Meet the Critters Part 2: The Kittens

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The day after I went to get Sumi, I was supposed to pick up a mother cat and her two six-week-old kittens, a good forty-five minute jaunt away. The plan was that they would be outside kitties, keeping the general mouse population in check around the yard.

I packed all the kids in the van and drove a few miles before pulling over and calling the owner back for directions, since the cell phone service at our house is beyond bad. (One of the "perks" of living at the edge of the wilderness, I guess!) I was a little chagrined to find out when I called her that the mother was no longer part of the package, as the owner's daughter had a weeping fit when she found out about it. However, since we were already en route, and the kids were SO excited about getting kittens (okay, I was excited, too), I decided to go for it, anyway.

The plan would have to be revised, somewhat. These two kittens were too small to be put outdoors on their own just yet, so they would need to be inside for several weeks, at least. You can imagine how thrilled my feline-allergic husband was when he came home that night to find that the inch he gave was being pushed to three miles with the new additions!

But they were so CUTE!

Simba at 6 weeks.

Nala at 6 weeks.

Of course, being kittens, they hadn't learned their manners yet, either. Oh, yes, they were very friendly and social, (and were already litter box-trained) which we all loved, but they also did some not-so-lovable things. Such as climbing up the furniture with their claws (well, they were too little to just jump up, right?) And tearing the batting out of the inside of our nice reclining couch. And climbing up the inside of the couch with their claws! And chewing on cords. And digging in my houseplants. And pulling the difficult-for-humans-to-access television cord out of the wall.

I loved having them in the house, actually. They were very entertaining, and I'd never had a house cat before. Not only that, they actually came and had naps in your lap, and enjoyed being petted (unlike Sumi-the-sociopath). However, after several weeks of coming home and having his head stuff up immediately, Jason spent an entire weekend building them an insulated cat house and they then got to move outside.

It took them a bit to adjust. They actually were able to climb up the weather stripping on our front door and get on top of the trailer. I rescued them once, but the next time they did it, they were on their own. Actually, Simba injured his paw while jumping down, so he cured himself really quickly. He limped around on that thing for a few weeks. Nala decided it was no fun up there by herself, and by the time Simba's paw had healed, they had both found better, safer ways to get away from Shiloh.

Poor kitties on the roof, about 10 weeks old. The ugly green tar-dripped part of the trim is where the previous addition came off, and will be hidden by the new one we will build next summer. For now, pretend not to see it, 'kay?

Yes, he was the real reason they were so desperate to get to the highest point they could find. He just wanted to play, but he was about 8000 times their size. The poor little tikes really had no defence against his ginormity. Simba, the feistier of the two, was pretty funny to watch as he stiffened up and spat ferociously, but Shiloh just seemed to think it was part of the game, and it encouraged, rather than discouraged, him.

Despite all this, I thought the cats were doing an okay job of staying out of harms' way until one day, when we came home from church, and I saw Shiloh out in the field (far away from the trailer, the shed, or any form of shelter) playing with some kind of critter in the snow. When I got closer, I saw it was Nala. He was picking her up and tossing her around like a beach ball. I was not impressed, to say the least. Not only that, but I was surprised that Nala had let herself be driven that far from safety. The poor thing was soggy, and it was below freezing, so she got to come in for a few hours to warm up. It was the day of Jude's birthday party (early November), and she just cuddled into my mom's lap and slept for about two hours.

Since then, the kittens have been soggified several times, but they are also growing. They can hold their own a little better against the dog, and they seem to care a little less, too. I don't think he usually hurts them, just licks them all over (not a good thing in this weather.) Maybe they feel it less, now that their winter coat has come in so nice and full. They are pretty chunky underneath all the fluff, too!

Jason keeps trying to get me to take Sumi back by saying that then Nala can come inside. (Nala loves laps!) I think I would just feel like I let Sumi down if I take her back. Or maybe it would be more like I failed and let myself down. I don't know. I don't mind her as much, now, anyway. She still minds a lot when the kittens come in on the odd cold day, but that's easy enough to deal with, so I dunno--besides, the kittens both being outside together do a better job of staying warm.

Pretty soon, though, it's going to be spaying/neutering time. Ugh. The poor things have no idea what's coming.

Maybe it's better to be innocent...

Nala at 4 1/2 months. (Dec 2, 2009)

Simba at 4 1/2 mos.

Next post: The Troublemaker

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  1. Yup, they do look pretty solid and fluffy! And SOOOOO cute!

  2. Pretty kitties! Funny, we got a kitten this fall too. The old cat and the little one get along quite well now. Very entertaining. Although, not so much at 3 AM. Animals are good for kids (and moms and dads too). Some lessons are better learned when they come straight from nature. Like when you pull a cats tail they will scratch you; our actions have consequences.

  3. Those are some beautiful kitties.

    Your little "farm" is growing!


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