First day of cats

We picked the kittens up from their owner, a co-worker who ended up with five kittens because he hadn’t had his cat spayed. His cat had had two tortoiseshell kittens, an orange one and two black ones. We were kind of hoping to get two different cats to tell them apart better, but as we were the last to “pick”, only the black ones were left. He told us they were females, so I came up with Furiosa and Ripley as their names, but when we picked them up at his house it was quite obvious that they were boys.

They were easy to put into their carrier (at 9 and a half weeks old, they both fit easily) and they were very well-behaved in the car. It was only a 10-15 minute drive, but they only meowed briefly in between and then settled down again.

We put their carrier onto the sofa in the room we had cleared for them and almost immediately, their little heads poked out inquisitively. Not much later, they found the way off the couch and explored everything on ground level. They particularly enjoyed running around in the storage box under the sofa. Eventually, though, they started climbing on stuff and honing their jumping skills.

We were looking for ways to differentiate the two, and luckily, one seems to have a dark brown patch on the left side. The other one has little tufts of hair on his ears. So for a while, we called them Brown and Tufty, until we decided to settle on the “proper” names Wrex and Garrus. Garrus is a pretty good climber and the first to get on the back of the couch and the desk, but as soon as he’s figured out how to do it, Wrex copies him and does it, too. On the other hand, Wrex is better at hunting. He catches his prey (a sort of fishing pole toy), then holds on to it and doesn’t let it go, whereas Garrus will get his, but then just kind of put a paw on it and wait for it to be pulled away again. Also, Wrex figured out very quickly how to get a little ball out of a box, whereas Garrus needed a bit longer to figure it out. Wrex also understood how the puzzle feeder works (it’s a little ball with a hole and some dry food in), whereas Garrus has yet to grasp the concept of “I need to push this ball in order to get the food out”. He realizes that food sometimes magically appears, but not how it’s related to the ball. You’ll get there, Garrus, I’m sure of it!

[Sleeping cats]

There was even a sweet moment when the two cats decided to go to sleep on the warm thing. Awww.

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Cat preparations

I’ve never been much of a cat person – or so I thought, until we had the two cats of a co-worker over last year. They were very cute and easy to be around. They didn’t destroy anything, used their cat litter properly, and provided a lot of cuddles and warmth. Ever since then, I’ve been more open to the idea of cats, and  we’ve talked about it enough that it was clear we’d get cats one day.

While the plan was to get two shelter cats eventually, we were swayed by a co-worker whose cat had kittens. I feel somewhat guilty about depriving a shelter cat of a new home and going for the cute little kittens, but I suppose the truth of the matter is that we wouldn’t have cats yet if it hadn’t been for the kittens. They were there, they needed to be adopted by a certain date, and we had to make our mind up.

But be that as it may, if you want to get cats, you have to be prepared. I prepared by reading a book called Think Like A Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett. She’s basically what Cesar Millan is to dogs, and the book is excellent. It’s got everything in it from how and what to feed them, how to make them use a scratch post rather than the couch, litter training, how to play with them, how to cat-proof your house, explanations on clicker training and whatnot. Tons of well-written information and certainly a good start for a cat n00b like me!

Next was getting the house ready. Since they are kittens, we decided to start off by confining them to one room – the empty guest room. (I call it the music room, but I have since removed all the guitars, as I don’t want them scratched by energetic furry imps!) So we took the curtains down, removed anything breakable and covered the couch and Ikea chair with cheap blankets. Then we got a cat litter tray, a carrier, a toy on a string, tons of cat food and bowls to eat and drink out of. The kittens even got a little cardboard box house!

[Cat house]

It was very difficult to wait the few extra days till we got them! I’ll tell you more about the experience of taking them home in the next entry though.