Monday, March 19, 2007

My Feline Children

I've mentioned that I have two human children, and touched on the fact that I recently acquired two cat kids. Well, let me just say that the cat kids are totally awesome!

Nothing against my human offspring, I assure you.

The elder cat kid is Daniel. We got him a bit over a month ago, at nine months of age. My elder son and I had been out looking for a kitten (we thought that was what we needed) when we got a call from the younger's daycare provider. She was at the SPCA and had intercepted a man who was going into the SPCA to surrender one of his family's cats (they'd taken in a pregnant female who produced four kittens and the family was suffering from an embarassment of feline riches). Unlike most of the cats being taken in for surrender in carriers, Daniel was being carried in his then-owner's arms. He was beautiful... long white coat with black tail, black ears and mask, and a "Mickey Mouse" set of spots on one side. I looked at my son and asked, "Would you like this cat?"

Hope welled up in his eyes (we'd been looking quite a bit), and he just looked at the cat with complete love and adoration and nodded his head. Thus, Daniel joined our family.

He spent the first week under the china cabinet, coming out only for the elder son. We took him in to get fixed, and he then spent the next week under that same child's bed. Since that time, he has actively joined in the family (and he LOVES his scratching post, blessed beast!).

Next came Patrick. Now Daniel had a tiny issue with my husband. The spousal unit is a bit loud and Daniel, as an extremely vocal cat -- the reason his former people chose him to surrender -- was used to being the biggest voice in the house; that plus the fact that the spousal unit is the one who caught him to "crate" him for his trip to the vet for his neutering... OUCH! Sad thing is, my husband is the real "cat person" in the house. I'm pretty apathetic to most cats, due to the fact that, well, I'm allergic to the wee beasties.

I'm devoted to my family, obviously.

Anyway, as the big cat lover of the family, it about did him in that Daniel ran from him at every conceivable opportunity. He wanted a cat of his own. Preferably a kitten that he could bond to himself. We'd discussed going to the SPCA, but about a week ago we'd gone to the pet store to get Daniel more cat food, and danged if they didn't have kittens.


Thus, Patrick entered our lives. He's a brown and black tabby with a white throat and belly and white "boots" on his bitty paws. He's about eight weeks old and totally adorable. As a kitten, HE didn't hide under any furniture. No, we're more likely to find Patrick perched on the kitchen table (eyeroll).

I clean that table quite a bit, anymore.

We were naturally worried about how the introduction would go. After all, Daniel is an altered male cat, but recently altered, and fully grown (feline is HUGE!), and Patrick is a sweet tiny baby un-altered male cat. However, we couldn't have been more pleased. They took turns forming the cat train (wherein one cat's nose is affixed to the other cat's behind), and later that night I caught Daniel washing Patrick. It was a very cute sappy moment.

Obviously the cats are quite useful with the ongoing mouse invasion as I continue to disrupt the living conditions of our resident vermin by demucking every storage space in our house (darned shame, that). Today I heard "Mouse alert!" from the elder, and came out to find Patrick gleefully tossing the corpse of a small mouse into the air, catching it, shaking it, pouncing on it, etc. The boy got Patrick away from his "toy" (without scratching!) and I wrinkled up my nose and tossed the nasty thing out.

When we got home later on (my big kid had some weird allergic reaction, so we were home today), my husband asked me if I'd tossed the mouse the cats had had earlier. Of COURSE I had! Well, it seems his employee was over and found yet another body, and disposed of it for us.

I learned later on that my husband had caught Daniel lurking in the kitchen staring at the dishwasher (the little nasties evidently have a home under there), prepared to pounce.

Marvelous EFFECTIVE felines!

But it's not for that reason alone I love these cats. And yes, I, the allergic one, do love them. It's that I think we got absolutely the perfect cats for our family. They're both slow to scratch (I've taught the kids that the second the cats show signs of being restless while being held it's time to put them down), they're tolerant of both kids, and both of them will even let my little boy hold and carry them.

I never thought I'd see a 35 lb. four-year-old hoisting around a 15 lb. cat, but I was obviously mistaken. More amazing was the fact that the cat was just as relaxed and happy as could be.

It's just darling, and I'm smitten, by all four of the (invited) under-five-footers in this house.

And my dog. Who pees on the carpet. Bless him.

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