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Funny Adventures in Cat Adoption, Part One
Hilarious account of what we did and didn’t do (but should have) when a five-pound bundle of fluff dropped into our lives.
Cat-momming is my newly developing talent. Having been allergic to cats for a good fifty plus years, logically I avoided them. However, the man in my life came as a package deal with two of the critters, so I adapted. Thankfully, allergy medicines have advanced exponentially since the 1960’s, so I have half a chance of surviving.
He lives with a tabby dominatrix about age five and her easy-going son, age four. I fell in love with them and became conversant in wet and dry cat food, litter (and boxes), feather toys, catnip, scratching posts, and ridiculous cute collars. However, their kittendom passed by long ago; thus the rituals of new cat orientation such as training, and establishing house rules were completed before I entered the scene.
Then, in one of life’s little twists, over Presidents’ Day weekend, we suddenly accepted an abandoned cat. Since the new kid came with no warning, we really blew it on some of the “Do’s and Don’ts” for bringing a new feline into an already cat-ified home. Don’t follow our example of negligence if you can help it!
Keep new cat isolated from minute one, second one.
We didn’t, because we didn’t know this rule. And, it’s a very good guideline. As it is well known that cats take longer time to adjust to changes, for purposes of new family blending and acceptance, it is recommended that one keep the new kitty isolated completely for a week or more. By that time, the other cats are so thoroughly intrigued and familiar with the new scents coming from the isolation ward, they will have an easier time accepting the change in personnel. At least, that’s the theory. I can tell you how acceptance went for us without the isolation period. Our mom-cat spent a week running past the kitten hissing, dropping the cat equivalent of the F-bomb, and growling like the Hound of the Baskervilles. Her son, usually fairly laid-back, succumbed to following her lead. It took much patience and copious treats to abate the hate campaign. Additionally, health reasons support keeping the old and the new felines apart at first. Can you imagine exposing your feline family to rabies, feline leukemia, or other nasties? Unthinkable.
- How to Name a CAT
Families are moving away from traditional pet names to more creative ones. Here are themed lists of names for your next pet kitten or cat.
Schedule a veterinarian check-up ASAP.
OK, to me, this is a no-brainer, so we did it. However, it is an expensive no-brainer, which substantiates why the animal shelters in our area deserve the $100 plus they charge families adopting a cat. It’s because they do all the initial veterinarian work-ups, vaccinations, and neutering for you. So, pay the shelter or pay a private veterinarian. In our initial vet visit, we were able to learn the age of our kitten (actually close to age one judging by all the permanent teeth), his general health (starved: that’s one of the reasons he looked like a kitten), his gender (we couldn’t tell if the twin bulges under the tail were impacted anal glands or those other tidbits), his disease state (thankfully, no rabies, leukemia, or worms--- but a big affirmative to fleas.) We also learned what we needed to do to protect his “brother and sister” from flea infestation.
Win the lottery to pay for all the vet expenses.
Alas, we didn’t. It would have come in handy for the vaccinations, initial and follow-up exams and the imminent surgery. What surgery? His double bits of business look like they belong there under his tail – permanently. It is hard for me to risk reducing his playful energy and activity level by committing catsnippery to his genitals. However, under our loving care, he is gaining weight and approaching the shape he should be in. This means, as a feisty healthy Tomcat, he started enhancing our rooms with “the smells.” Marking his territory with urine.
To be continued.
Copyright text and photos 2011 Maren Morgan
- Adventures in Cat Adoption, Part Two
The next chapter!