I don't keep things orderly and the temptations to a minimum, it's my own fault. Those little paws will find the darnedest things!
Stay tuned for more tales of kittendom! Feel free to comment with your own kitten stories!